A Little Slice of Heaven
Sooo, we did a thing.
We love our little home sweet hub so much!
BUT we all miss the country life and the wide open spaces acreage brings.
We also grossly undershot on how much room a 45 ft RV would take up in the shop. Let's just say I am tired of lifting up my butt cheeks over the chest freezer to slide over to the upright one. ;)
We absolutely love travel life, and plan to continue. When we are pulling through home, we want to have some acreage to enjoy. Sounds like the kids want to come home each summer for camp and long for some longer periods of home.
If our kids need ROOTS to have WINGS, I am happy to comply.
These stirrings have been months in the processing, so we have been praying for a long time whether to buy a home here, or in Florida, build here, or just sell it all and only keep the RV.
The Lord has been putting all the pieces together and nudging our hearts in ways I couldn't even express, including a trip to a farmhouse in Ohio with a family that travels to and from their home, wintering in Florida, but circling back between trips. This kind of travel sounded just like what we had been rolling over in our minds.
God is so good! When we got back home, we started looking for land to just feel things out.
We looked & we prayed.....
We prayed & we looked.....
And when we found our dream acerage, we made an offer.
The land owners countered back and forth with us a while before we walked away......they were just a little higher on price than we were comfortable spending.
I will be honest, I cried.
I felt so SO sure this property was meant to be ours.
It just FELT so magical, so right, when we were out there. You can feel the presence of the Lord so keenly in this space.
But I trust the Lord, and His plan for us, I know He knows what I need more than I do.
So I let it go and crawled to bed, disappointed, but at peace.
The VERY next morning, we heard from our realtor -
THE LAND WAS OURS.
All 40 acres of it. They said YES!
Guys, this place checks ALL THE BOXES!
It is off pavement for the RV.
It has a beautiful forest.
It has open pasture.
It has a pond and a windmill.
It has a long, tucked back, dreamy, winding lane.
It has a view that takes my breath away.
Everything we could've dreamed up and MORE.....
We couldn't WAIT to show the kids. (Destiny is working at camp) We spent HOURS out there just exploring and playing,
God is SO good to hear the desires of our hearts, and move on our behalf to help make them happen. EVEN with a test of faith along the way to be sure we are willing and obedient!
It's going to be a process. Picking the right shop design, finding a home plan we all like, the actual building. Doing all the finish work we can, bringing in the pros for the rest.
Ooo but I LOVE me a good floor plan hunt. ;)
Someday, hopefully soon, we can call this beautiful place our Home Sweet Hub.
Our Shoresh Shed.
Shoresh is hebrew for "Roots" and the Lord began whispering this to me months ago already.
I am watching for glimpses of what He has in store, but plan to enjoy the ride as we put down some deeper roots here in this beautiful space.
In the meantime, people have already been calling and asking to come tour our Home Sweet Hub! They are super intrigued by our bright and cheerful shed home and are interested in making it their own....
Orange fridge doesn't stay, and the kitchen is nicely white and grey without it, for any taste pallet!
But the brand new stove stays! Wahoo! It's such a dream to cook on.
It makes my heart happy to know that someone new will enjoy the beautiful forest views from large living room window.
And enjoy lots of visitors through the back yard: deer, birds, squirrel and a family of turkey that pass through each day. So peaceful and zero road noise!
It is such a beautiful, happy space!! We are so excited to see who the Lord calls to make this their home sweet home! :)
It's been ages since we have spent a summer in Kansas, probably 4 whole years. It's hot and some days the kids are super antsy and bored, but it's been nice to be at our home sweet hub and spread out a bit.
Makes us miss and appreciate our home on wheels!
We play a lot of board games, go out to the lake to fish and boat, or just let the kids use their imaginations and play to pass the time. I also have been trying to take them out on mommy dates when the other kids are busy or occupied at a friends house.
Avery and I went shopping and had a sushi date! Mmmmm. I am obsessed with jumpsuits and overalls at the moment. I hit the clearance rack JACK POT!
The kids still LOVE to read. I am always happy when they can get REAL books, not just kindle downloads. Being home has allowed us to go get stacks and stacks of books and read the afternoons away. EVEN momma! Eeeek! Guilty pleasure.
Did you all have a safe and happy 4th?
We made a yummy trifle to take and share at the family function. Here is the recipe:
Independence Day Trifle
I felt like I was coming down with something, so I stayed home and sent Dale and the kids to his uncles. GOOD THING, by nightfall I had a roaring fever and the infamous "camp cough" I had been treating the kids for.
I oiled like crazy and was down 4 days. Thank goodness, its a viral cough they are saying takes 2 weeks to move through.
Look at who came and took care of me one day, my very own butler!
My sweet momma also came over and did an aromatouch (think raindrop therapy) on me and now coughing Paxton.
I got sick right after my hair appointment. We parted my hair back on the original side so the top part of my side shave can grow out. I am going for a long bob and am letting my natural curl come back out since it just showed up again! Hormones are weird. ;)
I finally sent a shot of my new do to my BFF on day 4 of my sickness. Not looking too hot, but see the hair?! I have had the side shave and opposite part long enough my hair was starting to rebel against it. Love trying new things!
Side note, I wear ONE contact. See how it bounced light differently than the other?! Crazy!
Back on the mend and enjoying a nice soak in the tub, I noticed how AWFUL the mineral stain on our white shower curtain had gotten and set out to make it white again.
I dumped generous amounts of each in my HOT load and let it soak overnight. Not great.
Round 2 of the same!
TA DA! Good as almost new. LOVE a NATURAL laundry room of great tools to use!!!!!
Ready to make over your home and green up your cleaners?! I am your girl!!!! :D
Looking for an easy summer salad recipe?
Check out this Just Like Applebee's Oriental Salad from our old blog. We made it again and it was JUST as good as I remembered, if not better!
Out of all my children, Avery and Paxton like to be in the kitchen the most. Although, Destiny the other day announced she was making cookies and did. And Ty announced he wanted meatloaf for dinner, and did!
Avery and Paxton whipped out 6 loaves of banana bread and a Texas sheet cake and it. was. fabulous.
Destiny Joy was due like July 15. Her Grandma Eileen was born on the 14th, her Nana was born on the 16th and she picked her OWN birthday, the 17th.
My mom turns 60 this year & Destiny turns 16, so we decided to have a girls date to lunch at the Airport Steakhouse in town to celebrate.
We headed to Nana's to help her pick out an outfit for an upcoming event and then headed to our house for a girlie movie and some Texas sheet cake!
HAPPY day for Dale, somebody is excited about his new fishing boat!
Hoping to access some fish again, cause wading isn't cutting it! Dale has been trying to restore his dad's boat but alas the cost was going to be too high.
We found this sparkly beauty instead for a steal of a deal......even matches the RV colors! It's the little things & God is so good.
Already paying off! ;)
I wanted to try out our new oven, so I decided to make one my favorite meal when I was a little girl.....Italian Beef & Cheese Buns!
I SPECIFICALLY recall that for my kindergarten birthday, this is what I chose for family supper that night. I also remember that I got 2 SUPER cool pair of leather high tops that night, in both black AND pink! Oh, I was in 1980’s heaven! 🤣
Cheers to the rest of July & a bit of August before it's back to school time again.
We have a Colorado & Michigan trip planned yet this summer and lots of little projects to get done between now and then.
Hope you are having a great summer! Until next time....
Well July is off with a BANG, literally. Did you have a nice 4th of July? I cannot believe the month is almost half over!
I use this blog as a travel journal and a highlight reel of our kids' lives, so hang on to your hats, I haven't blogged for a bit and it's time to catch up.
When we last left off, Ty had headed to camp. Since then, Avery has gone to camp too. She had an amazing time, despite a bit of homesickness, she stuck the week out and is already begging to go back.
While we were there dropping off Avery, we got to see Destiny! She was greeting and helping around camp. We snuck into her dorm and left her an I heart U note on her pillow. The candy box you see in the photo is what we sent Avery, along with friendship bracelets to hand out to her dorm. When you get mail at camp, you have to sing for it! :)
Paxton is the only not not staying at overnight camp this year, so we made sure he had some extra fun like a date with mom, slumber party with his buddy Joel. Ice cream Sundaes and more!
Destiny has stayed her 3 weeks to work. She has a couple weeks off, which is good because she came home super sick with what we loving call "camp cough".
I am so grateful for essential oils to help fight and win! We did symphony of the cells treatments to help the body fight and win. Steam cup, hot on guard honey drink to soothe the throat and more. She felt better in no time!
Father's Day came and went, with a whole lot of FISH. I wish real fish, although Dale was catching somes good ones when the weather was bad. It's hard to wade and get out to the fish now that it's nice. They all are out where it takes a boat to reach them.
The kids and I spent FOREVER, drawing, cutting and hanging some fish for a fun garland while he was gone. He loved it!
Want an easy summer supper? Steak Gyros will hit the spot!
Simply grill steak with mediterranean seasonings and slice thin.
Chop baby tomatoes, seeded cucs & red onion for the relish.
Mix a batch of homemade ranch with some high quality dill.
Layer on flat out bread and use organic feta crumbles to finish it off.
It has been nice to be home and offer essential oil classes at our local library each month! I love seeing our local team and their new oilers come to learn more.
I had 2 sweet surprises, a little love note from Avery in my class bag. And a gift from one of the builders on our team! Look at that cute RV bird feeder! She gave me a little RV too, its out in my home on wheels.
You know I LOOOOVE my orange retro kitchen, right?! It makes our house so happy and fun, but alas.........
One of the old girls had to go. Hated to break up a darling 1952 pair, but I NEED one of my homes to have a legit cooking experience.😂 Haha, RV convection microwave doesn't count!
We will save this darling orange stove for freezer pizzas or queso nights in a future rec room.
Boys thought the packaging from the new stove made for a cool car ramp and set to work creating it on the staircase!
What we are learning about Kansas is how HOT and boring it is without a pool. There is so much standing water from the floods at our house, that we can barely step outdoors without being eaten alive by mosquitoes.
Thankfully, Uncle Mike has a cool pontoon! He let us take it out one day and joined us a week later to go again. It's for sale and we want it SO SO BAD, but the ol Papa truck just cannot pull it.
We are not prepared to buy a boat AND a truck, so we had to let it go. Waaah! Maybe someday!
To be continued.....
The blog is starting to get cranky with how photo heavy this post is. Hee hee, weakling! ;)
Starting A Kansas Summer
We are in Kansas for the WHOLE summer!
Good-bye up north (cool Michigan and Wisconsin summers are our FAVS) and hello midwest heat..... ;)
No, it's fine. The kids all wanted to attend bible camp and we were more than happy to comply! And it's always fun to see our family & friends again.
We've had our fair share of flooding and baaad weather this summer already, but no damage, thank the Lord! Strangest start to summer EVER, that's for certain!
Destiny was the first to go to camp. She had what is called LTC, leadership training camp. Intense training for being a "staffer" and one day, a camp counselor.
She was less than enthused I made her pose for photos, but I simply don't care. There is no excuse not to document these awesome moments, right?! ;)
We made bug spray, bed bug prevention spray and homemade sunblock to send with our campers.
After she got back, Ty went to his first ever overnight, nearly week long camp. He was excited but nervous!
Avery is next week when Destiny returns for 2 more weeks of training and working.
June is barely started and here we already have so many fun things we've accomplished!
Swapped out curriculum and ordered next years school. (Dale called me an overachiever! NOPE just organized!) ;)
Had sibling sleepovers as well as some friend ones.
Tried out Dale's new smoker grill. YUM!
Had a fish fry.
Went to our favorite snow cone stand x 6 times.
Baby sat a baby husky named Nala.
Took some family bike rides around the neighborhood.
And lots of games and PLAY.
I LOVE slow summer days where they can be kids and ENJOY!
They always beg to crawl in my bed and read with me before they have to go to their own beds. It has been SO awesome to have Paxton finally interested in chapter books and READING! Hallelujah! All that hard work has FINALLY paid off.
My mom LOVES to have each child over for a special Nana sleepover date while we are home. So far, just the little two have had their turns. Oh, maybe Ty did, and we just didn't get any photos? I will have to ask him. It's all a blur of kids coming and going between camp and slumber parties. Haha!
Dale and I got to sneak away one afternoon for our 17th anniversary date. We headed to a town about 45 minutes away to try out a new Asian restaurant that didn't disappoint.
It rained the ENTIRE time! Like ran in in a DOWNPOUR and got soaked, NOT as romantic as the movies depict, that's for sure. ;)
And, in true been married a long time anniversary, we also ran errands. HA! Do you do that? A little fun and function on your dates?
I even changed out of my cute shoes into more comfy ones for that part. Practical is my middle name. OK no its not...not at all! ;)
Dale has been hard at work finishing some details on the outside our home sweet hub. He painted our porch and it made a world of difference!
You know you are a grown up when.....
A Costco trip and "lunch" on the way home, is almost as fun as an all day girls shopping trip of days gone by!👏
After months of watching it go across my Instagram feed, I did it.
I bought Beddy's Beds for these tricky, tall, side by side, loft beds in the boys room....
They. Are. Amazing.
It's all one piece! (think mattress pad elastic edges but the ENTIRE BED is connected)
No more breaking my hand to tuck in 3 layers! Easy to wash too. (Just took a while to fully dry)
And in the morning? Easy zip side and they look tight and tidy!
The boys loved it and slept great in them. Not too warm, not too cool and no sheet wadded in the bottom to fish out this am! The minky blanket inside is super soft!
Watch for a sale, they just did a BOGO half off! Super impressed!
One of my projects when we were home was to make succulent centerpieces. I went to Walmart and bought a bunch of awesome mexican canned goods! The cans are SO pretty and a lot of them stamped right on the tin. That makes it easier to wash after I dumped the food items into freezer containers.
We get to host a doTERRA Dorothy Team dinner at convention this year!
And we are having a FIESTA! I am so excited to love on our oil family! :)
Wait until you see the full tablescape. Fingers crossed it turns out like it looks in my head <3
This CRAZY GUY keeps showing up at my house. I think Nana started something! ;)
Before I go, I MUSTACHE you a question........
Do you know who these 3 bearded men are?
Haha, hope your summer is off to a GREAT start! :)
We left Kansas January and returned the end of May.....
We loved our dreamy winter in Florida and a FUN spring run to Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee & Ohio! But alas, it was time to circle back to Kansas and our home sweet hub.
As we moved back in to our space, a blog formed in my head called:
12 THINGS YOU NOTICE AFTER LIVING IN AN RV
Here we go:
#1 - Regular Water Pressure
Regular water pressure feels like a HIGH POWDERED pressure washing MIRACLE WORKER! Especially after several low pressure rv park water systems!
We all had to stare and comment on the amazing power of WATER on dirty dishes. Haha! :)
Speaking of water and #2....
#2 - WATER in the Toilet
In an RV, you manually add water to the toilet, before you can do your business. Sometimes things are um, urgent and people can barely get water in fast enough to do their duty.
We all reach for the side of the toilet to push the button to add water when we first get home. LOL! :D
Hey guys, guess what? These toilets COME WITH WATER ALREADY IN THEM!!!!
#3 - While We Are STILL Discussing Water
Did you know in a home not on wheels, you can run the dishwasher, washing machine, the sink AND the shower at the SAME TIME?!
Shut the front door.
Who invents this stuff?!
#4 - Five Bar Cell Service and Wifi
You mean cell phones and verizon wifi boxes can have FIVE bars of service? WHAT is this phenomenon?
RV parks are notorious for horrible cell service in park and spotty Wifi you share with all the neighbors. NO BUENO!
We can hardly believe how strong our signal gets when we get home. Not always in our metal shed home, but most of the time outside it!!!
#5 - Anybody Home?
I swear, I spend half my time in our home sweet hub, trying to FIND MY FAMILY!!!!
After living in 400 sq feet most of the year, 1600 sq ft feels ENORMOUS.
Guys? Guuuyyyyyssss????? DALE?!
WHERE IS EVERYONE?
#6 - Warp Speed Laundry
It's not until I get home to my full sized washer and dryer that I realize just how HUGE they really are compared to my cute little RV washer dryer set.
We do 2 loads a day in the RV, to stay on top of things. At our home sweet hub I can do FIVE GIANT loads of laundry, in the time it takes the RV washer/dryer to do ONE.
What is this time and speed conundrum?
#7 - Toilet Paper LUXURY
Regular toilet paper is SO SOFT and luxurious!!!!!
Rv toilet paper has to be single ply so it doesn't clog the fancy imancerator system.
I JUST WANT SOFT PAPER FOR MY TOOSHIE, OKAY!? It's the little things people.
#8 - I Want My Bed
First world problems, when you like your RV mattress better than your home sweet hub one.
I WANT MY SOFT BED BACK!
#9 - Pooper Duty
You take your dog out to do her business and by habit, reach for a pooper duty bag!
OH YEAH......NO more pooper scooping when you are home, HALLELUJAH!
#10 - Bake ALL THE THINGS
RV convection oven doesn't bake in the center, and it heats up the whole home, so you learn quickly to grill, OR, do skillet or instant pot meals.
That means when you get home, YOU BAKE ALL THE THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Casseroles, egg bakes, comfort foods, brownies, cupcakes.... ALL. THE. BAKED. THINGS. NOW.
#11 - A SHOPPING SPREE
When you are gone so many months from what you dub your "Kansas Closet", you find clothes you like again, and get to switch for items you are tired of in your RV closet!
FREE SHOPPING SPREE ANYONE?!
Yes, we all share the RV closet x 6. We just have to be choosy what comes with us! We also all share the "Kansas Closet" upstairs, full of winter clothes we only need when we are here in cold weather.
Downstairs in the laundry room is our "Family Closet". Super handy on laundry day AND when it's time to move in and out of the RV closet, seasonly.
And #12 in our list of things you notice we you live in an RV for a while......
How quickly your heart misses it...............
.......and how BADLY you want to get back in it and go for another ADVENTURE!!!!!!
We are in Kansas for the rest of the summer, barring a few quick trips here and there.
So long until next time.....
Happy Mother's Day!
We spent our morning traveling 2 and a half hours into Amish country, so we could be ready for classes here tomorrow.
The kids made me cards, and made sure I didn't lift a finger all day! It was nice :)
We drove around the countryside to just enjoy a scenic drive, snagged some yummy food from one of the only open restaurants on a Sunday...Park Street Pizza.
Avocado fries, giant farm salad, and 3 kinds of pizza was on our table before we knew it. Mmmm mm good!
Here is what I wrote to my momma for Mother's Day to celebrate her from far away:
When I am tempted to roll my eyes during yet another multiplication flashcards review with the littles, I remember how my mom used to make it a fun game each day after school. 🎵How she'd make a sing song sergeant-esque rhyme of the ones that tripped me up.....6x4 is 24, 6x8 is 48. Sound off!
📖 Or when it was time to learn a long bible verse for church, she'd lay on a blanket with me out in the yard and cheerfully review it again and again, until I knew it well.
When I am tempted to skip due to exhaustion, I remember how every night she would tickle my back and cuddle me, while I drifted off to sleep.
When Destiny and I butt heads and she blows up, I remember how mom would just hug me close and stroke my long hair, when I'd take out all my highschool frustrations on her.
She was a heck of a cook and housekeeper and ran a tight ship. My messy clothing- strewn room, after a running late outfit crisis, made her crazy. It had to be cleaned up and chores done before any fun could occur.
I am now that mom!🤣
Everything I know and do, is based on a bar set really high by a mom who did it all.🙌 I can only hope my children will have half the happy memories of a mom who served them with joy, during their growing up years.
Happy Mother's Day, momma! I sure do love you🥰
Here is what my sweetie wrote me:
GUYS, it is COLD here! High was 55 and rainy, so we cranked the fireplace and chilled the rest of the day in the RV. I love how homey it feels!
We headed into town Monday for Mrs. Yoder's fried chicken buffet, and black raspberry ice cream from Troyers, even though it was FREEEEZING out!
51* high and 41* for the low
We are total total wusses now, after spending all winter in Florida and I totally didn't pack the right kind of clothes, brrrrrr!
Cold, grey and blustery for sure! The kids hunkered down and I headed to class......
No plans on Tuesday, but swim with the kids in the heated indoor pool......
When the sun FINALLY came out our final day there, we drove around and saw all the beautiful countryside! Windows down, just enjoying :)
Isn't this area so beautiful?!
Can you spot our RV in this pic?!
Our final Ohio stop was Findlay for some classes with a brand new builder here! We found a pretty RV park with a big field behind it that was begging for playtime.
We got set up and Pax decided it was time for a game of stick ball! :)
Always nice to enjoy a little down time between classes!
Paxton picked an INCREDIBLE dinner to cook this week. Check it out!
Carnita Tacos with quick pickled onions
Friday was a meet and greet at a local cute coffee shop. Our friends and biz partners, Matt & Liz and their 2 sweet kids were in town so they could connect with their Ohio team too.
We had them drop the kids off, so they could all play while we went to coffee. Destiny is a great babysitter and it's safe to say the kiddos had a great time!
I didn't get any photos of our coffee shop group, but Liz and I did make Dale pull over on the way home to get photos of this gorgeous bridge. A local instagram page share it as well, COOL! :)
We got a phone call bright and early the next day with some sad news from Matt and Liz.....
The river at their RV park flooded during the night and the RV and suburban were half under water. It was to the top step when they got rescued 2 at a time with only the backpacks on their backs.
Here is the deal, they are in a strange place an hour from us in the wee hours of the morning, so once they got to dry ground, they were literally helpless and homeless. Everything they own is back in the RV. Their home on wheels!
Thank the Lord for His provision! The Lawerence had attended a local church Sunday, had dinner Tuesday with the Pastor, and attended Wednesday night church and really connected with the leadership there. This kind shepherd was there in minutes and he and his wife opened their home and loaned their car to our friends until further notice. AMAZING!
Praying it all works out. The "brain" of the RV is fried. All of it was under water! Randomly flashing lights, gages moving, alarms going off, won't start, not at all safe! Totally undriveable.
We hold the note on this RV still, so we are up to our ears in insurance phone calls and arrangements. They keep wanting us to drive the RV to the shop to be accessed. I guess they don't have any idea that a fried RV cannot put jacks up, slides in, OR DRIVE for that matter!
It can't even be towed with all those things down and out. Sigh. God has a plan and we trust it. Just a bit of a stressful situation for all!
We left at 6 am the next morning to beat a line of severe hail storms coming our way. Little did we know, that wasn't going to be the end of it!
After 12 hours of driving, we made it to Kansas City, just in time to enjoy the sunset and a walk. We planned to see our friends Monday, chill at the lake where we were parked Tuesday and go hang out and teach a class Wednesday.
The more we watched the weather, the more concerned Dale got. The more time that passed, the worse the weather forecast. Flood warning for the lake we were parked at, golf ball sized hail, tornado watch and high winds.
After much debate and sadness, the decision was made to not sit in the weather to come for the next 48 hours and instead, head the 4 hours home early in the morning and get the RV and trailer under cover at our home sweet hub.
The last thing we need, is ANOTHER RV with a claim and storm damage! We will just take the car back to Kansas city Wed instead of getting the ol home on wheels back out again. Not ideal, we are terrible car travelers now, but totally worth it!
We didn't beat the rain home, but we did beat the major wind and storms that hit that night both at our house and at the lake where we WOULD'VE been. We slept great knowing all was well!
Check out our now "lakefront" home!
No matter how dreary on the outside, we are so happy to be safe and warm on the inside and greeted by such a cheerful sight!
HOME SWEET HOME
Did you all have a wonderful Christmas & A Happy New Year? We had a very Kansas Christmas and it was a joy from the beginning to the end, when the final cookie crumb was brushed off the countertops.
First up, my BFF and her crew came for dinner and games. So fun!
We also got to keep Kamilyn, my best friends daughter and Avery's BFF, overnight and take her to Wednesday church with us for the kids Christmas party.
With no school in session, we spent the days playing games and reading books, hanging out and having fun. We also cleaned house and cooked lots of yummy food in prepration for Christmas gatherings.
I feel so honored and SO grown up getting to host all the family Christmases at our place this year. Tiny in size, but big in heart.....and cheerful colors are fun too! ;)
First up, my Momma's side of the family:
We ate until we were stuffed and laughed until our sides hurt. The favorite game is quickly becoming Telestrations and 5 Crowns at our house!
Look who found her sister's old fancy Christmas dress and decided to get all dolled up for church Sunday. Avery my fashionista! ;)
Our Christmas tradition includes a night of watching ELF and having Spaghetti, first how momma wants.....with sauce and salad. Then, for seconds, just like Elf.....with candy and pop tarts. The kids love it and it is such a fun tradition! This year we invited Nana to join us after church, which was Christmas Eve EVE.
Games and a tricky gift first, then dinner and our movie. Nana wrapped the kids adventure in Odyssey CD, in SO MANY BOXES, all neatly wrapped in wrapping paper. She said what took her 2 hours was undone in 15 minutes! LOL
Actual Christmas eve was spent at church, then over to Grandma's for dinner....
I will share food recipes in the next blog post, but before church we had prepped some egg casserole and monkey bread to sit overnight so we could bake it easily in the morning. We also made meatballs and cooked them so we could just do sauce and crockpot the next afternoon. Potatoes mashed and in the fridge to bake and jello fluffy salad to chill.
When we got home from Grandma's, the little's wanted to sleep out in front of the tree, so we set up some sleeping bags. Of course, they were up too late and woke WAY too early, but hey, tis the season! ;)
Good morning! It's CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! YAAAAAY!
Kids woke us up at 7am, it felt too early because of how late we went to bed, LOL, but it was fine.
While the casseroles baked, we got Papa Clay's bible off the shelf to read the Christmas Story. We want Christmas to be about Jesus and the GIFT he was to the world, not presents and santa. It's sweetly simple and dear to my heart.
It made me sad, yet comforted, to see his familiar penmanship, filling those pages. Made daddy feel close by....
Dale read the familiar story of the birth of our King, and passed around Frankincense and Myrrh for the kids to drop and smell....
Safe to say, Destiny is not a morning person. ;) The blob on the couch is her.
Time to eat and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!
It was so nice to have the whole day stretched out in front of us, with nowhere to be.....
Kids opened some new movies and games, and then dug into a fun game called Kings Crown, amaaaazing and fun for all ages.
We sent the kids outside to jump off some energy on the trampoline and while they were out, set up a surprise!
SUGAR COOKIES! From a local bakery called Coneflower Sundry. She was selling cookie decorating kits. Yum and still homemade! Win win.
Most of the kids did 4 cookies, and once we saw they were done, Dale and I did a couple too! SO fun!
Dale ate his before I got to snap a pic, but here is Destiny's instagram pic and my 4 cookies I got to decorate!
We had a nosy neighbor come say hi......
We had prepped a lot of our Christmas dinner the day before, but it still had to bake, so we distracted the kids with some arts and crafts. Dale showed them how to make paper SNOWFLAKES! Avery immediately declared we'd decorate the whole house with them.
Mmm, dinner turned out lovely! Meatballs with special sauce, Nana's famous gourmet mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and a fluffy raspberry salad. I will share recipes in our upcoming Kids In the Kitchen post! :)
Dale was so proud to conquer his rubix cube! I was just glad for my husband back. Hahahaha!
We ended the day with Christmas Carols by the fire, before you saw awww, it was awful. Hahahah! We you tubed christmas karaoke carols and they were cheesy and our singing was probably quite terrible, but hey we had fun! ;)
Then, as bedtime approached and everyone settled down, we started talking about Papa and what we missed about him. Then the tears began. Not just little tears, but full on sobs. Poor loves. I held them close, as we talked about Papa and watched this slideshow from his service last year.
The words to this song are so very precious and my heart clings to them.....
"You're with the Son of God
You're with the Prince of Peace
You're with the one we're celebrating
And that thought amazes me
Sometimes I still break down
Grieving that we're apart
But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are....you're with the Son of God."
Got everyone's tears wiped, extra hugs and extra prayers were said, and off to bed they went. I am thankful for another layer of healing for them.
Time for bed, tomorrow is another fun family get together with Dale's immediate family. I will share the Pizza Dip and Brie recipe soon....
For New Year's night we had Destiny over at her cousins, Ty and Pax went to ring in the New Year with Gigi and Nana, and we had an extra girlie here with us, Avery's best friend, Kamilyn.
They set up the RV as an apartment all to themselves, so cute. We had them do a toast at 9pm in hopes that they would go to sleep at a decent time, but alas, that didn't even work. They still were awake until midnight. ;)
OH WELL, we tried!
Here are some pics:
Hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year! Thanks for letting me share mine with you.
Here is to a great 2019.......so glad to have you along for the ride. :)
As we approached the one year anniversary (Dec 16) of my daddy's heavenly trip home, I naturally, have been thinking A LOT of his last days on earth.
It is no wonder then, that my Heavenly Father sent a messenger to me. It made me smile.
In fact, 2 times in 2 days.
Cardinals are hold such meaning to me now. The Lord has used them in incredible ways this past summer to speak to my heart!
I would love for you to go read my Messenger From Heaven post from this summer and see why. It still gives me chills and tears.
Go read it and hug your daddy close today!
When I look around me, it is so so clearly evident that God is love.
That He is sovereign.
That He is faithful.
And that He is on ALL the details.....
In 2015, dad was fighting the beast called cancer and we had family photos taken. Our photographer edited and shared our beautiful images December 16, including this real life moment Papa was reading to the grandkids while we had our couples photos taken.
We motioned Destiny in - and here it is - the absolute favorite photo of the entire session.
A moment frozen in time.
Fast forward 2 years, and the day she shared this precious image, becomes the VERY day my vivacious, full of joy & laughter, larger than life daddy, took his final breath on this earth.
Does stuff like that blow your mind a little bit too?
December 16, 2017 at 4:57 am he saw his Jesus, the momma he so badly missed growing up, and all of Heaven celebrated his arrival.
After church on the 16th, we went to go to Papa's final resting place. We know he isn't there, but there is still something that feels honoring to do so. We took a wind chime along with us and found the COOLEST thing at the store!
A red bird to represent the cardinal messenger in our lives.........
How can a heart be so happy that the suffering and pain is gone, yet so completely devastated that someone they've loved so big and so deeply has gone too?
It's confusing. It's messy.
It's like a light has gone out on the bright, shiny, happy world.
But time marches on, and healing comes.
Bit by bit.
Tear by healing tear.
One foot in front of the other.
One whispered prayer, one cardinal visit at a time, the smiles come more than the tears and the memories can be talked about, without taking your breath away.
Most of the time.
As we prepare for a second Christmas without dad, it actually feels like a first. This is the reality part of loss.
No hype of a funeral to plan for. No scurrying of flights coming in, of out of town family to hug.
Just a missing family member who isn't coming back.
Today, I am thankful for Kleenex, Jesus, family & friends and, well, Facebook Time Hop & cardinals, for it all points me to the Heavenly Father's love and care of His children.
He is in it all.
Every. Single. Detail.
We are in Kansas for a few months, hanging around for Christmas and something FUN!!!! More details later. ;)
Because we are home so short, and because majority of the things the kids want cannot come to Florida with us for the rest of the winter, Dale declared a very Merry EARLY Christmas at our house, so the kids have time to use, wear or play before we take off.
We don't like to give a lot of toys and stuff, we like experiences better, but if they need items, Christmas is a perfect time! So we did some shopping :)
Destiny wanted a one piece fuzzy jammie, a soft robe and some nail polish.
Avery wanted non toxic nail polish, so mommy would let her polish again, ;) and even got a nail dryer to go with.
Paxton has a track he needed more pieces to, to make a huge track upstairs, so he got a pack of track and some new cars to drive on it.
He and Ty also got some lazer guns to play with together in the apartment. (bye bye nerf darts, hello lazers!)
Tylan watched everyone open in curiosity. We pretended his second gift hadn't arrived yet but it really had, stay tuned......
So we clean up wrapping paper and Dale hollers from the front porch, that the UPS man had arrived with Ty's final gift. (We had purchased it a few days before and hid it away actually)
A new AWESOME NEW BIKE!!!! (his old one was literally falling to pieces)
He was thrilled and immediately took it around the block.
And the kiddos that had outgrown their roller blades got new ones, but those WILL go along with us to Florida. It was such a cold, snowy day we decided to let them blade in the house since the wheels were so clean and new! And yes, momma skated too, until the tight circle made me DIZZZZZY! ;)
Now, on Christmas day we can focus on Jesus Birthday party and make it a great day, even without all those gifts under the tree. (I did save a few family fun things back for that day!)
Destiny got invited to her first Winter Formal with a group of friends from 9 to 11 pm this past weekend.
Before we decided to go dress shopping or not, we dug through my formals from high school and work parties. Velvet is BACK baby, so she was particularly interested in those.
1998 throw back! (MINUS the straps I had to add to be in school dress code) I was thrilled she wanted to wear it. We made plans for hair, nails and make up and all the fun girlie stuff to happen that day.
Nana brought over the old photo albums with the velvet dress pics and we laughed and laughed as we looked through my highschool days!
Sadly, at the last minute things fell apart, a fight happened, and the group going to the dance dissolved. As did sweet Destiny, in tears! Ugh, I hate that.
We made chocolate, planned a movie night, gave lots of hugs....
At 9:10, she gets a text from the friend she was going with, Hey, can you please still come? Even if the other girls don't?
We leapt into action, and without any hair or makeup help as planned, and had her ready in 30 minutes. We had to skip hair, but she made it in time to still enjoy the evening with her friend, Dominic.
I leave you with THIS. Oh my. What a treasure in time, tucked into that album! LOL
My very bestest friend was going through beauty college and wanted to practice on my mane of hair, just adding a "few" blonde highlights. LOL! Needless to say, after the tears, it grew on me and I had a blonde summer before dying it all brown again.
You are welcome for the chuckle.
Until next time! :)
Hanging At Home
Frostine says HI from COLD Kansas! :)
Our life sure isn't as exciting when we aren't on the road, but I will say, it's been so so nice to just be cozy at home.
I think my heart is hurting as we approach the one year anniversary of my daddy's passing, (weekend before Christmas) and it's just good to BE STILL. Be near his final resting place. Try again, to have a "first" Christmas in our new apartment.
We've been keeping VERY busy with classes and business events at our place. I don't think we EVER expected to host out here this much!!!!
AND we are hosting all 3 Christmas gatherings this year! I feel so grown up! ;)
We loved finishing this apartment, and it has been such a joy to our hearts to have this place to come home to.
In fact, Dale enjoyed the process so much, he talks about selling and doing it all again. Oh dear.
Haha, know of anyone wanting a darling apartment with RV stall? ;) Super handy! Or RV stall could become finished space or woodworking shop! We have had so many people interested in this unique space.
After several late nights of classes, we woke up to sweet Avery making everyone eggs and pancakes for breakfast! That girl sure knows her way around a kitchen for 10 years old.
She even made french press coffee for daddy!
In other FUN news, we sold our black and grey RV to our dear friends and doTERRA business partners, the Lawrences! We handed over the keys officially. Hope they love it as much as we did!
Speaking of doTERRA, we decided to host a Christmas open house while we were home for Team Dorothy! Everyone pitched in to help make gifts and preparations for our guests.
We even went up to Grandma's restaurant to get the tree set up for her AND for our party! Her place is only open during the day, so it makes for a LOVELY twinkly magical place to rent for evening events.
It took us two carloads to move up there and get set up, but it was magical and I think everyone had a really nice time.
I tell you what, we have been getting the BEST mail lately! Our team and doTERRA family is just amazing!
Speaking of mail, I want to tell you about these canvases before I close.
It's called Canvas On Demand, and I used to use them at our farm house for all my 4 seasons pics I took and swapped out seasonally.
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! It is a massive 24x36 and is gorgeous and well done!
I only paid $33!!!! ($276 list price) Woah baby. Link here
SERIOUSLY, snag one. I had Pax stand beside it so you could see how big this is.... :)
The 2nd one just showed up for our bedroom. It's not hung yet, but I think it will look nice here! It's a big enough wall that it doesn't look so massive, but it is HUGE! And for only $33 instead of nearly $300?! Total win!
More blogs to come soon, I am downloading pics now.
Much love, T
Did you all have an amazing Thanksgiving weekend?
We had a full and fun weekend of family, friends and even a girls sleepover with Nana.
Wednesday we spent the day prepping food. When you have 60 people at Thanksgiving, everyone brings triple batches of everything!!!!
We prepped several batches of this Bacon Swiss Salad, but won't assemble until right before lunch on Thanksgiving day.
Several batches of these Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes.
And for our family dinner Wed night, because I grew up eating this, Double Sensation Pumpkin Pie.
We entertained a special guest from Tuesday night to Monday night.
Meet Benson the Hedge Hog. The kids were in "Hog Heaven!" ;)
I spent a lot of time asking people to wash hands and vacuum cedar chips off the floor! But he sure is adorable!!!!
Thursday we headed over to Dale's home he grew up in, which now belongs to Aunt Lucy!
There were people and tables EVERYWHERE, but here is what stole the show. Haha, the whole hog that was smoked to go along with the 2 turkey's. Aunt Lucy and Uncle Phil run a local butcher shop and have the best, hormone free meat.
After our HUGE lunch, we visited and played games until it was time to get out all the food again for supper before heading home.
The next day, the boys loaded up in the RV and headed to the Sand Dunes for Friday and Saturday, in Wanoka. No photos, because well...Dale. ;)
We headed over to Nana's for the afternoon and then a sushi dinner at our favorite place, Mr. Cao's.
With no boys around to interrupt, we headed to our house for an ice cream sundae party while we watched a girlie movie.....
DoTERRA has the BEST Mud Mask, especially when you add a drop of the oh so luxurious Blue Tansy to it and make it a SMURF mask!
Bentonite clay is very drawing and very warming, so the girls didn't last as long as Nana and I did.
Nana slept over and the next morning we headed an hour and a half to meet up with some our Fercho friends and talk some oils with her family.
We celebrated friendsgiving with a walk around the cemetary where the family was buried as well as ate at the BEST Mexican place for lunch.
This is Grandma Dory, she is 98 and the CUTEST little spit fire you ever did meet. She was a hoot!
We gave the adults some peace and quiet, and took the girls to the park for a few hours before heading back.
We stopped in the large metro area we passed through on the way home, and made a couple returns and got some groceries at Sam's before heading home. I should've known our "quick stop" wouldn't be quick, but I forgot Black Friday lines spill into Saturday lines too. MY GOODNESS!
We got home at dark and the boys got home closer to midnight. They were sandy and exhausted but SMILING from ear to ear.
We discussed home church instead of early service, and decided to see how everyone felt in the am......
But our decision was made FOR us when we woke up to Blizzard conditions and a winter weather advisory. Church services started cancelling left and right!
Nothing says Sunday at home, more than a big brunch, and a jammie day!
The wind was HOWLING at over 30 mph. Towns nearby had 19 car piles ups and it was a mess! So glad for a home day by the fire.
I walked over to check on my kiddos and got some pics of our place all covered in snow...
Sophie decided it was time for us to head to FLORIDA! I told her, not yet. My snow-o-meter is not filled up yet! I ADORE how cozy it makes the house feel. If its going to be cold, it might was well be pretty and white too, right?!
The kids LOVE when I make them homemade Cocoa after hours outside trapsing around in the snow.
I have a recipe we make at Christmas with canned sweetened condensed milk and cream, but for times like these, just a quick batch of the easy stuff tastes great!
INGREDIENTS per 1 cup of whole milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
We are gearing up for a class a day this week, then next week is our team Christmas party. SO MUCH TO DO, so little time. Off I go!
Have a great week! Hugs, T
Hi from the Sunflower State
Hi from Kansas! We have been here two months now, and just kinda settled into our school routine and moving from one RV to another in the meantime. It has been the slowest, busiest, fastest two months if that makes ANY sense at all?!
We taught oil classes, got fun mail, wrote letters to the White House for school, cranked out some fall smells and busted out some pumpkin decor.....
We have cleaned and cooked, had fun playdates, mommy Avery dates, and even a best friend shopping run to Wichita.
Remember that tree limb that fell on our trampoline?
We knew that tree was bad and would need to come down one day, just a few feet from our shed home and parked RV, but we had been praying angels around it in the meantime. Every storm seem to grow the urgency in our hearts to get it down, so we called a good friend and tree pro to get it down before we left again. We knew we would all feel better once it was done!
There was a MASSIVE branch hanging over our roof that was split down the middle, as cottonwoods often do. Our tree guy was so surprised that it hadn't dropped butt first yet. I told him it was because of the assigned angels to it, and he said YES!
Such a beauty, sad to see her go.
YOU GUYS! It was HOLLOW to the core. And every limb and all the way to the base. PUFFS of rotten tree dust! OH MY WORD. God is so faithful to have protected our home and the RV parked outside it for so long.
The State Fair was in town while we were home. We usually avoid it and go hide out at the lake, but we did go enjoy dollar day!
I had to take a photo next to the Wizard of Oz Scarecrows for my DoTERRA Dorothy team!
Destiny got to be one of 18 selected for the hypnotist show. Oh my word, we were in HYSTERICS!
I took way to many photos, and the videos are posted on my FB page.
In the following slideshow, you will see them konk out, then wake up to realize their fingers were stuck together. Later, shoes became binoculars to see all the ugly pajamas in the audience, their dream bird pet flew over the roof and landed on their finger if they did the special bird call. And then, it pooped on them! Silly bird. Destiny's bird was an ostrich when he asked her about it on the mic. ;)
We calf pulled, walked around the fair until our feet ached, listened to the drum line and then headed to dinner with our good friends, Matt and Liz! (no pics, of COURSE)
We had family photos done while we were here. Here are a few teeny sneak peeks he sent me. I am not so patiently awaiting the rest!
SO fun! I love that we got to shoot in our home state. With SUNFLOWERS no less! :)
Here are the kids checking our amazing photographers work. LOL! I will share more, once I get the images back.
Saturday, I was busy packing and preparing for our upcoming trip to Salt Lake. I tell you what, these kids CRACK ME UP!
They came down as each other to dinner tonight....
"Pax" (Avery) came in first and I legit thought it was him. I said what is on your head?
What is on your head? I lifted the hat and said "What kind of wig or hair do you have on?"
It was AVERY! My jaw hit the floor.
They had us in hysterics over dinner being an exaggerated version of each other. Love this silly crew.....
That is it from Kansas! Watch Instagram for our first long run in our new RV and gorgeous Utah. I have been on the hunt for furry rugs, foot rests and bedroom shams before we left. Lots of last minute details for sure.
I am so excited to go hang out with 85 of my Dorothy team there, along with 35,000 doTERRA peeps!
I will share more after we get back. We are going to learn a ton about oils in the medical world, hear about all the ministries doTERRA is helping, celebrate shiny new Diamond leaders on our team, and SO MUCH MORE.
In the meantime, keep an eye out on the RV oilers Instagram or Facebook page! :)
RV For Sale
We had planned to spend all of August and part of September up north in Michigan, Wisconsin etc but after we got a call from our neighbor and a friend, that we had some tree limbs and clean up was necessary after a big storm, we made the oh so sensible decision to go home instead.
It was the right one. Poor Dale had his work cut out for him. Our place was a wreck!!! There was much to be done. Including weed eating the tall tall grass by the forest.
He was careful to move our car to the road before he started weed eating.
Extra AC anyone?
Thank God for good insurance! The trampoline should be able to be salvaged as well. Woo hoo!
One of the first thing Avery asks to do when we get to our Home Sweet Hub, is to BAKE. She set out with her buddy Pax, to make marbled cupcakes, so they could frost them. Her sweet Grandma, got her a new flower tip for her piping set. Sadly, our frosting was too runny for the new tips, but they still had a BALL frosting cupcakes anyhow.
The Lord always has a plan, and this is why we commit our calendar to Him! He always works things out, so this unplanned trip home was about to get even sweeter.......
For the past couple years, we have been keeping an eye on the RV market. We absolutely love to go look at RV's, and Dale studies floor plans and prices extensively.
We love our beautiful coach, it has been such an amazing home to our family! I love all the storage and how light and cheerful it is! It tugs my heart to see her go, but, alas, we are ready to bid her adieu.
We have been watching for a particular RV ever since we toured the factory two summers ago, and were BLOWN AWAY by their high end finishes, attention to detail and extra steps like R19 insulation, to keep things tight.
It's called Entegra, and they are amazing.....
We spent the summer popping in and out of RV dealerships checking them out, drooling and dreaming! ;)
The day we got home, Dale found our "THE ONE" on a used RV website. It was a higher end, gently used, Entegra Anthem. A higher end model than we had been looking at, but the price was right!
Oh BOY! Could this be it?!
There was only one way to find out! We had to get to Amarillo to see it in person, but we had our work cut out for us.
It takes about 4-6 hours to clean our apartment and get moved in, and that is not counting all the outside work Dale had to do. It was all hands on deck, and we cranked it out in 2 days, invited my mom to come hang out with the kids, and hit the road.
A LONG boring (I am such a bad car traveler now) 6 hours later, we got to check out the coach of our dreams. We had been wishing we could get a Blue & Black Entergra with grey interior, but a lot of the RV's in our price point are beige, maroon and brown leather. (Not my favorite)
When drove up, my heart was racing. When we stepped inside, the clouds parted and I heard the angels sing.....THIS WAS IT. The one we had been wanting, except a better model, and in our price point, and it only had 11,000 miles on it. It's interior, a beautiful grey and white!
Pinch me, is this real!?
YES it is, THANK YOU, JESUS!
The seller had two other guys flying in to see it the next day and over the weekend, so we told him we would be in touch very soon. We are working on all the details now! :)
That means we have a MOTORHOME FOR SALE!!!!
Would you be so kind as to pass this on to someone in the market for a new coach? I would be so grateful! :)
Here is the link:
This beautiful coach is a total head turner! Excellent condition with cosmetic upgrades.
*Great neutral color scheme, dark tile contrasts nicely with light wood work.
*Recently upgraded cabinet pulls and kitchen sink and bathroom sink faucets.
*Heated floors in bathroom make it toasty for those cool mornings out of the shower.
*2 solid wood doors between main room and bedroom.
*Attic fan to pull cool air in on nice evenings. Automatic closing fan and hatch in main bathroom and manual one in toilet room.
*In house cameras and outside camera viewed from driver seat. Passenger seat has recliner for easy traveling.
*Drives like a dream.
*Sleeps 6, main couch has a fold out bed, dining booth converts to a bed. J lounger is a jack knife as well.
*Nice sized RV fridge.
*New Washer/dryer 2017.
*Tons of storage in master bedroom.
*Upgraded flat screen TVs with movie storage behind it in master.
*Main living TV has thumping surround sound for movie night!
*4 new tires in 2017.
*73,000 miles on it.
Asking $125,000 or best offer
Check her out! :) Our former home sweet home.
I will keep you posted on how it's all going! Eeek! :)
Bye bye, Kansas!
Well, Kansas, it was fun! But it's time to hit the road again......this time until September!
Friends were seen:
Porches started getting decorated:
16th Anniversery's got celebrated:
Thank you Lord for blessing us everywhere we went! Upgrade to Presidential Suite, free wine & chocolate, waiter bought us dessert at dinner. Thank you Jesus!
We also helped with 2 family reunions. It was both of our families "turns" this year!
The kids helped with church on Sunday morning. They have been working hard all year on learning a lot of the book of James.....
I have some visual learners, so we use these cards as prompts, but you can try to figure it out too, like a word puzzle! ;)
Verses from James from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.
Later that weekend, we visited the graves of our loved ones. First time for the kids to see Papa's headstone and grave since the funeral this past Christmas. Lots of tears!
Saw a cousins new place with the COOLEST old barn!
Survived a super bad rainstorm and came out on the other side to a rainbow:
And enjoyed one final stop before we left the land of Oz!
We had just enough time for a Fercho reunion:
Bye Kansas, see you next time! :)
Our Bestest Baker Comes to Visit
If you are here from our previous blog, the 4 little Fergusons, you know we have a dear dear blog friend named Mrs. Marsha Baker. Her blog is the Better Baker!
We became great friends and she decided she wanted to come meet us, so in 2012, that is precisely what she did.
We had a grand ol time! The kids were super little and just fell in love with her.
This time around, she was coming to our new apartment house and would be SURPRISING THE KIDS! Mom got a video of the whole thing. We went over on the premise of going out to dinner with Nana, who had already gone to get Mrs B from the airport hours ago! :)
Check it out!
Miss B Comes to Kansas from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.
We enjoyed our time so much! Meals on the porch, school reports, ice cream to celebrate...everything is more fun with a guest around to hang out with.
We taught Miss B one of our favorite games called Hearts. I grew up playing it at the cabin with my grandparents! :)
We went and had lunch at Dale's momma's delicious restaurant! I didn't realize we had gone last trip, 6 years ago, until I saw this old photo on the blog. We should've had Eileen come out to recreate this picture!!
There are super cute shops downtown and Miss B had her heart set on going to a darling kitchen store! Avery, our little baker, was more than thrilled to check out the merchandise.
I found some treasures at a local "pikin" store.....old antiques and unique treasures.
When we got home, sweet Miss B, brought out a gift for each of the kids. What a fun treat!
Did you know our miss Marsha is quite the sassy one? ;) She has always wanted purple hair, so guess what? We busted out some temporary color and dyed hair on the porch while the other kids were at church with daddy.
The next day we packed up to head 2 hours out of town for a class and to drop Miss B at her next location of another blog friend, Miss Mary Lou. We had to get some photos just like last time, with all 4 Fergusons!
LOOK at those sweet little faces! OH MY WORD!
And we were off......Bar U Ranch here we come!
We pulled up to the most BEAUTIFUL home! Come to find out, it was a Sears & Robuck Catalog home. Ordered and shipped on the train back in the olden days! WOW.
It was such a joy to meet Mary Lou & later, Burt and see their LOVELY ranch!
The house was just stunning, I wish I had gotten more photos! I was busy setting up for our class. :) We had such a fun time and great turn out.
After class, Mary Lou offered to feed us at their giant ranch table with a huge turn table in the middle. It was GORGEOUS!
While she prepped food, Mr Burt took us alllll around their property. They have acre after acre of rolling hills, streams, swimming holes, and all the cute baby cows you would ever want to see!
It was simply breathtaking, and the meal Mary Lou fixed was divine! We cannot wait to go hang out with these amazing folks again. I love this part of our job that never feels like one!
The Lord brings the NEATEST people into our lives.....
We knew we were leaving Miss B in good hands, and they would have a grand time in the coming days! A HUGE storm with tornadic winds and hail was coming to we booked it out of there quickly!
Until next time friends, blessings and hugs! Thanks for an amazing time!
And to our BESTEST Baker, thanks for being a part of our hearts and family.....
Lake Weekend Away
When Dale asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day, I said two things:
One - I want to go rough it at the lake for the weekend. Open skies, sunshine and relaxation!
Two- A buffet/hutch thing for the back porch of our apartment home for easier meals out there.
He got right to work on it!
I am constantly amazed at my Mr Handy Man and all the secret skills he has, because he whipped this out in no time and its coming together just like it looked in my head! How did he even know?!
Here it is, all finished, minus the decor I hope to find this summer when we go antiquing on the east coast! :)
We headed to the lake Friday afternoon......I always follow behind in the truck loaded down with chairs, floats, coolers and fishing gear!
We parked in my favorite favorite spot. It has no hook ups, but I didn't care, it was worth "roughing it" for the views every morning!
We spent the first afternoon in the sun, fishing and playing and reading! It was lovely.
Dale caught a fish every few minutes at the beginning, and Destiny got her first catch too.
I don't think being at the lake means we can ONLY eat lake food, so I planned for our first supper to use the instant pot. Super easy Philly Cheesesteaks with homemade provolone sauce.
I found the recipe here: www.laurengreutman.com/slow-cooker-cheesesteak-sandwiches/
Then, I made the following sauce recipe, see images:
After dinner we want down to the river to explore, it's so beautiful here!
Time to get some EXHAUSTED kiddos to bed! Serenity oil and serenity pills help everyone relax and get the deep, quality sleep they need for another day of fun in the sun.
I woke up WAY too early Saturday morning, but look at the view from my bedroom window. Good morning, Moon!
It was simply TOO STUNNING to go back to bed.
So I stayed up and watched my fishermen in his element....
One by one the Ferguson's woke up and came and joined me by the fire.....so peaceful and lovely!
The boys headed right out to fish with daddy!
I make my own bug spray and sunscreen because of the toxins in the store bought stuff, it's so nice to have natural things at our fingertips!!!!
But it helps if you USE them. Mommy did a good job putting lotion on everyone but HERSELF. (blue squeezy bottle) Oopsie! Chest was red and sore. Blue Tansy and doTERRA night cream to the rescue. I used the essential skin care toner first, to cool. Then slathered myself in blue tansy oil dripped on the night cream and got relief for HOURS. The next morning, I am brown again, and no sting! YAY, for another oil win!
Being Mother's Day weekend, we planned to have each mom come spend one day with us at the lake. It was SO FUN!
First up, was Nana, my mom......
We read books in the sun all afternoon, played games while dinner cooked and had a lovely time!
We did Hobo Dinners for supper. Mmm!
-A pat of butter, cubed red potatoes, seasoning.
-Chopped onion, cubed zucchini, baby bella mushrooms. More seasoning.
-A stack of previously smoked pork (cooked seasoned burger patties work too).
-Spoon organic cream of mushroom soup over the top and close foil packet.
Oh my word! It was so good! We served it with soft rolls so you could sop up all that good sauce after.
For dessert we stayed with the Hobo style and did dessert cones.
-Empty sugar cones
-Different chips (mint, pb, caramel, chocolate, white chocolate)
-Fresh slices of strawberries (for topping after you cook it)
The kids wanted to show Nana the forest and sunset, so we loaded up in the truck just like the night before, and headed out......
Mother's Day dawned sunny and beautiful. I totally slept in until 7:30, and missed the sunrise! Must have been the 4:30am start the previous day?! ;)
Dale and the kids were scurrying around making breakfast over the fire. So precious!
Today Dale's siblings and momma would be joining us! And later, his aunt Lucy and her crew.
Grandpa and Grandma brought out the cousins to play! The kids were so happy!
Once everyone arrived, we did a late lunch/supper. Smoked gouda cheeseburgers, giant dogs and all the yummy fixins! I wish I had a photo, but alas, I dove in and didn't even think about it! Haha, yup, that hungry! :)
As the sky started to deepen, the kids once again asked to go to the forest and jetty for the sunset.
We had an amazing time and I think a new tradition might have been born!
My only regret was that this wasn't my view again this morning. :)
Hope you all had an amazing relaxing weekend!
Holed Up At Home
We so enjoyed our time in Kansas over Christmas and through the first of the year. Our little apartment feels so safe and quiet, cozy and happy. The perfect place to mourn daddy before facing Florida again.....
This time without him.
Ugh. I can't even....
My heart just aches when I think about. I am taking this time to just be still, reflective and allow the Lord to bring healing.
As the kids and Dale started feeling ready to join in outings and family events again, sweet Dale whispered to me to just stay home, read a book, or take a soak in the tub and just BE STILL.
He knows what I need when I am hurting, and I love him for that.
I got the BEST stack of books read, while we were home! Guilty pleasure! :)
After living in an RV for 2 years with only a shower, the deep soaking tub we put in the apartment is SUCH a great! Even better, I tuck all my empty oil bottles into a cute jar of epsom salt and when I get a scoop, it makes the best smelling bath!
I may have even allowed myself an extra indulgence or 5.... ;) Have you ever put cocoa pebbles in your ice cream? MMmm Mmm amazing!
So is homemade cocoa with heavy whipping cream and high quality cocoa powder! Mmm
The Father knows my heart and He knows how much I have missed seeing snow, all cozied up in the house by the fire with a blanket and a good book. It hasn't snowed in our small Kansas town for several years now, and it DID, like THREE TIMES when we were there. Praise Jesus for my Winter Wonderland!
It was BITTER cold, like -20 with windchill some days, so we cuddled inside, stayed in our jammies, and played games and family wii. (kids Christmas gift for the apartment this year)
My photography friend texted and asked if she could get some shots of Destiny in the snow. She had been waiting 3 years for a nice snow to shoot in, and it finally came! We of course, said yes!
Here are the images. Heavinly Blessings Photography, by Heather Schlatter if you are in the area. I worked with Heather a ton before we moved, she does such a good job!
I just have to say, that I am so thankful that the Lord gave us the urgency to finish our apartment this summer, even when we didn't understand why we wanted to finish it so badly. After all, it had sat unfinished, and empty, except for our stored items, for 2 whole years! Just sitting there waiting for us to have the gumption and finances to finish it. Now it all makes sense.....
We needed a safe place to come home to, a place to host our Florida family that flew in for a Christmas funeral. A place to be still and heal. A place to call home in that community.
I am so in awe of my Heavenly Father, and how He cares for even the smallest (biggest) details of my life!
As we were in the apartment more, we realized quickly, that our living room needed some additional seating. Spots that were in front of the fireplace, not beside it, like the couch. Its tiny in there, and we had to be super careful not to overfill the space.
I found THE blue chairs to fit the bill....and a couch I wanted super bad, but alas, no room. And it'd be silly to have a backless couch to curl up on, we'd fall out! ;)
But that's another post for another day! :)
We made sure we saw all the family, as we prepared to leave again. Kids had friends over, made sushi with our new Sushi Bazooka and just had some fun before closing up shop to head out.
Mom came over one day and we went through a box of old photos.....memory lane!
We went up to Dale's moms restaurant a ton, she is so sweet to feed us lunch. Amazing amazing yummy lunch!!! :)
On our way home, we found my first car in a tiny used car lot downtown!!!! THE '88 Mustang I got from my daddy for Christmas when I was 13. Eeek! I wanted to buy it but its now super duper duper rough and would take like $10k to restore, so we walked away. Darn it!
Wouldn't that have been a cool first car for Destiny?
I got to enjoy a girls night with my BFF, before we loaded up the RV again.....I don't have any photos except the one I sent when she asked how casual I was going. Haha! We literally were talking a mile a minute and didn't take a single picture. OOPS!
We went to our favorite sushi place and had a long fun dinner and then, we saw the BEST movie! The Greatest Showman. Oh it was so good! We went to the new theater in town with cool reclining seats and ate popcorn and candy and all the bad things you shouldn't. ;)
As the days went on, we started feeling the PULL towards Florida. A dread, anticipation and a desire, all at once.
Dale watched the weather closely so we could move out and hit the road between cold fronts. Buses and ice DO NOT mix!
Now it was time to face the hardest part, the new reality awaiting us in Florida. It almost didn't seem real, from so far away, that daddy was actually gone. You *almost* could forget from 1500 miles away in snowy Kansas, because he wasn't part of THAT life if that makes sense?
But it was time, and we knew the Lord would provide the help we needed in this transition....
As the Christmas gatherings went on, I found myself getting more and more weary. Both emotionally and physically, and the Lord began speaking to me to BE STILL.
I knew I better obey, so we quickly ran some errands, made some lingering returns and grabbed enough groceries to hunker down and just BE STILL until the New Year.
And so, we did! We said no to lots of fun invitations, but obedience brings healing and blessings.
We played games. We read loads of books. Watched movies. Played Wii. Listened to new Adventure in Odyssey cd's down by the fire. Ate snacks, leftovers and yummy food sweet friends dropped by. We were just STILL, and enjoyed some down time for our hearts and emotions.
Dale has been my rock. He is such a blessing to me, caring for me when I can't think how to care for myself. Asking if he can run me a bath, nudging me to bed when its getting late. He can always make me laugh, even when I don't want to.
I am grateful to have him to lean so heavily on, in this time of grieving. He knows this feeling all to well.
I am grateful to have such a cozy beautiful place to hunker down in and rest. The Lord knew it was important we finished the apartment, so we could be here safe and warm for dad's funeral and the days of healing after.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds my future, and that is enough for me.
Merry Christmas 2 & 3
We are never short family when we are home for a visit, and were thankful to be able to get together with my extended family and Dale's family, the 2 days after Christmas.....
First up, Aunt Gena's house!
It's really such a shame there was no food to eat while we visited....
I have been wanting to make this recipe since our OLD house and recipe blogging days!!! A SAVORY cheesecake, and when we moved in, I just so happened to save a springform pan for such a time as this....
It was as tasty as I hoped it be! I did Doritos crust instead of regular chips for more flavor, and added a layer of shredded cheese to the top. I had a larger pan, so mine is much thinner than the photo, which isn't a bad thing, its RICH! And only requires a tiny sliver as it is!
So fun to all be together and let the cousins meet and play for the first time for our Floridians!
The next day, we headed over to Dale's momma's for a ham dinner and snack supper/game night....Eileen recently remodeled her main room and kitchen, so its PERFECT for big gatherings!
Everything was amazing and we had a lot of fun, even if I got stuck on the first phase of Crazy Phase 10 FOREVER!!!!!!
If you are a Phase 10 fanatic like we are, be SURE to google crazy phases to change the whole game up! :)
After games and snacks, brave Grandma, had ALL the grands stay for a slumber party. They were SO flipping excited! Destiny was fighting a sinus something and decided to head home to sleep it off. Little did I know, we'd ALL end up with it! UGH. Thank goodness for oils!
It was a different kind of Christmas this year, so soon after burying my daddy....but life doesn't stop, does it?
We had planned to spend Christmas here at our apartment for the first time ever, just not under these circumstances. We don't really do gifts anymore, due to our lifestyle, but with more space in the apartment and the kids having sold nearly every toy, we decided to do some last minute shopping and get them a gift and a family gift to share. We also wanted to get a few things for my nephews since we haven't ever had a Christmas here with them before.
Christmas morning, for the first time in the HISTORY of the Ferguson family, our kids woke us up before 7 am. Niiiiice kids, real nice.
We read the Christmas story and had a Jesus birthday party before opening gifts.....I was too tired the night before to make any of our normal preprations, but we still had daddy's famous scrambled eggs and some homemade cinnamon rolls I bought from the amish bakery close by the funeral location.
The kids loved what we got them, especially the FAMILY present, which was a Wii mini we found a steal of a deal on. And some used games! We do not do screen time much, but figured once they read their alloted hours, it might be fun to hole up with some family gaming upstairs once in a while.
Good thing too, it's been negative temps here with the windchill, and we alternate between playing games, reading and wii time! :)
My brother, Chad and sis in law, Lauren were still in town for a few days, so we had everyone out for Christmas dinner. Sweet Avery and Destiny made us a Peppermint Trifle!
Recipe here: we did chocolate cake instead of red velvet because I don't like red dye. It got better day 2, so word to the wise, make it ahead.
Nana had us play a game that ended with a prize...
A CRICKET SUCKER.
I didn't figure anyone would eat it, but little Dylan went to town. For a while anyhow.
At least until he realized he had eaten the antenae off. EWWWW!!!
We were honored to have Gigi and Miss Toni join us for Christmas dinner and games! And of course, we needed some family pics....
No matter why we were all together, our Christmas day was special, and I am grateful.
One down, 2 more Christmas gatherings to go!
A Race Finished
The big day is here, my heart aches and I have butterflies in my tummy, thinking of standing up to share about the man who holds such a big part of my heart.
My step mom, Drea had a super fun idea, that each of us should pop some sort of checkered flag clothing, in honor of dad finishing his race here on earth. He would've thought it was super cool.
The Floridian weren't sure what to think of cold Kansas, but they bundled up and stuck it out. I am grateful they flew and drove in to be part of today.
The service was beautiful! I don't have any photos except what people sent me, but my cousin read the obituary and added all kinds of fun details that dad would've loved. Chad and I spoke about dad, Pastor Howard had us go up together and that was really comforting.
I already shared my speech with you the other day, you can go read it here:
Chad's went something like this, although he changed it up quite a bit. Including a line about passing gas when he was nervous, which I quickly walked away from the pulpit. Haha, laugh so you don't cry, right?
Dad was my hero. He was a best friend and a friend to all. He did not know a stranger. In fact all my friends during grade school, high school and present, realize that he was a cool dad. And was in fact probably cooler than me.
I remember sitting in church as a kid and we would pass notes back and forth with drawings pictures of trucks and cars.
I remember the story he told about how he fell asleep in church and woke suddenly, kicking the pew in front and scaring a lady half to death. He seemed to be able to scare everyone with his crazy loud sneezes.
From the time I could walk, I was at my dad's side. I went to his meetings with him, to work, to the races, and I was always known as "Clay's son". And I was proud to be known as that.....
I thought it was normal to know what a time card was and a pay check was in 4th grade. Any time we talked about work Dad said that I had it easy. He started working at about age 5 and they would strap him to a tractor and send him out to the field until he was done.
My summers where a highlight as I was able to work at dads KTC Shop during the week and spend late nights going racing on the weekends. We had a blast doing this!
Many times we would bring our friends to experience the night time excitement. Towards the end it was usually Dad and I driving together in the semi to and from the races. He called this "windshield time" for us to talk about life, schools, friends and pretty girls.
During the winter time we would spend hours every weekend chasing each other around on 4 wheelers. It was always best in the snow. He said it was a good excuse to stay in shape for the off season of racing.
After ktc trucking business closed, it seemed he was able to pick up and go with about any job or opportunity without hesitation. He was always so smart and driven when it came to business.
Once Dad moved to Florida, it was about two years before I made my way down there to work for my dad again. He had the opportunity to buy a furniture store and was excited to get me involved. He knew I loved selling and thought it was a good fit.
I dont remember a time when I said "Go fast, Dad!" that he didn't go fast. Whether it was a work pick up, his motorcycle or one of his cars, he never seemed to pass on these chances.
He taught me what a controlled drift was, as he was able to go completely around the circle parking lot of 1st Nazarene Church, sideways when it was snowy.
I'm pretty sure I showed several friends later what I learned....
Dad loved to go fast and was extremely competitive. As you all know he was an amazing racer thru his life and was remembered in the dirt track as the flying preacher. This was mainly for his boldness in praying before races or offering it up after an accident.
Dad was not only competitive but also a trickster! He didn't pass up an opportunity to scare us or pull a prank.
I can think of several occasions of us literally crying on the floor from laughing so hard. Normally from either Mom or Tonya peeing their pants from being scared, or hearing about something he pulled on a friend or brother during his younger years.
He showed us how to pull out Kleenexs from peoples hands right as they blew their nose, or pretending to hit his head somewhere, usually a door or sign. Something rhat made a nice ruckus. Usually someone came running to see if he was ok because he was a good actor too.
Another good trick we learned from Dad (which he said his brothers showed him) was how to make a gutter at the dinner table using the table cloth and soaking your neighbors pants with water. The stories go on and on....and Dad is leaving a huge void here on earth. He will be missed greatly.
He always knew what to say. He always knew what you needed, he always had a way out and he always knew how to fix it.
He could literally rig anything to working with tape, a few old bolts and misc parts he had saved in his tool box. We really gave him a hard time about this, but each of us needed him many times for repairs!
One thing I know for sure..... I never heard him yell. He was always soft spoken but stern. If he was talking, you were listening. Even under serious stress or a lap car causing him to wreck - he was always calm. And of course I was a perfect child so he didn't have to yell.
He always had faith in me. He always encouraged me to just do it. He always let me try before helping. He trained me to be a thinker, a doer. He told me that common sense is better than any school degree, so use your noggin.
I always knew I'd work for him and it's an honor and joy to carry on that legacy for him at our Florida furniture store and to have my oldest son carry on the CEB name.
I could talk for hours about my Dad , but I know that my sister will do it for me next.
Ps 127:3. Be strong and courageous ...
Next up was a beautiful memorial message from Pastor Howard, and special music. Again, no photos, but we ended the service with closing prayer, and a special guest.....
Dad's good friend, and race announcer and radio personality, Warren Hardy closed out the service with a checkered flag finish.....
He did AWESOME, painting a word picture of that dirt track and the final laps of an exciting A Feature.
He ended with something like.....
"They are coming around the final turn, and Clay Bontrager, 7B has finished the race!"
Oh man, it was so great, just the right ending to celebrate dad's final chapter. He would've been proud to have his friend announce his final race home. We handed out little flags to all the family at the service.
My little pall bearers and their cousins, helped load Papa and off we went to the gravesite, in a small amish mennonite town near by. His brothers and parents are also buried here.
We all stuck our flags out the windows.....
It was cold, cold, cold. This part was going to be short and sweet. A few words and "I'll Fly Away" by the mens quartet.
This was the part I was dreading the most, I was having flashbacks to Don's funeral (Dale's daddy) and remembered the awful finality of that box going into the ground.....
Someone sent the grandkids a flower arrangement that could be taken apart and laid on the casket, so amazing.
Dale and my dad were very close, they worked well together and got along like best buds. I am so thankful someone captured this moment of him saying his final goodbyes to my dad.
And just like that, the box was lowered in the ground, and my heart broke into a million pieces and tears poured from my eyes. I couldn't help myself, sobs burst forth. In that moment, there was nothing to do but grieve in the deepest sense of loss and finality.
I still don't think this will all hit me until I go back to "his" neck of the woods. Back to Florida, where he is missing. He isn't usually here in Kansas with us, unless he is visiting, so it doesn't feel abnormal to have him gone.
I have picked up my phone to call him twice. Dale checked his phone for the text, how far did you all make it tonight? as we drove the 3 days home. And the first person he wanted to show our new railing apartment photo to, was dad. So instead, Dale just stood there and wept bitter tears for all we have lost in the past 3 years -
A Papa named Don, who lived out his final weeks in our living room, gone 3 years ago. A Grandma, who treated Dale as a son, just months ago, going to see Jesus. And now, this.
Another Papa gone, another loss to bear.
My Paxton Clay asked, "Hey Momma, do we have any more Papas left?"
Oh buddy, no. I am sorry you sure don't.
I had a prayer warrior friend call me on the way home to the Kansas funeral, she said Tonya, the Lord showed me in a dream something about your daddy and I'd like to share it with you. I don't want to hurt your heart, but I think you need to know this....
Your daddy, he was given the choice to go to Jesus. He was given a choice to be healed in a miracle here on earth, or healed in a miraculous eternity in Heaven. He picked heaven. He picked Jesus.
Who wouldn't after catching a glimpse of something so unimaginably beautiful?
There were days at the end, where he just stared at the ceiling, absent, that I wondered if he was visiting with Jesus. This was confirmation and it came again, one more time in a person I hadn't met before. There was no doubt. I LOVE when the Lord speaks to His hurting children, and when He repeats Himself, I LISTEN.
It was something I had never heard of before, someone being given a choice. But I believe. And it gave me great peace and hope.....
Congrats on your victory lap, daddy. You've fought the good fight, you've WON the final race, and you are the victor......
A Life Well Lived
Traveling back to Kansas after dad passed, was kind of surreal. Going back to his roots, and mine, when it still didn't feel "real" yet that he is gone.
Even as I blog this today, it doesn't feel real that when we get back to Florida, he won't be there waiting for us. I just don't even have the words to begin to explain......
Anyhow, there are a lot of extra details when a body is being transported across state line, so lots of prayers were going up for the flight dad needed to make to arrive in time for his service, despite snow and paperwork delays. (not dad, his empty body, but you know what I meant.)
It was an extra long 3 days home. We were are emotionally and physically worn out. Once we arrived, we basically hit the ground running, planning the service and preparing for the viewing and about a bazillion details that I had forgotten about. All the while praying paperwork would go through in time for dad's body to arrive in time for service, which would take place right before Christmas, on the 22nd.
Then I get the call we had been praying for....
Your dad safely arrived at the airport last night at midnight, and our guys were able to pick him up without delay.
How strange, to hear those words, without the rush of anticipation of a lovely visit from Papa, flying in to see us for a bit. I promptly burst into tears.
It was such a blessing to be back home and surrounded by family and friends willing to bring in meals, run errands and help with details. Not cooking when you are emotionally drained, is a gift! Even if it was PB&J, it'd taste better if someone else made it. Haha ;)
My dad has raced since he was 19. He raced corvettes, modifieds, drag racing and then when I was a kid, dirt track racing in a sprint car. He has always been 7B, and he won many national championships.
Because of this, it was only natural that we select the verse for his service to be:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." II Timothy 4:7
We had asked Dad's friends and race crew chef, to do some custom painting on dad's casket. We had it made by a local Amishman and got to pick out the interior fabric.
My dad would've LOVED it....
I asked Jesus to let him peek down on it.
Many many hours were spent first taking it from oak to black and then hand painting the details, just like they used to on the racecar.
We had a private viewing at the funeral home, just the family, before the public viewing that night. Everything turned out just beautifully! Flowers and all.
It was very very emotionally to see him again. Chad's kids were full of questions about Papa and his race car he was in. It was precious. Mine were tearful, they knew he was gone, but you just cannot prepare for the finality of these moments.
Dad would've loved the viewing, all his race buddies, family and friends, coming out to pay their respects and honor his life.
We had a slideshow running, of dad's life and all the happy memories we made....
Dad Viewing Slideshow from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.
We were there from 5 to 8pm, and when the final guest left, it was time to lock up, go home and prepare for the hardest day yet. The day we lay him to rest....the day I had to stand up and try to put into words, all this special man meant to me. To us.
To honor him in a celebration of a life well lived.
On This Day
On this day, I lay my precious daddy to rest......
I can't quite wrap my mind around the fact, that when we go back to Florida in a few weeks, he isn't going to be there waiting for us, with those twinkly eyes and mischievous grin.....
Sometimes, life really stinks.
I wrote a tribute to my dad, he asked both my little brother Chad, and I to speak today, at his celebration of life.
I'd like to share it with you now........
“They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. His eyes light up like Christmas when she comes around. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, to forgive the mistakes she would no doubt make, and to love her without limits…….she is daddy’s little girl.” Anonymous
My dad was strong, big and powerful, in my little girl eyes. He opened jars of pickles when no one else could. He was the brave one to go to the creepy basement storage room, all by himself, or head out front to investigate a strange noise in the darkest of night, and in just an opening of my bedroom door, could scare away the monsters I was sure were lurking under my bed. I remember thinking that nothing could ever hurt me when my daddy was around.
He cut himself shaving nearly every Sunday morning and would come to breakfast with little bits of toilet paper stuck to his face to prevent anything getting on his Sunday shirt. He could build a bowl of cereal like no one else, layers of bananas, cookies or cake, then cereal and milk to the top, almost overflowing….one of the few tasks he could handle in the kitchen.
Dad could sit on the handlebars of my mom’s bike, and ride backwards, all the way down the street without crashing. Well, without crashing very often, and going around town, he often had us kids in tow, one on the front handlebars and one on his back.
Even in the midst of going back to school, he always took the time to throw a softball with us, high high up in the air, or go on a family bike ride every evening.
Dad was a hard worker and a HUGE dreamer! He had business failures and he had business successes, but the best part was he boldly faced the next challenge with excitement, and a WHOLE lot of napkins full of ideas over dinner. The guy could draw up an incredible house remodel, or business plan, and magic would unfold, on that little white square. I learned to just let him talk and dare to dream BIG with him! I find myself today, a bolder, bigger dreamer because of his love of it.
We are here today to celebrate a LIFE well lived…..Dad made sure of that. He took every moment and used it to the FULLEST. He wanted you guys to smile today. To tell stories of the good ol days, and to LAUGH. This was to be a CELEBRATION!
For the past 3 years, daddy has been the 5% survivor of many different medical problems. He was the one to walk away the VICTOR from various forms of cancer, surgery, and counter effects to all the above. His FIGHT never wavered, and neither did his SPUNK. The man just kept on LIVING well…..Traveling, working and enjoying his life. The doctors were always shocked at how well he was doing.
Did you know he walked himself out of ICU, 3 days after major brain surgery, when a nurse and wheelchair were nowhere to be found?
He just took off on his own. Drea had gone to pull the car around to meet the nurse, and when she pulled up to the door, there he was standing alone with his bags, just waiting for her! You couldn’t keep the man down if you tried.
So let me take a moment, and tell you the life lessons I’ve learned from the man who called me PUNKIN…..
Proverbs 15:1 says A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The man NEVER raised his voice! Literally. He, like a calm before the storm, got reallyreally QUIET, not loud, when trouble was amuck….. It probably would’ve been easier if he would’ve just hollered at us when Chad was in trouble!
Dad always taught me that “Laughter is the best medicine” (side note: Have you heard a Bontrager brother giggle? Best sound in the world!)
Dad practiced this moto everywhere he went! Fresh out of major brain surgery – the room is silent barring the beeping machines. Dad is propped in his bed with tubes and wires coming out all over. Nurses are slipping in and out to check vitals, and on the way out, one accidently kicks the metal trash can with a BANG. Dad, eyes not even open yet, says
“WELL, at least HE kicked the bucket and not me!!!!!!!”
My daddy, he taught me to be brave. To face adversity with a smile.
He taught me that “not all who wander are lost”. I am honored to have “wandered” across the US with him several times now, and it was he who cheered me on the loudest, when we made the decision to sell everything, and travel full time as a family.
He taught me to work hard for my dreams to make them reality.
That it doesn’t matter how you finish the race, as long as you just FINISH.
He always encouraged me to live out my truth, even when it’s ugly. Allowing my Heavenly Father to make a MESS into a MESSAGE.
He showed me how to lead with a smile and make lemonade out of life’s lemons.
Dad had people in stitches everywhere we went! Either that or screaming and jumping in the air from his GYNORMOUS sneezes! (If you have ever been around my dad during a sneeze, you KNOW what I am talking about!!!!)
He showed me that we GO BIG then go home. My Dad literally just lived that out in front of my eyes.
A few years ago, dad had a dream. He told us later, he saw Nora, his mother, who passed away when he was young, on the other side of a fence. She was young, beautiful, smiling and waving at him. As he moved towards her she said,
“Not yet, Clarence. Not yet.”
I know a joyous reunion just happened in Heaven this past week: mother, father, brothers, grandchildren, family, friends, race fans, a stranger, who was touched by dad’s life and laughter…...
And I know, one day when I walk through Heaven’s gates, I’ll see those twinkly eyes again and that big smile and hear, “Hey PUNKIN!”
Oh, what a glorious day that will be!!!!
Until then, I have to teach my heart to just keep beating. My mind to house the many memories I have with him. To tell my ears to hang on to the sound of his laughter, and my arms, the feeling of his, wrapping me tight in a warm hug, as he brushes a kiss by my ear……
And I‘ll just keep smiling and laughing in honor of his sunshine-y ways.
My daddy gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me, even during times I didn’t believe in myself. He always knew I could, and so…
I can’t say good bye today, I won’t, although it’s easy to feel the sting of loss. There is SUCH finality to this day.
But, with Jesus, we know this isn’t the end, it’s merely the beginning of something quite unimaginable……something breathtakingly beautiful.
So instead of goodbye I say,
So long for now, daddy, so long for now.
I sure do love you.
Please cover us in your prayers today, we need strength, peace, courage....Jesus knows.
Can We Go Travel Now?
You all, listen to me. I am between a rock and a hard place.
I ADORE Fall, its my favorite time of year. I love everything about it! The smells, the crisp air, fire in the fireplace, scarves, boots, sweaters, the fall favorite foods to make without sweating to death in the kitchen. And this year, I AM LOVING FALL in our new apartment!
The views are amazing! This place is such a joy to live in.....we are living it up!
CAN WE GO TRAVEL NOW? Pleeeeeeease?!
We are getting SO SO antsy! We are calling this "The Year of Kansas" because in the almost 3 years we have been on the road, we have yet to be at our home base SO MUCH! Our family is loving it, and we are too, but once you get used to travel, well, being in one place for so long - its tricky.
I miss the sounds of the RV starting up, the feeling I get in my heart, and the excited chatter of the kids as they set up their hang out spots for a travel day. I miss flipping open the Trip Advisor app to study up on local things to see, eat and do. I miss getting to shop at funky cool farmers markets weekly, and unique grocery stores. I miss the simplicity of a 400 square foot space to live in. I miss my family! When we are home, we are way busier and see less of each other, unless we MAKE it happen.
I am telling you, we love being here, this space is such a JOY to live in. It is simple, but beautiful and we love how it turned out. We love being close to our family and church family, to local favorite shops and fall festivities. We love being gone. We love being in our tiny home on wheels. We love seeing new sites and countryside each day.....
OH MY GOODNESS, HOW CONFUSING! ;)
So while I have you here, let me show you what we have been doing on the apartment.....
We have made the decision to pause the porch until next Spring. We really want to do this smart and not go in debt over it. So daydream it with me for now!
There is a roof on here now, I just don't seem to have an updated pic of the whole thing, sorry!
We will do cement at that time, and build a screened in area on the far side over there and make it into an outdoor living and dining room......
There will be a sidewalk here leading from the front to back, and we'll add landscaping etc. See how pretty it looks when it's all lit up at night? I think its going to look nice.
We will make sure bushes hide those pipe thingies.
Then we want to add a little gravel path through the trees here and making a circle around our fire pit. I'd like to find some cool wooden chairs that can just always sit out here in a circle.
Inside, we are enjoying our new hearth and new to us pellet stove. It's in and cranking!!!!! Man it puts out good heat and its actually currently the only heat source we use. House is 74 upstairs and totally cozy!!! IMPRESSIVE.
I haven't been up to running into Hobby Lobby, but hope to get a tall FALL sign or something with some height variety this week to finish our mantel. I just used what I had kept from the old house for now. (Mostly I am just excited to decorate it for Christmas)
Do you all have fun Thanksgiving plans?
We are going to meet my dad, step mom and Florida family in Georgia at a really cool RV park with horses, hiking and beautiful views. I am so so excited! Then we think we'll be back here for our first Christmas in the apartment......
It may all depend on when the guy building our staircase can fit us in. We still need to get that project started!
I am thinking finding orange, white and blue decor for a tree and mantel could be REALLY fun and REALLY challenging. I am up for it! :)
If you follow us on Instagram you know I FINALLY found a retro clock for the main floor. No more searching for phones to see what time it is!!!!
Finding a retro clock is harder than you think, they all seem to be "barn" and antique in the rustic sense right now. But then, I found KitCat! Eeeeek!
It's tail and eyes move back and forth with every single tick tock!!!!!
Last night was the Trunk or Treat at our church, my throat has been bothering me, so I stayed home, but sweet Nana took the kids. I should've made her jump in the photo, but Destiny the sassy teenager went as "HERSELF". Haha! :)
That's all from here for now! Praying you have such a good week......
The Great Stinky Apartment Escape!
Now that the RV side of the shed is empty, we called the spray foam insulation guy to come out and spray the attic and that side of the shed.
All was going well, we were doing school, hanging as a family and having a generally nice time when suddenly......
This AWFUL plasticy smell filled our apartment. Actually, it snuck up on us. School was done and I had had a lingering and nagging headache all day. In fact, I felt a little sick and had a gross taste in my mouth.
Dale and the kids came in from outside and said WOAH, don't breathe! It smells AWFUL in here!!!!
Well thank the Lord we have 2 homes, one on wheels and one not, because it didn't take us long to decide to head to the lake for a view days while it aired out.
I love the apartment, don't get me wrong, but it felt SO GOOD to be back in the RV again!!! Makes us antsy to hit the road!!!
We did school, fished, read books, grilled out. Vegged by the fire every night. Ahh, this is the life!
Dale was glad his General contractor gave him some time off from the apartment projects to go FISHING!! Too bad they weren't biting like sometimes. ;) He still had fun!
The kids just played and had a ball. Ty and Destiny floated around on the big floatie ring out in the lake, then Ty spent some time inside reading since the light still bothers his eyes, Paxton fished and chased his boat around playing Mayflower since that's what we are studying in school. The girls played spa and kitchen and then invented some slimy mud boots named SMOOTS. Quick fashionable, yes?
My favorite has to be the nights by the fire: s'mores and songs, laughter and worship.
Have you tried the new chocolate striped marshmallows? Holy amazing! I didn't even use graham crackers or chocolate, just ate the chocolate filled marshmallows! mmmmmm!
We ended the evening with our Goodnight song. We've been singing this to the kids since they were in the nursery rocking chair. Such a fun way to close out a fun day! :)
Destiny is holding the phone so you hear her the best, but Avery has learned to harmonize with her. Love when they all lift their voices in praise to their Father!
I Love You, Lord from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.