Encouragement, My Story, Suicide Awareness, Uncategorized

When God fulfills His promises

IMG_4298 copyOn October 4, 2014,  I got my kids up and ready for a soccer.  My oldest son had a game and we were headed out early to grab my dad and get to the field.  He knew we were coming, he had the schedule, and we came every week.  I had been trying to call him for 24 hours with no luck getting him and my imagination had me nervous.  It wasn’t like my dad to not answer, although it wasn’t even ringing- just going to voicemail.  My imagination said worst case….. My sound mind said his phone stopped working.  The battery had been refusing to charge off and on for months so surely that is the case.

We arrive to his apartment.  I hop out of the car to go get him. My heart is racing.  I actually feel sick as I walk to the door.  I knock.  I wait.  I try the handle and the door is unlocked.  I yell “dad……dad”  I quickly pull the door to and run to the car.  “The door is unlocked but he isn’t answering.  I can’t go in.  I just can’t.”  Joel unbuckles and assures me it is going to be ok.  I follow him as closely as I can without stepping on his heels.  I stop just outside the door and wait.  Moments seemed like years.  I won’t ever forget the look on my sweet husbands face when he had to say the words I feared.  “He’s gone, he died”

The whirlwind of emotion will never leave me, I don’t think.  I can recount the moments after he said that and remember the feeling in my heart that hurt so badly.  I remember calling to tell my sister…. my brother…. my mom.  I remember calling my friend and asking her to come get my kids.  Every single detail feels so fresh.

When I finally got home, I drug myself up the stairs and found myself on my knees in the closet, crying.  I cried out to God.  “Lord please let me wake up!  Please do not let this be part of my story.  I just don’t want suicide to be part of my story”  Broken, hurting, confused, desperate for answers, I felt peace rush over my body.  A peace that can only be explained to be the Holy Spirit.  I had to look up because I felt it so deeply that I had to make sure my surroundings were the same.  In that instant I felt God saying to me “It is ok.  You will be better equipped for what I have for you on the other side of this.  Your pain will not be wasted.  I will use this.”  I had no idea how, but I stood up confident and at peace.  Still broken, hurting, confused, and desperate for answers, but confident that the peace I felt would get me through the coming weeks, months, and years.

Today, it has been 2.5 years since my dad died.  Over the past 2.5 years I haven’t really wondered how or when God was going to use me and honestly I was ok with not knowing.  But a few weeks ago, I got an unexpected message from someone I didn’t really know.  She wanted to talk to me about the blog I wrote on suicide.  I was nervous to talk about it, mostly because I was caught off guard by it- it had been over a year since I posted the blog.   I wrote the blog out of obedience- it wasn’t fun.  Suicide is a tough subject to bring up because it makes people uncomfortable so it took God prompting me for months before I finally did it.

The weeks leading up to the phone call had been hard for me.  I had been in a place of loneliness and I had been wrestling with God- asking Him where He was and begging Him to show up for me.  I remember confessing at life group on that Sunday, that I longed for the relationship I had with God during the biggest trials of my life, He felt so present.  I wouldn’t want to be back in the trial, but wish the richness of the Holy Spirit was present now.

The conversation started by getting the awkward, I know we don’t really know each other…. out of the way.  It quickly followed by explaining she read my blog post on suicide and decided to share it.  At the time she wasn’t sure why, but just felt the need to share it.  Recently a friend of hers urgently wanted to meet her.  During their time together, her friend explained the darkness she found herself in and had decided to take her life.  But she saw the blog on Facebook and decided to read it.  After reading it, her heart changed and instead of taking her life, she went to rehab to get the help she so desperately needed.

I am listening on the other end, sobbing.  I keep hearing God’s promises in my head. I remember days before crying out “where are you?”  I remember doubting what he asked me to do years ago when I was seeking His will so intensely “share your life, open and honestly, encourage others”.  But Lord, what do I have to give?  And as I listened to my new friend talk, I heard Him saying “your story”.

Friends, God is good.  He took my brokenness, my words of pain, and he used them to help someone see a different perspective.  That is good enough, but he didn’t stop there.  He knew I needed reassurance.  He knew I needed to see His work, so he was good enough to let me see it.  His work happened, He used my pain, even if I didn’t know it, but He let me in on it.  He is good like that.

Sometimes I wonder if my story is worth telling.  I wonder if my life is worth sharing.  The truth is, everyone’s is.  Yours doesn’t look like mine.  And not everyone will share the way I do, but everyones story is worth telling.  Do not underestimate the power of your story.

I have learned that God will fulfill His promises.  He will.  But we have to be willing to let Him.  Let Him use you today- whatever that looks like for you.  For me, it means sharing and giving.  It means being vulnerable enough to let you all see the not so great parts of my life.  It means giving my life to Jesus and praying every day He uses it!

As I proofread my words I realized how much pain there is in reliving the day my dad died.  I tried to figure out a way to show God’s goodness in this story without sharing all the pain.  The truth is, I can’t.  If I take out the pain, there isn’t really a story.  Today is Good Friday.  The pain surrounding this day is unimaginable and it hurts me when I think of all the pain Jesus endured, but without Friday, there is no Sunday.  Without the pain, there is no resurrection.  Friends, Jesus paid the ultimate price so he could share Heaven with us.  Sometimes we have to share our pain with others, in order to let them see how truly good God is.  God didn’t cause my pain, but He was with me through it all and He is using the pain for good!

Camper Living, Family, home sweet home, My Story, Uncategorized

What’s with Sundays?

This morning I woke up positive that today was going to be good.  The past 3 or 4 Sunday’s have just not been fabulous so I went to bed feeling a little bit dreadful but woke up feeling great! I was able to drink my entire cup of coffee while it was hot, got myself and the kids all ready for church- on time, and was about ready to head out the door when it started.  “those shoes are too tight!”  I know they are not.  I just bought them a few days ago and they fit great.  but I couldn’t convince her.  So I quickly decided it wasn’t worth the fight.  I offered a different pair of shoes- tears and crying…… “I want to wear those!”  Wait, what?  The ones you just screamed were too tight?  The tears and crying continued and I threw my hands up, taking both pairs of shoes and the child to the car where everyone else was already waiting.

Phew!  We are still on time! I silently celebrated as I put the car in reverse.  It sounded funny as I backed up, but our driveway is gravel so I put it in drive and started out, only to quickly realize that funny sound was my wheel grinding into the gravel.  Flat tire.  I put the car in park and jump out as I call my husband- who is at work (ask any firefighters wife, it all happens on their shift!) I have never changed a tire.  I go back and forth about how i feel about it.  On one hand I don’t want to be the damsel in distress calling for help over a flat.  On the other hand I don’t really feel like I have missed out on life by never changing a flat tire.  But suddenly, I had this deep desire to take care of it myself.  As Joel insisted he would come change it, I insisted I could handle it.

My oldest child and I got the tire out and started the process.  I watched a quick youtube video and up the car went.  I worked on the lug nuts and I got all but one off.  The last one was not wanting to come off.  As I was about ready to give up, our good friend showed up to help!  I didn’t know it, but Joel had already called him and asked if he could stop by since he was just a few minutes away.  He helped us finish changing the tire and off we went to church, 30 minutes late!

I get there and realize Harvey fell asleep.  A 3 year old with a 20 minute nap is no good.  I took a very cranky boy in the church.  Melt down. Nothing was right.  He was just mad.  I finally got him to stay in his class just in time to hear the sermon.  As I sat down I realized that in the madness Harvey had wiped his glazed donut all over my black shirt- oh well, I was just glad to be hearing the sermon!  The final song was about to wrap up when someone taps my shoulder “Harvey pooped in his pants” WHY?  Harvey….. Why?  He does so good, until he doesn’t.  Any way, potty training is stupid. the end.


If we go back to when I got in the van this morning, there was a smell.  I addressed it- told the husband what I thought it was and he said to come by after church and we would take the seats out and find the source.  So that is what we did.  He pulled the seats out, vacuumed and found nothing.  I got in with some cleaner to really detail it since the seats were out.  I had already told him I was sure I knew what the smell was, but as I cleaned, it was confirmed.  I found mouse poop.  IN MY VAN.  Are you kidding me?  Where have we moved?  We have lived a lot of places and I have never in my life had so many mouse issues.  Is moving an option? I mean before we buy land again can I get a mouse survey?


So, after taking off panels, finding a LIVE baby mouse IN MY VAN, taking off my wheel, 3 hours of searching, the dead mouse is still in there somewhere.  Why?  I mean seriously?  Who has mice living in the panel in their car?  Of course, I do!  UGH!  I don’t even know what to say.  My little kids loved the baby mouse and wanted to bring it home as a pet.  They squealed with excitement and kept saying “mommy its so cute!”  As I die inside just a little.  At what point will they both loose the “its so cute” attitude and turn into “oh my gosh there is a LIVE mouse in my car”?


Just a few short weeks ago, I had a similar Sunday with all kinds of crazy things.  Honestly, that Sunday had a Harvey poop incident, a dead mouse (in the camper), and a flooding situation.  The Sunday’s in between have been crazy too.  I use to love Sundays.  Jesus, friends, family, food….. But now it seems like Sundays are more like poop, mice, and madness…..

Friends, I don’t know if my life is just that crazy, or maybe It is just that I don’t know the right people and others have just as many crazy things happen,  But here is my plea- if your life is full of crazy “incidents” that when you tell others they all look at you crazy and laugh, asking why weird things are always happening to you, please raise your hand, leave a comment, something!  We can start some sort of support group.  I keep wondering if maybe God is like “Hello, Mrs. Meinardus, I am obviously giving you really good material to work with!  Write it down, make lots of money with these crazy stories!” Or maybe He just likes to laugh!  If it wasn’t my life, I would totally be laughing!

Camper Living, Family, home sweet home, My Story, Uncategorized

Home Sweet Home: part 3

Here we are, a little over a month from my last update.  I feel like things are getting so exciting!  All the planning and decision making is coming to life!  So many people ask if we know when we will be finished.  Nope!  Joel is pretty much doing all of the work from here on out and so it is a little bit slower than if we were to pay someone.  We are so close to the end, but all these last few things take a lot of time.

Since I last blogged the progress, we have finished sheetrock!  This process took about a week and a half total time.  img_8718img_8727

Harvey was all about helping with all the things!

The front doors were stained.


Joel sprayed primer on all the walls and ceilings.  I think he did 2 coats of primer. As you can see, it is a messy job!


In our main living area, we wanted to use wood on the walls.  We had reclaimed pine tongue and groove that we got from an old house and decided to use it.  This room took a long time- everything we do in this room takes a long time because it is huge, 29×32! img_9132img_9123

I was not prepared for how much I would love the raw wood on the walls.  The plan was always to paint the wood white but it was gorgeous raw.  After a few days of debate, we decided we would still paint it and leave one accent wall.  We felt like we wouldn’t love it raw once the wood floors were laid.


Joel also hung reclaimed wood in our bathroom.  We spent some late nights and long days painting all of the walls and ceiling.  I have loved the time we got to spend together working.  I haven’t gotten to contribute as much to the building process as I would have liked, but I help when I can!

Next up, wood floor.  We got an amazing deal on oak hardwood floors. Thank you Craigslist!  We bought it months ago and had to store it in our little storage building, so when we were ready to use it, it had to be moved.  It took several days to unload all 3000SF of flooring!  Thankful for a very sweet college student that has helped us the last two weeks!


We spent Christmas morning inside the house.  It was dusty but we loved being able to be in there!  It is a Christmas we will never forget!


After Christmas, the floor started being laid.  We are doing hardwood everywhere except the bathrooms which is a lot of flooring!  Joel, Kamden, and Callie (our fabulous college student helper) worked hard laying all of it.  I have been so proud of Kamden and how hard he has been working!  He has learned so much over these last few months.  img_9528img_9534img_9740

This process has been tiring.  We work long hours- and I am saying we because when Joel is working on the house, I am working trying to manage the camper life.  Some nights I go in to check on Joel and we chat for a few minutes which might be the only time we really get to talk that day. One night he was exhausted and while we were chatting he used Harvey’s new roller coaster as a bed.  I laughed because he looked so comfortable! I have to brag on him- he has worked so hard on this house and continues to do so while having a full time fire fighter career and running a business as well.  I couldn’t be more proud of him! img_9744

Most days I feel like this…. Exhausted and over it all!  But then something exciting happens and I get strength to push through to another day! img_9788

img_9856We did get snow and the house looked so pretty!  I can’t wait to see the outside finished.  Joel isn’t working on the outside until the inside is finished.

Here is the main living area before stainimg_9914

And Joel staining….. Which he finished last night at midnight!  The entire house is stained!  Today he will put a few coats of sealer on it and we will wait for it to dry completely.


Although I do not have a time line for a finish date, I am so excited to be this close!



Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Love, even when its hard

img_9572My parents divorced when I was little.  My dad was not a constant in my childhood.  The older I got, the more I saw him.  I pushed for him to be in my life, especially in my early teen years.  As a kid I just saw my dad as this cool, music loving, hippy.  I didn’t understand the complicated things.  I just knew I wanted to be around him more.

When I was about 14 my dad decided to quit his job.  He walked out one night after getting upset with his boss.  He had no plan and his free spirit seemed to be leading him.  He decided he was done working for the man and I remember him vowing to never work for someone else again.  He lived off his savings and 401K that he withdrew.  Eventually that ran out.  He had no money for rent so he became homeless.  He had no money to pay for his truck, so they took it back.  I remember wanting nothing more than to help him.  I begged my mother to let him stay with us and she did- for months.

After he over stayed his welcome he started what he would keep up for the next 15 years.  He would live from place to place until he over stayed his welcome.  I was his advocate for a long time.  I would make sure he was taken care of.  I took him food and gave him some money over the years. He lived with us more times than I can count.  I wasn’t alone in this, as there were several of us who were constantly taking turns.

At some point, I started getting a little resentful.  I was always doing for him.  Each time he would come to stay with us, it came with a promise.  This promise was that it was temporary and that he would get a job and save to be on his own.  Each time his stay would end with us telling him we could no longer keep it up unless he did as he promised and each time he would leave without even looking for a job.  He bounced back and forth between several places over his last 15 years.

I don’t need to go into all the details of all the things that happened, but at some point, my heart changed from a caring concerned daughter to an irritated, inconvenienced daughter.  At some point I quit seeing my dad through loving eyes and just saw my dad as a constant irritation.  If I listed all the things, I could probably get you to say that I was justified in my feelings but I don’t want to be.

I loved my dad.  I miss my dad.  But when he was here, there were a lot of things that were a constant source of hurt for me.  I needed a dad my entire life and my dad couldn’t be what I needed.  I had slowly started to accept that I needed to view our relationship differently and morn the fact that my dad wasn’t ever going to be able to be that dad I had always wanted.  It was still hard but getting better.

But now, my dad is gone.  Our relationship will never have a chance to mend or be healthy.  Now I wish I could be inconvenienced by going to pick him up for a birthday party or holiday get together.  Each time I eat at a restaurant that he loved, I only wish I could buy him dinner, where before I would have been frustrated I had to buy his dinner because he never had money.  Now when I try a new dark chocolate, which was his favorite, I wish I could offer him some.  The list goes on and on.

The reason I am writing all of this down is to remind us all that we need to love others even when it is inconvenient.  Love others when it is difficult to love.  Extend grace and understanding even when people are frustrating.  I know we all have relationships that are hard.  We all have those people in our lives that we don’t understand and that seem impossible.  I am sure that right now you are thinking of someone who fits this description.

Here is what I would do differently if my dad was still here and I had the chance to do things over.  I would do my best to understand him.  I would spend more time trying to see his heart. I would ask hard questions to find out what has happened to land him where he is.  I would focus on him as a person rather than his actions.  I would make sure that he always felt loved and welcomed where he was.  I would make sure I stood up for him.  But I would also hold him accountable.  I would remind him of the steps he needed to take to better himself and I would encourage him along the way.  I wouldn’t do it all for him, but rather come along side him and cheer him on, lending him a hand when and how I could.  I would have set healthy boundaries sooner to ensure our relationship was healthy, even if he wasn’t.  None of these things are easy to do and hindsight is 20/20 and it is easy to see things different now, but I want to try to learn from this and apply it where I can now.

You see, Jesus loves us all.  He loves us when we are difficult.  He loves us when we are broken.  He loves us when we are at the bottom.  He loves us when we don’t deserve it.  He loves us when it is inconvenient, messy, ugly.  He loves us.  Love God and Love people.

I see my dad in every person I pass holding a sign on the side of the road asking for something- food, money, shelter.  When I stop and offer what I have to give, I want so badly to know them.  To know their story and to know what has landed them where they are.  I see my dad when I see someone hurting and in need.  I see my dad when I encounter a difficult person.  I just want to understand what has caused pain in their life.  I have learned so much after my dads death.  I see people different.  (I am a work in progress and not perfect!) I see people as more than their sin, their actions, their words.  I am working on loving deeper, extending more grace, and truly seeing people.

Today I want to urge you to love others even when it is inconvenient, messy, or difficult because that is what Jesus would do and you never know when that might be their last chance to be loved like Jesus loves.

Camper Living, Encouragement, Family, home sweet home, My Story, Uncategorized

Happy Camper Christmas


This year just hasn’t felt like Christmas.  We didn’t have a tree up or any decorations.  Time has flown by and it doesn’t even seem like it should be 5 days until Christmas.  A few weeks ago we were discussing a tree.  Every year we go and get a live tree and love that tradition.  But this year, we live in a camper.  Our tree decorations are all in storage and not accessible at all.  I had pretty much just decided that we were not going to be able to have a tree.  We are so busy, things are crazy with building, and time was running out.


Then one night I asked Joel if he thought there was any trees on our property that might work as a Christmas tree.  I told him I didn’t care if it was perfect, that really it could be a Charlie Brown type of tree.  We discussed how much fun it would be if we made popcorn garland and dried oranges to hang on the tree.


So that is what we did!  We decided to make the best of what we had and guess what?   It turned out to be amazing!  So much fun and so many memories.  The kids all talked about how we should make this a new tradition.  I bought one ornament and we all agreed that we will put it on the tree each year to remind us of the time we spent Christmas in the camper!


As we worked, Joel started crafting ornaments out of scrap wire from our house.  He even created a copper star for the tree topper!


I love that even though this camper life isn’t ideal, some how we all encourage each other through it and find ways to be thankful.  Each of us have bad days where we are tired of being in the camper, but it never fails that someone else reminds whoever is down, just how much we have to be thankful for!


Jesus is truly the reason for the season and without a tree or decorations that doesn’t change, but the memories made decorating this sweet little tree are irreplaceable! Camper Christmas has had many obstacles to figure out (like where do I keep all the presents until Christmas) but I sure am happy to be here with all of my family and our Charlie Brown tree!  And most of all this Christmas I am thankful for a savior who was sent to us as a baby on Christmas day!  Thank you Jesus!

Camper Living, Encouragement, Family, home sweet home, My Story, Uncategorized

Home Sweet Home: part 2

I am a little sad that I haven’t blogged more of our adventure.  Camper living while Joel literally builds our house is an adventure to say the least.  I am hoping to update on camper life soon, but this will be a long post updating construction over the last 2 months.   Slowly but surely, we have chipped away and gotten this far!

When I last wrote about the house, we had just finished framing.  Since then, a lot has happened but a lot of it wasn’t super noticeable so I didn’t even want to blog about it.

The windows went in and then then roof going up was the next thing.  This took several weeks to complete because it is really hard to roof alone.  Joel had to wait for help and when he didn’t have help, you can see he improvised.  It was nerve wracking at times watching him up there! img_4182


Thankfully his dad, brother, Kamden, and our nephew all helped out several days.  We chose a galvenized metal roof which I am excited about!  I love the way it looks and can’t wait to see it with our siding and rock.




We wanted a very open floor plan and our kitchen, living, and dinning are all one big room.  I was probably most excited about this part of our plans.  But, when it came time to design the kitchen layout, I found it very hard to envision what the big open room was going to be like.  I spent many mornings with my coffee, floor plans, Pinterest, and a tape measurer trying to make decisions.


I finally was able to communicate to Joel and my father-in-law (who is building the cabinets) what I was wanting!  Joel was able to roughly draw up what I wanted and I showed lots of pictures and I am confident that I will love the end result!  I am so excited to see them finished!

Over the next 2 months, lots of things happened.  Electrical was ran, as well as plumbing.  Joel did this mostly on his own with help and guidance from a few experts. Joel set bathtubs, installed outlet and switch boxes, and spent lots of time in the attic and under the house.   He also has run all the duct work for the heat and air and the units in place.




Any time I got a chance I was in the house writing scripture on the walls.  I knew I wanted to do this and had lists of scripture for every room.  I enjoyed praying the scriptures in each room and dreaming about how they would be lived out within those walls.




In between each step we clean up.  Kamden & Jade have been a huge help and we are so thankful they willingly help!  Vera Jane spent lots of time supervising!



Our fireplace was installed and the exterior doors went in as well.



Insulation was up next and we did pay someone to do that.  We decided to go with spray insulation.  We have been impressed that the inside temperature of the house is pretty nice, even without any heat and air!  It was so messy during the process but they came back through and cleaned all of their mess up!  img_7274

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After insulation we were ready for sheetrock!  I was so excited for this step and to finally see what the walls would look like.  We decided to pay someone to hang the sheetrock because they can get it done so much faster then we could.  They got here at 8am and were gone by 2:15!  I was impressed!



So here we are, sheetrock up!  Finishing should start next week and then we will move on to paint and floors!

Joel fell through the ceiling a few nights ago.  Luckily he caught himself and didn’t hit the ground, but there is a little patch job that will need to happen!  I am thankful that he was ok and just a little sore!

We have all had to learn a little patience through this project.  Each step has come with delays and unexpected things.  We haven’t met the deadlines we put in place and I have especially had to learn to just go with it.  I am not good at it by any means and I have spent more days disappointed then I would like to admit, but when this is over I know I will look back and be glad we chose to do things this way- even if it wasn’t the easiest way!

Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Not Measuring Up?

dsc_9374ccBeing content in life can sometimes be a struggle, am I right?  I find myself hating Thursdays because I run around a lot.  Preschool drop off, then preschool pick up.  Then dance, wait around for soccer to start, then soccer.  All the running, with all the kids is exhausting and when you add in that all 3 little ones need to poop during all the running around- the baby exploded and I used about 20 wipes to clean up her and the carseat,  Harvey pooped minutes after Garner used the lady bug potty in the van. (if you have small children and don’t have a potty training potty in your trunk, get one!  It will save you from all kinds of bathroom situations!)  By the time I get home on Thursdays I am at hot mess.  Lets face it, hot mess is just my word for this season.  I guess it is two words, but you know what I mean!

I seriously can find myself in a constant state of discontent if I am not careful.  It is always something at this house, ummm I mean camper.  I know that if I started listing all the things I would have lots of moms nodding their heads saying “yes girl, yes!” because the reality is, most of these things that are always happening are just part of it.  I just reread what I typed and sighed big.  My own words cause me to stop and sigh because sometimes I just wish that wasn’t the truth!

BUT- when I go to my trusty bible and start digging into what it has to say about being a mother and wife I find all kinds of fun stuff.  Like Proverbs 31.  Who is this lady?  She makes clothes and sells them.  She cooks good food, she keeps the affairs of her house in order.  She speaks wisdom and faithful instruction. She opens her arms to the poor and needy.  She makes profitable trades, she works vigorously, she gets up early.  Her husband praises her.  GOOD-NESS…… ummmm, I don’t sew.  Right now I don’t cook anything except toaster waffles (totally the campers fault), the affairs of my house are far from in order. wisdom? faithful instruction?  how about speaking pleas to the 2 year old? does that count? I am in survival mode most days so I know I am not extending anything to anyone.  Everyday I am awoken by a tiny human screaming “Mommy get me a waffle and milk” and I say  “ugh, I should have gotten up earlier”.  Needless to say, I am so not living up to that Proverbs 31 woman.

Most days, if you ask me, I would say I fail at more than I succeed at.  Through prayer I feel like God has encouraged me to see things differently though.  I hear His voice saying “you have what it takes.”  I am reminded that I need to quit focusing on where I don’t feel I am measuring up, and focus more on where I am getting it right, even if it seems like it isn’t much.  I need to extend myself some grace- enough grace to get me through the bad days so I can keep going and not give up!  In fact, something that has helped me in giving myself grace is this: Stop- think about the situation different.  If this were someone else telling you the same story your are currently beating yourself up over, what would you tell them?  Would you be quick to encourage them to give themselves a little grace?  If I take myself out of the equation, I am usually quick to see it different.  If you would extend others grace in the same situation, give yourself grace too!

When I was looking though all the verses on the subject of motherhood and caring for our families, I saw over and over again the message that God is with us in our time of need.  “I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me” Psalm 120:1  So many times throughout my days, I try to take it all on myself.  I try to do it alone and don’t call out to Him and ask Him for help.  But oh when I do, it can make the craziest of situations ok!

1 Chronicles 28:10 says “Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary.  Be strong and do the work.”  Although this passage is David talking to Solomon about building the temple, it really reminded me that God has chosen ME to be where I am now.  To be a mother and wife, and build this household up in Him.  Again in 1 Chronicles 28:20, David is encouraging Solomon- be strong and courageous, do the work.  Do not be afraid or discouraged, For the Lord God is with you, He will not fail you or forsake you until the work is finished.  I find this so encouraging where I am right now.  Sometimes the work of keeping our homes running is difficult and frustrating but we can’t stop working at it.  We can’t allow ourselves to feel discouraged.  God is with us, He does promise us that!

I love that The Lord doesn’t leave us to do this alone.  I have been entrusted with a mighty calling in motherhood and caring for this household.  It truly is a BIG responsibility and I am ever thankful that His grace, love & mercy are covering it all!  Today I am clinging to the reminders that it isn’t about perfection or always getting it right, but it is more about continuing to fight the good fight for our family and choosing to not give up!  I hope this finds you encouraged today!


Camper Living, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

If you give a mouse popcorn

Everyday seems like a new adventure in the camper.  I discover something daily.  Now, not all of the things I discover are monumental or worth documenting,  but a few are.  Lets see, at times, there is the realization that the camper is really small.  When you are trying to get ready for church and all the little people want to play and run, but there is really only a small space to do that, and you can’t send them outside or their Sunday best will be a mess.  So in the end, mom looses her mind and yells at everyone because she can’t seem to get ready when little people keep running her over while she tries to curl her hair.

Or maybe the lesson of “if you give a mouse popcorn….” is one I should share….. Have you ever been in a camper?  If you have, you will know that the sleeping quarters are close to the kitchen because everything is close! In our case, the stove sits on the wall to our bedroom.  From my bed to the stove is literally 2 steps away.  A few nights ago I woke up to a strange sound.  I couldn’t identify it right away.  I sat up and listened and thought one of my kids was out of bed for sure.  I used my handy iPhone flashlight to shine into the living room and no one was up.  By then the sound was gone so I laid back down.  As I settled back into bed I hear the noise again and I suddenly realize that sound is likely a critter.  My heart starts racing a little bit because I am scared of critters.  I slowly slide out of bed and creep around the corner with my flashlight on.  I see that there is a bag of Stirred popcorn (it is covered in sugar) that was upright against the wall when I went to bed, is now laying on its side and moved over.  I knew then that there was for sure a critter.  I jumped back in bed fast and debated what to do.  Where is my brave husband?  If you have read this blog before you know where he is- at the fire station!  After what felt like an eternity of listening to that MOUSE eat through the bag of popcorn, I finally caved and called Joel.


What was he going to do?  I don’t have a clue but I needed another adult to talk me off the ledge.  “what are you afraid of?”  UMMMM Hello?  There is a mouse, a few feet away from me, eating a bag of popcorn.  “I know but what do you think is going to happen?”  All I am picturing is Ratatouille, you know that cute rat cartoon, and I am picturing that mouse calling all his friends to come eat the popcorn with him.  I don’t know what i think might happen but I just want the mouse to go away.  My sweet husband suggests I go get the bag of popcorn and throw it out.  No way is that happening.  I just can’t.

So, apparently camper living comes with friends.  Friends I don’t care for.  Friends I would like to leave.  And if you give a mouse popcorn, he will probably stick around to see what else you have, in case you are wondering.

Look, I live in a  camper with 7 people and at least one mouse.  Life is a mess most days.  Please don’t be offended if I invite myself over or show up unannounced at your house.  I know it is rude, but I am just asking for grace in advance.  If you feel so inclined, just invite us over before I show up at your doorstep without warning.  I am normally all about bringing gifts of homemade bread and desserts as thank you for having us, but since my camper oven over cooks in one 1/2 and undercooks on the other, I don’t know if you will want to eat anything I bring, so I will spare you that.

So here I am, 5 weeks into camper living, thinking to myself, When is this house going to be done?

Today at church, I had the sweetest lady tell me “well you just have it all together!”  In case it appears that way, I will first say I absolutely do not!  The other day I took this picture of myself (yes, a selfie) and I thought Wow, I actually look pretty good right now!  Then about 5 minutes later I found BBQ sauce in my hair. Moral of the story, not everything looks as it appears.  Ok friends, don’t forget to high five your mommy friends you see out in public with their kids.  It really is work to get there! Happy Monday!

Camper Living, Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Camper Fever


Camper Fever- just like cabin fever, you know, but for a camper.

It started with a stomach bug.  Some how this bug managed to strike me when the husband is at the fire department.  (actually, everything bad happens when he is at the fire station, I bet any fire fighters wife will agree!) So I am sick something awful, trying to nurse the baby and keep up but I have no strength left in me.  I guess the good news is the camper is small so the bathroom is close!  After a few days of being in the camper because the stomach bug was being passed around, it rained.  Maybe some people are excited for rain.  Me, not so much!  Rain means the kids are inside. the tiny camper. ALL.DAY.LONG

By the time Joel is home for the day, I am in a unique mood.  I remember sitting on the couch in a daze staring off into no where land as I hear the baby crying, a 2 year old jumping on my back, a 4 year old dramatically telling me why she should change clothes, and 2 preteens impatiently waiting to get to where they were going.  It was my first glimpse of camper reality. All 7 of us, in this tiny space, all fighting for what they need. In that moment I thought no way this will ever get better.  I will have to live this way forever! The inner drama I was creating was close the the 4 year old’s drama- unrealistic and ridiculous, but none the less, I just sat there in my moment.

*Just for fun, when the dramatic 4 year old was complaining about her inability to change outfits, I decided to sing a little song “you can’t always get what you want….. but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need”  With arms crossed, head turned slightly sideways, she replies in a very sarcastic tone “thanks for that, mom” If you need me, I will be trying to figure out how to parent a 4 year old teenager.

In the mix of my camper reality there is camper cooking.  I am not sure if we got a reject oven or if maybe camper oven’s are just wonky.  I can’t figure ours out.  Sometimes it takes forever for stuff to cook.  Like the time says 10 minutes but it takes 25 minutes.  But this particular day, 8 minutes into the 29 minute cook time, I smell burning.  I open the oven to see that 3 of the 7 personal pizza’s in the oven have a burning crust.  How do I reconfigure that?  Trying to save the pizza’s by quickly pulling them from the oven, one falls between the grates making a melty cheesy mess that quickly turned into a burning cheesy mess.  I have about given up on the camper oven.  Not to mention I have to get half way in the oven to light the pilot every time I need to use it.  Sounds like next time we want pizza, its Dominos!

Everyday someone asks me at least one of two questions.  “How is life in the camper?” or “How is life with 5 kids?”  Not sure if people are cheering me on or secretly hoping I have some really good story to tell.  Maybe both! You want the truth?  I have no clue which aspect of my life makes it feel overwhelming right now, but life is overwhelming.  If you ask how life in the camper is, it really isn’t that bad!  There have been very few moments I that the camper, by itself, makes me wonder what on earth we are doing.  If you ask me how life with 5 kids is I will tell you good for the most part.  Adding #5 hasn’t really shaken things up too terribly much.  BUT  when we add, less sleep + nursing baby + 2 teen/preteens who are busy and need to be taken everywhere + building a house +  2 & 4  year olds + the rest of life I am not listing, I am overwhelmed some.  So if you see me out with all the kids doing all the things, my hair is fixed and I am smiling, just high five me and know that even then, I am probably feeling like a hot mess.  If you see me out in the same situation but my hair is a mess, I have spit up on my shirt, and I look frazzled, high five me any way because I am showing you my hot mess!

Family, home sweet home, My Story, Uncategorized

Home Sweet Home: part 1

We have just gotten started with our house and we already get lots of questions!  If you haven’t ever built a house the details are probably pretty foreign.  I have decided to blog the process in sections so those curious minds can see and understand a little more and so I can look back at our timeline!

Building a house is something that we have been dreaming about for a long time.  We have been looking for land and trying to find that perfect place to call home.  In May we made an offer on what is now our beautiful land.

The first week of July we closed on that land!


The first thing that had to be done was pick a building site and start clearing and getting the pad ready. This was happening around the end of July and first of August.  After this the footings were dug and poured. Joel did all of this with help from friends and family. fullsizerender

Then we had to take a small break to have a baby!  We welcomed baby #5 on August 9, 2016img_2653

Block work was done on August 19th and since we had just had a new baby Joel decided to contract out the block work so this was the first part in the building process that Joel didn’t do himself. fullsizerender-1

Next there is subfloor and again Joel did this himself with the help of some amazing friends! This was happening at the end of August.  img_3230

First week of September the decking was put on.  Once again, friends and family helped Joel knock this out! img_3668

Here comes everyones favorite part!  The framing!  It goes up fast, (1 week) and so everyone suddenly sees the shape of a house and it feels like things are going to be happening quick.  Good news is, it is another step done, bad news is, you won’t see a ton of changes in the next few steps! This first picture is day 1 of framing.img_3713

I can’t remember if this is day 2 or 3 img_3772

Day 4img_3857

Day 6 framing is done! We did contract out the framing and if you need a framer let  us know and we will send a great one your way! This gets us current in construction because this happened today! img_4030

Joel up in the rafters!img_4028

Joel and I in the window that will be in the dinning room. img_4027

Harvey in his room.  He gets so excited to go in there and tells anyone who will listen that it is his room!img_4026img_4025

The girls in their room.  All 3 girls will share a room at the request of Jade.  Don’t worry, they have a massive closet! img_4024

Kamden reluctantly posing in his window.  He has helped with every step of this house so far.  I am so proud of the work he has put into it! img_4023

That is it so far!  We have really just gotten started and have a long way to go but we are excited to have the bones of the house!  Joel works so hard everyday doing something, even if it isn’t noticeable.  There is always something to be done at a construction site and when you are building yourself you have to be willing to do all the little things (that can become big things) like clean up! This house is being built with love labor for sure!