Thursday, October 30, 2014

Being married to a hunk....

So I am totally blessed to be married to an amazing man.  He really is a good guy both inside and out.  You should see what he has to put up with being married to me.  Now the only downfall to being married to Dan is that he is incredibly good looking...which I totally love don't get me wrong...but sometimes I just don't feel good enough to be married to him.

This past week at MBD (mom's by design-the moms group at my work) we each had a letter card placed by our seat.  Mine was the letter "B."  Nellie and I got a few good laughs out of it cause we both got the letter "B" by where we chose to sit.  (Nellie and I actually met at the moms group last year-look where God brought us Nellie!)  Anyways, long story short, the word "B" meant Basking in the Truth.

The truth that I am beautiful

The truth that God created me in HIS image

The truth that I am good enough for Dan

The truth that Jesus died on the cross for ME

The truth that I am AMAZING

The speaker asked us if we could name 5 amazing women in our lives.  So I came up with my amazing list of women.  Then she asked if we would have ever thought to include ourself on the list of amazing.  Ummmm What?  Me? Amazing?  No way man.

I feel like I am far from amazing.  Like the total opposite... however, this week I am trying to believe that maybe, just maybe, I am a little bit amazing.  Do you know hard that is to even write?  Partially because I still don't believe that I am even a little bit amazing and partially because that is totally beyond my comfort zone to even think.

Isn't it weird that we can look at each other and think how amazing everyone else is and not believe it about yourself?  I know SO many amazing women.  Actually, every woman I know is amazing.

I am working on believing I am amazing.  Like really trying to work on it!

From my amazing life to yours...hope you have a great day :)

THANKS Jar Printable Design

If you weren't able to make it to our Friday "Thanks Jars & Thankful Tree" Session... have no fear! You can make these projects on your own! Download our FREE PRINTABLE THANKS JAR WRAPS, paint 6 mason jars and whamo... you've got yourself a gorgeous statement piece!

 We really had a great time getting creative with this craft!  The wraps will need to be hole punched on either end and then tied together with bakers twine.  Nellie designed them this way so you can use any size jar!  Wrap some raffia or twine around them, paint only the bottle half, paint them can't really  go wrong with this craft!

Now go make some jars!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Just a glimpse....

Life here can be crazy. 
Life here IS crazy.
I thought I would give you a glimpse into a day of our crazy life. 
We start our mornings at 6:00am.  Well, the kids do.  Usually Dan hits his snooze button a few times, but the kids are up and functioning on their own by then.  Our kids our self sufficient in the mornings.  They get their own breakfast and get themselves dresses.  The older ones help the younger ones most of the time.  It is really nice.  

The older kids get to school by 7:30 on a good morning and start school at 7:40.  That leaves me home with the two littles.  Lanie goes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Today the sisters didn't get them their breakfast so it was my job today.  They are a pretty fun to be around! 
 I headed in to work for a bit this morning and decided to take a break and crash a lunch date with our friends!
They treated us to the chocolate factory for some yummy ice cream.  

I love the way Lanie and Stellan are looking at each other.... I would be okay if they got 30 years. 

 Then perhaps the best surprise of the day!!!!!  We have hired Carew heating and air conditioning to replace our boiler.  They came very highly recommended and have been so extremely nice to us.  The tech came out today to tell Dan what pipes he needs to remove for our new boiler install.  Dan is going to do some of the work on his own so we can save money.  If anyone is skilled at pipe cutting, let us know!  We also need to move our 1 ton old boiler out of the way....anyone?  We will be getting our new boiler installed on November 13th!  Words can't even describe the past month.  We had so many quotes and offers from people to help and we are SO appreciative of everyone.  We decided on Carew because TJ, the tech.  He is so knowledgeable and helpful and gave of his time to help our family.  He even offered to come and review all of our quotes with us so we could make the best decision for our money.
 Then I picked the kids up from school and Molly forgot her basketball shoes so I made a trip home and then back to school.  I decided to stay at school while they had their basketball practice and got some more work done.  I sat on the bench over looking Fowler was beautiful.
 Then I headed in to watch some basketball practice.  Molly and Sadie will be on a team together and I will be assistant coaching.  Mainly, I just stand there and get balls.  Pretty useless but I love being with my girls.
 The kids did some playing outside.  It was gorgeous out.
 Can you spot Griffin?
Abbie worked on her chore for the day....Laundry helper.  Yes, I make my kids do laundry.

There was some homework, some cleaning, some more working and then we had a volleyball party to attend.  Parents against kids.  It is always fun to be with other parents and support our kids.

Then back home, more cleaning, kids in bed, blogging, and now I am leaving to go for a walk.  Dan will do more work and then I will come home and we will watch something useless on TV and I will fall asleep and go to bed.  Pretty exciting, huh?!?!

And we will do it all over again tomorrow!  Praise God!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Another Friday Session....YAHOO!

Never in my dreams did I ever imagine that I would be able to make Fridays at the Farm a reality.  Never.

And here we are.  We are 4 sessions in and I am loving every Friday session.  The company is great, the crafts are awesome if I do say so myself, and my favorite part is meeting new people! 

The morning session is over and I am all prepped and ready to go for the evening session which will start in about an hour.  I am praising God today for the warm weather so my crafting friends won't be freezing!  (Boiler is coming soon, ladies!)

 We made "THANKS" jars along with a thankful tree for this session.  I always love seeing the different ideas and color combos the ladies create.  Some stay traditional while others go bold.  Some use a bit of sparkle (you all know I love me a good sparkle) and some aren't into sparkles.  Crazy, I know.
 Every week we have new faces join us and we have some hard core repeat crafters.  Really, you women are such a great group of ladies.  For two hours I don't have to deal with any fighting or crying.  Thank you, ladies, for not fighting or crying!

 Nadie was new this week and she did an amazing job!  Thanks for coming, Nadie...can't wait to have you back!
 Sometimes the children escape the childcare barriers and we are totally ok with that!

 After the jars were painted, the ladies had to organize their thankful tree twigs.  I made them prune their own sticks.  Hey, I spent a couple of hours gathering them so they get to prune.  ;)
 And here is a sample of the finished product!  Each person got their very own set of 27 leaves to hang on their for each day in November.  The leaves are chalkboard so they can be reused every year.
I really really truly love doing this.  Yes, it is a lot of work, but this is my bucket filler.  I seriously love having people over and then to craft with them is even a better bonus!

Thank you all for coming.  Nellie will be posting a link so any of you that can't come can print your own "THANKS" jar labels....wait for it...for FREE!  You will have to print them out and do the craft all on your own, but you can do it!  I know you can!

Ok, night session starts in a few...better go turn the coffee on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Asking God for a sign...

Have you ever been at a place where you just kinda needed God to reassure you?  To let you know that He really does "have you?"  I had an amazing experience with God earlier this year.  I was going to post some before and after pics of our house and then I can came across these pictures and decided to share this instead.  

In October of 2013, Dan and I decided to put our house in Watertown on the market.  I clearly heard God telling me, "I've got this."  So we did.  And we trusted God "had it."  Kinda.  

We let doubt creep in.  
Our showings went down.
We lowered our price.
We had pretty much lost all hope. 

Dan needed to attend a training in California the week after Easter this past year.  He had just started a new job and was needing to attend a training.  He was going to California for 5 days and had asked if I wanted to go along.  We had never left the kids for that long.  The last time we went anywhere together, just us, was our honeymoon, 13 years ago. 
Since he had everything all booked already, I decided to tag along.  We had friends and family watch the kids and I used the money I made from selling some items on eBay to get a plane ticket.  

While we were there, Dan had to go to trainings every it left me alone for quite a bit of time. I did some reading.  I did some walking on the beach.  I did some sun tanning.  One night I was looking at a tourist magazine and they had an advertisement for whale watching.  Whoa...whale watching?  Seriously, that is a real thing? Then it said that Tuesdays were half off days.  YAHOO!  The next day was Tuesday.  Now normally I am not that adventurous.  I like to do things with other people.  Going whale watching on my own was waaaayy out of my comfort zone.  Like Way out of it. 
I was so nervous I was going to miss my departure time that I arrived 2 hours early.  Whoops.  Good thing was I was able to get on the first boat of the morning instead. 

During my time on the whale watching boat, I did a lot of talking to God.  I stood at the bow of the boat (really wanting to act out titanic, but containing myself).  It was me and God and His amazing creation.  It was surreal.  Since we live in Wisconsin the landscaping in California is so different.  The houses built on hills.  The miles and miles of beaches.  The Huge homes.  I mean. Wowzers. 

So it is just me complaining talking to God about our home.  Why wasn't it selling?  Why did we feel so strongly to put it on the market and then nothing? Why? Why? Why?  
 Then the whale watching boat stopped.  Was I really gonna see a whale?  I thought my $20 ticket was just honestly gonna get me a boat ride, but it happened.  We saw a whale and her calf.  Well, this is what we saw.  Just the little hump.  We sat there and watched the whale come up about every 2 minutes.  The boat had to be far enough away so momma whale wouldn't freak out.
 To be honest, I was a little bummed.  That was it?  I was thinking like a huge whale and actually being up close.  Remember, I live in Wisconsin...I have only seen whales on TV!  Well, none the less, the whale watching company had a promise to show you a whale and I saw one.  Yes, it was awesome and cool...but I was still kinda feeling disappointed.  We had traveled too far North (or South, I don't remember) so I remember the boat had to turn around.  On the way back, I went back to praying.  This time I asked for God to give me a sign.  To show me that He really "had me."  Now I know we shouldn't doubt God.  I know He is in control.  But have ya ever been so confused and unsure that you ask God for a sign?  I hope I am not the only one that has done this.  So I boldly asked God to show me a dolphin.  Let me see a dolphin, God.  Just one.  That will surely be a sign to me that you do indeed know what is happening in my life.  (I know...I full of doubt)

Within a minute or two of begging  asking God for a sign....I was SURROUNDED by dolphins.  Hundreds of them.  All over the place.  Jumping out of the water.  It was amazing.  It was unbelievable.  It was outstanding.
 I started crying.  I felt God's presence like I had never felt it before.
 You want to ask me to see A dolphin, my child?  Well, here's a couple hundred.  Boom.
 I was shaking and laughing and crying and so amazed by God's grace for me.  Here I was doubting that He "had" me....and he reminded me in that minute that He has more for me than just "having" me.  Yes, He "has" me, but He also loves me, He forgives me, He blesses me, He provides for me, He has underserving love for me.
I watched the dolphins surround the boat for 15 minutes.  They just swim along side of the boat....they are stimulated by it I guess.  I was so sad to have to go back into reality, but I was so filled up by what God had just done for me.

The next day our realtor called us.  We had a couple that was placing an offer on our home.  On the last day it was on the market.  God's hand was ALL over our home sale from the very beginning.  God worked miracles and moved mountains to get us into the farm house.

Then the boiler issues came up and once again I went to a place of doubt.  And once again, God has provided way beyond what I thought was ever doable.  We have almost reached our goal of $10,000 to get a new boiler.  I am so in awe of the people that have donated to us.  We are just so incredibly blessed and feel so loved.  People we know have donated.  People we don't know have donated.  Many have donated anonymously.  Local businesses are supporting us.  People have reached out to us.  To see this happen in our lives has forever changed us.  Just like the dolphins...God had this from the beginning.  Doubt will always creep in I am learning, but it is what I do with my thoughts and actions that will keep me from believing the lies.  Taking my thoughts captive.  Turning to the Bible.  Being held accountable by friends.  I have a feeling I will battle with doubt my whole life....but with God on my side and in my heart I am going to take comfort in that!

Today I am praising God for dolphins.  Today I am praising God for the outrageous and amazing number of people that have donated to our family.  Thank you, God, for "having" me....even when I doubt you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Just some crazy facts about us!

I thought I would share so fun facts about me....just a "get to know you better!"  
I make a pretty mean puppy chow.  It's not your ordinary plain jane puppy chow.  It's pretty delicious.  

One time I made this cake.  Abbie LOVES pigs so I created copied it off pinterest.  It was super cute.  Now I buy premade cupcakes or donuts for my kids birthday treats.  I am gonna try to go back to creating fun treats. :)

Like I said, Abbie LOVES pigs.  She would like to have a pet pig. day.  Or not.  This one was sure cute!  Pigs make Abbie giggle.  If you have had the joy of hearing Abbie giggle you would want to get her a pig too!  
Peanut Butter Balls.  I only make them a few times a year.  If you have had one you would be disappointed that I only make them a few times a year.  Dan can consume a dozen of these a day.  I have some sitting in my fridge right now.  If you want to try one, come on by.  I am serious.  

I am one of 5 children.  I am the youngest.  I have an older sister and 3 older brothers.  One is a successful business man, one is a doctor, one works in insurance, and one runs food service at a hospital.  Together we gave my mom 20 grandchildren.  She is the best Oma to them.  She spoils them.  They are her life.  My kids LOVE their cousins.  
This is my nephew, Christian.  Good kid.  Really good kid.  My kids LOVE him.  He is Lanie's best friend.  He helps us so much with the kids and with Friday at the farm craft prep.  

We had 7 kids in 9 years.  I would LOVE to have 7 more.  While we are physically done having children, we would love to add more to our family through adoption or foster care.  Many people don't "get" this about us.  One day, if God feels we can love more, we will.  For today we will raise the ones we have to know and love God and shine the light of Jesus.  

Griffin likes to cry during pictures.  He hates having his picture taken.  He hides for almost every picture.  He's crazy.  

This is my nephew, Michael.  He is in the marines.  We are super proud of him and my kids adore him.  We don't see him much, but when we do the kids love on him as much as they can.  
Gavin's hero is Big Mike.  Thank you for your service, Big Mike! 

Dan is an amazing Daddy to his girls.  Watch out boys....this daddy isn't gonna let just anyone date his girls.  And yes, we will be spying on you on your dates.  Just keeping it real.  
I secretly help my kids create their Science Fair boards.  I have a love/hate relationship with the Science Fair.  Like I hate all the research and work that goes in to them.  So, Dan does the research and experiments and I tell  help the kids create their boards.  Last year we had to do three boards.  By the third one I was so over it.  Thankfully this year there is no Science Fair!  YAHOO!!!

After today we will have an install date for our new boiler!  I can't wait to share that with you guys and we CAN't wait to have heat!  It might not be till Mid-November, but we will just cuddle and wear extra layers till then!  (or we may have to stay with friends....brace yourselves, the Wilke clan may show up for a "sleepover!") 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

God is working on me, I know.

This week has been amazing.  This week God has worked in my heart BIG time.  This week God has done some major refining in me.

Dan and the kids help lead worship at church sometimes.  One of the songs they sing is "God is working on me."  (you can listen to it here - sorry for the poor quality).  It's not really the poor quality video or hand motions that matter, it's the lyrics.  I have listened to my kids sing this a million times.  This song is on Lanie's playlist that we listen to over and over again in the car-along with every Frozen song!  How many times have I listened to this song, but not really listened to it?  God has totally been working on me.  I've undergone a transformation.  God is working on me, I know.

This past week God has shown me time and time again that He is in control.  God intervention #1 this week:

Our realtor that helped with the sale of our old home and the purchase of our farm house sent me a devotion that she read.  Listen to this:

"We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." Psalm 66:12b

For you, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12).

God's economy of abundance often has little to do with material blessing. In God's economy, abundance is often measured in wisdom and knowledge of Himself. It is then that we are truly blessed. Wisdom cannot be gained through intellectual pursuits. Wisdom comes only through experience. Real wisdom comes from the kinds of experiences that come only through the deepest tests. Lessons of refinement, including prison accompanied by burdens, lead us through the fire and water. This is the territory that must be traveled to reach that place of abundance. It would seem strange that a loving God would use such means with His children. What we often fail to realize is that God's measuring stick is the character and likeness of Jesus Christ Himself in each of us. This cannot be gained through a life of ease and pleasure. Ease and pleasure fail to refine.

Is God using your workplace to refine you today? Has He placed you in a prison or laid burdens on your back? Take heart if this is the place you find yourself, and realize that if you are faithful through the tests, you will enter a place of abundance that few will ever attain. The darkest hour is just before daybreak.

Ummm, Wow.

God intervention #2 this week:

On Tuesday mornings I attend a mom's group.  We listen to a speaker and then break off into small groups to discuss what we just heard.  I love listening to speakers because I would love to be one, one day.  The only problem is that I don't know what I would speak about.  I have prayed that God would open that door at some point in my life, to be able to share with other women and moms about something.  I know He is at work and this is all part of His plan!

Anyways, the speaker spoke on the "what ifs" of life.  Now if you know me at all, you know I have a very low self esteem.  I just do.  I am working on that and through that.  The speaker asked for us to write down our biggest "what if".  You know what mine was?  "What if they are talking about me?"  "What if they don't like me?"  "What if people don't really think we deserve help?"  "What if they don't really know me/us and judge us?"  Uh huh....that is my biggest concern in life.  What people think about us.  Do you know how much wasted time I put into caring about what people think about me/us/our family?  A lot.  And I am overcoming that.  The speaker was spot on...she said, "stop worrying about the uncontrollable."  Duh.  Hello.  I can't control what people think.  I can't control what people say.  It doesn't even matter.  What matters is that one day I will stand before my maker and be held only accountable to Him.  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks/says about me and my family...the only thing that matters is what God thinks.

Don't worry about the Unimportant, the unlikely, the uncertain, and the uncontrollable.  Ha...easier said than done.  Remember, God is the God of the universe.  Look at what He has done in the past.  Your battle belongs to HIM! feels so good to know that, doesn't it?

God intervention #3 this week:

God has surrounded us with an amazing support system.  Plain and simple.  People that hold us accountable.  People that snap of out of a funk.  People that start a fundraiser for us without even knowing it.  Lorena and Jennifer started and fundraiser up and we didn't even know it was happening.  Lorena has been a friend of mine for many years.  She is one of the reasons we are where we are.  I just met Jennifer about a month and a half ago.  I don't really even know that much about her...but I know she is an amazing person and I can't wait to get to know her better.  (Jennifer, let's plan a have forever changes our lives and I can't wait to know more about you and your family!) God has provided me with a very caring and loving mom and with wonderful co-workers that have walked many a rough roads with me.  He has provided us with family and friends that love and care about us.

To be honest, when the fundraiser began, we didn't know what to expect.  We felt somewhat undeserving.  There are many people in the world that have far worse problems than not having heat. We know that.  We feel uncomfortable.  We feel weird.  We feel underserving.  And then God stepped in again.  When sharing those thoughts with a few people this week, God has brought so many things to light.  My sweet friend said, "Susan, you have been a blessing to so many people, I know it's hard, but now it's time to let people bless you."  That has been SO hard.  One of my Pastors had told me one time, "it's great to be a giver, but you have to learn how to just have to."  Slowly over the course of the past week, Dan and I are learning how to receive.  We don't give/help/bake things/do things/ offer to help others because we want anything in return.  We really do enjoy helping people and that fills our buckets.  We know it is our time to be on the receiving end, but, man, I can't wait to be able to be on the giving end again!

God intervention #4 this week:

So all this is good, right?  God is refining me...God is faithful...God will provide.  Then I hear about a conversation that took place.  A conversation that I let get into my head.  And how simple it is to slip back into the "what ifs".  Then I have to place my focus back on God-turn my thoughts to Him.  Let go of the uncontrollable.  Stand firm.  Stand firm knowing that I only am accountable to my maker.  I have to stop seeing more of what is wrong than what is actually right.  There are always going to be people that will say things or do things...that is between them and God.  I am here, standing firm, trying to walk as best as I can with the Lord, knowing He is in control of my life.

I am not going to proofread this...I know....I never proofread.  These are the words that have come from my heart and I just typed them.  I fear if I proof this that I may want to change and refine things.  Right now the only thing that needs change and refining is me.

Refine me God.  Use me to do your will.

We don't have words to express the past week.  We really don't.  Thank you just doesn't do any justice.  What I can say is that our family has been forever and ever and ever changed.  We are beyond grateful for all the love and support we have received.  I have felt God more this week than I ever have.  My eyes are focused on Him.  Thank you from the depths of my soul.  Thank you for believing in our family and answering God's call to pray for us or donate.  We are hopefully going to be getting heat the 1st or 2nd week in November.  Praise God!  Seriously, what an awesome God we serve!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fridays at the Farm: Session 3~Magnetic Cookie Sheets

So even though things have been a bit crazy at our house with the boiler situation, we still need to move on and function.  Fridays at the Farm MUST go on!  This past Friday we held our 3rd Session and created magnetic cookie sheets.  I just love love love watching the creativity of everyone.  Even the self proclaimed "not crafty people" do awesome.  
 If any of you don't know, I hold a crafting group at my house every other Friday.  We have a schedule of classes that we follow.  You can find the sign up link on the right side of the blog.  It really is a fun time.  (or at least I think it is).  Watching women fellowship and craft while being at our new house is so amazing.

 So how did we do it?  Well, we used spray adhesive to cover any magnetic cookie sheet.  It has to be magnetic if you want it to hold a magnet!  ;)  There are air cookie sheets out there that don't hold a magnet in case you are wanting to make one.  Some people brought new cookie sheets and some people brought old ones.  It didn't really matter because we covered them with fabric.  We measured our fabric to the size we needed and headed into the spray adhesive room!
 We covered the front of the cookie sheet with spray adhesive and place the fabric on top.  You have to start in the center of the cookie sheet and then work your way out towards the edges.  Depending on the cookie sheet you can simply fold the fabric over and spray adhesive the fabric down or you have to press and crease your fabric into the ridges of the cookie sheet.
 Next we got to the fun part of accessorizing!  We used clothespins and cork board circles and felt and scrap fabric pieces to help decorate our boards.
 Some people turned their boards into menu boards. Some made them for their kitchen or their bedroom.  Watching the creative juices flow is my favorite part by far!
 After the morning session leaves, Nellie and I prep for the evening session.  Anyone is welcome at Fridays at the Farm!  I am meeting lots of new people and reconnecting with old friends.  I have had some high school friends attend, a mom and friend from our old church before we moved, long time friends, women I have never met, and people I have just seen in passing at school or church.  I just love that God has provided me with the opportunity to be able to do this!

 Here are some more pictures of the evening sessions finished products!

 Erin, I think your board could use something hanging off the bottom...what do you think ;)  (hehehe!-inside joke!)

Thank you to all who have attended a Friday at the Farm!  Nellie and I picked the next semester crafts on Friday and we are just sitting on them for a few days and will revisit them to make sure they are still "cool!"

With all we have going on Fridays at the Farm has kept me "going."  God has done some major refining in my life the past two weeks and I am excited to share that with all of you!

The next session is Thanks Jars along with a thankful tree...way cute.  There are still spots open so go sign up, we would love to have ya!