12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Health, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Anniversary trips passed…

Dan and I usually get away for a day or two for our anniversary every year to a place within a few hours from our homestead. Most of the time, it’s with the horses. We have enjoyed many a trip to North Dakota at a horse camp, Cheyenne Oaks. A beautiful place to ride with miles of trails and scenery plus it has a little cabin with a hot tub which was perfect for us. We also have gone a little further to a spot in Wisconsin, Palmquist Farm. Adorable family farm with real homemade farm meals in a family-style setting. LOVED this place as well and again, the cabin set the stage for our special celebration. The horse facility for both was also exceptional and made me feel comforted knowing the boys were safe as well!

Hosts, Helen and Jim…Her cookbook is amazing!
Beautiful North Dakota trip

A New Adventure…without the boys

So this year we decided to not only travel further but also go without anyone or anything else but us…WOW! What a trip!

First, it has been years since we took a trip with just the two of us and this one was extra special because Dan is retired from his business. SO, not only did we have some special memories but we didn’t have ONE interruption from a work-related situation. THAT was amazing in as of itself!

The trip is about 12 hours with stops and we did take our time stopping at shops along the way. The colors made the trip even more enjoyable and with the ’70s and 80’s tunes jammin’ we made our way to this beautiful part of the country!

We Arrive

Both of us expected this to be more of a Las Vegas kind of scene but we were pleasantly surprised it was far from it! The attractions are fun and so are the shows you won’t be disappointed! Yet our favorite thing to do was enjoy the mountains and waterfalls. Our hotel, Falls Creek was wonderful. It was off from the hustle and bustle of the main area and if the creek was flowing that too would have been beautiful. But as you can see, we enjoyed the place to relax and wind down in between activities. Dan often commented on how it felt like we were on a cruise with so much to do! HA!

Outside our door at Falls Creek Resort

Highlights

Our favorite show of course was the Stampede. We loved the food, eating with our hands as is most of our life on the ranch, the horses, music, and we just loved the patriotism of the whole show! During this time of covid, masks were worn by the employees but as long as we were in our seats we didn’t have to wear them, which was nice. The waiter was awesome and very hospitable! He kept Dan’s sweet tea mason jar full the whole time! Truly worth the time and would do it again in a heartbeat!

The Outdoor Attractions

This is what we loved most…being in the areas that had hikes, biking, and just plain old enjoying the great outdoors! The waterfalls there are amazing and many places we didn’t get to. The Silver Dollar City created in the old west times of course once again fits our lifestyle and what we love. Creative crafts and cooking over an open fire made our day! I tell ya, you can’t go wrong finding something to fit your loves…we sure didn’t spend long enough there that is for sure!

32 Years…A Memory We will Cherish

We love riding in the fall and enjoy being with the horses, but we are thankful we made the choice to leave them behind and concentrate on US! Marriage is important to God and when He joins two together He does provide the beauty for us to enjoy spending days of rest and celebration it’s just that we don’t often take the invitation. We know the importance but do we often embrace it is something we felt we need to take more seriously. We will cherish the memory of Branson and the time we shared together without the worry of our home as our kids took on the chores and ministry needs.

I encourage all married couples to embrace rest and time away! It is indeed good for the heart and soul and renewal!

God’s blessings to you all!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee and Dan

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Ministry, Ranch Life, The Boys

Asking vs. Telling

Who hates being told what to do? I sure do! From the time I can remember when someone told me to do something I resisted with all my soul. But when asked with a “suggestion” or “request” I was more apt to WANT to oblige.  Being asked to do something is always much better received than telling in any relationship, horse to human, and especially human to human.

Asking brings a much sweeter response to any relationship!

Patience is a Virtue

It’s funny how much I dislike math, more specifically, algebra! The old saying, “what you do to one side you have to do to the other.” Well, fancy that…the same is true in teaching a horse! Horses have an immature corpus callosum, which is the link between the two sides of the brain. So when I work with my horse and I teach on one side I must do the same to the other.  For example, when I ASK my horse to move his hind end on his right side, I must do the same on the other. Asking, get a response, receive a reward for even a try, back off, try again, and if he moves it over reward and love him up! Then do the same thing on the other side.  The same holds true for human relationships. This reminds me of the verse in John 16:12 when Jesus says to his disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you can not bear them now.”  I think about one example of when I am sharing the gospel or truth from His word with someone they may only be able to handle a little bit at a time and to hear the same thing again until received well.

Training is a special time

Being a Partner vs a Boss

Horses are herd animals meaning they always need another herd bound animal. They are not loners. We have two horses and when we are on a trail ride if one of us travels further away from the other they will begin to neigh at each other and even get a little pushy to want to go closer to their buddy. It is what is called “buddy sour”.  As much as we work on this we still struggle with gaining the partnership relationship vs getting bossier. If my horse knows I will keep him safe and am his partner in this relationship, he will respond in a way to show he doesn’t have to have his herd mate with him all the time. I don’t have to have a bossy way about my communication with him to keep him focused on the ride and not worry as he can trust me. Partnership in a relationship vs being overpowering in a conversation or “winning” will lead to one wanting to run away for safety.  We work better together in human relationships when we work as partners seeking trust and respect for one another. 

Seek the Fruit of Kindness

Over the years I have seen many ways people handle their horses both in training and in riding on trails. There are ones who have the “breaking” mentality where kindness is not present in the human. Training is a special unique relationship between horse and human. It’s asking, being patient, and being a partner. I have a special horse with a very unique relationship because it is based on being kind to one another. Human relationships respond in the same way. Kindness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit and there is a reason for that. It’s always well received and builds lasting relationships.

My first day with my new buddy…Bokoda Joe

Communication is Key to Relationships

Boy, when I don’t let my horse know where I am and sneak up on him disaster is at hand! A horse is a prey animal and is always nervous about a predator attacking them so when one sneaks up on a horse you will get what you deserve…a kick…a rear…or a blowout run! The same holds with my relationships with others. Being open with my thoughts and feelings especially in conflict is huge to understanding one another. It helps build the relationship to be stronger and overall healthier. Trust is key in any successful relationship…how do I know…I learned from my special horse!

Since I got Bokoda I have learned so much about relationships! Bokoda has indeed taught me many things. One thing for sure I am thankful for is his patience as it surely isn’t natural for a horse to trust a human. But his love for me is evident by the sweet response of faithfulness in every day! Especially in ministry! Thanks Bokoda we sure do have a special bond!

Faithful friend!

Peace in Christ and in all your relationships!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee and Bokoda

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Health, Ministry, Peace, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

Support…Truly A Gift

Dan and I have longed to have our big equipment be covered as the expense of these machines aren’t cheap so taking care of them is much needed. Over the past year, we have been praying about how this could happen and where. It dawned on me one day our hay shelter has room either side to add a lean-to. So I asked Dan about it. He looked at it and just like that…we had an idea to use this space to “hide” and protect much of this loose equipment. Next hurdle…money. We continued to pray…

And as Dan was sharing how he would build this he asked a friend who is experienced in building some suggestions. This man jumped at not only building it but paying for it ALLLLLL as well! Only JESUS provides like this! Truly…a gift!

Men at work for the Lord

I made a fun lunch for them using my homemade hummus. A little worried they wouldn’t like the healthy eating…but gave it a shot. They loved it! Plus a full mason jar full of Truvy Heart and Hydration drink which is full of electrolytes, like drinking Gatorade but MUCH better for you. You can try the variety pack here.

Here is the recipe for the wrap and hummus.

If you are an energy drinker, ask me how to improve your health by getting the boost, but not bad caffeine. Truvy has a wonderful NEW product that TRULY is wonderful especially for those early mornings or jobs which you need a boost. Here is the product if you want to check it out. Comes in 3 flavors. I highlighted the Cucumber/Mint, but feel free to add what you like. SOOOO delicious! And hydrates as well! What energy drink does that? NONE!

Another 4 legged friend

Our little Tigger has not been back from her adventures in the wild for over 2 weeks so we decided to add another little one to help keep Mousy company. Meet Moon…a female rescue…

Sorry for the poor image…she’s a skittish one.

More to come

They guys are still at work finishing this project as rain and sessions delayed them. One thing which is hard doing big projects in the summer is our heavy schedule of kids and IS our priority no matter what else is important to get done. Working around the sessions is a must. I will post the finished look soon, I hope!

God’s blessings upon you…

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

We have an awesome board who loves to pray and serve our ranch ministry! Dan and I wanted to have them for dinner and give them all a relaxing and fun evening and the Lord sure provided a beautiful evening.

Missing the guys in this shot!

We began our evening at the ranch to have appetizers and pray. I greeted everyone at the gate serving these watermelon slushies. As each of them came in I shared about the new things happening around the ranch. We ended by enjoyed sitting around the fire and catching up before we headed to our home down the road.

We greeted our board with a watermelon slushy….non alcoholic of course!

So easy to make…

8 cups of watermelon, 1/2 cup simple syrup, 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice, extra lime for garnish, Himalayan salt for glass garnish.

Blend all together and pour over ice cubes. Serve with your garnish. Store extra in the refrigerator if you have any…HA!

Tip: simple syrup is 1 cup sugar and 1 cup of water bring to a boil and stir for one minute. Let cool completely before putting into your mixture.

We also served a simple bruschetta and fruit salsa. Keeping with the theme of summer freshness as you will see throughout our menu.

Brushetta with fresh little tomatoes.
Peach salsa and we added regular hot salsa and guacamole

Let’s start with dessert! This took me a lot of time to make mostly because it was really hot outside and the steps were tedious…but so worth it for this crew of friends. Here’s my special post and recipe.

So beautiful and I brought them out on the pontoon for our lake cruise.

Along with the ribs we served some amazing sides:

Crispy Potatoes with a Hasselback and Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs gold potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 c packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayo
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and chopped (we made 2 one without the hot and one with)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground fresh pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut each potato in 1/8 inch slices, taking care not to slice the potato through al the way. Leave a 1/2″ base on the bottom to hold the potato together.
  4. Set each potato on the baking sheet and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Roll potatoes around to coat in oil, then turn them cut side up. Squeeze the sides of each potato to open the cuts in the potties so the oil works its way through into each slice.
  5. Sprinkle tops generously with sea and pepper. Bake for 45-60 minutes until slices are crispy and slightly speared, and the base of each Otto is soft.
  6. While you wait for the cooked potatoes make your sauce. Put all sauce ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour into dishes making sure to separate your jalapeño one if you decide to do that.
  7. Serve each potato with the drizzled sauce over the top. It is indeed an over-the-top side!

TIP: The sauce went amazing on with everything we served! Mixed with the ribs people were dipping and adding to their plates! OOOO so good!

NEXT…Salad!

This dish for the flavor to pop takes a smoker for the best results. If you don’t have a way to smoke, you can put on a grill on your stovetop to get the blackened look. You can also brush the corn with a mix of butter and smoked paprika. We use our smoker the rancher way…fresh wood not chips! It’s not only cheaper…but OOOOOH what a difference in flavor!

Last but not least…what every cowboy family loves…CORNBREAD served in a skillet of course! Served with honey butter and added touch but really makes it!

The only way to serve cornbread…in a skillet!

Ranchstyle Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp. cream of tarter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 tbsp. shortening

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 450 degrees
  2. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda, herbs,, and tarter. Stir together.
  3. Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir with a fork well. Add the 1/2 tsp baking soda and stir again. Pour milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined.
  4. In a small bowl, melt 1/4 shortening. Slowly add melted shorting to the batter, stirring until just combined. In an iron skillet, melt the other remaining 2 tbsp of shortening over the medium heat. Pour the batter into the HOT skillet. Spread to even out the surface. (Bater should give you a nice sizzle.)
  5. Cook on stovetop for 1 minute, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and edges are crispy.

What a night! Having the meeting on the pontoon was such a delightful way to enjoy the dessert and enjoy the summer night which was perfect! Setting up the table with the little name tags in chalk to label the food and give each of them the gift of making their own herbal summer tea. It really was special meeting night. I think we will try and do this every year!

God’s blessings,

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Health, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Many homemade sanitizers are not good…

You’ve heard! DON’T make your own! They are not the real thing! Buy only certain brands! The list goes on. And…some of it is true. But there is a recipe that does work, is very strong in protecting germs AND is better for you as natural always is.

I love this recipe because it not only uses natural ingredients but also the essential oils are pretty complementary to what most people will enjoy putting on their hands. I think you will find it wonderful too.

Make Many Bottles

I would suggest making up at least 3 bottles of this as you make it. We have them all around our ranch for kiddos to use as well as keeping us from germs and washing those dirty hands from ranch fun. I also made up some for each of our vehicles to have handy when shopping in town and in the woodshop too. I am sure you have special areas you want to have a bottle handy, so think about that before you begin. Of course, triple or double your measuring amounts.

If you have darker mason jars, it is best for keeping light out when using oils.

Here ya go:

What you will need, easily dispensable bottles, dark is best…LOVE this product from Masonjars.com

Essential oils: Blend in a separate bottle and label as you like. I put a GERM BOMB!

Clove, Rosemary, Lavender, Spearmint, Thyme, Basil, Sage.

  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 tbsp. grain alcohol (find local liquor store or natural food products)
  • 1 tsp. vegetable glycerine (best to use non-GMO from coconuts )
  • 1-2 TBSP. Colloidal Silver (depends on desired consistency)
  • 10-20 drops of above oils

Mix first 2 well then add next 2. Mix again and add oils. Blend well before pouring into dispensers.

Enjoy keeping your family and guests sanitized especially during these trying times! These make great gifts too!

God’s blessings!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life, Smokin'

OH! What a delightful dessert this little treat is! We had a dinner party/Board meeting at our home this last weekend and this dessert sure hit the spot! Enjoying the summer temps, laughter, and friendships and of course food always makes for a great time!

I found this recipe and of course had to tweak it a bit for natural ingredients instead of canned or boxed shortcuts. I love serving the best I can even if it takes an extra step or two.

Here ya go…ENJOY EVERY SPOONFUL!

Ingredients:

Cupcake part

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter at room temperature, salted
  • 1 cup of organic sugar
  • 2 large eggs (one more if you have chickens who have a tendency to be smaller)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of fresh vanilla
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. half and half

Syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

tsp. grated lime zest, plus 1/4 cup lime juice

Lime Filling

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

6 tbsp. sugar

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature

2 tsp. grated lime zest, plus 1/2 cup lime juice, plus 12 thin lime slices, for garnish

1 10 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup slivered almonds or macadamia nuts

Directions:

  1. For the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray silicone cupcake pan. Sift the flour, baking soda, and cream of Tarar and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on high speed until nice and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk; mix for a few seconds on medium speed after each addition. Scrap the sides of the bowl, then mix a final time.
  3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan on a rack, then remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely.
  4. For the syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the lime zest and juice and let cool completely.
  5. For the lime filling: Beat the heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl with mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Set the whipped cream aside. Put the cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and the lime zest in a separate bowl and beat with the mixer on medium speed until smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Add the condensed milk and lime juice and beat on low speed just until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped cream.
  6. To assemble: Slice the cupcakes in half horizontally and place a bottom piece in each of the twelve 8 oz mason jars. Spoon half the lime syrup over the cakes. Spoon the lime filling into the jars and top with the remaining cupcake pieces. Spoon the remaining syrup over the cakes. Top with the remaining whipped cream. Put the mason jar lids on each and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with the nuts of your choice and lime slices before serving.

TIP:

If you decide to refrigerate overnight, place your nuts and lime slices ON TOP of your jars so you don’t forget to add them… I did this…bummer for the guests, but it is a nice touch!

Yummy in the tummy!!

Enjoy!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Health, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

I have always wanted to have a diffuser when I travel and NOW Rocky Mountain Oils provides such a thing! This little guy is so cute and easy to travel with you can take it anywhere.

Perfect for on the go or in the office!

Another great idea from Rocky Mountain Oils! I think you will find this to be an awesome addition as well as a great gift idea! I love how you can get a special as you group the perfect oils to use with this diffuser. Like the Peppermint, or Immune Strength. Both are wonderful for sinus and immune-boosting. The orange is one that is rated in the essential oils as the TOP 5 everyone should have…so there ya go! You get 3 of the top 5 with an amazing mist diffuser!

So small and beautiful too!

Love the bundle idea! Take a look!

Perfect combo to fit all the important needs to good heath!

Try it I think you won’t be disappointed!

Here is a little clip of how it works.

Enjoy the aroma and health benefits of essential oils!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life

Having a daughter as an officer without hesitation we support our folks in blue.

Dan and I served in the mounted patrol a few years ago and enjoyed serving the county in any way we could. So it’s no surprise I wanted to make something festive for these summer celebrations, especially since our girl is home for good!

Oh, these were the days!

I started making shirts for our ministry team and for helpers which helped me practice. I tell ya the company Expressions Vinyl is awesome! I love their videos and special help they give when something doesn’t work. I appreciate that not only for myself but for ones like you who try them I know I am sending you to a great company!

To make this shirt however was a bit more tricky because it was a layered process and adding the BLUE strip made it even more tricky. But, it worked! Using the Cricut Explorer and having the Cricut Design space to put the design together to form this wonderful expression of where the necessary tools to pull this off. I also have a heat press which I have found to be much better than the iron due to the heat intensity. If you are going to get into crafting such products, one must have the right tools!

I did the white layer first, stars second, and the red pulling the one red one-off, ironed on than did the blue by itself. MOM was last.

Material used:

  • Use the Easyweed brand NOT stretch if you have the Cricut press or iron

Red, white , and royal blue, and Black or dark navy blue for words.

Enjoy! It’s fun and make wonderful gifts too!

Love deeper, talk sweeter, and support the ones who protect and serve,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Herb Basket, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

What in the World!

Yep…just what I thought…what is a ginger bug? I love ginger. I love what it does for all the medicinal needs of our bodies. So when I saw you make a fermented bug to add to syrups or other recipes like making your own ginger beer, I was all in!

What is Ginger Beer?

This cool and delicious soft drink which is filled with health benefits. Many think because it has “beer” attached to the name it contains a lot of alcohol. Of course, like any fermented homemade drink the longer it sits, the more the alcohol content. But for most who make it including my recipe, it is less than .02%. It is not so much fermentation in the actual drink as it carbonated as it sits. A lot like a Kombucha is really good for you and can be a beverage for any age.

What are the health benefits?

  • relaxes you and your mood
  • smell enhances your mood as you sip away
  • relieve pain and mental fatigue
  • helps with depression
  • has anti0inflammatory properties to help with internal inflammation
  • anti-bacterial properties help with mucus and upper respiratory and coughing
  • anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties help to boost the immune system
  • MY FAVORITE…natural probiotic as in the formation it improves digestion, maintain the microbial flora of the gut and fights and fights gut bacterial.

Are you SOLD YET?

I was! I love this concept and easy to do. Yes, it takes time, but what an awesome drink to have in your refrigerator for any event or daily beverage. YES, it contains sugar. But much of it is fermented out during the process. It is AWESOME!!!

Next step…make your ginger bug than you will be ready for the ginger beer recipe!

Your base

How to make your bug!

Ingredients:

2-3 Tablespoons of grated ginger root

1/2 cup of organic sugar

2 cups filtered water

Instructions:

  1. Grated or cut up a ginger root. I like to have it grated to better get the flavor out.
  2. Fill a quart size mason jar with 2 cups of water
  3. Add sugar and ginger to water and shake it up.
  4. For the next 3-5 days keep adding 1 tbsp. of ginger and 1 tbsp. of sugar…shake up.
  5. I do keep a lid on the jar but you can just put a coffee filter on it and use mason jar canning ring to hold into place.
  6. Make sure to add each day and still with a metal spoon or shake.
  7. When you see it FIZZ at the top you know it is working!

Comment:

Please let me know if you tried this and the ginger beer…I think you will like it.

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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life, Sewing

Learning on my own

Did you ever see something and you just wanted to know right away the directions on how to make it? Well, that was me when I saw the stand-up gnome idea. I love them! I think it’s because they look more alive! HA! So I explored all the ins and outs and came up with this simple way to make them. I hope it helps you if you want to try your hand at making one.

Steps one by one

STEP ONE: Getting your material

Styrofoam cones ( I tried many different ones and came back to this simple one)

Material (base theme) Cut 9″x 9″

Bamboo sticks legs

pipe cleaners for arms

Accessories for your character (like the bucket, or flower)

Beard

pom poms (top of hat and nose)

Shoes ( baby socks already made or plastic eggs and cardboard to make your own)

Pool Noodle cut 2″ thick

glue gun

Shoes were very detailed using ribbon for the laces and outer trim

STEP TWO: Assemble

Have your cone flat on a surface. Place your nose in center and shape your beard around your nose. I use sewing pins to hold it all in place before I glue to make sure it is what I am looking for.

This cone is a harder styrofoam I would not recommend use the one I have listed soooo much easier!

Next add you legs. If your using pins you can shift the beard and nose if need be at any point.

STEP THREE:

Making your hat. I used a simple gnome template and traced it onto my material. I made 2 so I could have two sided look. Placing them right sides together sewing along edges of course leaving the bottom open to place over the cone. I also use material for the edge of the hat just for fun. I sewed that first before sewing all together.

STEP 4: Making the legs

You can use toilet paper tubes or a pool noodle. I found the pool noodles easier to work with. Cut the noodle to the size you want.

Simply take the extra material and wrap around the noodle. Again I pinned first.

STEP 5: Add your shoes or socks over the pool noodles. The sticks I poke through the plastic shoe. Noodle goes around the inside of the shoe.

If you buy the socks individually they come with these plastic shoes.
plastic shoes really make it easy and fast…but skinny looking

STEP SIX: Arms are next. use one of the baby sock and cut in half. Sew up the sides. This will make a natural elbow and little mitten hand. Put over a pipe cleaner that you cut in half. Stick into the cone under the beard.

Cut pipe cleaner in half and one baby sock

STEP SEVEN: Assemble your gnome! Once you like how everything looks, start hot gluing each part to secure.

Different Shoe Looks

Each way to do the shoes comes out a little different
Here is the video on how to do this one. Fatter look to the feet.
Gnome Feet Video

Oh, I hope these turn out for you! I love them and love to use different themes. I will be making more on rainy days so I will share them here!

HAVE FUN!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Healing, Hope, Ministry, Ranch Life

November 22, 2020

I have only been muskie fishing once, at least on purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I love to fish, just like some action. Compared to Canada where you catch a fish almost every cast… You will for sure need patience if muskie fishing is a sport you wish to take up. I have heard it can be exciting. Was not for me. 6 hours in a boat swirling your rod around in the water every now and then. Nothing, no excitement, not even a weed. Definitely challenges your patience. Ahh that word again patience.

James 1:2-8

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. …

I think of the word “Perseverance”. It is to keep on going even when it sometimes does not make sense, like trying to catch a muskie all day long. Allowing perseverance to finish its work is the part where we must be patient, just like today. Patients is sometimes taking in a deep breath and looking at the beauty all around you.

Looks like we are in a waiting game. Patience. The days all seem to be blended together. Losing track of time and missing my wife! Like Lee said last Friday we passed like 2 ships in the night… Today we hear that numbers are stable so no blood transfusion! PRAISE. Still need to get the muscle mass up and hit that 1700 calorie number so he can get the tube out. We may see him moved to the rehab facility yet this week. Could even be Thanksgiving day. We will keep you posted. Mitch has been trying to connect on facebook and catching up on emails. This is a good sign as he is trying to reach out and get a sense of normalcy.

This is fishin’

November 22, 2020

A special week it is…a week to celebrate Thanksgiving…THANKFULNESS and GIVING…I believe a time we should all be celebrating every day!

Today, even as I type… marks 3 weeks with Mitch’s journey of life. I hope one day I won’t come upon a Sunday and keep doing this where I count the weeks but instead switch to not looking back but forward.

Dan and I had our morning devotional (on the phone) and one thing that hit us is how the Lord is always on our side. “He guides our way, and He gets the say. When we fail, He loves us still. When we’re unfaithful, He remains faithful.” Suzie Larson devotional. (link)

The doctors came in saying, ” some days will be two steps forward and one step back.” We have seen that played out daily for sure and seeming more steps back in the earlier weeks.

The steps reminded me of the poem many know of the Lord Footprints. Walking in the snow this morning down at the ranch and looking at Nuggets hoof print and mine facing one direction and then of course when I turned around he followed me going the other way, I was reminded the Lord is with us each step of the way. Taking the steps forward and even backward He is with us. His prints are in mine walking in together. Not over mine not even next to me, but right within me, totally with me.

Together with Christ we get through the backward days.

Dan and I are so thrilled to see such a difference in Mitch! The doctor’s only concern is his loss of muscle and how thin he is. They are trying to get him to eat today every 2 hours and to walk even more. He asks questions to the doctors now vs. just lying there nodding. Mitch is defiantly having a forward foot day!

So with the good news, we also know there will be backward foot days but we will STILL GIVE OUR LORD PRAISE! I love this hymn from the Gaither family and hope it blesses all of you as you celebrate EVERY DAY in gratitude! Life…second chances…some third chances…for all of us to know we have a God who loves us and is with us if we choose HIS path to follow in HIS footsteps. Praise Jesus!

November 21, 2020

3:30pm..from Lee as Dan is gallivanting in the cities I guess Christmas shopping for me! Update on Mitch’s tests both x ray show the feeding tube is in the right place and the ultrasound this morning showed the blood flow is good too and no sign of clotting. Mitch has been experiencing constant need to get sick so they wanted to make sure no underlining issues existed. He walked a lot today and the pain is more under control. He even got his hair washed and looks dashing! Another brighter day…off to do chores and come back to talk to him before he rests for the night. SOOO amazing he is doing well now! Pray for continued healing!

Got on this morning and Mitch is doing much better. We sure are blessed to be able to have this technological connection. I can kinda tell he is on the mend as he ordered PIZZA! Mind you now this is not his favorite “Rafferty’s Finest W/Bacon”. Wouldn’t that be neat to have a Rafferty’s in the hospital! Will have to talk to Mark about that one. Mitch has had a unit of blood every day as his body tries to catch up. The feeding tube is still in place to help with his malnourishment issues. He is scheduled for another ultrasound to make sure he does not have another hematoma. We sure don’t want another emergency surgery. Please pray for clear results. Should find out a bit later today and will update.

Mitch’s new puppy is getting older! Kinzey gave her Mitch’s jacket and she just cuddled right up and laid on it. If she can’t have her master in person, she got the next best thing…his smell!

We got moved into the apartment and it sure is nice. 2 separate bedrooms, nice living room, big kitchen and a much needed freezer for any meals we might get. When Mitch gets out of rehab we can have a separate room for him away from the noise. I never thought I would be getting an apartment in the cities! Those that no me know just how much I like the city life… Anyway we are blessed and the timing is of course God’s perfect timing.

God’s never early, never late, but always on time. … God’s perfect timing does two things: It grows our faith as we are forced to wait and trust in God and it makes certain that HE, and HE alone, gets the glory and praise for pulling us through. “My times are in Your hands …” Psalm 31:15

November 20, 2020

For all law enforcement skip the next few sentences…

I was so joyful to see Mitch waking up energized, talkative, and heading to the restroom a little easier after all this time! Today began a brighter day for all of us!  What a change even in 2 days! I now felt secure in knowing he is on his way to healing that I could feel good about heading home.  Defiantly a better timing!  Heading down 94, KTIS blaring with the song RISE UP, tears flowing, and glancing at the speedometer reading 80…I was praising the Lord for all He has done! Your timing is always perfect Lord! ( I did slow down by the way back to the speed limit just so you know)Dan and I literally were 2 ships passing in the wind as he was arriving in the cities to meet with the gal for the housing and I were headed out. So sad we won’t see each other for another week but for the sake of the Covid, we want to make sure we are both healthy and clear when the little dude gets the  OK to come home.  So taking all precautions we sacrifice being with each other for a bit longer. 

I arrived at a clean home with Kinzey taking a big part in making sure the sheets were washed and the house filled with essential oil smell and a dog kind of excited to see me. Cruz is a bit confused and unsure of what is going on. Most border collies do not like change so he is adjusting to the routine and me once again.  Of course, it was also time to be heading to the ranch to get my sniff and fuzz fix. Cruz loved that and it made both of our days! Oh, the clean fresh air of the woods and animals over the city is SO refreshing! It lifted my spirits for sure. I just feel a little sad Mitch is facing at least another 2 weeks. But timing is key. HIS timing, not ours. 

Think about all the right timing since this whole journey began. The timing of the transplant. The liver available just for Mitch. The many needed surgeries. Many, many, friends and family praying us through. How I almost left when yet another surgery was needed and of course the housing coming at just the perfect time…ONLY GOD can do all that! ONLY HIM!  

A sunset paddle boarding adventure with Mitch and Kinzey…a special time together.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

It is hard to wait. I wanted so desperately for us all to be together by now, but looking back at all that has taken place I know the Lord has the perfect time for his arrival back home. For now, Dan and I enjoy the breaks and rest we need to prepare for the next steps and even though we are all apart we hang onto the love poured out from others and our daily time with Jesus.  Time with Jesus…it is…what gives us peace and JOY in the worst of times and the best of times! 

I am looking at a beautiful sunset with no buildings or distractions and in awe of it all. There is no perfect time like the present to embrace such a gift as accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Take it from this girl who has gone down this road without Him…I lost out on a lot of precious time of peace and joy. One never knows when your time is up. So don’t wait…your time may be now. 

November 19, 2020

The stress we feel on a daily basis has been more than I think I have ever gone through. I think it’s due to not having ANY control over this situation, how Mitch is feeling, and the ins and outs of balancing his pain and medications. Oh, and we can’t be with him during the most stressful time of our son’s life. STRESSSSSSS!

Every day the nurses are awesome listing the multiple meds before giving them and even reminding him what their purpose is. Mitch is still dealing with pain and now nausea. His feeding tube is causing issues on many levels but the doctors are stating the importance of keeping it in place because he needs to gain some weight. The stress of the forever balancing act of meds and issues is exhausting. As I type this he is on a PT walk trying to build up his muscle mass which is close to dangerous. He came back with some excitement in his voice, “I did some stairs!” The stress level immediately went down for me as I watched him walk in. Just hearing his voice be perkier and of course, doing more than he’s done in almost 3 weeks. WHEW…a sigh of relief…are we getting to the other side of all this? I sure am praying and knowing again, the Lord has this!

“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” Psalm 119:143

Dan and I have been apart for a week now which adds to my stress. Not having him around especially two days ago when Mitch had the emergency surgery. Stress can defiantly overtake my mind so I often will turn on worship music to help me change my focus. It works…every time!

Praise the Lord for all He has done!

We just got a call the apartments set up for long care families has an opening. We were 6th on the list on Monday and now #1. Things happen so unexpectedly we can really never plan ahead. I guess a reminder, “not to worry about tomorrow today has enough of its own.” holds true as only our Lord knows. Dan will come down to help with the move and I will, GOD WILLING head home for some much-needed rest in my own bed and get my animal fix including Kinzey. (which could fit into the animal category) Just the thought of digging my nose in the horse’s necks relieves my stressful thoughts! Someone should come up with a horse smelling essential oil. I know many horse friends who would wear them, especially under stress.

A roller coaster of emotions and stress will be never-ending with this journey or any journey the Lord allows. It’s all in how we handle it when it hits. Do we make it worse by worrying or do we stop and pray? Will we choose to recognize our thoughts and turn to thoughts of praise and thanksgiving or cave and go into a downward spiral of despair? Dan knows full well from the latter! Stress is one of the key reasons for many illnesses’ in our world and truly I believe as Dan and I face this one daily, sometimes by moment, we MUST turn our minds towards Christ. He is always with us and promises to take it away. What a difference it has made for both of us when we do.

Thank you all for praying us through…Mitch is doing so great today! I finally feel a little stressed FREE!

PRAISE AND GLORY AND THANKSGIVING to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ!!!!!

November 18, 2020

Getting out and shopped for Mitch’s transition to rehab, getting a different view outside of the campus and hospital area as well as this hotel room just felt so refreshing and hopeful. Mitch had such a great morning of progress until it all hit …his incision area was expanding causing unbearable pain. As Dan and I watched on the video our son in pain, not being able to hold his hand only with our voices be able to tell him, “we are here and are praying you through.”

“I will comfort you as a mother comforts her child.” Isaiah 66:13

The Lord comforts us in many ways. He hears us, He demonstrates His presence through others, He shows us in His word or song, He breaths hope when we are still and praise Him. 

Our new way of connection…so awesome!

This passage spoke to me as we can not comfort Mitch the way we want. Even watching the staff make his bed this morning as they took him to ultrasound because his liver #’s are up, I wanted so badly to replace her and do that for him. But it’s not now. Both Dan and I have another job given to us. Pray, seek, and continue to trust in HIS plan. What some may think, even me, that not being with him physically really stinks it is what the Lord allowed for a purpose we don’t understand. Yet comforted knowing Jesus is with Mitch and He is protecting Him. Truly this does comfort me. The staff is amazing. Dan got up in the middle of the night listening to the nurse being so sweet to Mitch he started to cry knowing Mitch is being comforted by others. We can’t be with him always, but Jesus is!. Talk about letting go…this is it!

November 17, 2020

6:30pm Mitch is out…Praise the Lord they caught the bleed. It was over the mesh and because he is on blood thinners and still holding a lot of inflammation due to still healing they do see this. This surgeon has had 2. Mitch still could face this until he heals completely we will pray for NOT! Dan was on his way…made in only 5 miles when I got the call. So he is back home. I was planning on heading home tomorrow but now decided to stay until Mitch is on his way to rehab or a day from it. He was doing SO well this morning. Just waiting to see him on the new video Dan set up. Hoping he will be back on the floor and not in ICU. It’s a mess down there now with covid…THANK YOU ALL for praying and holding him up and us.

EMERGENCY SURGERY

05:05pm As I write this I see Mitch lying in bed in 9+ pain. They can’t get it under control and he has a bulge in his scare area with leaking fluids. They are concerned he has a bleed and or colon disconnect. PLEASE PRAY. There is an army of doctors and nurses getting him ready. Unfortunately they will have to open him back up. Thank you warriors.

Isaiah 40:29
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Dan-Expected arrival 16:55

So I was on the way back home to the cities having to leave Lee to tend to Mitch. Everyone knows just how much I like the cities… Turning my trusty GPS on to navigate through the landmine of traffic, lake size potholes, thousands of orange cones, sign that keeps saying “End Road Work” and ohhhhh happy drivers. Of course the drivers pay entire attention to the road in front of them as they somewhat blindly rocket through traffic. (pretty sure I saw someone putting on makeup). Thinking we need to work on vehicle control vs 2nd amendment control. Some people don’t realize they are driving a weapon of potential mass destruction out of control. Just think how many of those vehicles are unregistered, just sayin’

Anyways, back to driving. So I get past the Rogers area and the GPS which is tracking me from a geosynchronous orbit 22000 miles or so above the earth wants to reroute me. In an effort to really want to get home I felt frustrated as I have made this trip many times and wanted to go the fastest way I knew. I wanted to trust in myself, not wanting to trust the GPS. Then I saw a bright sign, crash ahead… expect delays… With a flash I had a nudge (HOLY SPIRIT) to exit NOW and follow the GPS. Expected arrival 16:53.

Arrived safely. 16:47 (For those not math orientated looks like I saved 8 minutes)

Then I heard the news. The following is a snippet from the Star Tribune:

Semitrailer truck that stopped on freeway may have spawned last week’s 29-vehicle pileup on Interstate 94 in Monticello

“The State Patrol continues to look for the truck and its driver, and is asking for help from anyone who was on the scene. “

Trusting the GPS saved me about 4 hours not 8 minutes. So I got to thinking… What else could GPS stand for? God Promises Salvation for those who trust in him. 

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

See, following the lead of the HOLY SPIRIT kept my path straight. (Even though I felt I was getting the runaround with the GPS)

I think of Mitch right now as we are faced with the decision of the hospital to not accept visitors. Our plea was to let Lee in with an “exception”. Today realizing we are not “entitled”, our thinking got clearer. Thinking our plea should have been, Lord let Your Will be done and have it be the best decision for all. While Mitch was in ICU I had asked if they had an iPad so we could communicate with him and they said no, we don’t provide that type of thing.. We received multiple offers from my sister, an old customer and also a good friend Matt who just happened to be on his way to the area of the U with an iPad. Mitch got moved to the 7th floor and after speaking to the nurse manager pleading to have Lee get this exception she said she did not feel very confident the director would approve an exception. Just then she said we do have dedicated iPads for you to log into. WOW. I jumped on that project. We had a few technical issues but got things going as of this morning! Lee & I can both be on at the same time. What a relief. 

We have a great sense of peace that God has protected and placed up a mighty shield not only for Mitch and Lee but all the other patients in the hospital and we rest in this:

Psalm 18:2

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

We are resting assured… HE IS IN CONTROL.

November 16, 2020

It all finally caught up to me! Yesterday at 3pm I just couldn’t stay for my shift…I was exhausted and feeling I just wanted to go to bed. The good old word of REST which has been a word I have pondered, prayed for, and encouraged others to embrace for over 2 years has kicked hard. Because I didn’t rest enough and not embracing it myself, I had a restless night.

When I needed to leave, PT came in at the same time which was perfect in giving him another focus. He is still struggling with pain and discerning all that is being said to him with the many who engage in his day. Between therapy, nurses, doctors, social workers, it really is too much at times. The good news is he improves every day even though he doesn’t think so. He walks more and is being pushed to walk even more. His muscle mass is down so the doctor got on him today via video chat as yes, I am sitting in the hotel room taking a day off. He is on his own for the first time since we’ve been here and I know he will do well as he has quite the cheerleaders on 7A.

It’s amazing how many liver transplants they have done since we arrived. Just 5 alone last week. Many over 60 yrs old plus. Each one of them walks speedily by his door and I tell him, “that will be you soon.” He asked me the question, “when did they get their’s?” I told him, “a week ago but remember you had complications and 5 other surgeries so you have an excuse not to be where they are.” Every time people walk the staff cheers them on. Saying their name and rooting for them. It’s so cool. I will miss that today and guess what…it looks like I won’t be able to go back!

The hospital announced today is the last day for visitors. He wants me to come at least for the day, but here’s the thing…rest…I need to rest. If I don’t, I could jeopardize the weeks ahead. I told him to call me as much as he wants and to focus on the goal of walking. The days will go quickly. Dan is working on getting me to be with him during rehab or in on some of the aftercare info so we are hopeful I will see him soon.

“On the seventh day God rested from all the work He had been doing.” Genesis 2:2

The sacrifice is great choosing rest over being with our son during such a difficult time, but I believe the consequences of not resting is even greater. The Lord gave us a command to take a day of rest (just so happened it was Sunday too) because the Lord knows our bodies and minds need rest. I need to trust the staff is taking care of Mitch and he will be ok without me there. God is faithful and gracious in all the details so I will rest IN HIS presence and knowing Mitch is getting rest from his mom, which is also a good thing.

Taking some time today to journal in my bible

Pray for Mitch to have peace without me there and for him to use this as an “carrot” to get out of jail! Motivated to be onto the next step…rehab. And pray somehow I can be with him in the next step allowing time for me to continue to get my energy back and time of rest. Thank you!!!!!

November 15, 2020

08:30am-Dan

Anxiousness, we all have it. Where does it come from? The real root of anxiousness I think is a form of worry. Lee and I, two weeks ago to the hour, for a period of time, were extremely anxious, worried and scared. We just were not ready for the news we just got. Then we prayed. Our sense of peace to let Mitch potentially go to be with the Lord in those next 2 hours came from knowing we knew, without a shadow of a doubt that he knew HIS Lord and Savior. Then we rejoiced even though it was painful! 

Our Lord tells us what to do with anxiousness. 

Philippians 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

How do you rejoice in a serious situation? When everything seems to be coming down on you or going the wrong way? How do you stop worrying? The key is in the last part of 8 below and then re-reading 8. The verse tells us what to “think” about.

Philippians 4:8-9

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

11:12am Surgeons just came in and Mitch is doing better. PRAISE. Trying to walk to the bathroom by himself. PRAISE. Taking the catheter out. PRAISE. May need another unit of blood. PRAY. Very short of breath. PRAY. Wanting to get up and walk which will get him on the road to faster recovery. PRAISE.

So it’s what we choose to “think” about. Not saying that grieving is a bad thing, but how much time we spend there vs all the great and wondrous things around us to be so grateful for. I even look outside now as the snow is swirling around with the wind, it is like the breath of God. That same breath put life into us. What a thing to be grateful for! Thanks for praying. Thank you JESUS!

November 14, 2020

7:38

Guiding us along an unfamiliar path…unfamiliar…when you think of walking in an unfamiliar path what crosses your mind? I use similar ideas when doing sessions at the ranch asking kids to be blindfolded as they ride and ask questions like how they feel, are they worried and what is that worry. Or give them a trial and they have to try and lead the horse either riding or on the ground not knowing what’s around the corner that may spook them or the horse. Unfamiliar just by speaking or thinking the word can give one anxious thought and fear can creep in. But being in an unfamiliar situation is what the Lord allows in our lives to draw us back to HIM. Asking Jesus to lead us, help us stop fears and anxiousness and lead us to wisdom, clarity, and peace in this unfamiliar trail. We don’t know what lies ahead but we can trust in the One who does! His ways are clear and perfect and when a person chooses to be lead by Him instead of taking the rein yourself, the unfamiliar becomes calming. This unfamiliar trail ride isn’t what I would choose for anyone, but if the Lord allows it, it’s because HE has something amazing in-store and so I am willing to continue in the unfamiliar because He promises us…I will BRIGHTEN the darkness…SMOOTH out the road AHEAD…and with that promise, we all can hang on for the ride! I think we will name one of our trails at the ranch…UNFAMILIAR…what do you think?

“I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along the unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them.” Isaiah 42:16

THE BUTTON!

Mitch has loved this button for the past week! It is his pain control button. He loves it so much his hand has shaped into the form of this button. He presses it often. Even before the light turns green he pushes it. I asked the doctors if they know when he pushes it before the green button lights up. They nodded yes. So I encouraged Mitch to wait for the green light to go on first then press it. The next day I encouraged him to look at the green light and decide if he really needed to push it or if he could wait even 5 more minutes or longer. And he did pretty well with each transition. Good thing because guess what today was? THEY TOOK IT AWAY!  I wish I could have taken his picture!  They were gracious to allow a slow and easy transition with other meds but going down this unfamiliar, no controlled way caused much anxiety on Mitch. Even long before they took it. We talked through it convincing him the importance of getting rid of each line to better transition out of the hospital and with the unfamiliar there WILL BE a promise of brighter days! He wasn’t convinced and when I left him…in pain…I kissed his forehead saying I love you and it will get better the Lord promises so. You will have many more unfamiliar roads but the Lord is with you and so am I.

  He walked some…pain being such an issue again he didn’t have the strength to do much. His #’s in both liver and kidney are doing better, PRAISE THE LORD…still praying for him to do some “other things” on his own and he did have another unit of blood today which he has had almost daily. Overall…a good day…tomorrow will be more unfamiliar territory but the Lord is with us and so are you all praying us through!

 

November 13, 2020

6:45pm…Nothing like kissing our son on the forehead and he says, “don’t leave mom I want you to stay.” I can never leave him without a tear or two and wanting such a different life for him. I walked back of course alone in the dark, cold and with all these students walking in black hoodies, my guard is up as city walking is much different than when I lived here over 30 years ago. I walked to the front desk checking in my key as we had to add more days knowing Mitch will be here awhile when the young man looked up with a smile saying, “welcome home.” I smiled back and responded thank you but turned around choking up all over again. This day was better, probably the best day since we started this journey 2 weeks ago and my tears are because the Lord answered me. He answered our prayers spoken out loud. He answered them through all of you and He answered the unspoken ones.

We received cards for Dan and me as well as Mitch and of course tears of answered prayer through encouraging words of love. The Lord supplied all of our needs and continues to hear our cries. He indeed HEARS me!

Mitch is on a new floor! He is smiling a bit more, hard due to his feeding tube. He is up and walking more and is inspired to walk vs. wanting to just lay down due to so much fatigue. He shakes a lot due to high # in liver but the doctor reassured me this will get better as well as his intense itching so bad he cause scars. Mitch lost one of those bubbles which was awesome and the catheter which was even more awesome. Feeling a bit more normal helps him get more spunky. He also was able to call the kitchen to order what he needed. His list was long…ice tea, apple juice, and chocolate milk. His face was so funny when the person said, “the juice and tea will be right up but you can’t have milk.” He held the phone to me with a frustrated look saying “they won’t give me milk.” I told him the orders from the doctor go alllll the way down to the kitchen. SO, you can’t order what you want without permission. Oh, I had to leave the room I was laughing so hard! The surgeon who did the surgery I just love. The other one who assisted her has a personality of authority and firmness. He isn’t very fun like she is so I receiver her info much better. PLUS she is MUCH more positive which is huge! He came in with you need to walk 12 times today (never will happen with short staff so sets anxiousness for both of us), drink lots of liquid, and be nice to the staff. (he looked at me, I talked to him after about that one) The other surgeon comes into the room with a smile and looks at Mitch and said, “man dude you look amazing and you will be running the halls tomorrow you’re doing so well!” She kids around, going him a hard time as well as encourages him so well. Just love her! She also isn’t worried that his kidney #’s are up. She just is positive all will turn around! SO…hopeful we both felt! Mitch is doing wonderful…PRAISE JESUS as HE hears and HE answered! Tears of joy and hope as we head into the weekend!

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me.

I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me.”

Jonah 2:1b-2

We may not be a man who is sitting in a belly of a whale crying out to the Lord, but during this journey, I know trials can seem like one is in a dark, cold, and stinky place. But when we pray, He responds. Not always the way we want, but He responds what is best. I am thankful today…just plain ol’ thankful!

November 12,2020

6:30…my man went back home…came back to the dorm room with emptiness and a hard day…tears filled this tiny room but THANKFUL!

Patience is one Fruit of the Spirit I am totally bad at! Especially when it comes to my family’s needs and in crisis! Just letting you all know this momma isn’t putting up with rudeness, handling rough, shortness, or snotty attitudes from either staff or our son (even though he is dealing with so much and grace is given).  The last two days have been a challenge in the area of staff and frustrating for me as I am tired of course but trying to discern every detail, and take care of Mitch’s every need has set my patience on high.  Staff can be rude, arrogant, and snappy which I find not ok in a nursing situation. I do expect kindness and gentleness when handling him. I expect them to treat him with respect and telling him what’s going on. One can’t hide their attitudes under masks. I can read eyes and expressions well when the mouth is hidden. When Mitch is in need NOW and told he will have to wait and no one can help him I got ticked! 

 Yep, one young man no longer can have the privilege of serving our son. He got the boot!

 Yes, there is a lot going on with him still. The kidney’s numbers are increasing causing a chance that he may need dialysis. This scared me half to death (on the inside as I hold it all together around staff and Mitch). The liver is still being treated for rejection for another 3 days and with those meds, it causes kidney’s to struggle. Like the moment he got on the table on Nov. 1 it has been a balancing act with the medications. The liver is their priority to get going, healthy, and stable. They can’t replace a liver and everything else they say, “they will handle one day at a time.” Patience is just that phrase that makes me nuts because it’s true but hard not to think about future outcomes.  Seriously…who comes up with these phrases we are to be convicted about? Deep sigh…yep one day at a time and better yet, bring it all to prayer every detail. I am not to worry; the Lord Jesus has it all! Funny how God’s words are much more comforting and easier for me to incorporate than human cliché’s! 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Colossians 1:11

Mitch is in an isolated situation since he came off the table because he has MRCA. No big deal most of us have it they say, but the staff has to be in gowns every time they enter the room so not to spread it to their other patients. ICU is private rooms and it’s been kinda nice not having another patient in the room. It can be rather annoying. So I was curious about what will happen when he moves to a floor. (7A) Hoping he would get a private room. The hospital is full because of the Covid thing I heard anyway so I kinda gave up hoping for the private room. BUT…remembered he was in isolation so asked the charge nurse…she confirmed his room will be private. I walked away from the desk with hip hip hoorah and smile, which no one could see because of my mask.

It’s almost 5:00pm, my work for the day is almost done and he may not be moved before I leave. I will wait patiently as this day has been long!  Mitch is up, walking some, things are moving in that tummy, and he is getting out of ICU before his 2-week mark.., progress takes patience…that’s what we are hanging onto! Thank you all for praying…Jesus is rockin’ this! 

November 11, 2020

11/11-06:05am-Dan FREEDOM

The ICU nurse said he had a rough night last night. Still need to get the bowels moving so they can see that the colon is functioning. If not, a need for another surgery would be called and he would have to have the bag outside his body. Also not flowing liquids so had to have the catheter put in every 8 hours overnight to relieve the pressure. Liver biopsy results came in and his numbers are trending down, PRAISE. Mitch would really like to get “free” from the tubes and all the mechanical things that are hooked up to his body. To get “free” you have to work at it, so he needs to get up and move to help things get going. It is tough to do and you have to work through the pain. 10:50am-Just in-Radiology is coming in to do a study on the colon. He is starting to have kidney issues and the doctors are going to start to deal with that today. Pray for him today to continue to have strength to work through that pain, the colon and kidneys. Definitely feel like we are on the front line again today…

Today we lift up all the men, women and their families who are fighting now and who fought for our country to give us freedom. But, freedom comes with a cost… Freedom is not FREE. Many lives have been lost over the years to help preserve the freedom we have in our country. Thank you Veterans!

We as believers in Christ  have a different kind of “freedom”. The freedom to know and follow Jesus Christ and believe in HIM as our Lord and Savior. Knowing that the battles on this earth are continuous, but we rest in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ who wins the WAR. HIS was the ultimate sacrifice and he has set us FREE.

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

November 10, 2020

Wanting a perfect surgery, doctor, nurse, room, or outcome is something we just can not have on this side of heaven.

Deuteronomy 32
New International Version
32 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.

We want it so badly right now as Mitch is facing such a hard journey.  As I listened in on the floor team doing their rounds (they invite me daily to join them, not always I do) going on and on about what he is taking, what his numbers are showing, and what he needs to improve. I had Dan on video too so he could hear. One doctor stated his rejection is moderate to severe. Man…as much as I want to bypass the imperfection of this transplant the reality of it, it’s not. Mitch’s body came onto the table imperfect and the donor’s liver wasn’t perfect either so the outcome will have its bumps. Rejection is part of it. They will be doing a 6-day drug treatment and will do a test on Thursday to see how it’s doing as well as do another biopsy after the 6 days.  They are also keeping a close eye on this colon as his tummy feels pretty tight and need that to not get stressed. Praying for both these issues to simply improve or at least be on the way would sure rest our minds. 

Mitch is up, sitting in a chair, and even began walking today…twice even! Such praise!!! He wants to too and even said, “that felt amazing!” So great for his morals and keeping him motivated to see the first hand he is getting better and to keep trying every day.  It helps that the PT and OT are young-looking gals and very sweet to him. That is motivation just in of itself! 

We want perfection! We desire a perfect world with no pain, no tears, no trials. But the Lord says there will be all of that due to the fall of man. We can’t gain perfection until heaven where there will be no pain, tears, or trouble.  I believe this is why believers long for heaven so much to have this perfection and be with the Author of Perfection, Jesus. I can’t wait! So until then, we wait and pray, and live a life pleasing to God and give grace to all the imperfections in this world. 

Story of the nurse: Such a bummer today, this young man was not working so I could not chat with him more. But as he worked with Mitch yesterday being very compassionate, detailed in letting Mitch know all he was doing and what was happening I noticed several cutting scars on both wrists, up to his arm as well. I asked him as soft as I could, “it looks like you have had some pain as Mitch has”. He responded looking down, yes, and got quiet. I watched him move around so insecure about himself even though he was great at his job. He wasn’t the best at cleaning up after the artery IV was taken out, or organizing his IV pole which drove anyone working with Mitch nuts. Another nurse came in and took care of all those details as well as I did some because all the blood on the chair and floor were really disturbing. Later when he had to hold that vein for 10 minutes or longer it seemed, I said, “Mitch and I love to pray for people especially if they are dealing with something hard. How can we pray for you?” He responded, “I am not a religious person but appreciate people who care and do “that”. He went on,  “you can pray for my drive home.” I asked, “are you worried about something?” He said, “there is a lot of traffic and accidents and I want to be safe.” There it was. Safe…He feels unsafe I could read it in his face. Mitch and I prayed for him, what he asked for, and for the deeper pain, he is experiencing. We don’t know the details, but Jesus does. We don’t have to know but have the privilege of bringing this man before the throne.  When I got back to the hotel and told Dan about it I felt really uneasy with his character of not being clean, talked unnecessary at times, and really his insecurity made me feel like he didn’t know what he was doing. I wanted a “better” nurse but instantly felt convicted that Jesus has a different plan, we need to trust in the situation and give grace to this young man. He needs healing. He needs HOPE, He needs Jesus…and if the Lord provides…I will make sure he looks into my eyes and hears…HE IS LOVED!

Sorry no picture yet…working on him allowing this vulnerable time.

November 9, 2020

7:04pm
I just got off work and am sitting in our second home which we call a dorm room. Makes us feel young! Dan walks me to work and picks me up and even carries my backpack…ohhh the old times of high school years. Dan has been amazing making sure I am taken care of bringing my lunch and having dinner prepared with soda and peanuts and last night…he toasted the bread and put cheese on the mini pieces making a beautiful appetizer display! This toaster oven ROCKS! Thanks, McCall’s End of another day with a bit of relief.


The day was long due to getting a handle on Mitch’s pain. He was up most of the night and the nurse said they never did get ahead of it. So going in this morning he was one hurting unit. Besides all the doctor, surgeon, and nurses talk, the constant residents and rounds and really orders sounding like there are many bosses, I was ready to blow up. But Mitch did instead if you could imagine! He said to the nurse, “you all need to get on the same page and not have all these chiefs,” Yeah Mitch! One doctor would say one thing and another says something totally different. The bottom line, pain is an issue but he needs to move to get the bowels working which is a big need. All-day…nothing in that department. The pain was better but he will have some as that’s part of the process. So he got a backrub, with wonderful lotion given to us, ice sponge, and working on that tube thing to get you breathing deeper. It has #’s on it and for his breaths to reach a certain point.  Because he was on psalm 34 for a week his lungs are weak.  I love caring for him and pray for him out loud as well as to myself. Chris Tomlin singing away and trying to fill his room with Jesus as much as we can!  Another thing…his new liver is in rejection. I took a deep breath and was instantly told it is to be expected and they are giving him what he needs to get all things rolling normally. He also needed more blood. He has had a blood transfusion almost every day he’s been in ICU. Hemoglobin is down. Don’t ask me any #’s I don’t care…I just pray instead and leave the details to the Lord and the doctors. Honestly, they talk to you like you understand! But I do the nod and act like I understand so I guess I am just as bad. 
I was going to put a picture of Mitch in the chair but didn’t ask him if it was ok as his pain thing was too much. So I will wait and see what he says. We are really careful to respect him on this journey and try and meet that need too. 

Until tomorrow, pray for rejection to heal. Pray for bowel movements. (I know funny thing to pray for but important) and pray for continued pain management as the goal is for him to walk. 
Lastly, I was told…he might be in the hospital here for 2 weeks and another 2 in rehab. Here just over the river and through 35W. Another doc didn’t think it would be that long…she is day to day kind of gal and doesn’t like time given. Like that better! 
I will have another story about the nurse to share tomorrow. Special really…a guy who says he isn’t religious but had wounds I know so well on his wrist told me he needed prayer. God is good…and has a WHOLE lot more for us than Mitch!  Plus relief for a young man in need of healing himself!
Love you all!!!! 





JESUS, JESUS, how I trust thee…

Waiting for surgery. November 8

Ezra 9:8
“But now for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant in giving us a firm place in HIS sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage”

What WE feel like a relief. Mitch not so much. After Mitch got into his ICU room he was fast asleep. Peaceful. As the doctors and nurses did their jobs hooking up tubes, talking about taking out the respirator, going over stats, and what he will need in the next 24 hours, I sat in awe. (stomach a bit turning from blood and bubbles on his tummy) Relieved he was out, closed, fixed again with the whole artery thing, and colon lookin’ awesome. Just relieved and looking forward to the next step of recovery. One week ago it all started and relief for a new liver but anxious about the quality of life was at stake.

Not what I would call bubbles of joy

Yet Mitch woke up, hurting big time. The pain was so great he was pounding the covers. Gasping, tears, so much for a momma to watch. I told him to hang onto my hand and squeeze it as hard as he likes. As long as it hurts to just keep squeezing. I’m not gonna lie. I was thinking about labor. How Dan must have felt. How you just want to take the pain away from the one you love. But the pain didn’t subside. After they took “34” off of him, they gave him a bit more but said “he will experience pain. They can’t take it totally away.” Relief is all he wanted even just a little bit. I kept asking him, “do you have a little relief?” NO, and a squeeze… a few minutes later asked again…NO, more squeezing. It wasn’t until just before I had to leave did he have SOME relief.

Dan called this morning; our routine at 6am…he was up all night with still a ton of pain. They are trying hard to get ahead of it. He faced timed us right after we talked to the nurse and he is still experiencing some but just tired. Of course, he was up all night the nurse said. She also stated he tried FaceTiming us at 11pm but we didn’t answer. Well…I will chat with him about that. Give a child a means to communicate whenever and he took advantage of that! HA! We do need to rest. I am sure he wanted to tell us he was hurting. But what was cool was he SPOKE…HI! We haven’t heard his voice for a week. We missed it! Much deeper and raspy…but he spoke…and relief of thankfulness poured over all of us!

Today’s prayer…more relief of pain or pain management , some movement in that bowel so he can get some nourishment, overall feeling for himself to experience relief his healing is on the way. To stay strong.

November 8, 2020

01:48pm-Dan

We received a call from the doctor and PRAISE! The surgery went well. They were able to close him, but had to use a mesh as to not put compression on the liver. It’s ok, just not ideal. He now has a feeding tube and they did repair the colon with no bag but if he shows signs of a problem they will have to go back in. We need to pray for total healing! Lee is waiting for him to show up to his room from OR.

Address below to send encouragement to Mitch

08:30am-Dan-When things on earth just don’t make sense…

It was a week ago today, almost to the hour we had to make a tough decision about Mitch, no warning really just these are your choices and you need to make it now to either stop and have us sew him back up with 30 days or less to live or continue with a very high probability he will die on the table. I was already highly emotional and not thinking quite right. I thought the new liver was the one with issues. In a matter of seconds we both looked at each other and said CONTINUE. The Lord provided a healthy liver and we both felt we could not stand in the way of HIS purpose. I know we did not “sacrifice” him, but we, in faith knew God had a plan and these verses shows us what faith looks like:

Genesis 22 1-18

New International Version
Abraham Tested

22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”

I now know what Abraham felt like as we were at peace and ready to say goodby, at least for now.

Just as I was writing this we read a post from Shelley, a blessed friend.

“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. And I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.

I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. And I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.

I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. And I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.

And I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. And I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.

And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hard will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. And He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.

So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you and be a help to you. And I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”

– Unknown

Pray and let our Jesus do HIS thing! Thank you prayer warriors for being in this battle with us.

06:45-Lee

Surgery at 8am this morning…my sister lights a candle for every surgery…pretty soon she may have to take a loan out to buy more…praying NOT!

Psalm 18 :39

“You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me

Yesterday was a sweet day with friends, Denise, and Scott coming to visit, encourage, and pray and yes give HUGE hugs that we so needed! They filled us with some things we needed and even some we didn’t request but brought smiles and joy to our little home away from home. Nothing like family and friends rallying in times of need! Dan had put out there a need for Mitch to communicate through an Ipad and within a matter of moments we had many offers! One was our friends Lori and Matt. Matt was close by the hospital and was actually on his way to meet Dan to pray and had an Ipad. When Dan connected with him and I brought it up to Mitch he just beamed! Really…just lit up! Mitch was so thrilled he started typing right away asking how we got it. Just warm a mom and dad’s heart when a hurting child is smiling! He right away wanted Matt’s #…it’s the little things of love! 

Standing in the gap in this battle is what all of you reading this are doing! You are praying and seeking the Lord for this young man to healed! 

We know this battle has been won with our Lord Jesus who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! 

Another friend, Teri sent this song via email and it spoke to my troubled heart today. Listen to the words of hope and truths that pour from it.  So powerful! Sing it for Mitch today as he faces another surgery God willing, his last one.

PRAY the surgery is a success and they can close him without the mesh. With a fever the mesh isn’t the best option and could cause further complications so pray for easy close.

PRAY for strength for Mitch…he is looking rather thin and in much pain from laying so long on his back

PRAY the tube can be removed today and he be on his way to recovery.

PRAY for continued peace to fill his mind and soul! The new iPad allows for music which he plays while he sleeps and plays on it…so cool and of course a great witness!

YOU WIN EVERY BATTLE NOTHING CAN STAND IN HIS WAY! HE GOES BEFORE US!!! You got this Jesus…you got this!!!! Fight on your knees friends and family! We love you!

November 7, 2020

11:02am-Dan

The surgeon is putting off the surgery till tomorrow morning @ 07:30am because they want 24 hours of normal temperature before going in again. PRAISE as he has a normal temperature! Mitch is getting anxious so pray for peace as the days and nights are long.

06:15am-Dan

We called ICU this morning and PRAISE JESUS, his fever is GONE! His nurse had not heard yet if his surgery was on for 7am or not. Lee is getting ready for work, packing all her hats and will still go in at 8am as usual.

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Just after the call we got a facetime from Mitch. You can tell in his face he has lost some fluids and he seemed very peppy! We will update as we hear more. Thank you prayer warriors.

ADDRESS TO SEND MITCH ENCOURAGEMENT!

University Hospital Fairview

 Att. Mitch Shelstad

500  west Harvard Street Minneapolis, MN 55455

November 6, 2020

6:51pm-Lee

Hats…I have become a cop, security guard, house cleaner, nurse, answering service, and best of all…mom!

It has been a day again filled with wishy-washy, up and down, and not sure moments. Mitch is still battling a fever. All night he had 103 temps and when I left it did come down to 100.1. PRAISE OUR LORD! Besides his physical needs, I have had to tell someone she needs to improve her bedside manner and she will not have the privilege of working with my son again unless she changes her attitude. She did say she was sorry and I told her that is all he needed to hear! I also am short with the security guard who is a wannabe cop at the front entrance. This whole covid thing is going to make me nuts! I love cleaning up after Mitch and being his moment to moment caregiver. He gets annoyed at my hands on his forehead pulling his oily hair away but I sneak one in now and then.

Every time I try to pray with him, or play music I tear up and can’t finish. Even reading him some of the messages from all of you, I just can’t get through them. I tell him, “you’re just going to have to read all this when your better and you WILL get better.” He looks at me and signs, I love you! Warms my heart! Signing is out thing and love being able to know what he is saying…most of the time.

The surgeon came in to chat about what is next. She thinks they may try and go in tomorrow and for sure do another wash out to get rid of the infection that seems to be hovering in there and if he continues to get the fluid out enough so they can close him. They are giving him a drug to pee to get the fluid rolling. He has so much of it retaining in his legs and feet. His whole body was but slowly is subsiding. If all looks good, again they may close him but not if his body is showing any signs of infection. She did state the longer it takes to close him it gives time for the colon to repair as well so he won’t have to have a bag on the outside of his body.

So tomorrow early morning by 7am but it could change. We will update!

Thanks so much, everyone for your gift of love and encouragement!!! WE LOVE YOU!!! We gotta have a party when this is over!!!! Until tomorrow, sleep tight!

WHAT IS MITCHY SAYING?

04:26pm-Dan

FRIENDS continued… So we were told Mitch was not able to really communicate and just look how our Jesus works. Mitch can not only communicate but is responsive and very aware of his surroundings. Yesterday we gave him his phone and he has used the notepad app to type his feelings and requests so the nurses can respond accurately. The doctors and nurses are bewildered. New ones and old ones stop in just to see a glimpse of him. He is the rumor on the floor from the liver from before. He was wondering and praying for a purpose before the liver transplant, just less than a week ago and you can see his prayers are being answered. Our boy is a living miracle thanks to our great and mighty Jesus and prayer warriors. He was having issues with trying to really see the keys on his phone as his temp is 103F+ with eyes so swollen he can hardly see, so we decided to try again to get the social worker to provide an iPad or tablet with bigger text. No luck, not something they do. That was the answer. We were hoping that with someone with a seeing impaired issue would have access to something like this. We reached out for a tablet of some sorts and received multiple offers from friends & family to provide a temporary iPad or tablet for Mitch. The iPad along with a special gift for Lee and my favorite “Popeyes” arrived. Another friend and another blessing. I dropped off the iPad for Mitch and after a day of being rather lethargic and sad his eyes popped open wide as he could now SEE the keys and continue to communicate. Prayers and technology really at work. Just see how Jesus is at work…

Thank you Jesus. Thank you prayer warriors. Please pray for us for tomorrow that the next washout will be a success and they can close Mitches belly so he can start to heal. Pray also for the family of the donor as I am sure they are wondering about the outcome.

Isaiah 58:10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

FRIENDS. Last night a real good friend of mine came to pray and give support along with providing some meals and a place to put them (Refrigerator). What a blessing it is to have a REAL friend! If you have one, take care of them as they can be a relishment and refreshment in times of need and provide the additional strength on this side of heaven as we continue HIS work with this battle on earth.

06:14 We continue to pray for strength as yesterday was a rough and exhausting day for Lee. So much so that Lee is trusting in me to write the post this morning. We so wish we could switch off in ICU. We can’t! Pray for strength!

Ever wonder why a passage shows up more than once in scripture? I think it is because of our humanness as we sometimes have a hard time listening, hearing, and understanding as to what Jesus has to say…

2 Samuel 22:33
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

AGAIN

Psalm 18:32
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

We called ICU this morning and they said Mitch did ok through the night, but still has a high fever 103. He is packed in ice and cooling blankets to help keep this under control. They are unsure as to why the high fever and the cultures they tested are coming back as not growing which is a good sign.

The team is coming in this morning to give us a plan. Thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers!

November 5, 2020

Oh, your prayers are continuing to minister to our souls! This battle is difficult but we continue to wait for every detail to unfold.

Mitch is out of surgery. They got him cleaned out and his blood pressure immediately stabilized showing the need to get any bacteria out. They were not able to close him so back he goes once again sometime this weekend. They will wait until more fluid is out of the body which they are giving him meds to help.

I am heading back to go see him. (pray for me he will not be happy about another 2 days maybe 3 for that tube). His fever is still there but they feel that will subside now as well.

OUR JESUS IS RULER OVER ALL THIS!!!

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29



It is 11:40 and Mitch is going in at 1 for sure. It was iffy for a bit as they wanted to wait for the swelling to go down so they could close him as well as do the “wash out”. BUT his labs are showing signs of bacteria in the belly and they need to proceed even if they can’t close him. His fever is still high 102 bounces to 101 but is… bottom line… not good. The doctor is not an optimist about the closing. This frustrated Mitch and he did get agitated as can be expected. This is a long time to be awake and incubated. The nurse said it is unusual for a patient to be this alert but he is being good and not pulling at it. Praise the Lord! Thank you again for praying. We are praying he loses so much fluid between now and the surgery that they can confidently close him so he doesn’t have another day with this uncomfortableness. He is down today not responding to me much. His unhappiness breaks my heart. I just want him all better!

1:00 to day Mitch will go in for round 3! Man what a fighter he is!

He still is holding a temperature of 101 but did do better last night with pain and sleeping. He had a rough night the night before mostly due to “feeling unsafe” as he shared via text with me. Having his phone to communicate has been a blessing for sure. I thought he would be more under sedated as they say, but as long as he is ok and not needing it they would prefer him to be alert if he can stand it. If the pain gets worse, they increase his med for pain which does knock him out. There were moments yesterday I was hoping for that choice.

The surgery will be important today. PRAY, THEY CAN CLOSE that his belly shrinks enough for them to do so. That his colon issue is restored and his liver remains strong and working! PRAY he can get off this machine and out of ICU! Seeing other patience going for walks in the great weather and loved ones together breaking my heart Dan can’t be a part of this. If he was stable we could do the same. Love you all…your encouragement is SO AWESOME!!!

4:10pm..

Finally, Mitch is more stable! It took all morning and into the afternoon to get him calm, fever down…get this…101!!!! And the meds are holding whatever infection is going on is showing signs of working.

Mitch will have to go in tomorrow again…for wash out of the whole liver area making sure there is no infections, and hopefully close. The surgeon was not optimistic about closing him which would mean a possible waiting until MONDAY…this stinks! He is so frustrated at this machine and being incubated. He is sore, uncomfortable and really frustrated he can’t talk. He now texts me what he wants and his needs which has helped. (game of what is Mitchy saying may be a wash now) Nothing worse than when you can’t express how you are feeling!

PRAY his new liver shrinks and #’s stabilize. His fever continues to go down. He has a funky cold blanket on him ( I told him I want it afterwards he shook his head no and texted NO WAY) to help with the fever. The colon issue really is able to be fixed. She again was not real optimistic about that either but she said it’s an easy surgery months down the road when he is past all this other hump. So if it isn’t it’s the least of her concerns.

We continue to praise the Lord for how well he is doing in all this even the downward spiral we were on today. He’s here! He is in this with us! He is in control of every detail, each tube, connection, breathing, blood flow…liver…HE IS ALL POWERFUL and is the Great Physician. Jesus gets all the credit!!! ALL OF IT! SO thankful for such a different place of faith this round compared to 24 years ago. Praise the Lord for salvation in HIM! It’s what gets us through!

Tomorrow will be another day of life and trials. Dan and I pour our tears out as we read your encouraging words, songs, and scripture. They just pour over us. I try and have Mitch listen too but it is hard for him to hear and he gives me eyes of frustration so I keep trying. I know the music helps and the Bible passages help him. Keep ’em coming! If you have ever been too tired to pray, you know how great this is to have others help this along! Until tomorrow…Mitch is saying “goodnight sun”.

10:40am…Nov. 4

It’s been a difficult morning. Mitch is having a hard time breathing fighting the venerator. His fever is causing other issues and waiting on results for infection. His liver is struggling today maybe because of the surgery yesterday connecting the bile duct but they are working hard on every detail. There have been non-stopping people in here doing many different things from labs, pain management, ultrasound, the noise of beeping is not music for sure…but the sounds are showing life!

HANG ON MITCH!!!! You have come this far by the grace of a BIG GOD who sits on the THONE…there is NOTHING too hard for HIM!!! HANG ON SON!!!

November 4, 2020

“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4

“The angels of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and HE DELIVERS THEM.” 34:7

Dan and I are pressing into this chapter this morning! All of Psalm 34 is amazing and fits perfectly with what is happening and yes what lies ahead. Funny…his breathing machine has a # on it…34. I will do something special with that today.

Calling ICU this morning the nurse stated he did well after the surgery but he is running a 103 temperature and has all night. His body is fighting!

They were able to hook up the bile duct but could still not close him. As well as not work on the colon issue. So…back he will go later this week. I am exhausted just typing those few words. Every day is such a journey. As we pray we seek something so much bigger than ourselves. Many things happen in our lives every day how often each day is spent on someone else? I am sure you hear this many times from others that when the Lord puts on your heart to call, send a card, text…anything to that person…DO IT…because guess what? You may not get another chance.

Hearing the music in worship this morning…Precious Lord Lead Me Home.

Friend’s time is so precious. We don’t know we are loved unless someone tells us, reaches out, expresses love in some way. Doing nothing isn’t love. Thinking about someone is not love or may I say a prayer. “Our thoughts are not HIS thoughts”.

We feel it so powerfully through the long wall in the personal messages on FB, texts, email messages…we need that right now. Even if we don’t respond…know you are heard and it’s embraced with HOPE for Mitch!

Fun Game…What is Mitch Saying?

Comment below if you like…

Hard times still call for laughter among it all. We try and communicate and this is what has worked best when the signing is a wash. Today he wants me to bring his phone to text. I pray he is well enough so that can happen! We have family sending us videos of his puppy Sky and anything that will boost his moral. PRAYER is still the most powerful way we can encourage him and us as well. Thank you! Pray for a reduced fever! His swollen belly to decrease so they can close him and for this colon issue to be fixed. We need a turn around Lord…we need you desperately!!!!

November 3, 2020

Do you ever snuggle under your covers so that no light, no sound can interrupt you? Fully covered and deep in sleep when I awoke to remove the comfy bedding I heard in my ears like polka dance music ringing rather loudly. I opened my eyes trying to figure out where I was realizing in this very dark, unfamiliar room I was not at a polka dance nor was I home. The reality hit…we are heading into day 3.

I am thankful the days of this journey fall on the dates exactly as I need all the help I can get in keeping things in order.

Yesterday was a much better day! PRAISE JESUS! I was told Mitch would be under totally until after the next surgery and remain on the ventilator until his body was more rested. I surely did not expect to see and experience what was such a joy as yesterday. He was opening his eyes, giving thumbs-up, and even trying to communicate. This was rather funny yet hard to see him frustrated too. He tried signing to me what his needs were but his hands were so puffy plus weakness I couldn’t make out much. I can’t was all I got until the nurse came up with him writing what he wanted. WELL… again I was blown away he could even do this! Remember, I was told he would be totally under for at least 3 days! So she gave him a whiteboard and she figured out it read he couldn’t breathe. Trying to tell him the tube is hard to breathe through and this was a sign they needed to up his med to be quieter and to move him a bit. They were able to make him more comfortable. His eye expressions and movements I could really tell he was frustrated and tears came as well. Which of course made me cry.

As I talked with, kissing his puffy fingers and hands, and stroking his head I praised the Lord for another day with him. We got Dan on video chat and tears flowed again for all of us. SO hard Dan can’t be in the room and hold him! We all need him for sure! I put the phone up to his ear for music that different friends sent telling him who sent them and he has a LOAD of folks praying for him.

The day brought joy as he continued to show improvement. His blood pressure med was reduced to almost nothing and signs of the liver working were stronger as the day went on. Every hour there was someone in his room, from doctors to radiology, to surgeons. Everyone was pleased with how well he is doing especially with how close this came to a different outcome. The ones in the operating room just overjoyed themselves he pulled through! So cool to see how much they care!

Dan was having trouble trying to get into Mitch’s phone needing his password. He asked if Mitch could help give the #’s. Mitch’s eyes got quite large like he didn’t want us to go into it. I don’t know maybe thinking he was in normal wellness and didn’t need us to intervene in his personal life. BUT, he does have things that needed attention right away. SO back to the whiteboard. I told him, “this is kinda fun, like a little game!” He rolled his eyes. HA…some sense of humor going on. So we tried, but no way was it working. If you can make it out, let me know. Maybe we can get you a prize!

I took a small break with Dan and we went to get groceries. It was nice to get out as 40 degrees feels this time of year. So weird everyone wearing masks as they are walking around campus. The feel here compared to the north is definitely different. When I returned, the surgeon came in to talk about the next surgery. They do hope to get him in today. Tuesday. Most likely will be afternoon as the main surgeon has another transplant in the morning. I know this is funny to think but how can she do more than one a day and be alert? Not for me to judge, but it flashed through me a bit.

The surgery will work on connecting the bile duct to the new liver, colon issue, and closing him. His belly is really big and they couldn’t close him so they hope the swelling will go down so they can do so. If not, it will require a mesh and another surgery. The less is best so pray for this all to go well and smoothly today.

Dan and I are still at the Graduate hotel. Nice, but pricy. So we hope to find housing today. The social worker is so helpful and working on details.

We read every text, email, post on FB, listen to every song sent, read every scripture stated, and are SO thankful the Lord sent each of you to us for strength. The days are long but go by so sweet with your love and prayers.

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

We ended the night by Dan surprising me with a dinner out at Red Lobster for my birthday. He was so cute as he went all the way there to get a lobster soup and biscuit just in case I was too tired to go out. But I wanted to make sure we celebrate the good times as much as we can! One thing we didn’t do the last time around! It was a special night indeed with Kinzey and Dan singing happy birthday and a special gift of crafting tool I hope to use as soon as we return home! GOD IS GOOD!

Will continue to update later today to share how the surgery went. JESUS IS INDEED ON THE THRONE holding our boy! Love you all!

November 2, 2020

A new day…yesterday will forever be etched into our minds. I believe with my whole being the Lord allows times like this to use it to glorify HIM…make HIM known…show to believers and unbelievers HE IS REAL! HE IS HERE! HE IS WITH US!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding and in all ways acknowledge HIM.: Proverbs 3

After we got the news there was a high chance Mitch would die on the table Dan and I broke down. We cried uncontrollably holding onto each other and crying out to Jesus for comfort. Dan went into the restroom and I walked to the big window we have in our room. The SON was shinning in and stood with my face towards the beam of warmth and closed my eyes. I spoke to the Lord” Jesus you are with Mitch right now. Are you speaking to him? Are you asking him if he is ready to be with you? Are you holding him?” Within the time I was speaking I saw an amazing bright orange and red light. I am telling you it was so intense. Flashes of thought it was Mitch bleeding out of control. But it was a warm feeling, peaceful. My tears stopped. My nose dried up. I suddenly was quiet and still before a HOLY God who is comforting all of us. Within a second the color changed to white and it was cool. I opened my eyes and simply knew no matter what we all were going to be ok. I didn’t know what that looked like or would be like but really it didn’t matter. PEACE JESUS peace was all over the room and deep in my heart.

I shared this with Dan last night when I returned from seeing Mitch briefly when they brought him into ICU. Of course, Dan wept all over again and said you need to write that down!

Back to ICU visit, Mitch looked horrible. (I may have to take this out when he wakes up so he can’t read this) but really…he didn’t look like Mitch. I had to stop and double-check and even looked at the staff and asked it this was Mitch Shelstad. She nodded with tears in her eyes. The staff even got close to Mitch during this time. She said she was with him the whole time and it was really scary there for a while. She told me how sweet he is and thankful he is alive! I cried all over again.

I whispered into him I loved him. To hang on. I couldn’t speak anymore. The room was full of staff all talking and the room was super bright. I felt I was in the way and it was way past visiting hours. I usually don’t care about rules but didn’t feel it was good for me even though all the staff stood back and waited for me to be with him. Which made me REALLY uncomfortable! So…I left.

Now today…Dan wanted to call ICU as soon as we woke up. The nurse on the other end shared, “Mitch did great all night! I was able to reduce his blood pressure meds significantly and he even opened his eyes. I asked him how he was doing and he put a thumbs up. (tears flowing) She asked him to wiggle his toes…HE DID.” I told her I would be over as soon as visiting hours open. Which is a half hour…so off I go…KEEP PRAYING! They hope to do the second surgery tomorrow.

New Liver Day…Trusting Jesus Even When It’s Hard

2:24…nurse called said THE BLOOD IS FLOWING IN THE NEW LIVER! The remaining to go is to hook up the bile duct. Tears FLOWING along with this joy. From the early call when the doctors videoed us they gave us the horrible news…1 Mitch’s scaring was extremely poor and the liver was very sick plus his thin blood was causing excessive bleeding. They asked us what we wanted to do. Either stop and he would surely die within 2 months or continue with a very high chance he would bleed out and die on the table. Dan was not getting the whole thing as he was crying uncontrollably. Incredible how the Lord stopped me and got my head together to listen and help sort out what we were being told. I shared with Dan they need to keep going and do the best they can. Now both of us crying hard we told the doctors to continue and may the LORD BE WITH YOU>>>we hung up and sank to the floor in prayer and worship. It’s been a very hard day…we wait patiently for him to be done and to see him even if it’s only for a few minutes. We’ll see. With stricken rules only one of us and with ICU more stringent. But…trusting and waiting is what we seem to be doing most these days. KEEP PRAYING…Mitch has a long road ahead!

11:35… surgical nurse called…they were able to get the bleeding subsided and proceeded with transplant…WE PRAISED THE LORD ALMIGHTY for HIS GRACE and HANDS on Mitch! Keep praying…we have a long road ahead!

9:45am…doctors video called us Mitch is NOT doing well…lots of bleeding please pray he pulls through and God’s will be done!

November 1, 2020

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head overall. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule overall, and in Your hand is power and might, and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 1 Chronicle 29:11-12

WE GIVE GLORY TO A GOD WHO REIGNS OVER ALL!!!!

Mitchy loves bobcat time!

Another day getting caught up for winterizing as we are so thankful for a warm day to do so. Dan spent the day Friday helping Mitch get ready to shut his house down for the “just in case” day.

Well, all snug in a bug in our bed with hugs to Mitch saying good night and it wasn’t even a half-hour into our rem sleep Mitch came into our room. “A liver is ready and I am to leave NOW.” Hearts pounding, and having the coordinates on the phone telling us what is going to happen with our minds trying to wrap around “is this the real deal?’ As we were listening I texted Kinzey to get to the house to coordinate dog care while we packed the car. The coordinator had a southern accent stating the liver is from a young adult who was in prison. The liver would need to be transported by plane and would arrive around the time Mitch would be ready to be on the table. She was gracious in letting us know what I am sure every receiver wants to know. Is it healthy? She gave details the donor was indeed healthy and they test extensively for HIV, alcoholism, drugs, and a host of other tests to make sure it is transplantable.

I started to get a bit anxious as dogs were barking with the movement, wind howling about a million miles an hour, and yes a full moon. It seemed really like a dream. After she wished us “good luck” as I can’t stand that statement but responded, “thank you Jesus and He’s got us.” We sure don’t believe in luck or this is all CHANCE as many would say…we know…without a shadow of a doubt…this is Jesus and all a part of His perfect plan for Mitch!

On our way to the cities, it was so windy and it seemed like tumbleweeds blowing by but they were cornstalks. Scary as it was like wood coming at you! It just fit with the night and what was happening. Mitch being pretty talkative and sharing his worries did feel peace and responded, “I just want this to be over.” If you don’t know Mitch, he is a quiet guy. Simple life, humble in most ways, and has a heart of gold. One thing he doesn’t like is attention on himself. So I try and remember to ask him what he wants me to share and pictures…for sure he doesn’t like it. SO, I won’t be putting up any of him in the hospital. Sorry. Out of respect that is his wish.

We arrived at midnight of course… the stroke of midnight I guess I needed to hear a wolf howl, but we are now in Minneapolis U and all we heard were sirens. Kinda the same. Both make my heart jump.

Dan was about an hour behind us but he wasn’t allowed in. We had worked out that I would be the primary which is going to be extremely difficult not having my man by my side in all this. But at least he can be close by. It didn’t take long for them to get blood work, Covid test (which caused a major nose bleed for him), and ultrasound done as well as the Fellow (doctor under the surgeon) to come and give the details of the procedure.

Mitch is now in surgery for 6- 12 hours. He also is at high risk for bleeding with his INR so high so he did state Mitch may get out of the initial surgery and within 24-48 hours be back on the table to finish to help his body recover a bit and not lose so much blood.

With all that said, Dan and I sit, SON shining at 8am, now in the waiting game. We have a beautiful room for now hoping to find housing for the next 2-3 weeks. Our journey and home away from home. The social worker helping us is the same one we had 24 years ago the first time around. The nurse said it’s by chance…NOT…God’s in charge! SO COOL! Mitch is strong. He loves Jesus. He knows the chances and risks and is at peace with it all. We wait upon the Lord as OUR GREAT PHYSICIAN is at work! Praying for the donor family today and a new life given…GOD IS GOOD!!! AND FAITHFUL!

October 26, 2020

What a weekend! On Saturday I spent time with a friend painting her new room and delighted in getting out with a friend for the day. The last few days Kinzey and I have been busy crafting making some fun shirts for our family journey. I had no idea the shirts would be in “active duty” so quickly. As I just had come in the door Mitch gets a call a liver is available! A deep breath in all of us!

Made with the Cricut Explorer and infused ink

The gal on the phone spoke of the donor who is brain dead and is waiting to give the organs to recipients. Mitch is second in line so they needed to confirm he wanted the liver in case the one who is first declines it. Also, they had to make sure that all things were ready and prepped so it would be 10pm before we knew any more details or if we would be on our way to the U. After Mitch hung up the phone, we prayed. Tears flowing from each of us as we put all this in HIS holy hands. Trusting in what’s ahead. Here we go!

Kinzey came over for dinner and time to regroup, plan, making sure all was in place if indeed we would go. It really was a fun night! Yes, anticipation was at a peak but we enjoyed sharing stories and laughing a ton! We even put our new shirts on and rejoiced in all HE HAS DONE for us!

Goofy Shelstad’s…FAITH OVER FEAR!

10:30…we called her…we couldn’t wait…still didn’t have info to confirm so we wait and laugh some more…12:30am…I am dying of tiredness and finally, she called. They still did not know but said no matter what it wouldn’t happen until morning…so to bed we all piled in and at 8:30am she calls to share the liver is not healthy enough for transplant. I felt a bit of relief and disappointment all at the same time. It came so fast I was not prepared. I was uncomfortable about the age of the liver (60+ yr. old) yet they assured livers don’t age. Mitch is really doing well not super sick so it would be perfect timing so we don’t see him suffer more. Just so much emotion! Here’s the thing…Jesus knows what is going to happen. He has the perfect liver, plan, and timing. I will trust in that! And most important, I am SO glad I have Jesus in my heart to help me every step of the way!

Here’s the other thing…Jesus is coming back. SOON! Are you ready to meet HIM face to face? Are you prepared with knowing Jesus as your Savior or are you living still thinking you are your own savior? Do you live a life honoring Jesus? He paid a BIG price for you and me dying on a cross, rising again, and HE will return in judgment for all! Believers will be judged for how they lived for Him. Non-believers will face eternal darkness. Are you ready? Are you fully packed knowing without a doubt you will spend eternity with HIM? Are you wondering about being part of what the world teaches and what the Bible says? If you do have Jesus in your heart, have you shared your faith with others so they too can have the gift of eternal life? It’s real! JESUS is real! The Bible is true! I know the importance of this truth as we face every day being ready to embrace whatever the Lord chooses for Mitch. No matter what…Mitch wins! And so do we because we know without a shadow of a doubt we will be together again! THAT is what keeps us rejoicing and living in peace!

October 22, 2020

As Kinzey and I are preparing for a weekend of baking and crafting, I get a call from Mitch that the transplant coordinator contacted him. He received news that is challenging for us all, but we continue to embrace our Jesus as we knew with time things will worsen.

Mitch’s INR reached 32 and as doctors are great at giving timelines which for the record I hate, they are saying he has 3 months to receive a new liver. SO…what does that mean…PRAY a new liver is available, it’s a perfect match, and he will NOT reject it. Lots to bring before the Throne and trusting our Lord hears our prayers. We love you, and THANK YOU for lifting him up! God is faithful and we give Him all the glory as we walk together in HIS goodness!

October 16, 2020

Because of our trip to Branson, we will not be able to see Mitch for 2 weeks. He and Mackinzey took care of the homestead while we were away so it was great for him to be at our house to watch over it. BUT, because we were out of state and in so many places we decided as a family it was best for us to be apart for a time of quarantine to be safe. As a result, Mitch did get a flu bug and Kinzey a cold so it was a good choice overall. Dan and I, so far nothing…must be the daily intake of elderberry! HA! Anyway, he is doing better as of today from the bug, and continue to pray for a liver to be available soon or better yet…total healing! AMEN Right?

Pup cup coffee date…lots of attention today! Pups are a chick magnet!

September 20, 2020

Mitch”s INR is on the rise. It continues to show the transplant team his liver is worsening. He did get results back from and MRI which showed nothing new. His moral is amazing! He is getting out dirt biking with his sister and dad too…occasionally, but mostly spending his days keeping his house and enjoying Sky. He also starts puppy class which again will keep him busy training. Sky will be the best dog ever with all the time her master has for her!

The kids enjoyed making Dan and I a beautiful meal one Saturday night. Mitch did an amazing job on the steak and Kinzey is enjoying her skills at pie baking. MAN, we were all stuffed and enjoyed some great family time together! We also spent a day in Park Rapids for Dan’s birthday. Memory lane for Dan and I as we use to live there and owned a restaurant. Horrible time other than we had Kinzey there.

Wonderful meal by the kids! Every bite was full of flavor!

We are loving our extra time with the kids. It has been too many years apart for sure! I guess we are making up for it!

Dan’s special day!

September 13, 2020

Mitch continues to hang in there. Amazing really. Waiting for the day to receive a call for a new liver makes us all on edge, but especially Mitch. Every time the phone rings, planning on a get away, or simply filling up a day when you can no longer work. It is a difficult time for sure and we are thankful the Lord provides financial needs and of course this new little girl, Sky. She is defiantly filling his day as only a puppy can!

September 5, 2020

Mitch’s new girl…Sky

This last week has been a whirl wind as Mitch needed to go in for an MRI due to his blood work showing some signs of something going on. On Thursday he did so along with a new set of blood samples and he received a call from his transplant coordinator that his INR has risen to 28. She stated his INR is rising more rapidly now and to make sure his phone is on and be ready for a call at anytime if a new liver is available.

What to think? Really? We all sat down as a family excited yet anxious as news like this means so much. We pray daily for healing, comfort, and strength and truly we feel it. The Lord is working in all these areas of our hearts, minds, and soul. We will continue to update as we know things, keep you posted, and of course…PLEASE pray. We believe in only the submission of leaning on our Jesus through prayer. HE IS IN CHARGE! Thank you!

August 10, 2020

We have been celebrating each day we can have with this guy! I tell ya…enjoying family get away’s one day with seeing Llamas (we are thinking about getting some for the ranch one day), going out to eat, and a special evening going to Adult and Teen Challenge fundraiser for dinner. Why was it so special? Well, as always being with these guys brings us joy seeing them and hearing their testimonies, but also Sam came over and prayed over Mitch’s liver. Holding his hand over his liver and his other over his shoulder claiming healing and renewal brought Dan and I to tears. NEVER is prayer more powerful when it is spoken out loud RIGHT when you need it!!!! SO awesome! We are so thankful everyday!!

Mitch’s #’s are rising, 24 was his last test and the yellowing is stronger. But, I think he has a gorgeous tan! He’s hanging in there…thank you for praying and encouraging him. He needs it!

Day fishing with some friends

July 6, 2020

Our Lord is faithful and true and gives us hope everyday!

As we continue to wait for the liver to be available, Mitch continues to do well. He is staying active even got out wave running on the lake over the 4th! SO awesome! He also is able to take a hydration drink which is an herbal product I now sell because of what it does! Incredible really! Instead of the Gatorade and other products out there that do NOTHING for your health AND what it did for Mitch, I was sold! It hydrates your body NOW as soon as you drink it, tastes fabulous with all the herbs I love (Elderberry no less), and because of the electrolytes in the product it stops Mitch’s headaches. AMAZING! If you have a hard time drinking your daily dose of water…this will help! Just email me, I would be happy to share more! (homesteadranchgirl@gmail.com)

When Mitch has his headaches he gets really sick. So much so he vomits and is down for the day or more. So I am so happy we found a product that works!

If you want to connect with Mitch and give him an encouraging word, please email him. He would love it! You can email me on the above address and I will forward you his addy. Truly, will help him through this time of waiting! THANK YOU!!!!

June 12, 2020

A Happy Birthday for our little beaner, Mackinzey celebrating 27 years and not celebrating her birthday for 7 years…WOW! So fun to have her home!

With that, Mitch got busy in the kitchen making a wonderful meal for her and helping with appetizers and her cake! It was such a fun evening. Also…fun to have him happy and enjoying what he loves so much.

He is now LISTED with the liver transplant nationwide! His test made it so he could officially be listed. Loving life he is for sure and living everyday he is feeling well as best as he can. KEEP praying!!! He needs them!

We also paid a visit to a local assisted living facility and Mitch did all the pictures. We even got in the paper! Here are some of his shots! Great job Mitchy MO!

May 25, 2020

Today Mitch is doing great! Isn’t it wonderful we can be in the midst of a trial but have total peace in what is to come or even happening right now but totally ok with it? I love that about our faith! Just trust and obey and see what He gives us!

Mitch has a team of many people who call him weekly to check-in, make sure he is up to date on paperwork, labs, and so on as well as check on his mental health. He really feels special we can tell! He smiles a lot and has more energy since his symptoms and reactions from meds is under control.

He stays with us a few days at the beginning of the week so we can do home church together and have a family meal or two or three or…the kids hang out for more often. He then will head back to his home to take care of things there. We know there will be a day he will have to totally live here for a period of time so we encouraged him to take what he can get now and live his life as best as he can. He loves that!

He does miss his work at camp but he is hoping when they open he can lend a hand in volunteering on his good days. What a gift he can give during his time of waiting.

Mitch surprised me on Mother’s Day! He made a great meal too!

May 28, 2020

Mitch and I are headed to the cities for some tests he needs. This will give an accurate reading for the team and transplant coordinators to have him listed. He is at 18 INR now and when it reaches 30+ is when things will get more serious. OR if he has more trouble like he did last fall with his bile duct or anything else that will cause him to be listed higher. Until the tests come back I will update this again and of course, we trust in our Jesus for it all. PLEASE pray for Mitch and his strength, his faith, and most of all his morale. With Jesus there is NOTHING to fear!

God’s blessings upon you ALL!

Lee and Dan

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Ministry, Ranch Life, The Boys

No Kids…gettin’ itchy to help

Under normal circumstances we would be buzzing around the ranch with kids, adult groups from a local addiction program, and workhorses doing chores and helping where they can. But with this pandemic things are different. The ranch is quiet. The gardens buckets and decor are barren due to low funds to not fill with beautiful colored flowers and with little rain it’s even dusty like a ghost town. Our ranch is set up to look like a mini western town and I told my husband a tumbleweed floating by would be a perfect scene. I was feeling a bit like we aren’t doing enough to what the Lord has blessed us with.

Tumbleweeds are pretty even though they are dry and dusty

Change of attitude brings joy

I had a zoom meeting with other ministries like ours where we get together now and then to share ideas. It has been swimming in my mind to take the horses to places to help cheer up folks and one of those places is a retired home or assisted living place. I was holding back due to the illness attacks specifically for this group and truly was afraid to go. I was allowing some lies to be in my mind that simply were just holding back the obvious. These folks no matter what needed to be loved on. We could take all our precautions along with us and just let go of the reins and GO! SO…we did…just that…and guess what? It blessed a lot more than just the residents!

Oh the joy of touch!
Giving the boys a treat

Pure Delight!

We also decided to invite one of our students who comes to the ranch on regular bases. This was a much-needed activity for her to be a part of as she has suffered from many difficult trials. I tell you, watching her interact and be a part of this day was so amazing! For a teenager to give and be focused on others as well as see their hardships and how they smile right through them was such a great life lesson.

The horses were perky as the winds gusted to 30 miles an hour and of course wind and horses can always be a challenge. But they handled the noises, wheelchairs, walkers, flying kites, and different surroundings like champs! They enjoyed showing off their stuff and Bokoda even took a bow at the end.

So precious!

Each horse was painted with a word and a verse that was associated with the word.

Our student loved this art part!

Our demo focused on the love of Jesus and the message of hope especially during such trialed times as this virus. Wearing our bandana’s, looking like we just robbed a bank from the Wild West, we shared the message of our Savior who knows all our fears and sees all our tears. Such a delight to see their nods and responding, “beautiful”.

Dan demoing
The crew!

I went into this knowing the elderly would be blessed but as always when the Lord puts something on my heart to move, I am the one blessed! He says in His Word, “it is more blessed to give than receive” yet we all received so much love and joy from both the residents as well as the staff.

Indeed it was a wonderful day in the midst of such difficult times.

You are loved!

Lee

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Ministry, Ranch Life

How are all of you holding up through this different time in our world? Isn’t it crazy? I tell ya, going into town shopping and seeing lines outside Costco with masked people to little produce in the grocery store to low gas prices…it’s just so weird. Life is indeed different but it’s good?

For the first time in several years, our daughter Mackinzey is home. She moved back from Virginia and is looking for a job on the home front. It is so awesome having her home! We love spending time together and of course, I really miss being able to do fun things like horseback riding, crafting, and adventures around the ranch. Now we have LOTS of time for that due to her waiting to find a job. Tough time to be looking with so many offices closed and not in a normal routine. But we take the bad and turn it into good!

Our son, Mitch is also home most days as he battles his latest news of being in liver failure. We want him here with us during this time to help keep his expenses down as his job was lost due to the pandemic which isn’t all that bad for him as his illness increased at the same time. He would have had a hard time cooking with the long days as the illness will get worse. So, he enjoys making us a meal now and then, which is ALWAYS a healthy one! Funny how Dan is hungry a few hours later after we eat as most of Mitch’s meals are veggie and little meat. I always see him sneak a treat or two later before bed. My man!

The nutritionists is one member of the team…making a plan for changes.

Mitch gets weekly calls from different team members helping him along this journey. We are on each call just as another ear as there is SO much information he is getting. To navigate it all requires us all! He is well taken care of that is for sure, which is comforting. He does need to head down to the U in the next few weeks, (hoping for lifting on clinic restrictions) to get some tests done. With these tests, they will evaluate once again giving him a number which will make him closer to being listed for the transplant.

We wait daily on the Lord for what is to come and pray he receives the liver before he gets too sick.

All in all, life is different but it sure has been good! Having kids home is wonderful and of course, going through this rough time of transitions for all of us has helped us be more focused on the Lord, pray more together, and lift each other up as often as we can!

Loves helping when he can

Time is hard in many areas and we pray you all are hangin’ in there and enjoying all the Lord has provided…time with family, time to rethink our paths, time with HIM!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life, Sewing

Making masks are a big deal right now and ones who don’t have anything to do, it is a perfect way to fill your days PLUS give to ones in need. Not only hospitals need these, but I think nursing homes and assistant living places could surely use a creative mask.

I loved making these but had even more fun creating messages for not only the one wearing the mask but for ones who see the face in the mask.

Simple and sweet messages that are inspiring and give you some ease of mind. I hope you find them helpful.

There are many ways to make masks so I won’t give details on how to make them but the messages I used my Cricut and iron-on vinyl. Expressions Vinyl is a wonderful, personal company with awesome prices, variety, and even videos to spark your creative juices. Try them, you’ll love them too!

Remember all clicks on this blog and purchase helps us help others through True North Ranch Ministries!

Using sports material was fun! The big elastic was for an older gentleman.

Enjoy making someone else smile and protecting yourself and others when your under the whether!

God’s blessings,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Ranch Life, Thyme Out

Don’t you just love to have a salad that is not only quick and easy to throw together but amazing to your taste buds? Well, these are my top 5 favs. I think you will like them as well and the dressings will add an extra punch to each one!

Spinach-Strawberry Salad

  • 2 10 oz bags of washed spinach, torn into pieces
  • 4 Cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
  • A handful of feta or mozzarella cheese
  • optional: 3/4 red onion, finely chopped, and/or 1 can of black beans rinsed well

Toss together and add the Strawberry-Poppy Seed Dressing, serves 8-12

Southwest Salad

  • 1 head of green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red and yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup organic corn kernels
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed well
  • 1 Fresh lime, squeezed
  • 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese or cheddar
  • Optional: Cooked, chopped chicken breast

Put corn in a strainer and dip the strainer in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Cool Toss all ingredients together, and serve immediately with Avacodo Dressing, and lime juice serves 8-12

A little note: We have since cut way back on eating peppers, tomatoes, and corn due to many health issues that these veggies can cause over time and how they digest in the system. But for special occasions and limited in our diet, we do have them now and again. It is hard to believe something so good can be harmful.

Make sure to have a fresh lime!

Simple Salad

  • 1 large head of favorite lettuce mix, we love the spring greens
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 3 radishes, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp. dried dandelion leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried goldenseal
  • 1/2 cup sprouts, seeds like pumpkin, or pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese or mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • Optional: 1 can chickpeas or kidney beans
  • Optional: Dried kale, (put a bunch of kale on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and back for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes a wonderful topping)

Toss together and drizzle your favorite olive oil and vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice. Don’t forget to top with the fresh-baked Kale.

Cabbage Salad

  • 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 2 cans drained mandarin oranges
  • 1 Cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds sliced or chopped
  • Optional: 1/2 cup Chinese crunchy noodles, 1/2 cup craisins

Toss together along with any vinaigrette. I recommend the Asian Ginger Dressing.

Craisin Salad

  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 2 heads butter lettuce (love this stuff)
  • 1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup organic mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp organic butter
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Saute almonds over medium heat in butter and maple syrup, stirring constantly until light brown. Set aside. Toss all remaining ingredients together. Add nuts and favorite dressing. Serves 6-8

Brussel Sprout Salad

For the Brussel sprouts:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or Avocado oil
  • 1 pound of Brussel sprouts cut in half
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced and diced

For candied almonds or walnuts:

  • 2/3 cup of almonds
  • 1 tbsp. of our maple syrup
  • sea salt to taste

For the Salad:

  • 5 oz. of spring greens mix
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup of grapes
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (or if you have a fussy cowboy like me, cheddar grated)
  • 1/2 cup dried craisens

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussel sprouts and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes stirring a few times. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Place almonds in skillet along with maple syrup and a pinch of salt. cook over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. In large bowl mix greens everything together.
  4. Best vinaigrette to pour over the top or serve on the side.

If you don’t have fresh herbs, I highly recommend going to Starwest…the links I have on the herbs. You never have to worry about quality or sitting on a store shelf. All the natural goodness in one place!

I hope you enjoy these amazing side salads! Great for the good ol’ waistline too!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ministry, Ranch Life

I love making up gift ideas which are practical and of course usable. What better than something that is healthy too!

The tea is blended with organic herbs some grown here on our ranch. I blend the herbs to common taste buds and of course adding spices where need be as well.

Three tea blends to choose from

The syrups are just a splash of sweetness to your tea and bring a burst of flavor as well!

You can purchase these mini jars of tea and syrups for $12. Mix and match teas and syrups or any way you like. Two fits into the crate.

These syrups add a delightful sweetness to any tea blend!

You can email me for your order and remember all orders and purchase’s here on the blog help our ranch ministry which helps kids in need…so thank you!

Mix and match

God bless you and enjoy the fun tea and syrup mini’s!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

homesteadranchgirl@gmail.com to order your mini tea crates

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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

Crafting this adorable trend of making these sparkling tumblers has been both a joy and a challenge but worth every minute your time!

The goodies you will need

I originally got this idea by scanning the youtube for ideas with my new Cricut Explore 2. This gal Jennifer is adorable and as soon as she says, “Hello everybody” I get excited to dig into another fun activity. I watched her video, went out and bought the tumblers, and put my materials together to begin my first one. I think I watched it 100 times (exaggerated of course but seemed like I couldn’t get the process). I just had to go start with the plaid. That was the wrong choice! Here’s why.

First attempt Buffalo Plaid

I made many mistakes on my first one so I want to share what NOT to do.

1.) Don’t start with a plaid go with the first video with some fun blending colors. Simple and very pretty looking!

2) Make sure you use electrical tape for the top and bottom of the tumbler and remove it before putting on your first coat of resin. I kept it on and it caused an unclean finish on the top and bottom. After the first coat I used THICK rubber bands to keep the clean look.

3) Sand tumbler before putting images/phrases/stickers.

4) Make sure your edges are clean cut meaning top and bottom are cut well before applying the first coat of resin. Use an Exacto knife or sharp blade.

5) Make sure your tumbler isn’t too big which will cause a heaviness to the electric spit and make sure it is TIGHT fitting. My hubby had to makeshift as the football idea did not work. The tumbler fell off and caused us to sand again.

See how the edges are not crisp on top and bottom? Also somehow the red spray got on the bottom…not sure I will spray paint first either. We will have to try one without.
Much simpler one to start out with so you get the steps. I loved how this one turned out!

We are making these tumblers for our trading post at the ranch so our need for them to be a little crisper and clean looking was important. If you’re not that particular than play away. The spinner idea of using the spit was great! I would get a system down with one on the spit and after 6 hours have another one ready to go. After the one is fully dry, sand and place my vinyl ( I love this company and the videos are awesome!) on and get ready for the second coat. Sanding really is important!

The plaid attempt I couldn’t resist! I really love the look, so I tried using some of my favorite color combos. The one thing I can’t seem to get the hang of is getting the squares even looking, one not longer or wider than the others. I am still trying to get the taping down to help me get this part more clean looking.

Working on cleaner squares.
Say NO to chunky glitter! It makes you have to sand a lot! Plus it isn’t as clean as you may think in the end result.

This project I think would be so fun for a teen birthday party or even a bridal shower craft. So much better than games! Once they make their design you can provide the steps for resin and drying.

They also make wonderful gifts!

Ready to make your own? Here is a list as well as your shopping links which all help our ranch ministry. PLUS you get a box full of goodies to begin your project. The glitter is wonderful and many colors to choose from…so get shopping and have fun creating your own tumbler!

Items for your tumblers:

SHHHHH…SPECIAL 15% OFF UNTIL MARCH 15th ON VINYL! ONLY FOR YOU!!!

Epoxy/Resin

glitter

mod podge

spray adhesive

vinyl (words or decor) the blended colored ones are so fun

rubber gloves

electrical tape

masking/painters tape

rubber band, THICK

barbeque spit or spinner

clamps to hold spit in place

tumbler or two

double stick tape plaid look you will want a variety of widths

Free shipping on orders over $49…love their website… full of ideas!

CODE…MARCH15

CLICK HERE

Love how this one turned out…used a 2 layer vinyl with glitter vinyl for U
The second attempt on the plaid…vinyl is patterned fun colors!

Well, it has been a little stressful doing these, but with each one, I learn something and they get better and better with each one. I need to not be so anxious and take them off the spit when still drying even if tacky they really need a full 8 hours to get firm enough to take off the spit and another 12 to be fully dry.

I hope you try them…if you do let me know how it went and TAKE A PICTURE!

God bless.

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Bible Journaling, Empower, Living Naturally, Ministry, Ranch Life

Trusting the door

Last November our daughter and son both faced some big trials. “Trial Doors” as we call them. Door number one for our son Mitch as he had to go through 4 months of dealing with a bile duct blockage and have a tube inserted. After the 4th month, he got the tube removed but with news, his liver is in trouble and may need another transplant. Hard news and many sad days of facing “what next?” and what doors the Lord will provide.

Our daughter desperately needed to move home over a year ago but the Lord didn’t provide ANY doors for that to happen It was a hard year for her as well until November when the news of Mitch illness arose. She felt with her whole heart it was time to look into taking the steps to get licensed in MN, (she is a cop in Virginia). My husband and I felt the same way it was indeed time for her to take the test and get the ball rolling! The Lord provided the doors…one wasn’t a good one with hard health news but I believe it was the door for Kinzey to walk through a door she hadn’t pursued during the course of a whole year. So we all trusted…

Being aware of the door

Kinzey failed the first attempt of the test in November which was clear she needed more studying and help. I found out about a class specific to recruits to help pass the test. Remember, she is VA and the class is here in MN. But, she said, “if that is what will help me pass then I will do what it takes!” The Lord once again provided (door 1) the ONLY class in December and even just before Christmas (door 2) so we could have a family celebration at the same time. (We hadn’t celebrated Christmas together for 5 years) She found the class very informative and learned tools (door 3) to help her study better. Come January the Lord provided another… door 4, the date for the test in her state became available. The only date for several months! She passed! (door 5) As soon as she took the test she applied for her dream job back in MN where she interned. They had 2 openings which just became available! (door 6) Can you believe this so far? Seriously as I type this it amazes me!

Dedicated for over 5 years!

Door 7 she gets the email she has been accepted for the several phases including interviews, more tests, and background. One door shut along the way. She applied for another job which opened up in December but when she mailed it, certified even, the department got it late. So, she never did hear from them probably due to it arriving past the due date.

When you recognize the Lord has provided a door for you to walk through it is only by faith we do so. It may not turn out the way we planned but the Lord would not have provided if He didn’t feel you needed to. It is also important to praise the Lord for each step even if a door closes. Each door provides the character He is building in you.

Move By Faith

Yep, that is indeed what the Lord desires from His children. To step out and trust in HIM! With our daughter she will not hear from the department for several weeks due to all the phases they have to hire but we prayed together and trusted if the Lord orchestrated all these details then we shall move on them. We headed out east, packed her up and left her with an empty, echoey house as she waits for the phases to complete and see what is next. It was the first time in 7 years I didn’t cry because I wouldn’t see her for many months, but I did cry as we thanked the Lord for paving the way and the reality she will be home again soon.

Look at the tongue weight!

Jesus IS the Door

One of the many adventures Kinzey and I took was stopping at the Ark Encounter. Truly a trip y’all need to take! AMAZING! Anyway, the most powerful part of being on the exact replica of the ark was… the DOOR!

What do you see?

I wept. I simply stood in front of that door and wept! To think about how God would use this simple wood structure as a metaphor to HIS son awestruck me. The many scriptures signifying Jesus Christ as the Door and how the door had to be tall and wide enough for each animal and other needs to fit through.

“I am the Door. Whoever enters through it will be saved.”

John 10:9

This verse and the analogies we use like”walking through a door”, “when the Lord provides a door”, or “when He shuts a door” are all too significant to the truths our God provided from way back in Genesis. BUT we must as believers be very careful to line up what is in front of us as a door and go before Him in prayer. With every step, it will build our character! It may be a hard door to go through, but if He opens it, there is a reason. It may be a door we are not sure if the Lord is in it. Character building again.

No matter what…every door is a faith walk. We do not know what is on the other side. But the ones who try you can be assured our Jesus is holding your hand!

Unity Stamp Company…such a great stamp!

May the doors are wide open and clear and if not, PRAY and seek HIS wisdom! Enjoy the ride as every door is an adventure!

God’s blessings!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ministry, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life, Sewing

I love this New Toy!

Last summer Dan (my man), got into his head how fun it would be to make things to sell in our Tack Shack and Hoedown at the ranch. He is wonderful with his hands in crafting with wood and adding images, and color just popped more ideas into his head. SO, we invested in this and have been having a blast ever since!

Latest creation for the porch sign decor.

Ideas Are Endless

We are in the process of building a Trading Post and Workshop at the ranch and creating more projects to give the ambiance of an old country store. I love taking old things and seeing what we can create. Like this bucket. It was so fun to make. Using the Cricut and outdoor vinyl made it come together wonderfully.

Our main source for vinyl is Expressions Vinyl.
WHY? Mostly because their product is amazing and they have wonderful videos that really help you through a project or give you more ideas. I love their Easyweed Siser  Heat Transfer Vinyl.
When it comes to weeding those fine details the Easyweed vinyl peels away really well plus you can remove the iron on vinyl hot or cold after the press. You also don’t have to have an expensive heat press to do the project. An iron will work well too which isn’t the case in most other products out there. Most of them require a press that can reach over 300 degrees. NOTE: Easyweed Stretch needs one of those BIG presses to adhere to the material. They do not recommend an iron let alone a Cricut EasyPress. It needs a firm heavy and consistant pressure so stick with the Easyweed HTV. 
 It looks wonderful. See below…

Expression socks!

They also are a one stop shop! I can get the ink jet printables so we can do images on our computer especially our logo for the ministry and the transfer tape is much less expensive here then other stores. If you do a lot of crafting with a Cricut, you go through a lot of this stuff! Lastly is their line of patterned vinyl for iron on as well as sticky vinyl. The quality is amazing, really! I love supporting them and their dreams too.
Of course the goodies of accessorizing is another added joy. They have that too!

Look at this…they also give you charts for helping you not waste and for projects to come out just right! Can you tell I had baby gifts to get done?

Eco-Friendly Idea For Scrap Material

I have been making lots of pillows for the Trading Post and with that comes of course scraps of material. Long ones. I kept looking at them trying to figure what and how I can do something as they are white and so fresh looking. So I came up with ribbon! And like everything I do, I go crazy once an idea pops into my head!  Using Expressions Heat Set Vinyl. 

I truly find their product slick! No mess in the weeding and finishes so nice on the fabric. (following hint above) You know what else is cool about the ribbon idea? Practice! Yep, when I wasn’t sure how the pattern would look, I used the material ribbon. I tried the regular vinyl as most likely people wouldn’t wash the ribbon and it’s less expensive, but of course the heat ones worked better on fabric but really they looked no different. Just the vinyl will peel off eventually.  Doesn’t hurt to try both ways and see what works for you.

Gabby Ribbon using regular vinyl

I did like the iron-on better…but…it is more expensive especially the glitter or patterns. What do you think?

Iron on Easyweed Heat Vinyl

Definitely fun no matter what you choose! Gabby Ribbon my new crazy!

Love to craft no matter what the outcome! More to show soon as we journey on this winter creating items for the Trading Post!

God’s blessings keep warm!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

A 2020 Vision for Ranch

We are in the planning stages of building a new place for creating projects with the kids and then selling them in the trading post. Dan has had a vision for this for some time and I, of course, love the idea. Anytime we can create another avenue to get kids to learn, grow, and experience the love of Christ, I’m IN! The new building will tie in with the western look with a little barn feel too. We want to keep the western town experience which could be a little tricky, but we’re still working on it.

Finding Folks to Help

Finding help is always a challenge mainly because people are so busy. We did find an amazing man who loves the Lord who committed to building the project and we also had a friend draw up a sketch to give him a starting point. She did a great job! I sat and watched her draw and play with her fun pencils enjoying a nice cup of tea at our favorite diner in town. Funny how a picture can just get your vision more alive. Didn’t she do a great job?

Lookin’ so real!

Recently we had another friend who loves to build and doodle…DOODLE in drafting! We told him about the new project and he offered to draft up enough so we could get a better idea of material needs and cost. The Lord brings people along…one step at a time and in the RIGHT time! So cool!

The overhang is on the wrong side…my mistake telling him using north, south, east, west…should not of said anything really…leave it to the master Dan instead!

Now we meet with the builder…

So imagine with us. The front of the building will be the Trading Post and the wall going into the workshop will be a sliding or solid barn door. The whole back end of the building will have saws, tables, benches, and of course lots of project kits ready for the kids to build. The kids will learn top to bottom how to make something. Cut a tree down, debark, cut into slabs, dry it, and then prepare for the project. Plus each child can embrace all the ranch has to offer not only being in the woods but also learning to have the heart to give by selling their item in the trading post. In turn, this will help keep it all afloat by helping to keep the ministry going. For the first year, we will target boys without dads or dads who are in treatment or in prison. Of course, TNR never turns anyone down, so if a child comes along who wants to participate we will invite with open arms and hearts!

WE CAN’T WAIT…so for the next few months…we plan and pray. OOO our Jesus has BIG things happening here at True North Ranch! Please join us in praying for all the details and God’s will to be done, giving HIM all the glory in every step!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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