Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Changes....

So maybe you've noticed I haven't been blogging much. I'll admit there are MANY things I could write about. However, I'm struggling with what I want this blog to be. Do I want it to be a blog where you read about what we have been doing or what we're up to? Maybe it's a blog you come to to be encouraged, inspired or challenged. Maybe it's a combination of both. Or maybe it's something completely different than all of those ideas. So while I try to decide what this blog should "look" like and what I want to write about please be patient as I try to figure it all out. There might be some changes coming!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Blind Volleyball!

Jon and I have talked this year how we would like to be more involved in our community. Whether that means going to more functions the community offers or participating in them. So when we saw that the North Mahaska Junior class was doing a blind volleyball tournament (to raise money for the after prom party) we knew we needed to participate! So we recruited some friends and formed the team The Dirty Half Dozen. We choose that name since five of the six work in Ag and the other team member works at a dental office - all jobs which we think are dirty! We seriously signed up two days before the event so obviously we didn't have time for practice.

 Last night was the night for the blind volleyball tournament. Oh I forgot you might be wondering.....what is blind volleyball? Well it's basically the same as regular volleyball EXCEPT there is a sheet (or we had black plastic) over the net. So you can't see what's coming! We were so excited.

We arrived last night, the rules were given and then it was game time! Our first round we got a bye. We waited and watch a couple teams play before it was our turn. So we were actually able to watch the team we had to play in action before we played them. Then it was our turn to play.  It was fun watching other teams play but, oh my goodness it was way more fun to play than I thought it was going to be. We played a hard fought first game and lost. And then had to turn right around and play again after that. We lost again. We played against two teams which consisted of high school kids. So since it was double elimination we were done. We were disappointed that we were done so early since we were having so much fun. It was a night of cheap entertainment going to a good cause, I'm so glad we decided to participate. If they decide to do this again next year..... we will be ready!!!


In action - we are the yellow team.


We are ready - I think!


Before we left. Trying to look tough!


Again in action. If you look closely on the right side a guy in red shorts getting ready to spike the ball. He was really good and scary!


Our team - The Dirty Half Dozen
Front row - Kelly, Melissa, me
Back row - Michael, Shane and Jon 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ice Skating Fun!

Sunday the 8th was the day Anthony's 4H club had planned to go ice skating.  (Just a little FYI... I absolutely love to go ice skating. My Dad used to take us girls on one of Grandpa's farm ponds - in fact one year I got my own pair of skates!).  Well, since families and friends were invited to the event I thought it would be fun for all of us to go and give it a try. Ten minutes after putting on our skates and trying to skate around the rink the thought occurred to me, "WHAT WAS I THINKING!"  Will was having troubles keeping his feet straight which made it hard for him to skate. Anthony was feeling defeated because he kept falling and said it was the worst day of his life. And Charlie.... well he was the only one having fun. I tried my hardest to not get upset and give it some more time. Will finally started to get the hang of it and was really having a good time. Anthony decided to go out and skate with another club member (one who happened to be in TJ's class) and began to have fun. And Charlie was still enjoying himself. Jon and I even got some time to skate together! The weather was pretty decent so it ended up making for a fun Sunday afternoon! By the end of our time I was so proud of the boys for not giving up and glad we decided to go! Do I dare press my luck and try it again another day? We shall see!!


The boys before heading out on the ice.


Jon and me. Charlie took our picture which made me nervous. I was afraid he was going to fall or drop my phone on the ice.

I thought I took more pictures but I guess I took more videos instead.



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Jamaica!

With all this cold weather and snow I thought now would be a perfect time to blog about our recent vacation to Jamaica!  Jon and I had planned a trip last Spring to celebrate our 15 year anniversary.  However, the trip was quickly cancelled when Jon's dad became so sick.  We decided it was still important for us to get away to celebrate and to just chill (we honestly haven't had much down time since we lost Jon's dad).  We also thought it would be fun to ask our good friends to go along with us.  We met with our favorite travel agent - Lacey Veenstra-Gay - who we told we wanted to go somewhere with white sandy beaches, turquoise colored waters and do absolutely nothing but soak up the sun!!  We quickly decided on Jamaica!

We had such a fabulous time.  It was a smaller resort than we had stayed at in past years - but it was perfect.  It didn't seem overly crowded.  We didn't have troubles finding chairs to lay out on or finding ourselves waiting in lines at the buffet.  It was also pretty quite.  We were surprised at how many Iowans we ran into - Jamaica must be the destination of choice for those in colder climates (or farmers)!  The weather couldn't have been better had I planned it myself.  We only had one afternoon where there was a very quick light shower - it didn't even last an hour!!  We did get off the resort one day to do Dunn's River Falls.  It was very pretty and a lot of fun.  Basically you start at the bottom - ocean level and climb the waterfalls all the way up - over 900 feet!  I really can't do it justice so just google it sometime!  The last day there we all decided to soak up as much sun as possible.  We might have over done it just a little as we ALL got FRIED (we are all now peeling like crazy)!!  It was SO nice to get away - to spend time with such great friends - have no worries, responsibilities and just do absolutely nothing!  It was just what we needed.  Although we have nothing planned in the near future we are anxiously awaiting when we will be able do it again!



The view from our room


Another view.



First night there.  This was the night we met SEVERAL Iowans.


So these floaty things we are on are actually the cushions off of our beach chairs.  This was so much fun and super relaxing all at the same time.



                    



A night out for supper.


This was what we did the majority of the time.  This particular picture was taken on our last day - which we all fried.  We put the sunscreen on just a little too late (notice it is on my chair).



This is one of my favorite pictures - all of us soakin' in some sun!!

 

Our "formal" night of dining!


This is us at Dunn's River Falls.  The water was cold!!


This was close to the beginning of the falls.  There was a cruise ship that docked this particular day so there were several people.


Our tour guide was constantly making us do different things in the falls - this was just one thing she had us do!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Struggling....

It's been awhile since I've posted anything.  There are several reasons why I haven't but the honest truth is I'm struggling.  I'm struggling with things to post about.  Don't get me wrong it's pretty busy around here and there are many things I could talk about but have no desire to do so.  So - I guess if you are looking for an upbeat post you've come to the wrong blog!

The holidays are always extremely hard on me and I just haven't seemed to get out of that slump yet.  Jon and I have also been struggling with some major decisions concerning our farming operation.  I've also been struggling with my Christian walk. Through all of these things I guess you could say I've been too stressed and bummed out to share our life right now.  It's not exactly a place I like to find myself.  Since I find it hard to get into the Word lately - I've been trying to find "help" through some books.  One of those books I've been working through is The Hardest Peace - expecting grace in the midst of life's hard - by Kara Tippetts.  I'm just a little over half way through it but it has been a real eye opener for me so far.  I'm learning and reliving so many things.  I have to be honest - I struggle some days with God.  In the Bible it talks about God's plan being perfect, His timing perfect.  Which I do agree with - I just don't completely understand His plan in our lives right now.  How is taking TJ out such a perfect plan?  I don't get it and this is when I start having problems.  Well, Kara's book is beginning to help me a little bit with this and maybe for the first time in awhile I see it the way it was meant to be seen.  She says,

".... It is hard to realize you may be living in the middle of the best story ever told.  That the story of breast cancer could possibly be a good story?  A great story even? It would be easier to shake my fist at the test results and scream that this isn't the right story, but to receive - humbly receive - the story no one would ever want, and know there is goodness in the midst of its horror, is not something I could ever do in my own strength. I simply cannot. That receiving comes from the One who received His own suffering for a much greater purpose than my own."  Then she goes on to quote Nancy Guthrie from Holding on to Hope which states... "But because I believe God's plans for me are better  than what I could plan for myself, rather than run away from the plan he has set before me, I want to run toward it. I don't want to try to change God's mind - his thoughts are perfect. I want to think his thoughts. I don't want to change God's timing - his timing is perfect. I want the grace to accept his timing. I don't want to change God's plan - his plan is perfect. I want to embrace his plan and see how he is glorified through it. I want to submit."

Those words have been weighing on my heart and mind A LOT lately.  For almost three years now I have been running from God's plan - I haven't embraced it at all.  I often forget that I have an amazing story to tell and how I need to be sharing it.  I don't think God took us through some yucky stuff just to stay unchanged.  I constantly need to remind myself of those lessons I did learn and to seek out those God is still trying to teach me.  Is this going to be easy - NO - not even a little!  However, I feel like there is something great and perhaps absolutely amazing waiting out there for me.  So, although it's going to be hard and I'm going to stumble from time to time....I want embrace God's plan for my life.  To stop running away and to tackle those things that are going to be tough.   To shape me into the person HE wants me to be and not the person Tami thinks she needs to be.  The journey might start as a struggle but hopefully somewhere in the middle I'll realize I'm on the best adventure yet!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

So for quite a while now we've had an artificial tree in our house during Christmas. Well because of our remodeling project the tree was put in the garage for a year AND the lid was left open during that time (don't ask me why.... I'm not really sure how that happened). Anyway I was afraid to put the tree up. I was worried we would find a family of mice or a snake!  So I talked Jon into getting a real tree this year. I also thought it would be the start of a new family tradition.  So, the Friday after Thanksgiving we went to pick out and cut down our real Christmas tree! We had a fun time trying to pick just the right one. We brought it home, set it up and proceeded to decorate it. I'll be honest I didn't really like it. It took up so much room in the living room and it was bigger than our fake tree so all our ornaments looked pretty sparse on this new tree (just call me the Grinch)! Well by Wednesday afternoon I wasn't feel very well. Thursday, Will and I both went to the doctor. Will was diagnosed with strep throat so the doctor just treated us the same. By Friday afternoon Will was feeling much better - me not so much. I was sick all the way up to Saturday. We had several things planned for both Friday & Saturday that I ended up missing or rescheduling.  It wasn't until Saturday afternoon when Charlie was trying to give the Christmas tree a drink that I realized it was the tree making me sick. I called my mom to ask if that was possible, to which she responded "you were the reason we could never have a real tree in the house!"  She informed me that it took them awhile to figure it out but once they had it made a big difference. So I called Jon to tell him about my discovery. Charlie and I undecorated the tree and waited until Jon got home so he could chuck it out the front window! So here it was all my idea to get a real tree and then it was all my fault we had to get rid of it! However, about a half an hour after throwing out the tree I felt SO much better!  Well, I was feeling really bad for the kids that we now had no Christmas tree.  The other day we had to go to walmart for a few things, so I decided to take a look at the artificial trees they had.  I really wasn't wanting to spend a lot of money or get a really big one - partly because I knew in a couple of weeks they would probably be half the price.  We finally found one - a 6 foot non pre-lit tree for $20! It's almost a real life version of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!  However with our small living room it works perfect.  It doesn't take up a lot of space.  And so far I've only put the lights and ribbon on and it looks great.  I saved the ornaments for the boys to put on (hopefully tomorrow). The boys are happy there is a tree in the house again and I'm glad we found the perfect tree - just a little bummed we found out the hard way I'm still allergic to live Christmas trees!


After picking out and cutting down the tree.



The REAL tree up and decorated.


The new FAKE tree!