Sweet Home Alabama

Last week was great.

Baby Gid, Julia, Em and I hopped in a car and sailed south.

Gideon was a trooper who rode more contentedly than some of the rest of us (I won’t mention any names)

And 12 hours later, we rolled into Atmore, Alabama.

Nate had a Thrift Store Conference, so he was out of town for most of our stay. I’m guessing he was a little relieved to miss his sister in laws taking over the house.

Immediately upon arrival, Alexander took over the entertaining. Here he’s offering me a motorcycle ride to Pensacola. I could ride “right here” in front of him and he promised to drive slow lol how could I refuse?

Gideon and Maria became fast friends and had their aunts swooning at their adorable little conversations.

Even though the Sunny South didn’t charm us with its warmth this round, we did adventure a little. Em’s birthday treasure hunt led us to the Gator Boardwalk in Spanish Fort.

It was too cold to see any gators, but we found a treasure box, and we spotted some pretty cute kids.

We found more treasure at the Hiding Tree at Blakey Historic State Park

The History was pretty interesting. They fought one of the last major battles of the Civil War here hours after General Lee had surrendered in Appomattox. Supposedly Confederate Soldiers hid in this tree after the Fort fell.

The hanging tree was another somber scene from yesteryear.

Exploring the swampland was a definite highlight.

And here’s a pic of all of us to prove the trip actually happened.

For years, I’ve admired a local family and their ability to win at the long distance game. The Oren Heatwole family lives in a number of different states, but they manage to get together for a week every year as a sewing retreat. They’ve figured out how to thrive.

Having family out of town is tough. There’s no way to sugar coat this reality. But I’ve thought about the Heatwole’s and am inspired by their example. Maybe once a year, my sisters and I need to prioritize a getaway.

But atleast for this year, there was no sewing involved-just lots of baby snuggles. But what a treat that was.

“Our roots say we’re sisters, our hearts say we’re friends.” And for this fact, I’m grateful.


Bonus Pic:

Every year at the School Fundraiser, a local man donates coupons for his famous Chicago style deep dish pizza. It was such a treat to get in on the feast that Deb and Nate had purchased.

God’s goodness for 40 years ❤️👰🏻🤵🏻

14,600 days ago… or 480 months… or 40 years ago marked the beginning of our family. Eldon and Joyce got married!

Mother often tells us about the snow on their wedding day and how the one guest stated she would be there “even if she had to walk there…in boots!”

There aren’t many pics from the event, so the ones we have are extra special.

Just look at them 🥰

40 years is enough time to see a lot of hardwork, health issues (not cancer or any worst case scenarios, but definitely enough time spent in waiting rooms), and disappointments.

40 years is enough time to enjoy my dad’s special blend of humor, my mom’s good cooking, lots of incredible blessings and memories.

40 years is a gift.

I dropped some flowers off that I’d picked up at the grocery store (“Some assembly required” I told my florist Mother) and asked what wisdom she had to share after 40 years. Soon we were knee deep in reliving the past.

Life is hard. No one is exempt. But the goodness of God is far greater than whatever valleys we encounter.

40 years, 4 daughters, 4 grandsons and one Miss Maria. (Missing the youngest 2 grandchildren here/ We definitely need an updated family picture.)

I’m so thankful that God gifted their love to us. I’m thankful that their commitment to God and each other has stood for 350,640 hours + . God is good and we are thankful.

As I’ve heard my dad sing every January 22 ever since I can remember “Darling happy anniversary!” He’s the king of creating different lyrics to fit the occasion, and it’s always a surprise when I look up lyrics and it’s just how he sang it-lol-

Darling, happy anniversary
Another year of love has gone by
Thank you for each day you give to me
My darling, happy anniversary

Psalms 16: 5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Luv y’all,


Bonus Pics:

It so happens that I remember both my Rhodes and Horst Grandparents 40th anniversary’s. We took pictures and in my 4 year old mind, it was a big deal.

The entire Stanley Horst family

Reuben and Margaret Rhodes and grandchildren

Chief Snow Cloud’s Treasure Hunt

Isaiah 45: 3 I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

This verse is the perfect backbone to my current obsession. My prayer is that the energy I’m pouring into these pet projects leaves the recipients feeling loved. The kind of love that points us to our Heavenly Father who calls us by name.

I’m all about treasure hunts these days. Ben’s family got together yesterday and since I’m up to my elbows in Em’s birthday celebration treasure hunt, it was easy to throw together a 10 stop hunt for the nieces and nephews.

One idea lead to another and soon we had 10 very carefully articulated letters from Chief Snow Cloud to his tribe. Apparently his son “Ice Storm” was going thru a very sloppy stage and much to his father’s dismay, he keeps leaving things everywhere.

That boy forgot a garden trial in a hollow stump and planted Osage orange fruit (that looked suspiciously like the green baseballs that Isaiah had helped me collect out of the soybean field next to the ball field last fall) in the middle of the winter in a sandy area (the forgotten sandbox). “What can we do with him?” Questions Chief

I had to chuckle a little when the Chief stated : “Snowman should hunt without snacks, we warrior men prefer pemmican, but hunting has been scarce recently. Share the extras with the papooses” Mozzarella Cheese sticks for the win.

The hunt went hither and yon around the property and included nursery rhymes like “the eensy weensy spider”; “well house” written in code; various poems and riddles: “when it’s cold outside, I can’t be beat. Light me up and then make a toasty treat.”

Dad has an outdoor fire pit and I was going to hide the next clue right in the middle of it… until I noticed they were moving firewood in prep for a fire. 😅 The hunt almost hit a dead end right there.

The children were tremendous sports and I showed up occasionally in the shadows as they rushed back and forth. But they solved the clues rapidly and without assistance from Chief Snow Cloud’s Scribe.

The grand finale treasure was 11 sets of Oriental Trading kits that I’d found at a consignment store for a grand total $.79. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a treasure hunt fun. 🙂

Unfortunately the dream catcher that I helped Julie make looked more like it caught nightmares.

But Jasmine’s buckskin purse turned out more like what I’d envisioned the end results to be.

Family is the actual treasure.

Chief Snow Cloud and Scribe, KR

Bonus Pics:

I over bought mozzarella sticks for another project and I had a blast using the ones that didn’t get turned into snowmen into these little guys.

I told Ben I was going to have “my ducks in a row” for family day and he mildly stated “you mean your penguins” 😂 we all marched in together.

My dad has been on a spree about wanting oysters on the half shell, so he arranged a party at the Bagger’s Shop.

Ben and Sherm were quite experienced with such a feast, and the rest of us caught on quickly. I hope I don’t have to wait another 36 years until I get in on this kind of fun.

This was more of a treasure wait than an treasure hunt-lol but we stood around and waited while the oysters cooked in their shell until they started to pop open. We scooped the treasure off onto saltine crackers. Then we searched around through a variety of seasonings to add: old bay, cocktail sauce, Parmesan cheese, butter, lemon juice, hot sauce…

A very different type of experience from crafting with the nieces, but definitely highly recommend.