Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thanks for saying "yes," Sara!

Laura here....

During my reflecting, one of the articles that Sara wrote that keeps sticking in my mind this time of year, is the one below.  I am so thankful to Sara for always saying yes, when it was her time to do it! 

Love you and miss you Sara!

Reposted from December 13, 2010

“You gotta just try to do every thing you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

I was watching Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who is from a small Iowa town not far from me, receive the esteemed Medal of Honor for bravery shown in active duty. Sal had told President Obama that he was just doing his job, and following advice he had gotten when he first became a soldier.

During his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, his Team Leader said to him:

“You gotta just try to do everything you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

It struck me as the most profoundly simple statement. And while I’m sure it is essential advice for a battlefield, it also occurred to me it’s advice that works in every circumstance for every person trying to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

And those of his parents.

I am thinking of Mary, frightened and scared, not knowing what to make of this angel standing before her. But she said yes. She did what she could when it was her time to be asked.

And Joseph. Being asked to marry a woman who was pregnant – and not with his child. He was being asked to sacrifice his life and all he had been taught… and he said yes. He did everything he could when it was his time to be asked.

They did their duty. They traveled for the census to be counted. They continually did the next right thing – not because they were promised riches or status or rewards. They traveled, they suffered in a stable to bring a baby into the world without any idea of how they were going to manage next. But they did everything they could, because it was their time to do it.

I hear the story so many times that I begin to assume they knew what the end result of their sacrifices would be. Sometimes I lull myself into thinking I would have made those sacrifices if it meant the Savior of the world could come to do His work.

But then I remember that Mary and Joseph knew no such thing. They knew no more of their future than we do. They didn’t know Jesus would get lost in a temple. They didn’t know he would turn water into wine and heal the sick and bring sight to the blind. They didn’t know their precious baby boy would be beaten and ridiculed and hung on a cross.

They were simply doing everything they could, when it was their time to do it.

It pierces me. It pierces me to know they simply said yes because it was the right thing to do. It pierces me that I, in this life, have so many chances to say yes. It pierces me that every moment of my life could be my time to do everything I can. I may not change the world, but I might change a life. I might be called with an urging in my spirit, and if I choose not to pay attention and act on it, I might miss my moment.

My time to do what I can.

That’s what I am thinking about this Christmas. I’m always overwhelmed and grateful that Jesus came to this world as a baby to save me – thousands of years later – a simple soul not unlike any other.

But this year, I’m wondering how I can be more like Mary and Joseph. How I can do everything I can… now… when it’s my time to do it.

Will you take that challenge with me? Will you look beyond the celebrations and the wrappings and the carols we hum as we busy about our lives – and pay close attention to the little details in the lives of those around you?

Because you never know when it may be your time to do everything you can.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011 One Little Word...PRAISE

Hi, everyone...this is Sara's sister, Laura.  I know Sara would want to follow up on her "one little word for 2011," so I thought I would take some of her thoughts and share them with you...

Sara's one little word to focus on for 2011 was PRAISE...and how did she do?

Like she did at everything...OUTSTANDING!!

Praise made Sara feel centered.  Praise is what helped Sara Choose Joy. 

As I was re-reading Sara's post regarding her choice of the word Praise, the phrase, "It's not about me" stuck out. As Sara was preparing to meet our Heavenly Father, she told us she did not want her funeral to be about her. As we all chuckled and told her it kinda was about her, she adamantly told us NO, she wanted it to be about what she was teaching through her writing, that it is all about Him.  

In Sara's post on Praise, she said, 

"Rather than letting life run me, I take a simple action. I go from my own circumstance to thinking about others. I remember that this life is not about me and choose to give thanks to the God who loves me. That is what keeps my spirits up... it's my focus on spirits other than mine. It's my focus on praising instead of dwelling on my own circumstances. It's not always easy, but it is something I have to choose to do if I am going to live the life He needs me to."

There is that other word, Choose...

On December 5, Pastor Christian Watts gave a sermon titled "Choosing Joy When Life Gives You Lemons." Pastor Watts contacted me and asked if he could use Sara's story in his message.  He read Sara's post on Choosing Joy and reminded me of the word choose...

"I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to choose joy. I even painted a big rectangle on my wall and printed it in big letters so I wouldn't forget to make that choice every day. The major word in that rectangle isn't joy... it's CHOOSE. It's looking around me when life is difficult and trading every complaint I have for something beautiful in my life that far outweighs it. I know, it's that Pollyanna personified thing again... but living joyful beats being cynical any day of the week."

(Here is the link if you would like to hear his sermon.  He did a great job of honoring Sara! Http://

Sara chose Praise and she praised Him very well...I will leave you with this final thought from Sara... 

"He knows my past, present and future. He is surprised by nothing. He is with me, never leaves me even when I feel alone, and holds me up even when I think I am standing on my own two feet. He is good. All the time. And I am going to praise Him through all of it."

2012 is right around the corner and as we choose new resolutions or items to focus on, I'm definitely not going to stop focusing on this one...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving in a Year of Loss

Hey everyone...this is Sara's sister Laura. Sara always let us know how blessed and thankful she was despite her circumstances. Although I am not the writer that Sara was, I wanted to let each of you know what her family is thankful for this year...


In 2010 the loss of dad was BIG … He was a man who filled so much space in a person’s heart and soul.

Dad did everything with his whole heart and soul … He was such a big part of so many lives! He...

Prayed, and
Loved …
 BIG … With his whole heart and soul…

So, what were we thankful for despite the loss of Dad?

We were thankful for all the years we got to spend sharing this life with dad. Thankful for his whole being! His laugh, the twinkle in his eye, the whistle on his lips, the dance in his step, his wisdom and teaching.

We miss everything about him, from his big soft hands to his ornery personality. But, we were thankful that he lived big, played big, worked hard and loved even harder.

And now, in 2011 … the loss of Sweet Sara…

A loss that is BIG … A sister, daughter, aunt, friend who filled so much space in a person’s heart and soul.

Sara did everything with her whole heart and soul … she was such a big part of so many lives! She...

Prayed, and
BIG … with her whole heart and soul…

So, what are we thankful for despite the loss of Sara?

We are thankful for the 38 years we got to spend sharing this life with Sara. Thankful for her whole being! Her laugh, the twinkle in her eye, the song in her voice, her wisdom and teaching of what it meant to be a true disciple of Christ! We are thankful for how she chose to live Joy each and every day!

We miss everything about her from her gentle hands to her ornery personality. But, we are thankful that she lived and loved big.

We love them, miss them, and are thankful that God chose us to be in their lives … what an honor!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. We are also thankful to each of you for loving Sara so BIG!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Choose Joy--Crosspoint Video and Feed

On Sunday, a portion of Sara's story was shared. Far from the farm where she was raised, miles from the cheery condo with her words decorating the brightly hued walls,  individuals gathered and heard her words...the ones she shared here on the blog.

Sara was a girl who lived her life all over the place, despite the constraint of being in the condo.

Her presence was felt and acknowledged far beyond her dwelling spot.

At Crosspoint  located in Nashville,Tennessee, Blake Bergstrom addressed Choose Joy during the amazing sermon series entitled Better Days. 

It was...



thought provoking

tear causing

Blake spoke on the difference between happiness and joy; he talked of making a choice.

He hit the nail on the head

For those of you who were unable to enjoy the live feed, I'm linking to the video and audio portions of his sermon, as well as notes for it here. Note: It's week 3 Choose Joy.

I'm also going to embed Blake's words here for you to take in...

Sara's choice?  Joy. 

Every. Single. Time.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hi Friends,

Shannon here...

Just wanted to let all of you know that the church Sara attended (online) will be doing a message tomorrow evening about choosing joy and will share her story; it should be phenomenal. You can click here to watch live...

I'll be tuning in at 6 pm central time. For those of you who aren't able to view this tomorrow evening, I will post links later this week so you can enjoy the message as well.

One of Cross Point's pastors, Blake Bergstrom, will be speaking.

The sermon series is entitled "Better Days" which makes me start singing the Goo Goo Dolls and the first two messages are currently available on the site....

Here's a brief preview...

One huge thanks to sweet Jessica for the heads up on this; I know we all appreciate the community being able to come together and share in Sara's ripple effect.  

I'm so thankful she lived her life loud, aren't you?

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Blog Dog

Laura here...

Today we are celebrating another joyous occasion in the life of Gitz.  Riley, the blog mascot's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Riley!!

Along with loving Sara, came loving a very special companion, Riley.  We want everyone to know that Riley is doing great and loving life. Linda, Susie's mom (the one in the middle of the picture below) and Riley are enjoying each other's company.

Linda loved Sara and assisted her by bringing her groceries and running errands as often as needed. Sara wanted to make sure Linda didn't get bored, so Riley is now making sure Linda has someone to pay attention to and treat as a king!

Happy Birthday Riley and thank you for helping bring JOY to Sara's life.  We love you!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." ~ William Arthur Ward

As I sit and try to find the words to say Thank you, I find myself under a lot of pressure since Sara was definitely the writer in the family!!

I began looking through one of Sara's journals where she kept many of the quotes that meant a lot to her. I found the one above about gratitude. Gratitude is being truly thankful from the heart.  That is how we, Sara's family feels...thankful from the heart.

Sara wrote a blog in August for (in)courage titled "Overwhelmed." In her writing she talked about how she got overwhelmed and how she wondered if that is also how Jesus felt in those days prior to dying on the cross.

Eucharisteo is how Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things - taking the pain that is given, giving thanks for it, and transforming it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness.
    ~Ann Voskamp

As I read through many of Sara's writings, she gave thanks for her pain, transforming into a joy that filled her emptiness.  Sara got it and she lived it!

So today, Sara's family is also giving thanks. Even in the midst of the pain we feel for the loss of our sweet Sara, we are thankful. Thankful to her for being a true disciple. Thankful to each of you for helping her carry out her purpose. And, thankful to Jesus for dying on the cross so that we may experience eternal life, together.

Sara wants us to be thankful...

Because this is where, together, I know we will find our joy.
   ~Sara Frankl, Gitzen Girl

Laura, Sara's sister :)

Friday, September 30, 2011


Before Sara died, she asked me to speak at her wake. She didn't desire that I share with others memories of her. Rather, she asked that I speak about who she was in this world. She told me that she wanted people who came to see her as I spoke.  She also told me I wasn't allowed to cry. It would, she stated, "Make things less effective." Love her.  A friend who was present asked that I (Shannon) put it up for all of you, who were unable to join us at the service, to read.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .

Gail Caldwell wrote: "It's an old, old story. I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that too."  

Words are powerful. Uniting. They shape our view of the world, ourselves, each other. Words, in the best cases, make us immortal. Words are how I found her. Faith is what brought us together.

A friend send me an email, asking me to pray for a mother who knew she was going to lose her baby girl and carried her to term anyway. I immediately prayed, and then got online to read something called a blog. First time I'd read one. In. My. Life. I took in the entries from first to last, with tears streaming. My heart ached. I prayed. I returned again and again to follow this mom's story. In the process? 

I found Sara.

Our friendship was wildly unexpected. I linked to and as I read I heard her voice. Honest. Full of Faith. Strong. True. Her words? They were her, and like a book waiting to be opened, I dove in. Heart first. Because that's how all of the great things in life are to be done. I sent an email explaining the similarities in our stories and assuring her that I'd never written to someone like this before, I wasn't creepy, and um, if she had some time, could we possibly correspond? She immediately replied with an, "Of course! I'd love to get to know you..." And, as it's said, the rest, for us, for was history. Day in, day out, doing "life" together. Only now, knowing what I do about her, does this response make me laugh. I'm quite sure that is how Sar answered every single person who contacted her. .

Sara did everything full throttle, both feet in, filled with intention and limitless enthusiasm, shown by the sparkle in her eyes for what most interested those she loved. She told me that the most important gift you could ever give someone was your full and undivided attention. Sara got it. She knew that to live well meant to treasure moments and seem them as gifts. She chose joy. Not happiness, which is as flimsy as a shirt blowing on a line in the breeze, but true heart joy which sustains through obstacles, disease, death. She make the hard choices. 



She chose community . Using her words to a build a life when her body failed her. She shared her faith boldly. She was real. Alive. Present in every moment. She made those around her and those who shared her world via her words desire to enjoy their days as she would have...

No going back

No regrets

...taking the time to feel the sun kiss their cheeks and cause freckles, which she so missed seeing on her own. Sara lived. 




She was a daughter, a sister, a friend. She loved to sing. She loved to dance. She made the world's best volcano cake. She adored cheese...and Oreos, frozen and dipped in peanut butter. Some have called her inspirational. She was, but not intentionally. Honestly though? To me? She's simply Sara, my best friend. The one with the snort-filled laugh who made up songs for everything. She had eyes that twinkled and hugs that filled you up way past overflowing. She was my heart.

And here she is, proclaiming that it's not about her, in full Sara-get-the-last-word fashion. But this time? I have to disagree. Because it is about her, what He's done through her.It's about her taking the time to teach us through her words and her beautiful life how to be genuine and honest. How to love the Lord and follow Him. How to make our lives more outward focused than in. Loving well. Living well. Choosing joy. That was our gitz. And because here, in this place, she deserves the final word, I'll leave you with hers...

"Make it about Him, not you. Enjoy every second. Choose joy."

Well said, good and faithful servant. Well said.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Live Ustream of Cedar Falls Memorial Service NOW

I literally just walked in from the airport after travelling home from Iowa and Sara's funeral yesterday, so I apologize for the late notice on this; I didn't know a live stream was going to occur until I was on my way home from the airport.

There is a live Ustream video of Sara's Cedar Falls Memorial Service going on here if you'd like to join and watch.

If that does not work, please click here.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Live UStream of Sara's Funeral

Last night was Sara's wake.

Hundreds attended.

It was amazing. Friends and family laughed and cried, shared stories and viewed a video slideshow of her life.  A deacon from her St. Stephen church family talked about joy, and then those in attendance were asked to share memories of Sara.

Sara was beautiful. Frail, but beautiful. She laid in her casket, wearing her "It's Not About Me" shirt, her jeans, and holding 2 rosaries. Even in death, our friend proclaims her life was about something bigger....she desires people to see it's about what God does through her rather than what she could do on her own.

The scope of her life continues to grow.  I was contacted before her death by a reporter named Emily who  wanted to discuss the positives of social media and friendship with me.  Reluctantly I did so, mostly because I was uncomfortable being out front in a story that is all about Him, how He brings people together, how He worked through her. This was published yesterday, and Sara's story continues to grow.

The Frankl family will be streaming the funeral live this afternoon at 1:30 CT if you'd like to attend along with us, please click here. The link is located at the bottom of the page, beneath Live Video from SCCS Sports. Sara told me she wanted her death to be a celebration. She was home with her Savior.

I can think of no better reason to have a party, can you?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Hello Friends,

Stopping in to let all of you know the arrangements for sweet Sara.

The wake (visitation) will take place on Tuesday evening, September 27th, from 5-8 p.m. at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Algona, IA.

The funeral will also be at St. Cecilia's at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, September 28th, in Algona, IA.

There will be a memorial service on Thursday, September 29th, at St. Stephens Catholic Church in Cedar Falls, IA at 6:30 p.m.

The family is exploring the feasibility of doing a webcast of the visitation/service. I'll post further details as they become available.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Algona is a small community, but as of this posting, rooms are available at Sisters Inn and Burr Oak Motel. West Bend, IA also has a few hotels and is in close proximity to Algona.

For further information, please visit the funeral home site that is handling arrangements here.



I've received many comments/emails regarding correspondence and memorial contributions. I've updated below with that information, as well as links to the organizations that were close to Sara's heart.

Cards may be sent to the family, care of Jane Frankl (Sara's Mom) at the following address:

Jane Frankl
405 Timber Estates
Algona, Iowa 50511

Memorial Contributions/In Lieu of Flowers:

Sara was quite passionate about World Vision, Relay for Life, and St. Stephens Catholic Church in Cedar Falls, IA.  In lieu of flowers, she suggested that you purchase books and donate them to an organization close to your heart.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mourning into Dancing

Hi Friends,
Shannon here to let everyone know that at 11:14 pm tonight, Sara died peacefully with her mother and brother at her side.  Arrangements are pending, and I'll be back with information on the family's wishes as how best to honor her; please continue to hold them close in prayer.

I know that in Psalm 30:11 it says, "You have turned my mourning into dancing..."

I'm quite sure that there's a whole lot of that going on right now in Heaven.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Update

Just a quick note to let everyone stopping by know that our Sara continues to hold on as of 1:45pm EST. Although her body is restful, she is showing more signs of it shutting down fully.

Please accept my apology for not updating sooner, I was trying to be sensitive and post when pertinent information was available.

Sara's family appreciates all of your prayer and support as they've gone through the last week and a half and welcomes the continuation of it as they travel this road.

As soon as something changes, I'll be back to let you know.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Choose Joy

Hi Friends,

This is Shannon. It's Friday evening, and Sara is resting peacefully.

Laura, Sara's sister, told me she's been still most of the day and that her last few nights were restful. Steve, her brother, shared with me how beautiful she is when she's asleep. That friends, is joy.

I imagine it's a whole mix of happy and sad in the condo right now. Sara is finally finding peace in her body, something many of us have not witnessed in years.


She'll soon be enjoying an easy breath, laughter that does not cause pain, sweet vocalization, and a reunion with her Dad.


Her finish line is in sight, a well paced race run with determination and endurance.


Sara is a woman of countless friends...friends are writing to and about her, linking up over with Jessica. Sara's family is reading the posts and is so thankful for the ways you all love her so well. Just last month, Sara held Jess' sweet, pink, beautiful bundle. A baby in her arms. She ran cars off of the bed with Elias. Memories that Jessica will treasure for a lifetime.


This place has always been one of honesty. Gitz is all about real. Even when there's pain mixed in.So, we'll walk together on this road, surrounding each other, lifting Sara and her family up, celebrating her life. We'll do it for her, because she's amazing. We'll also remember that it's okay for us to feel, to cry out, to lean on each other. She's taught us that. Who knew that as she was posting on her grief she'd be giving us a guidebook to what our lives may look like just a year later? He did.


She's headed home to Him.


I'm choosing it. Now. In this moment. Through the tears, the pain, the memories. In loving Sara, I've made my choice.

I Choose Joy

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking Homeward

The journey is coming to an end, or perhaps a more “Sara” way to look at it is that it’s just beginning...

Sara is getting ready to head home to Him.

Through rainfall tears I read the blog through the night, and thought her words might bring you comfort as she travels home.

... I have lived in this condo since I was 29 years old. I haven't left it, ventured out, even open a window in years. It's where I am, where I will always be, and yet when someone says the word 'home' I don't think here.

I don't think anywhere, really. I think who.

Because my home rests in the hearts of people.

My home is with my mom as I think of her sitting on the porch outside her bedroom, sipping coffee and looking out over the beautiful landscape that nature created.

It's with my sister as I think of her busy in her kitchen, rushing to prepare something for Becca who is on the go, or organizing Thomas as he readies for college.

It's with my brother as I think of him sitting in his living room, helping Cooper with homework or listening to Avery as she tells him stories of her day.

It's with Shannon and the girls as they sit in the dance studio and practice for Nie Nie's solo competition, or in their living room as Yodi sketches and colors and dreams her own dreams.

Some days my home walks right into the condo, like it did today, when Tyler and Jonboy helped their grandma deliver groceries. Sweet Jonboy, who asked if he could do anything to help me. So he filled up my bird feeders and swept in the kitchen because his heart, my home, is filled with more love than it can hold.

It's with friends who are near and loved ones who are far. It's with people I've shared my life with but may never meet face to face, until we all go to our final Home.

Our Home in heaven where my Dad is. He is my home, his own heart so close to Jesus' I can almost feel both of them beating in mine, so close in my thoughts and so far from my touch.

My home is not here. It's not in a country or state or town or walls. It's in the hearts of the people I love.

And their home is in mine.

Well said, dearest Sara. You will  forever be in all of ours...



Sara received information late yesterday afternoon that her body was beginning to shut down, and things have moved quickly since. Hospice arrived this morning and Sara is comfortable. Her family is surrounding her and reading her texts, facebook posts, and emails, so please feel free to contact her and share your love; she will not be able to reply but is taking great peace in your words, your heart.  I know how thankful she is for each of you, how much joy you’ve added to her days, and what purpose sharing Him has given her. I will continue to post as things change and want to thank each of you for the ways in which you have loved sweet Sara so well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Greetings  Friends,

This is Shannon, popping in to offer all of you an update on our sweet Sara.

Gitz is continuing to remain still. She’s working with her nurses and physician to unravel just what is going on with her body, which is NEVER a straightforward process.  Sara is sick. This statement could mean a variety of things, but right now it involves labored breathing, pain, a lousy stomach, and a weekend of IV fluids.

To say that this entire situation totally and completely stinks doesn’t come anywhere near doing  it justice.

I’ll just go ahead and voice what everyone who’s reading this update is feeling  ... It’s not fair. 

Nope. It’s not.

Life isn’t fair.

Sara wouldn’t want us to focus on the not fair.  That’s not who she is or who she’ll ever become.  Not fair isn’t a phrase that pops up in her vocabulary.  She focuses on her purpose, the beauty around her, loving people well, and the story that we cannot yet see.

Sara doesn’t ask to see the ending.  She simply trusts in the One who planned it all out before she came into being.  Sara’s belief in the Lord is HUGE and her faith is beyond measure. She trusts Him implicitly with the details of her life. She’s a part of His story. Her main desire is for others to come to know Him like she does;  As a Father, a provider, a refuge. Sara's trust in God is what I love most about her. I also adore her sparkling eyes, hugs that make you feel melty inside, the way she always listens before she speaks, her freckles that have faded from lack of sun, the way she puts everyone first...

Okay, I need to stop and be completely honest. I love everything about her, from the way the corners of her eyes crinkle when she smiles to the way she fills your heart all the way up, far beyond overflowing, when you're in her presence.

So, to say I love something most?  It means it’s something I honestly believe we all can take from her and put into practice in our own lives.

Less  it’s not fair...

More trust

A whole lot of faith.

Please continue to join me and others in this community in prayer for Sara as she travels this road. I’ll continue to update as medical and other information changes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Territory

Hi friends. This is Shannon, mama to NieNie and Yodi and heart friend of our Sara. I must admit I’ve written this first line about a dozen times and keep hoping for it to end in a different way.  But it’s not going to, and both Sar and I are okay with it.

But we can still hope...

Hope. Wait. Repeat.

Because right now? It’s what she’s doing... Waiting. Resting. Hoping. Waiting some more. 

Her health isn’t where she or I want it to be, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t know exactly where she is.  I’m trusting on Him to provide for her, fill her, and grant her peace.

With all of that said, I need to ask you to support Sara as she ventures into territory not yet explored.  My friend is taking a blog sabbatical for a bit, to catch up on her rest and see if she can’t get into a new groove that will work for both her body and her spirit. 

The blog? This place we all come together and share our hearts and faith? It’s as much a part of Sara as Riley is nuzzled against her side.  It has been a struggle for our girl to put fingers to keyboard and ask that you’ll join her in this time of quiet; I’m stepping in and doing it for her.  She’s not giving anything up, just slowing it down for a bit to see if she can find more of her to be with all of you.

As she breaks from the blog, she’ll also be “on pause” (as Yodi says when she needs to stop something) from answering email. I promise to pop in from time to time and post updates for you because I know how much you all love her.  It’s her desire that none of you fret a bit, or feel ignored if she doesn’t get back to a comment or email.  Her main focus is on getting herself back to where she needs to be...and currently that doesn’t include a whole lot of sitting up, reading, or typing. It involves complete and total rest which her body desperately needs.  I’m so proud of her. She’s not pushing it too hard, and she’s listening to what she’s supposed to be doing instead of pursuing what she desires to do. 

That takes strength.

So, as this sabbatical begins, her plan is to check in from time to time. It’s my hope that you’ll all stick tight as she ventures this new road. I know that it is her heart’s desire to come back to you refreshed, renewed, and ready.  I’m declaring it here in print nonetheless that I trust in her plan to succeed, at least, as Dr. Seuss says, “98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.”


Monday, August 29, 2011

Riley Here...

Hi, Peeps. Riley the blog dog here.

I've been waiting for three years to take over this place and I finally have the chance.

IMG_7204 wassup

Sara is running a bit slow these days, and her lungs seem to be running even slower, so I told her she has to take a break this week and see if she can get some energy back. I promised her I'd let her check back in next week and get back to writing.

Don't worry... I'm the expert in taking care of her, and I plan on leading by example.

IMG_023111 f

Wishing you all good days and chewy treats,

Riley DD_MW_DoggieDoodles_paw_Print

Friday, August 26, 2011

5 minutes: unknown

I can't tell you how great it was to read all of your answers yesterday... with the thought that went into some of them, I know you all are going to love the gist of this book and what it makes you ponder.

The winner of Holley Gerth's My Heart for You is:

Zoshadelonghi {side note: I would love to know if that is a last name or if it stands for something...}

Congrats! Email your mailing address to and we'll get your book sent off to you! :)

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Today I'm linking up to Lisa-Jo, aka gypsy mama, who chooses a topic every Friday and writes for five minutes.

Only five minutes.

And the rule is that whatever she writes about in that five minutes is what she posts. No editing her thoughts.

*** Actually, when I checked Lisa-Jo's site, there was no prompt put up, so I'm going to improvise. Since the prompt is - literally - unknown, that's what I'll write about. :) ***

So I'm going to set the timer, write some thoughts, and then I'm going to stop.

Ready? Set. Go.



The unknown can be our biggest enemy sometimes… the thing we put most of our focus on and what we spend most of our energy trying to control.

I sometimes wonder if it's actually more comforting for us to look ahead and live in the future and all of the unknown simply because we feel a desperate need to avoid the present we're in.

Because, let's face it, the present can be hard. We can be broke or we can be sick or we can be abandoned. We can be living in limbo in our marriages or in crisis with our jobs or aching for our children and their needs. The right now can hurt so badly that the only escape is to get lost into the unknown of those "what ifs" that give us the illusion of control.

What if I take this job, or what if we lose the house, or what if we make that move, or what if I get the raise, or what if I try this treatment.

We can live in fear and dread the unknown, assuring ourselves of the worst - or we can live in hope and see happiness ahead with Pollyanna eyes.

But neither of them are truly right.

Both are still guessing games of the unknown.

I'm learning how to fully live right in the middle of the hard, in the here and KNOWN, because if this is my life - if this is where I am at - then this is where God is at, too. And if I’m wasting all of my time and energy trying to control the unknown of the future rather than fulfilling what He may be needing from me right now, then I’m wasting God’s time as well.

It all boils down to this:
none of it is unknown to Him.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In God's Heart, I Am...

When I was a little girl, I thought I would be a poet.

{I also thought I would be the next Mary Lou Retton and the next Olivia Newton John and the next Bionic Woman, but those are stories you can go back and read...}

The first poem I remember showing to Mom, she didn't believe I wrote. I was little and out of nowhere my head came up with this:

God gives Himself to each of us,
To each a special part.
But I am the luckiest one of them all
For unto me He gave a piece of His heart.

After awhile I convinced her I hadn't copied it from one of my children's books so it went on the fridge, which was enough for me to consider myself published.

I was little and wanted to make sure I always had God's heart in me, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was in His.

It's easy to believe as a child.

But then we grow older.

And we see our flaws.

And we hide more than we show.

And instead of believing we are in His heart we shift our thinking and we start trying to earn our way in. Into a place where He already holds us as a precious gift.

My friend and (in)courage sister, Holley Gerth, saw that in herself and women all around her, and listened to a prompting that caused her to write God's Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman.

And girls, we need this book.

It's a tiny little book, but it is powerful. I've had so many little daily devotionals over the years that have been nice, and I read them and put them away and went about my day. But this one is different.

God's Heart for You by Holley Gerth

This one has made me pause.

Each day is only a few pages long, but Holley doesn't mess around. She starts with an idea, tells you her thoughts and then asks you three questions that stop you dead in your tracks.

Not the questions that you do two minutes before faith sharing because you're running late and they are typical ones you don't have to think about. {Not that I ever did that. Ahem.}

These are questions that dive into your heart, so that you can see yourself more clearly in His.

And after you ponder and pray and realize something new, she gives you a few lines of a prayer you think she pulled right out of your own heart, and then she gives you a pep talk that leaves your ready to face your day with a new readiness you didn't know you needed.

Can you tell I like this little treasure?

Would you like a copy, too?

Good. Because I'm giving one away. :)

If you want to be entered in, all you have to do is leave me a comment finishing this statement:

In God's Heart, I am...

Here's a video with some other people's answers if you need help getting started:

Please, only one comment per person, and the contest will go until 11:00 pm Thursday night. I'll announce the winner on Friday.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gitz Bits: Week 33

gitz bits 2011 2

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Monday, August 15, 2011


This poor robin was in a tizzy trying to get some food on Monday. The feeder s/he was standing on is supposed to be safe against animals like raccoons and chipmunks, so when they stand on the little ledges their weight pulls the cage down and the food opening is covered by the leaves.

Well, apparently the robin had eaten a worm too many and was too heavy to actually get any of the birdseed.

If only the same was true for fast food windows...

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I did a little food experimenting myself, which is almost unheard of in my world, but it turned out great! I was looking through a blog that had a recipe that filled all of my requirements:

1. I had all the ingredients in my house.
2. It required absolutely no effort on my part.

Because I love you all, here's what you do:

Mix 12oz. of your favorite barbeque sauce, 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing and 1/4 cup brown sugar and put it over 6 frozen chicken breasts in a crock pot.

{I only had three frozen chicken breasts and it seemed perfect to me because I liked the extra sauciness.}

You leave it on high in the crockpot for four hours and then pull the chicken apart with two forks. It is YUMMY. You're welcome.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This is what Riley and I look like when we're not making great things in crockpots.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011


I was so happy that my little yellow flower started to get blooms on it again! I was afraid with all this dry hot weather that the time for flowers was over. I love it when I'm proven wrong.

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Friday, August 19, 2011


I was so grateful it was such a beautiful day out for my Uncle Barney's family to have his funeral and celebrate his life. I took a picture of this gorgeous blue sky because I know the gray days of winter are coming soon enough and we need to enjoy these fluffy cloud moments. 

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Saturday, August 20, 2011


My sweet sister Laura texted me a picture of her and Jeff getting my nephew Thomas settled in the dorm for his first year of college.

I'm so incredibly proud of him and can't believe it's time for him to be on his own already. And right now I'm just hoping his roommate doesn't mind Iowa Hawkeye apparel. :) 

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Sunday, August 21, 2011


My darling seven-year-old Yodi got to borrow her big sister's cell phone on Sunday and we spent hours – literally hours – texting back and forth. It was so sweet to go over everything from how much we love each other to how sad she is I live so far away to how the pop rocks she was eating feel when they explode in her mouth.

I loved every single minute of finding out everything there was to know about her day on Sunday. I am a lucky, lucky girl.

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well: