Our Bittersweet Texas Souvenir

Phew! After yesterday’s tender post today’s topic feels like a breath of fresh air even though I’m a bit indifferent over what I’m about to share…

Last week I dished out our Texas trip itinerary complete with pictures but that post was getting long so I left out the part about us buying souvenirs.

Today I’m gonna spill the beans.

On Thursday of our trip we spent the day at the beach and when Friday came my husband and two younger kids were exhausted and wanted to spend the afternoon at the condo after going to the sea turtle facility that morning.

My oldest daughter (Paige) and I however still had a bit of go left. I’m not a huge souvenir person at all but Paige wanted to check out the beach shops and I was game for chauffeuring and tagging along.

Here’s the honest truth with those beach shops—they’re packed to the gills, everything’s branded with the tour destination name which skyrockets the price, and when you’ve seen one you’ve seen em all!

…except for the second shop we ended up in…

That one had its own unique little feature…

Paige spotted it first.

The advertising was plastered on the front window.

HERMIT CRABS SOLD HERE

Hook, line and sinker Paige was the bait and they reeled her right in.

“Mom!!!! We should get hermit crabs!!!”

“Oh man, that might be kinda cool!” I was quickly getting sucked in too.

We marched through those doors like gals on a mission and our feet carried us straight to the hermit crab exhibit, ignoring the cluttered shelves of South Padre Island knickknacks.

Oh how I wish now that my eyes and pocketbook would’ve met a twenty dollar water bottle, or a fifteen dollar ball cap, a t-shirt, or a towel…something other than the crabs!!

But we succumbed to the hermit crabs. And not only that we thought it’d be real cute to surprise the rest of the family back at the condo with these crabs so there was no checking in with my husband on my spontaneous “live” purchase.

We walked out of the store with two hermit crabs, a small plastic cage, their food, extra shells, and a watering sponge, plus 35$ less than ten minutes beforehand.

When we got back to the condo we set the crabs on the kitchen island waiting for Nate and the kids to spot them on their own.

They did! Within minutes! And this is a Christian blog so never mind what my poor husband said!!! Basically in a very curious R-rated way he asked what they were!!!

McKenzie and Warren were enthralled and wondered why there wasn’t a third crab, one for each kid.

Before long we were all in the Jeep, headed back to the store to purchase one more hermit crab. My husband was on board with all of this.

That evening though I began researching proper care for these new-to-us little critters and found out they are a lot more maintenance than what you see in the beach shops.

They’re actually not cared for properly in these shops and require heat sources, a variety of food choices, and two types of water—salt and fresh.

In the beach shops you will see them with a sandy flooring, extra shells, hideouts, water, and pellet food. They make it look super simple, this is why I was cool with getting them.

After realizing all of their needs I was like “you guys we gotta take these things back!! Tonight!!”

I was having some serious buyer’s remorse and was absolutely not okay keeping them because I knew they’d need a bigger cage, more supplies and more responsibility than originally thought.

My sweet husband though. Oh my goodness. He looked at me and said, “Alicia we’re not taking them back. We’re gonna keep them. We’ve made way stupider choices before. This is fine.”

And he is absolutely right.

About $150 later we have our three hermit crabs and their crabitat all set up in Mc’s room. Thankfully she was thrilled to show them hospitality!

In a heartwarming way I’m reminded of my dad as I care for these little guys. My dad, up until his dirt bike accident, had all kinds of reptiles that he raised and he was very passionate about it, even hatching baby bearded dragons a few times. So it’s neat to think of this as a reflection of his hobby.

Had I known before purchasing the hermit crabs what I know now I would’ve never bought them. But here we are and life definitely shows itself to be an adventure at times so we’re making the most of it. They really are interesting to watch and two of them have already switched shells. They’re night critters so we literally have to sneak in and spy on them if we want to see them in action.

The joke is, when I went to Florida back in April I brought home a live palm plant, Texas these hermit crabs…now if I make it to Alaska or Africa someday who knows what I might bring home…

Weekend blessings to you all!!❤️

Experiencing Blessing After Tragedy

Just a little forewarning, this one’s a bit downcast, the first part of it anyway.

July 8th, 2021.

When I wrote my post last week, I thought the next one I’d be sharing would be me telling about my crazy, spontaneous Texas purchases (which I plan to do tomorrow) but feelings spur and I can’t skip sharing my heart through a blog post today.

Twenty years ago, to the day, my dad passed away—July 8th, 2001.

I’ve shared that story and thoughts through past posts.

For those who don’t know, my dad ran a bit on the wild side through his teen years and most of his adult life. He provided well for our family, adored my mom and us kids but he struggled cutting loose from longtime addictions with alcohol and marijuana.

Finally (in his mid thirties) my dad broke away from the toxicity and traded it for church attendance and an old time hobby of dirt bike racing. Races usually happened on Sundays so church was typically bypassed in the summer months.

My dad had almost two years of racing in (along with no alcohol or drugs) when tragedy hit.

He was racing (October 10th, 1999) at a motocross event and miscalculated a double jump that left him a quadriplegic and ventilator dependent. Nearly two years went by with him living in rehab facilities.

Taken late in 2000

Over the Fourth of July in 2001 we brought my dad home for a visit not knowing it’d be his last. He had an amazing time visiting family and friends, almost as if it were a set up…

I was seventeen at the time and although I called myself a Christian, my life choices were far from a Jesus-like example. I partied like it was a vital necessity to my self-absorbed teenage life. And during my dad’s unbeknownst last visit there was no exception from my obnoxious traits. I just wasn’t present and I couldn’t see past my vain greed.

On Sunday, July 8th 2001, (with my mom and youngest brother along) I was to drive my dad back to Lincoln, NE where he lived for temporary rehab.

Too naïve to recognize how tired I was I fell asleep behind the wheel. I still have flashbacks of my dad yelling my name, “Alicia, Alicia” as he tried to get my attention, that was the last thing I heard him say. My dad didn’t make it—a blessing in disguise I’ve always thought. My mom and brother suffered severe injuries. I was fine but the mental toll still wreaks havoc at times.

There are so many other details and events wrapped up in all of that, it’d honestly take a book to share all of it.

I look back at that time and boy I wish I could’ve shook sense into that teenage girl I used to be. We don’t physically get those opportunities though but that’s where mercy and grace step in.

Tragedies that we are completely unprepared for happen in life and we’re left with a choice—to sulk in misery or surrender to Jesus with confident hope.

When we choose the latter of the two we’re met with peace, comfort, and direction.

It took me a long time to learn that I would need to fully give my life to God in order to feel true contentment.

Yesterday I began a demo project in my home which I’ll share in a future post and the song Broken Vessels by Hillsong came on as I was reflecting on thoughts of my dad and prying up old ceramic tile from our dining area…

My dad was a carpenter and a darn accomplished one at that, I share the same love. Wearing my ridiculous looking safety glasses tears slipped from beneath them as the words from the song echoed in the background…

All these pieces

Broken and scattered

In mercy gathered

Mended and whole

Empty handed

But not forsaken

I’ve been set free

I’ve been set free

Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

Oh, I once was lost

But now I am found

Was blind but now I see

Those words have never been truer and more life captivating to me than now. I feel the power in them and the love of Jesus stronger than ever. I indeed once was a broken vessel, without a shadow of a doubt, but God has collected, mended, and filled this vessel with an abundance of beautiful hope and for that I am ever grateful.

I miss my dad as much today as I did twenty years ago but my choices and my mind are so much more clearer and healthier now that I’ve gained Jesus as He helps me navigate.

Sweet friend I don’t know whatever your struggle may be but turn your eyes and heart to the Father and allow Him to soften the rough areas. He will guide and provide. Precious healing is found in the midst…

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.’ —2 Timothy 2:21 ESV

2021 Memory Pics So Far

Happy Friday everyone!! I’m subbing today and have a little free time…not enough time really to write but thought I’d share some pics from this year so far!

Taya’s finest method of begging..it works too!! I always cave, she’s so irresistible!
I’m absolutely blown away by this eye drawing my 5th grade son did, thought I’d share it with y’all.
Me showing up to the nursing home back in January to do hair…crazy times, thankfully it was only that one week that my attire was that dramatic.
Papa’s cows
Church service snuggles
Love this❤️
Who says kayaking isn’t a year round thing in Nebraska?
Sunset in March
Don’t question my parenting skills…actually this happened when Mc was with my best friend spending time on their farm.😉
More of this gal…can’t get enough of her cuteness!!!
Soccer…game day!!
Farm life at Papa’s house
Easter Sunday 2021
Track day for Paige
Late Spring snow today

That’s it!! Time for lunch now!! Have a blessed weekend everyone!!

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. -Psalm 31:24

Happy Father’s Day & June’s DIY Craft

I realized (this morning) we’re going into the last full week of June and I hadn’t yet posted a DIY for the month, so I’m using the kid’s Father’s Day gift to their dad as my DIY because I may not have time to put anything else together for a June DIY.

Had I been more organized I would’ve posted this idea weeks ago so mamas could help their kiddos put it together to use as a Father’s Day gift BUT there’s no rule saying you can’t give him a gift like this any day of the year!!

So without delay here we go…

Kid’s Personalized Photo Message

ITEMS NEEDED:

Kiddos feet (or hands)

Washable Markers

Camera

Grassy area (to make for an easy background)

Picture Frame (if desired)Simply choose a nice area in your backyard or at a park and position your kiddos in the way you want them sitting for the photo…if kids are using hands, they’ll need to lay on their tummies…if using their feet they can sit on their bottoms with their legs straight out. EXAMPLES BELOW.

Side note: DO NOT write on feet until your children are sitting how you want them for the picture otherwise the washable marker will smear or smudge.

Once you have kiddos where you want them write the words ‘WE LOVE DAD’ across feet or hands. Depending on how many you have to work with you’ll need to spread the lettering out accordingly…if you’re the size of a “Dugger family,” no worries you can change it up a bit and add an extra message to cover all those feet or hands….maybe even write out Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book story across them…I don’t know??

Say Cheese! Have them smile and then snap a few pictures. Afterwards you can use a wet rag to wipe the lettering away that way Dad doesn’t see the evidence.

Normally I would’ve just did a quick print at Walmart to put in a frame, but due to COVID the photo machines are off limits. So this year (since this was a last minute idea) I just had my oldest daughter send a digital copy to her dad’s phone (this morning) via text messaging.

If you do choose to print your photo you can always do so online through Walmart, Snapfish, Shutterfly, or a number of other photo printing shops. Many of these online resources offer great savings deals when ordering!!

My nieces were visiting from out of town yesterday so we did pictures for their dad too!We’ve done this gift before for Father’s Day maybe six years ago so here’s a then and now —plus a screenshot pic of the text message the kids sent their dad this morning since we didn’t print the photo out this year.

THEN:NOW:

The photo from when they were younger is placed in a frame and sits on a nightstand next to Nathan’s side of the bed. We may update it with the newer pic…some day…maybe…Soooo although this is super last minute for a Father’s Day gift you can use this DIY idea any time of the year. And you can alter the words to fit the person or occasion and however many hands or feet you have to work with! Plus if you don’t print it it’s one less thing you need to find a place for.

Enjoy! And as always let me know if you decide to do this DIY!!

Happy Father’s Day Dads!!

  • Psalm 103:13: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
  • Proverbs 23:24: “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”
  • 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Love and miss this guy so much!! (P.J.W. 1962-2001)

…If you were blessed with a “good one” be sure and wish him a Happy Father’s Day (and even if he wasn’t maybe you should anyway…) Some haven’t had the experience of a “good one” and if not, rest in the assurance that your Heavenly Father loves you absolutely unconditionally!!!! He is, without a doubt, a “Good One!”….the Best One, in fact!

Autumn Updates 2019

Whew! It’s been a while!

After that last (deep-thought) post I wrote I’ve honestly just had to take a break and continue to work on myself—my mental health, my heart—and I can honestly say I feel sooooo amazingly good. I’m in a good place right now—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ll share more on this in a future post but right now I just want to share (with y’all) some other fun updates happening in our household currently.

Nate and I had our 15 year anniversary/fall party last month and had over sixty of our family and friends show up! It was a ton of fun! We probably should’ve had it catered because I felt like Nathan and I were so busy with food prep, etc. that it was hard to visit with everyone. I had a lot of people tell me in the days following that they had such a good time and that fellowship happened — regardless of how unorganized I felt like it was; I guess I was the only one who noticed.❤️

Continue reading “Autumn Updates 2019”

Oh This Ladder! (Poetry)

If you read my post last week you know that I acquired a ladder that my dad used to use for his construction business—it’s not just any ordinary ladder—it’s rustic and wooden, and has a lot of wear and tear.

This was super exciting for me because my dad has been gone for nearly twenty years…meanwhile this ladder has just been hanging out in his retired garage…BUT I salvaged it! Continue reading “Oh This Ladder! (Poetry)”

Grandma’s Biscuits and…Her Dementia

711FD028-E6E7-4694-B142-F42BC4353A80It’s 3 A.M. as I write…can’t sleep…

Again.

This time I’m blaming my dog. My husband might have been sleep-talking as he rambled off something about the dog and an ear infection; either way his slumbered words sound like the voice of reason to me so I’ll have to get Eli into the vet because this whining and ear scratching is obnoxious—for not only the dog but me as well. Apparently it’s not affecting Nate’s sleep, after offering his ‘unprofessional vet diagnosis’ he’s back to quiet snores before even finishing mumbling.

Anyway after my last post I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write again…ever. There’s times when I share deep parts of my life on this blog and it causes me to feel so vulnerable. It feels like rather than pushing the “publish” button, I’ve just pushed “panic” instead and I begin to get swallowed by Satan’s lies ‘you’re crazy for putting that out there, what’s wrong with you? and blah, blah, blah’…because he’s just that irritating.

But then I have to remember why I originally chose to start this blog—it was never to showcase the best parts of my life through haughty sounding words, it wasn’t to reach a certain number of followers, nor was it to gain attention. It’s always been about noting the things and areas of my life in which God has spoken to my heart, sharing highs and lows and the lessons learned along the way, creating a legacy to pass down to my kiddos. All I want is for them to see how tough life can be BUT what prevails is loving Jesus like crazy regardless.

Perhaps the best part of this blog is being able to write my thoughts out and seeing how God has and is working in my life and then when someone comments on a post even three or four months later to let me know my words spoke to their heart…goodness, there’s just nothing like it. Glory to God alone, I’m then able to grasp that this whole blog is truly For His Purpose. Amen!!?

Not today Satan, not today! Even if it is 3 in the morning, I choose to use this time optimistically.

So on to Grandma’s biscuits and her dementia… Continue reading “Grandma’s Biscuits and…Her Dementia”

Autumn Blessings

It’s 3 A.M. as I write…or type this…so I’m sorry ahead of time for any misspelled words or confusing lingo. I shouldn’t proofread before hitting publish just as a way to make it extraordinarily entertaining to go back and read later.

I can’t sleep very well lately and I think it’s because we’ve been going to bed at 9 lately instead of 10…either way I have two Yorkies cuddled up way too close on each side of me, an inconsistent snoring husband on his half of the bed, and I believe a charming little Warren boy curled up at the foot of my bed…plus I can hear our rooster crowing from the chicken coop. I’m not sure what that’s all about but he must be exceptionally confused and hopefully isn’t causing our neighbors any sleep deprivation.

Throw all those odds in against me and it’s no wonder I lie awake….(lie or lay…anyone else have trouble knowing which of those two are correct?)

Anyways on with the purpose of this post—which was inevitably going to come about…regardless of 3 A.M. sleepless nights.

Autumn. I just love that word. You don’t hear it very often. People lean more to using the word fall, myself included, and I’m not sure why, but I’m hoping it’s not another sign of laziness. Continue reading “Autumn Blessings”

Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining

I sat, securely in a harness, suspended from a cable about fifteen feet off the ground. My husband walked alongside my kids who were down below cheering excitedly. They pulled me and my attached equipment to the starting point where they’d release the rope and send me sailing on a zip line amidst a thickly wooded grassland.

Adventure? Yes.

Enthusiasm? Not from me at this moment.

When my family was invited to an evening of fun at what has been dubbed “magical” Narnia, we quickly accepted the offer. This tiny slice of Heaven belongs to our Pastor and his wife and sits on ten acres with a river gently flowing along the edge of the property. With four-wheeler trails, rope swings, a camp fire area, shooting range, zip line, and lots of space to climb, roam and explore, it really is a good time for an outdoor enthusiast and it’s entertained many over the years.

But as I sat anxiously, about to be whisked away, I was far from impressed but hesitantly persisted on—in hopes of overcoming my fear. Knowing the set-up was completely secure still didn’t alleviate my anxiety. I tried to ease my mind—It’ll be over in seconds…I’m probably the five hundred and eleventh person to use this zip line…my insurance deductible has already been met this year…my kids and many others have been zip lining all evening and they’re still in one piece…

Let me tell you, when you’re afraid of heights—NONE of these things matter—AT ALL.

Without warning, my family freed the pull-rope and there I went zipping along wildly at the expense of Tarzan and his chimp’s amusement, AKA Nate and kids. My emotional state heightened far beyond my physical suspended height, and when it looked as if I was going to smack a tree that sits way too close to the zip line trail it was game over for me. “I don’t like it!!” I shouted down to my amused onlookers.

And then just as soon as it began it ended. It was over. I made it to the end. I was safe.

…I thought about how at an earlier point in my life I had enjoyed the thrill of zip lining and other wild adventures.

But that was before a husband. Before kids. Before adult responsibilities. Continue reading “Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining”

A High, Low, and a Funny

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Photography taken by R. Peters

At our house we’ve adopted a great conversation starter when we gather around the table for dinner at the end of the day. Each of us verbally notes our high for the day, then our low, and lastly the funny of our day. It always amazes me how some days we’ve spent all day together yet each of us has something different to point out. Side note: sometimes when it’s my husband’s turn to state his high for the day he’ll keenly rattle off the “high temperature” for the day…before giving us his true answer.☺️

These table conversations are important because they cause us to know one another’s hearts, feelings, cares, and concerns a little more. Our kids enjoy the idea of being the only one in the “family spotlight” for a few moments during their turn, highlighting whatever it is for the day that stuck out most to them. Often times these smaller talks lead to larger discussions, taking it to a deeper level where we can really reflect, analyze, and engage with one another.

Since you and I most likely won’t be sharing dinner any time soon I thought I’d share my high, low, and funny over this past week (via the blog). Please feel free to do the same in the comment section below if you wish. Continue reading “A High, Low, and a Funny”