A Missing Piece to My Puzzle

My phone buzzes a few minutes after 6:00 AM on Friday morning. It reads, “Are you up?” (from Momma). To be honest, I wasn’t up. My alarm hadn’t even gone off and my eyes were barely open when I read the text, but I knew she would have waited to text or call me until a little later in the morning had it not been somewhat important.

The next thing I know she’s calling me explaining the details of the night spent in the hospital and the current diagnosis, along with plans of hospice in the very near future with a consensus of a 24-48 hour range until death.

[The man has had more than his fair share of 9 lives; he was a tough cookie, but he’d been through a lot. Let me just say that again, he made it through a lot. So when a routine diagnosis was given, my immediate thought was, “he will pull through just like every other time”, that is, until I heard the word hospice come out of her (Momma’s) mouth. ]

When I walked into that ICU hospital room, I had a feeling wash over me that was completely different from any other time I’d visited him in the hospital. I could immediately feel God preparing me for a hardship. I could feel a sense of peace hit me, and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew the outcome this time.

Sitting in the hospital room with family at his side, we all cracked the good jokes he used to ramble off, and laugh and cry about stories each of us had with him. (The nurses probably thought we were the most crude family, laughing as we all started going through our anticipated grief stages, but it was our coping mechanism, our way of bonding, and our way of celebrating the life he had lived.)

16 hours under hospice care, and he slipped away quietly through the night when everyone was sleeping – just as he would have wanted it.


This last month, we lost part of the trunk to our family tree – a piece to our puzzle; I lost my grandfather. And although some people would maybe think, “well, he’s just your grandfather; it’s not like you lost your dad or your mom”, I have to think I lost a lot more than just my grandfather.

I have known this day would come eventually; I just didn’t know when. I am a firm believer that God places obstacles or hardships in our path to test us or prepare us for another along the way. I have been looking for signs or situations the past few years that might prepare me for losing a loved one. I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around it, or even begin to mentally prepare myself for what it might be like. Well, the time had come, and I still wasn’t prepared.

As a funeral director, I have learned a lot about living your life, checking things off your bucket list, and creating life-long memories. I have also learned how to be strong for and help families during a time of loss, but one thing I haven’t learned was how to help myself during a time of loss.

I didn’t know where or how to begin. All I could think about was the fact that the day I had been thinking about for the longest time had actually come. I thought about what life would be like moving on without him – no more visits to the farm to have a beer with my old man, no more visits to the nursing home where he’d tell me about his endless trips he’d been on that week, and no more watching westerns and TV Land with him. I will never eat another peanut butter cookie or chew a piece of Juicy Fruit gum without thinking of him. But most of all, I’ll never forget the endless amounts of quotes and life lessons, big or small, that I have gathered from that man along my way.

As I sit here and ponder what my life would be like growing up without my family, particularly my grandparents, I can’t help but think I would have been fine, yes, but I wouldn’t have near the appreciation, loyalty, and morality I have now.

I have closer relationships with my grandparents and their siblings than some people have with their own parents or siblings. I am just as close with my great aunts and uncles as most of my more immediate family members. I enjoy sharing a relationship with them, and I know, they’d do just about anything for me if I needed. But more than that, they are the history of our family; their stories tell it all.

At the age of 25, I lost my first grandparent; and other than losing my 99 1/2 year old great-grandmother last fall, I haven’t experienced death in my family. I’m truly blessed that I have had the ability to grow up and build such close relationships with each of my grandparents.

So I can only pray that my children will, too, have the opportunity to grow up with their grandparents, and great aunts and uncles. I hope they share as special of a connection with them as I have with mine. They truly have helped mold me into who I am, and they are a constant reminder of where I come from. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the love and bond in our families.

So rest high grandpa, “See ya in the funnies.”

XOXO

 

Wake Up Wednesday: 8.2

Good morning to you all. Tis the Iowa State Fair season; so many things to do, entertainment to see, and of course food to eat! If you have never been to the Iowa State Fair, please do yourself a favor and go and enjoy it for at least a day or two.

I could use coffee by the gallons lately. So drink yours and have another for me.


Song of the Week:

If I know Me

Morgan Wallen

Morgan is extremely underrated if you ask me. There are some great songs that come from this man. This particular song is a little catchy, but I encourage you to just put his album on YouTube and listen to it while you’re cleaning, working, or just hanging out.

What is the best museum you have ever been to?:

When I was in middle school, we took a trip to Washington D.C. One of the places we visited was the Holocaust Museum. If there was ever a place that single-handedly impacted me permanently, it would be there. The stories, the memorabilia, and photos are enough to make you cry, but the shoes and the unique smell of the museum are both things I will NEVER forget.

It put a lot into perspective, but my only complaint is that I wish we would have had more time. If you go to the museum, allot yourself plenty of time. It is a lot to take in, and I can only imagine how much more it would affect me if I went back as an adult versus a thirteen year old.

Bible Verse of the Week:

Do you have a recurring New Year’s Resolution?:

Each year I make a list of resolutions, and each year, I always keep one the same.

Donate to at least 4 organizations, charities, events, or causes each year.

I try to choose to donate towards things I am passionate about or to people I support. I try to change it up, but there are a couple I automatically donate to.

If you need a new resolution idea for the upcoming year, this one is a silently rewarding. It feels good to give especially to a good cause. Add it to your list for one year and see how it goes. If you don’t think you can donate four times in a year, decrease it to two or three. But I promise you won’t regret helping others in need.

Quote of the Week:

“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”

Oprah Winfrey

What do you do when you get really angry?:

Cry.

If I am crying, it is rarely because I am happy, sad, or injured; I cry when I am angry. If I’m crying, it’s pretty serious issue to me.

If you could learn a trade, what would it be?:

I have always been intrigued with welding.

If I went back to school, I’d go into a welding program. I would like to be able to use this as a side talent; maybe I could benefit from knowing this skill at some point even if I didn’t use the skills for a career.


Well that’s all for today. I hope everyone has a great day and week. The sun is shining; look up and smile if that’s the only positive thing you get to do today.

 

XO

Han

Wake Up Wednesday: 8.1

Good morning! Tis a new month – the last of the summer months. It’s hard to believe how fast this year is passing. In 30 days, everything will turn to pumpkin spice.

August means Iowa State Fair time, and they have some great entertainment this year. It’s also a great place for food, and we all know how much I love food.

Coffee today and everyday; let’s do this!


Song of the Week:

Just Lose It

Eminem

I’m just throwing it back a little. Gotta love me a little rap here and there. It’s probably not anything to be proud of knowing the words to this rap song, but it is pretty satisfying to know that after all these years, I can still rap this song.

Do you prefer Wal-Mart or Target?:

I am a lover of all things Target. I could spend hours in Target, and of course, I would walk out with a million unnecessary purchases. I like the Target brand as well. I feel they have more quality items.

I can barely walk into Wal-Mart without being instantly annoyed, but there are some things I like to get from Wal-Mart. I just save them all up to get them at once.

Bible Verse of the Week:

In the Bible it says numerous times that we can achieve anything as long as we believe. The power of hard work and prayer does pay off – trust the Big Guy Upstairs.

When do you function at your best?:

I tend to do my best with focus or any task during the morning – particularly 8:00 – 11:00 am. I’d rather work earlier in the morning and go home early afternoon. If I worked a shift job, my ideal shift would be 6:30 am – 2:30 pm. 3:00 – 5:00 pm is my least productive time of day, easily.

—–What are your most productive times of the day?

Quote of the Week:

This couldn’t be more true. If you organize, everything has a place. This goes for cleaning, time management, presentations etc. Organization is key. I am rather organized, but sometimes even though items have a spot to go in my house doesn’t always mean they get there.

Describe your “poker face”:

Non-existent. I have no such face; you can read me like a book.

What is one thing you wish you had the money to pay for?:

I wish I could have a personal chef. I’d like to wake up to breakfast waiting for me and my lunch packed. At the very least, I wish I could afford to pay someone to meal prep for me during the week. I love not having to worry about making dinner or supper, but I hate the time, effort, and weekly grocery shopping it takes to meal prep.


That’s all for this week. Enjoy your week, and don’t forget to do something for yourself this week!

XO

Han

Wake Up Wednesday: 7.3

Good morning – good morning! Hopefully you all had a good week.

It is fair time around here, and it is a lot of fun watching all of the kids with their livestock and projects. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. The things they can come up with for projects is rather interesting. So if you’re out and about, go and check out your local fairs!

Grab your to-go cup and let’s get this show on the road.


Song of the Week: 

This Is Me

The  Greatest Showman

This song is so inspirational; it brings a smile to my face. It forces a thought process of independence and self-love.

How do you prefer your potatoes – baked, mashed, fries, scalloped, etc?: 

There is nothing better than hash browns except maybe a perfectly mashed potato. There are so many things you can make with them, and they go with all meals (breakfast, dinner, supper or even snack). I love cheesy hash browns or just fried with ketchup.

I do NOT like baked or scalloped potatoes at all. Eww.

What do you think came first, the chicken or the egg?:

The chicken came first. It all goes back to the beginning when God made the animals that would walk the earth. I’m convinced that the eggs were His way of “bearing fruit”.

Bible Verse of the Week:

What is your favorite sport starting with the letter S?: 

If anyone knows me, this is pretty much a given. Softball has been my life since I was 3 years old, and not one day goes by that I don’t miss playing. I have coached and would maybe like to someday get back to it, but I’ll just enjoy watching for now.

My children probably won’t have much of a choice but to play. Yeah, I’m gonna be that mom, but my mom might also be that grandma. She would say they don’t have a choice either.

Quote of the Week:

Be where you are, otherwise you will miss your life.

-Buddha

Guys! This is so important to comprehend – not only comprehend, but to do . There is a reason why you are where you are in your life. Embrace it. Life is so fragile. Trust that God has you placed where you are meant to be.

The best thing I ever did in my life was decide to let God take my reigns without fighting him.

Do you think the grass is really greener on the other side, or where you water it?:

This kind of plays off the question above. The best life lesson anyone could learn is to be content or peaceful with where they are. It took me awhile to learn this lesson, but it is a lesson learned. Water the grass you are on, and I promise it will get greener. The more you work for something, or the more you invest, the more pride you have in it – or at least in my case.


That’s all I have for this morning! Enjoy your last week of July; this summer will turn into fall before we know it.

Han

Wake Up Wednesday: 7.2

Good morning to you. I hope all of you are having a great week.

It’s crazy, our corn is tasseled and is taller than me (which doesn’t say much).

Grab your coffee drink and let’s get this day started.


Song of the Week:

You Are the Reason

-Calum Scott (Alicia Moffet, Alex Goot, KHS Cover)

This group does a great job of covering. Not to mention this song has lyrics that are worth every penny. Take a listen, and enjoy.

Have you ever rehearsed anything?:

I rehearse a lot! I rehearse speeches for weddings in my head and out loud as well as different songs that I could potentially sing for karaoke. I rehearse conversations with people in my head, especially if I’m upset; I don’t want to sound like a goober if I’m trying to explain why I’m upset. I rehearse too many things to be honest, but I have absolutely no improv skills.

Bible Verse of the Week:

The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that is coming.

-Romans 8:18

I needed these words this week more than I could ever know.

What stat from your life would you most like to see?:

I would love to know how many times I have changed the toilet paper roll.

Quote of the Week:

Take time everyday to talk to Him. Tell Him everything.

-Elder Richard G. Scott

What are three numbers that are significant in your life?:

7 – It has been a lucky number of mine since high school. It reminds me of my religion and the seven days of creation, and it is the most likely rolled number in dice games. This is a number I share with my husband.

14 – This is the day of the month in which I was born; it is also double of seven. This number I also shared with my now husband for sports.

Side note: I lost my first grandparent this week. He passed on 7/14. I can’t help but think God needed me to associate those numbers with something. I just makes me rejoice in the God I have above. 

24 – This number was my number for sports in high school.

–There are so many other things in my life that associate with these numbers; it’s unreal.

Could you ever be a living organ donor?:

I could definitely be a living donor. People donate their hair all the time. I would also give a kidney to someone whom I love dearly to keep them alive.


That is all she wrote today – short and simple. Hope everyone has a good rest of the week.

 

Han

 

Wake Up Wednesday: 7.1

Good morning to you all on this beautiful, steaming hot July Wednesday! I hope everyone had a great holiday week/weekend(s). It is a little awkward with the holiday in the middle of the week.

Coffee is in full swing this morning, although it might be a little better as a frappe or ice press with the heat today!

Leggo!


Song of the Week:

High Hopes

-Panic! at the Disco

This song is a good, quick jam – a pump-up song if you will. I love when this song comes on the radio. It is just so catchy.

Do you like cheese? If so, what kind?:

Do I like cheese? If you don’t like cheese, how do you live? I think cheese is one of the single most great products we have to eat.

I have a lot of favorites, but I’d have to say my top two are Swiss and Muenster cheese. I love to eat these plain or on just about anything.

Bible Verse of the Week:

Love them anyway.

-Luke 23:34

This will tie with my last question below. Just love them anyway.

What is your favorite most random fact?:

The Titanic started sinking on my birthday………many, many years ago.

 

Quote of the Week:

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.

-Anne Lamott

This quote has so much validity to it! Take some time out of your busy schedule and “unplug”. Our society has overwhelmed us with an increased priority of productivity and pace. Whether it be going on vacation or just for 10 minutes during the week, everyone needs some time to decompress. Do this, and do it more often than you think you should! You deserve it.

Would you swim with the sharks?:

I really have no desire to swim with sharks or jump out of airplanes etc.

I just don’t understand why you would want to put yourself in a potentially life-threatening situation – on purpose. I will just keep to watching them on TV or maybe even watching others swim with them, but you won’t see me raising my hand to volunteer to swim with them. They would sense my fear, and I would be the one to go home without an arm or leg.

What is the most beautiful word?:

This is one of the most powerful words known to man, especially myself. Although we have been told to do this daily, even to people we greatly dislike, most people have the hardest time doing this.

Forgiveness is one thing I accept as a strength of mine. I learned early to forgive others, and sometimes, not for their benefit, but for my own. I learned that it wasn’t worth my energy to worry about the wrongs someone had made.  I take this as a personal strength partially because I am aware of my sins and wrong-doings and know that I am by any means perfect. I have asked and continue to ask for forgiveness on a daily basis.

The beauty in this word comes from the action behind it. It can truly set you free.

 


That is all for the week! I hope everyone finds time for themselves this week! Unplug and reset – just do it!

Han

Wake Up Wednesday: 6.4

Good morning! Today is the last Wednesday in June; how crazy is that! With the rain we have received, flooding has been the name of the game. I hope everyone is safe, and staying dry – or trying to.

So next week is the 4th of July, the unofficial middle of summer. I have a love-hate relationship with the holiday being in the middle of the week, but I hope everyone has some great plans with friends and family.

Coffee is stout today – let’s get to it!


Song of the Week:

Push It

-Salt n Pepa

This song literally can wake me up and get me going. This week I will need the extra push to get through. It’s been a rough week mentally and physically already and its only Wednesday.

Side Note: This song was my walk-up song all throughout college softball. It’s the best.

If you got arrested, who is the first person you’d call?:

Not. My. Mother. She isn’t the most sympathetic person in the world when it comes to jail time, especially if it’s her own children in trouble, so I can’t imagine she’d be any help in getting me out of those types of situations. Either that or she’d be right next to me in the cell.

I would definitely call my Aunt Sam, she’d come get me. (I love you Sam – just remember, I will take care of you in the nursing home some day) haha.

Bible Verse of the Week:

What is something that gave you buyer’s remorse?:

Everything I ever buy gives me buyer’s remorse. I get these feelings even when I buy new socks for work or other things I actually need. I had buyer’s remorse over razors one time..seriously Han, you can’t be walking around in the summer like a hairy monster.

Sometimes I will toodle around a store with something in my cart until I check out and decided against it. It’s like I have buyer’s remorse before I even buy the item. Does anyone else do this?

Quote of the Week:

My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

-Billy Graham

Do you like cake or pie more?:

I do love me some cake. I don’t generally eat what I make because I am too critical. There is one type of pie I love over cake and that would be Dutch Apple Pie – à la mode of course! I am currently looking for some great recipes for Dutch Apple Pie if anyone would like to share.

What is your favorite eye color on others?:

I love, love, love blue eyes. I’m not being biased, I just think it is unique because the depth in the color of blue in everyone’s eyes can differ so much.

I especially love brunettes with blue eyes. I think that is a favorite trait.


That’s all for this week! I hope everyone enjoys the beginning of the holiday week/weekend. Hopefully the sun will join us for a few days.

Han

Wake Up Wednesday: 6.3

Good morning, good morning. Today is a lay on your couch, nap and Netflix kind of day, and let me tell you, that is all I’d like to do today. Naps have become my saving grace lately.

We have already reached the middle of June. The town celebrations are starting as well as the county fairs. It’s just nuts to me how fast our year is going.

Grab your coffee, sip or chug, and let’s get through this Hump Day.


Song of the Week:

Mercy

Brett Young

This gentleman performed at Tree Town Festival in Forest City this year, and he was one of my favorite performers throughout the whole weekend. This song shows some raw emotion, and tells a story. I love music like that. Check it out.

What is a subject you hated in school?:

I went in phases because the class that I hated in elementary school no longer was a class after middle school.

I hated reading; I was terrible at it. The big state exams with a reading section butchered my grades because I could barely get through the story to answer the questions that pertained to it. I got really good at reading the questions first and searching for the answers. And if it was too long to do that, I guessed C every time.

In high school, they took away reading because I’d imagine they thought we should all know how to do that by then, and we have text books that weighed just as much as I did. I honestly didn’t hate any subject in high school, I was a pretty good student all around.

College was wonderful because once you made it past your pre-requisites, you got to pick the subject you majored in. In my case, it was science. I took endless amounts of science with labs.

Bible Verse of the Week:

Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?:

In high school and even in the beginning of college, I was definitely a worried genius. I had to have a plan for my plans each day. I had to have great grades etc.

As I flipped the switch in the middle of college to live a little more spontaneously, I began to see a change in myself. I was happier, a little more carefree, and my test-taking skills improved immensely. Going into a test my motto became, “if I don’t know it by now, I will never know it for the test”. I saw major results, and I no longer crammed walking into a test, and was fine with the outcome either way.

As we sit here today, I have been cleaning the house and going through things and throwing them out. The simple life is the way to go. Our society leads us to live such complicated lives with the best of the best, and it just isn’t necessarily the way I care to live anymore. So get rid of your junk in the trunk.

Quote of the Week:

God never uses anyone greatly until he tests them deeply.

-a.w. tozer

Do you make a pro and con list or do you go with your gut?:

Again, this question kind of pairs with one above. I used to make lists for my lists. Most of those included a pro and con list of deciding whether or not I wanted to complete some of the most simple of tasks such as work another shift in the weekend, buy a new tv for the bedroom, or spend time with friends and family over school work. None of which really needed a list to begin with.

A gentleman that came into the restaurant I worked at in college told me that I needed to lighten up a little bit and live. I started making my tough decisions based on a quarter, and still do to this day (It drives my husband absolutely bonkers). If I toss the quarter and I’m questioning the flip, I will flip for best 2 out of 3. Following the last flip in the 2 out of 3, the result is my decision, and I just go with it.

Life is so much easier when you let it go with the flow.

Do you pick out all of your outfits for the week or just decide in the morning?:

Never in a million years would I try to set out clothes for the following day! The weather in Iowa can change 17 times before you wake up. I also choose my clothing based on what kind of mood I am in that day.

If I wake up and don’t feel bright and awake, I am most certainly not going to wear bright colors. I do mix it up though; I’m not that person that wears the same 5 shirts each week.


That’s all for today! Happy Hump Day. I hope each of you have a great weekend! Take advantage of the summer while it is here.

Han

Wake Up Wednesday: 6.2

Good morning, good morning, good morning! I hope everyone has enjoyed their week thus far!

I have spent the last 4 of my 5 days in the “metro” (Des Moines) between the bachelorette party and continuing education. It has been nice, but I sure can’t wait to be home and sleep in my own bed. Being here makes me appreciate my towns without stop lights and four lane roads. I’m in love with my country roads.

Today is a straight up black coffee kind of day. Let’s get to it.


Song of the Week:

One Number Away

-Luke Combs

This song is just a good song all around, but it’s even better when you need to turn it up and sing it out.

What is your definition of vacation?:

When I think of vacation, I think about a beach, sun, one carry-on full of just swim suits, and drink in hand. I want to relax and enjoy myself by doing absolutely nothing but sitting on a beach or in a boat.

There is a difference between vacation and trips/ road trips. I would love to go on a road trip through the north-west region of the united states as well as the north-east out to the coast. But that would be a road trip, not a vacation. My vacation doesn’t involve plans and itineraries.

Bible Verse of the Week:

May the Lord be as good to you as you have been to me.

-Ruth 1:8

What tasks have you been putting off?:

Life Insurance and living wills – Becoming an adult isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, but man oh man, I just keep dropping this to the bottom of my list. I love where I am in my life, but shoot, I’d like to go back to when I didn’t have to be as financially responsible.

Quote of the Week:

God shines through the cracks of broken people.

-Anita Krizzan

What is the last photo you took?:

This photo is the Homesteaders Life Company building in Des Moines. It is beautiful, and I wasn’t surprised how many people enjoyed their lunch breaks eating by the pond or walking  around the pond. But how could you not? I’d want to work out there all day! This is where I spent yesterday and well as today completing continuing education classes to keep up my licenses.

What color best describes your mood this morning?:

I would have to say lavender or light pastel purple. I dislike the color purple a lot, but this color is the perfect color for my mood this morning.

  • Tired
  • Calm
  • Collected
  • Light-mood

That’s all for this morning! Enjoy your week and weekend! We are already almost half way through June so don’t let your summer get away from you. Take advantage of it, and do things you want to accomplish. Cross something off your bucket list this week.

Han

 

 

Wake Up Wednesday: 6.1

Good morning world! Memorial Day has come and gone, and we are not very far from the Fourth of July anymore. I hate to say it, but I think this summer will fly by pretty quick.

Grab your caffeinated liquids and let’s do the damn thing!


Song of the Week:

Speechless

Dan & Shay

Sing we are in prime wedding season, this song is a great song for wedding videos, first songs, or even just to sit back and remember your wedding day. It’s crazy how you sit and plan such an important day, it comes and goes, and it’s like it was all a dream. This song paints a memory in my mind of the first time my husband turned around and saw me in my wedding dress. I never want to forget that moment.

Do you now any self-defense moves or martial arts?:

When I was younger, my aunt shared her passion of Tae Kwon Do with her nieces and nephew at the time (our family has grown a little). We would spend many hours in the car back and forth to practice and testing, singing Disney songs and eating burger king; it was our time with her that I loved most.

We spent a few weekends in tournaments and competed at Nationals. I became a Black Belt by the time it was all said and done.

Naturally, I am a fighter, but Tae Kwon Do taught me more about how to fight and defend myself. But it also taught me discipline. It wasn’t anything I probably would have signed up for on my own, but I am so appreciative that she shared that passion with us.

Quote of the Week:

If a quote could mean anymore than the words that are composed of it, this would speak a different language! This quote just says something we can’t express, but we all should live by.

Would you rather learn sign language or a foreign language of your choice?:

I have always wanted to learn how to sign fluently. I have always been fascinated with Helen Keller and how she learned to communicate with being deaf and blind.

Although I was introduced to Spanish in early elementary school and took 4 years of Spanish in high school, I’d like to think that sign language might benefit me a little more than a foreign language. I think I’d be likely to lose my hearing than to relocate for a long enough time to need a fluent foreign language.

Bible Verse of the Week: 

Faith does not make things easy, it makes them possible.

Luke 1:37

How would you describe yourself to a blind person in 5 or fewer words?:

Short – Athletic – Blue-eyed – Blonde

What are you still looking forward to most in your life?:

Becoming a momma and raising a family. I have always dreamed about what my family would look like, and just praying my children are as close with their grandparents and great aunts and uncles as I am with mine. I can’t wait to watch our children grow and to see who they become. Although, the thought of that seems a little frightening as well, I take the more positive approach.


That’s all for today. I hope you all enjoy your day; we are supposed to have storms throughout the day. But it’s HUMP DAY!

Have a great week/weekend!

Hannah