Printable Scripture Cards to Ease Anxiety • FREE

Tomorrow begins Round #2 of chemo for sweet ginger boy.  His body bounced back quite nicely after Round #1 & his reservation is made on the oncology floor for the next round.  Seems weird to say we’re excited, but I suppose we are.  Excited to get on with it…

The past few days I have really been working on not getting caught up in the what-ifs.  So very much can go wrong & I could absolutely drive myself into an anxious bundle of useless mess if I spend time living in that place of worry.  And what good am I if I’m all balled up in an anxious bundle?  It’s not good for me.  And it’s definitely not of help to ginger boy who needs an extra helping of strength surrounding him.

In an effort to calm my anxious heart {and quiet my loud, whirling brain} I took to the Word.  I selected 8 verses that I knew could provide me with some respite from my worry, if I would just put them in front of me instead of the what ifs.  I wrote them down, then made them cute.


I thought I’d share them with you.  A FREE printable!!  Click on the picture below or here.  Print them on your favorite card stock {I used Kraft 65lb}, cut them using the cutting guides & if you want to get real fancy, round those corners with a corner punch.  Then put them up where ever you’ll see them.  I have them in the office, kitchen, taped to the bathroom mirror and one in my car.  Before you know it the words on those cards will be words in your heart to be pulled up any time the anxiety pit tries to drag you under.  Enjoy them & may they provide hope to face what’s ahead without worrying.fullsizerender-84

The Lump In My Throat

Perhaps I’ve teared up a few times at the bus stop over the years as I’ve sent the 3 little Weeds back to school, but really I’m more of a “make way for a cartwheel ’cause they’re going back to school” kind of a mom.  September rolls around & I’ve had just about all I can muster of the free-flow, carelessness of summer & I cannot wait for some routine to return to my life.  Back to school brings with it organization.  Regularly scheduled activities on a calendar.  Oh, how I love a calendar with a plan.  That’s something to get excited about…that and the hours upon hours of time to myself with no one bickering, eating through the pantry in a single sitting, using all the broadband speed, leaving messes of dishes & wrappers all over the house or generally bugging me.  But really, it’s more about routine smirk  Back to school is when we all get to take a deep, long breath and smile at the schedule.

Yesterday though.  September 9 was the last time sweet ginger boy had gone to school.  Five weeks of home & hospital.  Five weeks of tests & chemo & general awfulness.  Five weeks of “absent”.  Yesterday though.

Feeling good with his immune system doing a great job of rebuilding to help keep him safe from the invasion of infections, I dropped him off at the front doors to DHS.  And he walked away from the car for the first time in five weeks without me.  Without me.  It felt like kindergarten all over again.  Except he wasn’t looking back at me for reassurance or a boost of “you-can-do-this-I-love-you” confidence.  And, shockingly, he not once asked if I could come with him, hold his hand, find his class or help him with his locker.  Not once!  So instead I sat and watched him confidently walk away.

back to school

That lump, the one that appears when you let go, settled in.  My mind wandered to all the awful possibilities of what could happen on this day at DHS.  Would someone touch him who has a cold?  Would a friend hug him who isn’t up-to-date on their vaccinations?  Would someone accidentally hit his port?  What if he started bleeding and his platelet count is still too low and he bleeds without stopping?  What if someone makes fun of his bald head?  What if? What if? What if?

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  – Psalm 56:3

What if’s are useless.  What if’s rob us of the good moments.  Rather than worrying, I decided to celebrate.  Celebrate that five weeks later, he’s feeling well enough to go to school.  Celebrate that on this day he had some “normalcy” in his life.  Celebrate that he has amazing friends who take excellent care of him and are rallying around him.  Celebrate that even when I don’t feel like I’ve got this, He does.  Oh, something could go wrong.  But if it does, then we’ll tackle it head on, just like we’re tackling this.  But it might not go wrong.  And why waste a real opportunity to celebrate on a what if that might never occur?


We knew it was coming.  It was one of the first side effect discussions.  Sweet ginger hair boy’s ginger hair would be going.  And yesterday was the day.

He had an appointment for labs at Children’s and as we drove into the city, he was yanking out chunks of his ginger locks.  He thought it was amusing.  Grabbing tufts of hair, giving a quick pull & having it all come out in his hand.  “It doesn’t hurt.  It just falls out!”  I asked him if he was ok, ok with his ginger hair falling out.  He said “yeah, it’s no big deal.  It’s just hair, mom.”

Later that evening, after we all gathered for dinner around the table together {a moment I now long for} we headed upstairs to do away with the straggly ginger locks.  Clippers in my hubby’s hand, hair fell to the bathroom floor.  Sweet ginger locks in piles on the tile around sweet ginger hair boy’s feet.  He smirked at the mohawk of long hair that remained.  Then he laughed as he glanced in the mirror at the long, wispy strands that remained in chunks and he chuckled as the final pieces were removed.  He ran his fingers over his newly buzzed head, smiled in the mirror & returned to his room to get some more gaming in.  “You ok?”  I asked again as I sat on the edge of his bed.  “Yes, mom.  It’s just hair.  I’m fine.”

“It’s just hair.”  True words.  And yet, it seems like more than just hair.  True I likely make way too much of his ginger locks – but seriously his hair color…to die for!  But it’s even more than just that.  And as I sat and looked at my boy, with his obnoxiously long ginger locks gone, my emotions all fell out from inside and rolled silently down my cheeks. Stupid Cancer!!  It steals so very, very much.  It slithers its way in & it begins its destructive ways as soon as it can.  It starts taking, taking, taking.

Oh, I know, it’s not really the cancer that’s taking…it’s the chemo.  Do not get me started on alternatives to chemo right now.  Feel free to fight your cancer battle {or your child’s} with whatever essential oil & beet juice concoction you think might do the trick, but we will be using the specific chemo treatment that our oncologists believe will be the best choice to actually defeat the cancer raging inside our boy.  So, yes, chemo is at fault, but if it weren’t for the Cancer, we wouldn’t need the chemo.  {stepping off my soapbox}

One day life is just chugging along.  The biggest thoughts, in reality, are not very big at all.  Worry centers around remodel projects and wardrobe decisions with a side of what’s for dinner.  And then bam!  Out of nowhere a battle.  All the sudden all that stuff is really little, stupid in fact.  Who cares what my kitchen remodel project looks like?  Who cares what my new shoes looks like?  Who cares what’s for dinner?  A real opponent is in the room.  And the opponent fights dirty.  It steals things that are important, things that make you “you”, things that you take for granted.  It requires drugs and blood and time and energy and emotions.  And it steals.  Steals so much…including hair.

Hair is really not the issue.  {although I do already long for when sweet ginger can grow his hair out as long as he wants and do that weird head flip that moves his way-too-long-bangs out of his eyes}  It’s everything that Cancer comes in and destroys.  In one big swoop, it reaches in and takes what it should not.  It causes upheaval and unrest.  And it’s everything that Cancer deposits too.  All the baggage it dumps.  It brings with it real worry and real fear. It removes, rearranges and wreaks havoc.

And yet…even with all it does, all it destroys…there is something bigger.  Something with more power and more beauty.  Someone who fights for me, for us.  Someone who takes great joy in us.  Somewhere I can rest.  A place to throw my anger, disappointment, anxiety & fear.

“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”  -Zephaniah 3:17


The New Normal

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been here.  I was taking a break for summer & then just when I was about to get started writing here again, the world got twisted and turned wrong-way-round.


Like a train barreling down the tracks at full speed slamming directly into my heart. The words of my 16 year old son’s oncologist {the fact that my son even has an oncologist} stopped my heart, my world, my everything.  And then in the same millisecond it all began to chaotically race in a tumbling out-of-control fashion; swirling and twisting around me, my mind failing to be able to hold together my very being.

Then came the information.  All the information.  Treatment.  Medications.  Side effects.  Blood counts.  Procedures.  I was suddenly being asked to drink from a fire hydrant flowing full force at my face.  “Take it all in!  Quickly!”

Blurry.  Messy.  Fear.  Tears.  Questions.  What-if’s.  Who knows?  All clamoring for my attention, my thoughts, my time, my now.  And in the very next millisecond, decisions are made, papers are signed, treatment begins.  Without time to process, think, ponder, decide.  Hit by a train, flooded with information – GO!


My sweet ginger haired boy was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma on September 21.  After several weeks of misdiagnosis and “he’s a tough case”, lymphoma was confirmed by lymphoid biopsy and bone marrow biopsy.  Stage 4 Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma – ALCL.

Port went in.  PET scan for baseline done.  Chemo began.

He’s finished one full round of chemo out of a total of six.  Five to go {those are some stellar math skills!}  Five days of chemo on a 22 day cycle.  But as I’ve quickly learned, NOTHING is schedule-able when it comes to Cancer.  Nothing.  Everything that I enjoy being so well thought out and printed neatly on a calendar weeks and weeks in advance is up for complete & total rearrangement at any moment thanks to Cancer.  Crazy, chaotic, unknown is where I currently reside {hopefully temporarily}.  Routine & schedule {two of my favorite friends} have had to sit down and be quiet.  At least for a while.

If you’re interested, we have a Caring Bridge site for Alex.  It’ll be the story of Alex and his cancer treatment.  Updates, hard stuff & {hopefully} plenty of celebratory posts!  Feel free to pop over there.

Here, however, is where I plan to tackle cancer from a mama’s heart.  It’s his cancer story, but it’s “my boy with cancer” story.  Feel free to follow along here.

He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power. – Isaiah 40:29

She’s Got Issues

FullSizeRender 77The title seemed like it would absolutely fit me.  Issues.  I’ve got them.  Definitely.  In particular Nicole Unice talks about 5 issues that I would just bet to guess that most women deal with to some degree.  Control. Insecurity. Comparison. Fear. Unforgiveness.  Check, check, check, check & yes, check.  Issues.  Yep.

I’m currently two chapters in.  Nicole is setting up the tone for the entire book.  Because, let’s get real here, this could be depressing & heavy & guilt-ridden and shamed-filled.  It could be yet another reminder of all the things that are wrong in the way I’m doing this life.  All the places where I’m not measuring up.  All the nastiness that sits inside me that needs a thorough scrubbing & reorganizing.  Ugh!  And that all sounds less than delightful.  But that is not her take on these issues. Thank Goodness.

In chapter 2, Nicole talks about a wordless book.  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  I have heard of the salvation bracelet, which is about the same thing.  One summer in junior high, our youth group made a trazillion of these little bracelets with leather straps and colored plastic beads.  Black, red, white,blue, green & yellow.  Sin, Sacrifice, Redemption, Baptism, Growth, Heaven.  We were going to save the world with our bracelets.  We were.

Nicole talks in chapter 2 about the green.  Growth.  Growing day by day with Jesus.  We skip that step sometimes.  I do.  I can go straight from cleansing & redemption & baptism to shiny streets of gold.  Just take me out of here, Jesus.  Take me to paradise. {which reminds me of a Guns & Roses song…but…nevermind}  Growth.  It’s that time while we’re still sitting here on the earth when Jesus is changing us, molding us, teaching us.  He’s making our hearts more like His so that our actions and words and attitudes will be more like his.  He’s changing us to be more like him.  He is changing us.

And that got me thinking…

I have been in the adventure of straightening my teeth for 7 months now.  I skipped the braces-right-of-passage in adolescence & decided that instead 40 seemed like a great time to awkwardly shift my teeth into a straighter, more uniform arrangement.  I chose Invisalign for the job.  Molds were made & a computer came up with the exact motions that my teeth needed to make for success.  Then 31 {yes, 31!} different plastic trays were made that would ever-so-slowly, yet not-very-gently move my teeth into the straight smile I desired.  Every two weeks I put in a fresh set of the trays and every two weeks my teeth shift a little bit.  After 7 months {halfway there!} my teeth have definitely been moved, but there is still a lot of shifting left to do for them to be aligned properly.

I wish that I could just get in there and straighten them all in an instant.  Just magic wand it and make them perfectly straight.  I would love to be able to just push on them with all my strength & arrange them to fit in an orderly fashion.  Instantly.  But that won’t work {perhaps I’ve tried that, perhaps not.}  Instead, the only way that this will work well is if I allow those plastic trays to do their job at a snails pace.  They do all the work.  They have the strength to move my stubborn, don’t-want-to-move teeth.  My responsibility is to simply make sure I wear them.  They will do the rest.

I’ve decided to approach this book and, more importantly, my issues with this same strategy.  I don’t want this to just be another book that generates a to-do-list for changing me.  A book that generates enough guilt & shame in me that I try to change in order to ease those feelings.  I don’t want to read this book and be determined to pull myself up by my bootstraps and make myself better of my own power and might.  Because, he’s the deal, I can’t.  You can’t.  Just like I can’t rearrange my teeth simply using my own strength, I can’t change my heart out of my own power either.  Heavens knows I’ve tried.

I’m determined to use the green bead!  To grow.  Maybe slowly.  Maybe not always so gently.  But by using his strength and power and might.  Not mine.  My responsibility?  Just like my teeth.  For the Invisalign trays to work, I have to wear them.  For the Spirit to grow me I must ‘wear’ it.  In the Word, listening, talking to God, asking for help.  I’ll fill up with Him and He’ll take care of the outward reflection of what’s going on between us.

“God isn’t working in our issues to make us need him less.  He’s interested in moving through our issues so we can understand just how desperate we are for a constant inflow of his love into our hearts.  This isn’t about perfection, about being better, it’s about being changed-reborn, remade every single day into the likeness of Christ.” – Nicole Unice

Thank You Gifts

It’s that time of year again.  As the weather warms up, things begin to wind down.  And as activities & school winds down, the need for thank you gifts surges upward.  And I tend to be at a loss as to what to give.

Gift giving is a quality that many people possess.  I am not one of them.  I have the hardest time buying gifts.  So what does one do when they just don’t know what to do?  Pinterest.  She is everyone’s friend.

easy spring thank yous

I searched thank you gifts.  Do you know what I saw?  A bazillion amazingly crafty ideas that might take me the next two – four years to complete.  I didn’t have that kind of time.  I needed easy-peasy and pleasant-thoughtful done in less than an hour.  That search turned nothing up. So “easy DIY thank yous” was my plea.  And Pinterest, as she always does, delivered beautifully.

These are SO ridiculously easy.  But I think they’re beautiful.

You’ll need:

  • 4″ pots of thyme &/or mint
  • brown paper lunch sacks
  • yarn, ribbon, twine
  • card stock { I used 65 lb. Kraft card stock}
  • zip-lock sandwich bags
  • FREE printable tags

Also helpful:

  • quality papercutter
  • tag punch

IMG_3434 2





Here’s what you do:

  1. Place the potted plant in a sandwich size zip-loc bag, to keep your paper bag from getting soggy.
  2. Roll down the top of your brown paper lunch sack.  I used the regular sized ones and rolled about 4 times.
  3. Place potted plant in the sack.
  4. Tie ribbon, twine, string, yarn around the rolled down part on the bag.
  5. Print the free printable on your own printer using card stock.
  6. Using whatever tools you have {scissors or cutter and punch} cut out the words into tags.
  7. Secure the tag to the ribbon, twine, string, yarn.
  8. Give away with frivolousness.

Easy as that.  They are beautiful.  They are easy!  It gets no better than that.

Click on the picture below to access the free printable.

thank you tags

Thank you to A Night Owl Blog for the inspiration!  


Shut Up! I-Do-Love-Kale Salad

Spring is finally here in the upper midwest.  At least in my little dot.  And that means recipes are changing from warm and cozy to light and summery!  Grilling and salads and fresh fruits!  Delicious season has arrived!

Last night we had grilled skirt steak.  Plain jane.  Just salt & pepper and hit that hot grill.  Nothing fancy.  All delicious. And on the side I tried a new salad.  I had made my way to Costco yesterday & stocked up on berries, berries and more berries.  So many berries.  This new salad was sure to make great use of them.

One minor problem…main ingredient in said salad…KALE.  Kale.  It’s good for us.  And really we should love it.  But…let’s be honest.  Who really, really, really likes kale?  {crickets}  But the rest of the salad sounded so good & the reviews were well within my acceptable to try range.

I mixed it all up, massaged it {yes, you read that right} and let it sit until dinner.

I placed the salad in a fancy “company” bowl because if it’s in the company bowl, it must be good, right?  and set it on the table.  Looks of “what is this?” began surfacing around the table.  As we all dished up, the kids all tried to pass on the salad.  But, being the absolutely unreasonable parents that we are, we said they had to take some and try.  “Try”.  You know “try”?  In other words, take the smallest bite of the least disgusting part of the item and call it good.  But I am a mean-mean mama.  “Try some of the green”, I added.

Eye rolling. “Is that kale?  I hate kale.”

More eye rolling.  “Yeah I hate kale too.”

Faux bites taken, followed by a reminder, and real bites were taken.  {anyone else know this game?}

To my astonishment one of my children looked up & proclaimed, “Shut Up!  I do love kale!”

And thus the Shut Up! I Do Love Kale salad recipe was born.

My only tip…make sure and massage the dressing into the kale.  I put on disposable cooking gloves that I wear when dealing with raw meat and literally massaged the dressing all into the kale, making sure it covered all leaves thoroughly.  I think this is why it was so delicious.  Then add the other ingredients.  It really is great!   Shut Up! I do love kale Salad

Print Recipe

Shut Up! I Do Love Kale Salad


Course: Salad

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 min

Total Time: 10 min

Serves: 4


  • Salad:
  • 1 Bunch Kale Finely Chopped (~ 4-5 Cups; I used Lacinato but Curly Kale also works)
  • 1 Cup Strawberries Sliced
  • 1 Cup Blackberries
  • 1 Diced Peach
  • 12 Cup Blueberries
  • 12 Cup Rasperries
  • 12 Cup Diced Mango
  • 3 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries
  • 14 Cup Almonds
  • 14 Cup Walnuts
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey (sub agave if vegan)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly stream in olive oil while whisking until emulsified.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the kale and dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale until coated and place in the fridge to marinate for a few minutes (this is a great time to chop the fruit).
  3. Before serving, add the diced fruit, dried cranberries and nuts to the kale and toss until evenly combined.

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New Adventures :: Show Pigs


When we moved to our little slice of land close to town, I knew that chickens would be making a home with us.  I never would have imagined pigs.  But, friends, strange and unexpected things happen.  You see, a great family moved in across the street from us & they just happen to be pig people.  Champion show pig raisers to be exact.  They know their pig stuff.  We hit it off & especially our girls hit it off & that leads me to this::  I spent all day Saturday at a pig auction.  A. Pig. Auction.  Twelve months ago, I didn’t even know there were pig auction.  True words.  And yesterday I found myself examining pigs & bidding on pigs & bringing two little piggies home.  Two pigs are now a part of Weed Acres.

The auction was something.  All kinds {and I do mean ALL kinds} were present and accounted for.  It was like a mini state fair except with free food and no mini donuts-sad face.  They started with sheep and goats, which I’m happy to report we resisted.  That there is an act of will power.  Those little things are adorable!!  One of the goats went for nearly $3,000.  Yes, I have no words.  At that point I became incredibly nervous, but am happy to report the pigs didn’t go for anywhere near that price.  Hallelujah.


Do I have any idea at all what I’m doing?  Not really.  But lucky for me, neighbors {did I mention they’re champions} & 4-H are willing to teach us.  Technically the pigs are Baby Girl’s pigs, but let’s be honest, mama needs to know what the heck is going on.  {Good thing one of my top 5 Strengths Finders is Learner.}  Pinterest and Google are my best friend in this adventure so far & having a board called Swine Time is both exciting and ridiculous.

Paprika – Hereford gilt
Winchester – Cross Breed barrow
Winchester & Paprika – chowing

So, what do you do with pigs?  Excellent question.  We plan to show them.  And because 9 months ago I had no idea what that meant, let me share my limited knowledge of what that entails.  We attempted to pick pigs with the proper structure that is desirable.  So far, I think that mostly has to do with the pig’s butts.  With some back, legs and length thrown in.  We will feed our pigs a food designed to get them to their desirable show weight with muscles in all the right places and fat in the right spots {we are talking about ham and bacon after all}.  Then with the help of our local county 4-H, Baby Girl will take the pigs to the County Fair in July and show them.  She showed one of our neighbor’s pigs last year & loved it.  And with any luck, she’ll win a ribbon.  Then the two pigs will likely head to another auction where they will be purchased and most likely be prepared for eating.  I know…it’s the harsh reality of raising animals for meat.  But let’s be honest.  Most of us are eating meat & I can guarantee that these pigs will have been given the very best life they could get while living & they will meet their end in a humane and sensitive way.  That cannot be said for all the meat we find in our refrigerators today.  True words.

The auction was super exciting.  We spent a good hour walking around looking at all the available pigs trying to determine what we were looking for.  Thankfully our neighbors were there to help guide us.  We circled our favorites & tried to maintain a budget. And we were successful.  We purchased both pigs for less than we had set as our top budget amount.  Not bad.  We purchased a Hereford gilt {girl} and a cross breed barrow {boy}.  We got them home and settled and we are all surviving.

A new adventure.  I love a good adventure!