Saturday, June 27, 2015


Tap….tap…is this thing on?


ok, so, I’ve been away for a while. I didn’t mean to be gone for so long, but life and grief sort of got in the way.

As dumb as it sounds, I’ve gotten a new computer and now I can access my stuffs in this lifetime. Sitting around waiting for that little hourglass to work is an exercise in patience.


Just to prove I didn’t disappear or turn into a troll or something…I give you me. #realtalk


So…lots been happening since 2013.

Shocking I know. Life went on. Even after my Dad died. Funny how that happens. And I mean funny as in ironic, not funny HA-HA.

Since then, two daughters graduated high school, one is in college and now another will start in the fall. My son turned 16 and is learning to drive. So is the nearly 21 (TWENTY-ONE!!! OMG) year old. She’s pretty good so far. If I was better at
letting her have control of the car and actually take her driving, she’d be much better by now, but I’m a ball of phobias and anxiousness when it comes to letting any of my children drive. Can’t explain it, just know it’s hard for me.

My youngest son is now in middle school. I mean, when did they get my permission to grow up?? I don’t remember telling them they could grow so fast.

My sister moved to Texas last year! Almost 14 months ago to be sort of exact. I should remember the exact date she moved here, but lots was going on and I don’t really know. She would though. She’s good at dates and such.

Let’s see…

I have been going to a recovery group for about 17 months and it has really helped me with the grief and loss of my Dad and other family members who died within a year of my Dad. Pain and loss is a really dark place to be and this group of people has really helped me let go of a lot of resentments and learn to accept that I am wholly and completely loved and accepted by them and most of all, Jesus. No strings, no waiting to be a better human, just love and grace.

Lots of new things on the horizon this year. Lots of projects on my to-do list. How about a list? I haven’t done one in a while!!

  • Move the kids rooms around AGAIN. One leaves for college and isn’t coming back home next summer, so that means we switch! Seems to be the only way any of the rooms get painted. 😀
  • Paint our bedroom! Can’t wait for that one. We cleaned out closets and built new ones for Jon and now we both have our own space and it’s stayed tidy for weeks now! Huzza!
  • Clean our the garage. Blech. Nuff said.
  • Paint several pieces of furniture for either selling or keeping. Haven’t decided which yet. I keep thinking the pieces would sell better if they were spruced up a little, but then if they are too cute, I won’t be able to sell them!
  • Minor organizing projects in the works: linen closets, coat closets, and craft closets.

I think that’s all I can think of for now. Seems like there is always stuff to do and re-do. It will be a challenge to keep myself busy and create hobbies for myself as  the kids get older and move away from home 9 months out of the year, but I can do it! It’ll be fun.

I’m currently in a summer reading phase. Love me some books from the library. In two days I read, When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. It’s actually set in my Texas town! How weird is that? Talks about many places in the book I recognize (street names, highways, and towns). I thought it was quite strange and coincidental that I would find a list of books on someone else’s pinterest feed and then decide to try it out, only to discover that the book is set in the town I live in, years into the distopian future! *Cue Twilight Zone Music*
The next two books I have on hold at the library seem like a couple of easy reads, so I’m looking forward to diving into them before I have to return them!

Seems like a fitting place to end this blog post… No way I could catch you up on all the goings on around this house, but without promising I’ll be back to blog everyday or some unrealistic time frame, I’ll just say, “Until then…” See ya!





Monday, November 25, 2013

525,600 Minutes…

How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

 RENT – Seasons Of Love Lyrics | MetroLyrics

He laid there, his breathing labored, rattled, and stared past our faces. His hand rose up from the bed and floated out in front of him. He clearly rasped, “Okay, okay…let’s go.”  We weren’t sure who he was seeing off in the distance, but having witnessed it first hand, there was no mistaking our beloved Daddy was being called home to the beyond. His place was no longer here on this earth, but somewhere greater, where pain is unknown and joy can’t be measured. Here on this earth, he would leave behind those he cherished most and couldn’t bear to leave. Knowing it wasn’t his choice freed us to lock the moments in time we shared, away in our hearts, visiting them when the grief of loss was too much.

I revisited that day in my mind many many times in the last year.  Those days, all 365 have passed far too quickly and I find myself  not struggling in the mire of it, but smiling at the bittersweet memory of being able to share that beautiful moment when he passed from this life to the next. No longer in pain, no longer suffering. Healed, fully whole, and at peace.

The last year has been filled with more tragedy than we ever experienced. More pain than a family should have to bear but in that pain, I have found some comfort and peace of my own.  Hope.

Hope that the next year will bring more joy, more laughter, more opportunities to heal, and that sense of peace that comes with knowing we didn’t suffer in vain.

Romans 5:3-5  reminds me that

3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
The Message (MSG)

I feel my Dad with me. I hear his voice in my head, his laughter in my ears, and feel his love forever branded on my heart.

I will always be his baby girl.

I miss you everyday, Daddy.  I love you.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bad Metaphors and a Fleeting Childhood by Brenna Stueve


     If childhood was a sentence, it would be a run-on, punctuated with ampersands and semicolons; a seemingly never-ending line cut short by a period composed of the revealed secret of Santa Claus’ whereabouts and a sudden disinterest in Barbies and/or Hotwheels. *

     I barely remember most of my childhood.  Only fleeting glimpses of random events interrupted by blank memory shelves.  My mind is a house.  Bare, save the necessities. A bed fashioned from love-laced strokes into my hair from my Mother.  A couch stuffed with laughter resulting from flipping through photo albums.  A table constructed of home cooked meals, sandpapered smooth by jokes and gentle teasing.  Only the important things fill my memory.

     It seemed to go on forever, my childhood.  Constituted of visits to the toy section at Target and watching new episodes of Spongebob Squarepants that are now faded and cheesy.  My weeks were split into days at preschool and days at home, which I dreaded due to the new baby.  Resentment curling bitterly in my stomach at the meaty fisted toddler babbling vicariously in place of words as I ignored them in favor of the sickening optimistic Teletubbies.  After, balancing on the balls of my feet to search for a pink backpack that indicated my older sister coming home from kindergarten.  These memories were the threads that connected my childhood together, sewing them together and binding my autobiography from loose sheets of paper memories.

     It really does end quickly.   Innocence snatched away so suddenly, the whiplash sends you hurtling toward pre-teen attitude and teenage angst.  I began reading Harry Potter instead of Junie B. Jones, going from playing dress up to actually dressing up.  Subtle changes that were so miniscule, I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye. Like the smell of dish soap overpowering the scent of baked cookies; homely and childish ignorance replaced by the harsh antiseptic of reality.

     Like sitting in bed as it storms both outside and inside as my parents fight over money.  My life thus far simplified into nostalgic memories to mull over as I drift to sleep.

     If childhood is a run-on sentence, then adolescence is a bad metaphor interrupted suddenly by adulthood and forcing the children at heart to look toward the future and-  time to grow up. *


*Note from teacher "You seriously earned an A with 1 sentence." and "This is beautiful! Excellent work!"


I think I have a writer on my hands.  She told me once she wasn’t good at anything creative.  Um…I think she’s found an outlet!  We want more…we want more! (Name that commercial.)

Great job Brenna!   A++ for sure!!

1 comment

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ok, enough is enough.

I open my Firefox browser everyday. The first thing that pops up on  my home page is my blog. For the last 10 months the only 2 posts on there are two of the saddest of my life. The first being in May of 2012 when Dad’s cancer was found in his liver and then after he died around his birthday in January.

I’m tired of being sad.

Yes, I’m still sad. I still cry. I still mourn.

The thing is, I’m still mourning and the rest of the world has moved on. They are living their lives and moving forward. Sometimes it feels like they’re moving forward without me, but that’s because I’m still stuck in the grief. Stuck in the sticky mess of pain and memories. It’s so hard to let those images go when you watch someone die, be it peaceful or otherwise. It’s no less traumatic than if my Dad was shot in front of me. My heart still skips a beat and then aches physically when I remember that day.  That moment his heart stopped beating.


I have to move forward. I have to keep walking and lift my feet one step at a time.


Thank goodness for anti-depressants. I’m serious. Those nay-sayers can have their opinions about drugs and whatnot, but when you are unable to function and get out of bed because your body and your mind are lost in grief, then they are a miracle.


I have so much to say. So much to write.


I am committing to writing my blog again. I can’t let myself fall off the face of the earth because I’m sad. I’m too precious to the world for that. I am loved and cared for by more people than I can count and a family who would like to have their Mom and wife back.  I’m a daughter of God who has carried me thru these difficult months and only wants the best for me.


I’m not going to be afraid to talk about things here.

I’ve said it before when I first started this blog. This is my safe place. I’m free to talk about my life and what I want people to know. I’m an open book. I need to be able to talk about things that others might have an opinion on and not feel scared to voice mine.


I’ll be back. I promise.


I want to tell you about why I love olives and preserved lemons. Why I have a bucket full of petrified dog poop in my backyard and why I’ve gone gluten free and I don’t want to talk about it all on Facebook. You’re welcome.


So I leave you with two questions:




1. Have you had these yet??

2. If not, then HOW COME???!!! They are insanely good!


Love and Chocolate Covered Nuts,




Monday, January 21, 2013

There are no words…

Jefferson Barracks

   The leaves shuttered as the wind whipped
through the trees. The quiet in the car mimicked what we were feeling in our hearts. We didn’t want to be here, but the day was upon us. The day we were to wish our Dad a Happy Birthday, the day we get to see his completed headstone, and the day our hearts break all over again with the memories of watching him take his last breath and his heart beat its last pulse.

      Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery is a beautiful piece of land. Everywhere you look hundreds of rows of white marble fixed neatly in perfect symmetry, there for the rest of eternity, marking where beloved souls are laid to rest remind us of the sacrifice these men and women made for our freedom. Reverence and respect hang heavy in the air.

photo 3

     It didn’t take us long to find Dads grave. With printout in hand we set out for 1JJb-2218.  Winding around the grounds to the newly added section made it obvious where he was laid to rest. The ground was still muddy from the lack of sod and what moisture the winter had brought so far.

JAN 21 1947
NOV 25 2012

     There were people milling about visiting their loved ones. Blankets of pine boughs decorated various graves for the Christmas holiday. Rebel family members left balloons, real flowers, and even a fishing lure on the headstone of Dad’s neighbor.  Our Dad wouldn’t have wanted us to fuss over him, in real life or death. We opted to visit and just remember together why our hearts are still so sad and to wish him a Happy 66th Birthday.

     Unbelief still tugs at our brains. Our minds trick us daily, remembering we haven’t called him recently and then reality slaps us awake and the pain washes over us. How could this have happened? How could he leave us? The slow realization that he didn’t leave us by choice soaks in. He fought so hard to stay in this world. He promised he would do everything in his power to stay. He was so brave. He could have given up. He’s our hero for fighting.

     The trees continue to shiver with the wind. The weather is crisp and cool but not cold. The winter is mild here in Missouri. Dad would have been happy to know it wasn’t freezing or snowing. He hated the snow. We say our last goodbyes and make our way back to the car with just a few tender tears shed. We ignore the gnawing feeling in our guts that his body is in the ground and so far away from us, never to be hugged again, never to be lovingly looked at by those kind brown eyes, so full of care and concern for us. The thoughts have to be pushed out of our minds because it’s too much to bear, so we head to our next destination; new life in baby Carter. Hope for the future and a life well lived.

Michael John Harms loved life. It wasn’t always great, but he lived it to his fullest and had a wonderful adventure! The hole left in our lives and hearts can never be closed, but the memories and love we have for him can make it less empty as we pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and learn a new way of living this crazy life without him.

                 Happy Birthday, Daddy.

      We love you and miss you with all of our hearts. We thank God that he chose you to be our Dad. One day we’ll be together again and what a glorious day that will be.


Love always,

Leslie & Angie


Monday, May 7, 2012

Today I paint…


We got some bad news today. My Dad’s cancer has spread to his liver. I’m sad and disappointed.

So I did something for myself. I painted my dogs picture on canvas. I sketched it a week ago and today I finished it. I love my Buddy.




He pees on everything and howls when we leave him in is crate.

He sucks on his bed and gets playful when we blow on his head.

He runs around the house like a lunatic after his baths and slides all over the floor like it’s greased.

He rubs his face in the grass outside and he loves to lay in the sun.

He LOVES chicken but hates fruit.

We  adopted him 3 months ago from the local shelter and I love him with a love I didn’t know I needed.

He keeps me company and when I cry, he lays beside me and comforts me.

I love him.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It’s just me, myself, and I.

You do something for more than 21 days and it becomes a habit. Or at least things are supposed to come easier, almost second nature.

Having my husband home and unemployed has become second nature to me in the last 3 months. Just like when he was working, he took the kids to school so I could sleep in {yes, I know I’m spoiled, shush}. 

Then he would come home and we would hang out, or do a project together. Mostly we hung out when he didn’t have meetings or job interviews.  I think our favorite thing to do together was to catch up on shows or watch an old movie on TV that we’ve seen a dozen times already.

We took turns picking the kids up from school and when both of our cars were running, I was free to grocery shop or have a long lunch with a friend. {Yes, I KNOW I’m spoiled, shush!}

All I’m saying is, I got used to having my husband home with me. I thought I would get tired of him being around all day, and there were some days I really wanted to watch a cooking show on TV, but he go to the remote before me. I thought our tempers would flare or I would feel resentment that he wasn’t working.

You know what?

God moves in more ways than just providing for us and hearing our prayers. He gave me such a peaceful heart, that I actually enjoyed spending all this time with my partner and husband. We worked together, talked, laughed, shopped, and parented together more so than we did before. I think God let us have a renewal or a reminder of what was already good in our marriage and made it stronger. Our bond is strong and honestly, if we could get through this unscathed, then I know we are doing this life together right.

Through our faith and covenant with God to love each other for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, and in sickness and in health, we have come out on the other side of losing our source of income and stability. We surrendered and were blessed.

My friends on Facebook are doing a 30 Days of Thanks and although I haven’t participated yet, I am so thankful. These are just a few of the things I’m thankful for right this very minute.

  • A loving, faithful God who never left us, period.
  • My supportive family and friends
  • My loving children who understood the severity of our situation and
    adapted without much complaining
  • My husband who worked hard to get this new job and a new start for our family
  • My ability to not freak the heck out at all this change- maybe I’m growin’ up!! Maybe. {grin}
  • The cooler weather…I mean seriously! I’ll take 65 over 110 any day!!


So, now what am I going to do with all this time?? Well…today is early release for our youngest so I only have another couple of hours to get some errands done. After that?

I want to work on Christmas presents and more organizing of the house. I really need to tackle the linen closet! I’ve been dreading that for a while now. I think it’s time to move the games to another space, but that would mean cleaning out another closet!! Gaaahh!! I need a dumpster!

Also, I need it to not be so windy. I have some things I want to spray paint Oil Rubbed Bronze!

I guess I have a long list I want to work on and with hubby gone, I can get them done and he won’t tempt me to come lay in our cozy bed and watch movies! {Ok, so I was really the one who was the tempter, shush!}

See ya laterz!


Love and Productivity,



oh and P.S. – I’m already showered, dressed, and have make-up on! All before 8am and I drank coffee! It’s going to be a great day!! jass;dfjal;squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Excuse me if I’m a little giddy…


Today is a banner day in our house! As of 3:45pm, on November 7, 2011 my husband is gainfully employed! He signed the paperwork this afternoon and will start on Wednesday.

I would like to thank you all for the hours spent on your knees, my faithful and perseverant prayer warriors! I truly believe that God’s timing is accurate and he places people and situations in our life to show us a clear path to Him.

The minute Jon told me he was terminated, I felt this terrible pain of fear come over me. As soon as that came, it quickly went and in it’s place was a feeling of calm and hope. Calm because I knew my God was bigger than our biggest problems and hope because I knew that just because this door was being closed didn’t mean another one wouldn’t appear. I told Jon that we would be ok, and I really meant that. I still believe that this very minute.

I know that getting a job isn’t the answer to all our problems. We still have bills to pay and a budget to meet each month. I think this is an excellent opportunity for us to stick to a budget and live within our means, just like were supposed to be doing. I think if we make a commitment to that, we will be blessed even more.

Thank you to our family for always being there for us! I can’t wait to spend time with my parents and sister at Christmas because that time spent will be full of joy and relief and family.

We are blessed beyond measure and we don’t deserve one bit of it! Thank You Lord!!

Ok, so we might go out to dinner and celebrate so we’ll start budgeting tomorrow! {grin}


Love and Cubicles,


1 comment

Monday, October 24, 2011

It’s all Facebook’s fault!

I could be a better blogger. I used to be a better blogger (well, maybe not better but more consistent) before I started using facebook . The problem is this: I update my friends and family on my life and it’s goings on far more regularly on Facebook than I do on my blog. Why? It’s more convenient and easier to do on my iphone. With that said, I haven’t really been updating FB all that much these days easier. It’s seems I have lost my "voice".

Many times I have attempted to pen a new post and just as many times I have backspaced until it was gone and closed the window because it seems all I have to write about is loss and pain. I promised myself that I wouldn’t agonize over the negatives of life and become nothing but a whiner.

After my last post in July about going to the beach, we went to the beach. I won’t say we had the best vacation of our lives, because we didn’t. The kids fought every moment they could, I was sick with a lingering virus/throat infection, 2 of the 3 girls were PMS’ing, and we spent waaay too much money on touristy trap things that weren’t even that great.

What I couldn’t seem to write about that vacation was the good memories my kids will always have of the time we drove in the car, listening to my ipod, singing out hearts out and then playing in the ocean. How they got to stay in their own room and hang out (and fight) with each other, the dolphins we saw jumping out of the water, and the seashells we found walking along the beach. CIMG4951kids on the beach


Like some people, I tend to need quite a stretch between events to gain an appreciated perspective on it. I’m not sure why I trip over my own thoughts these days about what to write and how to not just regurgitate my conscious streaming thoughts, but to make them well planned out and interesting. Maybe I should take a writing class. 🙂 Or MAYBE I’m just lazy. Let’s just go with that.


So just to catch you up on the latest in my life "The condensed Version", here goes! (Here’s me being NOT lazy even thought I am sitting in my bed NOT eating lunch until this is done!!)


July: I cut 5.5 inches off my hair, we go to Galveston, we celebrate the 4th at Kaboom town

july 2011 

August: School starts and Jon loses his job (sorry, I don’t have a picture of that)

2011 school year collage

September: Brenna turns 15, Michael turns 9, Leslie turns an undisclosed age, I travel to Missouri for Leslie’s birthday

sept 2011


October: Lauren goes to Homecoming, My Dad’s beloved dog, friend, and my furry sister- Penny passes away, I clean my whole house!

oct 2011



That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Jon is still looking for a job. Irons are in the fire and hopefully God will bless us with employment before our money runs out. My family is coming for Christmas, so I am stoked about that!! Yay!!


I can’t promise I won’t go another 3 months between posts, but I can guarantee that I will be working hard at updating facebook! 🙂


Love and Trick or Treats!


1 comment

Friday, July 1, 2011

It’s been almost 13 years…

Since I’ve set foot on a Texas beach. The wait is over.


When we moved to Texas 14 years ago, I cried. You would too if you saw a tumble weed blow across the road in a rural town that took you 3 days to drive to. Thousands of miles away from the coast you grew up on and a thousand miles away from the lovely coast you just left full of snow, gorgeous salt box houses with wreaths on the door, and the eastern charm of it all.

I made do with what God gave us and I resolved to "like" South Texas after all, it was where we got stationed and there wasn’t anything we could do about it! 😀

One day, we decided to take a drive down to the "beach". I was excited to see the "ocean" and walk on the "sand". When we got there, Jon drove on the "beach!!" I died right there in the car. I yelled, "YOU CAN’T DRIVE ON THE BEACH!! IT’S ILLEGAL!!!!!" He assured me that "Yes, in Texas you can." I soon learned why.

It was ugly!

We got out of the car and the water was brown and foamy and the sand was all streaked with black tar from the oil derricks out in the gulf. And that’s another thing: the ocean is not the Gulf. I learned that the hard way.

When we pulled the girls out of their car seats (2 1/2 and not quite a year) and tired to put them down on the "sand" to walk around, they pulled their feet up and started to cry. They didn’t like the way it felt and I guess looked! I mean, Lauren had an aversion to grass back in California, as she didn’t like the way the pointy blades felt on her bare feet, but I didn’t blame her one bit about the "sand". It was gross! It made our feet sticky and black.

No thanks.

We got in the car and drove a little farther south west looking for some "prettier" "beach", but no luck. We heard if we wanted really pretty beach, we should go to South Padre Island. That didn’t happen while we were there, as we (I was)/ were too busy raising babies and trying to stay sane in a town of 7,200 people and a mall 30 minutes away. This was dire people. I was stuck in country hell. (Love my friends from there though!! smooches!!)


So, anyhoo! Back to why I tell this lovely story! (see what happens when I don’t blog much? All these words just pile up in muh brain and spill out when I start typing!!)


We are going back to the BEACH!! A real beach! No air quotes needed here!! WhoooHooooo!!


Wanna see where we are headed??



galveston beachPhoto Courtesy of Flickr! 


Yes…Galveston, Texas! We’ve never been, and we are so excited to check it out! Looks like the beaches are much nicer and not slicked with oil! We’re staying just off the main strand, about a mile at a neat Hotel called the Inn at The Waterpark.


inn at the waterpark

There’s Schlitterbahn Waterpark   nearby and Moody Gardens as well. Locally there’s a Flight Museum, and lots of other fun beachy kinds of thing to do! Put Put Golf is on the grounds and a nice looking pool. We are super jazzed at how close we are to the beach and the superawesomegreat rate we got for 2 rooms for 2 days! It’s going to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!! Foshizzle!


Expect there to be lots of gratuitous pictures and hopefully none in my swimsuit, because no one should be subject to THAT !!  You’re welcome!   Snack shopping and car cleaning outing commences today, so that’s always a plus. Can’t have too many snacks on a 5 hours drive to the beach, don’t you think?

OH and LOTS of Sunscreen!!  It’s supposed to be pretty warm there, but I just wanna dip my toes in the water and watch my precious children build a sand castle. Maybe I’ll get to bring home some seashells and put them in one of my glass jars. Ahhh, the simple things in life. I love it!


See you all in a week!


Love and sandy beaches,


0 comments « Previous Entries Next Page »