Instagram & Etsy. That Should Do It.


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here it is July already, and truth is my camera has been experiencing some pretty severe loneliness so far this summer. My phone camera, however, has not. So I guess this post is dedicated to those of you who haven’t already seen these posts on Instagram. <— (check it out if you’d like to see captions for these shots!)

June/July 2014 Instagrams

The good news: I’m off of all extra medication! I finished IV’s and orals, and have been feeling better than I did all spring (still room for improvement, as always!). To say I’m thankful for this doesn’t do it justice, but man. I. Am. Thankful. We’ve been catching up on all that stuff that didn’t get done this spring (btw, spreading fresh mulch in mid summer is almost laughably dumb) (but at least it’s done) and now Josh is working lots of extra hours during his student’s summer program. We’ve found a couple of days to sit pool side (I’m still electrically white/pale, and my 16-year-old self would be gagging with embarrassment) but *haven’t* made it out to the Big Lake yet. It’s on the short list.

The bad news: My brother Mark is now on IV’s, just started yesterday so could you pray for him? And by “him”, I really mean Mark, Jess, and the kids, because when he’s sick, it affects everyone. You know. Blugh.

June/July  2014 Instagrams

We’re making plans for travelling later this month, there’s a baby shower for Molly in the works, and this coming Sunday we’ve got our first ever booth at the Downtown Market‘s Vintage Market!

Etsy Instagrams Summer 2014

Our Etsy shop has sold 6 orders in the last 8 days, which is crazy since we haven’t listed anything new on it in months. Like, before I got sick. Yep. We’re literally gonna run out of stuff. And by that I mean we’re gonna run out of listed stuff, because whoo-ee do we ever have a lot of inventory. Who knows if the kind of stuff we sell is what people in GR will buy, but I guess there is only one way to find out! And if not, we’ll pop it up on Etsy like always.

Want to come check it out for yourself? Check here for info. Hope to see you there! I’ll be back soon with stories.

Hey There!


, , , ,

IV'sI’ll tell you what, if you’re going to be sick, you should probably do it during peony season.

So I’m back on IV antibiotics. I’ve actually been on them for two weeks, and just haven’t pulled myself together enough to stop by and let you know. May passed in a “we all know what’s coming” kind of way, and by the time I started the IV’s I was glad to have them. I’m definitely making progress and feeling the help from the meds, and am very grateful for that! I still have some lingering issues but I mean, it could be allergies. Could be lots of things. At least I can breathe.

I’m hoping to be done on Friday. But I’d rather stay on longer and get the maximum benefit (if needed) than cut things short. So we’ll see!

Something that’s been coming up lately is how my body is running out of veins for picc lines (in my arm, like in the picture). Separately from CF, I have bad veins, and it’s turning into an issue. For that reason, I’ll need a port sometime soon-ish for IV access. Ports are relatively permanent, unlike a picc line, and it would stay in my chest. I’ve had this emotional hang-up about it for years, which always adds to the anxiety of getting a picc placed. I am always bracing for the day when they say a picc isn’t happening. So a few weeks before I started IV’s this time, I went through a funk and just grieved a little bit about this thing that’s going to happen. Although I know I’ll be glad to have it, I don’t want it. Know what I mean? Having a cancer scare really changed my opinion about the port (who cares!! I’m alive!!!) but I know that until I’ve got it, it’s lurking at me. And I don’t like lurkers.

All that to say, I have to tell you. God has lavishly, I mean LAV-ISH-LY dished out giant portions of peace, contentment, and general joy on me. The day I had my line placed, emotions weren’t even on the table. (It was important, since we had options to discuss with the doctors, and who wants to be the raving loon in the OR?) More than physical health, which is very important to me, I am desperate for mental health. Emotional health. A steady heart, a spirit of joy, an ability to just do what I have to do and live my life. In fact, if I cry, it’s because I am so grateful for this specific gift that He’s given me, time and again. I know that I can’t depend on my physical health, I get it. But I do need His help. Big time. You know how people love to say that God won’t give you anything more than you can handle? I don’t think that’s in the Bible.. I think that God sometimes allows things to happen in our lives, that we really can’t handle. And that’s when He does some of His best work.

So actually things have been pretty good around here despite the fact that I’m on IV’s. I’m optimistic that I can get back to a zone that I feel pretty healthy in, and am not surprised that I needed this round, since my last one in January got cut short. Also, I should probably write a whole post, or maybe just create a whole special blog about how much I love my husband. Another example of God just dumping out unfair amounts of goodness on me.

One more thing – Mark (my brother) is back on orals, and not feeling well. Please pray for healing! His little girl is turning TWO on Saturday – ohmygoshJane – and being sick is hard on families.

If you made it this far, congrats! Thanks for your love & support. I promise I’ll start answering emails sometime soon. Promise.



A Little Selected And Collected


, , ,

Vintage Leather Sofa

So I know things have been silent-er lately on the blog. Sometimes that happens when I’m not feeling well, sometimes it happens when we’re busy, and sometimes it happens when we just cannot keep up with our Etsy shop. Lately it’s been mostly the third option, with a bit of the others thrown in here and there for good measure.

The Etsy shop, I’ve learned, can and will take up all the time I can ever give it. That’s not a problem mostly, because I do have time to give. We’ve learned a few things since we’ve started, and the shop is more of a Thing now than it ever has been. So as long as we’re enjoying it (we are) and making cash (we are), we’re good.

We’ve changed our buying habits and are now only targeting things we can sell and profit at least $20. We started that last year actually but didn’t catch ourselves before we had shelves of smaller items. I’m slowly weaning them into the shop and off our shelves, but I’m glad we stopped that when we did. We’ve got bigger fish to fry!

We’ve transitioned into furniture and lighting, which can get CRAY because we lack good storage space. For example, that sofa above? In our living room. Sold. That doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Right now I’m sitting on our back porch, and I’m looking at seven items that either are now or soon will be for sale. It’s our reality. One that I wouldn’t put up with if we weren’t enjoying it (overall) and earning an income from it.

A couple things that I love about having an Etsy shop (and selling elsewhere) is that it’s on our own time (we shop/process/list things when it works in our schedule) and that somehow we’ve stumbled into a vein that people CANNOT get enough of. It can be pretty bizarre, but that keeps it fun. We’re definitely the weirdos that you know, but hey. At least we’re not denying it anymore.

So if you’re ever wondering why the silence is echoing around on the blog, hop on over to our Etsy shop and do some shopping. I’m sure one of you out there will just go gonzo for this guy.

Great Strides 2014


, , , , , ,

Team Steppin' Up 2013

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides walk is upon us! It sneaks up on me every year. But every year Team Steppin’ Up shows up literally and figuratively, and I have you guys to thank for it! Last year we raised a whopping $2,744 – THANK YOU!

This year’s walk is on Saturday, May 17 at 10 a.m. (registration at 9) at the Calder Plaza in downtown GR. We are expecting a smaller group of walkers on our team this year, so it would be a GREAT year for you to come join us!

The research funding that this organization does really impacts my life, and (my brother) Mark’s. It’s not just “helpful”, it’s crucial. And we get more and more aware of how much we need this help every year.

We’d love to have you participate! If you’re interested, you can click here to either donate or join our walk team.

Thank you guys, for your love & support, always. I am so grateful.

Calder PlazaP.S. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you are confused with the CFF website. They’ve made changes with it during the last year, and if you’ve used it before it will probably look a little different. Sorry for any confusion!


Sunday Evening Hello!

Popping in with a few things tonight!

1. Happy Easter! We spent today celebrating at church and with our families. It feels good to be loved by them, but especially by Jesus. I love the meaning behind Easter even more than Christmas. Not that we need to be competing…

2. It looks like spring is finally arriving! I brought in a few tiny flowers from our yard yesterday. Way better than snow drifts. Obvs. Oh, and I’ve worn open-toed shoes at least twice now.

3. Grandpa Brandsen found himself in the hospital last week after hurting his back. He’s in a rehab facility now, but your prayers would definitely be appreciated! He sure would like to get back home soon.

4. I haven’t taken my camera out much lately, but here are a few shots from Mom’s birthday last month. She wanted a family picture, and we hadn’t all been together at the same time since Christmas, since someone was literally always sick. When any of us are sick we stay away from each other like opposite magnets. Was it our favorite winter? NO. Praying for a healthy spring and summer in these parts!

Also, Thomas loves Parrot with a deep, abiding love. And Jane loves Josh with a very similar love these days. It’s VERY cute.

Thomas, Parrot, & L:izardJane & GrandpaMark, Jess, Thomas, & JanePatten Family March 2014

Jane & Uncle JoshMom's Birthday Party

Mom's Birthday Party

You can’t tell in this last photo, but Thomas specifically requested “yavendar” frosting for Grandma’s cake. Jess somehow magically made it happen.

…And, did I tell you we painted our living room and dining room this past winter? You can see a little of it in the photos. We’re loving it.

5. Tomorrow morning I get to spend some time with April, my very travel-y friend. I love it when her travels bring her to MI and we can be together. It’s my fav.

6. Estate sale season has begun. Can’t wait to see what we can cram into the back of our station wagon this year!

What’s new with YOU lately?

P.S. I bought a plastic pink flamingo for the yard. My first outdoor lawn ornament. Very excited, very scared. You know.

It Was Nice To Be Away.


, , , , , , ,

It was nice to be away for a little while! But I always love coming home. Don’t you love coming home when you’ve been away? Anyway, since I have them, how about a few (unedited, because ain’t nobody got time for that) phone pics from the rest of our time in DC?

I call this “Capitol Josh”. For obvious reasons if you know him, but if you don’t, he doesn’t go the suit/tie route often. As luck would have it, it snowed on the day he was on The Hill. Poor Capitol Josh.

Capitol Josh

We popped over to the Smithsonian briefly one evening, and I found myself missing Thomas almost as much as I did at the zoo, which was a lot. Thomas recently called a triceratops a “Seratopsis” which I can’t love any more than I do. So. Bad phone pic opportunity! Boom.

Triceratops and Me

The gem exhibit, not disappointing. Again.

Natural History Gem Exhibit

One particularly brisk and windy afternoon, I rode the metro to Old Alexandria, and Josh met me there once he was out of work. I loved the area but would have loved it even more with happier weather.

Old Alexandria Trolley

You know we never miss a chance to check out local antique sources, but in this area they were super “antique-y” with that old school east coast vibe, not really our thing. Mostly.

Old Alexandria Antique Shop

There was that one happy hour shop, though, that had barware from the 20’s on up, and oh my .. They had more bar carts than I’ve ever seen in one place before. Jackpot. And also NFS. Which is probably good, because I can totally imagine Josh trying to find a way to bring one as his 65th carry-on piece of luggage.

Happy Hour Shop

Cupcakes at Crumbs bakery. They said their top seller is the red velvet, which is on the top left. FYI.

Crumbs DC

We had a few hours extra on the last day before we had to head back to the airport, & couldn’t decide between the White House (I haven’t seen it since I was little.. Wait, have I ever seen it? Not sure…) and the Botanical Garden. Yup. Not really a question, once I’m looking at it in print. Remember, it was cold. So this was Heaven!

Botanical Garden DC

We didn’t have enough time since we had to go back to the hotel & collect our luggage before heading to the airport, but I could totally spend and afternoon with a book here. Maybe I will someday!

Botanical Garden, DC

There are some more DC pictures on my Instagram account here, so check it out if you’re curious how me losing a bet affected us getting to the airport. I hate losing bets.



It’s Snowing. So. (Photo Heavy)


, , , , , ,

Hotel Room Flowers

So Josh & I are in DC for a few days.. Him for work and me for play, per the usual. Today it is actually snowing and pretty dang windy (or so I hear, since I haven’t ventured outside yet). I spent my morning in the pool, steamroom & sauna.. so don’t cry for me Argentina. I’ll probably bundle up & visit a Smithsonian museum later, but yesterday is so far a whole lot more photogenic.

Have you ever been to the Smithsonian Zoo? I went yesterday, and aside from the extreme amounts of walking it included, I can’t recommend it more.  It is huge – there is nooo way to absorb all of the information AND see all the animals in one day. But the exhibits were so beautiful.

Plus, a baby panda!!

Panda Bears

Baby Panda & Monkey

National Zoo

National Zoo

National Zoo_0228

National Zoo

National Zoo

And one more, just because.

National Zoo Pandas

I’ll Have Some Spring, Please


, , ,

Flowers in the windowIs it spring yet?

With our especially snowy and never-ending winter, I’ve spent the last few months just kind of hunkering down and waiting things out. Not a lot of blog action going on! Trust me, you haven’t missed much. I mean, there have been a few things. But mostly just hunkering.

So last time I posted, I was doing IV therapy & actually loving the progress I was making. Ironically, a few hours after I wrote that post, my PICC line went bad and IV’s were over. Sounds mostly good (to be done), but I do wish I could’ve finished out my treatment. Since then things have been okay, but I’d like to work up to having a little more breathing room. Thank you for your prayers & love this winter! Even though I didn’t do a great job with updates, I very much appreciate your love & support.

Aren’t you guys just so ready for spring? A breath of fresh air and a change of pace sound like the bees knees. So thankful for new seasons. Until then, grocery store flowers. You know.

Pink Roses!


, , , , ,

New Year CardsOh gosh, I’ve been neglecting you guys. Sorry. If you need proof of my existence, I give you my stack of New Years cards, getting prepped for eventual mailing. Eventual being the key word, since really I have at least a couple of months before the year isn’t “new” anymore, right? (Please say yes) (Also, why do half of the people I know move EVERY year??)

Oh, please note the fresh flowers in the background. Roses, actually. Grandma Ryan’s favorite, although she preferred red, and it used to be the one flower I never bought. I wasn’t really into them. NOT SO ANYMORE. Did you KNOW how much happiness fresh flowers roses can bring a person? My WORD. What have I been doing all of this time? Daisies schmaisies. Well okay daisies too, really.

I’ve been on IV’s since NYE. So the holidays this year weren’t exactly ones we’d write home about, but I mean they certainly could have been worse. There have been good days and bad days, but thankfully at THIS point I think/hope I’ll be off by the end of the week. (Glad I’m not superstitious, talking like that) Pray for my brother Mark – he’s on IV’s too, started just days before me, and will probably not be done yet when I am. It’s no picnic.

I haven’t been nearly as sick (the nausea, etc) as I was last spring, & I’m so grateful. I’ve been eating like a farm hand and excepting the six days I didn’t leave the house, my energy level has been pretty good. Of course “being on IV’s” puts a big bunch of separate issues in the same situation, so there is a lot to monitor, process, work through, etc but I am happy to say that I think it’s soon to be over. Very thankful. Living with CF, nothing is known, nothing is certain, or guaranteed. I am grateful for EVERY DAY. And even MORE grateful for the days that I’m free from meds.

Thank you, so much, for your prayers, your thoughtful messages, emails, comments, etc. I love you right back!

P.S. Have I ever told you how much I love my husband? I would marry him every hour on the hour if it was an option.

A Prayer Request


, , , , ,

Circle RugWell, guys, I’ve got a little bit of a health update for you today. After seven months antibiotic-free, I’m back on orals. I have been for 10 days now, actually, and now I’m adding a second antibiotic to the mix because things aren’t moving in the right direction yet. I’m letting you know because I sure would appreciate your prayers! I don’t like it when my lungs feel small or constricted, and even though the rest of me feels pretty good, this is a concern.

Also weighing on my heart today, a childhood friend of mine just found out last week that her six-year-old son has CF. Talking with her, and processing through things mentally, has found a vulnerable spot in my heart and I am having a hard time separating some emotions, if that makes any sense. Pray that I can be a good friend to her, and that the heaviness/darkness that can seep in will be kept at bay.

Also, my brother Mark is on antibiotics. Apparently we like to do this together. Yeesh.

Before you head for the hills lest I come up with something even more Debbie-Downer-y, here’s some encouragment that snuck up on me yesterday. You know how sometimes people talk about how they were reading the Bible and something just “jumped right out” at them? I always wish for those moments. But last night I had my own little moment, a gift of encouragment when I was actually asking for it. I was reading the verses set out for me on my Bible App, and these ones jumped off the screen and into my heart. I felt loved.

Psalm 3:3 (New Living Translation)

“But you, Oh Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.”

And then, Proverbes 18:14

“The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?”

These verses combined = everything.

Aaaand to hammer it home, how about the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing it? Our choir sings this in church sometimes and it’s one of my favorites. I hope it encourages you today, as it has encouraged me!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 471 other followers