Fun Facts About Saguaros


, , , , , , , ,

  • They can live 150-200 years
  • They can grow to 40-60 feet tall
  • A 10 year old Saguaro can be only 1.5 inches tall
  • They don’t grow arms until they are between 60-70 years old
  • They are exclusively found in the Sonoran Desert
  • And our house.

Saguaro CactusSo, last month we took a trip to Arizona. We did some touring around in the desert and frolicked among the Saguaros. Little did I know that Josh (bless his researching heart) had become really fascinated by these guys. He found one on Craigslist that was an hour away, and well, it’s now sitting in our dining room. This is Mexico (named after his homeland), and he is 35 years old.

If this isn’t crazy enough for you yet, Mexico needs to be re-potted. Just think about that for a few.

What’s the weirdest things you’ve found on Craigslist? I think I need a support group…

My Port, and Some Closet Purging


, , , , , ,

Vintage Shop - Phoenix

Did I tell you I had a port placed this fall? If you’ve been reading this blog or heard me talk about it in the past, getting a port – for vein access while I’m doing IV antibiotics to treat lung infections – has been an emotional hangup for years. My veins aren’t great (which is a separate issue from cystic fibrosis) and getting PICC lines in was becoming increasingly difficult. I didn’t want the port for a few obvious reasons.

But I was sick in the fall, and again over the holidays, and I have to say that I’m so grateful for my port. I was placed on meds much sooner with it, I didn’t have to go through the PICC line experience (which was becoming stressful and emotional, not to mention unsuccessful!), and it’s super easy to live with. I’ve had the port for about five months now and it gets two thumbs up so far.

Which brings me to closet purging.

I unloaded a bunch of stuff from my closet that I prob won’t wear again due to the port. It’s somewhat visible (it’s under my skin but you can see the bump on my chest) and instead of wishing I could feel good about wearing certain things, I purged. Best decision, and it was accompanied by self-permissiveness to buy anything that I feel works well with the port! Gosh, I love the way this is going.

My cleaning-out momentum didn’t end with the closet. The clean-out bug bit me big time and I’m happy to say that I have purged all socks with holes, all back-of-the-closet scarves, and the 200 extra things of dental floss that we’ve managed to accumulate. Mismatched tupperware lids and containers = gone. Old boots that need repairs on the sole that I never got around to? Gone. Jewelry that I haven’t worn in years? Gone. Old gallons of paint on the basement shelf? Gone. Purging is so fun, guys.

So things are getting in order, I have a port, life is good, and I am thankful. That’s all for today.

BTW the picture up top is from a shop we visited in Phoenix a couple weeks ago, not my closet. I may have purged, but my closet will never make it to color-coded status. I’m not that organized.

Our Favorite Part of Oregon


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

A few last pictures from our time in Oregon today!

Not pictured in this last section of our trip: the whale that I spotted from the road, made Josh pull over for as we raced to the whale observation deck only to find he was the only one all afternoon (it was a moment for me- ha!), getting stuck on the phone in Astoria because of an issue with an Etsy order, and our relatives who graciously hosted us for the last night before coming home – thank you Richard & Marilee.

Just 15 minutes south of Waldport (where we stayed) is Cape Perpetua, home of the best tide pools we’ve ever seen.

We got up before the sun and got ourselves down to the water and climbed around the mussel-y rocks. It was low tide so we could go pretty much wherever we wanted. It was dreamy and almost other-worldly even. A definite favorite moment!

Cape Perpetua Tide Pools

Cape Perpetua Tide Pools

Mostly we saw urchins, anemones, and starfish here

Cape Perpetua Tide Pools

Cape Perpetua Tide Pools

That whole blob of rocks into the water is Cape Perpetua. The tide was coming back in by the time we took this but you get the idea. Such a beautiful place.

Cape Perpetua

Here we are later at Cannon Beach with our friend Haystack Rock. Lots more people here than at Cape Perpetua but it’s so cool to walk around tide pools. They’re the one thing our beautiful Lake Michigan beaches can’t give us!

Haystack Rock Cannon Beach

This is a picture of Josh. Not a seagull. Just Josh.

Cannon Beach

Beach bikers

Cannon Beach


Last shot is from Ecola State Park where we did our final tide pool-ing, and for some reason this spot had waaay more crabs (big ones!) than any others we saw. Also more surfers.

Ecola State Park

And that, friends, is every single picture I took in Oregon this past summer. HAH. No. No it definitely is not. But I’m done posting them now, so there’s that. Anyone inspired to explore Oregon? Or did you notice we missed out on something? (Gosh I hope not)


Another Oregon Top 10 (ish)


, , , , , , , , , , ,

(I realize that it’s super lame to post pictures from a vacation you took almost six months ago, but I’ve been super lame before and here I am being super lame again.)

Having said that, in case you missed my last post, we spent some time in Oregon this past summer. Today’s pictures are from our drive from Portland to Bend, which is a high desert area, and then from Bend out to the coast. Not pictured: visits with cousins (Hi Scott and Anita!), staying with my Uncle Dan and Aunt Nancy in Bend, some of the most beautiful country-side we’ve seen, Josh’s dad’s backpack that ended up in our car instead of his (and was then photographed by us around the rest of Oregon), and a seafood shack on the beach (Rockaway Beach) that served up some seriously good food.

On the drive from Portland to Bend, out the car window

Driving through Oregon

When you stop on the trail and ask a group of high school kids to take your picture…

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park, where we hiked with U. Dan & A. Nancy – gorgeous! And hot! This family of river otters followed us down that river on the left for most of our walk back. Made our day. Nope, made our trip. They were so fun to watch. And so huge! There is nothing like catching wildlife in its element.

Smith Rock State Park

Driving through the Cascades on the way to the coast, & we just happened upon the most “Oregon” little scene anyone could ever happen upon. I mean.


Seal Rock – our first tide pool sighting

Seal Rock

Lots cooler on the coast. Our thoughts were full of the tide and our Airbnb and finding seals and what types of cheese were available at the local grocer.

Seal Rock

Not sure why I was *so* surprised to find seals on a rock at Seal Rock, but boy was I ever. Check out the guy on the left giving us the “seriously, with the camera?” look.

Seal Rock Seals

Seal Rock again, and a very very cold Josh

Seal Rock

World’s best Airbnb, hands down. Can we please go back, like, tomorrow? (in Waldport, btw)

Airbnb Waldport Oregon

Driving up the coast, this is Newport, and that mural is pretty, and there were lots of people there, and it’s very touristy, and for all of those reasons I’d like to go back.

Newport, Oregon

The biggest question about Newport is this: who barks louder and sounds more obnoxious – the sea lions? Or the crowd of spectators? Jury’s out.

Sea Lions at Newport Oregon

Before we drove north up the coast from Waldport, we took a quick 15 minute drive south to Yachats…

Yachats Oregon

The real reason we did this, and at 7 a.m. on vacation, is to get to Cape Perpetua (famous tide pools, still gagging from extreme love for them) at sunrise. Best. Decision. Ever.

Okay. Just one more 6-month-too-late vacation post because of the tide pools, and then we can move on to real life again. Thanks for hanging in there folks! I mean, you know, if you’re still there.

Oregon Top 10 (ish)


, , , , , , ,

This past summer Josh and I (and Josh’s parents, for part of it!) took a trip out to Oregon. Since there aren’t any pictures from the trip here yet I thought it would be fun to do a quick Top 10 post. Just 10 little snapshots of our time in OR…

I didn’t even come close. Somewhere around 40, I realized there will need to be a few “quick little posts” to do this job. So today, here are some moments from the first part of the trip. It included us, Josh’s parents, Hood River, Portland, the MLS All-Star Game, and Mt. Hood.

The view from hiking on Mt Hood

Mt Hood Orgeon

Hiking in Eagle Creek (near Portland) (is this place even real?!)

Hiking Eagle Creek

More Eagle Creek (highly recommended!)

Hiking Eagle Creek_1014

Josh & I with Mt. Hood creepin’ in the background

Hood River

We stayed on an organic farm in Hood River (we loved Hood River), courtesy of Airbnb. It was a little more rustic than we had anticipated but the scenery was great!

Wine Tasting

We got to forage for our own meals

Hood River Farm

Josh’s parents’ cabin. They would probably say it looked cuter than it actually was. But. It definitely looked cute!

Hood River Airbnb

Lots of lavender in these parts. We also visited a lavender farm while in Hood River and I felt like I bought the place clean. Now I wish I would’ve bought more!

Hood River Lavender

Sunrise on the farm

Hood River Pear Farm

Josh and his mom getting ready to hunt down some pears for breakfast

Hood River Pear Farm

Dad & Mom B. I love this picture!

Wine Tasting

Portland food carts are every bit as good as people claim! Our hotel there was just one block from this particular cart which made us the opposite of sad, several times.

Portland Food Carts

Getting ready for the MLS game. This was the crowd when the other team arrived. European soccer players are a big deal! Bayern Munich came and played the MLS team for this year’s game, and it was the best game we’ve been to. So grateful for the chance to see it!

MLS All Star Game 2014

The four of us before the game started. Portland’s stadium is right in town, so lots of the crowd can actually walk (or ride bikes – Portland, duh!) to the game (us included).

MLS All Star Game 2014

Another Mt Hood shot, because us Michiganders just don’t drive to hit the slopes in cars like that. Made me smile! And yes, there were skiiers in August.

Mt Hood

Josh and I on a trail on Mt Hood

Mt Hood

WE DID IT! Top 10! ish!

Those days in Hood River/Portland with Josh’s parents were completely full of adventure and it was fun to do that together! From there, Josh and I went out for a few days in Bend and then a few more driving up the coast. More to come!

9 Years!


, , , , ,


This week we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary! Although it feels fast, it does seem like we’re just a couple of kids in this picture from our Honeymoon. We celebrated this year by booking a trip out West.. If we’ve learned anything in these past nine years, it’s to go West whenever possible. Right!?

Also, I’m done with IV’s, not feeling quite up to where I want to be, but my lungs definitely feel better. Can we please be done with antibiotics for a while?

One cute story for the road?

This morning Jane was here hanging out with me for a while. She was sitting at the table eating a clementine, and I was dancing (like a fool) (because she’s too young to really remember specifics, right?) to the music we were listening to.

Jane: Aunt Zanne, you’re funny. .. You’re REALLY funny. You’re ALWAYS funny.

Me: Wow. Thanks. Are you funny too?

Jane: I’m orange.

Merry Christmas Season!


, , ,

Christmas Mantle

…And, Happy New Year! Lots going on in our little part of the world this Christmas. Weddings (yup, two), baby showers, wedding showers, new niece (!!!), and all of the regular stuff the Christmas season brings. Oh, and did I mention IV’s?

So of course there is a lot to talk about, but I’m focusing right now on getting a grip on my health and celebrating the season with loved ones! I hope you have been able to do the same. Let’s talk again soon, shall we?

The Vintage Market


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

The Vintage Market has come and gone. Care to step into our booth? I managed to grab a few shots while we were still setting up. Not quite the full effect, but I think you’ll get the drift.

Vintage Market_0832It was a great experience! Our first booth ever. And wooooo was it a lot of work. We had great help, which we’re really thankful for, but the fact remains: we actually brought too much stuff. Too much furniture, really. Talk about lesson learned! We filled up a trailer, a truck, AND our station wagon. Filled, like FILLED. And we only sold ONE piece of furniture. HA!

Vintage Market_0833Even though we didn’t sell much of our big stuff, we did sell a lot of stuff. More than we were expecting, and definitely enough to make the event worthwhile. Yay! And, a few of the things we sold were things we really didn’t want to have to ship – like a framed piece of original art (Gwen Frostic, anyone?) with cracked glass, and a hanging light fixture with a giant glass globe.

We were able to borrow a pavilion, which was awesome for shade and for hanging macrame planters, dream catchers, etc. Win win! My parents brought a case of vintage jewelry from the shop (jewelry shop, stick with me here) and some loose gemstones to sell, but I was most excited when the macrame pieces sold. I mean, did you see that hanging table in the first photo??

Vintage Market_0835Overall it was a good experience. We sold some stuff, learned some lessons, made some money, and met some other sellers. Hopefully next time is even better! We’ll be back in September.

Vintage Market_0831These last couple of weeks haven’t been all about the Market for us, though. The day after, Grandpa Brandsen passed away (which we knew could happen anytime, but was still a surprise, know how that goes?) and his memorial service was last week. Josh was away for work some of last week, and it’s just been a lot, at times. We are so thankful to know that even though we’ll miss him, Grandpa is in Heaven where he has wanted to be for so long!

Also, my brother Mark is still on IV’s, and still sick. So. Prayers are definitely appreciated for both the Pattens and Brandsens!

P.S. One happy note: this morning in the pool I did a little test to sort-of gauge my lung health, and I passed it! I haven’t even dared to try it since around my birthday in November, and there’s no way I could have done it before these past few weeks. This spring I was pretty sure I’d never be able to “pass” it again. So thankful for this! Thank you, guys, for praying for me and my family. ♥





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.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 476 other followers