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The death that changed my life

Jason had a great grandmother that lived to nearly 110. She passed away two weeks before her birthday and for the first 10 years of our marriage, I had the privilege of getting to know her and hear about her life. She slowly moved towards dementia and her ability to share her life stories faded away. She faced so many challenges in her life and lived through 2 world wars. As I would sit with her talking I had always wished I could have read her journal from when she was younger so I could better understand all that she went through.

I wrote out my experience of the events below the day after they happened so that if one day any of my children or grandchildren were ever curious about my life, the life I have outside of them, they would be able to learn more. This event most definitely affected and shaped me and had trickle-down effects on my life for years to come. So here it is, Micah’s story.


At 36 weeks pregnant, that’s considered early full term, my friend noticed some spotting. It was after hours and her doctor sent her into the hospital where they hooked her up to all the monitors and discovered Micah’s heart was no longer beating. She perhaps was in shock, but she was not without hope. She called several of us and asked us to pray boldly for a miracle. Along with one other friend, I went straight to the hospital to be with her.

We prayed for hours as her body went into labor. I had no shadow of a doubt in my mind that all would be well. As I prayed I just kept seeing Micah be born and take a sudden gasp of air, over and over I saw it. I believed this was God’s way of encouraging us to keep praying and giving us hope that the miracle we wanted was about to happen.

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Neighbors App

We now have an awesome outdoor video light, to read my review of it click here. But before we had that light we didn’t have a view of our front yard. One night J and I went out on a date and when we returned home we discovered his car was not where we left it in the driveway. It was halfway out in the street.

We were intrigued by what could have happened. His car is very old with a ton of miles on it, but we keep driving it because it is paid for and it still runs. This beat up old car is not worth stealing, trust me, and it is a manual so we generally think of it as theft proof. Without a Ring Doorbell ourselves we didn’t have a way of knowing how his car was moved.

I have a free app by the Ring Doorbell people, so I opened it up to see if anyone in our area was reporting attempted car theft. No reports had been made, but I was able to discover our neighbor across the street has a Ring Doorbell that is aimed our way and could decipher what had happened. I promptly applied to them to check their video recordings and we were able to discover that a very hefty gust of video had popped the car out of gear and it had rolled back on it’s own. OH MY!

If you don’t have a Ring Doorbell yourself you can still benefit from your neighbors who might have one that is aimed in your direction. Through this app you can share your footage with a wider audience to help solve and prevent crimes. You don’t have to own a Ring Doorbell to use the app or view the uploaded footage and crime reports. Downloading the app will even give you a free $10 coupon for the purchase of a Ring Doorbell, invite your neighbors to download the app and you’ll get an additional $10 coupon for each of them.

download ring app

Paying off our Student Loans

I can hardly believe it is over and I have no clue what it actually means to no longer have student loans. For the first few years of our marriage, we were broke college students and then we were broke college graduates paying off our loans. The reality of what it will mean to have that money available for things like retirement savings and family vacations is unfathomable

This has been a tough journey, a long journey, a journey that has required sacrifice and dedication. I have at times doubted whether or not I had what it would take to cross the finish line. Let’s take a look back at the starting line though to get a full picture of the story.

Surviving Student Loans

Why I went to college

This is not a simple answer as it is a multifaceted problem with lots of factors that affected my decision. My home life in high school really sucked. Without going into details let me just say I had a need to escape and get away from my situation and college was the easiest path out for a upper-middle-class white girl with stellar grades.

I had worked very hard and earned a full ride scholarship and research position at a college across the country studying astrophysics. This was my ticket away from my current situation. I had doubts about whether or not astronomy was really what I wanted to study. I’m an introvert but I thought I might perhaps get lonely cooped up in a laboratory or observatory crunching numbers all day, but it was my way out. I also wasn’t entirely comfortable with being the only girl in the room in most situations. Yeah, there are tons of movements for women in science these days, but back then I worked entirely with men - mostly socially awkward men.

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Kuna - Maximus Video Surveillance Camera


Growing up in a small town on a border state I thought I knew a fair amount of crime. Mostly car theft as vehicles were frequently stolen and brought across the border for parts and other uses my young innocent brain couldn’t fathom.

We now live in a large city with a major international airport and I have been introduced to a new and different level and degree of crime. Cars are not stolen as often as they are broken into but that is small change compared with this new and scarier crime, human trafficking. Unfortunately, the county in which we reside is on the top of the list for this crime. It is a thing that regularly gives my mom heart much trouble.

A few months ago the neighborhood next to ours had a horrifying incident in which a young girl was stalked and an attempt to kidnap her was made. The girl was safely able to get away thank goodness! Thanks to the wonderful invention of video doorbells the footage of the incident was immediately and widely circulated on social media.

This incident was sufficient enough to scare me into purchasing a video monitoring device myself. Our front door sits back away from the house via an outer walkway that blocks much of the view to the street, because of this I had decided that a doorbell device wouldn’t suit our situation. I did some research and settled on a Kuna video light. Kuna’s desire to stop crimes before they can occur was in line with my vision and desires so I ordered one straight away.

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Summer Goals: Learn Spanish with Duolingo

Summer goals

Every summer the kids work on a special project. This year the kids are going to get more serious about learning Spanish. I have spoken Spanish to them all since they were born but they have never really shown much interest in attempting to speak it themselves and beyond some basic commands to sit down, come here, look, and stop they really don’t seem to have picked up any of it despite my huge efforts.

I remember proudly telling my high school Spanish teacher that my children would speak Spanish and her laughing at me and telling me that was much easier said than done. She told me without our home being fully bilingual it was doubtful that I’d manage to pull it off but she commended my wishes and hoped me the best of luck as she laughed.

Fast forward and I see just how right she was. My intent to have the kids know both languages did not match their experience. This summer though I have decided to be intentional about them learning Spanish, and I have a tool to help me out. Duolingo is a free online program and app for your phone that can teach you to speak a new language. They claim that 34 hours spent on the app is equal to a semester of a foreign language in school.

Duolingo has been a key tool I have used to keep my Spanish from fading away over the years and is what I used to start learning French as well. The app is FREE to use and their vision for education matches my own. I am so grateful for tools and websites like Duolingo and Khan Academy that make getting a great education free and easy for the average person.

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