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Counting Gifts/ FAMILY/ New Nostalgia House

2 1/2 Years Later I Am Still Alive

I have a shirt that says “I Am Still Alive” across the front of it, and I am wearing it right now. It’s fitting as I type in this space for the first time in 2 1/2 years!  It was created by the late David Wenzel and mimics a tattoo he had written backward across his chest so that he could see it reflected correctly in the mirror each day. As a cancer fighter, it reminded him to keep fighting. It’s written backward on the shirt, too. It’s one of my favorites & I remember David fondly every time I wear it. I have so many stories about this very shirt. One of the most poignant stories will be in a book I’m soon to publish, but I digress.

I’m not sure what has prompted me to log into this online space that meant so much to me for so many years. I guess I just wanted to say hi, and that I’m still alive.

I say that a bit tongue in cheek, but also for real…I’m so very thankful to be alive. 11 years out from my own stage 3b cancer diagnosis, and on top of that, I don’t think I’m alone in saying there has been loss in the past 2 1/2 years.

Much has happened to us all since late 2019. It’s crazy to think Covid didn’t exist then. At this very minute, I am on day 8 of finally getting it. I’m doing well despite the cough that just landed all over my keyboard, and the sense of smell just lost this morning, which is odd being this late in the game. I will take the joy of smelling my coffee in the morning much less for granted from now on.

Despite deep loss, there has also been an overwhelming joy.

So. Much. Joy.

The last post in 2019 was about witnessing our daughter Teagan’s engagement. We had a Covid wedding, and the above image captures joy unspeakable, greeting our guests as they pulled around a circle driveway to celebrate safely with us. Her now-husband Lucus is an addition to our family that is “beyond words” amazing. God has used him to bring about his will in many ways. Teagan just recently graduated from UNL and we could not be more proud and eager to continue to witness these two continue to build their life.

Then there is our daughter Colsie, who in 2019 had just graduated from high school. This was an amazing feat when you factor in all that she was up against. She has with grit and grace overcome so many obstacles put in her path and we are honestly in awe. She is now engaged to another “beyond words” amazing man Vance, and we are simply blown away by God’s goodness. We cannot wait to celebrate them in September.

Our youngest Avery is now a student at UNL. She was the recipient of a scholarship that pays full tuition and man are we SO proud. She is thriving as a college student and has a very full social calendar. We are enjoying the wisdom that she has that is beyond her years and her easy-going demeanor as her parents.

Todd is thriving teaching middle school (lucky students!) but he is home for the summer, of which I am most grateful as he is available to help support a SUPER FUN NEW ADVENTURE that has been in the works since March.


During March, April & May I had a blast setting up our Airbnb and it is currently hosting our 4th guest! We have had 5-star reviews so far and goodness it has been a fun project. You can take a peek here and if you are ever in the Lincoln, NE area (or driving cross-country and need a central place to stay!) we would love to have you as guests! It is a project encouraged by our amazing son-in-law and daughter, who now own a duplex and are prepping their own Airbnb. Such a fun thing to do together and have in common!

Nebraska Airbnb New Nostalgia House

Now that The New Nostalgia House is off and running (and getting bookings!) I can get back to finishing another very important project, the one that has been years in the making and what took me away from writing here on the New Nostalgia site.

It is a legacy book written about my Kelly, one of my closest friends who we lost in April 2020. I cannot wait to share it with you and it will be available to purchase on Amazon.

Loss & joy.

I know I’m not alone in doing the dance of life between loss and joy. As I type I so wish this was more two-way and I could know how you all are doing. You could always let me know in the comments if you wish! I would love to hear from you.

Counting Gifts/ FAMILY/ Kids/Family

An Engagement, Writing Retreats and Heart’s Desires at Highlands

I’ve had a secret heart’s desire for a few months now.
I’ve wanted a little get-away, some solitude, a writer’s retreat.

I have an important writing project deadline at the beginning of next year, so now that fall is almost over, this desire has been felt a bit more acutely. The idea of a retreat was not a demand or need, just a little nudge of thought in the back of my mind, a desire of my heart that only God and a couple of my besties would know about.


Desire of My Heart

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

“Be faithful in a little, and he will give you much” Luke 16:10

God has a way of weaving stories and heart’s desires and bringing them about in ways I couldn’t even begin to dream up on my own. I am in the middle of a beautiful moment in his tapestry of this life that I get to live.

It is a moment that I honestly can’t believe I get to be alive to see, much less to witness it with my own eyes. It is the moment my OLDEST DAUGHTER GETS ENGAGED!

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Emotional Health/ HEALTH/ Love/ Spiritual

Oceans of Grace When Discouraged, Depressed, Sad or Mad

Oceans of Grace

This is how God works with me.


I seek his face, my own expressionless, staring out the window

Smeared mascara, tears wiped away with a swipe of my wrist while doing dishes.


Heart sad, my spirit so discouraged.

My lack is in my face.


I go upstairs and gather my tools to enter into His presence.

Coffee, journal, blanket, fan, pen, books, phone…

A habit that carries me into the only thing that brings hope.

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FAMILY/ Leaving A Legacy

Let’s Talk | Life Update

Life Update

I’m sitting at a new to me table in my updated sunroom, in the mood to talk…so let’s talk!

Boy, I have missed writing on this blog. It has been a while, and this year I’ve only written a handful of posts.

The year started out with:

healing from surgery in January,

a bout with vertigo in February,

a life-changing local cancer conference that I spoke at in March

learning how to be witness and extracting story in April

and a donut-filled graduation celebration in May.


I’ve taken it slow on this blog of mine since that conference back in March, where I spoke of “pivoting’ in my talk to a room of beautiful fighters, survivors and caregivers…a talk of which I will share here on the blog soon.

I looked out in the crowd as I took in a breath before speaking and thought, “These are my people.”

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Cancer Journey/ Emotional Health/ HEALTH

14 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep Especially for Cancer Survivors

bed with rumpled sheets and 14 tips for a better night's sleep

This post was sponsored by a mattress company. All words are mine.

As a breast cancer survivor, I strive to live well in all ways. One of the most important ways to make this happen is to make sure I have a good night’s sleep.

If I don’t get good sleep, I not only feel unproductive, unfocused and grumpy, but my sweet family gets to bear the brunt of a Mom who is not herself and needs more sleep! This is not ok with me!

Not only is sleep so important for everyday life, but as a cancer survivor, sleep is so important for continuing to do what it takes to pursue my best health.

I so desire to take care of this amazingly resilient body that I have been gifted with, so being purposeful with getting enough sleep is a priority to me.

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Counting Gifts/ FAMILY/ Marriage

A Simple, Practical Way to See the Good in Your Husband and Transform Your Marriage


It is my husband Todd’s birthday today, so I thought it would be fitting to tell you how I have been focusing on the good I see in him, and how just tweaking a habit I had already formed gives me all-the-heart-eyes throughout the week for my man.

The simple technique I have been using to do this has opened my eyes to so many good things he is and does, and I’m eager to share some examples of these good things about the man that I love with you.

Maybe, just maybe it might give you a way to find extra ‘heart-eyes’ for your guy, too!


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Counting Gifts/ FAMILY/ Leaving A Legacy/ Spiritual

When Apathy is No Longer an Option

I am honored to have Katie Polley, writing for Love Justice International, as a guest here today. Please read about the very important work they do and share it if you feel led to help spread the word about this amazing nonprofit. The world needs to know about it!


Love Justice International

by Katie Polley, writing for Love Justice International

In 2016, I started helping a nonprofit with their social media and website content for a couple hours a week. I worked with many clients at the time and had little reason to suspect that getting to know this nonprofit would drastically impact the way I desire to live my life.

Love Justice International is compelled by God’s love to fight the world’s greatest injustices—one of which is human trafficking—an issue I had heard a lot about but hadn’t really ever engaged deeply with. It felt far away from my little world. The numbers were so big (in 2016, the Global Slavery Index estimated that 40.3 million people live in slavery), and felt impersonal. And ultimately, I was ignorant.

This all changed as I began to learn more about the people and work behind Love Justice. As I started receiving story after story from the field, I quickly realized they didn’t just see and talk about the issue of human trafficking, but quite literally they entered into the very trenches of it to stop it. God woke me up.

You see, Love Justice is unique from most anti-trafficking agencies in that rather than working on the preventative or the reactive side of human trafficking, they actually intervene at the exact moment when trafficking is occurring, and they intercept the potential victim before she is trafficked.



So I began reading account after account of young women, from various countries, who were being taken across borders, bus stations, or airports, but instead were intersected by Love Justice’s trained monitors. Young women like Sanjula who was most likely headed into a life of some form of slavery, marked by unimaginable darkness and despair. But instead, because there were justice-fighters stationed, waiting, and seeking out girls just like her, she was literally intercepted and turned around.

Instead of traveling further with her trafficker, Sanjula was educated on the dangers of trafficking and safe foreign employment. She was cared for, counseled and comforted, and then sent to safety.



These stories of real people like Sanjula¸were oftentimes girls my age. They were children of God—with names, families, beautiful facial features, unique hopes, and dreams. Their stories deeply affected how I thought about human trafficking, justice, and my role in it as a fellow child of God. I was no longer ignorant, and apathy was no longer an option. I couldn’t deny how these stories of faithful people pursuing the vulnerable girl who was being deceived into a life of slavery and darkness, perfectly reflected God’s pursuit of me.

It’s the gospel—the story I’ve been graced to hear throughout my whole life. The God of the universe passionately wanted to save me from the slavery of the sin I was born with. He wanted freedom and a relationship with me so much that He didn’t stay in the heavenly places and leave me to my helpless estate, but instead, He literally moved heaven and earth to come up with a plan, a strategy, the only way to save me in His son, Jesus Christ.

He pursued me! He entered into the mess, the danger, the pain, and came down to earth, taking the punishment I deserved and made a new way for me. He turned my path around and offered freedom, light, and hope.

This is the reflection I saw in every Love Justice interception story I read from across the globe. In the same way, God pursued justice for me and came to save me, Love Justice was literally placing people right where the injustice of trafficking was happening, so they could intercept victims’ paths towards slavery and instead offer them freedom. What an amazing, beautiful picture of how God pursues us!



And even more than that, He has made each of us in His own image. So the same heart of His that craves justice is in us. He built in our hearts a desire for justice, a hunger for wrongs to be righted, a quest for things to be dealt with. When we truly know God and His love, and we truly know the reality of injustices like human trafficking, our hearts cannot help but be compelled to be a part of stopping it.

The joy and meaning I’ve found in being able to work alongside and play a small role in what Love Justice is doing have been immeasurable. Simply put, God is using this ministry to bring more of His Kingdom here on earth—to destroy injustice and usher in freedom for the oppressed. To date, they’ve intercepted over 16,000 lives to prevent them from being trafficked. And each one of those interceptions results in powerful intelligence that allows them to assist local police with criminal investigations and arrests of the perpetrators.



When you see God moving like this, the same God who saved you from spiritual darkness, it’s hard to not jump at the chance to be a part of it. So today, at the very end of Human Trafficking Prevention Month, I want to invite you to be a part of Love Justice with me! Allow your life to be impacted by the beauty of leaning into God’s heart for justice with action. Go to to learn more about how you can get involved with your time, treasure, and talents.

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human trafficking