Like many of you, I’m sure, we’ve spent much of this spring celebrating graduations, birthdays, grand openings, engagements, and weddings. Our schedules have been fast paced and we’ve felt so blessed to have so many things to celebrate with friends and family. Thought we’d share a few pictures to show you what we’ve been up to.

Ann’s niece Jordyn got married

Our wedding season actually began just before May when Ann’s niece, Jordyn, married the love of her life, Maury. The wedding and reception were at The Nebraska Club on the 20th floor of a building in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. I was honored when Jordyn asked me to pray with the wedding party just before the ceremony. In a celebration of bringing two families and cultures together, Steve translated my prayer to Spanish. It was a fabulous evening filled with love, dancing, and a little tequila.

Ann's niece Jordyn and her husband Maury at their wedding.

The Oilman’s Daughter opens in Pawhuska

We were so happy to be in Pawhuska for the ribbon cutting and open house at The Oilman’s Daughter vacation home rental. We’ve been watching the renovation of this home for months and were so happy to celebrate with new friends, Suzanne and Cathy. The luxurious Oilman’s Daughter is listed on Airbnb. It offers four bedrooms, each with king-size beds, and more space both indoors and out than you’ll know what to do with.

Oilman's Daughter bedroom

Reba Bueno marries Justin Connor

If it wasn’t for Reba Bueno, we may have never ended up in Pawhuska. Reba works at the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce and was the person who thought to invite us to judge the National Indian Taco Championships there back in 2017. The couple had planned to have their wedding outside, but because of excessive rain, it had to be moved indoors. However, the change in location didn’t dampen the festivities at all.

Steve, Reba and Ann

Reba was a gorgeous bride and it was such a blessing to be able to be there on her special day. She put so much into all the details, including spray painting pinto beans for the centerpieces and having custom cookies representing each of the couples’ favorite sports teams. We couldn’t be happier for Reba and Justin!

A fiesta for Meg and Stephen

Our friend Cyndi Kane (aka Ree Drummond’s BFF Hyancinth) is soon to be mother of the bride. Her daughter, Meg Kane, is getting married soon, so Ree and her daughter Alex (who is Meg’s maid of honor) threw an over-the-top fiesta to celebrate the couple. The seemingly endless Mexican buffet, created by Chef Kurtess Mortensen, was simply incredible. We savored ceviche three ways, chicken enchiladas, mole, and freshly made street tacos with four filling options. In addition, there was a mariachi band, dancers, margaritas, fresh flowers, and a Food Network film crew. Stay tuned … It was also an opportunity to finally meet The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, herself. Yes, she’s just as nice in person as she is on TV.

ree drummond fiesta

Meghan’s graduation at the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa

Our parents joined us in Tulsa to see Meghan walk at the graduation ceremony for OU-Tulsa. She still has a few months to go before completing the accelerated BSN program there, but they let nursing students participate in the graduation anyway. We were proud to see her walk across the stage and are excited for her to finish this intense program and become a nurse. Meg decided the night before the ceremony that she wanted to decorate her graduation cap. After an early morning run to Hobby Lobby, we crafted a cute design that captured her time in nursing school.

Meghan's graduation!

Ann turns 50!

I feel like we spent the month of May celebrating my 50th! I was so spoiled by all of the calls, cards, texts, and messages I received for my birthday this year. Y’all made turning the big 5-0 so much fun! I was able to spend time with family on my special day. Steve and I stayed the night at the Boarding House in Pawhuska and Meg joined us for dinner at The Mercantile and a painting class. The next night, we celebrated even more with friends at P-Town Pizza. We also took a siblings trip to Arizona with my brother and sister which I’ll write more about later. I have to say that so far, the 50s are treating me well and I’ve never felt more blessed.

ann's 50th birthday

 

Steve’s nephew graduates from high school

Our nephew, Connor, graduated from high school in Hays, Kansas, this year. Meghan met us in Pawhuska and the three of us drove to western Kansas to help Connor and his family celebrate. It was fun to look back at all of Connor’s school pictures and read about his many academic and athletic accomplishments. It’s hard to believe he is 18 and will be starting college at Coe College (and playing soccer there) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this fall.

Steve with nephew Connor

Family together to celebrate Connor's graduation

Celebrating our mothers

With all of the other celebrations going on, it was nice to be able to spend time with both our moms the week of Mother’s Day. After Meghan’s graduation in Tulsa, they joined us in Pawhuska for a few days. We ate lots of good food and indulged in delicious Tillamook ice cream together at Charlie’s Sweet Shop. We love our moms, Gayle and Carol, and are so thankful that we had time with both of them this year around Mother’s Day.

Our moms in front of The Mercantile

 

Now that I’ve actually written this all out, I’m coming realize why we haven’t gotten a blog post done in several weeks! It’s a busy time of year, but one that I always cherish and celebrate. Time with family and friends is a blessing, and I’m thankful we’ve had an abundance of it lately.

  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
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You can read all about it, and get the recipe, on our blog. Yep, you guessed it, the link is in our bio. ⁣
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We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
  • We were supposed to be in Rochester, Minnesota, this week for Ann to see a cardiac sarcoidosis specialist about some recent issues with her heart. Of course, we did not travel to Rochester for her scans and doctor visits because of the coronavirus outbreak.⁣
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Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
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This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
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Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
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Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome
  • Our daughter, Meghan, is a cardiac ICU nurse. Despite all of the current uncertainties in healthcare during this pandemic, early this morning she put on her scrubs and went to work a 12+ hour shift. 
She is not alone. Across the country and around the world, healthcare workers are putting the safety of themselves and their families at risk to help others. It's what they do. Every. Single. Day. 
We are incredibly grateful that there are selfless people like this in the world and we pray for them and we hope you'll join us. 
We couldn't sleep this morning, so we wrote instead. Click on the link in our bio to read our morning thoughts and prayers.
  • Trying to decide where we’ll travel this weekend. Covered porch? Living room? 😉
  • We are staying home. 
We've been here for almost a week now because Ann is one of "those people." You know the ones. Those people with an underlying health issue. Those people with a suppressed immune system. One of those people who could become seriously ill, need hospitalization, and even die if exposed to the coronavirus.  Those people need your help to stay safe and live. And all you have to do is stay home when you don’t NEED to be out.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen photos, videos, and witnessed first hand people of all ages (but mostly young people) gathering in groups for what us mid lifers would consider “non essential” reasons: birthday parties, movies, youth sports practices, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at the bar, spring break at the beach, and the like. 
We don’t understand it. 
We try not to judge. 
But just for a time during this worldwide pandemic, could we ask people who are participating in non-essential activities to consider who “those people” most at risk really are?

Those people are already battling serious illnesses.

Those people want to see their grandchildren grow up.

Those people need to do their jobs as nurses and doctors.

Those people are first responders. 
Those people run the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and the gas station. 
Those people pray for you and your generation. 
And what about those other people? 
The ones you know.

Those people who made sacrifices to meet your needs.

Those people who took care of you when you were sick.

Those people who went to your games and cheered you on. 
Those people who taught you in school.

Those people who helped you pay for college.

Those people who cooked your favorite dish for you.

Those people who taught your Sunday School class.

Those people who have forgiven you.

Those people who will always love you unconditionally.

We keep wanting to scream, “It’s not about you, it’s about those people!” But the truth of the matter is, IT IS ABOUT YOU. 
You have the power to help.
You have the power to influence others.
You have the power to flatten the curve.

And by not changing your behaviors, you also have the power to harm. 
How will you choose to use your power?j
  • We’re sharing your postcards and encouraging you to help others and stay positive. 
If you’d like to send us a postcard, mail to: Postcard Jar, PO Box 334, Crete, NE 68333.

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