Chatting with mandy and Michele

1st Anniversary Celebration: Chatting With Mandy and Michele

Welcome to our 1st Anniversary Celebration blog edition! We have had loads of fun delivering to you our best. Be it serious or funny, we are grateful for your stopping by and reading. We’ve seen dreams and plans fulfilled and have set our sights on more. Enjoy our little chat with Mandy and Michele across the miles… stay tuned for some exciting things in 2019!

Tell us how you started writing/blogging and why you like to write?

Mandy: It’s funny because I struggled to write anything worthwhile in college. Fortunately, I had a great professor who taught me how to write. I became his “most improved writer”. That’s not to say that I was any good but I was improved. After college, I left writing in the dust. My dreams and plans did not include writing. At all.

Until that is, I conquered the fear of homeschooling my children. At one point, I actually wrote a letter to the editor… and they published it!

Wow! I kept conquering fears including founding and heading up a homeschool co-op. That gave me some leadership and teaching skills. My first blog was informative posts to my homeschool group.

After acquiring a chronic illness and my kids graduated from homeschool, I took a challenge to write every day in October. I wrote about dealing with chronic pain. That was 2015. I was given quite a bit of encouragement from other bloggers, so the trend continues.

Michele: I have wanted to write since I was 20. So, the seed was planted and like life, some things just take longer to “germinate” and here I am, a year after the blog and my writing world has begun to expand. I like to write because it gives me a chance to express myself, to walk alongside someone else and let them know they are not alone. To tickle someones funny bone or to challenge you… It’s a great way to meet folks and connect.

Mandy: It’s definitely a great way to connect. I have met some endearing friends through blogging.

How did you two start this blogging venture?

Mandy: As I mentioned earlier I took the challenge to write every day for 31 days. This led me to start a new blog which I called GGMandy. Once Michele and I got connected, I encouraged her to write some on my blog. Then we decided to take this new venture on whole-heartedly. Consequently, this blog was born.

Michele: This is a round-about way of explaining this, so here goes… My daughter had a four-wheeling accident, was med flighted, I asked for prayer, my sister-in-law Brenda was friends with Mandy’s sister Marcy and had asked Marcy to pray, Marcy told Mandy, Mandy messaged Michele and THAT is how this all started… PRAYER!

Mandy: Prayer changes things! I love that we lived only a few miles apart and have some great connections and yet, we haven’t really met. (well, you might have been at my Wisconsin wedding reception.)

What are some of your favorite blog posts?

Mandy: I am encouraged most when others are encouraged. I wrote once about my struggle with self-esteem. Believing in Who I Am brings me a smile every time someone comments about how the post has helped them. Writing about Susannah Wesley and Susie Spurgeon gave me the most excitement. I really enjoyed reading about the “saints of old”. The goal is to learn and grow from their lives. I suggest that everyone trade-in your romance novels and pick up a few biographical books to read. You might learn something. 🙂

Michele: Post are like children- you love them all. BUT… I know there are some that I especially enjoyed “rearing”. Kitchen Cat-Tastrophes– a post about a sick barn cat finding warmth and healing ontop of my brownies that were cooling on the patio table. I enjoy regaling tales of my childhood and sharing them with you.

Where do you see the blog taking you?

Mandy: I keep toying with the idea of writing a book. Maybe a 30-day devotional or an informational book about fibromyalgia. It’s still a lofty, kind of scary idea but we shall see. I’m writing for a couple of different online devotional groups at this point.

Michele: Life is changing at a rapid pace. I write for a paper, a real estate company (listings, ghostwriting and scripts) and have started on my devotional. Someday I will be writing a book about our families adoption journey. I enjoy the time it takes crafting my words and seeing them come to life in print… kinda heady 🙂

What can we look forward to that is new at mandyandmichele.com this coming 2019-20?

Mandy: I’d like to hone in and direct my writing into more specific areas. Of course, I want to keep writing about chronic pain. I think I might be drawn to do simple devotional thoughts and maybe Hymn Studies and Lessons from a Movie. This kind of thing. Take the survey below and tell us what you would like.

Michele: One word… PODCAST…

Mandy: Michele… You are making me nervous. LOL!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Mandy and Michele

Remember hOW wE gOT hERE

We wish you great happiness during this Thanksgiving holiday, a day of remembrance that is fast losing its importance in our society. But we encourage you to take time to stop and remember why we celebrate. Just as God instructed the Israelites to stop and remember the events that He performed down through the ages, we also, must stop and remember how God was involved in bringing these United States to this point.

Stop and remember How Christopher Columbus was brave and determined to cross the ocean, Remember how the pilgrims risked their lives to leave Europe and come to this new land for freedom of worship, remember how there were native Americans who were kind and reached out to teach the pilgrims how to survive and others that served as guides into this new land. Remember how we became a new nation and created a constitution that would create a new form of democracy where the people could be involved in making the decisions of the land. And how we needed to learn how to treat others and how ALL men were created equal. Remember that we didn’t always do the right thing but that we are still working to treat all men equally.

Remember in your own families how God has brought you through hard times. How he has blessed your family through the generations. Think of all the things that he has blessed you with. And praise Him for it.

Today Michele and I want to remember and share a few things from our own family memories. We love for you to share in the comments about your own traditions and memories of Thanksgiving and the blessings Gods has bestowed upon you.

Thanksgiving Traditions

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together again

Together Again

Together Again

You enjoyed our story page so we decided to do another post together. These are actually fun for us too since we live 1,411 miles apart. There have been many times we wish we could be together in the same place to share a cup of tea or coffee.

First, let’s tell a bit more of our stories.

We are both committed Christians and serve the Lord with all our hearts. So we thought it would be nice to share our personal testimonies. How we became sisters together in Christ.

MICHELE:  I have to give credit to Mrs. DeYoung, Orange Kool-aide and Grahm Crackers. Ok, so you’re probably laughing, but seriously…Mrs. DeYoung taught 5 Day Club and the after school Child Evangelism program. She asked one day if anyone wanted to invite Christ into their life and I raised my hand.  Afterward and she asked me “why?” I wanted this salvation.  I told her because I wanted to stop fighting with my brother.  She said that was a good place to start but she was getting at the part that I needed a savior because I am a sinner- thus the reason I wanted him for stopping the fighting :).  Man… faith as a child is so simple, isn’t it?!  Then from there life kinda just rolled along until I had some hard family stuff and as I senior in high school I made a public confession of my faith.  God was very real to me as I struggled with what was going on. But mostly the most pivotal point in developing a relationship with Christ was going through infertility treatments, followed by the adoption of our daughter Gabrielle and then the move to Minnesota.  As believers, we are never done growing, stretching and rediscovering.  I am a piece a work!  A work in progress! Amen.

MANDY:  I have a great heritage of Christian parents and grandparents that extend at least five generations. In ’71, my grandfather passed from this world. It was that summer at family camp, Sebring Holiness Camp, That I heard a fire and brimstone sermon. I was 9 or 10 at the time. My friend and I had spent most of the week sitting in the back on the tabernacle. There was a rotation of evangelists and the one this night was not our favorite. But this final night on a hot July Sunday, I learn that hell was a real place and just because my parents knew Christ and I went to church every Sunday, did not save me from my own sin. IT may have been that death had become a real thing to me since grandpa was really the first death in the family that I experienced. It might have been that I just didn’t want to go to a fiery hell. Either way, I stepped out of the bench in the back and walked down to an altar and prayed for Jesus to be Lord of my life. And that was the “End of the Beginning” for me! Since then I have re-committed myself to the Lord a couple different times but this was the day I got saved. I have moved forward with God ever since that day. Attending Christian college, really confirmed my decision. It was the place that my parents’ religion became my faith. You can read more on my memoirs blog.

Favorite Vacation Place

Alright, suppose we were to plan a vacation together. Where would you suggest that we go? What are your favorite get-away places?

MICHELE:  There are so many cool places to go. The Rockies! The Florida Keys or a cabin in the Black Hills!  I love nature, its quiet beauty.  Let’s just sit and be quiet, have a great lunch, talk about some good reads.  Discuss what may be challenging us in our life and walk with Christ and have great conversations around verses in the bible that have meant so much to us.

MANDY: The mountains! our family usually run to a cabin in the mountains whenever we are able to get away. It is so beautiful there and such a relaxing place. Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge is most common for us. However, we have loved a chance to go to Branson as well. Both places are very family oriented.

THIS OR THAT GAME

Shopping – in-store or online?

MICHELE: I do lots of shopping online.  But I love, love, love to clearance shop at Kohls!  I wish they had a food court so you could get a quick bite and then back at bargain hunting!

MANDY: Definitely online! I didn’t get the shopping gene that is prominent in the women of our family. Perhaps because my mom took me with her and I would always get so tired. (Probably the  beginnings of chronic illness). Or perhaps because of the time Mom left a cart full of items at the cashier’s because they wouldn’t accept a check for over $100. How embarrassing!

Museum or movie theater?

MICHELE:  Museum.  I just enjoy looking, thinking and being in my husband’s company and not having to talk- which I am sure he so appreciates!

MANDY: I like the museums too. Just walking and looking with my husband is wonderful. When Mike and I pastored in Milwaukee we enjoyed a myriad of museums from history to art to children’s museums. On Mondays, most of them were free to the public. We took a lot of Mondays to go stroll through them. I loved to just walk and read the informative plates. Awesome.

Guitar or piano?

MICHELE:  Love piano.  Took lessons for a good year or two.  I still love to plunk around just for myself.

MANDY: It depends on if I am playing or listening. As a youth, I spent hours on end playing the piano. I had to give me my pianos in this last move because we had to downsize extremely. I so miss the piano but I do get to occasionally play the piano at church with the praise team. Playing the piano releases stress for me. However, so does listening to my daughter play her guitar. She would sit in her room and play her music. I miss that now that she is married.

And now, What you’ve been waiting for … The Giveaway

prize give away

pine slice ornament created by Michele will customize if desired.

Christmas GiveAWay Stocking

Pair of Crocheted Decorative Christmas Stockings made by Mandy

The Winners are Melissa Henderson and Kathy Dawson. Congratulations!

 

Mandy & Michele

image created by jfredrickdesign

31 Days with Mandy and MIchele

Mandy and Michele – Our Story

Sharing Our Story

The Five Minute Friday (FMF) crew is challenging us to write every day in October. We hope to give you a good taste of all the different things we want to share over time. We thought today would be a good time to share our story. Typically, we will only write once or twice a week at most. However, this month, there will be more than the usual number of posts but, fear not, we will send you only one newsletter a week.

FMF is offering a prompt each day to give us a kickstart.

Today’s prompt is STORY.

So we thought we would give you a little more about the Mandy and Michele story. We both came up with a few questions you might enjoy asking us. We will present a question and then both of us will answer.

Here’s the Story in interview form!

Where did you grow up? Tell us something about your childhood.

Mandy: I am the 3rd of 6 children (3girls and 3 boys), born in Canton, Ohio and spent the first years of my life on the family dairy farm in Louisville, Ohio, just south of Canton. At the age of 13, we moved to Wisconsin, cows and all. Though I didn’t admit it at the time, I loved the farm and the animals dearly. You can read all about my farm life by clicking the image to the right which will take you to my memoirs site, Raised in a Barn. I attended Asbury College (now University) and then took a computer job in Columbia, SC.

Michele: I grew up in the tiny town of Friesland, Wisconsin.  It was a very unique town.  I lived directly across from the stockyard and the cheese factory with a dairy farm behind us two blocks down- mind you this is ALL IN TOWN.  Spent a great deal of my time bicycling around town, playing on and around the railroad tracks( my mother has earned her gray hair) and the summer highlight, every Tuesday night a Band Concert in the town square complete with pie and ice cream!

Tell us a little about your family. Married? Children? Grandkids?

Mandy: My husband, Michael and I were introduced by my pastor’s wife, Charlotte. Michael had recently lost his wife and a daughter in a terrible car accident. Mrs. Charlotte prayed about him and his boys and she said the Lord told her that I was to be his new wife. Michael was a pastor in her hometown, Barnesville, GA. After much pleading, I finally agreed to go meet Michael. (so that Charlotte would quit bothering me about it). Well … That’s all it took. We were married four months later! I took his two pre-teen boys as my own and later we had another boy and a girl. They are all grown now, ages 22-44. Three of them live here in Savannah, GA and the other in Apple Valley, Minnesota. We have one grandson.

Michele: Brad and I met at a football game.  We were from rival schools.  I was a cheerleader he was a football player.  We married the summer of his Senior year of college.  I have an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences, Veterinary Technician.  We have one grown daughter.  I am too young to be a grandmother.

How did the two of you meet?

Mandy: Michele’s husband Brad and I met through church growing up in Wisconsin. Brad’s family and mine both moved to Wisconsin about the same time. They were dairy farmers, too. And the kids were all about the same age so we connected easily as a whole family. We re-connected again about four years ago on Facebook! Michele and I became fast friends as we both have been going through some tough trials in recent years.

Michele:  My daughter had been in a four-wheeler accident while we were visiting family and was Med-Flighted.  Through this accident, I reconnect with Mandy as I had asked for prayers for our daughters’ recovery.

When/Why did you decide to write?

Mandy: God works in mysterious ways. I was never much of a writer. Though encouraged to do so, I was reluctant to keep a journal. (Something I regret not doing). So like I say, I didn’t consider myself a writer. On my first writing assignment in College Composition, I received an F. But I had an awesome professor, Dr. Ralph Joly and he worked with me until I got it figured out … kinda. Anyway, he said I was his most improved student. Still, I never thought I would pick up a pen to write much more than a check. After Chronic Illness hit and my husband lost his position at the church, I was challenged to write for this same October 31 Day Writing Challenge in which I wrote about my illness. That was the start of something brand new and amazing.

Michele: I have wanted to write since 1992.  Mostly I write or journal for myself, but two years ago I felt like I need to develop my skills and see this as a perfect opportunity to do so.

Why blog together?

Mandy:  Two are better than one. Michele mentioned she wanted to start writing. I offered that she could write on my blog, Leaving a Legacy {now closed} anytime she so desired. I’ve been slowing down some and was thinking about recreating myself, so why not do this together and split the cost since we seem to have a lot in common.

Michele:  I am so appreciative that Mandy has brought me under her wing to show me the ropes.  Excellent mentor and friend.  Great opportunity to offer each other encouragement and positive critiquing.

THIS OR THAT game

1. Tea or Coffee?

Mandy: Tea, occasionally a cup of coffee

Michele: Coffee straight up… kicks off the day… let productivity begin!

2. pie or cake?

Mandy: hmmm.. Yes, a la mode, please.

Michele: This is totally unfair… I will take both, please. Cherry alamode, Chocolate with white frosting… you know the frosting made with butter and powdered sugar. Oh… put some ice cream on the cake too… Dairy is never too far from this Wisconsin girl’s heart.

3. cats or dogs

Mandy: It’s hard to say. I’ve always been a lover of the larger animals like horses and cows. Michael never wanted to have pets either so we never did.

Michele: I am a Vet. Tech… love them ALL!  Pass on snakes and such… love them from a distance. 🙂

Alright then, that’s about it for now. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments. Never know we might give you more answers. 🙂

Mandy & Michele

image created by jfredrickdesign