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Making Memories : Even When Times are Tough

For many of us, this year has been full of many crazy roller coaster rides. You are definitely not alone! For some of us, those roller coaster rides are not limited to one isolated year. Maybe you feel like you’re ready for this ride to be done. One sure-fire way to find that ticket is to cherish what is real, what is now. I’m talking about making memories – the kind that make an impact, the kind that last. Here’s a preview of what life has been like for us the last few weeks.can

Home for Sale Sign |

Yep. That there is a “for sale” sign that was in our yard. Unbelievable to me to think that a few months ago I have no idea this is our path. However, there it is. To be honest, I could tell you this story in detail from start to finish. But, you would need a wagon-load of time. Instead of walking through every bit, I’m going to give you a synopsis and save the rest for the book y’all keep asking me to write. haha.


New year’s day 2020 started off with me having a second episode where my left eye blanked out. That led me on a road that was one I wish I could say never happened. To full understand, I’ll direct you to my video interview or you can read past posts HERE. Needless to say, the year didn’t start off on a positive note. Funny thing is…this time last year, I was working on my DIY Christmas swag post for you all. I was standing on my parent’s driveway having a conversation with my dad. I told him that it bothered me I had to forage off of their property and not my own. My dream of country living still is a dream.

It was at that time that I knew my body was dealing with something and I didn’t let on that I was feeling weak. I also told him I’d love to try to sell our home again, but didn’t feel like I had it in me. I knew most of the burden would lay on my shoulders and I was TIRED. Little did I know what the year ahead held for me and my family.


Fast-forward past all my medical drama, the pandemic, and arrive at summer. For the last few years, I have been meticulously working on our home for our own needs, but always having the ever-present desire to get it ready to sell…again. We’ve remodeled our bedrooms (boys room, master), our bathroom, our kitchen, our family room (yet to be revealed), and our living room (also yet to be revealed). Plus, we’ve overhauled our outdoor area with pergola, garden arbor, shed rebuild, bike shed, fence installation, and much more. Whew!

Back in ’06, we tried to sell our home over 3 years in spring/summer seasons. We showed our home over over a hundred times and had near misses left and right. No, nothing is wrong with our house – we’ve been her 17 years. However, through it all, we never felt like God had opened the door for our next step to happen. Amidst all sorts of trials and blessings while being pregnant, we felt stuck. My husband has scholarships to graduate school he had to forfeit, and pause his dream of earning his PhD. We didn’t understand why, but we felt His timing is best.


After that 3rd season of selling is when I said ENOUGH. No more selling. It’s time to make this house my home instead of fixing it to suit others. That’s when our remodeling for our own family began. During that off time, more babies came, we buried our daughter and said goodbye to another baby. Plus, I became a business owner and blogger/influencer. We definitely never have a time of just being, honestly.

After going through the trials of the first of this year, I was ready to try to sell again because life is too short to let dreams pass you by. However, knowing what trials we had with selling before, I played it cautiously. I’m a driven person (big surprise), so I never stop looking at the housing market. It’s just my business side of me that says, “ya just never know”.


In early spring I began really searching the market because interest rates are a record low and we’d be insane not to make a move now. I lifted up our home to God and asked for His timing to be revealed. When it came to a prospect home, I would drive by, do the tax research, and only then would I suggest viewing it with my family. I didn’t want my kids jerked around and have high hopes.

Currently, the market is hot and properties are not lasting more than a week. The pressure is real to be ready to go. My husband and I are of different breeds when it comes to things like this, so I try my best to get him on board. I will save an in-between story for another time (trust me…it’s a good one). Initially, we put an offer on a place for their asking price and it is accepted. However, we had just left for a long-awaited weekend getaway with the family. The owners would not wait for us to get home to list our home. They turned away our offer.

The first night on our respite, a security alarm went off as soon as we all went to bed. We have no clue if someone was trying to break in, but imagine trying to rest easy. The next night, the power went off. We spoke to the owner of the cabin we were renting and he got miffed at us for calling! Talk about crazy! I will not take a vacay anytime soon. That’s not my way of making memories I want to remember.


The missed offer gave us such an overwhelming feeling. At the same time, we have relief that God answered our prayers for it to not work out if it wasn’t meant to be. Next, I previewed more homes online and saw one come up. Interestingly to me, the listing was such that you had 4 days to make an offer and the owner would decline any after a said date. The property itself was out of our league financially, but I’m not one to shirk a challenge. Because of timing, we weren’t able to go see the property, so it fell off my “potential” map.

Fast-forward a few weeks and we were viewing another property owned by a couple I knew from my younger days. While their home isn’t suited to our needs/desires, we struck a relationship with the realtor. I had hoped God would use this woman to help guide our path. She mentioned to me in the next days that same house that was only I thought was off the market. I responded that we missed the deadline, but that I had looked at it. She said that no one offered, so it is a standard listing. Game on.

We went to look at it and I knew it was financially more than we could normally shop. Likewise, I’m not too excited because I’ve been there done that. After viewing that home, I took our family to another less-desirable home so we could see the comparison. After viewing both, we decide the first home was definitely something we all loved.  Is it time for making memories?


After quickly discussing options, we put in an offer that was significantly lower than the asking price, hoping that God would allow it to happen. Initially, they turned down our first offer. We countered, and they accepted. My emotions went on pause because this dream was too good to be true. We’re talking about a 2500 square foot home on 10 wooded acres (ours is 1600 sq ft  on a .25 city acre currently) with a huge 3-section outbuilding that would house a large wood shop, a large studio, and an even larger space for car repair and basic home needs. Our offer is only valid as long as we list within 7 days of our offer being accepted. Downside…the owners can continue to show it to others. Folks, you want to talk about panic?

My awesome family pulled together and had our home ready in 3 days. Never-mind we just were wrapping up our living room remodel. We had so much to do!! In those fast days, we were removing clutter and our excess into storage by the truck-full. It was then I find a box that had water damage to it from a careless plumber repair gone wrong. My family photos are ruined and he coated all my shop inventory. He didn’t say a thing. Ugh!!

Damaged Photo |

I didn’t have time to process my grief of these losses. But, tears fell while we continue with our hopes of making memories in a new home.


Initially, we had two showings within 24 hours. This is where it gets interesting. During the first showing, my senior dog, Teddy, tore his ACL. No joke. He now is injured for the rest of his life, and that hurts my heart. In the next couple of days we had an open house. Sunny and beautiful when we left. A half -hour later…the MINUTE the open house began it started to hail marble-sized hail and horrific storm the.entire.time.

Marble-Sized Hail |

Then, during next showing, my entire site went down just before leaving. Followed by the next showing my dog having diarrhea in our truck. The list of making memories goes on and on and on. What in the world??? It got to where I didn’t want another showing. This was all in a week’s time!!

What’s also ironic is that I purposely took my own photos for our listing. I felt I had worked to hard, am a photographer, and earned my photos to be used. Funny…so many commented on how wonderful the listing photos are. I even had a lady out of state reach out asking me to help design a local home for her son AND help her design her own kitchen remotely. I’ve had many offers from you all to be flown in to do this same thing. Maybe one day I’ll be able to take you up on it.


After 3 weeks of working our tails off with repeat showings, the “dream” home was still available, but we had no buyer. Not only that, but we needed a first-time or cash buyer to close quickly. On the day we are grieving the anniversary of our daughter passing, I am feeling so exhausted that I cry out to God in the shower. I ask that if this dream home wasn’t meant to be, that it would end RIGHT NOW. No joke…as soon as I get out of the shower, our realtor calls to tell us that the dream home is now belonging to someone else. DREAM OVER.

You can imagine our heartbreak. My kids don’t understand why, neither do I. We discuss whether or not to continue selling. They wanted to keep trying in case the “dream house” would possibly come back on the market.

The next week we get a cash buyer. Yep. We accept the offer and panic. Not only do we have nowhere to go, but we have to go nowhere fast. Her offer was such that we totally took a huge hit, like $15 K, and also requested two bedroom furniture sets, our two large swing-sets, and my planters. After 14 days of her going over things, she decided to put in some contingencies that requested us to drop our price a similar amount again to cover costs that were normal wear and tear.

Let me just say that I’ve never been so offended in all my life. Without going into further detail, we didn’t counter, just left her to sign off on her offer. And, we were not the only ones stunned by the requests. Imagine making those requests to us face-to-face? Again, not my preferred way of making memories.


We found out about the buyer backing out Friday night. Saturday morning I tried to brighten the time by heading out to pick out our Christmas tree. We didn’t feel like it – doesn’t it show? This is a legit candid shot. I couldn’t see my screen and this is how we all felt at the moment.

Wagon Ride Making Memories |

Although, we didn’t feel our normal chippy self, we tried to make the best of it and came out smiling. We are making memories!

Getting Fresh Christmas Tree | #prodigalpieces

That same day, we got news that my brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly. Oh, and our truck died too. Talk about making memories…sigh. This is why I know God has our backs. We always know we’re on the right path when Satan steps in to cause trouble. See what I mean HERE.


As I mentioned earlier, there is a whole bunch of in-between information that I’m not sharing because it’s just too much. What I do want you to understand is that although my family and I have been through a storm, we are standing. God has never left us or forsaken us. Maybe we were pushing a square peg into a round hole and He’s sparing us greater grief. I do know that although we may not want to remember them, we were making memories all along the way. Lessons to glean from, grow from, and share.

During the end of this roller coaster ride, I had to bring back the clutter we tucked away temporarily. That includes my damaged photos. As hard as it is to admit a sort-of defeat, I feel that there’s a new chapter already being written. It was at this time I got the offer to try a new company to me. is a bright spot in this storm. After losing my pictures, this is the hope I need to restore some of what I lost.

If you remember, in my Thankfulness post, I snapped a pic of my six kids hamming it up.

Kids Laughing with Thankfulness and Making Memories | Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

I much prefer a candid shot than a staged or “professional” session. This is how I see them every day. This is also after our devastating news of loss in family, home, and hope. Are we in despair? No. God is too good and we know He has more in store for us.

Thankfully, I am able to take that photo and preserve it for a lifetime of making memories. Look at what came in the mail! Don’t you love happy mail? Order Delivery Making Memories |

*post sponsored by (see full disclosure)


To say I am happy is an understatement. Can you keep a secret? Not only did I get a large 20″ x 12″ canvas print for us, but also smaller 14″ x 8″ canvases for the kids. I need something to brighten up our home because I didn’t decorate it after we finished the remodel. I left it plain to make it more salable. Finally, I am able to make my house feel like my home again. Thankfully, I’m able to also get these hanging kits to make my j

ob even easier.

Picture Hanging Kit by |

After long last, I can smile because I’m thankful. Thankful for my home, my family, my health…you get the idea.

Hanging Canvas Print by CanvasDisount at Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #family #memories #art #giveaway

Mirrored Edge Canvas Print Making Memories | #prodigalpieces

CanvasDiscount made it so easy for me to design on my phone with just a few clicks. They even have a whole slew of items for you to choose from…regular prints, mugs, throws, metal prints (so cool!), puzzles, and oodles of gift ideas.

Making Memories CanvasDiscount Collage by Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

Gallery Wall Canvas Print by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #home

While I focus on where our future lies, I’m savoring each minute I get with my loves. There’s far too much to enjoy to focus on the negative (though I do have rough patches too). Making memories with my family and enjoying what we do have is my goal.

Kids Enjoying Making Memories with Canvas Print | #prodigalpieces

Script Family Photo Canvas Print by CanvasDiscount by Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #family #gift #christmas


Now, you know I’m all about sharing the love. I am SO EXCITED to be able to gift you!! Right now, you can use PRODIGALPIECES90 to get an extra discount on your purchases. PLUS, I have a $100 voucher with free shipping to give to one of you for making memories of your own!

Win a CanvasDiscount voucher for $100 with free shipping at Prodigal Pieces | Head to #prodigalpieces #giveaway #christmas #home #homedecor #gift

All you need to do is complete the widget below for as many entries as you like. Giveaway open to U.S. & Canada residents 18 years of age and older. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Be sure to check your spam!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you enjoy my sharing our stories. Undoubtedly, we are not alone in our life’s struggles. Do pin and share to inspire others in making memories worth saving too.

Celebrate the precious times in life by making memories last. Come see how Larissa of Prodigal Pieces and enter to WIN a CanvasDiscount Voucher of $100. | Head to #prodigalpieces #giveaway #family #memories #home #homedecor

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, more posts related to making memories:

How a Family of 8 Paid off over $11,000 in Debt in 18 Months. Debt Free is the way to be. | prodigalpieces.comHow I choose joy in all circumstances. It ain't easy, but there is hope | Head to Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #joy #life #stress #guilt #fear #health #debt


  1. ColleenB.~Tx. says

    Thank You for sharing your journey with us. Prayer, Love, Hope & Faith is what makes us through these troubled waters.
    Blessings to you and your family this holiday season

    • Larissa says

      I’m hoping that it helps others know that trials come and go and yet we still stand. Thank you, Colleen.

  2. Susie Wilcox says

    Wow! Roller coaster ride for sure. So thankful to see you come out still smiling. God is so good and ALWAYS takes care of His children. Thank you for witnessing of his grace and goodness despite the troubles. So many think that Christians don’t deal with problems, but we do! Sometimes more than others. We just have someone to hold us close, and give us the hope of a future that is indescribable. Praying for bright, sunny days in your family’s future. Love learning about new products too! Thanks for your honest sharing of your life.

    • Larissa says

      So true! Yes, it doesn’t feel like that roller coaster ride has ended yet, but slowed down. I’d like to get off! 😀 My hope is that in sharing others will feel they are not alone. Thank you for the love, Susie.

  3. Lynne Bohman says

    Thank you for sharing the trials you and your family have faced. Thank you for your sweet example of faith in God and your willingness to follow His guidance. Speaking of the giveaway, I’d love to make a photo book for my grandchildren of our/their family tree. Many of my grandchildren do not know my parents or they were too small when my parents were alive to remember them. I’d also like to introduce them to their other great-grandparents. I love photo books!

    • Larissa says

      It’s a long road, but happy to share what we can from our experiences.
      Those books are truly so wonderful. We’ve made some and they are always well-received. That’s a lovely idea!

  4. Ginny says

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us! You certainly have gone through so many ups and downs this past year. Praying for better days ahead! God bless you and your family this holiday season!

    • Larissa says

      That would be lovely, Ginny. Thank you. I’m also excited about these new prints and starting anew. 😀

  5. Sherry Riggs says

    I hope the new year is healthier and happier for you and yours!

  6. Jody says

    You all are a pretty awesome family!

  7. Bliss says

    Well now! I just went on a roller coaster ride with you. I hung on to every word. Cuz you just never know who is gonna pop in to read a post, who needed to read the post, and who would be able to read between the lines..errr I mean who would understand those “memories” and refocus their own thankfulness. (Insert that winking emoji here).

    • Larissa says

      Time to get off, right?? haha! Yes, so much in-between suffering that I can’t go into now, but it truly is a time we need a break. Thanks so much for stopping by, Bliss. {{hugs}}

  8. Anne says

    What a roller coaster you have been on! Wishing you and your family much health and happiness!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Anne. I’m glad I have my and home. Plus, I’m so excited to share this wonderful company with you too.

  9. Anne Clark says

    Prayers for you and your house journey. I enjoy Your posts.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you bunches, Anne. I’m delighted to hear it. I’m also excited to share this wonderful package!

  10. Cindy says

    Bless your ❤️! Hang in there.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Cindy. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. I’m thankful I could get some new pictures for our new beginning.

  11. Cassie says

    Wow…to say you have been on a roller coaster ride this year is an understatement! Thank you for sharing your story. As hard as it has been, God knows when the time and place are best and He will be faithful, as you have already seen.

    • Larissa says

      He does. Trying to be patient in all things. Thank you, Cassie.

  12. Susan Stevenson says

    Boy you’ve had some year! I hope all goes well for you in 2021. I would love a family pic like you have with all the grandchildren! xo

    • Larissa says

      Time to start anew, right? You will love the quality of the prints and they came fast!!

  13. Pam Forgash says

    Oh my. 2020 has been a huge trial for us all. For you and your family. Seeing our path can be so challenging (to say the least) but we do it with Gods guidance. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Larissa says

      Truly it has and I know others have it far worse, so I’m thankful. Even this sunlight seeing my family pictures up again makes me smile and it feels like home again.

  14. Marci McGarvey says

    Love love love your family photo. It has given me the inspiration to do the same with a special family photo I have as well. My mother passed in March and I am now the matriarch of my family, the only grandparent. Memories, memories from looking at photos casually taken at that time. Now looking at them the memories come flooding back. Thank you for sharing your story, your trials and tribulations. Helps me to remember that I am not alone in my trials and tribulations. Win or lose, I am looking forward to having our family photo made to display to bring back lots of memories.
    God never gives you more than what you can handle.

    • Larissa says

      I’m sorry to hear that, Marci. That is so hard to say goodbye. Yes, we are never alone, though it may feel like it at times. Sending hugs!! You will love this CanvasDiscount. Such lovely products and they came so quickly.

  15. Donna Gonzalez says

    You’ve definitely had a bumpy ride this last year. Your attitude is remarkable considering all you’ve been through.

    • Larissa says

      My butt is bruised from the bumps! haha! Thank you for the love, Donna. 😀

  16. Susie - Chelsea Project says

    There’s a better property coming. This run was to prepare you and the house. Be on the lookout cuz you are His beloved and when He moves, it is often quickly. In the meantime, your voice is a beam of hope to the weary world. Love you, friend.

    • Larissa says

      That is what my heart is telling me…be ready. However, I have always got my guard up because that feeling has also led to heartache. I’m trying to focus on the ONE and ONLY! 😀

  17. Tess says

    Thanks for sharing your story. You are a beacon of light to others as you stand strong in God’s love! Blessings to you and your family!! Rest in God’s peace and May 2021 be the best year ever!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you for the affirmation that this post was needed. God’s got us! 😀

  18. Cheryl Atkinson says

    Larissa, you are such an inspiration to so many people and I know that God is not done Blessing you. You have such a beautiful family and my wish for you is to find the perfect place for you and your family. You know that it is all in God’s timing. He knows what is best for us. I have not been lucky enough to have a big family. My daughter has stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 36 and my son is a drug addict. I know that the Lord our Father, does not give is more than we can handle and I’m thankful everyday that He is there for me to turn to in my time of sorrow. Stay strong in your faith like you always have. Good things are coming your way. God Bless you.

    • Larissa says

      I know He has our best in mind. Just hard to want to do better for my family and feel stuck. I’m trusting He knows what we need. I’m sorry to hear of you family’s trials. My family has not been spared from drugs and cancer either. Hard times make us lean harder. Sending hugs!!

  19. Judy says

    Merry Christmas to you, your family and your bruised butt! Praying all the good things come to you sooner rather than later. Don’t give up! Love the family photo. I agree that candid photos can be so much better than posed. Many blessings.

    • Larissa says

      haha!! Thank you so much, Judy! I needed a laugh… Merry Christmas!

  20. Abby says

    Aww, I was so excited for you when i saw the picture in your email. What a crazy year! I hope things work out for you to move to the country someday 🙂 Your dream house sounded amazing!

    • Larissa says

      Right?? I so wanted to share a different outcome. However, it’s not time yet. Thanks so much!

  21. Leann says

    Thank you so much for your website and the heart you bring to it. Many blessings to you and your family.

  22. Cheryl says

    Wow, you and yours have been through so much! You are in my prayers, stay strong!
    I loved reading this because I feel I need to get a family photo of me and my family too! I found out Monday of this week that I have Cancer and now I need to prepare for this new journey and get things settled and I do believe I will take some pictures for my daughter to look back through. Thank you!

    • Larissa says

      Oh, Cheryl! My heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine the thoughts going on in your head. You are on my prayer list and am stopping to pray now. Thank you for giving hope.

  23. Caye Cooper says

    Larissa, you embody the epitome of Faith, Trust and Love. I give inspirational/motivational talks and always tell my audience that, Everything Happens for a Reason. Keep an ear out for the properties that fell through and disappointed you because I’ll bet you a Dunkin Donut you’ll hear of something which would have set you back and maybe even in harm’s way. Naturally this is a GREAT lesson for your children to learn at this time of their lives, and your reactions to all the ups, downs, and stresses you’ve encountered. Not my will but Thy Will.
    Much love and hugs to you, courageous Lady! You are a trooper!! You are a great mother, friend, companion and wife.
    There is a great deal coming to our country which may interrupt all our plans for a bit, but will result in greater glory.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, and may be New Year be bright!

    • Larissa says

      You are such a sweetheart, Caye. Thank you for the affirmation. I never understand what happens and why until hindsight happens. I have learned to be patient…that ain’t easy though. 17 years is a long time to wait. 😉 Hugs!

  24. Kaycee says

    Hello Larissa, wowzers this is not the ending to the story I expected to read following your last blog post, I am so very sorry. Your faith is strong and undeniable and my prayers for your family continue.
    You captured a beautiful family moment with your children, what a perfect photo to use for this collaboration. I am very impressed with the quality of the canvas prints you made and they look great in your home.
    Sending love, peace and joy to you

    • Larissa says

      It definitely wasn’t what I was hoping to share. Sigh… Thanks so much for the love, Kaycee. Yes, I’m smitten with CanvasDiscount and their quality as well as how fast it shipped.

  25. Rebecca - TN says

    Home is where your heart is. Your family is beautiful and your house lovely. The right buyer/person who will also appreciate it is out there somewhere.

    I would have a large canvas of a special family photo made and possibly a pillow with our German Shepherd on it for my husband. (he loooves his puppy)

    • Larissa says

      Yes! We are definitely disappointed, but hopeful God has something better in store.
      Aww…those gifts would be perfect! I know you’ll love working with

  26. Susie says

    Love the Photo.
    God must have big plans for you and your Family’s future.
    No matter what we go through God is faithful.
    Enjoy your stories and your blogs.

    • Larissa says

      He sure is. Thank you for the love. There is more to come…to be continued. 😀

  27. Sherry Fram says

    Roller coaster ride is right! You & your family are the epitome of good & faithful servants. I love reading your posts. Even in the face of trials you exude joy & thankfulness. You are an inspiration.
    I love the canvas print of your kids. They all look so happy. I have a photo of my three grandkids that I would love to have on canvas. They are being silly in a pile of leaves. It makes me smile at their uninhibited joy. Thank you for the contest chance.

    • Larissa says

      I’m ready to get off the ride! haha! Thank you for getting what I’m trying to share, Sherry. It’s so hard to stay strong when I want to SCREAM.
      That photos sounds like a perfect candidate for the giveaway. I’m excited to see who wins. And…you get that 90% off too if not. Woot!

  28. Mary formerly of the boondocks says

    What a rollercoaster of a year Larissa. Wishing you much health and happiness for the coming year. I hope all goes according to your wishes. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family.

  29. Kathy E. says

    Larissa, I read every word of your post and my heart strings jumped and sunk with every up and down you’ve gone through this year. I am inspired by your faithfulness and strength! This has certainly been a year to be remembered and one that we hope can’t be topped. Every turn makes us stronger and brings us closer to God. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!
    My first purchase would be a Premium Mug with a photo of my 2 dogs!
    duchick at gmail dot com

    • Larissa says

      You got what we felt. We kept thinking…no more! I am focused on what I do have and not what we didn’t get. It’s hard, but it definitely is better than some are dealing with now.
      I would love to see your mug when done! 😀

  30. Jane says

    This almost sounds like an “I love Lucy” moment. I pray that someday you can look back on this memory and laugh about all the crazy things that happened. But God says “not yet”, “Be still and know that I am God”. He will take care of you. Now go stomp grapes. I love you too.

  31. Dawn Harris says

    After reading your post, the word that comes to mind is resilience. It is amazing to me that two people can go through similar situations and one is defeated and the other is stronger. I think a lot about that quality and hope it is one I continue to develop and foster in my children. I would love to make a canvas print of my boys. They are miracles to me and I never tire of looking at them. Thank you!

    • Larissa says

      That’s a good word. Yes, it does baffle me how folks go thru life without God. I don’t know how they do it. Your kids will be blessed by your efforts. You will love your print!

  32. Meghan says

    You have certainly been put through the ringer this year! Selling houses sucks so bad. Im still ticked off at our buyer and that was 2 years ago. Weve learned over the past 2 times home buying that when we give it to God we find the right place. When we are stubborn we spend a lot of money for nothing. If I won the voucher I would get a print of my son and new baby girl.

    • Larissa says

      Yes, it sure does. I will move one more time and that’s IT. Yes, God makes it all the better.
      Aww…congrats on the new little one. Your print will make for a wonderful memory.

  33. Sandra Skeem says

    What a year your family has had! Thank you for sharing your struggles, I admire your faith and resilience. The last 2 years have been very challenging and I’m feeling very defeated and hopeless. It lifted my spirits to read how your family pulled together and continue to persevere. I hope things get better and work out.

    • Larissa says

      It’s been crazy, but I know families who have worse, so I am thankful. Lifting you up in prayer, Sandra. God’s got you!

  34. Jennifer says

    Wow, so thankful through all of this you had your faith in God. Imagine others who don’t, the depressing road… I can’t wait to see how the story ends!!! You’re a beautiful writer, I felt all the emotion while reading. Do us a favor and write some faith style books! This crazy world needs them… perhaps you’ll start when you get your acreage… God bless! Merrry Christmas

    • Larissa says

      I don’t know how they do it! I need His arms to cry on. Without Him I couldn’t do it. Thank you for the affirmation in my writing. It is hard, but also healing. Merry Christmas!

  35. Becky says

    Wow. Sometimes I think God gives us “special” trials just so we can have a story! This year (again!) you HAVE a STORY! This has been a year for us too, Covid being a side issue, and often even a blessing, as it slowed things down. Isn’t God good, to never leave us absolutely desolate? Stretched and needing Him, but not in despair?
    I DO have that dream home in the country, and I SO want you to have it too! I’m praying that 2021 (or hey, there’s still time left in 2020!) is The Year for you guys.
    What a beautiful canvas you have! I love that picture! ? We need a new family picture around here too. Somehow it’s not easy to get 11 people ready AND smiling all at the same time, haha!
    God bless your family!

    • Larissa says

      I think so too, but I want to request a respite from stories. haha! I will just have to come visit you, Becky.
      I wish I had $100 for everyone to create new memories. I do get the smiling feat! 😀

  36. Tracy Ann says

    You are an inspiration and a blessing. Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations. Most social media sites are so fake, it’s easy to believe everything should be easy. When bad things happen it’s wonderful to others examples of going through it with grace.
    You and your family are a treasure.

    • Larissa says

      aww…I could hug you, Tracy Ann. I know what you mean…I get frustrated with some of the blogging world. I just want to be ME. Thank you for the virtual hug.

  37. Darlene says

    Thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations. God knows what he is doing, even though we wonder why we have to go through these things. I believe they are to make us stronger in our beliefs and to see how we handle adversity. Blessings to you and your beautiful Family for a very lovely Christmas.

    • Larissa says

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. I keep telling Him, though, am I doing something wrong that I keep needing lessons? haha! Thank you for the wonderful hug. Merry Christmas!

  38. Paula says

    I was expecting a happy ending to your story; but it turned out better than I thought. I just saw this quote that sums it up… “Be happy not because everything is good, but because you see the good in everything.” You and your family are great examples of this quote (and it was not attributed when I saw it; I’ve been meaning to look up who said it). I appreciate you sharing your ups and downs with us. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Larissa says

      {{tears}} It’s not the ending my heart wanted, but we are here, we are healthy. You know you’re on my heart, Paula.

  39. athena graeme says

    Wow, that’s crazy! But memories come from everywhere! I LOVE that family photo.

  40. Audra says

    Wow! You have been through something, that’s for sure! Praying that your family will end up with more and better at the end of this process!
    Thanks for the giveaway; I love the MixPix and Mixblox and the collages!

    • Larissa says

      A trial by fire for sure. Thank you so much.
      Those are beautiful gifts. I know you’ll love this company and product as much as I do.

  41. Donna says

    Oh man what a story you had to tell. I’m sorry for all of your heart break but you are sure an inspiration and a very strong person. I loved how you said you know you are on the right path when Satan is attacking you! I have heard those same words from someone else recently. Will pray for you and your family!

    • Larissa says

      Unfortunately, yes. That’s my gauge I’ve learned over the years. Satan wants us comfortable and in his grip. I say BREAK LOOSE and feel the joy only God can give. Thank you for your prayers.

  42. Shirley Shepherd says

    The first thing I would purchase on is a large canvas print of my family.

  43. Sharon says

    Can you imagine what this trying journey would have been like without our Lord and Saviour? How blessed that you all know Jesus. We never understand or know why we have trials, but Jesus never fails and I believe He has something amazing for all of you. God bless you and I pray that this Christmas and the New Year brings you so much joy! Thank you for sharing.

  44. Deanna says

    Oh my! What a year/years you’ve had! So glad your faith has kept you moving forward through it all. Family is everything, glad that yours is working together through all of this. You are the strong glue holding everyone together. Blessings. Take care, take some time for yourself. I will pray that 2021 is the year of wonder and answers to all of your prayers. You deserve the best!

  45. Susan says

    That’s quite a year. The right place comes at the right time. It has happened for us before.
    The canvas is beautiful. I have a wonderful photo of my kids, taken at my oldest son’s wedding 2016. He had it printed on metal for my husband’s birthday. Little did I know when I was encouraging all the family photos that it would be the last chance to take photos of all 4 kids. We lost our #2 son in Sept 2017, 8 months after he got married. It was sudden, unexpected & a huge shock. But I have those photos and our memories.

    • Larissa says

      It does. We’ve just been trying since 17 years ago. It makes it hard to wait. 😉
      Oh my…your loss hits home. You just never know what you’re going to face. My hugs to you! I love that has the metal prints too. I am looking for those as family gifts.

  46. Kelly D says

    I did find your post inspiring. I think I would buy some photo mugs.

    • Larissa says

      Glad to hear it, Kelly. Those are always fun gifts to get and give.

  47. Paula@SweetPea says

    Good grief, Larissa! You have had quite the year. I am so sorry about your family pictures. It hurts to lose memories like pictures that can’t be replaced. I hope 2021 is much kinder to you!

    • Larissa says

      Guess what?! My mom just texted me that she has some copies of the pictures that were my grandmother’s before she passed. I’m so glad!

  48. Karen Lynn Grant says

    After reading this, you remind me of one of my favorite sayings – Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm” The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.”
    (You and God)
    Maybe you should put this saying on one of your vintage looking signs. I would buy one!! After life settles down for you, of course.
    Take care!

    • Larissa says

      That’s such a powerful statement. Yes, just like the devil tempting Jesus…get thee behind me Satan. Thank you, Karen.

  49. Sonja Hansen says

    I am always inspired by your cheerful attitude in spite of the challenges that come your way. And I have been inspired today. I also follow because you are so creative in your use of seemingly useless items. May you and your family be blessed with a very loved filled Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our Savior. I would use the prize to have a canvass done of our family when we were all together. We didn’t take enough photos and wish that we had.

    • Larissa says

      Fun to hear, Sonja. Thank you. Yes, so blessed and every day is a new blessing.

  50. Cathryn says

    Larissa, please don’t be too sad that your Dream House was snaffled by someone else. I am a firm believer that it was not right for you, a Dream House actually never is. Your Real Home is out there somewhere and it is waiting for you. When you walk inside you will have no doubt that it is your heart place, you will belong with it so strongly, all is calm and all comes to pass. No stress, no panic, no second-guessing, no pressure. All will be revealed in due time but remember God helps those who help themselves. Sail out into the world and search out your family estate. My husband continues to say thank you to me at random times. He is grateful to me for seizing the baton and running with it, when we found our home. He had financial concerns, I had certainty that all would work out. It did – within 3 years, it was all paid for and we continue to love our life, safe within its walls …. which all need painting, rats! Wooden 100 year old weatherboard houses are lovely – but a pain in the butt with maintenance! :-). But I wouldn’t trade her for a modern monster ever! Sending prayers from hot, humid North Queensland for a special end to this adventure for you.

    • Larissa says

      When I say “dream” home that was just a term for the house we found. Was it our literal dream home? No. It would have suited us better in many ways, was built strong, but it still needed work too. I know it wasn’t what God wanted, but we were confused at how it all came together and felt right…we laid it before God many times. I don’t like modern either, but a home with character that I can add my own touches too. Sounds like you have fun! 😀

  51. joann Collins says

    I’m sorry to hear about your family’s pictures. Also to hear about your dream home. It will happen some day. Those pictures you received in the mail are beautiful. I love that you don’t have to buy picture frames. You can just hang them up..

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Joann. It wasn’t so much a dream home other than it was more than we thought we could afford. When they accepted our offer of $24K less, that was a special hope. One day we will have something to suit us.
      Yes, the canvas look so natural to me and less stuffy. You will love them!

  52. Alisa Bradshaw says

    Thank you for sharing your story. You brought tears to my eyes as I hoped you were getting a new home in the country. I’m sad that you didn’t. But I will keep hoping that the right opportunity comes along and that everything works out. God has a plan for you, and it will be perfect!
    Many hugs and much love,
    P. S. I love the new pic of the kids! The canvas turned out wonderful!

  53. Mary Loveland says

    Larissa, get a new REALTOR! Especially since you accepted such a low offer……….Remember, “IT’s just business” to them no matter what they tell you and I mean that in the nicest way. Hang in there, stay strong and BREATH.

    • Larissa says

      It wasn’t her fault…literally. The buyer was a realtor from the same office so it was an interesting plot. We prefer to sell by owner anyway, so we will go back to that next time around. We’re all good. We have a H <3 M E.

  54. Sarah Staten says

    What’s meant to be is meant to be❤️❤️ You will find your home with land?. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

    • Larissa says

      Yes, for sure. Just waiting 17 years is plenty too long for me and my crew. Not sure what the next step is, but we are here and healthy. 🙂 Thanks, Sarah.

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