Category Archives: Family and Friends

Pictures and stories of our dear family and friends


Yes, April 10th, for reasons unknown to me, is National Sibling Day. Since I have some pretty amazing siblings, it seems only appropriate to celebrate!
So here’s to all the wonderful memories we share – the laughter and the tears, the joys and the sorrows. I am so thankful that we are not only siblings but also good and dear friends!








Our final picture with the four of us…
taken just two weeks before Elna slipped into heaven.

Oh my – I do love these beautiful people!

One week in

Phew, it’s been quite the week! We’ve been busy with our SOWER work here at the office
along with continuing the “settling in” process of home ownership! Thank you to all of you who commented either here or on Facebook about this step (however tentative it might be) into our new adventure! And thank you also for sharing in our joy of a new little one arriving at the end of the month! We’re looking forward to meeting our little “tiebreaker”!
But tonight I wanted to share about the sweet visit we had last weekend with our Texas kids (one of the reasons that this whole House-in-Texas thing is happening!). It was short – barely more than 24 hours – but we packed it with lots of love and snuggles! There was a birthday to celebrate (with pizza, not cake!)
How did this baby of mine get to be 43? And the Daddy to four precious little boys?
We met the day-old piglets
and joined in a little Easter egg hunt watching!
And I also got to deliver the latest bed quilt – made with love and prayers, especially for Anderson!
(When I started with this particular quilt tradition it was “When they move into a Big Bed”. Now it’s hopefully before they turn seven! Those grands were coming fast and furious for a while!)
As we said our goodbyes after the egg hunt, we made plans for them to come to OUR HOUSE before we head back east towards the end of April. And believe me, it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve been able to extend that invitation!
It felt pretty good!

Thanks again for all your encouraging comments – I really do love hearing from y’all.  Thanks for stopping by and have a blessed Lord’s Day!




[Note: This was written back in January about an event that happened last November.  Some things just take a little longer to get to press!]

We don’t often receive packages from our kids (let’s face it – when your address changes every three weeks, it’s a challenge!), so imagine my delight when our Marysville (OH) kids gave me a heads-up about a package coming for my birthday!

It arrived a few days later, and I opened it with great anticipation. There at the bottom of the box (past about 40 scrunched-up grocery bags) was a box of cookies. Hmmmm… of the many things I thought it might be, cookies had not made the list. They were individually wrapped and nicely decorated, so I thought maybe the kids had decorated them and wanted to send them to us. I took a picture of myself with the box and sent a quick text thanking them for the gift.
“So many cookies!!! Thank you! Are they from the Conrad kitchen?”
“You are welcome. We did not make them, they came from a local bakery…hope they are yummy.”

Although I was still puzzled about why they would send cookies through the mail (probably the postage was more than the purchase!), we just went about our day,  thankful for the gift. After all – they were delicious!

Later that evening we got a FaceTime call from Toby and Tammy that went something like this-

“So, Mom – about the cookies. We thought we’d better explain.”

“Did you count how many there were?”

“Yes – there were thirteen. Six were decorated in blue, six in dark pink, and one in white. I thought maybe they were red, white, and blue – maybe for Veterans’ Day?”

“Nope – that’s not it, Mom. Can you think of anything else that you have a dozen of, six of one thing and six of another?


“Well – I have a dozen grandchildren – six girls and six boys.”

“And the pink cookies could be for the girls and the blue cookies for the boys. And the white cookie could be for….”

Seventy-plus-year-old brain putting the pieces together…

“Wait – you’re having another BABY!!!”
Grins all around!

Yep – just when we thought that our family was complete, God said – “Not yet! Here’s one more blessing to add to your family!”

So come the end of April (due date on Gary’s birthday!), we’ll be welcoming a new Conrad to our clan. And he/she will be the tiebreaker – and will be very loved by all!

April is full of surprises!

I know it’s not quite April yet – but still, there are exciting days ahead!
We’re hanging out at the SOWER headquarters in Lindale, TX this month for a two-fold reason. One is that we’ll be working on the new SOWER building at the SOWER office, which involves Gary installing the HVAC.

The building is nearing completion, so I know I’ll be busy working with the team to finish up many of the other odds and ends!
But the second reason is pretty exciting to us too! Come Monday (4/1) we will be the owners of this sweet little (but more than twice the size of our dear Lizzie) cottage in the Bass Lake Christian Retirement Community.

I’ll have lots to share in the weeks ahead as we once again (after almost 20 years) enter into this adult thing called homeownership – but for now I just wanted to share that we are here and safe (and maybe just a little overwhelmed!). Are we really ready for this?
Later, friends!

PS – We’re not coming off the road – just finally setting up a “Home Base”. In the map below, the star towards the bottom of the map is where son Josiah and his family live! Not quite next door, but way closer than we’ve been for many, many years! Sweet!

From the plane to the party

No –  really.
Gary picked me up from the airport after my trip north, and we drove right to the 2024 SOWER Florida Rally/Reunion. He’d already moved Lizzie to the reunion site (Groveland, FL – west of Orlando) and the party was well underway by the time we arrived. In fact, we arrived just in time for the group picture!
While what we both really wanted was a nap (I’d been up since 4:30 am to catch that 6:30 am flight home), we decided instead to give the cornhole tournament a try.
We lost the first game, but (surprisingly) won the next two, and somehow became the first-place winners of the losers. Who knew there was such a thing? Our prize was being one of the first couples through the dinner line! Whooohoo!
The reunion party did not disappoint! We loved catching up with some of our old  dear SOWER friends, and we also loved meeting some brand-new couples! Two couples hadn’t even been on their first project!! I love to see the excitement as these new folks are beginning a journey that has meant so much to us!

We were inspired to “Stay Strong in Today’s World”,
and enjoyed a musical evening with Dane Bailey,  the Singing Auctioneer,
(who then did a grand job the next day being an actual auctioneer!).
We also enjoyed several meals together – all excellent, and all lots of fun!
Someone just couldn’t resist!
We did manage to sneak in a much-needed nap, but it was just a quick power nap because we didn’t want to miss the wonderful fellowship with friends old and new that these SOWER Reunions afford.   We’re so thankful for the team that put all of this wonderfulness together! And for all the love that was in the air the whole time!

Almost caught up!