This time last year we were in the process of closing and moving into my dream house… not extravagant or grand but classic and “us.”  I thought it would be a wonderful place for our family for many years.  A home we could grow and love in and live out life together.

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I was wrong.  We lived there less than a year. We sold it, moved, and divorced.

It has been a literal, holy (or unholy) mess. And yet the children and I have survived, even thrived. My pinterest Fourth of July dream was shattered (I just wanted to furl that flag out the top windows, Lord, just once) but my kids are healthy and happy, scarred but thriving because of amazing people in our lives and God’s provision.  We are all scarred, but standing. And I wanted to update y’all as I think about God’s faithfulness and yes freedom.  This road to freedom I hope my family is on . . . sounds weird maybe but hang with me.

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It’s a bit of cheesy cliche, so obviously easy for a Christian to make all of the literal correlations between freedom in Christ and the freedom that came with the Declaration of Independence.  Believe me I am a sap and history major and I love them all.  But NEVER  have they been more real to me than this year.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love all of the New England and East Coast flags and instagraming of flags flying on Nantucket I am showing here today.  These images are my fave.  Nothing like a flag inside and out. I mean I love me a flag and a white house and some babies in blue and white stripes.  YES! The shallow part of me mourns the little party and flag out front I dreamed of for the new old house.

But never ever before have I been more aware of the need for true freedom . . . And yes I am tempted to tag a little Martina McBride video on the end here.  Seriously, I am not even close to letting go and being totally free of all of my emotional and spiritual junk, much less any marriage issues.  But i know that i know that i know, that working through “junk” in our inner selves and our closest relationships all under the umbrella of Christ’s love and God’s wisdom is the only way to true freedom.  It’s not popular or cool to say but I know it. It’s what I believe.  And tough season has mae me believe that more than ever. The opposite of freedom is what?  fear and bondage.  And Christ came to set the captives free, His perfect love casts out ALL fear.   He gives us (me and you) a spirit of power and LOVE not fear.

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I’ve have been pretty damn scared this year at various times.  And as I sat in our therapist’s office and ugly cried on Thursday and heard him say “God wants you to face your worst fear” I knew He was right.  We have to face our fears.  For freedom.  There is just nothing better than being free is there??? Watch your kids when they dance and play freely? And we could go on and on about theology and what the means and looks like but the first step is bravery to step out and face fear.

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So this fourth of July I love my country and the brave men and their families that stood up against crazy all those years ago and still today.  Because King George was cray y’all and America isn’t perfect but we have a beautiful and TRUE story of bravery and righteousness and God’s hand.  We are a city on a hill, or we were.  I can’t fix my country but I can work on facing my own fears and doing the things God created me to do, in my family and in my work and my sphere of influence.

And yes, you read that right. We are divorced.  The kids and I moved to a neighboring town and are doing well.  God provided us an amazing home to lease and my mom is living with us until her little house is ready for her move in.  The kids are spending a lot of time with their dad and are having a fun and full summer. And their dad and I have started counseling.  Finally.  Yes we realize it’s usually best to start the counseling BEFORE the divorce.  We didn’t do it that way.  We did do some counseling but not really get in there and get committed and serious about it until now.  The timeline is was it is.  What matters is we are finally getting help both individually and together. So please pray. Pray for fruit in counseling, pray for the holy spirit to move and change hearts and minds where needed.  Pray for truth. Pray for my boys and our parents and friends that have been caught in this unholy mess.  And for yourself if possible I am praying. Please get thyself to counseling.  I beg you. And if you don’t like the counselor or its just so so, keep trying, keep praying God will connect you with the person that can get up in your business and tell you and get your number and help set your feet back on the right path.  I know counselors don’t replace scripture or godly guidance but good solid counseling can be a huge part of freedom. And restoration.

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{Top three images from House Beautiful and this one of vintage flags from}

So I just wanted to say that.  Happy Fourth of July.  Let freedom ring!

We had a fun day in nearby Chappell Hill!

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My boys never sit this close so I am loving these silly pictures from today.  It’s the little things y’all, just getting muffins made and a few baby flags up and being with friends. And then taking a nap while it storms…yes!

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So thank you y’all truly.  For hiring me, reading me and supporting what I do. For praying for my family.

Wisconsin Farm Story

Here is more on Allison’s farm and the backstory..i am working on her town home for now but she plans to keep the farm and I hope to be a part of helping her restore it further and even the barns…. Barn restoration is much needed throughout the Midwest I have found out and very expensive.. God saves the barns!  Seriously, what a national treasure they are! But for now I just want you to hear the love this woman has for her family farm.  Roots matter y’all.  Her connection to this land just oozes so i want you to hear it in her own words.


“I grew up in a rural community in central Illinois. My Dad was an Engineer for CAT, but we lived in the country and went to a small church filled with the best salt-of-the-earth farmers. Close friends of ours lived on their family’s farm that had been passed down from generation to generation. We didn’t have a tv. I grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books and dreaming that I was Laura on the prairie. I wanted roots, I wanted land. I knew about our family’s farm way up in Wisconsin. My Grandma was raised in Eau Claire and she could remember taking the sleigh from town out to her Grandparents farm (our farm). They had to stop halfway to water the horses and get fresh warm bricks for their toes. When I was young I did visit here, and I used to ask my Dad if there was any chance that the farm would come down our side of the family. (It had been passed down from father to son since homestead, but my family line was through a daughter, not a son.) I can remember him patting me and saying “No. There are too many Olsons.”

Family picture around 1911. My great-grandma Marie (pronounced Mary is sitting in front of the door with my grandma Olive Harriet on her lap.

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This is the homestead document signed by U. S. Grant. His signature is the large one near the bottom.

“I talked about the farm when Glen and I were dating. My love for old farms, family history, land and all that beauty drove us to look for the perfect place throughout our early marriage. Glen is an entrepreneur.  He is the hardest working man I know and we moved all over, working and building our family and businesses. We have lived in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Illinois again, Minnesota and finally Wisconsin. While in Minnesota he started a company called MyNextHome. It was originally a FSBO realty company. We started flipping houses the hard way. Living in them while doing the work ourselves and raising four small kiddos. We would move in, start renovating, work through to the end, God would bless us with a sale, we would move into the next house and start again. Our farm was our 19th home in 17 years. Then we got a phone call from my Dad’s cousin. His folks had passed away and they were going to auction off the family farm. I remember telling him “DO NOT AUCTION IT OFF!  We are coming down!!” In 2007 we moved to Eau Claire and into my dream home.


The Mills family . . . Chelsea 22, Lane 21, Gabi 18, Aidan 15

This little city instantly felt like home to us. After a couple years Glen was renovating properties to use as rentals and he remade the MyNextHome name into a properties and consulting company with a rental property side, a contracting side and a realty side. His company has grown leaps and bounds and I am so proud of him!!

So that is the story of our farm and how we came home to be here on this piece of land where my great grandma was raised.  Raising our four children here, bundling together to stay warm by the fire in the winter just like she did with her family.”
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“Baking in the same kitchen and trudging up the same stairs.”
“We added this barn garage recently and I love how Glen and his crew made it blend with the barns and house that had been there for so long.”
“Living at the Farm has been such a blessing for me. For my children and my husband, however, the distance from town is a problem and also the lack of modern amenities in the home. I noticed I was hearing frustration in my children’s conversation about not being able to just hang out with friends after school and not being able to be involved in activities. My husband too was bothered by the time spent on the road and the amount of money we spend just in gas. At first I heard their complaints with a hardened heart and perhaps an eye roll or two. But the Lord spoke quietly to my heart about what was truly important. This place or my family.  I knew i didn’t want my children to resent living on the Farm and see it as a negative in their lives instead of a positive. So Glen and I began to work on a plan to move to town till our children were done with school. We also decided that the house we built would suit as a parade house for MyNextHome. So we broke ground and began to build the #farmhouseintown. “
“Our plan is to renovate the Farm while we live in town for a few years, and return to the country when our kids have grown. Perhaps this is the best of both worlds.”
         I love this place. Will be so hard to move out. Even for six gas burners and multiple bathrooms. The Farm is where my heart is. ❤
Me Holly here, I am so glad I have been able to share in all of this and see Allison’s heart for her family farm and help integrate parts of it whether it’s an old piece of wood or photographs for the wall, a piece of a windmill, whatever….into their #farmhouseintown.  I can’t help but feel that God has blessed Allison in her obedience and heart not just for her desire and stewardship of the farm but her love for her family as well.
And here it is … the farmhouse in town, more progress pictures coming..the open house is coming like a freight two weeks y’all! I will be on a plane to St. Paul soon to help style it out…you midwestern girls watch for details and come see us!Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 8.43.30 AM
The Mill’s business website will be live soon with a new website.  In the meantime follow Glen on facebook and Allison on Instagram @wiscogirl71
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