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I'm Dave. On The Pen is my thing. My passion. But so are my 4 kids, and so is my day job. In order to sustain my efforts, I have to cover the costs involved with OTP. The website, the programs that make it pretty, and the tools that help people connect to it. A gift of ANY amount is greatly appreciated!

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I’m tired… We are tired. Are you tired?

Have you ever felt so exhausted that no amount of sleep, and no attempt at respit was going to take you to the promised land of “caught up”? I realize this post deviates from the norm at On The Pen, but real life sometimes demands real talk.

This past weekend was an attempt to “catch up”. To catch up on some quality husband and wife time, to celebrate my wife’s birthday after a year that has seen both of us take on new and large roles of added responsibility, and frankly a lot of added work.

We were tired, and we were ready. I even took a couple hours off at the end of my day on Friday, pulled back on the content creation for the weekend, all in anticipation of catching up.

The previous week saw two major flare-ups for my arthritic wife, both requiring emergency toridol injections, and one a cortisone injection. But by Friday the dark clouds had lifted, and we even rejoiced together that the week had ended with her in any position to get away. It felt miraculous, and we headed to our favorite spot. Our camper.

After arriving a bit later than planned—because leaving four kids behind means stringing together care between family members, and there's always more to communicate than you think—we managed to dewinterize just enough before dark to make sleeping possible. And we did sleep. And we slept in. It was marvelous.

What happened shortly thereafter was less

marvelous. It rained a good bit the night before, and as my unassuming wife stepped out onto the deck, she was greeted with the slippery slimy deck board and lost her footing. I was getting the car emptied of some remnants from the trip up as I noticed her sitting on the deck waving at me, all while mouthing to me, “I fell”.

Five hours later, in a very rural Iowa hospital—complete with a radiologist who missed a fracture—my wife remained in agony, puzzling the care team. Finally, the rad tech pointed out a significant fracture in her tibia, just above the foot area they were examining for damage. The poor girl just can't catch a break this year. Well, technically, it was the radiologist who couldn’t catch the break; she caught it just fine.

So here we are, Monday night, in bed at home. Neither of us working, yet both of us tremendously tired, wondering if life ever “catches up”. Our 4 kids somewhat oblivious to the fact that mom won’t be able to walk for six weeks, and dad is not quite sure how we will survive it all.

These are the times we simply have to lay our head on the pillow, and trust that in our frail humanity, God will provide us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. This was a card from our sweet neighbor, left for my wife without any idea what had transpired over the weekend, just some belated birthday encouragement. And boy did we need it. Read the words she wrote in her card, without any knowledge of what had transpired. She didn’t know, but God did. And with a little wink from heaven, inspired the words written out on this card. May God see you today in your hardship, in your struggle. May there be moments of undeniable goodness and comfort amidst it all.


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I appreciate this. I began following your content for Zep updates and appreciated the information and transparency of all your posts. Today I appreciate the human side of you. Praying your wife has a full recovery on her time and that you both find peace beyond all understanding in the little things. Life is precious and time is our biggest luxury.


I really admire your vulnerability on this platform. Your followers can certainly identify with your struggles! Be encouraged brother!


Wow I can see the love all over your faces. Happy birthday and praying for a healthy speedy recovery for both of you. Dave your wife is very beautiful inside and out and it shows. May God continue to bless you and your family for he has great things in store for you.


You are walking the path with many and if you close your eyes and take a deep breath they will hold you up and as you move thru this part of your journey… sending healing hugs across the miles! Kat

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