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My grandparents and aunt came to visit us this weekend from Missouri and Illinois.

Can you believe my grandparents are in their 80s and they are still up for a 11 hour road trip?

Don’t you hope to have the same spirit in your eighth decade?

I hope you had a nice 4th of July weekend. Here’s a recap of ours.

These pictures make me delightfully happy & I think it’s about time I made a shutterfly book to get some of them on paper.

We went to see “The House that Pa Built” in De Smet.

IMG_0610We also toured the county quite a bit so that our visitors could see South Dakota in the summertime. Grandpa used to farm in Missouri so he had about 10,000 questions for John and Ron.

In summary, he said, “Well, this place is all together different.”

I thought that was sort of cute.

IMG_0640 IMG_0626Second only to Christmas, the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. We were married last year on July 5th, so I had oodles of decorations for our picnic.

I don’t even want to tell you how many flags I have stored in our attic.IMG_0628



Let’s just say, we could have served several dozen more people flags & fruit.

And, there are enough americana pennants to go around forty or so tables. IMG_0618
John’s dad and Monica, John and I, and the state of South Dakota celebrated our anniversaries at our BBQ. It was their 14th, our 1st, and South Dakota’s 125th. One interesting tid-bit for you…

Most of the communities in this area have already celebrated their 125th anniversaries. Although the counties don’t hold celebration birthdays, they are also older than 125. Wouldn’t you think that the state would be older than the counties and the towns? Not so! Before a state could “earn statehood” they had to prove that they were organized and ready — not just a wild frontier.IMG_0621


Of course it wouldn’t be the 4th of July on any farm in the midwest without a little haying. John and Ron put up a few square bales over the weekend. John got in his daily cardio tossing those into the hay loft. Learn more from




I’m 23 weeks preggers, so the doc tells me I can’t heave bales along side him – 40 pounds is the limit. Instead, I just sat and visited for a few minutes. IMG_0600
Our neighbors at the dairy were also putting up hay. I didn’t get a picture, but John and Grandpa Kenny hauled four loads on the 4th in the semi. I begged/pleaded/insisted/asked that they be home by 4:30 in order to light the grill.

While they were out working, my Grandma kindly taught me to hand quilt! It was hard and I’m terrible, but we had a good time. It was a windy day, so it was the perfect indoor project.IMG_1440


Later this week, I’ll post the tips and techniques she shared with me.

Family Photo

The 5th is our actual wedding anniversary and Aunt Jackie kindly snapped this photo for us on our anniversary. It just might be the best “family photo” we have ever had. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a dog to pose? Check out those perky ears. What a show off!IMG_1445
I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too! Best of all, my July fun and family time is not over yet. I’m riding back to Missouri today with my family.

I’m going to spend a week in Missouri as a “writer in residence.” A week or so ago, I mailed copies of The Angells: In Their Own Voices to my grandpa, great uncle and great aunt. We will go through each story together to make sure I’ve got the historical details correct! When we aren’t writing or editing, I’m hoping to take Schyler to the pool!

I can’t wait!



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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!