Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland

We've traveled over the river and through the woods, and today we are cozily tucked away at Grandma's House! I think this is the most amount of snow I have ever seen up here. There are 2-3 feet on the rooves, 3-4 feet on the ground, and 6-7 feet where it has been plowed or shoveled. It is completely beautiful! Happy 2011 to you!

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household:
for all her household are clothed with scarlet"
--Proverbs 31.21

"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord.
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
Isaiah 1.18
(Our dog, Layla can walk straight onto the porch which is normally 3 feet off the ground)
"He says to the snow, 'Fall to the earth'"
Job 37.6

"His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow,
and his eyes were like blazing fire."
Revelation 1.14

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.

They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.

It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."

Isaiah 55.10

CHRIST-mas

Mas means "more" in Spanish, so I like to think of Christmas as more of Jesus!! The girls got to explore the story of Jesus' miraculous birth through practicing for a Christmas play, and imagining all the people who came to worship him ~ there were rich and poor, young and old who came to greet the Messiah as a baby. They also learned a few Christmas songs. I wonder if they will remember them next year!
Here are the girls' dresses, all ready to go for the Sunday before Christmas ~
Beautiful sisters
With baby brother
We were at Gramma Mary's house on Christmas day. We cut out, baked and decorated sugar cookies, molasses cookies, and gingerbread houses



When we got home, we opened presents over the next few days. The girls received new bear dollies, a bunch of homeschool books, a dishwasher sized box with windows and a door cut out, a play kitchen, and lots of other toys. Everything (except the box, which was free) was hand me downs from friends and family, so we spent a grand total of $0 on Christmas gifts this year! THANK YOU Taylor, Aunt Charlene, Pflugs and Blomquists for your generosity!!

Thanksgiving

Here are some snapshots of our trip to Wilsonville for Thanksgising!
All in a Day's work: A closet project!
Before:
After:
Great Grandma Alm with the kids:

I found a whole bin of play dough tools at Goodwill for $5!
The weather was pleasant for walks, and a ride in a wheelbarrow!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Aaron walking

He pulled it off at 10 1/2 months. He is doing "bath" sign while walking, in case you're not sign language literate! :) If you listen carefully, he says "up" before climbing the step stool. He is also talking earlier than the girls did, clearly saying "hot", "up", "Ella" uh-oh as well as several signs. We have a little communicator on our hands!



video

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blessed Beyond Measure

Today I'm absorbed with how undeserved and unmeasureable the gifts from God are to me.

If you're not very well acquainted with Psalm 103, I encourage you to start knowing it today!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His Holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!
He forgives ALL my sins (I am becoming increasingly aware of how many there are!)
He heals ALL my diseases (my body is subject to the decay of this fallen world, and without His intervention I would not become well again from cold, flu, allergies, scrapes, bruises...)
He saves my life from the pit (that's where it was, and how it would be without Him!)
And crowns me with love and compassion (I am loved every minute! I am his precious child!)
He satisfies my desires with good things (oh, let me tell you, He does! The list is very, very long of how he satisfies the desires of my heart, soul and body)
So that my strength is renewed like the eagle's (every mommy knows we need strength that doesn't come from ourselves to do our job, and I can and do rely on His strength!)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (He shows me HOW to be a parent. I've experienced this compassion, this grace, this abounding love, and it is blissful! It is the way every child wishes to be loved!)

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

That line is my testimony of the Lord today. He has not treated me as I deserve. I have had pride when I know nothing, and am like a fading blade of grass. I have made myself into God, taking control of my own life when He knows best. I have sought honor and glory for myself, when He is the only one deserving of it. I have misrepresented His name by judging others harshly, and by saying God could only love me if I acted/dressed/looked/worshipped a certain way. I have cursed, fornicated, stolen, committed adultery and murder (according to Jesus in Matthew 5). I have treated his little children harshly. Worst of all, I have neglected the greatest commandment, to Love. But He has not repaid me according to my sins. My life would look a whole lot different right now if he had. And that, my friends, is the definition of grace.

"His MERCY endures forever" appears 42 times and "HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER" appears 44 times in Chronicles, Ezra, Jeremiah, and the Psalms. Why the repetition? Because someone else experienced the same mercy and love I'm experiencing! Mercy is withholding the punishment/judgement/condemnation we DESERVE. Seems that would be enough. But no, after lifting the burden of sin through Jesus Christ, He heaps grace and love on top of what is left. Grace is being showered with the love, compassion, adoration, blessing protection, salvation I DON'T DESERVE.

In my house, I have a God fearing, God praising, God worshipping, God praying, God loving husband. And he leads the other 5 of us to the Lord's Table, His Word, and worship. In my house, I have 4 beautiful children, each of whom is really beautiful to look upon, even more amazing to know, with healthy bodies, intelligent minds, and happy hearts. I don't deserve that.

Last Sunday, a Christ follower said to me, "You have a beautiful family. It is difficult for those of us who have been through divorce to hear messages about being a solid family becuase it didn't work out for us. But your family is the depiction of what a family should be, and I can tell you really love the Lord." Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. Still does, as I re-type her words. You know why? Because it's true. And because I don't deserve it.

When Adrian and I got married, neither of us had ANY MORE certainty than anyone else that we would still be in love and wanting to do this thing called life together almost 8 years later. We didn't have any more assurance that the immensity of heartache wouldn't overtake the promise. When we had kids, we didn't have any more assurance than anyone else we would be able to have kids or that they would be healthy. Or whole. Or cute. We don't deserve it. We could have never earned it. We can never express our daily enjoyment. We are handling the very creation of God, and He wants us to see His heart through it.

He has given me "above all I could ask or think" -- better than I could have imagined, planned, created or orchestrated for myself. That means better than my best plan. Yes, He did. I'm giving more than thanks to God today. I'm giving wholehearted and humble worship, for He is good!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Birthdays

11-18-2010 The Birthday Breakfast Crew. Happy 32nd Birthday to my awesome husband!
11-19-2010 And it IS a Happy 32nd Birthday for ME! This post contains the things that make me the HAPPIEST, every day, and especially on my birthday!!
My girls made me a beaded necklace with a Snickers bar attached (from Ella) and a beaded bracelet with a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup attached (from Tessa). All their idea and creation, and a surprise to me! Soooo creative! Soon after I put on the bracelet, Tessa said, "Mom, we could open the candy now!" :P Love, love, love my family and thank God for daily blessing me!




November At Our House

11-14-2010: Grrrr!
11-11-2010: Games with Grandpa Harold
11-9-2010: Ella was invited to model in a fashion show by JCPenney. Afterward, she found out she got to keep the dress. Tessa didn't model on stage, but wanted to dress in her finest for the evening too! And she just grew out of her dress shoes, so fancy boots go with everything, right?!
Nov 11: some meat to fill our freezer! Thank you hard working husband, and thank you Lord!
11-6-2010: Work and fun in the leaves!

This one's for you, Gramma Mary!

video




Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

two more; one less

Aaron is now 9 months old. He is such a sweet and cuddly boy that he wants to be held *EVERY* minute of every day. So that wears on mom a bit, especially at 22 pounds!
Photo evidence of Jaci's first foray with scissors (she is 24 pounds):
I had sent the girls to get dressed one morning this week when I heard Tessa say "Hey Mom! Look, I'm a scarecrow!" Pretty creative, I thought!
Ella has ONE LESS tooth as of Sunday! It began to wiggle around lunch time, and came out at dinner time! It was a bit traumatic for her, being that she is the squeamish type and I had told her it would probably be several days before it actually fell out! Instead of continuing the tradition of "tooth fairy", she got to choose a special activity to celebrate.
...And we have TWO MORE mouths to feed in this house. The kids won these goldfish from Kids Club Tuesday night. I consider taking on pets as a very big ordeal, something we talk about, decide on, and prepare for. Obviously, the prize givers don't. Sigh. Guess who gets to remember to feed them and clean their tank and console the kids when their little feeder fish lifespan is over? :) Names TBA.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

quick post

Our very own, Jaci Claire
Aaron Rio, nearly 9 months
On Saturday, the process of harvesting, coring, cutting, simmering, and seasoning with VERY limited counter space yielded 7-8 gallons of applesauce...
When I get overwhelmed by all the clutter around me, I find that it often helps to take a picture of it, knowing it won't always be this way. So here's a photo of the girls' "treasures", which they drag out, sort, organize, bathe and leave out just as often as I let 'em:
A very typical view for me--Aaron holding onto my legs, wanting up:
Go Beavs!
Lots of ballet happening here this autumn...
One quiet afternoon I found the girls watching a movie from this position...
...and I love them, even though they are an insanity inducing amount of work!!









Sunday, September 26, 2010

We're Baaack!

One week ago, we arrived safely at our home sweet home! That was no small feat, considering we saw 10 states and 5,000 miles in three weeks. It was a completely wonderful and blessed trip-- in which we got to see many of our friends and family in their home places, and were able to worship and serve God many miles from the comfort of home!!

As you can imagine, we saw many landscapes. Without intending to, we planned our itinerary around a most gorgeous time across the midwest: just before harvest, when thousands upon thousands of acres of corn, soybeans and wheat are readying for harvest. Honestly, I expected to see more "nothingness" across eastern Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. Instead, we were greeted by ever changing landscapes-- from mountains and valleys to plains and plateaus; we saw a lot. In our own little world at home, we only see what is out our window, or the view during our commute. But it was awe inspiring to think that all of this land, all this creation is honoring God every minute-- day and night-- even when we aren't there looking at it. He is.

Psalm 104 (New Living Translation)

1 Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are!
You are robed with honor and majesty.
2 You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
3 you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you ride upon the wings of the wind.
4 The winds are your messengers;
flames of fire are your servants.
5 You placed the world on its foundation
so it would never be moved.
6 You clothed the earth with floods of water,
water that covered even the mountains.
7 At your command, the water fled;
at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
8 Mountains rose and valleys sank
to the levels you decreed.
9 Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,
so they would never again cover the earth.
10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,
so streams gush down from the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals,
and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds nest beside the streams
and sing among the branches of the trees.
13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
15 wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
and bread to give them strength.
16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for—
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests,
and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,
and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.
19 You made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to set.
20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night,
when all the forest animals prowl about.
21 Then the young lions roar for their prey,
stalking the food provided by God.
22 At dawn they slink back
into their dens to rest.
23 Then people go off to their work,
where they labor until evening.
24 O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
teeming with life of every kind,
both large and small.
26 See the ships sailing along,
and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.
27 They all depend on you
to give them food as they need it.
28 When you supply it, they gather it.
You open your hand to feed them,
and they are richly satisfied.
29 But if you turn away from them, they panic.
When you take away their breath,
they die and turn again to dust.
30 When you give them your breath, life is created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of the Lord continue forever!
The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!
32 The earth trembles at his glance;
the mountains smoke at his touch.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
I will praise my God to my last breath!
34 May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth;
let the wicked disappear forever.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!


Every mile the Lord protected us from car trouble, accidents, and injury. The only "difficult" portion occurred when we found ourselves on a ferry across Lake Michigan for what I predicted would be a fun way for the kids to travel. Instead, there were 20 foot swells and a violently rough ride, and we all (except Aaron) became so sick, all we could do was sit with our heads down and thank God for the puke buckets the ferry provided. We were all very happy (and healthy) to be on dry land again after 4 hours! Considering the miles we passed, we were very fortunte.

The children all did very well; they never resisted getting into the car for another stretch of the journey. Aaron began to crawl 2 days before we left, and had some practice on the trip. Now that we're home, he easily crawls across the whole house and steps from one piece of furniture to the other when standing.

I made a little -- er, big slideshow of our trip. The new blog music are songs that I thought would be fitting with the photos. The slideshow is 327 photos, condensed from the 610 original photos. If you would like a CD of all the photos, or some prints mailed to you, please just let me know by email and I will be happy to send them.

Enjoy, and I pray that God blesses you as he has so richly blessed us. "Forget not all his benefits..." --Psalm 103.1

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

uh-oh

Aaron is pulling himself to standing! He did it last night, and I thought it was a fluke, so I set him up again this morning, and he duplicated the action before the camera! 1....2...3...4!
I'm a bit surprised by this, because he just began sitting up about 3 weeks ago. I'm a bit CONCERNED by this, because he lacks the sense to hang on once he's standing! ;)
Here's our family before we hiked the "M" in Missoula a few weeks ago.

Aaron "helping" daddy assemble a fly rod; camping at Georgetown Lake

Dave and the girls enjoying a campfire

The Event At Rebecca Farm
Kalispell, MT
We were in Kalispell with Adrian for work last week, so I was pleased to take the kids to this World Cup horsemanship event! The weekend consisted of Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping (an equestrian triathlon). I LOVED IT!!
When I first arrived, I found several "warm up" arenas, and spotted one horse rearing in the background:
The kids at a fountain on the property:

An overview of one side of the cross country course:

Horse & rider crossing water
A paint & rider crossing the course:
This picture shows how close spectators were to the action: notice the horse running up hill just in front of us:
Racing uphill!
The jump was right next to us, too:
Neat, neat! I have a renewed hope that someday we'll have horses ... even if I'm not competing at this level, it will be wonderful to have them around!