Saturday, August 18, 2012

little boy-isms

     Right now i'm finding it hard to take my camera places ... because I feel I'm doing good if I just keep track of all my kids , their coats, sunglasses, diaper bag, snacks & drinks etc etc when we go places...  I think later I will wish I had snapshots of these moments.  
     Like last night, Aaron's first rodeo (that he'll remember).  He was completely in awe of the cowboys pulling off their different events.  He made everybody in a 10' radius smile when he announced very loudly,
"Look Daddy!  That cowboy fell off!"

eating a hot dog like corn on the cob
Aaron is such an aware little buddy.  He is especially sensitive to sounds, and I forget all that he is observing when I'm going about my business.  When we were wandering through the fair looking for Adrian and Tessa, Aaron saw the cage-on-a-pendulum type of carnival ride, Aaron was holding my hand and trying to keep up with my steps.  He said, "Hey Mommy, are those people stuck in there?"  I explained that no, that was a ride that they wanted to get on!  He thought for a few seconds and then said, "Are they screaming for help?"  I assured him that no, they were screaming because they were having fun ~ kind of like the way he screams when he gets to go on his bounce house!  :)  What a compassionate little heart!!

Last night when we were laying together in bed, ready for sleep, Aaron was thinking of the bull riders when he said, "Mommy, why don't those cowboys ride horses?"

Yeah, I couldn't agree more, little buddy!  Why would you ride a huge wild bull, when there are perfectly trained horses to be ridden?  :)  Just love his blossoming mind!

Dear little Aaron, 
I want you to become whatever God wants you to be... follow your dreams, use your talents, and be absolutely ANYTHING you want*!
Love, Mom
*(except a bull rider)

Friday, August 17, 2012

honoring God

So how do we honor our Creator?  If we love him and stand in awe of what he has done, we are naturally compelled to reflect his glory. I've been taking note of nature lately.  We are told that every snowflake is different.  When we drive through a forest, we see that every tree is unique.  It wouldn't be nearly as pretty if they were all identical.  And there are so many facets of creation ~ the mountains, the canyons, the active rivers and the still rocks.  There are parts of creation that change with every season, and some things that take thousands of years to change.  

Sometimes we scurry around trying to "do" something noble, admirable, something FOR God.  But have you noticed, nature never does?  The deer just graze and wag their tails because that's what they were created to do.  The mountains stand firm day after day, century after century.  Babies eat, sleep, and play.  

Do you SOAR like the eagle (Isaiah 41), or are you SORE from flapping ... trying ... doing?  It was such a relief when I got this picture a few days ago, and heard God graciously telling me (again) that I don't need to DO anything... speak in a certain way, worship in a certain way, pray in a certain way, spend my time in a certain way, to honor him.  I honor Him by loving Him while I go about doing what I enjoy, and what comes natural...

...and so do you! 
A definition of "Fear God": 
living with the awareness
that God sees
everything I do.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Anticipating our move from Anaconda, I was compelled to pray for our future neighbors.  I could hardly wait to find out who they were, to practice loving them as Christ asked.  Perhaps because I failed at loving our neighbors in Anaconda, I craved a fresh start.  So every time the excitement of a new neighborhood came to mind, I prayed for our neighbors.  I prayed that God would land us in exactly the place he wanted us.  I admit, I had trepidation about it.  I thought (leaning on my own understanding) that this compulsion to pray for future neighbors could only mean that they would be difficult to get along with.  The first time we drove by the neighborhood, someone passed without smiling and waving (why would they, at a stranger?).  That caused me to insecurely imagine that they wouldn't welcome newcomers, and hated kids.  Against my control, we made an offer without meeting everybody. 

Now that we've had a chance to meet the neighbors, I am knocked off my feet at God's grace.  These neighbors welcome the 4 new families that moved in this summer (yes, it does help the HOA dues to fill the vacant houses, too!).  New or old, these are the kind of neighbors who help one another out.  They say, "call me if you need an egg or butter".  They give us a tour of the horse barn, and show the kids the baby foals in the inner pasture.  These are the kind that loan tractors, offer that the children can bike on their circular drive, invite to join their organic food co-op, invite you in for ice cream when you stop to say hi, and offer babysitting when they see your hands full.  They are the kind I would trust because they are believers of Christ.  They are the kind that heartily support homeschooling, and the families are large.  There are parents of 9, parents of 5, parents of 3, and retirees who love their grandchildren.   

Maybe it's Montana.  Maybe it's luck.  Maybe its just a huge answer to a feeble prayer, from a gracious and loving God who always says, "You have no idea what I have in store for you!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

looking into my heart

tummy time!

Mr Blue Eyes
God has been showing me so much about my heart lately.  And instead of excusing, justifying, hiding, I have matured enough to welcome it.  Admitting my sin relieves guilt and makes me so very thankful for my Savior!  So here's a look:

On moving day from Anaconda, I took one last look at our maple tree, and actually had the thought, "I wish I had kept a bucket full of all the neighbor dog's poop that we scooped up for the last 6 years, so we could go dump it in their yard now."  (You'd think one would let the dog out in their own fenced yard to do business... but no, the dog would happily trot down to our grass where we specifically didn't have a dog ('cause kids and dogs and small yards don't mix)... and on many, many occasions we caught the dog using our yard for a toilet).

So instead of continuing to feel revenge that day, the Holy Spirit whispered, "that is really in your heart, Anna?"  I was convicted, so I prayed for the neighbors instead.
flowers picked by our girls to display at grandma's funeral

arrangement by ella for grandma

better than a florists' bouquet!

The last two weeks and 3,800 miles have also taught me something.  During the mundane ... the dishes and laundry and sweeping, bathing and clothing and feeding and breaking up fights, I tend to look AHEAD to the next plans, the next company, the next trip... 'cause that will be fun.  But then when I am on a trip, mingling with other people, living out of a suitcase, on cruise control, passing snacks and drinks to the back seat, I then wish I was just HOME where I could do all this a little more comfortably.  So if I'm always looking somewhere else for my satisfaction... when will I be satisfied? Paul said, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4.11, NIV).  It's not automatic; it's learned to be content.  But I'm thankful for the experiences that make me realize that there's no place I'd rather be... than home with my family.  And when I look around and see the teens, the singles, the retirees, the elderly... it becomes easy to say, there's truly no other life I'd rather be living than this one, with an amazing husband and 5 little blessings!!

this is how Aaron plays

We are a road trip family.  In 2010 we were away from home 16 weeks.  In 2012 I drastically lowered that number.  But in the past 2 weeks, we found ourselves on some unplanned trips to three different destinations 600+ miles away, and home again.  The children do MARVELOUS.  Someone said maybe its because they are living life in the moment... while I am sitting in the drivers seat, thinking about all I just did, and all I am going to have to do in the next few days.  Here are just a couple of tips that might help some mom out there, if you haven't already thought of it:

*For us, a DVD player is a lifesaver.  Whether on a scenic vacation or not, the dream of having everybody enjoy the scenery together only lasts a few miles.  Our kids don't get too many movies at home, so they stay intrigued in the car.  And you'd be surprised how much repetition they ask for.  You only need a couple of movies to keep em happy.

*Potty chair is the next lifesaver.  Because kids always need to use a toilet right after you've just passed the last rest stop for 86 miles.  We simply stage it next to the sliding door of our mini van.  A child can use it with the door shut for privacy, and then climb back to their seat.  We usually opt to toss waste into the weeds, since we are most often in remote places.  One friend suggested lining the potty bucket with a gallon ziploc bag (if it fits over yours).  Sealing it blocks odors, and throwing it away at the next garbage stop isn't much different than discarding a diaper.

*snacks.  I try to pack healthy, protein filled snacks without sugar to travel with.  Granola bars, crackers, cheese, raisins are favorites.  The kids also love the pureed veggie pouches we find at Target, a squeeze pack that is no mess and healthy.  We also always have a gallon of water along to refill our own water bottles; this could also help in an emergency!

*make sure the gas tank is full at a time you might think the baby/kids might sleep, because stopping for gas will always wake them up!

*if you are only staying one night somewhere on your way to a destination, its really nice to pack an "overnight" bag for everyone.  This contains pjs, tomorrow clothes, and toiletries.  Our overnight bag is getting larger every year, but we still find it nice to only have to grab one bag (well, plus the diaper bag and swim bag) when we are staying for a short time!

*probably my current favorite trick is to bathe the kids the night before travel, and dress them in loose fitting, comfortable travel clothes to sleep in.  In the morning, we simply carry sleeping kids to their car seats, and go.  I've found this really beats getting dressed later in the car or at McDonalds.
photo collage I made for grandma's funeral