Tuesday, April 29, 2014

don't get distracted!

On March 17, I left sick kids with a babysitter who has already had chickenpox, and was on my way to a physical therapy appointment to address muscular issues following the truck accident.  My girls were aware that it was St Patrick's Day, and asked if there was a parade or anything in town.  They LOVE any reason for a celebration (and candy).  I thought there probably was, but I didn't personally have any interest, and wasn't going to take sick kids anywhere.  I rushed through the day, checking off the lists, adding 'the origin of St Patrick's Day' research to my agenda. 

So anyway, I was on my way to this appointment and didn't calculate the time it would take for traffic to be rerouted because of the parade going on Main St.  I saw lots of kids, and lots of green.  At one stoplight, I was amazed to see the quantity of tents put up, providing makeshift beer gardens.  There were banners for every brand of beer canvassing the streets.  I saw old men rushing around like ants to prepare, and folks flocking to these temporary shelters to drink green beer.  My heart was stricken with so much grief, like one of those moments you feel like you can't breathe.  

My mind raced through... how different St Patrick's Day is from its roots... how it wasn't a drinking holiday until the 70's... how the clover was originally used by St Pat to describe the trinity-- and how far our culture has gotten away from that.  None of those people flocking to beer tents cared; for them it was just an excuse to party.  On a Monday afternoon.  I was overwhelmed with a sick feeling for our culture.  The parade I passed by was full of children ~ are they just learning to follow in these adults' footsteps?  Sure, its fun to dress in green for a day.  I did that when I was young.  But it seems that in this society, getting pinched for not wearing green turns into the assumption you'll drink when you're older.  That's where the current will carry you if you don't stand up.

Along with this sick feeling came a flood of thoughts that I wanted to share with my children.  I don't want to blindly have them participate in everything everybody else does, just because everybody else does it.  I also don't want to reject celebration in the name of holiness.  I don't want to raise self righteous kids.  So I decided to tell them exactly what came to mind. 

When I got home, I described the scene I had seen to them.  I told them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing green on St Patrick's Day.  There is nothing wrong with parades and clovers and celebration.  But in this life, there are sooooooo many things that want to take our focus off Jesus.  The celebration of the birth of Jesus has been replaced with tradition, consumerism, and stress.  The crucifixion and resurrection holiday has been replaced with bunnies and jelly beans.  The holiday commemorating a man who preached many people to salvation has turned into a embrace of green beer and a threat of being pinched.  Is it wrong to celebrate our nation with stars, stripes and fireworks in July?  No!  But we should definitely remember the God who made it a great nation, without whom we would be nothing!  Most importantly, Jesus may come today!  Every prophecy has been fulfilled that opens the door for our Savior to come back, just like he said he would!

So, I told my kids... don't get distracted!!   There are a LOT of distractions in this life.  The enemy is pulling very hard to get us distracted from God.  To worship the creation rather than the creator (Romans 1).  So we made up this little clapping beat where we say together, "Don't get distracted!"  I will probably repeat this mantra with the children every holiday that comes around.  Enjoy the celebration.  Enjoy the holiday.  Enjoy the birthday.  But don't get distracted from the fact that 

God gave you everything you have
"every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows"  James 1.17

...that you are in dire need of a Savior
"the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"  Romans 6.23

...that Jesus paid the price 
"It is finished"  John 19.30

...that we are headed to heaven!
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me... if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going."  John 14.1-4

"Instead, they were longing for a better country-- a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."  Hebrews 11.16

If there is anything distracting you from the gospel today, I urge you to lay it down for Christ's sake.  

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- 
his good, pleasing and perfect will."  
Romans 12.2

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2013 review

I found this in my draft box ~ and I have a feeling that was meant to be! 
As 2014 has been full of trials so far, it is perfect for me to reflect on God's goodness, summer's brightness, and the fact that
"Every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows." 
James 1.17

We thank The Lord for many blessings in 2013 ~ we are constantly showered by His love grace!

For us, 2013 began with a very happy reunion of all of Adrian's family here at our house. We missed Uncle Stephen, but everybody else was accounted for under one roof for a few days!

In the spring, Ella and Tessa participated in the community track & field program. They loved it, and learned a lot about the events.
Tessa at the start of a dash (3rd from left)
Ella's hurdle race!
May and June found us on a trip to Alaska with Uncle Phil! We were awed by God's marvelous creation, and the weather was completely spectacular. We made stops in Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage. It has been 8 years since we had visited our old home of Skagway, and we promised not to let it be that long before we get back again!
experiencing the Alaska Marine Highway

a grey SE AK day

Mendenhall glacier

Spring in Juneau

flying into Anchorage
In June, our 13 year old black lab mutt, Layla, came with Gramma Mary for a visit for Jaci's birthday weekend. We decided to keep her for a couple of weeks, and weeks turned into months... so we are glad to have Layla back as part of our family again!
my favorite pic of Layla, ever!

In July, Anna began looking for a puppy on craigslist, thinking it would take months to find the "right one". Only a few days into it, a photo of a fluffy white puppy melted her heart and she began researching the breed (Great Pyrenees) It seems that this breed had everything right: large size, gentle, and protective of kids and farm animals. After research, she began campaigning to bring this already 4 month old puppy home. After a weekend in Anaconda for the 4th of July, we brought the puppy home and named her Aspen. She seems to have put an extra bounce in Layla's arthritic step, and we all love her cheerful personality. I've never seen her happier than when the snow fell, and she adores being with the kids.
Summer months we dabbled with "unschooling" method, and loved it. The kids spent HOURS on the trampoline that the neighbors gifted us and HOURS in the sandbox that Adrian made for them. We were amazed at their "out of the school room" projects, which included fishing, Bible study, piano composition and percussion, whittling sticks with a Swiss Army knife, crocheting, knitting, making bracelets, rhymes, trampoline, bikes, scooters, swimming, playing with friends, puppy training, raising tadpoles to frogs, caterpillars to butterflies, and a lemonade stand with bracelets and rocks for sale!  Summer was brimming with activity with family bike rides, picnics, folfing, hikes, and exploring 9 nearby lakes.
rocks + water = bliss

camping on the trampoline!

amazed by metamorphosis

lake fun!

can't count the hours...

Aunt Sandy was nearby for a few weeks!!!

family outings
In September, all 3 girls spent 3 weeks in a cross country program. We were amazed by the agility of each one, and saw improvement in their duration and ability to run long distances!!

Tessa- center of photo, black pants

Ella - just left of center, blue jogging suit
In October we bought 2 miniature horses (mare, Stella and stallion, Dice) and had a fence installed. Yes, in that order.  The fence company was months later than they promised.

We made a trip to Wilsonville for Thanksgiving and got to see a lot of family there. We were also happy to welcome our first Doland cousin, Charlotte Rae to the world the day before Thanksgiving!
Adrian harvested two deer to keep our freezer full for the year to come. December has provided an opportunity to slow down the pace, thankfully. The short days and cold have given us good reason to bake, play family games and get a bit more sleep! 

  All year long, we enjoyed worship at CCFV, met great new friends, and hosted a Friday night Bible Study. On New Year's Day we traveled ​​to WA for our best friend Taylor's wedding!  There, we enjoyed the best of Seattle with grandparents and friends!

the definition of beauty!

And now, some personal notes:

My favorite part of the year was Aspen, Layla, Dice and Stella! I'm glad to be able to go out and play with them. --Ella
#1 big sister!
You should come over and meet our new pets and see our fence and stay for dinner sometime. And I just wanted to say that we went to Alaska and we had a very fun time. I had my birthday in Alaska and it was really fun. --Tessa
huckleberry hands!
 I miss Thomas and Noah and Madeline. And I miss Taylor and Robby. I hope you have a good time on your trips and stuff. -- Jaci (As I recounted the highlights of the year, Jaci exclaimed, "We are rich!" Right on, chica!!) 
always writing...


I love Alaska because there's bears! I love doing my school. Thank you for coming to our house Taylor and Robby. I am hoping for Taylor to be good and not be sick for her to go to the wedding with Robby.

"Ba! Ba!" -- Orion (anything round is a ball, and he uses his limited sound effects to communicate exactly what he wants).   
mmmm, squash!

ready to go!

tippy toes
Adrian has been with Bonneville Power Administration for 6 years, and in his current position for 2 years already. He enjoys the variety of office and field work, and has a great crew of guys to work with.  He has picked up the guitar again in the last year, filling our house with some great worship music!  He keeps busy evenings and weekends being a great dad and checking off the never ending fix it list.  


I am blessed beyond description to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, wife to the handsomest godly man and mom to 5 spectacular kids.  I continue my job as principal, secretary, janitor, school nurse, lunch lady and one room school teacher at Pheifer Homeschool. Even though each day requires an insurmountable quantity of time and energy, I daily prove that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength! I also remind myself that there is nothing I'd rather be doing with the fleeting moments of life (well, except sitting on the couch eating bon bons). For 2014, my greatest wish is that the deepening wrinkles on my face will be more smile lines and less frown lines!

May you share the deep peace that comes from knowing Jesus, and may He be the central part of your every day! 

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain... Psalm 102.25

moon rise


night's work + dew