Just Another Drive…

On our short drive to town, we pass by several canola fields.  I can’t decide which is more dramatic — the fields under a dark blue sky, or the fields contrasted with an ominous gray sky.  Both are spectacular.  I told Allison the new “job” of the shotgun driver is to grab my camera when we pass beauty — (of course, this is every drive, so once in a while!)

God, your Creation is MARVELOUS!!!

Father’s Day 2020

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to be with our “Pop” this Father’s Day… but the kids did make him cards with “hints” as to his present! (We also allowed him to build it himself once he came home… wasn’t that nice of us?)  Movie nights just got better!  Seriously, the popcorn is amazing and what is a theater without the smell of popcorn in the lobby?

I cannot wait to decorate our little mini kitchenette in the basement.  I have so many ideas. I’m thinking it might be wise to finish unpacking boxes before starting a project, though…

Happy Father’s Day to the best “Pop” ever!

Eat Me!

She wanted to bake cinnamon rolls, but we were missing three ingredients.  After some more searching, she decided on pinwheel cookies.  She wanted to make them completely by herself — which was great, because I didn’t have time to help her!  I peaked in at one point and saw the 2 perfect balls of dough — one white, and one pink.  She asked if I could help her with the rolling part.  “Nope.”  I came back a few minutes later to find marbleized “Eat Me” cookies!  So clever… Not pinwheels, but we all enjoyed eating them.  I only wished I hadn’t finished my second cup of coffee before they were done!!

Feelings…

I was sitting in my office working on my to-do list when the thunder boomed.  I looked out the open window to see some dark clouds rolling in.  From the kitchen, I overheard the kids eating their grilled cheese and telling Xavi it’s ok — the thunder is cool and won’t hurt him!

I grabbed my phone and went to the back porch where I snapped these three pictures.  While the pictures are beautiful, it occurred to me that they don’t really tell the full story.  Seeing the beauty is one thing, but hearing all the different birds harmonize through the thunder… feeling the slightly warm  summer breeze blow over me, and breathing in the fresh summer air all worked together to stir my soul.

I walked back in, where the kids’ conversation continued.  “Is there ever a day that’s not amazing here?”  (Obviously, they already forgot the toils of Monday!)   I had to agree with them, though…. Despite being surrounded by boxes and having spent 2 full weeks here without really getting out, we really do feel like we are living in paradise!

Monday…

  •  I woke up to find peony petals all over the floor.  (They sure were gorgeous while they lasted!)
  • Our new end tables for our bedroom came today — they were the wrong color!
  • The dog dug a hole under our neighbor’s fence; again!
  • The kids’ show practice ended abruptly with crying and yelling.
  • The cat threw up all over Natalie’s carpet.
  • I had to beg my boys to come on a nature walk with me.  (We didn’t even leave our property!)  One declared it boring, while the other complained that I was taking too many pictures of flowers and mushrooms and not of animals — that weren’t there!
  • It feels like a Monday — why, it IS Monday!

Never-the-less, we started our day with our Monday muffins.  Sierra chose strawberry jelly filled muffins from her AG cookbook, and we all loved them.  The weather is a perfect 75.  They sky, the fresh air, the trees… smile, smile, smile.  And, the empty boxes I had Malachi haul to the garage — also, big smiles!!!

We just finished our homemade pizza dinner, (because I forgot to defrost our meat this morning), and all the attitudes have improved.  (Maybe I’ll forget to defrost meat next time everyone is grumpy!  Or make more strawberry filled muffins?  Am I teaching my kids to feed their discomfort?!?!?)  The kids are headed down to the theater to kick back with Zootopia, (one of my favorite!), and I can’t decide if I will join them or sit on the front porch where the mix of sun and clouds and shadows cast from the trees is breath-taking!

Decisions, decisions…

One Week Here

In some ways it feels like we are on a short vacation, and in other ways it feels like we’ve always been here!  Really, I feel I have lost all track of time!  I had to really think about what day it was today, and then I had to think even harder to realize we arrived just one week ago today.

I SHOULD have spent more time unpacking…

or should I have?

In this one short week, I have…

  •  Begun baking again.  Mostly breakfast foods, but on this rainy afternoon some chocolate chip cookies sounded amazing!
  • Watched my son bike through countless mud puddles, as I jogged beside him down our favorite road.  (For those of you wondering, LEFT.  Always left!)
  • Spotted countless birds, including a red tailed hawk, robins, black beak magpies, killdeer, and two bald eagles.  OH!  And, 2 wild turkeys, which Boba almost yanked my arm off trying to chase!

  •  Watched as my kids explored the outdoors — biking our property, or running off to the neighbors.  Xavi spends about half his days jumping on the neighbors’ trampoline or riding their side by side!

  •  Let my boys go days without a shower before I realized they were filthy.
  • Gathered finger prints on the windows while the kids climbed onto the buffet and jumped from one mattress to another.
  • Bought a new mattress for Daniel and I!!!

  •  Tried a local coffee shop.
  • Set-up my coffee station so that I could enjoy my own coffee and our view in the mornings.
  • Walked to the neighbors to bring them muffins.
  • Sat on their old rocking chairs and listened to them tell us about local flowers, trees, and birds.  (Sweetest old couple on the planet!)

  •  Listened as the kids practiced their show each day for hours.
  • Watched said show in amazement that these were my kids — when did they learn to choreograph and dance?  (and get along!?!?!?)

  •  Stared at a rainbow for longer than I want to admit.
  • Chased Boba down this field as he chased a deer — 3 times already, now!  (I realized I don’t really have to chase her; she always comes back!)

  •  Watched as my peonies magically bloomed!
  • Picked some wildflowers and grass along with my peonies to bring inside.
  • Found out from neighbors that these were peonies!

  •  Picked up far too much fast food from town, (though it was close and yummy!)
  • Began cooking once I finally grocery shopped and unpacked pots and pans!

  •  Looked out the window to see kiddos in the distance (see, on the left?) multiple times a day.
  • Had my aunt over for coffee and unpacking

  • Ate far too many drumsticks by the fire pit.

There are dozens more pictures I could post and probably scores of thoughts I could record.  It’s been a busy, full week.  In between it all, we did, of course, begin to get unpacked.  The kids’ rooms are actually mostly done, though two closets need organizers and pictures need to be hung.  Our room is a pit and I am ok with that since I really haven’t been in there except to sleep.

Daniel is back to work, and when I talked to him today, I told him about my afternoon at the neighbors’ house, and then some long conversations on the phone connecting with a local friend.  “Basically, I got nothing done.”  I told him.

“Nothing?  I’d say building relationships is something!” he replied.  And, you know what?  He’s right!  So glad I married such a wise man!

The Hot Tub

I had intended to come home from dropping Daniel off at the airport and to spend the afternoon unpacking.  No sooner did I pull in than I announced I was napping.  Two hours later, I awoke and meandered to the kitchen, intending to start dinner.  A cereal box caught my attention and I decided to have a snack, first.  One by one, they all came in and asked to join me.  The next thing I knew, I was announcing cereal was our dinner!

The only thing better than relaxing in the hot tub after a long day of unpacking?  Sending the kids out and having a quiet house to myself!

Bonus:  The only dinner dishes I have to worry about tonight are cereal bowls!

(As I walked out to take pictures, I could hear them laughing and playing truth or dare!  Praying it doesn’t turn into fighting and tears.)

Oh!  And, this is a glimpse of our backyard.  Good thing green is one of my favorite colors!

My First Jog: (The “Wordy” Post)

Today begins day 4 of our new adventure.   I was able to find all the right ingredients to make my famous blueberry oatmeal pancakes for breakfast.  Malachi said he couldn’t wait to have a “real Mom” breakfast again!  The kids all exclaimed that they were better than ever.  I think it was because of our view!  We finished breakfast and watched our new church online with a cup of coffee.  I left the dishes in the sink and stepped over boxes to dig through my dirty pile of clothes to throw on an outfit I could go running in.  The last 2 mornings were spent walking the property with Daniel and the dog before the kids woke up.  I was tempted to do that once more, but my body was crying out to run, explore, and breathe hard.  I planned on going alone, but the dog noticed my outfit and began crying uncontrollably, so I grabbed the leash and we were off!

Coming out of our property, I prayed that I would never take this for granted; that my heart would never think it deserved the beauty that surrounded me.  I jogged past our neighbors’ cows lying under the shade, resting from a full morning of grazing.  I came to the corner of Shadow Pine Lane where our neighbor, Bob has his garden flourishing with flowers and his fruit tree orchard soaking in the sun’s rays.  I had a decision to make:  Turn right towards town , past more cows, the house with 3 horses, the one with 3 goats, and rolling hills — or — Turn left and explore new territory.  I turned left.

Before even turning, a car passed and waved.  “Oh yeah…” I thought.  “Everyone here waves!”  I waved back and began my exploration.  I couldn’t decide which I liked better: on my left, I had the forest.  Pine trees have long been my favorite.  I could look into the trees and imagine myself cutting a path to explore.  On my right were the fields.  Tall grasses blowing in the breeze, and a sky that took my breath away.  In the distance, farms, rolling hills, and beyond that huge mountain ranges dark blue.

Which were my favorite: the purple wildflowers or the yellow?  Did I like the old wod barn with the quilt hanging on it, or the giant red barn, freshly painted with an American flag blowing?  How could I choose between the little yellow birds or the giant hawk soaring above?

It rained for a moment, then disappeared.  The sky was a massive mix of bright blue, white puffy clouds, and dark gray.  The contrast was refreshing.  Could I run forever because I had been cooped up in a car for 4 days, or was it the fresh air and incredible scenery?

I finally turned around to jog back home.  I will certainly have sore legs tomorrow.  I may also need a second cup of coffee as I unpack this afternoon.  But, my heart is full.  My lungs are happy.  Even as I type, I pause and turn to look out the window every few minutes.  The beauty of creation speaks to me like nothing else!

What do you have for me here, God?  What do you have for our family?  Use us here!  Let us not become content to be on our own; that is not why you brought us here.  Let us share your joy with all those around us!!  As we sang in worship this morning, “We are here for You.  Come and do what You do!”

Can’t wait to show you more pictures.  I still have stories of packing, saying goodbye, traveling, and our first few days here.  For now, I hope I was able to paint a small picture for you of this place that has stolen my heart!

Praying Friends

It was suppose to be a surprise; but I blew it!  The leaders of the 5th/6th ministry at our church, which I have been a part of the last 5 years, drove by to say goodbye.  They called it a “Cara”van.  (Clever!) The signs were lovely.  Two dozen of my favorite donuts had me giddy.  Being able to say goodbye was amazing.  But, the thing that touched me most were the prayers.  To have a community who is willing to come, to get out of their cars, and to pray with you before you move is the biggest blessing!  It feels especially special in the midst of COVID and riots and chaos.  I know we will find new friends.  It will take time and effort to grow friendships deep.  But, we are committed to finding those we can pray with and pray for, believing that God hears every prayer and is faithful to answer.

Just a few hours before, our pastor prayed over our family after church.  Just a few hours later, our dear friends had us over for dinner and prayed over us before we left.  It was an emotional, but powerful day!!

Thank you for your prayers and love!!