Kindergarten

Since when is it legal for your baby to go to Kindergarten?
I mean, she is almost 6, but still!
Well, today that very thing happened.

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She was waffling back and forth between excited and quite nervous.

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A quiet house around here is a luxury, but sending the last child off to school… that has a bit of a different feel. No, I didn’t cry, if you wondered.

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Teaching her a little bit of pre-kindergarten taught me that it is a good thing she has someone else for her teacher.

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All of my children were privileged to have Carolyn for their teacher.
Carolyn has spent ten years perfecting this skill we would be happy to have her teach another ten!

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I went and dug up all of their Kindergarten photos.
Who are these babies?
Ten years ago we took a relaxing vacation and spent a few weeks in FL before we became school parents.
Madison was so excited about school and I remember the morning she went Reagan cried into her cereal because she couldn’t go along. Three years later Reagan was as happy as a lark to be going off to school and leaving the rest behind. Dakota was a bit more timid about going, but none were so worried about it as Kennedy. I’m quite sure she’ll survive the day.

I know her Mom will!
What is that sound I hear?
I hardly knew appliances made noise.

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Musings

I stare at this blank page like I stare at the vast empty months that will fill 2019. I know, I know, we have already finished the 987 days of January and are moving along and leaving the words ‘New Year’ behind.
A lot of you love to start a new year, set up goals for the future, and dream of all it will hold. I have realized lately that a new year scares me. I don’t like surprises. at all. The thought alone makes me twitchy. I want to know what is coming, I like to plan, plot and organize things. To look at 12 empty months is too much. I have to do 1 week or 1 month at a time to hold off the panic of the unknown.
I wonder sometimes, was I always this way or have the last few years changed me? Or does this simply come with increasing age? I am not sure. The older I get the more I try to figure myself out and the more I try, the more frustrated I get with the subject I am figuring out!
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Looking back, the holidays were hard months. With God’s grace, we survived. Christmas especially triggers many emotions and we end up enduring December instead of enjoying it.
When Christmas finally arrives, we enjoy time together immensely, but there is always the niggling thought in the back of our minds that he is missing. Along with that thought, we are extremely grateful for every minute we spend together and try not to take it for granted.

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Many December evenings when the dusk started turning dark, I would flip the light switch up and stare at the star hanging on the porch. It was gifted in memory of Tristan and every year I hang it again in his memory. Christmas was his favorite.

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Christmas day was mild and beautiful. We had fun hanging out at the cabin.

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When the sky glows red with the setting sun, you will find us outside watching.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

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“Christmas is the best but it’s not because of presents. It’s because of the birth of Jesus. Then see that cross by the star on my tree? That is for Jesus too.”
-Kennedy

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Philippians 4:14 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
John 15:5 for without me, you can do nothing.
2 Cor. 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you.

  When you face deep waters or deal with a thorn in the flesh, God has two ways to work in the situation. He can either remove the thorn or strengthen your shoulders.

The grace of God is sufficient to help you carry the load he has called you to bear. No matter what you face, no matter what waters God calls you to walk through, you can. Not on your own, sheer willpower will get you nowhere. Recognize your own insufficiency and draw from His. Only He gives the needed strength and sufficient grace.

“Great tribulation brings out the great strength of God. If you never feel inward conflicts and sinking of soul, you do not know much of the upholding power of God; but if you go down, down, into the depths of soul-anguish till the deep threatens to shut her mouth upon you, and then the Lord rides upon a cherub and does fly, yea, rides upon the wings of the wind and delivers your soul, and catches you away to the third heaven of delight, then you perceive the majesty of divine grace. Oh, there must be the weakness of man, felt, recognized, and mourned over, or else the strength of the Son of God will never be perfected in us.” (Spurgeon)

My grace is sufficient for you.
My: Jesus
Grace: God’s favor and love in action
Is: right now. not later. now.
Sufficient: plentiful. more than enough. more than we can imagine.
for you: Not just Paul writing this. but you. me. everyone.

A Hunting Saga

And so it was in the eleventh month of the year,
when the trees of the field had lost their leaves
and the harvest was gathered and stored,
a sudden illness of fever overtook mankind once more.
Lo, many were the bows, guns, and knives gathered
and much scheming of men did abound.

And all the swift-footed creatures of the forest
quieted themselves and turned their heads.
Then, lifting their noses they did sniff the air
and swiftly run for refuge and safety
from the cunning hunters that stalked them.

From generation to generation this saga continued,
men of old teaching children of youth,
line upon line, precept upon precept,
recounting tales of old and skills of new,
all for the cause of hunting the swift-footed deer.

And so it continued in the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
for behold, the father of the tribe had been taught
this skill also and was well versed in the ways of the wild.

Now it was on the morning of the first day,
that he did send messages unto his brothers,
for they too possessed knowledge and skills in this quest,
gathered from the teachings of their father.
And they went out and from dawn to dusk
did hunt and stalk their prey, making much to-do,
but in the end, all efforts were to no avail.
Though they were much grieved in their spirits
by this failure that had come to pass,
many were the stories thereof told.

Now, the children of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
listened in amazement and did cry aloud saying,
“Father, let it be so that we also may join you.
For as sure as the night is dark and the day is long,
we will be able to remain silent
and retain our body heat while sitting in the forest
awaiting the arrival of a swift-footed deer.”

And all the while the mother of the tribe
wondered in bewilderment that you should desire
such a thing when the comforts of home were so sweet.

So it was on the morning of the third day,
the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
did arise and prepared food for her household
before they should depart for their classes of learning.
For just as the dawn broke the eastern sky,
there was much hustling, bustling, and stirring about
amongst the children of the tribe.

And so it was that when his morning cup
of black brew was empty, the father of the tribe arose
and quietly left the cup upon the counter to be cleaned.
And standing for a moment did gaze out of the window,
and suddenly he began to call in quiet, frantic tones,
“Behold! There standeth within range,
a fatted doe, awaiting me!
Hide thyself from the windows
and speak with whispered words!”

Swiftly much ripping and racing about did occur,
but the mother of tribe merely raised
her eyebrows as she went about her business,
for she had heard this story before.

And as she called threats to her children to hurry,
there came a resounding, “BOOM!” from a window overhead.
And lo, how her heart did lurch in her chest
as she gasped in amazement from the sound.
Then much to her surprise, she heard a hiss from the stairs,
“The doe hath dropped, but another standeth nearby.
Bring now more ammo and that my daughter
may also harvest one!”

Now I tell you of a truth, that in all the world,
eye hath not seen nor ear heard
the flurrying scurry of all wild things moving at once
as did occur in the moments at hand.
For such a time as this, not one soul
was about to be left behind and all gathered in the bedroom
to behold the sight before their very eyes.

The father of the tribe, as his father before him,
instructed the daughter with care of sighting and aiming.
Tense words were whispered and many movements later,
we closed our ears and jerked to the thundering boom.
Much laughter and merriment did follow
as the children of the tribe cheered for two in one morning,
and none less than from the bedroom window.

But the mother of the tribe not caring as much as her offspring,
was not to be deterred from her mission
and hustled and bustled them around, calling out threats,
and behold, they were only eight minutes late to their classes.

And so it was in the fall of this year,
another story was played out, to be told and retold
for generations to come of the father and daughter
who stalked and took their prey from the comforts of home,
just as the mother of the tribe knew was the best place to be.

R hunts

Thankful

We are all thankful, aren’t we? Especially around Thanksgiving!

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
― William Arthur Ward

I had been keeping an eye on a few thankful lists throughout November and loved seeing what popped up on them. Intrigued, I started a mental list for myself. Halfway through I forgot everything I had on it and started whining. So, I’m making a list of a few things to help me to remember.
Obviously, this was started back then and we’ll just pretend it is still November but who says we can’t be thankful in December.

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  Grandparents who love my kids and in return the kids can’t wait to see them come.
I told my girls I hope my grandkids are just as happy to see me someday. I received the appropriate eye roll for that comment.

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color – sight – fall – beauty
I drove through this tunnel four times a day!

Crispy weather
Warm and cozy never-ending project of a house
kids crowded around the kitchen table
cookies & milk for those kids
a noisy house – my kids are fit and fine
Dentists – because we sure use their services
Health – because when you aren’t…

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coffee, all the coffee, and especially coffee ice cream
all things apple and pumpkin
brunch with family
pretty food plates
I may as well just say food! Give me all the good food!

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memories – What we have without these?
Jesus – Where would we be without him?
grace – In need of this every day!

church | community
Invest in the people around you. Care. Put forth an effort. Love. Reach out. Go the extra mile. Be their servant. Do the little things. Tell them what you appreciate.

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My Mr. Fix-it Handy-man husband
The list of things I cannot, or do not, or will not try to do because I know he will do them is endless.

spilled milk early in the morning = clean floor
electricity – because I hate when it goes off
the smell of fresh bread
Saturday = everyone home
Christmas cards in the mail
warm sweaters & blankets

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Funny nephews
This guy makes me laugh every time I am with him.

A School for my kids – every time I have to help with homework, you can just find me over here whispering, “Thank you, Jesus, for teachers. Bless them real good, would ya please because I need them in my life!”

Friends who turn 40 – So we can get together for good food and conversations
My Sunday school class last year – many good conversations
Teaching the Youth girl’s class this year – I did not want to be thankful for this but it will make me dig into the Bible and hopefully learn new things.
Appliances in my house – because I would not have made a good 1800 woman
A rainy day – because Christmas music, coffee, and candles

Reagan's art

Talents – I love to see an interest take root and a talent develop. God-given for sure because they didn’t get baking and artistic skills from me. Reagan drew this for Grandma to hang in the cabin.

My Children – I am thankful for each one of them. Sometimes I sit and wonder at the fact that this is me with my crew, and when did they get to be this age, and how are we having actual conversations now, and what happened to the babies, and for real, I am not old enough to be at this stage, am I?

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 time at home with my people
remembering Tris

loud and fun conversations in a kid-pack living room
a day spent at my sister’s house – if you live close to your family, you cannot fully appreciate this one. It is a rarity for us.

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Time Together
quiet conversations
A Dad who says “God is good, no matter what!”
Cousins having fun
Photographs
Life
Little things

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 Hope and Heaven someday

A Masterpiece

You are a masterpiece.
You are His work of art,
His treasure, His prized possession.

With care, The Potter works the clay
and begins a transformation of you.
Tenderly shaping and forming,
you are molded into His image.
He sculpts and masterfully designs
and with intricate beauty,
crafts you into a piece for His glory.

Along with the spinning of the wheel,
there is scoring, trimming and carving.
The ribbing and scraping of His hand
bring sorrow, pain, and tears.
He is shaping and stretching you
far beyond your comfort zone,
all to be molded for His glory.

As the roar of fiery kiln surrounds you
and you feel the heat against your skin,
your heart cries out with pain,
“Jesus, it hurts! It is too much.”
But The Potter knows that raw clay
will crack and soon crumble under pressure
unless it is heated by the fire.
When it feels overwhelming and your tears fall,
know that He is near, He feels it too,
but with His loving hand
is conditioning you to be used for His glory.

As He works, He perfects your place in this world,
your family, your life, your story.
Each refining moment, every point in time,
show the marks of his gentle touch.
He fine tunes and carves away the rough edges,
He sands, smooths, and polishes,
bringing your shape to its ultimate beauty
to bring honor and glory to Him.

Throughout your life, He will continue to refine,
burnish and polish your character into his Image.
You are an ongoing work of art,
never complete to just hang on a wall.
You are a beautiful instrument meant for use,
fit for the glory of the One who created you.

You are perfectly you, the only you,
just the you He meant you to be.

You are a masterpiece.
You are His work of art,
His treasure, His prized possession.

potter's hands

October, Teenagers, and more

Does life ever slow down? I keep thinking one of these days it will. So far, my hopes and dreams have been dashed every week. Does it keep getting worse as you get older? If so, I’m gonna need a seatbelt for this roller coaster in about 5 years.

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A reoccurring comment I’m hearing lately, “You need to post more often.” Really? I tend to think that my ramblings are of the boring variety and not worth typing out. My brain feels a bit rattled the last while.

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Do you have a church family? Do you like your church family? You should find and invest in one that you really like. It is worth it.
We are blessed to be part of a group of people who enjoy each other, get along well and love spending time together. We went church camping in September and I was reminded again of how much I like these people. There is always someone available to visit with, play a game, sit around the fire, have deep conversations, or a great hearty laugh. Age is usually not an issue. There are listening ears, hearts that care, and a genuine concern for each person. We are a family, not perfect people, only perfected in Jesus.

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October used to be one of my favorite months. It has been less of a favorite in the last few years, but it has also taught me simple lessons.

You will often find the bluest sky and the fluffiest white clouds in October. So often the sun will pass behind these clouds and be hidden for a time. When I see this I am often reminded that although the sun is hidden during a season of life, I know it is still shining.

The leaves start turning red and golden yellow. They are facing the worst point in their short lives, but yet these leaves shine with beauty, pointing people to their creator.

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I woke early on the morning of October 7, my mind going back three years and I allowed myself to remember. I soon crawled out of bed and took my coffee to the porch. Around seven, Dakota came out wrapped in a blanket and we talked about Tris. I was amazed at all the things he remembered. A lot of things he really does remember, but some he has “memories” of because he has heard the stories so often.

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Fill your children’s minds with memories!

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Squirrel!

Last week we traipsed out into the woods and took a few photos of these two.
They crisscross between laughing friends and snapping enemies, essentially making them frenemies.

I tell them to forgive me, I really don’t know what I’m doing with them because I’ve never had teenagers before, much less two at a time.

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This one just turned 13.
Oh, you remember yesterday when she was in her terrible twos,
pulling all kinds of stunts and scaring me half the time.
Yeah, me too!

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Shoot me your organization tips.
I need to go through every single room in the house and purge. I am not a hoarder, but neither am I minimalist and I think it would do me good to err on the side of less.

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Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.

A Legacy

When you cross over Jordan, all is left behind,
of wealth, fame, and fortune, nothing is taken along.
Yet, in all that which is left behind,
the thing of most value is not of this world
but the legacy written by your life.

Tris Katelyn

He was a friend.
He left a legacy of friendship where ever he went.
If you were his family or a relative, you were important.
If your interest was in tractors, jeeps, dirt bikes,
mechanical or all things greasy, he was ready to talk.
If he had nothing in common with you,
he would think of something to say to draw you out
and pull you into the conversation with him.
No one was too small, no one was too big,
each person deserved his attention and care.
He called you by name, got on your level,
and really listened to what you had to say.
He was a friend who cared.

He was positive.
He left a legacy of being cheerful and encouraging.
His outlook on life was happy and upbeat
and he was always looking on the bright side.
He was often heard singing and whistling while he worked.
His reply to a farmer with a breakdown,
“Not a problem! I‘ll have ya fixed up in no time.”
Every day was a great day to be alive
and tomorrow was sure to be a good one too.

He was humble.
He left a legacy of quietly using his God-given gifts.
No one knew how wise he was, he never told them.
There was little he could not do, little he did not know,
but few people realized how much he knew.
If you posed a question, it was never too small,
never beneath his level of expertise.
He worked with you and around you
until you were left believing you could do it all.
He never thought himself above someone,
but always on their level.

He was bigger than life.
He left a legacy of living life to the fullest.
Whether it was tearing into a motor, restoring a jeep,
or loving his little family, he gave it his all.
It was all or none, full steam ahead with excitement,
ready to take on and conquer whatever was next.
He worked and played equally hard,
late at night under a combine out in a muddy field
or playing kickball with the kids on the front lawn,
each was worth the best of his time and effort.

He was funny.
He left a legacy of spreading laughter and smiles.
He could tell the best jokes and stories
to which a crowd of people would always respond.
His family saw a side of him most people never knew.
Wrapped up like a burrito and snoozing on the floor,
whispering something dumb in your ear in a crowd of people,
slurping coffee loudly with a sigh, eating out of the bowl,
telling a story with great enthusiasm or singing with gusto,
there was always something to make us smile.

He was selfless.
He left a legacy of caring more for others than himself.
If there was work to do, he was the first to help.
If it was midnight and you called, he would come,
or he was just getting home from work, “I’ll be right over.”
He would answer his phone day and night,
always willing to let a hand because you were worth his time.

He was gracious.
He left a legacy of being considerate to all,
no matter who you were or how you treated him.
His kindness and thoughtfulness were well known.
Farmers in his world of business still remark
about his care and attention for them.
Even when he had more to do than could be done,
he stopped, listened and cared about each one.

He was steady.
He left a legacy of dependability and steadfastness.
He was a strong tower for his wife and children.
They leaned on him for his strength and confidence,
in return, he delighted in being their safe refuge.
No matter what storms of life beat around them,
they knew they could trust his quiet constancy.

He had faith.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.
His life bore fruit from the core of his heart,
his character and qualities were witnesses
of a heart which was motivated by a love for Jesus.
He was a man of unstoppable spirit,
passionately dedicated to Jesus and living life.
And when his days were ended, he had fought a good fight
and he finished his race with faithfulness.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.

When you cross the Jordan, you leave a legacy behind.
Will it be a legacy worth leaving?

legacy