Monday, February 25, 2008

Snowy Monday, Weekend Hike, and random stuff

Its snowing wet Sierra like snow here today - got an additional 4-6 inches already. Makes me a bit nostalgic for those other mountains, but I'll get over it! It is amazing, though, how different two mountain ranges can be in so many ways! You've seen me comment on missing Oak Trees, but its really more than that! Gotta love both ranges, but also am always missing which ever one I'm not currently residing in.

Yesterday Jansse and I took an afternoon opportunity to go for a hike, just the two of us. He really wanted to get up to the "second bridge" along the creek, someplace he'd never been to before. It ends up being approximately 5 miles round trip, be he did it. Here he is, reaching his goal!
The, on the way back down he did a lot of playing and sliding on the snow - I should say thin layer of snow over ice from the warmer weather last week. Here is the set up run:
Then the ready to jump:
Hit the knees:
And come to a bit of a crashing stop!

He loved every minute of it.

Now, a couple of quick updates: In my last post I mentioned Wyatt, my cousin's son. He's home now, and with his very supportive family. They continue to need prayers as they learn more about controlling his diabetes with diet and exercise to help the insulin be most effective and to help his blood sugars be stabilized. But, let me tell you, as I expected, they are rock solid in faith that this will be do-able and that God has somethings to teach them as they go through this process.

Last Wednesday (my last post) was a . . . well, lets call it a bad day, although it had some joyful moments. Anyway, it didn't end with that post. Woke up in the middle of the night with a lower G.I. illness that does not need details here, except to say I lost several hours of sleep. And, unknown to me at the time, a friend died that day. Pat Goldsworthy was a dear woman I knew from church. She had struggled with cancer for some time, but she also had a real hope in going to see Jesus - and her husband who made the trip home before her. She will be missed.

I counted up, and in the last six months we've had 16 days without company. That is not very many. But, starting tomorrow evening, we will have a chance to increase that number some. Yes, our current guest has found someplace else to live, and we will be a quiet family of three once again. That will be good! And, when this young man moved in my biggest goal was to have him move out without some horrible argument being the triggering event. I don't think he's ever left a household without that, and we did it (unless something terrible happens in the next 24 hours). That is a gift from God. And I will give thanks!

So, busy week with a fundraiser at Jansse's school and a couple of dinner dates. But all is looking well, and we are excited to see what is around the corner for us - after a couple good nights sleep, of course!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rough Road Today!

This photo is from Monday, and it is a beautiful scene from along a road Andy and I walk/run along together. He runs to where he wants, turns around and heads back. Meanwhile I walk up the road, and when he gets back to me, I turn around and we walk together. Works out well.
Anyway, this was not a rough road. It was a beautiful walk with lots of signs of spring - even though it is still a full four weeks away.
The ROUGH ROAD came today. Started out with a bit of a tiff between Andy and I regarding the wisdom of making plans to keep Jansse up a third night in a row tonight to go visit his cousins who are visiting from California. I won't tell you any of those details, just to say we were lovingly disagreeing, and it didn't make for the greatest first thing in the morning conversation.
Then, Andy started the car and the truck so he could go to court and I could take Jansse to school - we needed to leave about the same time. And then guess what! He pulls out of the gate just as my car died sitting in the driveway - I hadn't even gotten out of park yet. Just stopped working. Ugh! I'm running across the field trying to catch him as he's turning out the mouth of the driveway and getting ready to barrel down the ROAD. I'm sure I looked a fright: fat lady running as fast as she can, yelling and waving her arms as she went, hurdling drifts of snow, and splashing in puddles created by the melting snow, trying to catch the attention of that white truck which seems to be accelerating rather than slowing down to pay attention to her performance. Fortunately, I was successful. Then, as we are shouting across the fence and through the truck window with me gasping for air from my unplanned 100 yard sprint, I told him my car had died. Would you believe that loving, intelligent husband of mine said "No it didn't, I just started it for you." Hmmm. He must be right! I was just a bundle of jiggling fat in all the wrong places, acting like I'd escaped from a mental hospital just to give the neighbors a good laugh this morning - you know, preparing for April Fools Day or something. Hurumph!
So, Jansse gets to go to school with Papa, and I stay home to call AAA and meet the tow truck driver - didn't I do this for the truck just oh, say less than 90 days ago?

Oh, yes, I see that I did. Even had the same tow truck driver way back then. Well, anyway, I arrange to have the car towed away, having been warned by the driver of the tow truck that this could be a very expensive fix, based on the symptoms, but, you know, if I'm lucky it will only be the alternater. So, I'm prepared that we may be earning quite a few "frequent flier miles" in the next few days as we get the car repaired.

Then, I get a call from Andy that he was running so late that he decided to take Jansse to court with him and then take Jansse to school late. But then, Jansse fell asleep on the way to the court, indicating that indeed, he had been up too late the previous two nights, and the winner of the tiff two hours earlier was the one advocating that he needed to stay home and go to be early tonight. Plus, with the car not working, a trip down to Big Sky was not really an option, so we wouldn't have to cancel Bible Study Potluck in order to go visit family from out of town, and we could attempt to have a slower pace at life. I thought of it as God letting us know how he felt about the whole situation, and us getting a forced slow-down.

Whew! The morning was off to a good start, don't you think? Then, God intervened to slow us down even more - Bible Study was canceled.

So, by mid day, here we were, all home, enjoying a bit of a slower pace. Jansse was out digging in the mud and snow, and Andy, knowing he had to go to court in another town tomorrow, decided to change the oil on the truck. He did manage to spill it all over, and get it on his shirt, but that is to be expected I guess. And, true to form, Jansse decided to cut wood, and then felt that his ax was not sharp enough - that child always wants just a little more improvement with his tools, to make the job easier. So, Andy started up Daniel's grinder, and gave Jansse a bit more sharp. Now, isn't that a cool dad!

But, the grinder did not think it had done enough work just sharpening the ax. So, after Andy turned it off, as Andy was pushing it back into its place next to the wall, but while the wheel was still spinning, it took a bite out of Andy's thumb. . . . . Okay, did you catch that? Put another way, Andy's thumb got caught in the moving grinding wheel, and he lost a pretty good sized chunck of flesh. So, calmly, but quickly, he came into the house, we threw some iodine solution on the gaping hole in his left thumb, and then all loaded up into the truck ("Thank You God that the oil change was complete and the truck was ready to go!") and headed off to Urgent Care.

As we drove there, Andy explained very nicely to Jansse about how this is a lesson that until the grinding wheel has come to a complete stop you don't touch it. So, all of you now know that rule, right?!


The doctor said no need to do stitches since the two edges of the wound were never meant to touch and the fact that the missing chunk included some of the nail bed made stitching it together a pretty tough thing to do. Just let it heal, scar tissue will fill in the gap some, and the thumb will always have a story to tell. A couple weeks of bandaging, and a full month or two of healing, and it will look funny but work fine. It really does look like it's been notched. But that is so much better than being a stump, as it could easily have been. God is good! He protected bone and nerves and tendons and the muscle needed to keep that thumb functioning. We are thankful.

Since Urgent Care is just across the hall from where our friends Steve and Denise have their physical therapy practice, we just stopped in and said hello. They pointed out what a nice outfit Andy was wearing - running tights, a running shirt, and a big old flannel plaid shirt that was covered in oil stains. Yep! Just be glad he was wearing his running shoes and not the muck boots he usually wears to change the oil - that is a real look to avoid with the tights tucked into the muck boots and big plaid flannal over shirt hanging down like a mini-dress.

We also got the news this afternoon that my cousin's oldest son, who is 4 1/2 years, was rushed to the hospital today, with blood sugar levels somewhere around 385, when normal is 100. So, yes, he is diagnosed with diabetes as of today, and will be in the hospital for a few days while they get him stablized and teach his parents how to do all the things that go along with having a diabetic child. It breaks my heart for all the life changes and risks that this brings about, but I'm thankful that God has provided so much information on how to manage this disease. Our prayers are going out to the whole family as they face this crisis and the changes it brings to their lifestyle. We love my cousin and her family as if they were our siblings, and Wyatt is the sweetest little guy ever. Fortunately, they have so much faith that I know they are already resting in the assurance that God knows what he is doing.


To console ourselves from this day, we got pizza for dinner and made rootbeer floats - something we do maybe once every two or three years. And we began our meal with a prayer for Wyatt, and thanksgiving that Andy still has 85% of his thumb, and acknowledgement that God does indeed know what is right, and a little slow down will make the ROUGH ROAD a bit easier to navigate.

Just to keep the evening consistant with the day, Bo the puppy got the stomach flu and threw up all over the living room. It was all we could do not to burst out laughing at the appropriateness of this for today. For a puppy he sure acted like a little child - he whinned and cried as his stomach was obviously hurting. He kept trying to pull his bed closer to Andy, like he wanted to cuddle. Then he jumped up, headed to the door, and puked. Poor little guy is sleeping now, whinning and puking has stopped, and he'll probaby be fine by tomorrow. That's the way dog flu is, right?

By the way, the car is fixed already, and we were "lucky" or as we like to think of it, blessed, because the problem was the alternater, and cost a lot, but not so much that we couldn't make it work without having to rethink our entire financial future.

I'm listening to sermons from canidates for a pastor position at our church, and today, while none of the crisis things were happening, I heard one that mentioned Romans 5:1. I'm so glad I heard that today. Here's the verse: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Well, I've read that verse many a time before, focusing on the justification through faith part, but today, the idea of having peace with God was stunning. And, I commented to Andy, as we were driving to Urgent Care that even though the day was not full of worldly peace I was so thankful to know that I'm at peace with God because of faith. That is a comfort!

So, I'll leave you with this other lovely photos from our walk a couple of days ago. Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

February Book Club - Designing With Details

It was a great fun meeting tonight! There was much laughing, some munching, and lots of encouraging and oohing and ahhhing. I managed to lose my notes, so I can't tell you what page inspired each of the projects, but I'll try to remember as much detail as I can. Unfortunately, there was not good lighting in the back room, so my photos do not do any of these projects the justice they deserve. In fact, the photo of my project is completely unusable! Many photos were unusable, but here is what we've got, with comentary below the photos:

Jan was inspired just by the whole concept of details, and she put that all together in a mini-album for her son. It is so beautiful! Remember, the colors are just not right because the lighting was poor!

Barb shared this project from an on-line scrapbook class! It is really cute, even if it isn't from the Designing with Details book.

This is another project from Barb, this time it is inspired by the Designing with Details. It features her daughter Sarah and her dancing experience one year.

Here's the detail on the pull-out from this page.
And one more from Barb, inspired by a layout from Marlette, one of the Autumn Leaves Desinging With authors. Barb commented that making these metal rimmed tags is done with a tool she does not enjoy, and doing this did not change her mind about that. Oh well, glad she went to the trouble for this one!
And, if I remember right, this is a page that Barb really likes because it got her a nice complement from her on line instructor. It is also nice and bright and full of great photos!
This is Rosie's layout, which is not from Designing with Details, but actually from last month when we did Nic Howard's "That's Life." Rosie was not hear that meeting, and brought this to show us this month. It has some moving parts, shown below.

Rosie let us know that doing this detail on the photo did not go as she expected. She was dissatisfied with the way the stamp ink went on, so she went over the image with a black pen. Way to recover Rosie, because it looks great now!

This is from one of our two new members tonight, Christi -sorry, don't know her last name! She says she is a card maker, not a scrapbooker, but then she got a great grand-niece recently, and decided to use this BoBunny book to make a little scrapbook. It isn't finished yet, but it has lots of details.

Here you can see the baby that inspired Christi to step out of cards for this project.

But, fortunately for us, Christi allowed herself to be inspired by the Designing with Details in her card making, and she had this to share with us.
Yes, those are little die cut tags that were alternated to make the closure on this cute card!

It is a wonderful little card!

These next three layouts are by Rachelle, and they are of her with her husband before they got married. The photos are beautiful! The layouts are beautiful! My photos suck! Sorry to say, but you are not able to enjoy the beautiful purple and plum colors that she used because I just can't seem to get them edited in a way that shows them off. My bad!
Rachelle said she loves ribbon, and was inspired by a page in the book that did strips of ribbon as the details to highlight the photos. This is just beautiful!

And this one I remembe was from page 38 of the book. It is a great one! I only wish youcould see the colors as they really are!

So, that does it for this month. There were three people who came who for one reason of another did not have a project to share, and we love them anyway. Oh! And Kristii L. had a great layout that she was finishing up by putting blanket stitching around it with floss. She ran out of floss before the meeting was over, and did not want it photographed without being finished. But trust me, in true Kristii style, it was beautiful and full of oh so many lovely details to look at.
So, for next month we are taking inspiration from Designing with Texture, an old but really great book! Kind of a classic, you might say. That meeting will be on March 17th.
The, on April 21st we will be presenting projects inspired by The Designing With Recipe Book, a new publication that many of us are very excited about. On May 19th we'll be showing work inspired by "Imperfect Lives," a Memory Maker's publication. Then, yes, we know our June book already too. It will be another Memory Maker's publication called "Home Decor." There are so many books to select from! And so much art to be inspired by! Join us if you'd like. There is not cost outside of the cost of the book. We always meet the third Monday of the month, and we have a great time!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One Audacious Dog

Okay, so I had to look up how to spell "Audacious" in the dictionary, and while I was at it, I checked to make sure it was really the right word - Yep! It mean "intrepidly daring; recklessly bold; contemptuous of law, religion, or decorum." Well, as this photo shows, that's our Bo all right! At almost six months old, he pretty much tries to run the place! As you can probably guess, he does not belong on the couch, and certainly not on the pillow I put there to lay my head on. But, we all have to admit, it is sort of cute! Just look at the way his ear just flops above his head! And he's using the pillow well - good posture Bo!

Enjoy your evening! Believe me, Bo will not be when I make him move from that comfy spot he picked!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Week of Wind Changes the Landscape

The views as I drive along Gooch Hill Road are so stunning all of the time. This week, they offered an opportunity to catch just a glimps of the wind - see the haze of flying snow close to the ground. This has been a week characterized by wind and drifting snow, and it has had a profound impact on us.

We've spent time plowing driveways that were covered with drifts, although barely a flake has flown through the sky. The roads have been covered with drifts, taking them down to single lane in many areas near our home. The county plow has been busy, clearing the drifts, and creating high berms along the road. For us, that meant the knocking down of much of our front fence and the resulting escape of both of our dogs. That made for an emotional afternoon as Jansse panicked, Andy and a neighbor searched, and we all celebrated to see them come running across a neighbor's field just before sunset. For Andy it also meant hours of digging, plowing, and using the snow blower to attempt to make the fence adequate to contain the dogs. We have to dig out the gate almost daily, which is a bit of an oddity as the snow piles up there, while the lawns become free of snow at all in some areas. The landscape here is unpredictable at this time, to say the least!

The winds have also blown in other ways. It brought in a cold/illness for Jansse, leaving him home from school one day this week. It brought a birthday celebration characterized by children's laughter and a fun book exchange. It brought a visit with Grandma and Grandpa and cousins. It brought some career opportunities we never thought of. It brought an opportunity to participate in a scrapbooking contest, but also the questions of "Am I good enough?" and "Is it conceit to think that I even have a chance?" It brought emotionally heavy cases for Andy, which are such a complement to Andy's skills, but also such a burden as he is more and more involved with dealing with people who have found a home in the darker and more depraved side of life than what we have come to call home.
Most of all, the wind brought with it an unsettledness with our house guest. As mentioned some posts before this one, we have an interesting guest. It was a given when he moved in that he has been damaged by life, hurt and oppressed, and thrown into a life of anger and inmaturity in ways that can just break your heart. It was/is also a given that he brings anxt and caios with him into our household that bubbles just below the surface, but is always present and always threatening to explode. And that anxt is more and more apparent on a daily basis. Nothing too horrible so far, but everything foreshadowing such ugliness as we have never known before. The annoying and disturbing incidents that are like the tip of an aggressive and angry iceberg sticking out in the north seas weigh heavily on us.
He's stretching us, challenging us, and we are in a position of praying without ceasing for God's wisdom in how to handle so many complicated and difficult issues. How do we balance the needs of a human being beloved by God but carrying so much danger to the world with the need of a simple little family of three who are so blessed to be free of so much pain yet wanting to answer Jesus' call to care for the downtrodden? How do we justify exposing our beautiful son to some of the danger of an individual who has been so damaged? But then, how do we justify sending our guest away because of what he might do, but has not yet done? We have and continue to feel so guided by God in this. But we also sense that God does not want us to just continue for the sake of continuing.
Our guest does not want to leave - why should he abandon free shelter and food and transportation to and from school? Why should he look for a job when his basic needs are met without one. Why should he jeapordize his high school graduation by taking on the enourmous task of being responsible for himself? But those questions are juxtiposed to questions like: Is it right for us to allow him to think that free-loading off of others is a legitimate way to get through life? Is it right for us to see major emotional and psychological issues that need to be addressed in order to make him a productive and responsible adult, and not to address them? Is it right for us to allow him to run roughshod over other people in his life and not call him to task for the damage he does? Can we, in good conscious just sit back and let him remain in his damaged state just because the insistance that he participate in healing activities will likely drive him away? Or, hardest of all, how do we deal with hearts that want to help if we can, but that also quietly hope that one of our offers of help will be the last straw that he uses as an excuse to become angry and storm out of our lives as quickly as he came in?
So, those are the storms-a-brewin' here. Want to trade?

Monday, February 4, 2008



Today, on the way to school he told me how being 8 is the best yet, and this is going to be "My best year yet." Wow! I love that kind of an attitude and confidence in my beautiful child. Can't you just see it in his face!

For some reason that I cannot explain, I feel so very mushy about this birthday for him. I am so blessed to have this beautiful exuberant child in my life! God has blessed Andy and I in an amazing way. Sometimes it is overwhelming to think of how big a responsibilty we have been entrusted with to have this particular child with all his energy, joy, curiosity, and determination. No offense to the rest of you parents out there, but this child is something special to us, just as I imagine your children are to you. And proper love and stewardship of him is beyond my comprehension. It is a good thing Andy and I know how to pray, and especially to pray together, so we can ask God to raise us up to the level required to do right by Jansse!

Remembering the night he was born brings tears to my eyes. It was so joyful after such a drama filled pregnancy, but I know I can speak for both Andy and I when I say we had no idea what was to come and how wonderful it could be. Jansse was so peaceful, hearty and healthy through both the prenatal drama of a torn placenta and through the lengthy and traumatic birth - while I looked like death warmed over after so much blood loss, he looked as if it was just another day in a calm and idealic life! He showed right from the beginning he would always be able to bounce. He's a sensitive caring little guy, but still he is wonderfully up-beat, trusting, and "happy-go-lucky."

And most importantly, he has a heart for God. Last night when I asked him if he was excited for his birthday he said "Yeah, but its not really that big a deal compared with ... oh, say ... Jesus coming back." The perspective of an 8 year old! What more can I say!

Thank you God for our Jansse!