Monday, March 30, 2009

Prayers and Praises

Clearly, my job is giving me much opportunity for improving my prayer life! And also for recognizing God's hand in circumstance...

The patient that I blogged about last time was sent home Saturday. After two days off from work, I wasn't sure what/who I would find in "her" room. She was still there and she looked remarkable. There had been a great deal of healing to her burns and her color was great! Her eyes were bright and clear and she was much more alert and aware of what was going on around her. What a miracle! However, without another miracle, her story will not have a happy ending (at least not here on Earth). She has gone home with hospice in place and I imagine will be worshiping Jesus face to face in the next month or two. Her cancer is very advanced. I am just thrilled that she knows Jesus!

Another patient of ours came in with exacerbated COPD. She requested a breathing treatment, it was ordered and within a half hour of finishing the treatment, she was placed in ICU. Even during the treatment, she couldn't breathe. Upon returning from my "weekend" I recognized a name on the patient list and it suddenly donned on me...It was the same patient that had been on the floor the previous week. It was clear that she was on the floor only for "comfort care". She was passing away. I asked the nurse about the situation, wanting to be fully aware so I didn't make some hurtful blunder in front of her gathered family. She told me that the mask she was breathing through was all that was keeping her alive at that point and that her family had made the decision to remove it the following day. She passed away yesterday. It was very touching to me. She was such a quiet and gentle woman and I was saddened to realize just how sick she really was. Her family is equally kind and my prayers and heart go out to them at this time. I believe, by there actions, that they too know the Lord.

There are of course, the success stories. The young man who was in because of, as he put it, "genetically bad blood" who has been released and will likely continue to do well; The little lady who had a partial hip replacement after falling and will make a full recovery with some therapy; the woman who was in so ill with a kidney infection that she was in ICU and with us on the floor for over a week who has been sent home with a resolution to her health problems. Though these people may or may not know the Lord, I still see His hand at work in their lives. He is so good!

Thanks for "listening" to my thoughts...Heather

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Hello all! I realize that it has been over 3 weeks since I last blogged! So much has been going on lately and I have just been exhausted.

I am really excited about my job as a CNA at St. Jame's Hospital here in Butte. I finished with orientation and actually got started working two weeks ago...hence the exhaustion! I am working the 3-11:30 shift and while it works out well with Kylee's school, it has been quite an adjustment. The daycare that the girls are attending has literally been a Godsend. He knew what I would need before I even did and opened the way. Normally she would close at 11 and most of her kiddos would be gone by 11:15 but she agreed to stay open until 11:30 just to work around my schedule. How cool is that?!

My job is going to be a great place to minister to people. I fear that I lack the courage and strength to be Christ-like, though. Although, the other night I was very blessed to be sitting with a patient who is very ill. She is basically dying and knows it but doesn't talk about it. Of course, it is difficult for her to speak because of her illness. But, as we were talking and I was holding her hand just to comfort her she told me she was afraid to fall asleep. She didn't say more than that but in her eyes I saw the fear of death. It was so powerful. I felt God pressing me to ask her if she knew Jesus. He told me 3 or 4 times before I mustered the courage to do so. I knew the last time I heard that voice that if I didn't do it then that He would quit asking and wait for a later time and I was more afraid of giving in to cowardice than of asking her. I asked her if she knew Jesus and her wonderful response was "I love Jesus." My heart soared! I then talked with her a little about how in Jesus there is no need to fear death because it is not an end, but a new beginning. Then she asked me why we should want to die. Wow! That was hard. I told her that I didn't think that we should WANT to die but neither should we fear death. It was a pretty neat time and my heart broke for her in her pain, solitude and fear. If you would all pray for her to be released from her fear and to be given a great peace I would appreciate it.

God has been so good to me lately. Well, always, but I am seeing amazing things happening in my life that can be from nowhere but God. I am so grateful that HE is in charge of my life and not ME!

Love to all~

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane

Some Wednesday's I really struggle to think of a memory worth sharing. Today was no different. But, suddenly as I began today's blog, a memory popped into my head. Now, I will tell you that many parts of this memory are constructed from the memories of others, though I do have some very vivid rememberances of this event.

When I was quite young my cousin, Mindy, lived on a mountainside in beautiful Bear Canyon, MT. I mean, she didn't just live out in the forest foraging for food...Her dad was building a house there and during this process they were living in a motor home. Mindy's grandparents also lived on "The Mountain" so we were there frequently as well. Now, Mindy and I grew up almost more like sisters than cousins. We were always very close (and still are!).

When they were living on The Mountain, Mindy and I had all sorts of adventures. Sometimes, though we would just hang around the trailer. This one day in particular, we were in her Dad's little Nissan pickup truck listening to music. It had a standard transmission in it and was safely in gear, parked in front of their shed. Mindy was sitting in the driver's seat (as usual, she ALWAYS got the best spot!) and I in the passenger seat. I must have been 6 or 7 and Mindy 7 or 8. Now, I'm not entirely sure if we were actually allowed to be sitting in there and turning the ignition to listen to the radio or not. The fact is, we were there and having a great time. What I remember is that I thought the radio was off, so I was going to turn the key and turn it back on. I turned the key just one little click further than I should have and the truck lurched and nearly rolled down the mountain! It ran into the barbecue grill which surprising ly stopped it. Talk about an adrenaline rush!!! We were scared to death. My little heart was just pounding!

Of course, the story doesn't end there. I was in HUGE trouble. What I remember is being given a very firm tongue lashing by Mindy's Mom and then getting my butt paddled with the wooden spoon. (Ah the good ol' days when children could be spanked without their parent's fearing retribution!) Mindy got spanked too, just for letting me turn the key. Or, maybe we WEREN'T supposed to be in the truck after all... To this day, I'm sure that she didn't get nearly the spanking I did...I don't think I could sit for a month!

Looking back now, what a miracle! We could have been so badly hurt especially with the pickup pointing down hill! And seriously, there is no logical reason that a barbecue grill should stop a pickup, no matter how small!

Monday, March 2, 2009


After what has been several long weekends of sorting through the memories of my Gramms' life, we are nearly finished.

The girls and I have been sleeping at Gramms' house when we go over to help Mom and this weekend it seemed so strange. Mom, Aunt Cheri and I have been sorting through things for weeks now and finally we are ready for the sale. The house is set up so that everything is neatly displayed and there are prices on many items.

It is so strange to see the life of this very vibrant woman reduced to this. It feels very surreal. I never realized what all was involved in the aftermath of the death of a loved one. So much remains to be taken care of. There are items in that house that speak of a woman that I scarcely knew.

I have always known that my Gramms was a dancer and a teacher of dance. What I didn't know was the dedication and time that went into the preparation of the programs she put on with her students. Gramms would write the music out, by hand, after figuring it out by ear on the piano. She had notes and notes about each section of the program. She was so creative. I just never knew.

In her spare bedroom, she had a drawer full of beads. Obviously there was a time in her life where she spent a great deal of time beading and making gifts for people. There are many other craft items that were in that same dresser and it is so amazing to see all the things she used to do. I remember that she used to crochet, but that's really all that I remember her doing in a "crafty" fashion.

As we sort through her many possessions, a plethora of treasures have also emerged. She has a house filled with antiques that are very inconspicuous. Mom has spent countless hours researching these things online. We have been very surprised at the gems she has discovered!

Without a doubt, it has been a blessing to be a part of this process with Mom and Aunt Cheri. Without Cheri (Gramms sister) so much history would have been lost simply because we did not know the stories behind a great deal in the house. So many of the items we have come across carry with them very fond and lasting memories. I guess that is what makes seeing her life priced for sale so difficult. My memories of my heroine on display being sold to complete strangers.

Next weekend will be a very difficult weekend for all of us. Emotions will be churning just below the surface as we conduct business. At the same time, it will bring with it some closure to the death of one so deeply loved. I just ask that as you go about your business next weekend, you will remember us for just a brief moment and send up a prayer for strength and courage as we take another step in saying goodbye to Frankie Lou.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane

When I was a kid we always had pets. Usually a cat and a dog at the least. When I turned 11 I got my first horse and I have had them up until a couple of years ago and my Mom still has two. She still has 1 cat but has upped the ante with 4 dogs. I have just the one dog, Roxy.

One of my favorite childhood pets was Zeke. I remember being at my cousin, Mindy's, house when my Mom showed up with this little tiny ball of black and white kitten. She and her friend, Janis, had been out and about, stopped at a pet store and could not resist his wiley ways. Mindy and I had the most fun that day playing with that kitten out in the grass. He was so little, the well groomed lawn was as tall as he was! Somehow, I came up with the name Zeke and it stuck.

Now, kittens are wild, but this guy was even more so than the average kitty. And to make matters worse, I tormented him - holding him when he wanted down, playing rough with him, etc. Don't worry...he got me back! I still have scars from when he would "catch" my hand. I used to sit on the living room floor and run my hand back and forth and he would chase it for as long as I was game. When he "caught" me, he was determined to kill me - or at least my hand!

During this time I had a German Shepherd puppy named Meggie. She was big and gangly and just loved to play. Naturally, we were concerned that she would hurt Zeke, but there was no need to fear. He could really hold his own! Meggie would lay on the floor with Zeke on his back between her front paws and his front paws wrapped around her muzzle. Her tail would just wag and wag. My favorite was when Meggie would bite his teeny tiny little head and he would just lay there. I use the word "bite" loosely too, because he could have backed out of her mouth at any time but often would just happily lay there with his head in her mouth! I blame it on the table legs he repeatedly ran into.

Speaking of Zeke and table legs...My Mom had one of those not so sturdy three legged tables covered in a floor length table cloth. Mom has been collecting swans for as long as I can remember and has many that are antique. Well, Zeke loved the thrill of an ambush and under this particular table was one of his favorite hiding spots. He would lie under there and wait 'til someone would walk past the table and then POUNCE! Sometimes his aim was dead on and you wanted to sling him across the room (he did nothing gently and always had his claws out!). Other times, he completely missed. Many of the times when he would miss it was because he would leave his white tipped front paws sticking out from his "hiding" place. It's pretty hard to be ambushed when you can see your attacker from a mile away! One night, though, Zeke not only missed Mom on her way by, but instead knocked head long into one of the table legs. That flimsy table couldn't stand up against his 20+ pounds and it tipped over, sending one of Mom's antique swans flying for the brick around the fireplace. You should have heard her yell at him! I sat on the couch laughing hysterically. Luckily, both cat and swan survived the "attack"!

In spite of all the "torture" I put Zeke through, he was undeniably MY cat. Why he picked me, God only knows, but he did. In the summer he would be gone for days at a time hunting gophers and then he would come home, hang out inside for half a day and be gone again. During high school, I went up north to train horses. The first 2 summers I only spent 2 weeks up there. He forgave me for that. The following summer, I was gone for the whole season. When I came home for a couple of days to visit, Zeke was nowhere. I figured he was hunting and would be home the next day. He would often wait a day to come home when called during a hunt. Well, two more days went by and I didn't see even a hint of Zeke and it was time for me to go back to work. I was sure he was ticked off that I had left him for so long and I felt badly that I didn't get to see him. When I came home at the end of the summer, I went to the back door and called him. I didn't expect to see him until at least the next day. Fifteen minutes later, he was at the back door begging to come in! See, I'm pretty sure that he thought I left him again because he didn't come home when I called him.

Animals come and go from our lives. They all leave a mark, but some leave an impression and Zeke was definitely one of them!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Kylee...

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Kyleeeeeeeee
Happy Birthday to you!

Yes, that's right. There is a birthday in the house today. My sweet Kylee turns 8 years old today!

I'm always amazed at the number of years that have passed since that crazy day 8 years ago when the doctor told me that we would have to deliver my baby 3 months early. I thought he was nuts! I just didn't feel well, Kylee was fine...silly doctor!

It was about this time that day (8:30), which happened to be a Saturday, that I was just arriving at St. Vincent's hospital via airplane. Two hours later my little tiny Kylee was born at a whopping 1 pound 10.5 ounces and 13.5 inches long! It was a stormy day and Kylee's dad had not been allowed to fly over with us. He made it just in time for her delivery. My mom made it about two hours later.

She was, and still is, simply my little miracle!

We love you Kylee! Happy Birthday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Saddest Eyes

Since we have been home we have spent every weekend driving the hour to my mom's house. There are about a thousand reasons why. One is that she has our Roxy whom I miss like crazy and want to see as much as I possibly can. Another is that she is my Mom and the girls' "Nana" and we just love to be with her. We have also been helping Mom prepare for the sale of my Grandma's house and posessions. So, when we go we are very busy but also very blessed.

It seems utterly ridiculous to me that I can't get out of my mind the look of absolute betrayal on Roxy's face Saturday evening as we left to return to Butte. Mom had scooped her off the floor because it is impossible for me to walk out the door without Roxy glued to my heel. She refuses to be left! So, Saturday, after hugs and kisses all around, it was time to go home. Roxy just sat there in my mom's arms with the saddest and most worried look on her face. She knew I was leaving her - again. It absolutely broke my heart! It is like leaving behind a child every week.

I know that some people probably think I'm crazy to drive all that way just to see my dog, but I can't help it. She just helps me feel a little bit saner and brings some sort of balance and fullness to our life. She loves me without any reservation. She obeys better than my kids (usually). She is loyal in spite of being left every week. And the best part, as any mom can relate to, she doesn't talk back. Well, not usually anyway! And, the girls love her and she loves them. The first night we left her in Manhattan, Laynee realized that she wasn't in the car and was very nearly frantic in her search for her. She must have been sure that I lost her "Lou"! I calmed her by explaining that "Lou" (we call Roxy, Roxy Lou and Laynee can't say Roxy...) was at Nana's house. That seemed acceptable to her :~)

Anyway, I miss my dog even though I know she is being very well cared for and is in the company of all of her canine family. I can't wait to see her!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Walk Down Memory Lane

I have been inspired by my brilliant cousin, Mindy, to "walk down memory lane" every Wednesday. I have enjoyed reading her stories about the boys and today's about a very exciting horse back ride with elk! Head on over and read it because I remember her telling this story when we were just kids and her eyes just lit up remembering it.

My walk down memory lane goes back just a few years to when Kylee was about 3 or 4. We had stayed at my parent's house the night before because they were out of town and we were dog sitting. It was mid-late October and for some reason where they lived the trees always died off late and theirs were still leafed out and green while everywhere else the colors had changed and leaves had fallen. This particular night we had a very heavy, very wet, very substantial snowfall. Since the trees were still in posession of ALL of their leaves, branches were breaking like crazy. First it was just the little ones, but as I sat listening, I could hear bigger and bigger branches just snapping and falling. Kylee was terrified of all the noise, certain that a tree was going to come through the window or roof and had a terrible time sleeping. Her fear was actually very legitimate though I tried to convince her otherwise. I too struggled to sleep that night, not in fear for our safety, but concerned about damage being done to the property. Not to mention that the noise was quite hard to tune out.

When we woke the next morning, all in one piece, I did a check of the ceiling and windows. Everything seemed to be intact! It was when I went outside that I realized how great the mess was. On top of the branch laying across the roof of my car, there were big branches lying everywhere in the drive way. I was wondering how in the world I was going to get out of there to go to work. Under the big branches was a blanket of small branches literally covering the ground. It was impossible to see even one piece of the gravel beneath. Leaving Kylee inside, I began moving the biggest obstacles out of my way. As I did so, I realized that the small branches covering the driveway were SIX inches deep in most places! At that point, I just prayed to make it out of the driveway without a punctured tire!

Finally, we were ready to leave for our day. I had succeeded in calming Kylee down enough to get her to the car. She was VERY worried that more "trees" would fall on us or the car. We made it to the road without a puncture! The roads looked snow packed but I knew that once we hit the interstate, it wouldn't be too big of a concern.

Now, I should probably go into this next part saying that Kylee was just beginning to notice and understand the significance of traffic lights. She knew that if we were stopped, in what seemed to her like the middle of the road, that the light must be red and that we would have to wait for it to turn green before we could continue on.

We got maybe, and I mean MAYBE, 5 miles down the interstate before we came to an absolute standstill. This is just very rare on any street, road, highway or freeway in Montana. I figured that there must have been a wreck due to the icy roads and that we would shortly be on our way. Wrong! After about 30 minutes of trying to entertain Kylee and keep my frustration at bay, I hear from the backseat, "Mommy, when is the light going to change?" It was all that I could do not to burst out laughing.

Finally traffic began moving about 15 minutes later and we reached our destination unscathed. What Kylee had so innocently asked just made my day. It completely turned my frustration into a smile. Aren't kids great?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm baaack

Hello all! I am finally back in the blogging world. I just caught up on Mindy's blog from the last 2 weeks or so. I can't believe that it has been nearly a month since my last post. Holy cow!

Our move home was really great. The weather was good and the girls couldn't have behaved better. It was so awesome to see the beauty of Montana again. Honestly, there is nothing I have seen crossing the country twice that can compete with the glory of this state! Once we passed Billings and headed into the mountainous countryside, I was spellbound. I still can't stop looking at the gorgeous mountains that surround me. And seeing my mom again for the first time in almost six months?! That was totally cool! She and Kylee nearly needed to be pried apart they were so thrilled to see one another again.

Right now we are staying with my Aunt and Uncle. We are very blessed to have such great family that stands by us no matter what! Unfortunately, we are unable to have our little Roxy with us and we miss her fiercely. She is staying with my mom, though, so we are able to see her on weekends when we go over to Manhattan. I am helping Mom go through Gramms house so that she doesn't have to do it all by herself, so we will be there most weekends for a little while longer anyway. It is amazing all of the things I am finding out about my Gramms! She was quite a creative lady. She could even draw when the mood struck her. I had NO IDEA!

In the two weeks since we have been home, I have had 4 job interviews, 3 of which have ended in offers. I just interviewed with the hospital here on Friday and am hoping to receive an offer from them as well. That is where I would like the most to work. So, this week I will be checking into daycare and also housing around here. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Remembering in Song

I would like to take today to remember my Gramms with music. Music touches me deep in my soul and heals me like nothing else. At Gramms' funeral the background music will be handpicked by our family. Much of it will be worship music that she loved. When she was still well enough to go to church she would get so excited when "Shout to the Lord" was on the worship roster. At first I got to enjoy this with her by her side but eventually I became part of the worship team and would be so excited when we would sing it because I knew she would be so happy. The look of joy on her face was awesome!

One thing about Gramms that I will never forget was her deep and abiding love for Jesus. The woman rarely grumbled during her illness and when she did, she rebuked herself. Until her last moments here, she still believed in God for healing and a miracle. Well, she is healed now, she has flown home to be with her Jesus. When the angel standing by her side in her last moments told her gently, "Come to Jesus" I know she went as a child to Disney Land.

She is there now and what a reunion it must have been. Not only with Jesus, but with all those who have gone before her; her dad, her mom, her Aunt Fern, my grandpa Phil and my baby boy Spencer and so many more that I cannot begin to name. And while she knows that we all have our time left here on earth, I imagine that her heart does cry "I Wish You Were Here".

One of my all time favorite gospel songs is "I Can Only Imagine". For those of you who do not know the story of that song, it was written by Bart Millard of Mercy Me shortly after his father died. In his grief he was able to reach out to the One who wipes away our tears and write a WORSHIP song about his father's passing. The line "...will I dance for you Jesus..." makes me weep tears of absolute joy. I remember gatherings when I was a child when Gramms would get up and dance. Her illness robbed her of that joy but now in Heaven she CAN dance for and with Jesus. What a blessing!

Hope you all enjoy my "listen" down memory lane! Oh! And let's not forget the one song that she specifically asked to be played at her funeral, one that she danced a favorite routine to ... "Tea for Two".

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sometimes Somebody Else Says it Best

Today I am grieving the loss of my Grandmother, one of the most amazing people I have ever known. My cousin, Mindy, wrote about her on her blog today and I think that I will just direct you all there. She captured her beautifully: Ladybug Farm

Although we are saddened, we are also singing praise, knowing that she will never struggle for one more breath and that she is in the presence of her Jesus. She will be greatly missed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

11 Days

Well, here I am now, just counting down the days. Most of our things are still packed since we never made it as far as getting our own place, so what little packing there is can wait until the last few days. So, it seems that all there is for me to do, is to count the days.

I have been in touch with an elementary school for Kylee just a few blocks from where we will be living and know all that I will need to get her enrolled. Her current school has also been informed. She is bummed mostly that she will not get to see her classroom's baby chicks hatch. The first day back from Christmas break, "Mr. Andy" delivered 7 eggs to her classroom and told them all about egg fertilization and how to care for the eggs in the egg incubator. They are keeping a daily journal as well. Unfortunately for Kylee, we are moving a little less than a week before they hatch.

It seems that there is nothing really important to say. On top of preparing to move back, my family at home is going through the struggle of watching what appears to be my Grandma's last days. She has battled Emphysema for the last 10-11 years and has done it with such grace. We nearly lost her on her 72nd birthday, Halloween of 2007, but we were given the miracle of one more year with her. She has done remarkably well during this last year, but suddenly last Friday took a turn for the worse. Saturday, in her typical fashion, she seemed to rally, but today is far worse than she was even on Friday. My heart is heavy with the knowledge that I can't be there to say good-bye or to help carry the load. I wonder if she will hang on until I get home. I wonder if I will get home in time for the funeral if she doesn't, which seems the most likely scenario. I long to see her face one more time, to hold her hand, just to be in her presence. But, if it means that she would suffer just one minute longer for me to have just one last moment with her, I would gladly give that last moment up. It is my prayer and hope that she moves gently from this world to her home in Heaven and that she has no regrets for her life well lived.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Travel Details

Okay, for those with inquiring minds, and so that I know that I have told you all and don't tell any one of you 26 times...

We are planning to leave Jacksonville, FL on Thursday, January 22. My Uncle is flying down from Montana to drive back with the girls and I. Honestly, I am super relieved about that. The trip itself doesn't worry me, it's the trip in the winter with possible crappy roads and a U-Haul trailer hooked to my car that worries me. So, I feel better knowing that we will be in Uncle's capable hands. He and Aunt lived in Seattle, WA for several years, so any big city driving that we have to do won't bother him in the slightest!

As far as where we are going to live? We will be in Butte, or the "little B" ;). I plan to finish my nursing degree at MT Tech. I should have my associates degree, a full blown RN, by spring 2010, but will stick it out for one more year to get that bachelors. I've been working too hard and too long to settle for the associates. I eventually want to get my masters and become a Nurse Practitioner. That will most likely wait 'til both girls are in the double digits!

I can't wait to be back home. Maybe you could all call in a few favors for me to keep the temp at LEAST above zero? :~) I mean, honestly, our "cold" day yesterday was in the sixty's and I didn't even have to wear a jacket.'s going to be a bummer to have to be all bundled again. But, on the bright side, it sounds like there is more snow than there has been in years and I can't wait to see how beautiful it is! I also can't wait to see those big pointy things off in the distance that look so amazing covered in snow...Oh Yes! Mountains!!!!

All that said, we WILL miss it here. The things we will miss are many and strangely vague. I can't even quite put down on paper - or computer, or whatever - what they are. It is deeper than "the weather" and the nearness of the ocean. I guess, in part, it is a sense of belonging and a feeling of home. There will be people I will miss greatly, not just M and T, but friends I have made through work. Kylee will miss her friends as well and Laynee will miss her "people" at daycare. We have been truly blessed to be here. Still...I can't WAIT to come HOME!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Yes, it's true. We are returning to home, sweet home. Montana. Freezing cold, snowier than in many years past, Montana. As it turns out, my uncle - who is flying down just to drive back with the girls and I - has to be back in Montana on January 27. For those of you whose bell doesn't ring when hearing that date, it is my birthday. I can think of no better way to spend it than at HOME!

Now, don't get me wrong. I have been drawn towards Florida since my first trip here almost 4 years ago. Since that very first time, it has also felt like home to me. It is so hard to love two places so much but only be able to live in one at a time! And though these 5 months in Florida have been filled with almost nothing but struggle, heartache, and many times a sense of being lost, I wouldn't have traded them for the WORLD. I still love it here and the knowledge that I am leaving is VERY bittersweet.

Here in Florida I have been able to nurture a friendship that means the world to me. My sister-in-law, "T", and I had pretty much an instant connection when we first met 3.5 years ago. We have continued to grow closer in spite of the 2300 miles that separated us. But being this close and spending every day with her has been a blessing that I cannot even begin to express. I will miss her more than anything else. (Well, except maybe the T is like a sister to me.

Of course, I will also miss my brother, M. Even with all of his rough, and I mean VERY rough, edges, he is absolutely wonderful. My girls think he hung the moon and stars and he never fails to be able to get them to smile or laugh even when they are most determined not to.

I have been struggling to figure out exactly what lessons I am to hold onto from this time in my life. I've been told that there have been changes in me and while that's great, I don't see them or even know what they are. Apparently they are positive changes, so I am thankful for that. However, as I am writing this post today, I am wondering if part of this journey was just God giving me one of the desires of my heart - the chance to live in and experience Florida. And, now that my "free" time is almost up, it is time to return home, finish school and prepare for whatever He has in store for us next. I have to be honest, I'm kind of excited (for the first time in my life) to NOT know what is around the next corner. For a control freak, that's a pretty big step! The best part though, is that I am free from fear in just letting God take over and lead the girls and I where He would have us go. One of the lessons I have learned these past few months I guess!

So, while I know that there will be those who will view this time of many, many, many changes in a very negative light and will question my "rightness" in "doing this" to my children, I also know that I can hold my head up high because I am a daughter of the Most High God and am following His will for my life. Apparently, it's just not always supposed to make sense to we silly little humans!

I also want to say thank you to all of you who have been praying for us through all of this. Certainly, it is those prayers that have seen us through. Please continue to pray as we plan a trip across the country in the MIDDLE OF THE WINTER! And for my sanity as I do one of the things that I like the least...packing!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Highlights from 2008

Hello all and a Happy New Year! I was asked several times at work New Year's Eve day if I was ready for the new year. I replied that I was ready for anything new and still feel that way. I believe that this year is going to be awesome even as our nation faces some huge and frightening changes. I know that when Mr. Obama was elected president this last November, I was pretty emotional about the whole thing. I wondered what we (as a nation) had gotten ourselves into and felt a great deal of fear and uncertainty. However, as I began to process this great change by talking to friends and just thinking it out myself, I realized that God hasn't forgotten or forsaken us nor is he punishing us. He knew this would be the outcome before we even knew who Barack Obama, Senator from Illinios, was. I began to get excited and realized that with Obama's different ideas and desire for radical change, God could do some really amazing things in the next four years! So, please continue to pray with me this year for our leaders as we prepare to face a year frought with change and "firsts".

Okay, now that I have gone off on my unplanned little rabbit trail, here are some photo highlights from this last year. I thought that this would be a fun way to look back over 2008. Unfortunately, I don't have access to my photos from early in the year, but many of our adventures really took place late last summer and fall...Enjoy!

JustWe3 was so excited this April when Roxy had her first, and sadly last, litter of puppies. This here is Milly, short for Milagra which is Spanish for Miracle. She was the C-Section puppy that was born not breathing or moving. I got to assist with the surgery and part of my "job" was to take care of the puppy when it was born. So, I got to resuscitate Milly and now she is a very healthy happy little girl. What a great time those puppies were!

Summer, or late spring rather, came with my brother and sister-in-law, M and T, visiting MT. We visited Glacier National Park, where my Mom, a MT native had NEVER been before, and Yellowstone National Park as well. The above picture is myself, T, Mom, Laynee and Kylee at our cabin in Glacier.

M and T at McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park. M hadn't been to Montana for 20+ years and this was a FIRST for T. She loved it and was thrilled to be able to see every type of weather MT has to offer.

This day started out sunny followed by wind and rain which turned into a full blown thunderstorm, complete with hail. As we headed deeper into Yellowstone National Park towards Old Faithful Geyser, the weather further disintegrated into sleet, ending in a mild snowstorm. T was fascinated by the snow and couldn't get enough pictures! This one is truly awesome, it looks like the majestic buffalo is wearing a crown of snow.

Princess Kylee and I. We had just walked down to get a closer look of a black bear and her 3 cubs. What a treat! Though I have been to Yellowstone more times than I can count, this was my FIRST wild bear sighting!

Here are two of my girls just waking up from a nap on our looooonnnnnggggg trip to FL.

Here is Kylee on that same trip.

Laynee lounging in the honestly, what better reason is there to move to FL?!

Kylee's first day of 2nd grade, new school, new state.

Lawnmower rides in the backyard.

Halloween, Laynee as always soooo cooperative when it comes to taking photos!

Laynee turned TWO years old and got her first "bike".

Kylee in her elf hat at her Christmas program.

One of my favorite pictures from our Christmas photo shoot OUTSIDE in December!

Wishing all of you a very happy 2009 filled with many blessings and adventures~

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Finally, Christmas Pictures!

Kylee in the kitchen (day before Christmas) helping me bake my favorite "Christmas" cookies, Russian Teacakes

Scoop up the dough, roll it in a ball then roll in powdered sugar

Christmas morning began at a fairly reasonable hour with both girls opening gifts

Kylee holding up her new nightgown from Nana with a bathrobe hanging limply in the other hand! Contrary to what the picture may show, she LOVES them both!

Laynee in her "ballerina" dress-up dress holding the Mega Blocks her Daddy sent...she hasn't stopped playing with them since!

Roxy in her bells eating her Christmas cookie and LOVIN' it!

So, in a house full of females and only one male, do you see anything wrong with this picture? Apparently, my brother - who actually knows at least a little about a lot of stuff - is the resident wiggery expert. He is seen here helping Kylee apply and brush her brand new Hannah Montana wig. He is also filling her in on the proper way to store and care for her wig!

Roxy, chillin' after all that Christmas work on Laynee's new cuddle bear, also from Daddy. Sissy was also the proud recipient of an identical bear. Both girls just love them. These bears have foux fleece lined pockets so that they can keep thier hands warm when cuddling with their bears. What a great idea!

Beach babies, beach babies, here on the sand

They were so thrilled with the holes they were digging and this one was the best yet, big enough for them both to stand and splash in! When I wasn't taking pictures of the girls, I was looking for some fun shells to use in beading. I have discovered that I can make some pretty fun jewelery with the shells I pick up and regular beads. I'm still working out a few little glitches...

Hope you enjoyed our Christmas photo gallery as much as we enjoyed our day. Check back tomorrow for a 2008 review in photos!