How two families became one


Once upon a time there was a small family. A mom, a man, and two kids, a brother and his younger sister. The man was not a nice person and he did things that a man is not supposed to do when he is part of a family. The mom one day realized that she and her kids deserved better. She went back to school to become a nurse and the man was no longer there. She took good care of her kids and loved them very much and they loved her. This could be the end of their story. Let’s leave them right here and look at another story.

Once upon a time in a kingdom not far away is another small family. A man, his wife and their two kids, brothers. They were happy, but one day the wife got sick and one day was no longer there with them. The man mourned with his two young boys. He loved his kids and they loved him. This could be the end of their story…..

However, as most stories go there is more to these two than first meets the eye. You see, these two sets of siblings went to the same small country school. These families knew each other. Not like have each other over for dinner, know each other, but like nod your head “hi” when picking the kids up at school because they are in the same classes and share the same teachers. If you have read enough happy stories you will have guessed that these two parents slowly got to know each other better and realized that making two small families one big family was an excellent idea. So that is what they did. And they all lived happily ever after. The end……

Ya, ummm, so maybe that’s stretching it a bit. Perfect stories don’t really happen here on earth. Let me correct that last bit. These two families joined and struggled to find ways to mesh. They meshed and they clashed and they mended and they clashed again and loved each other and fought and added another brother to the fray and laughed and cried. They had really, really hard times, and they had beautiful moments that showed God’s hand in the midst of their imperfect selves. And while many around them thought that this blended family would surely fall apart, while many actually encouraged these two parents to just give up, they stuck it out. They knew what they were fighting for.

They were fighting for us. They were fighting for the chance at a loving, blended family. They were fighting against the odds so that us kids could grow up knowing that if you want something really good, it’s not just going to happen. You have to pursue it. You have to keep pursuing it. You have to keep going back for more, even when it’s really ugly. Even when it would be so much easier to just give up. You fight because of love.

In the first story I told, I didn’t have a dad. There was a man, but that is all. In the second story I told there was a woman, but sometimes people don’t get to stay on earth, and those boys were left without a mother. In the third story I was introduced to the man who would become my Daddy in so many more ways than just his last name. I was given the best father of all. Those boys were given a mom. They were given someone who would challenge them to grow and become better. Someone who would love them, even when they annoyed each other. We as children were given a very special gift. The gift of second chances.

It wasn’t easy then, and sometimes to this day it’s still not easy. But it’s worth it. Every day with them is another reminder of what a gracious God we serve. A God who cares about broken families. A God who cares about hurting families. A God who cares about us as individuals and wants us to be loved. I know that not everybody always gets those things, and because of that I count my blessings, and my parents and siblings are at the top of that list. (along with Cowman and the kiddos of course)

Please don’t let little things hold you back from your family. Mend the bridges if you can.  Tell them you love them today, because tomorrow is never promised. Love on them with all of your might, right now.

Love from here,


Spring doesn’t promise tulips here

Spring mostly doesn’t promise tulips here because the ducks ate them a few years ago. True story, but it’s a moot point anyway because about the time the tulips were thinking of blooming it was time to plant the garden and they would have been in the way. So perhaps the ducks did me a favor. After all, that is the very end of May, beginning of June and aren’t they supposed to be a herald of spring? Like a promise of more things to come in May and June? Not happening themselves in those months?

I’ve heard robins are the same thing. I remember as a kid we watched for the first robin and would then run and tell mom . She would always proclaim that spring was here because robins were the first thing to show up. Now, I’ve seen a robin this year as he sat hunched in a snow drift looking for all the world like  a very cruel prank had been played on him. Can you just hear it playing out, ” Hey Rob, we are heading out first thing in the morning,  the early  bird catches the worm and gets first pick of the girls! ” Rob of course, always being the last in the bunch at everything was determined to get a jump on them and prove for once that he was capable, man they would be so embarrassed and would have to admit that he was worth keeping around after all. The girls would sure look at him, when they all finally arrived…… Meanwhile the others are still in Texas laughing.

I’m not kidding when I say that that is exactly what he looked like. All he needed was a caption bubble above his head. So no, I don’t look for robins anymore.


I hope every year to find one of their feathers or a hatched egg shell, but to no avail.


I wait for the cranes. They absolutely fascinate me. The sound they make as they are flying over sends my imagination into overdrive. They truly sound like what I think dinosaurs had to have sounded like. Then there are those legs, carrying around all of those gorgeous feathers and their red masks. Seriously, the whole bundle makes me happy. And when I say a big bird makes me happy, you know it must truly because big birds tend to scare me. (mom had mean geese when I was a kid, I’m working through it….) To me, these birds, not the calendar, say when our version of spring is here. This year it came on the 17th.

Sring doesn't mean tulips here

The view out the living room window

The cranes don’t promise warmer weather, but they do promise a difference. It’s a difference that say’s maybe we will have days of rain mixed in with the days of snow. A difference that says the mud is coming, the creeks are indeed breaking up, the grass is going to start showing up in little patches, and that maybe, just maybe, it’s safe to get out the graph paper and start planning this years garden.

I’ll just make sure when planning said garden, that it’s nowhere close to the ducks….

Love from here,

Spring doesn't mean tulips around here

And just when Red thought she knew every bird around…

What are the things that say spring to you and when does your spring arrive? It’s ok, be truthful, I won’t get (too) jealous!

I cried in church today

I think of myself as a fairly strong person. No, not physically. Anyone who knows me knows that while I can carry feed bags around and buckets of water, I’m not going to win a strongman competition. I mean that mentally, I’m a fairly strong person. I’ve got some pretty good patience skills, some great coping skills, and it’s really hard to rattle me. So why did I dissolve into a crying mess in the middle of church today? Why did someone’s encouragement have me in tears? To those that were standing close enough to sympathy cry with me, I love you and I’m sorry!

Maybe it’s because I cope too well for too long. Let me explain. With Cowman night calving right now, our whole schedules have changed. Everything. Which I don’t mind, really. I know that Cowman loves to night calve more than day calve. He finds it peaceful and I get that. I’m not a slave to a schedule either. ( Honestly, sometimes it would help me more if I were.) However, Jolly Rancher doesn’t like when things vary too much from normal for too long. If you remember from this post, Little Jolly Rancher  , Jolly’s CP has some strings attached to it. Strings that we are fully aware of, strings that seem to get more flexible as he gets older, but strings that can also decide to get tied into knots at the most random and unexpected times and places. Like church the last four weeks.

Jolly Rancher loves music, doesn’t matter what kind, he just loves music. Which means he loves church! He loves the piano and the drums and the guitar. He loves watching everyone sing and making his own music to blend in. And he loves to do all of this while Cowman is holding him. Yup, Cowman who is on nights right now. Cowman, who is at home sleeping while we are at church right now. Cowman, who is not there holding him. Do you see where this is going?

For the last four weeks we get to church and do our normal greet everyone, smile, take our seats, everything is great. Then the music starts. And Jolly Rancher starts crying which quickly escalates into screaming / throwing his whole body around and basically letting himself be heard by everyone in the church building and parking lot and any unsuspecting person walking past on the sidewalk, ( I promise we aren’t torturing anyone in there!) Yes, I  get up and walk out to the other room with him but you know what? All I really want to do is stand there and sing with everyone else. I want to be able to tell him he needs to be quiet and to have that be the end of it. I don’t want to smile at everyone while I am seething inside as I carry him out, AGAIN. I just want to stand there and sing.

Does that make me selfish? I don’t think so. Does it make me insensitive to his special needs? Trust me, nobody is more in-tune with those needs than Cowman and me. What it does make me, is a mom. A very human mom who does a pretty darn good job of holding it all together and looking on the bright side, but who sometimes has coped for too long. The problem with coping for too long is that I in turn am never in control of when I’m going to break. Not break as in, oh go get her some counseling, but break as in bursts into tears at the super nice thoughtful comment as simple as, “Hey Bobbie, I hope you know that we never mind when Jolly gets loud, we understand!” You know why I cried? Because I care.

Sometimes I just want normal, and I can’t have that. And I feel so guilty for even saying that because I wouldn’t trade Jolly for all of the “problem” free kids in the world. But sometimes it’s hard. It’s just plain hard. And you sound awful and whiny for saying it out loud because you know that there are so many people out there who would love to have as simple a situation as yours, but it’s there anyways. It lurks, and no matter how much you are ok with the situation, no matter how deeply rooted is your love for this child, the longing for “normal” moments will always be there. Again, does this make me a bad mom? No, I know that it doesn’t. But no matter how many nice things you say to me I am still going to feel guilty to a certain degree about this.

So yes, that is how I found myself crying in the middle of church today. When I was supposed to be corralling the kids and teaching children’s church I instead walked out of the room (yes, with older kids there to keep a watchful eye) and went back upstairs to find those who would cry with me, (again ladies, I’m sorry for that!). And you know what? I cried, I got it out, I hugged and I went and taught that class. Because sometimes that is all you need. You need someone to just be there while you get it all out, even if they don’t fully know why or what you are getting out, they stand there and let you let it go.

If you know what I am talking about with this post, please know that you aren’t alone. You aren’t a bad parent. And please don’t cope for too long. Don’t wallow, but don’t hold it in for too long either. Our kids need to see us strong, but they also need to see us vulnerable, and open, and yes, crying with others in the middle of church for no apparent reason.

Love from here,


I hesitate to call it a job

I’ve set up a new space for me. I’ve drawn a figurative line on the floor of where the kids can’t cross without asking first. It’s not an uncluttered space, but it’s mine and if it’s cluttered with all of the makings of my hundred different hobby’s supplies it just makes me that much happier. With the view of my barnyard  critters unhindered, (yes, I know they are in my yard and not a literal barnyard, details, details…) I find myself drawn to this space more and more. Heck, I even washed the window here. It’s the only window in the whole house to receive this special treatment so you know it’s a big deal!


The one clean window in the whole house.

Adding the computer to my spot was something I didn’t really want to do. I moved it and then considered just covering it up with other stuff so I didn’t have to look at it. However it sits here and stares at me, a blinking reminder that I love to write. That I need to write. A reminder that I would love for writing to be my job one day, which means I need to do it already! I even took away my one main excuse of “well, I don’t have a place where I can go to write that’s not surrounded by distractions.” darn it, why didn’t I think this whole process through the rest of the way?!

I hesitate to call it a job though. That word tends to suck the joy out of most things after a certain period of time. At least for me it does. How do you cross that line successfully? How do you go from, I write just for fun, to, I write for a living?  Maybe it’s by writing while at the same time taking photo’s of the ridiculous waterfowl in my yard.



Duke is always so suspicious…..

Maybe it’s by writing while wondering if they are going to leave me any grass to come up later this spring.

From a Montana Front Porch Ducks

The divots that they are making right now……*don’t think about it, don’t think about it*

Maybe it will happen even amidst the pauses I find myself taking to explain multiplication to Super Ranch Boy and color matching to Ranch Pixie. I’m thinking that if I don’t cover this blinking screen up, it will just happen.

And hey, I have the background music of our new webbed footed cheepers to keep me company.


Because, you know, 6 didn’t sound like enough.

Maybe they could be a business tax write-off, you know, an investment that keeps me coming back to do my job……

Love from here,

What to do with a quiet moment….

Wednesdays are one of our busy days here. We have our normal school, but there is also Bible study in the afternoon. I host it here at the house to guarantee that I clean at least once a week. I mean, not really…. but then again, there may be some truth to that statement. Let’s just say that it’s an added benefit of leading the study and if you are ever going to do a surprise visit, Wednesday is the day I would prefer. Not Friday when it looks like a bomb went off, or Monday when the house is recovering from the weekend. Wednesday. Maybe Thursday morning, like say, before 8 am, but Wednesday is definitely  best.

So the house is clean, school is done, Bible study is over, and dinner is in the crock pot. Here I sit at 3 in the afternoon with none of my normal work to do. All of my checklist done. It’s miraculously quiet, the sun is shining in the living room window, and did I mention that it’s clean in here? I love this feeling. And yet….

I feel like I should be doing something. I should go find some work to do. I can’t just sit here. Can I? Surely if I am sitting here I should at least be being productive. Maybe I should start knitting that baby hat, or see if there is laundry to fold. There is always laundry to fold. Should I read or work on my study? Should I get up and…..what? What should I do?!  Why am I so bad at this?

You know what I am going to end up doing? I’m going to end up sitting here until it’s time for me to finish up dinner prep, and the whole time I’m going to be a mess trying to figure out how to just sit here and enjoy the quiet, clean moment I have been blessed with. What in the world is wrong with me, people?!

I guess that is a question that will have to be answered another time, for right now I need to go start the dinner rolls…… at least I know how to do that…..

Love from here,

How to change the world…or more simply titled, Maybe

With everything going on in the world today it seems that suddenly everyone has a (very loud) opinion of how we should fix all of the worlds problems. It doesn’t matter what news station you choose, what radio station, what social media is your poison of choice. It doesn’t even matter if the posts you follow are supposed to be the most positive people out there, if you aren’t agreeing with them right now, you are going to feel the wrath. All, it seems, are shouting the same things:

– Fire someone! Hire someone else.
– Blame this group, start a new group, guilt that group into being quiet so the group over there can be heard louder.
– Point the finger, shrug off any and all blame/guilt.
– Say we all need to talk and be supportive, then attack when the opinion given differs from the one you like the most.
– Call names.
– Spread lies.
– Live in denial.
-Unfriend everyone.

Yup, all of this is bound to be helpful and go a long way in making the world a better place. It has to because everyone is doing it…right?

Or maybe….nah, it’s too simple, too old fashioned…but you know, just maybe….
Maybe I’m naïve, maybe I live in the middle of nowhere so I don’t really understand what’s going on. Maybe I’m just a stay at home, homeschooling mom with no real experience.
Or maybe, just maybe, because of my position I am given a unique perspective.
Maybe I’m not the one who’s crazy.

Maybe the thought of making a difference right where you are isn’t so crazy.

Maybe pouring your love out on those closest to you and then watching the ripple effect isn’t so far-fetched.

Maybe finding the lost and needy and impoverished right in your own neighborhood and taking care of them isn’t such an antiquated thought.

Maybe changing lives for the better: loving, sharing, supporting, training, encouraging, can happen right where you are.

Maybe it doesn’t cost as much as you think.

Maybe it doesn’t take as much time as you think.

Maybe the biggest impact you can have on the world will be when you pour yourself out in service to those who are right where you are.

Maybe we shouldn’t wait for someone else to do it for us.

Maybe we should just start.

Maybe others will be watching and will repeat your actions of love with others.

Maybe it will pick up momentum and travel far away.

Maybe it will change the world.

Maybe that’s what God meant when he said “Love one another just as I have loved you.”

Maybe, just maybe.

Love from here,

Baby Season

I realize that the last time I wrote, I wrote about a baby. So this could seem kind of repetitive……if it hadn’t been over a year since I wrote last. Yup, a year. No, not just a year, 15 months to be exact. But who’s counting? And no, I don’t have any excuses. I don’t feel like I need any at this point in time. I’m here now and I hope that somewhere along the line someone is still around to read. If not though, I’ll talk to myself, I’m pretty good at that!

So, baby season. Yes, it’s that time of year again! We have several on the ground and where there are a couple, lots more will soon follow. This season is so photogenic and I just can’t seem to get enough photos. (ignore the fact that my camera card says differently)

Cowman was nice enough to take me out with him when he went to check the heifers so I could test his,’ STOP!, roll down the window, sit patiently while she snaps too many photo’s, could you back up just a pinch so I can get the right angle, ok, we are good to go,’ driving skills. I have to say that he is pretty darned good at it. Apparently he has had some practice. I’m actually surprised he still takes me with him.

Anyway, here they are. At least a few photos to show you why I can’t seem to get enough.

Love from here,