Thursday, June 27, 2013

Not The Same, But Still Good

The Family spent the first few days of our vacation in Duluth, Minnesota.

Our days were filled with sea glass hunting.

We found more sea glass in this one trip than in all the other trips to Lake Superior combined! It was awesome! A nice benefit of all the crazy wind and high waves!

There was pizza eating.

I highly recommend Vitta Pizza on Canal Park...YUM! Amazing isn't it, how fast pizza can bring smiles to teenage faces? Pizza joy!

We took time to visit the Lake Superior zoo. 

The zoo is still working to recover after a flood last year. It's a lovely zoo! If you're in Duluth go, visit the zoo, and give it your support. It would be wonderful to see it get the financial support it needs to be fully restored.

And there was plenty of general silliness.

They are such good sports! Always willing to act goofy so I can get the shot! I love them so!!

General silliness, I've found, is very good for the soul!

After a few days in Duluth, we were off to Grand Marais Minnesota.

The Family was very excited for the Grand Marais portion of our trip, but I'm going to tell you honestly, there were times that portion of the vacation made my heart skip a beat.

You see, our trip had been planned for some time. It had been planned with the intent to spend time with my friend Amy and her family.

Amy, her husband Dave, and their children, Emily and Andy, planned this vacation months ago. They wanted to stay in Grand Marais, Amy's favorite place, for four weeks as soon as the kids were out of school.

Family and friends, my family included, made arrangements to join Amy and her family in Grand Marais at different times throughout their stay. 

We'd been looking forward to this trip for some time!

But Amy didn't make the Grand Marais trip with us as planned. She was called someplace better! She went home to be with the Lord.

We knew the trip wouldn't be the same without her, but we decided it would still be good.

And good it was!

Well, aside from the car trouble we had.

The Husband took the car to a repair shop once we got into town because it was having some trouble. He was told we would likely need to replace the transmission. -bah- He was also told the car should get us home -YAY!-, but that he should, and I quote, "Drive it like it's stolen!" WHAT??

We opted not to discuss what to do with the car while we were on vacation! However, when we saw this very cool yellow Jeep, just what the Husband has been pining for, we all assured him that if he were to lick it the Jeep would become his. Surely no one would want it after it had his germs on it. He went for it!

It still hasn't shown up in our driveway though. Huh, weird!!


As I was saying, our trip was different than planned, but it was a time of healing and joy. It was good!

During the day we watched the quartet laugh and enjoy time together. A huge blessing! There is great comfort in the joy of children!

Evenings, the Husband, Dave, and I spent talking about the sorrows and joys through Amy's illness during the last year. We talked about God's overwhelming goodness in the hardships we face. We talked about trusting, and clinging to God. God has given so much peace.

The Husband and I have been blessed to witness Dave and Amy live out their deep and abiding faith that God is in control, that He is merciful, and good! We have seen the strengthening of their marriage and the living out of the vows they made to each other 17 years sickness and health, till death do us part. Neither of them would ever say that they are perfect people, but they have lived with the intent to glorify the Lord and trust in His will for their lives.

We've been blessed to grow close to this family and walk with them through good and hard times!

We've been amazed as we've watched their families and friends surround them with love and support!

Like our vacation, the future no longer looks the way we planned.

In fact, the future looks a lot like the fog covered road on our trip home.

We can only see so far right now, but that's alright. God knows the way. We will continue to follow closely behind Him. And life will still be good!


Monday, June 24, 2013

The Beautiful Nort

We spent last week vacationing up North, that would be up Nort for all my favorite Norwegians. We spent the first half of the week in Duluth and the second half with good friends in Grand Marais.

It was so nice to get away. I'll try to share more about the trip later in the week. For today I just want to share some photos of the beautiful scenery. 

It was mostly foggy and drizzly while we were there, but I don't think the gloomy weather detracted one bit from northern Minnesota's beauty.

The cairns (stacked rocks!) people build along Lake Superior's shore are fascinating!

This photo is proof that we had at least one sunny day!

Apparently not everyone wishes to use rocks. Sticks are good too!

Gotta love funny animal photos! Animals, unlike teenage children, can't yell, "That's an awful photo of me! Don't you dare post that!!" Teenage children also are not amused when you reply, "But it's funny." 

Just look at all that fog. It got thick as pea soup as they say. I'm going to let you in on a little secret...I like it! It makes me want to snuggle by a warm fire and eat soup. Or maybe play games with some of my favorite kiddos! Yep, I like it!

I kinda love vacation time up nort!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chickens Move In

This little venture into raising chickens has been a source of joy, and to a degree, a comforting distraction in the last few months which have been so difficult. God works in mysterious ways!

I owe a huge THANK YOU (See what I did there? That's a huge thank you!) to the Husband who's worked so hard every rain and snow free day to get the coop completed!

He put a lot of thought, time, and energy into building an amazing little chicken coop. Our chickens are very lucky!

I have no idea why, but I found this photo in with all of my coop photos. Do you suppose someone was trying to tell me what they want served with our first fresh eggs. Hmmmmm


As of June 8th, the coop was finally...

wait for it...

DONE!! Whoop Whoop!

We all signed the inside of the coop indicating our willingness to love, hold, and snuggle the chickens as needed. As well as our willingness to clean out the coop on a regular basis and in general take good care of the coop and chickens! In essence we all signed the chicken care agreement.

It's possible not all parties were informed, until this moment, that they were signing the chicken care agreement. I can't really be to blame if they didn't read the fine print. Eh hem. 

Then we had the ribbon cutting ceremony!

And the ladies finally moved into the coop! And out of my living room!! Hurray!!

I think the ladies are very happy with their new digs.

And the children have finally accepted that the coop is for the chickens to live in, not for them!


Monday, June 3, 2013

I Will Meet You There

Please forgive the blog silence as of late.

A lot has been going on.

We've been working on the chicken coop and trying to finish that up. I can't wait to show you the photos. 

Life in general has been moving steadily forward. I just haven't been able to talk about it. My heart has been too heavy with concern for my sweet friend Amy.

The last year has been a tough one for her, but the last few weeks have steadily become more difficult.

Last Thursday Amy came home from another short stay in the hospital. She came home with hospice care. She came home to spend her last days in the comfort of her own home, in the excellent care of her loving husband, and surrounded by her wonderful family.

On Saturday, June 1st, my beloved friend passed away. She went home to be with the Lord.

Amy is free! No more cancer! No more liver disease! No more being weary! No more pain! She is in the presence of our Savior and Lord! She is healed and rejoicing! My heart is so glad!

However, my heart also aches terribly. There will be no more coffee chats, or trips to Ikea, or laughing till our faces hurt. These "no mores" make the tears flow freely down.

That is when I know I need the comfort of counting the blessings and giving thanks!

The blessing of watching our children grow by leaps and bounds. Watching them become the best of friends. Loving each other's children like our own!

We've chronicled first days of school together!

 We've watched our kiddos playing legos on the porch! 

We've been crafty,

and we've laughed and laughed till someone close by teases us that we're having too much fun!

We've talked about the joys and the occasional struggles of being a woman, a mom, and a wife. We've covered our families in prayer together.

We've been blessed to do all these things and so much more.

We've been blessed to share life's highs and lows over the last decade.

I'm thankful that Amy and I have built a beautiful friendship!

In 2010, we even enjoyed a vacation together in Grand Marais, her favorite placeAmy and her family went on ahead a few days before us. We parted with excitement for the day we planned to meet up exclaiming, "We will meet you there!" Oh how wonderful it was the day we reunited! We were full of anticipation for the days ahead and the glorious fun we knew we were going to have. It was a trip where we made lasting, wonderful memories!

Once again, Amy has gone on ahead. She has entered heaven's gates before me. She has left many loved ones behind, but only for awhile. 

Before she left I repeated those words, "One day my friend, I will meet you there!" 

The days ahead will bring joy and gladness that all is well for Amy, some of those days will also bring tears, and each day will be filled with the anticipation that one day we will be reunited! On that day we will have glorious fun! We will sing the praises of our Lord together! We will continue our beautiful friendship as though no time has passed!


"My dearest friend, I love your sweet smile, your generous heart, your loving spirit, and your beautiful face! You are forever in my heart! Oh how I will miss you so! But one day, I will meet you there! I love you Amy!"