This and That

So, I left home late LAST Monday morning to go to a birth and haven’t blogged since, though I did start a post last Wednesday afternoon with this:

I left home late Monday morning to go to a birth. Got home late this morning. Intense physically, mentally, and most of all emotionally. Glad for my wonderful preceptors, for the safe arrival of a baby, and for the rock solid “knowing” that God is good. So thankful to be home and I can hardly wait to see my husband this evening. As I learn more in my midwifery journey, my thankfulness for the midwives who have blessed me by serving at my births increases exponentially. God is good. After the last couple of days, I am clinging to that knowledge.

Last week’s birth was quite the emotional ride, and between the swirl in my heart/brain and efforts to get back in the swing of things with my family, blogging just took a back seat. I’m hopeful to be back in the saddle again now.

Random news tidbits:
~ Davey and Barak started basketball practice this week. I’m excited about all they will learn this season, as it is their first time on an organized sports team.
~ School is going well these days. We are doing well with a forward-moving routine. Though I am still needing to tweak/add some things, I feel good overall about the learning we are accomplishing.
~ We bought a wind turbine and are having a Turbine Raising this Saturday. We are excited about this as a way to save some money on our electric and as a potential income source, as Jonathan is interested in installing them for others. It will be interesting to see how everything comes together.
~ I’m now walking five mornings a week with Bethany (when births allow). I’m hopeful the added days will help get me off of the mini-yo-yo I’ve been on with my weight loss/health journey. We’ll see what tomorrow’s weigh-in tells us!
~ Would you pray for some St Louis-area friends of ours, Brian, Allison, and one year old Henry? They were hit by a drunk driver Sunday night and Allison and Henry were both injured severely. They are out of ICU now, and there is a possibility Henry will be released today, which would result in the family being able to really be together for the first time since the accident. Allison is in a tremendous amount of pain, with a broken femur and her pelvis broken in multiple places. Please pray for them?
~ I had my first “missed” birth yesterday. Things went really fast at the end for this mom, and since the hospital was closer than our arrival, they went ahead and checked in and baby arrived before us. All is well with baby, and Mom and Dad are thrilled that they were able to have the best-for-baby birth for which they had hoped, despite the last minute change in plans. It was also nice for B. and I to have a positive hospital experience after last week.
~ And the big news in our house this week are some fun and exciting milestones for Andrew. He has 1)started standing by himself for several seconds at a time, and 2)signing “please” when prompted. The “please” is his first consistent intentional “verbal” communication, and we are hoping that it opens a whole new world for him. The other Blessings have really been working with him on signing, and our work is having results!

Here’s a cute shot of Andrew standing yesterday with his physical therapist, Dayna. She is actually not supporting him at all, though her hand is close. Yay for Andrew!

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State Fair Reflections – Through the Years

Our camera went kaput at the end of August and revived a few weeks later, so we were without it during the State Fair. Though I missed having the camera, I can see how its absence allowed me to relish our Fair experience in a different way. I wonder if I could paint pictures for you with words instead…

But first some memories, because the Kansas State Fair has seemed a magical place to me for as long as I can remember attending.

When I was in Jr. High and High School, the Kansas Bible Camp board meeting was often held during a Fair weekend and I have memories of exploring it various times with my brother Eric, playing carnival games, buying trinkets and Fair Food. For years, my front license plate was one from an airbrush booth at the Fair… adorned with a pig and my name.

A highlight from a later board meeting weekend was one of the “older” guys at the chapel taking a couple of us youngsters to the fair one evening. It was me and this guy from camp that often irritated me, but we had a fun time with Jase that night. The lights, sounds, and smells of the Fair that night still stick with me. We discovered we were both taking French in school and enjoyed comparing vocabulary. Little did I know it was my first visit to the Fair with the love of my life.

My fourth year of college, I came home in September just to share the Fair with my friends, especially this certain fellow who still could get under my skin, but who seemed to have become much nicer over the years. We weren’t “official” yet, but the magic of the Fair was extra special that year.


(Bob, Jo, and that guy, Sept. 94)

And by the time the next Fair rolled around, we were weeks away from our wedding!

Time’s up…

Anniversary Getaway

Jonathan and I enjoyed camping out at Kanopolis last weekend for our anniversary.

The view from our tent Saturday morning – gorgeous!

After breakfast, we drove around the lake and checked out campgrounds and various areas, scouting for future trips with the family. We saw quite a few horsebackriders, as there was a judged trailride in progress (we had never heard of such a thing).

Then we headed to the Horsethief Canyon area and hiked for a couple of hours. I was (as you will see) thrilled that our camera has started working again.

Some “boring” Kansas topography:



(Note: I have a strong affinity for the areas of Kansas in which you can see for miles over field after field, but when I venture out of the immediate area in which we live, I often find myself amused by the plethora of comments I have heard over the years about how boring Kansas is.)

My love:

An interesting obstruction on the trail:


We noticed a dam on the way back; the beavers are certainly at work at Lake Kanopolis:

Fall is starting to make itself known:




With end-of-summer loveliness still hanging on:

A couple of interesting critters (I’m skipping the shot of the colony of ants swarming a beetle… aren’t I nice?):

At one point, we went off the trail in an effort to avoid poison ivy, and spent about 30 minutes walking up and down hills through yucca, berry thorns, etc. It definitely made it more of an adventure!


After returning to the trail, we climbed up into a little cave, near the base of which I found someone had carved our initials for us:

There were a surprising number of lightening-struck trees, but this was the most unique looking:

Almost back to the trailhead:

After our hike, we had a lovely lunch overlooking the lake, which is lower than usual, but not nearly as dry as areas closer to home:

It was a very nice time being together. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Time for a This-and-That

House stuff – we’re making progress! The main living areas are pretty much settled, except the library, which needs a ton of work (floor patched so that we can put up bookcases in a currently unusable corner, lots of books to unpack, etc). We are loving our expanded space, and are so thankful. Really, truly, I will get more pictures posted soon.

The garden is coming along. Slower than we’d like, but the ground is ready for planting now, so once the fence is complete, we can get some goodies growing. I did get peas planted this last week, and we lined up tomato cages along the row to protect them from the chickens. The chickens are the reason we need the fence; they adore scratching up seeds that I have planted. For instance, this afternoon I went out and planted some morning glories at the base of the windmill. I had more seeds than I could use there, so I went to the other side of the house, planted some near the garden, and watered them. When I got back to water the seeds by the windmill, the chickens had already decimated the area. Perhaps some will come up despite them. But you can see why we don’t want to plant the garden until it is fenced!

We will also be planting some things out in the yard, as the actual garden area is pretty small. Tomatoes and peppers will be in cages, and we hope to have our winter squash fenced in another area of the yard. Summer squash might fit in the main garden, but we’ll see.

Settling in to the neighborhood is a fun experience. Our closest neighbor, Bethany, has been a friend of ours for almost four years now and helped lead us to this house. She lives with her aunt, who is super sweet and has come over a couple of times to visit. Another aunt and uncle live on the other side of Bethany, and came to meet us/bring us a meal soon after we moved in. We’re looking forward to getting to know more folks in the immediate area as time goes by.

We are out in the country in between a tiny town and a shopping/business area, and are about 15 minutes from Hutchinson. It has much more of a “country” feel than where we used to live, and at the same time is closer to town. It is also closer to work for Jonathan, who is working for a company in the aforementioned shopping/business area that builds storage buildings/barns. What a blessing to be only a few minutes from work! He is working long hard days, and is adjusting to working for someone else again after almost 6 years of being self employed. I’m so thankful for his hard work and diligence.

It has been a blessing to be back fellowshipping with folks who are dear to us and who have known us most of our lives. There are actually three meetings in Hutch where we might have landed, each of which has many folks who meet the above description, but we feel that we have “landed” where we should be.

We had an educational and fun experience yesterday. A small town nearby has a monthly “poultry sale,” and we are eager to get some guineas to eat our ticks, so we headed out there yesterday. Many of the sellers and buyers are Amish or Mennonite, so there were many tractors pulling truck-bed trailers or horse trailers behind them (these are locally considered an acceptable alternative to a buggy or car for family transportation). There were rows of animals in small cages in the sale area, and we learned that it was an auction, not the type of seller-to-buyer type sale we were expecting. We filled out our registration, got our number, and set out to learn the ropes.

The auctioneer moved up and down the rows of animals and other merchandise, and folks would bid on each item in turn. There were lots of poultry – chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, peacocks – of varying ages. There were eggs for hatching and eggs for eating. Also for sale were an interesting variety of other animals and merchandise – goats, sheep, horses, ponies, cages of all sizes, buckets, fencing, even a hammock.

We had no idea what it would be like; we forgot the cage we were going to bring for transport; and the poultry seemed to go for a good bit more than we expected. Perhaps we were just being cheap, but we decided to mostly observe. Jonathan did bid on some guineas, but other folks though they were more dear than he did. Adding interest to the day were the 30-50 mph winds, which sent some of the Blessings back to the van to wait after walking around a bit. Over all, it was a very interesting and fun learning experience. We’re certainly planning on going again.

On a personal note, my weight-loss efforts have been greatly abetted by a great website, sparkpeople.com. When I started with them on 3/26, I had gotten down to 8 pounds under my pre-pregnancy (with Andrew) weight. I’ve taken off an additional 13ish pounds as of yesterday’s weigh-in. SP is totally free, has tons of helpful tools, and it is helping me make lifestyle changes, not just diet. I think the biggest impact has been from tracking every thing I eat and exercising more, and their tools have been a tremendous help in that. It also is a terrific encouragement that two dear Missouri friends are also on sparkpeople and inspire and encourage me.

By way of disclaimer, sparkpeople does not “allow” nursing moms to use the site, and, at the risk of the SP police coming after me, I will admit that I skipped that box when I registered. They want to avoid promoting weight loss at cost to babies, and I appreciate that! Not all moms are well enough educated nutritionally to be trying to lose weight while nursing a baby. I didn’t sign up with them until Andrew was almost 11 months old and eating solids in addition to nursing. I also aim for the upper end of my “calorie range” to insure that I’m getting enough. If I’m hungry, I eat. I am motivated by tracking my food to eat stuff that is good for us, instead of just filling. That’s how I’m making it work for me and Andrew. I think I’m honestly giving him much better nutrition now than I was before I started SP, when I was still eating way too much junk. Also, I will not eat fake “low fat” food. If the real thing is worth the calories, I eat it. If not, I don’t. (*steps away from her “fake food” soapbox before she gets wound up). I don’t want to encourage moms toward weight loss that in a way that is going to cost their precious babies the nutrition they need. Nourishing babies with good quality milk is soooo much more important than losing weight.

While I’m sure I’m leaving out many things that have been on my mental blog-about list, this hopefully gives you a little taste of our “new” life. No pictures, but they’re coming!

Oh, the Gifts!

Does anyone know who’s handing out the “bad blogger” awards this month?

If only you could read all the posts I’ve written in my head.

My main excuse is a pretty solid one – we’re moving in two weeks, back home to the Hutchinson area! I’m hoping to manage a catch-up/catch-all post sometime this week. We shall see.

In the meantime, my thanks overflow…
Gifts #302-339

Step by step direction
Faith challenges
Spring rain – cold, uncomfortable, but so beneficial
The inspiring determination of a friend to lose those pounds and get healthy
Shared tools for getting healthier
Three days in a row of Pilates (twice, now!)
Friends who care for us
Encouragement as we follow Him
Packed boxes
Bare walls
More and more to do
A husband and blessings who do so much of the work
Freedom to put school on “pause”
Green shoots of spring flowers and garlic

A contract on the Byrds’ Nest (hard thanks, this)
Laundry to do
A repaired-by-my-man dryer door
But God
Blue for the sky – from horizon to horizon
The color green (to fill these fields with praise)

Sunset over the Flint Hills
Tire replaced *before* blow out
Tire in stock
Full van and trailer
Road trip with my man
Happy baby in the next seat
A fun weekend for the other Blessings
Willing muscles – practical love!
Empty van and trailer
New house with pieces of us inside
Planning what goes where
Closets. Lots of closets. With lots of shelves.
A mud room
Sweet neighbors we will be leaving
Sweet neighbor we will be gaining
More boxes filling

A last hurrah for winter
Lovely white snow melting to show gorgeous green grass
Reminders to BE, not just do

a day late…

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day to the wonderful Daddy of my children. I’m thankful to have Jonathan as the leader of our home. You’re a great Daddy. Love you, Babe!

And Happy Fathers Day to my wonderful Papa. I’m so blessed to continue growing with you to encourage and cheer for me. I love you.

Papa sent me a link to this song last week. It’s usually my job to write or link to stuff that makes him cry, but he got me good with this one! Enjoy…

Rom 8:14-39
(14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
(15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
(16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
(17) and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
(18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
(19) For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
(20) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
(21) that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
(22) For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
(23) And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
(24) For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
(25) But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
(26) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
(27) And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
(28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
(30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(32) He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
(33) Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
(34) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
(36) As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
(37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
(38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
(39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Maggie the Fire Dog

The other night, Dad and Mom Smith were over, and after supper Jonathan was holding Maggie, their dog, at the table. He had a candle in front of him and it was so funny to watch Maggie watching the fire! She looked like she was sitting in front of a fireplace, dozing off while she watched the flames dance.

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