Five on Fridays


Ellie-45ONE:  This week five on Fridays is decorated by photos of Miss E.  She is 4 and was honored to be the flower girl for Miss Amanda back in August.  The trouble was that Miss E’s mom and dad had a huge job to do the day of the wedding and could not attend.  Mom was crushed – tears and all.  Who could blame her?  Miss Amanda is special to their family and this was a huge deal. 

So the solution was for Miss Susan Beth to hang out with Miss E all day and take photos so mom and dad could relive the day.  What a fun day!


TWO:  This week was a big jury trial for Andy – after three full days it ended in a hung jury, which is both a victory and a frustration.  Onward!Ellie-118THREE:  This week has driven home a sense of vulnerability in so many ways.  Bringing me back to “Daring Greatly” for assurance that being vulnerable is not a bad thing.  Just have to keep on living with a whole heart, knowing that there will be bumps in the road, ditches to slide into, and crashes along the way.  But that is okay because we may not have all the answers to life’s questions but we know who we are in Christ.




FOUR:  Headed out to early morning before school worship team activity for J on Tuesday and thud!  No more functioning in the Subaru.  It broke the timing belt, which took out all the valves in the engine.  Faced the choice of fixing it or having a good start to the purchase of a new to us vehicle.  Decided to fix it and move forward.  This is the danger of having only cars with around 200K miles (truck is well over, Subaru is closing in fast).  Cars are definitely not a source of glamor in our lives, and probably that is as it should be.


FIVE:  It is October!  Can you believe it?  So many seasonal activities and projects that bring comfort, joy, hard work and warmth.  I believe this will be a very busy month but also, I pray, a very rewarding month.  Andy has yet another jury trial coming up at the end of October and lots to do between now and then, so we are hitting the ground running!

Categories: Five on Fridays, kids, Photography | 1 Comment


Been a while since I did a five on Friday so thought I’d go for it again.  And it has been a while since I’ve focused on my boy, so this time, five photos and five facts focused on my so.




It was weird to take photos during  a worship service, but what mom could resist memorializing her son’s participation as part of the worship team.  This was actually his second service participating.  It isn’t every week that he plays his cajon, but he really looks forward to it.  He’s working towards playing the full drum set in a service, and since his drum teacher is also the worship leader for the service we attend, I think he’ll get there.


TWO:sm-6J is a very social guy – loves to be with his peers and loves to attend family orientated activities.  He’s got friends from our Bible Study/church group, friends from his current school, friends from his old school, and friends from karate.  Some of his friends (as above) are younger, especially at karate.  But at school many of his friends are older (he eats lunch with the Juniors).  And since he moved up to the adult class at karate, he is putting his ability to relate to adults to good use and has lots of adult friends.  Just this week he was the only under 40 invited to a birthday party for a woman turning 75, and she was very specific she wanted him there.  Socially he’s in good shape.




Although he doesn’t have a girl friend, or date (or even express an interest in actual dating) he has consistently shown himself to be a gentleman with the girls his age.  Here he went back, got his shoes wet, and helped his friend from Bible Study across when she got nervous about balancing over the creek. 

I know I recently posted about how he has a friend from kindergarten – well, he’s known the girl in this picture and her sister since he was three, and we did a couple of hikes with her family this summer.





J is playful and competitive.  These four kids are the four who went to the Karate National Championship competition together back in July, and they love to play together – and most of their play includes some sort of competition.  But we are blessed that J is generally a well-rounded competitor. 

He does not like to lose, but he is gracious when it does happen.  And he’s learned in the last year or so not to be so discouraged by a loss that he gives up.  In fact, we saw it at the National Championship tournament – he did not place in the Kata competition on Friday and was very disappointed in that, but he held it together




J will tell you that he doesn’t want to “hike” but once you get him out there he does pretty well and enjoys himself.  What he really likes are extreme sports like ice climbing, snow boarding fast, rock climbing, mountain biking and things that generally give him an adrenalin rush.  So when I take him hiking he does things like scale the cliff along the trail (see above). 

Categories: Family Fun, Five on Fridays, Hiking, Hyalite, J, Karate, kids, Montana, Outdoors, Photography | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment


IMG_0058_6973sm– ONE –

We got a big snow storm yesterday and last night.  J was giddy the whole way home from school because he loves snow.  We actually got home before dark (a rarity these days) and as I was baking some bread I notices this little guy out in the sunflowers by the living room window.  So, I tried to sneak up on him with the camera and get a few shots through the dirty window.  For the first time ever it worked – he didn’t fly away as I approached the window.

I think he was tired because in many of the shots his eyes are closed.

IMG_0062_6977smTWO –

J continues to have a really good year at school, which thrills all of us – and reduces stress.  I guess a bit of maturity and growing goes a long way to finding how to organize things.  Makes all the difference in the world.  Eighth grade is wonderful!

IMG_0062_6977cropsm– THREE –

Andy remains extremely busy – has a big hearing on Monday in a giant Ponzi scheme case.  If he wins his motions the chances are pretty good the case will go away.  He’s worked many many hours on this case and may spend many more on it.

IMG_0094_7009sm– FOUR –

I’m working hard for Andy – more focus on his cases, less free time for blogging and photo processing when I’m at the office.  I’m also finishing up processing wedding photos and have a back log of photo-shoots I’m working on, so I’m also busy busy busy.  But I have to tell you, a back-log of photos to process is much better than being busy with a Ponzi scheme case.

IMG_0098_7013sm – FIVE –

This photo is from this morning as the storm was moving out.  By now most of the snow is probably melted – it certainly is here in town.  Love that you can see the glow of sunrise off in the distance once the dark clouds end.

Other updates:  Sophie should have kittens soon – hopefully they are healthy and alive this time.  Leo still blind, and if at all possible, even more so.  But still wags his tail and seems happy.  Tank . . .  well, he’s just a tank of love and excitement all the time.  And our chicken coop is part-way done, with chickens being held by a friend for when we are ready.  J is already planning on adding ducks in the spring, and goats as soon as he can.  It is a full life we live, that is for sure.

Categories: Autumn, Birds, Daily life, Fall, Five on Fridays, Outdoors, Photography, snow | Leave a comment



Drummer Boy:  So, he got drums (mentioned that in an earlier post I think) and he is so much better at playing them than I ever imagined.  He is also so much louder when he plays than I ever imagined.  And this isn’t some “rat-a-tat-tat.”   Nor is it random disorganized hitting. He can do some complicated stuff along with music he downloads.  Love his teacher, and love his natural bent for this instrument.  Well suited for him I think.


He’s been working and working and working the last couple of days.  He did some baby sitting – first time, for a friend whose children know him well, at an event where mom was just off in another room attending a meeting.  He did well – the mom was impressed that he kept order with the oldest by having him do push-ups when he got out of line.  Apparently the child only got out of line one time.  He made some good money doing this too.  Not a career he wants to heavily pursue, but for people he enjoys being around, it was worth his time.



School starts on Monday and he is working on getting organized.  And I am working on allowing him to develop his own organization – but this isn’t a post about my growth process.  He is paying attention to certain details in an attempt to have a binder for every teacher that is self-contained.  His hope is to arrive at each class with everything he needs, but be able to grab from his locker quickly and efficiently.  

Since he goes to a relatively small school – only 21 eighth-graders – he only has to have 4 binders (he has two of his teachers twice, so he combine the supplies for their two classes into one binder, and he doesn’t need a binder for art or p.e.).  Each of those binders is color coded – the highlighter for that class matches the binder color, matches the pocket divider color, matches the pen color, matches the pencil holder color, matches the spiral bound notebook cover color.  His colors are Black, Orange, Blue and Green.  He’s done a good job, although I did have to purchase a couple new binders and a new pack of highlighters so that he had the right proportion of colors.

I’m figuring that the extra money spent allowing him to design an organization system that he enjoys using will at least help him get a good start to the year.  Organization is always his biggest challenge, so we’ll support his attempts to improve it.


Other work he’s been doing includes work for an older couple at our church.  He’s trimmed their bushes and picked apples from their trees to keep the bears (yes, bears) from coming into their yard. It is hard work.

But not as hard as the loading 1 ton of hay into the back of our long-bed truck was this afternoon and then unloading it into a barn.  We loaned our boy and our truck to a friend in need, and she worked him hard.  He just called to say he’s be taking a shower (yeah, a 13-year-old boy who understands his need for a shower from time to time) and then he’s going to “nap” on the couch, which really means lay there and watch T.V.

IMG_3816_5946sm5.I am hoping that by the time I get home tonight the current thunder shower will be over (but we are so grateful for the rain given the fire situation around here) and he will be rested up so we can go down to the river, dip our toes in and get some photos.  Because that is one thing we keep saying we’ll do this summer, and with only two days left, it is time to get it done.  And he loves to take photos down there!

Categories: Daily life, Five on Fridays, J, Summer | Leave a comment


It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Five on Friday post.  That was back when I blogged regularly instead of erratically.  But I thought I’d give it a try today.

– one –

Update on Leo

IMG_2735_5049smCan you tell by looking at this photo that he’s blind?  He is.  But I have to say, he seems to be adjusting.  It is very sad when he runs into things, like the fence (thus the cut on his right eye).  We watch him carefully, and find he really knows our property well – navigates around with little problem most of the time.  He’s not as confident as he once was, but I wouldn’t be confident out in the field if I couldn’t see anything either (I’ve been closing my eyes when walking out there so I can get a sense of what he experiences).  In the house he does well as long as we remember not to leave piles of things on the floor or any cupboards or drawers open for him to trip on.  We’re working on our training on this.

Bottom line is after almost 3 weeks we feel like he is adjusting well, and we observe that he still wags his tail often, gives affection, likes to receive affection, and does not have any noticeable pain.  The vet did a follow-up with him this past Wednesday, and although it was very stressful for him to be in the vet office which is not familiar territory to him, he is otherwise adjusting well.  So, we go forward for now, watching and adjusting.

– two –


IMG_2994_5124smYesterday morning I went out early (pre-dawn) to the Headwaters of the Missouri River to do a senior photo shoot for a family friend.  We were surprised and pleased by the fog on the rivers (there are three rivers that join here to begin the Missouri River – the Jefferson, the Madison (where this photo was taken) and the Gallatin (which flows right near my house some 25 miles up river).

To give a little perspective, the father of the young woman I’m doing these photos for was struck by cancer this past winter/spring.  I approached and asked if they would be willing to let me take her photo, figuring that doing something special, but not having a cost for it would be a way our family could support theirs.  I was fearful that I had bitten off more than I could chew and that I would only be able to provide ho-hum photos when I really wanted something special and unique.

So, I spent quite a bit of time praying for the ability to get her something special, unique and that would make her feel great about her senior photos.  And God provided!  We had the most amazing fog with sunshine for almost a full hour of photo taking at three different settings.  That just never happens in Montana, but here it was.  You better believe this will be on the gratitude list!

– three –


The sunflowers continue to bloom and bring me great joy.  Saw some today that inspire me to plant more next spring/summer in a few additional strategic places around my yard and garden.  They are so simple yet so beautiful.  And so low maintenance!

– four –


J is learning to hunt for birds through an organization called Pheasants Forever.  Last weekend he and his class learned about upland game habitat, and he is determined to create some good bird habitat on our property.  This involves creating a little channel for water to flow.

IMG_2788_4958smBut first he had to find the existing channel, clear the weeds from around it, and then begin to enhance it.

IMG_2814_4984smIt is a big investment of his time and energy, but not as big a job as it would be if the old channel weren’t there to begin with.  I don’t understand the full project/vision, but Andy does, and I trust he and J to be doing something good.  I think it is a multi-year process, but the first step is to get some water out there, and then to plan some shrubs.  Hopefully in a few years we’ll have an active bird habitat – hope the birds like our dogs!  Although, considering the above, Leo doesn’t really present any kind of threat.

– five –

 IMG_2852_5022smGuess who doesn’t want to be left out of all the activities?  Miss Sophie goes out and sits and watches J digging in the field.  It is kind of cute!

Categories: Daily life, Faith, Family Fun, Five on Fridays, flowers, gratitude, J, Leo, Outdoors, Photography, Summer, sunflowers | 2 Comments



These are all lilacs in town – took these photos when I was downtown to meet a friend for lunch on Wednesday.  My lilacs aren’t this open yet – still mostly little dark purple/magenta balls in a cluster, although they are starting to open.


I love lilacs but they are so short-lived!


If mine don’t open soon I’m going to miss them when on vacation in the next 15 days.


That is why I am taking opportunities to photograph other people bushes.


Hope I don’t get the reputation of being a peeping lilac photographer as I jump out of my car and take photos of people’s yards.  Of course, I do stay on the sidewalk, and don’t look in any windows – just at flowers.

Categories: Daily life, Five on Fridays, flowers, Outdoors, Photography, Spring | 4 Comments



Spring is making an appearance on our property these days.  Thought I’d share a few photos that highlight some of the signs.


As you can see, no leaves yet, but the trees are getting nice fat buds that will begin to be leaves in the next couple of weeks (or maybe less).


Still a lot of brown, but you can see some green tinges getting stronger and stronger!


Still have snow on the mountains, and probably will have more on the fields before it is all over.


The clouds were dropping down yesterday evening, suggesting it was probably raining in the atmosphere, but dry by the time you got to the ground.  So neat how God has created the world to have such interesting events like that.


And this is our house, which actually has a semi-green lawn at this time.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Categories: Daily life, Five on Fridays, Outdoors, Photography, Spring, the house | 6 Comments



Five photos – all from earlier in the month when I visited Spring in California.  We don’t have these colors here yet, but we are getting some green.

Then, it is time to update on gratitude.  I’m shortening a bit because it has been a long time since I published a gratitude list and it would be too long a post to have every single thing in one post.  So, I’m just giving about 20 or so, will call it caught up, and try to stay up-to-date in the future.  Sound fair?


1729.  Time with my in-laws

1730.  Time in the beauty of Lafayette

1732.  Beautiful blossoms on morning walks in Lafayette

1733.  J’s desire to read Radical and his acting on that desire


1734.  J’s hair cut and being able to see all of his facial expressions now.

1736.  Andy’s safe travels to California

1739.  My wedding ring fits for the first time in over 5 years (because of weight loss effort)

1742.  New glasses and change in look they bring for each of us.

1743.  Fixed hole in kitchen wall and new paint for kitchen

1745.  Celebrating EKL’s birthday with her in person

1747.  Seeing 42 with J

1748.  Knowing that Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickie were both men of profound faith and what a witness their actions and attitude were.

1749.  Sandhill Cranes are back and loud and so fun to hear.

1753.  Robins returning in crowds


1756.  Entertainment from a Frank Peretti book picked up in the airport

1757.  J singing funny songs with familiar tunes and made up words while doing homework.

1767.  Tank full of joy (written in the gratitude journal 2 days before I ran him over with my car).

1768.  Drummer from church having encouraging words for J’s interest in drumming.

1778.  Andy’s new playful shoes.

1782.  Tank not being killed or bloodied when run over


1784.  Common people acting as heroes in Boston

1786.  Enjoying other people s art.

1787.  Tank’s quick recovery from all his bruises (he’s pretty much back to his normal self already)

Categories: Daily life, Five on Fridays, flowers, gratitude, Outdoors, Photography, Spring, Thankful to God, Travel | 3 Comments


– one –

IMG_3425smSo, my cow search is just about done – I’ve got lots of photos, and only one or two more ideas about cows I want photos of.  It has been an interesting journey in and around our valley.

Most cows are like this little guy (born within the last month) and hide when I come near.    But, I wanted to show you this one (poor quality that it is after cropping it in so far) because look at that eye lash!  Amazingly long – proving this must be a male because only the guys get such gorgeous lashes naturally!

– two –

IMG_3434smEarly yesterday morning this guy was basking in the sun – he’s so calm for such a big bull!

– three –

I interrupt this post about cows to show you this bald eagle that I encountered on my way home from taking J to the bus yesterday morning (which is when I took the above photos as well).




I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing these beautiful birds.  We get a lot of them, and it creates great excitement for me each and every time!

– four –


“Here we come . . .

Walkin’ down the street . . .

Get the funniest looks from . . . Everyone we meet.

Hey hey we’re the highlanders”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!   These guys just remind me of that song, and yes, some of you are too young to get the reference, but I’m okay with that.

– five –

IMG_3647smSpring break starts right after school today – J and two of his friends are going to The Newsboys concert at MSU, which will be a heck of a kick off to this fun week!


Categories: cows, Daily life, Five on Fridays, J, Outdoors, Photography, Winter | 2 Comments


Found all these as I was searching for photo friendly cows the past two weeks.  Enjoy! IMG_1099sm









Categories: Barns, cows, Daily life, Five on Fridays, Outdoors, Photography, Winter | 3 Comments

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