I am not a huge fan of describing myself as “busy.”  Especially not when it becomes part of the “norm” for our daily lives.  Sometimes there are just seasons, but I don’t like it.IMG_5856sm

This seems to be one of those seasons.  Here we are, being busy with little out of the ordinary to show for it. 


So we are going to take a few days and do something special as a family.  School is out for a four-day weekend and we re-arranged the office schedule some.  Time to slow down, take a deep breath, and just be family together.  A chance to change the cadence of our lives a refocusing.  As we refocus we are reminded of all the goodness God grants into our lives even during the seasons of being too busy:


3644.  Family who lives close enough to visit for a weekend – this is new for us!

3645.  Good friend in Eva – listens when I’m babbling on and on.IMG_4828sm

3647.  Money on hand to fix the Subaru.

3648.  Support from a friend.

3649.  Family discussion over dinner – and a chance to eat dinner together

3650.  Email of affirmation.

3651.  One year of our wonderful kittens – now they aren’t “kittens” any more!IMG_0298sm


3652.  Order from the court signed quickly.

3653.  Safe travel to and from Helena for Andy.

3654.  J signed up for ice climbing clinic


3655.  A good school for J.

3656.  Fall colors in the treessm-45

3657.  Getting to see the lunar eclipse (or at least the tail end of it)

3658.  Beautiful sunrise – pink clouds over the north valleysm-61

3659.  New walking/running shoes at a great price – and they feel great!

3660.  Enough money to pay bills fairly comfortably.

3661.  Trees with red leaves sprinkled around town.

3662.  Miss M. allowing some help for the abuse she suffered

3663.  The good feeling fo making progress on a difficult unpleasant tasksm-40

3664.  Orders of Protection in place for friends who need it.

3665.  J holding steady on his grades at a place that surpasses his own expectations.

3666.  Hearing the wind whistle and howl while I am safely in the house.

3667.  Subaru fixed after two weeks, and a fair price set for the work.

3668.  Less debt now than a year ago – progress!

3669.  Great photo shoot with a high school senior.

3670.  Donna hearing some encouraging words.

3671.  The hope that comes from planning a few days off.

3672.  Good lawyering by Andy – strategic and effective advocacy!sm-25

3673.  Andy’s detailed knowledge of the law.

3674.  Being able to breathe on the days when events seem so heavy that breathing might not be possible.

3675.  Sleeping through the night – at least once in-a-while.


Categories: Daily life, Faith, Family Fun, gratitude, kittens, Photography, Progress, Thankful to God | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments


I’m practicing working with a new off camera flash set up – thank you to Josh and Kathy for the great mentorship that has me trying this out!  And guess who got to be my models this weekend. 

Isn’t Sophie so beautiful(above)!



This is Miss Arnika who was her typical curious self about the umbrella with the light behind it.  She certainly wasn’t going to sit and passively let me get photos.



sm-8220And this is Mr. Arrison, so super cool and satisfied with himself – little did he know when we took this photo that he’d be getting his man parts clipped in just 48 hours.  But as with all the guys in our household, he is just super handsome!

sm-8248And then we have sweet Mr. Tank, who is looking so grown up and responsible these days.  He’s even trustworthy with the chickens (who, by the way, did not make the cut for the photo shoot).  When Tank is out in the area of the chickens he doesn’t see them as supper, but he sure is interested in the scraps we give them – he has supper envy!

Next time I’ll share how I applied the experience these loving loyal pets gave me to a real live human being.


Categories: Arnika, Arrison, dog, kittens, Light, Photography, Sophie, Tank | Leave a comment




The loss of Leo had a big impact on all of us, including out other animals.  But it is nice to see that all species can come together and enjoy each other.  This is Andy (back) Tank (middle) and Arrison (front) sleeping on the couch in front of the fire.  I think Tank was a little unsure about having Arrison curl up with him at first, but he got used to it quickly.

Categories: Andy, Daily life, dog, Family Fun, kittens, Photography, Tank, Winter | Leave a comment


Just since the first of the year there have been many things to be thankful for.  I’ll list them below, and between you can enjoy watching Arnica play with a Christmas toy:

2592.  Fresh start of a New Year

2593.  Quiet day at homesm-2953

2594.  Sharing books with J.

2595.  Getting work list done

2596.  Arnica’s gentle

2597.  Fun of caring for chickens – it is fun!

2598.  Work for Andy to do – way to make a

2599.  Progress on improving things around our home – fixing up the place.

2600.  Opportunity to trust God to provide for

2601.  J back to me safe and sound after big ice climbing adventure.

2602.  Bald eagles over the Gallatin Riversm-2967

2603.  Laughing with Andy until the tears run.

2604.  Figuring out a mystery – who’s eating the chicken food so quickly

2605.  Worship lead beautifully by Paulsm-2972

2606.  Reconnecting with people at church.

2607.  A new season of Downton Abby to enjoy as a family.

2608.  Bright sunshine through the windowssm-2979

2609.  Ellie turns 4

2610.  Sophie returning to her cuddling ways

2611.  Bright yellow sun on the Bridgers as I wait for the bus in the late

2612.  Deer along the road – young spikes so attentive and cautious and still with their moms

2613.  Anticipation for the start of photography mentoring – so much to learn!

Categories: Daily life, gratitude, kittens, Thankful to God | 1 Comment


And it’s not going to get delightful any time soon.  We’re expecting highs in the 0 – 10 range tomorrow, and by Wednesday through the weekend there is a chance the highs will be 0 or below.  Makes the idea of outdoor photos a little daunting for now.  In the mean time, here are a few of the kittens who have grown so much the past few weeks.IMG_1605.smThis is Arrison.  I know it is him because his paws are darker than Arnica’s.  He’s up on the dining room chair in this photo which was taken by J.

IMG_1641smHere they both are confirming that it won’t be long before they are each larger than their mother.  This is at 8 weeks.  Sophie is a little thing, and it really hits home just how little when I see how big the kittens are already.

IMG_1571smAnd here the big ol’ galoot, Tank, joined them on the bed – clearly they are not afraid of him.  This is Arnica (I know because the dark paws are in the background kitten, and Arnica has a slightly lighter chest.  Tank is not usually allowed on the bed, but this was a special occasion – like he was being cute with the kittens so I didn’t kick him off.

Stay warm out there!

Categories: Autumn, Daily life, Fall, kittens, Photography, Sophie, Tank, Winter | 3 Comments



They love to get out of their basket and play – heck, they love to wrestle and play in their basket too.

IMG_1178_7733smLittle Arnica has a bit of an attitude – here she is being sassy to her brother while he gets a bath from momma!

IMG_1186_7741smThose baths can be a bit annoying sometimes!

IMG_1195_7750smBut he bounces right back and is off to explore.

IMG_1206_7761smHe knows his momma is up there looking down on him and he’s been trying to get up there for days – no success yet.

IMG_1211_7766smAnd he doesn’t seem to mind when he falls down.

IMG_1241_7796smI’m sure he’ll get there some day!IMG_1262_7817smAnd his sister won’t be far behind!

Categories: Daily life, kittens, Photography | 2 Comments



After an absence from the blog I always want to explain – but really it is just a matter of living life.  We are getting ready for a huge three-week long trial that starts in just over a month – definitely the longest trial of Andy’s career so far, and as far as moving parts, one of the most complicated cases.  It is a white-collar crime allegation so there are documents upon documents upon documents in the case.  A huge time suck!

At the same time my not particularly inclined to handy-man work husband built a home for 12 chickens, who joined us on Sunday of this week.  These beauties are J’s project – he hopes to sell their eggs once they get settled and start producing.  Yesterday they came out of the coop for the first time as far as we can tell.  That was exciting because we were worried that they weren’t coming out even after the wind and snow of the early part of the week went away.    I think they just like it nice and warm, and yesterday afternoon they got that.


These two (above and below) keep us busy too.  Above is Arnica – a girl – and below is Arison – a boy.  They are 3.5 weeks old, and all these photos were taken last night as they ventured out of their nest for the first time – much to Sophie’s (momma) displeasure.


They seem to enjoy the dogs at this point – and the dogs are pretty excited but gentle about the kittens!


Even blind Leo finally found them with his nose last night, and he just wants to curl up with them.


When they decided to leave the nest they did it together, and were greeted by Mr. Tank, who knew they weren’t supposed to be wandering along.


Aren’t they the cutest!


So, that doesn’t explain every little detail of life for sure, but lets you know we are alive and well, just buried in work and trying to keep the balance of good things in life – and the animals are a part of the good things!


Oh, and J finished up his first quarter of 8th grade with his best ever grades and he made that accomplishment without interference from his parents – he’s very independent with his school work these days and really quite responsible.  We couldn’t be more excited about this development because of the growth and emotional peace it brings to J who has always worked hard but until we figured some things out this summer never got the reward for his efforts.  Now he’s getting to experience some of that, which is such a joy – it almost brings me to tears.

Categories: Andy, Autumn, Birds, chickens, Daily life, Fall, Family Fun, J, kittens, Leo, Outdoors, Photography, Sophie, Tank | 2 Comments


IMG_0117mI got up early on Saturday (before the sunrise or moon set) and went looking for some of that glowing yellow.  A nice way to start a fall day – the rest of which was spent cleaning house and cooking for the boys!

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy photos from that adventure while reading all the blessings I’ve observed over the last couple of weeks.  By the way, it is constantly clear to me that these blessings I observe are really only a small fraction of the blessings God bestows on me each and every day.  Oh how easy it is for me to take for granted!   But these are a start.

IMG_0130sm2369.  Little bird huddling from the snow and wind right at my window

2370.  A drum lesson accomplished

2371.  Watching PBS shows as a family

2372.  Meeting with E and seeing her progress.

2373.  Early October snow.

2374.  Warm pajamas and new slippers

2375.  Friends praying for me so powerfully.IMG_0142sm

2376.  J’s joy at the snow

2377.  J spending the night at a classmate’s house

2378.  Snow lasting several days

2379.  Ice on the sunflowers is beautiful.

2380.  Extra time to get wedding photos processedIMG_0153m





2386.  Having fun over dinner with 6 twenty-somethings

2387.  Andy getting through a BIG hearing calmly

2388.  Watching Tank and Sophie sniff each other lovingly.

2389.  J being sound in his social functioning

2390.  Pine nuts from Daddy.IMG_0186sm

2391.  Taking photos of the worship team – weaving in and out as they play and sing at their practice time.

2392.  Sophie’s attachment to J

2393.  Arrison and Arnica – watching them grow.

2394.  Being with Sophie when she gave birth.

2395.  Good talks with Andy based on Brene Brown book and interactions with a wise consultant.IMG_0205sm

2396.  Our house being called someone’s Home away from home.

2397.  Lunch with Kirsten

2398.  Support from Roberta re: diet and exercise issues.

2399.  Holding Sophie’s kittens.

2400.  J’s excitement over getting a phone.IMG_0219sm

2401.  J doing well at serving to the Life Recovery dinner

2402.  sun light through yellow cottonwoods over the creek.

2403.  Washing dishes with Eva and Emily L.

2404.  J sleeping well.

 2405.  Fun interactions with court clerks when there to do normal business.IMG_0227sm

2406.  J making positive statements about himself.

2407.  J able to go back to school after short illness.

2408.  Getting photos processed before the deadline.

2409.  Andy and J had safe hunting trip.

2410.  Nobody injured in Riskovich house fire.IMG_0234sm

2411.  Walking with Roberta

2412.  Fun watching Arrison and Arnika begin to interact with each other.

2413.  Knowing business owners that we can support like Eagle Tire.

2414.  J showing signs of feeling better.

2415.  Free internet photography lessons that teach a great deal.IMG_0238sm

2416.  Payment for September’s billing coming in a timely manner.

2417.  J doing well in the mornings before school – consistently cheerful and timely.

2418.  School was on J’s gratitude list – that is huge!

2419. Chocolate covered pretzels.

2420.  More bison meat in the freezer than I remembered.IMG_0240sm

2421.  J including younger guy in on some of his plans to make the little guy feel included.

2422.  Chicken coop progress.

IMG_0244smAnd just for the heck of it, here is a photo of my greeting from Tank when I got back from shooting these photos – yes, he carries around a giant board bringing it to me to impress me with how much he loves me since he’s willing to let me see his stick.  That’s a lot of stick love!

IMG_0256smAnd here are the kittens – growing so fast – they’ll be two weeks old tomorrow, and we finally got them moved into the house where they are safer and warmer.

IMG_0298smThe one with the dark paw is Arrison (I suspect a boy, but am not sure) and the other is Arnika, (I suspect a girl, but again, not sure).  Arnika has much lighter paws than Arrison, but both are cute, and otherwise they are close to identical.

Categories: Autumn, Barns, Daily life, Faith, Fall, gratitude, kittens, Outdoors, Photography, Tank, Thankful to God | 4 Comments


We get to hold them today.  I’ve been gently petting them in front of Sophie and she doesn’t seem to mind. 

IMG_0100_7381smEyes are open and they climb all over Sophie sometimes – especially pawing at her face when they can reach it.

IMG_0099_7380smSchool is out yesterday and today for a teacher conference, so J is free and easy.  Made for some big excitement already as he got his first phone – not a “smart phone” but a practical phone since we no longer have land lines.

IMG_0098_7379smTo add to the excitement, the State of Montana times Junior Hunter day (kids 12 – 15) with the statewide school break, so he’s able to hunt deer a full 10 days before the regular season opens.  That’s what he’s doing as I type.  Don’t know if he’ll get anything, but the concept of doing it is great.

IMG_0101_7382smGoing to have a weekend at home for all of us – hopefully get a chicken coop made so we can bring our chickens home next week.  That will add to the workload, but it will be a fun adventure too.

Categories: Autumn, chickens, Daily life, Fall, Family Fun, hunting, J, kittens, Photography, Sophie | 2 Comments


IMG_0037_7318cropThey were a week old yesterday, and started to open their eyes.  Not fully open yet, but so exciting.  We are starting to pet them a little bit, and Sophie doesn’t mind.

IMG_0039_7320smBut no actually holding them until Friday when they are 10 days old.  Then only for short times.  Once we can pick them up I guess I’d better figure out how to tell if they are boys or girls or one of each.  A little internet research may be necessary on this.

IMG_0042_7323smWent for a walk this a.m. in town – not time to walk in the mornings before work with school prep and everything, so it is a good thing I work for someone who is flexible enough to let me leave the office and stretch my legs while I burn some calories.  Thanks Handsome!

IMG_0053_7334smIt was pretty cool this morning, so even at 9:30 – 10:30 there was still frost on the shaded areas – decorating the edges of leaves and grasses.  Glad I brought my camera along for this walk.

IMG_0076_7357smI suspect that soon I’ll be walking indoors, so I’m trying to take advantage of the chance to be outside before the temps drop to single digits – double digits are always do-able for me, but man, when it’s below 10, I will choose to walk at the mall pretty much every time.

Categories: Autumn, Daily life, Fall, kittens, Outdoors, Photography | 4 Comments

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