This and That Thursdays



Before I start here, I want to express (perhaps “again” but it never seems to be enough) that the gratitude I feel is not some gratitude to the unknown or unidentified.  It is specific gratitude to God for the specific gifts He has given me. 

My life is full of His many many blessings, as the list proves.  But it is also hard at times – very hard.

These gifts are the reminder that God has put specific things in my life to be encouragement, sources of peace and joy, reminders of His love even through the hard stuff.  And He has placed them when and where He does with a purpose. 

So, as you read this list, whatever your beliefs about God, I just want it to be clear that these are gifts from God in my book, not a bragging list of what I’ve got and not everyone else does.  Nor is it an attempt to prove my worth by showing my blessings. 

It is a pure expression of gratitude for the intimate details that God works in my every day, every moment life.

Two nights ago there was a beautiful glow on the landscape in our yard.  Please note, I did not say “landscaping”, I said “landscape.”  As these photos will establish, we do not have much in the way of planned and organized landscaping – it is “au natural” for our home, and really that is fine with us.

Anyway, the light was such that I was inspired to take photos.  So out I went.  These photos decorating this list of blessings are the result.


So, here are portions of the list, which grew greatly on vacation:

1883.  Lots of blooming trees this year.

1887.  The fun of making plans for a day in San Francisco

1890.  Dramatic clouds and reflective light in the sky.

1895-6.  Andy taking a new last-minute case without panic (totally out of his comfort zone) and his calendar suddenly clearing to make that a possibility.

1901.  Birds playing “tag” on a split rail fence when I was walking by.

1907.  The power of our Bible study group praying for each other.


1909.  Dinner with good friends and new friends

1911.  Seeds in the ground in time to be well watered by a steady rain

1913.  Good dental appointment – no cavities or other problems

1918.  Being able to rent a car without an official credit card

1921.  Dim Sum in China Town – feeding 5 for $35 with lots of leftovers and it was delicious!

1923.  Easy parking the whole time we were in San Francisco


1925.  Beauty at the sea-shore despite all the development

1929.  Andy’s joy at seeing beach where he used to scuba dive with friends

1934.  Other people’s small (tiny) bathrooms bringing a renewed appreciation for the fact that our home has big bathrooms – just didn’t realized how blessed we were in this way without seeing that it is not universal.

1935.  California smells:  Oak, oleander in bloom; eucalyptus; manzanita, sea-shore


1944.  J’s appreciation of details in photographs displayed at DeSassiet museum (Santa Clara University campus)

1947.  Being able to talk to Daniel and Eva while on vacation.

1949.  Pine nuts from daddy to bring home and enhance our cooking

1952.  Redwood trees and Big Sur river


1953.  Safety while visiting the fissures – didn’t lose any young children over the edge!

1955.  My cousin’s three-year-old-son’s way of narrating his life – so cute!

1957.  Touching El Capitan n Yosemite

1959.  Sarg’s vigorous state at age 89

1966.  Kids playing with big phone airplane

1971.  Fresh fruit

1974.  Water balloon launcher and six children

1979.  Access to old family photos – especially seeing photos of my mom when she was young


1982.  Colorful boardwalk in Santa Cruz

1985.  Finding MIL’s grandfather’s grave after many years – and exploring the area while we were at it.

1992.  Learning about ducks as egg producers

1995.  Janet’s roses

1996.  Smell of white poppies at the Peardale house

1998.  J’s interest in rasing chickens and ducks


1999.  Grandpa’s willingness to struggle with the effect of PD – joining in on eating out, picnic in the park, little bits of a walk.

2000.  Andy’s willingness to do what it took to go on family vacation.

2003.  Photos of J with his grandparents

2010.  Fog coming over the Berkeley Hills

2011.  Smooth sailing through TSA at SFO

2015.  J’s constant drumming and rhythm expressions

2018.  J dealing with his own bag issues (independence) at the airport


2019.  Andy praying for our day starting us out on the right foot and bringing about a good day in the midst of a busy schedule

2025.  Burning enough calories in a day to promote weight loss

2030.  Enjoying music on The Voice together as a family

2032.  J’s smile while in his first class back at karate after several months off


2031.  Tank’s joyful relationship with water and all things wet.

2034.  Liking the results of incorporating the tripod in more of my photography

2037.  Fun comments on my blog from people who I enjoy on-line.

2038.  J’s exhaustion means he was very active the day before.

2040.  Open/transparent discussion in Bible study.


2041.  J doing his chores well unsupervised

2045.  Watching the little twitches in Tana’s (cat) face as she stalks a moth

2046.  Ideas for improving our work situations.

2047.  Lupine in bloom along the road where I walk and run

2048.  Friend Holly giving encouraging words and bringing up relevant points that strike at my heart


2049.  Mangos at Costco (just the right level of ripeness at the right price).

2050.  Surprises around the house from the Hawley’s time there

2051.  Although Sophie’s kittens were still-born, she is healthy and recovering well.

2052.  Leo successfully stayed with Aunt Nettie while we were away.

2053.  Green everywhere on our home landscape.


2054.  Flowers are beautiful even when they grow among the weeds

2055.  Rose bush that grows through the deck cracks and makes a unique decoration

2056.  Big clouds over still snow-capped mountains seen from our property.

2057.  Raspberries for a snack


2058.  Seeds that have sprouted – carrots, pumpkin, peas, lettuce and beans to come

2059.  Ideas to improve our yard

2060.  Connecting with people after being away for 10 days

2061.  Running 3 miles relatively easy after too long of a break


2062.  Friends for J to connect with

2063.  Bright colored shirt that used to be too small fitting and matching my fun skirt so I can feel good about what I wear without having to purchase anything.

2064.  Job/money-making opportunities for J as he begins to save for trip to Washington D.C.

2065.  Getting parenting inspiration from watching some of the things that other parents do well.


2066.  Plans, ideas and dreams for the future to sort through, analyze and make decisions about, but ability to not have to rush.

2067.  Even when being in relationship is hard and chaffing, continuing the relationship is possible and desirable.

2068.  The hard parts are never unaccompanied by grace and gifts

Categories: Barns, Daily life, Faith, flowers, gratitude, Outdoors, Photography, Rural Thursdays, Thankful to God, This and That Thursdays | 3 Comments

I was told there were some neat cows to photograph up in Bridger Canyon, on the way to the ski hill.  I went looking yesterday afternoon and found Miniature Scottish HighlandersIMG_3569sm

They are kind of cute, don’t you think.


It looks like a black angus got in with the mini herd – shhh!  Don’t tell him he’s not quite like the others! I’m pretty sure #10 thinks he just like #14, and it might crush his spirit to find out that he’s completely different – so much bigger!


A storm blew in as I was photographing these guys – but I must note, I stayed a bit into the storm because these are the first cows who actually started to walk towards me when I pulled out my camara. 

IMG_3581smI will be heading back out to visit these guys more – they are a lot of fun!

Categories: cows, Outdoors, Photography, Rural Thursdays, This and That Thursdays, Uncategorized, Winter | 4 Comments



I went on a field trip with J’s class two weeks ago today.  That’s where these photos are from. 

It was a P.E. field trip to Lone Mountain Cross Country Ski area where the students cross country skiied and snow shoed all day.  They had a blast, and so did I.  This was despite the fact that it was a high of about 5 degrees that day – but the sun was out and the skies were beautiful, which is more than I can say for the warmer gray days of this week.


J loves to cross country ski and snow shoe.  He loves any winter sport.  Right now he is really interested in learning to ice climb.  We live just minutes away from a world renowned ice climbing area, so I guess it isn’t outrageous to think that he could follow his dream and learn this sport.


That is, until you see the cost of the equipment.  Wow!  I don’t think anything besides the harnesses and helmets are less than $200 an item.  It was a bit of sticker shock when we went into the ice climbing equipment area of RE I two nights ago.  Fortunately you can rent ice climbing gear.  I think we’ll be going that route for awhile. 


The other winter sport J expressed an interest in recently was learning to bobsled.  Yeah, right.  He had it all worked out – we can go down to Salt Lake City (7 hours each way) and use the Olympic track that was built there over a decade ago.  It is open to the public for thrill rides.  Maybe we’ll do that some day, but probably not in the next week or so for J’s birthday.


I’m not sure that was the answer J was looking for on the bobsledding.  Oh well, these coming teen years are going to be full of great dreams and the reality of implementing them in a practical way.

I try not to be too pessimistic about what these teen years will be like.  After all, J has good basic character even if he is a bit disorganized.  He’s kind and loving.  He’s funny, engaged in the world, good at talking with adults, and with the exception of school work, pretty darn self motivated.  People enjoy him, including me. 

Yes, he does push the limits a bit with attitude and a tiny bit of mouthiness, but he still responds well to correction in that area.  I don’t want to be a Pollyanna about it, but I think we can do this.  It won’t be easy, I know, but since when has anything in life been easy?

I’m linking up with This and That Thursdays for the last time and with Thursday Favorite Things.

Categories: Daily life, J, kids, Outdoors, Photography, This and That Thursdays, Uncategorized, Winter | 5 Comments


Andy went to court in Helena yesterday and took Tank with him for the ride there and back.  Last time they did this they hit a deer and did a good $2000 worth of damage to the car and we were without the car for 10 days. 

This time they did not hit a deer. 

On their way back to the Gallatin Valley Andy stopped at a fishing access along the Missouri River to let Tank get out, stretch his legs and do his business. 

Although this is not the Missouri River (it’s the Gallatin), it demonstrates what the rivers around here are looking like these days with ice cover and open areas:


While Tank was tooling around Andy was reading a sign at the boat ramp.  (Tank is good at coming when called, and in an area like this is not required to be on a leash). Next thing Andy knows, he looks up and there is Tank, with two front paws and his chin on the edge of the ice shelf, rest of the body in the river.  Panic expressed on his face (as much as dogs can express panic).  Clearly, Tank was in trouble!

Two things to set the context emotional here – first, we have two friends who have lost their dogs to being washed under the ice on local rivers in the past five years or so.  It is not an uncommon experience here and really a tragedy!  Second, in the last couple of months there have been at least two news stories of people who died trying to rescue their animals in bodies of water, and that is what crossed Andy’s mind as he tried to figure out the best way to save Tank.

Andy contemplated heading out on the ice shelf to get Tank (crawling on his belly was his plan) because it didn’t appear that Tank had fallen through, just fallen off the edge.  But remembering the folks to perished trying to save their dogs he was concerned this might not be the best plan.

He looked down river, and there was an open spot in the water near the shore, and he thought maybe he could head down there and call to Tank.  Being that Tank is a large Lab, Andy thought he would be a strong enough swimmer to let go and navigate himself to the shore if Andy was calling to him and encouraging him in the proper direction.

But that wasn’t real appealing either because if Tank didn’t make it to that spot, who knew what would happen next.

So, Andy decided to see if he could encourage that big ol’ galoot of a dog to just climb back on the ice pack by saying “Com’on Tank!  Com’on Tank!”

After six attempts to pull himself up onto the ice, Tank was finally successful.

You can only imagine Andy’s relief.  He put Tank in the car, blasted the heater (that water is cold) and drove away from there as fast as possible.
When they got back to the office and relayed the story to me it sent chills up my spine.  Poor Tank could have been lost for sure!  I’m so glad he wasn’t!
I’m sharing this post withThis or That Thursdays  and Thursdays Favorite Things Hop – won’t you come join us?
Categories: Andy, Daily life, Outdoors, Photography, River, Tank, Thankful to God, This and That Thursdays, Uncategorized | 12 Comments


Mostly just photos today.  Lots to do – we celebrate the Birth of Christ in just 5 days, and I’m not ready – have a lot of heart work to do to focus on the celebration!  And a lot of baking and delivering to do!


Also lots of intense praying today for everything from healing of a badly broken arm for a friend of J’s to administrators doing their job with a heart and best interest of a kid, to changing hearts and minds to be softened towards Jesus. 

The world is a creation of God, and full of beauty, but as we approach one week from the Newtown tragedy, I am aware it is also so fallen and broken that it is hard to see that beauty.  I’m working on training my eye to the beauty without ignoring the need for healing.


Categories: Outdoors, Photography, This and That Thursdays, Yellowstone | 2 Comments



Yellowstone is the “Land of Fire and Ice” in winter.  Fire in the belly of the land boils the water, making steam, which freezes on anything and everything once it gets too far from the belly of the land.


These are a few samples of that phenomenon taken along “the boiling river” portion of the Gardner river last Saturday.


In this one (above) you can see that the steam doesn’t get far from the warm water before it freezes, but those plants right on the edge of the river never get the ice.


And then there are the areas where the steam comes and goes with the wind, leaving behind dripping water that quickly becomes ice.

I’m sharing this post with This or That Thursdays  and Thursdays Favorite Things Hop – won’t you come join us.  And as always, I’m letting my POTD girls over at 2 Peas in a Bucket know I’m here too – they are such a talented and cool crowd!

Categories: Outdoors, Photography, This and That Thursdays, Yellowstone | 8 Comments


It has been a this and that week, so good to get back to blogging on this and that Thursday.  I sort of disappeared for a couple of days because I spent Tuesday with my friend Eva as she was working on this:

Pretty cool, huh!  I wasn’t there for delivery.  I just sat with her through labor until her husband could get there – we live in a big county, and he was at the southern end of it for work when it was determined the time had come. 

Then, after the birth I got the older kids and brought them to meet the baby.

That pretty much took care of Tuesday’s planned activities!  Yesterday was recover and catch-up from unexpected day out of the office.

For those of you who might find it funny, the nurse tried to hand me the baby saying “here you go grandma.”

Hum, dad is 45 and mom is 35.  I’m about to be 48.  I wonder which of them she thought I was the mom to.  I think I’m going to take that as a hint that I need to lose some weight and dress a little less frumpy.  Wish me luck on that, but I now have the affectionate name of “granny” for use by this little baby only, please.

’m sharing this post with Rural Thursdays and This or That Thursdays  and Thursdays Favorite Things Hop – won’t you come join us?

Categories: Daily life, kids, Photography, Rural Thursdays, This and That Thursdays | 4 Comments


Got to be home for the sunrise a couple of days ago, and here is what it looks like out the south-facing windows in the house:

Same building as yesterday, different angle and perspective.  Hope you aren’t bored with it.

My shameless brag is that truly, I have the best back yard in the whole world from a hobbiest photographer point of view.  I will have more photos from the back yard tomorrow – you’ll see, it has lots of interesting stuff.  Heck, the past four or five posts are all photos from my back yard, so you may already see what I mean.


I’m sharing this post with Rural Thursdays and This or That Thursdays  and Thursdays Favorite Things Hop – won’t you come join us?

Categories: Daily life, Outdoors, Photography, Rural Thursdays, This and That Thursdays | 13 Comments



Yesterday Tank and I took a little walk near the old Story Mill.  I’ve posted about this place before.



I think the wind had torn off more of the siding on the square tower. 

Two things to note about the walk with Tank:
1.  It was a warm mid-day even though the skies were dark, but probably the last day without frozen ground and snow for a good long while – the dark is a sign of the winter storm that is hitting all of Montana, with blizzard warnings for some counties.

2.  Tank needs some leash training – which I just happen to have a strategy for.  With out said training he will pull me down.  With said training he is already showing signs of getting the hang of not pulling on the leash.  I’ll let you know  how it goes in the future.


I’m sharing this post with Rural Thursdays and This or That Thursdays  and Thursdays Favorite Things Hop – won’t you come join us?

Categories: Daily life, Outdoors, Photography, Rural Thursdays, Tank, This and That Thursdays | 8 Comments


We are getting a series of storms, and this is what yesterday morning looked like at the Cherry Creek marsh – beautiful!

I was out there in my skirt and not really appropriately dressed for the weather and photography, but I just couldn’t resist running out there to see how the snow created little sculptures on all the grasses and textures.

Since I didn’t have appropriate shoes for mucking around in the puddles that were underneath the grass and snow, it was difficult to get some of the close up photos I envisioned.  Do you notice a theme the last couple of months?  I go to a location envisioning a particular set of photography circumstances, get on location and have to adjust my expectations.  Must be a lessons I’m learning in life about expectations!

These two joined me for the walk – funny how Andy’s khaki clothing and Tank’s blond/tan fur fit right in with these photos – a very beautiful but limited color palate.
I’m sharing this post with Rural Thursdays and This or That Thursdays  and Thursdays Favorite Things Hop – won’t you come join us?

Categories: Andy, Daily life, Outdoors, Photography, Rural Thursdays, Tank, This and That Thursdays | 14 Comments

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