Sunday, November 11, 2018

Spring to Summer to Fall - And Joyous News!

In case anyone wondered, yes, I am still alive. :) Alive and well and living a full, blessed life! I had kept expecting things to slow down a bit, but the days continued to be overflowing with time with family and friends, my business, life around home, and more. I was considering bringing my blog to a close, though many kind messages from you dear readers during my blog hiatus, as well as missing the interaction with you all here, made me decide to keep posting, however sporadic it might be!

To start off what will be a very long picture update post, I am so happy to share the joyous news of the birth of my precious niece! . . . .

Sweet girl entered the world October 10th weighing 7 lbs 1 oz 

What an amazing and very special experience it was to be there to help Leah through labor and to hear little Eva's first cries! It was beautiful as well to see Ivan coaching and helping Leah with such gentleness and love, and then welcome their precious daughter into the world. How richly God has blessed our family!

 In her mama's arms

I am so very thankful for the precious gift and blessing of Eva! We are loving every minute with her (and her parents and big brother, Abel, too)!

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD” .... “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works”! (Psalm 127:3 and Psalm 139:13-14)

Sleeping peacefully . . . I could hold her forever. I love watching the change of expressions across her face, hearing her sweet baby sounds, and holding her close. 

Watching her Grandpa 

We have had such special family times together! 

Abel liked when she wrapped her little fingers around his - he is a great big brother 

Interrupting baby pictures for this :) . . . Dad and Mom had gotten Abel some potential geodes so one day when we were there, he and Ivan broke one open which was a fun experience. 

And it was a geode! He was excited about that! 

 Special times with Eva and Abel!

I'll love you forever precious girl

Aww . . . fast asleep in her daddy's arms. I love watching both Ivan and Leah as parents to their baby girl! 

Playing with her mommy . . . watching my sister as a mother has been beautiful! She is pretty amazing. :)

It is never too early for storytime with grandma!

Her grandpa and her having a little chat 

Kisses from daddy . . . you are so loved baby girl! 

Could she get any cuter?! 

There aren't many things better than holding a sleeping baby!

Now you know what has been predominately filling our days and hearts the last month! :)

Leah's Baby Shower

In August, Mom and I hosted a baby shower for Leah, and here are a conglomeration of pictures from that memorable day . . .

Fun times during one of the games 

 Presents, diapers, favors, and notes to write for Eva 
(the decoy on the table wasn't part of the decor :), a mom put it there to keep it out of reach of little hands)

Love this sweet boy!
(Will, who I have worked with at the therapeutic riding center) 

Miss Eleanor made the rounds of people holding her 

Present time . . . Leah had lots of willing little helpers! 

We were so thankful for everyone who came! We barely all fit in our living room. :)

Many family and friends were able to come and blessed Leah by their support and all the love and gifts for baby girl. From refreshments, to games, to mom's beautiful talk on biblical motherhood (plus practical tips!), to all the great conversations, smiles, and laughter, it was a much enjoyed time together.

Creek Day Fun

One day this summer, I met up with Leah and Abel, and our friend Molly and her children for a fun day at the creek . . .

 Tug of war of sorts :) . . . will Leah get Abel in the water? She did! Amidst much laughter

So much to explore! 

Love these two! (Or I should say, three :) 

The explorers seeing what's down over the edge of the creek bank when we went for a walk a ways down the path 

Will and I as we slowly made our way down the creek to join the others - stopping often to throw rocks in the water 

Splash fights! There were some rather wet children (and adults :) by the time we left the creek 

Looking for crawdads - they found some and Leah's and my attempts to catch them to show the children were unsuccessful. Those things were fast! 

Once we had had a blast down at the creek, we had one more stop . . . the therapeutic riding center! It was an 'off day', and Karen, who owns the center, was so kind to invite the children out to ride. To say that it was an enjoyable time would be an understatement!

Patiently waiting as we got things ready for them to ride - so fun to spend time with each of these kiddos! 

 Abel loved riding!

Leah and Abel 

Abel's first time trotting! He loved it! And see who is leading the horse? Will! He did an amazing job and even 'instructed' the riders and imitated what we (the leaders/instructors) do in the therapy classes!

Aww . . . Ghazi and Will 

Time for a right turn! (And no, I am not wearing the right footwear :) . . . the trip out to the riding center was an unexpected treat) 

Having fun with Ghazi 

Abel's Baptism

It was so special to be at Abel's baptism earlier this year, as he did the first act of obedience of baptism after trusting in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior . . .

These two have a close relationship! I love watching them together 

♥ them 

It wouldn't be long and they would be a family of four! 

All of us

A Bit of Randomness

Abel did a great job with his first piano duet. It was fun to watch and listen to them!

It brought back a lot of fun memories when we pulled out Leah’s old farm set (that we spent countless hours playing with when we were kids) for Abel to play with now. He really liked it and was excited to be able to bring it home!

Feeding time for the goats

The first snow of the year came last week . . . even though I am not quite ready for winter, it was beautiful!

Niobrara Farms

Quite some time ago, my business grew to the point of being a full-time business so that definitely keeps me busy! I am thankful for it, and especially enjoy the farmer's market . . . .

My booth at the market 
(And if anyone wonders, the white 'curtains' on the front are to keep the sun off the products as much as is possible) 

Early morning at the market

A bit of product photography 

One of my favorite candles! I waited until the wild raspberries were ripe to take this 
(they look like blackberries at least :)

A few orders in progress 

The Therapeutic Riding Center

I continue to volunteer at the therapeutic riding center and love it! From mounting riders, adjusting tack, supervising trail rides and making sure everyone stays safe, instructing classes, having fun with everyone, the joy of seeing progress (such as hearing words from a child that is nearly non-verbal and much more!), and simply enjoying being with everyone . . . .

Out on the trail

Having fun with these sweet girls between classes 

Volunteering these past four years here has brought a much deeper meaning to Veterans Day for me as I have the honor of working with men and women who have served our country and who now bear the life-long effects of their service and sacrifices.

The spectators :)

An Outing with Friends

I enjoyed a fun fall outing with Leah and our friend Meagan and her children . . .

He thought the colorful pumpkins were pretty neat 

The wide array of mums were beautiful 

Attempting to get a picture of the three of them. :) 

We had fun watching the geese together


A few weeks ago, I was also able to babysit these same children for their mom. We had a great time together, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Fun coloring . . . and he knows his colors! 

It is always nice when games are learning tools, too :) 

This sweetheart was wanting to be close throughout the day so I got lots of baby snuggles! 

Snapshots from spring

Petting some of our goat kids

Helping bottle feed the two whose mom wasn't producing enough milk for them

How many people have a goat wandering around in their living room? We did! :) We had a little goat kid who couldn't regulate his body temperature well for awhile, so when it would get too hot outside, he would get to come inside. 

Putting up corn from the farmer's market

This handy trick worked well!

Lots of salsa canned

These little musicians treated us to quite the concert the day they came over to see the baby goats

They loved this little guy! And kept giving him hugs and kisses and named him, too

So there you have a catch up on the last several months! A bit of a glimpse into some of the happenings here. :)

As a closing note, there have been many things that have spoken to my heart in Scripture since I last posted, and one from the book of John that seems fitting to share in this post as it is part of the foundation of life and daily living . . . 

When Christ was washing His disciple's feet, he said “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:13-15)

Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Son of God, showed by this humble act the heart of a servant. As He shared in Matthew, He did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many. And He is my/our perfect example – He has called me/us to walk in His footsteps:

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth . . . .” (1 Peter 2:21-22 – the whole passage is so good!)

Just a bit further in John, I read this verse which seemed to fit so well: “but so that the world may know that I [Jesus Christ] love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me . . .” (John 14:31a)

How convicting and encouraging all of this was to me . . . seeking to walk as our Savior walked; having a heart of wholehearted submission and obedience to our heavenly Father and what He has commanded us through His Word; serving our families, brothers and sisters in Christ, the world; dying to self and living for Him!

And with that, I will bring this record long post to a close. :)