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Summer and Vacation 2015

Wow it’s been a while since I last blogged.  It seems like summer is such a delightful and crazy busy season for us.  When we finish school, the long awaited projects around the house scream for attention, add to that the boys playing baseball each summer and…the days fly into weeks and then into months passed before I know it.  11692753_10207338309999895_5783373938848287946_n

This summer we also had the wonderful joy of going on vacation with our family.  We haven’t really traveled anywhere since Rachel’s make a wish trip to Hawaii so I was a bit uncertain how it would go after having the bar set SO HIGH with that trip.  However, God in His infinite wisdom and absolute love for us, made this trip every bit as special.

We were able to go to Wyoming.  It was planned a bit last moment due to some unforeseen circumstances.  But God worked out details better than we ever could have.  One of the places we really wanted to go for several years was near some dear friends, Dean and Tonya.  These are precious friends that we were in Bible studies when we were first married.  They were attending med school here and we were able to spend many hours together building into one another’s lives.  (We were actually at their house the day I went into labor with Nathan.  Unbeknown to me at the time, I was in the beginning stages of labor while Paul was helping Dean put in a doggy door.  We went home and about two hours later headed to the hospital to give birth.)  Anyway, we had somewhat lost touch over the years, but were able to get in touch again awhile ago.    11902477_10206136723350980_4300938999549210734_nMany of you know that I have honestly been praying all spring and summer for some time away with our family, so for God to work out the details of this trip…it was beyond joyful, but also a real answer to prayer.  Our friends had a wonderful cabin that we were able to stay in and it was a delightful place!  It was quiet.  It was peaceful.  It was surrounded by beauty!  Our sweet friends were SO incredibly hospitable to top it off.  It was one of those times where you just sit back in awe of the servanthood and heart of Jesus in the flesh!  Seriously!  Tonya in particular was as gracious of a host as I have ever met.  She made our family feel like we were more than at home in their home. I don’t really know how to explain it other than we felt like we were in the presence of a servant of the King.  Her heart for loving on others in one that I have rarely seen and even more rarely experienced.  It was refreshing, encouraging and inspiring. Certainly praising God for her love showed in action.

We were able to drive up and stay in Yellowstone for a few days.  That was a treat!  Beauty all around. Unfortnately, we went at a pretty busy time of the season so the park was packed with lots and lots of people.  It also happened to rain two of the three days that we were there.  However, we still made the most of it and I can now say that I have been to Yellowstone. =)

The rest of the time we spent at the cabin.  The kids had an absolutely amazing time exploring, shooting pop cans, bow and arrows, riding four wheelers and playing LOTS of card games.  IT WAS AWESOME!!!

I do have to take a moment and share one of the many times that we saw God’s incredible mercy.

Our friends wanted to take us on some short hikes.  The kids were content to play card games and hang around the cabin, but Dad really wanted to go explore (he has that adventurous spirit deep within). So the kids conceded and went.  The first hike was pretty ordinary.  The second however, was one that none of my children…or this mama will ever forget.  We walked down to an old mine tunnel.  On the way there I was thinking it would be like the first hike we took earlier in the day.  However, on this one I quickly realized it was a bit more intense.  (First of all, in Wyoming distances are a bit deceiving.  What looks like an easy, short jaunt may in fact be a great distance when the hills are added.  What seems like easy, brown grass is in fact sage brush and a host of other prickly types of things that assault your feet, legs and travels.)  On the way down to the mine we approached it at an angle and worked our way down.  Even at an angle…IT WAS STEEP!  The girls were slipping and sliding their way down the hill.  The three adults were holding their hands down the hills on several occasions.   It was about this point in the hike that I realized that we were maybe in a bit over our heads with our girls and a baby. 
11061228_10207636732060260_3090248560810126825_n  However, we made it down to the mine without incident.  A couple of the kids checked out the mine, along with dad and then we started heading for home. 11258662_10207636733700301_8933157698990786433_n

Rachel, of course stayed out of the mine and posed for this picture.  Notice that large boulder that she is standing on as well as the shale all around her feet. 11894629_10207636734460320_1735737182008019662_o

We did not return that way that we had come.  We went straight up the rock face.  It was full of slippery shale.  It seemed like it would be a bit of a tough climb back up for my girls.  I stayed back just to make sure they all made it safely without slipping.  The grade was pretty steep and I worried about them sliding, I knew if they started sliding it could become interesting fast.11896274_10207636732540272_2155359948236254885_o

Dad actually picked up a stick to steady the climb (but mostly because he thought that the stick was super cool).  Notice the steep rocks to his right.  It was certainly a precarious spot for novice climbers and especially our younger two girls. 11846562_10207636735300341_2501981036883621887_n

I stopped to take this picture as I was beyond amazed at the climb that we were doing.  The girls were struggling a bit, (the high altitude did not help) and really I just wanted to document this moment that we had done something as a family that was a bit challenging.  I put the camera away and began climbing myself.  I was parallel with Paul when I heard Tonya yell, “Watch out below!”  Down came this enormous boulder.  It was as wide as my arms.  I saw it heading straight for us.  I jumped to the side into a prickly cactus/sagebrush of some sort (I have scratches to show for it still =0).  I looked over at Paul (precious Megan sleeping on his back) and could only utter a desperate prayer.  Paul watched the boulder coming at him and I swear waited and waited to see which way it was going to bounce before deciding which way to jump.  During those fractions of a second, or what seemed like minutes in my mind, all I could envision was that boulder knocking him and my sweet baby down the mountain.  It was a horrible feeling!!  THANKFULLY, Paul was able to leap to a safe spot.  As soon as the boulder passed all of us it continued down the mountain and obliterated a tree with a diameter of about of a large dinner plate.   Needless to say I was shaking like crazy.  That kind of adrenaline is AWFUL!  Then we hear from Nathan that Shiloh was hurt.  It was a scramble up the rock face to get to her and assess the damage.  THANKFULLY, and miraculously she was okay.  Only a minor scrape on her knee.

My "Wyoming Strong" friend carried Shiloh for a half a mile or more on her back. This picture reminds me of Jesus in SO MANY WAYS!! When we are shaken and torn down by life...He, in his loving care, picks us up and carries us to safety. My friend, Tonya, will forever be near to my heart. This is just one of the many reasons why! Selflessness and care exemplified in this one shot.

My “Wyoming Strong” friend carried Shiloh for a half a mile or more on her back. This picture reminds me of Jesus in SO MANY WAYS!! When we are shaken and torn down by life…He, in his loving care, picks us up and carries us to safety. My friend, Tonya, will forever be near to my heart. This is just one of the many reasons why! Selflessness and care exemplified in this one photo.

After we reached a safer spot off of the mountain face we found out what had happened.  Nathan was climbing and went to pull himself up grasping on a large boulder.  It broke loose!!  He tried to push it back, but obviously he wasn’t able to do that with a boulder that easily weighed  400 pounds or more.  However, we may not know this side of heaven the impact of any of our actions that day had on all of our safety.  Nathan’s skin on the very tip of his finger was ripped off in his effort to push the boulder.  He felt horrible that his sister was hurt!!!  We assured him that God was in control and any one of us could have done the same exact thing.  He was shaken for several days afterwards.  We tried to remind him that God protected us.  As well as the idea that his slight push may have redirected that boulder enough to impact the outcome.  Shiloh was directly behind him.  HOW the boulder didn’t crush her leg, will forever be a mystery!!  Rachel was behind them a bit climbing, not paying attention.   Our quick thinking friend snatched her to the side removing her from the line of the boulder.  I would have loved to have seen into the spiritual arena that day.  Still in awe that God navigated that HUGE boulder down through 7 people with only a scratch.  God is good.  Shiloh will more than likely have a scar on her leg forever.  As a family we will look at that and be reminded of the day the Lord guarded and protected our family in an amazing way.

Two things after that.  We went home and had a time of PRAISING ABBA GOD for His mercy.  And…not sure if my kiddos will ever want to hike in an area that has large boulders again. =) They definitely have a healthy respect of the world that God has made!!!

The rest of the week was very uneventful and actually I think all of our kiddos appreciated that in a newfound way. =)IMG_0906

We have WONDERFUL memories from our summer and our time in Wyoming this year!

On to Fall…and a busy one at that.  More on that soon!

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