Thursday, August 28, 2008

Staff "Training"

This morning... was great!  Micah and I are starting our 5th year here at MWSB and we love it!  It is such a good place for us and one thing that God has really been placing on my heart is staff unity and staff encouragement.   We get so busy at investing in the lives of students that sometimes we really fail at taking the time to get involved in each others lives.    There are 3 other staff ladies (that are apart of married teams... ie there are 4 married couples on staff - Micah and I are one of the 4) and 3 single ladies that cook for the students.  We all meet with students and inevitably there are always similar issues that we all deal with.  I had an idea that it would be wonderful to get together and be able to talk about how to deal with students with certain issues... not only to encourage each other, but to LEARN from each other.  Today - we talked about eating disorders.  Every year there are women with eating problems - it is a HUGE problem and it breaks my heart!  I scheduled a guest speaker to come and share with us how to and how NOT to deal with someone with an eating disorder.  

Over our cups of apricot spice tea and lemon mint water we were able to share a few hours just sharing with each other and gaining wisdom. It was good... heartbreaking but good!  I am glad that it went well and I am gonna start planning for another time together.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Favorite Pics of the Day

One thing I love.. is to see Ethan sleeping..... I hope I never forget how he looks... this just makes me smile!

Ethan is on the Move

I am still in shock that Ethan's 1st birthday is next week!  That is just crazy... I love my little boy!  We have been having fun "playing" the walking game!  He is cute.. I will say, "Ethan, lets play the walking game" and he immediately turns into a rubber boy.  His legs give out underneath him and he just thinks he is funny stuff!  But every day he takes more steps.  First it was one or two steps... now I think he is up to 5-6 steps... and when he is not thinking about it - he can take more steps than that.  

The process of walking is so fascinating to me... and actually everything about his development has been fascinating.  On Sunday his little buddy Eli walked by and you should have seen the look on Ethan's face... he was like - "WHAT... he is on his feet.. well I can walk too" and he took off - only to fall down.  It was funny - it was the first time he actually thought about walking - after seeing Eli do it.  He is so attentive to others and what they do and it is so interesting to watch him try to copy what he see others do.   I am a little nervous... if you want to know what I do all day long... just watch my son... yikes that is humbling!

We had our first Bible studies tonight.. I am excited. My Bible study is very talkative.. on the first night - so I won't have a problem with discussion - that is for sure.  (I have been meeting with them on an individual basis and that has been good - I am loving getting to know them!) On my first Bible study I always have them finger paint their life story/or who they are.  Then we go around and share ourselves. The main reason I do this is to emphasis that life is messy.  At times our walk with God and others is messy and it is only through God's grace that we can have a messy finger-painted picture turn into a beautiful masterpiece.  I just pray we get that this year!  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Big Box of Blessing!

Yesterday we got a big box of blessing in the mail!  WOW... thank you Stephanie!  Stephanie is my cousin through marriage and we became friends through our mutual addiction to scramble (a game on facebook).  She has the cutest boys ever and she passed down their clothes to Ethan!  

Thank you so much, Stephanie!!!!  

This summer I was looking through Ethan's clothes and wondering what I was going to do to keep my little boy clothed - because he grows out of clothes so quickly and unfortunately money and/or clothes don't grow on trees (wish they did because we have a ton of trees around this place)!  That was about the same exact time that Stephanie asked if we needed clothes!  

Amazing... I am so thankful!  Ethan is going to be styling this winter!  In the last two pictures Ethan is wearing his new PJs and I think he looks very handsome!  The last picture is Ethan's new smile.  He squints his eyes shut and makes this cheesy smile... 

melts my heart every time!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School

School started today... The students are going through the Bible overview class and so it begins.  I have been trying to be intentional with the students.... being down on campus as much as possible without neglecting Ethan and our play times together.  I am so thankful that he is older and is only taking 2 naps a day... that is nice!  We can also eat in the dining hall because there is always something he can pick at and he loves the students.  So it will be a much different year than last year!  Last year I felt so distant from everything - mainly because of Ethan's acid reflux and colic days...  it was easier to stay home! 

My first Bible study is Wednesday and this week I am making a point to meet with each of the girls in my study.  I know how important these first weeks are at establishing a relationship and I just pray that God will provide those opportunities! 

Today - Ethan and I started "school" as well!  This week we are working on the letter A.  We had a brief study time together (about 5 minutes).  We colored and played with pictures and it was fun.  He is becoming an amazing colorer!  I am so thankful for him... he makes my day - every day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Traffic Jam

Just wondering... how many of you got stuck in this kind of "traffic" on the way to church?  Ethan and I enjoyed being surrounded by cows for about 5 minutes - thankfully we weren't late to church!  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Impressions...

Today is the first day of school.  All the students have arrived (except 1)... I met all the girls that will be in my Bible Study and I am excited to get to know them!  It will be a fun/fast year like always!  

Just 4 days ago I had 8 girls in my Bible study, but in the last few days 2 of those girls decided not to come to school. Secretly I am very glad that God and I agree on the number of girls that I can handle... 6 is just right!  Thinking in terms of one-on-one hours... 6 hours sounds so much easier to handle than 8 hours!  It is funny how you can see a student and make an impression just by that first introduction... I want my first impressions to be bathed in love and not judgment.  I want to be able to see them as God sees them and not as my human eyes see them.  It is going to be a good year and I AM EXCITED.. now!

I love this picture of the three of us... we truly are all in this together... Ethan kept his shades on for almost an hour. He looked like such a cool dude... I mean I know he is a cool dude, but he really played the part.  Micah stayed busy all day taking money and doing registration for the students.  Lots of parents, lots of new faces... and there will be lots of rest tonight! (hopefully!)

Ethan Playing with His Buddy

Ethan and I went down to Anderson's house to spend a little bit of time playing - before school started and life get busy. Cassie and I were talking and then it got really quiet... this is where we found the boys... they were just hanging out by the door!   Eli is 7 days older than Ethan so they are the perfect size to be buddies.

With the two of them it does not take too long for a little spontaneous wrestling to occur. 

Eli and Ethan... ah!

Friday, August 22, 2008

10 Summer Highlights

We started the summer off with trips.  (Above)  Ethan and I traveled to Reno, NV to visit family.  We had a blast watching my brother graduate from medical school and being able to spend a whole week with family! (Below) Micah led a team to Africa for 21 days.  They worked hard and were able to really serve those who they came into contact with!

In June Nana (Micah's mom) came for a visit.  We enjoyed her stay - family is wonderful.

Through out the summer we played in the dirt... A LOT!  Ethan put more rocks in him mouth than there are miles to the moon!  Not sure why rocks are so tasty, but this is definitely something I will remember about the summer... rocks!

Another highlight is all the time we spent in WATER!  My little boy is definitely a WATER BABY!  I am pretty sure we enjoyed playing in H2O everyday.. from swimming in his swimming pool to playing in a sprinkler. 

The continual messes!  Eating messes, house messes, diaper messes... you name it my life is a whole lot more messy since this little guy entered my world... but wow - it is worth it!

Camping trips!  This picture is from our Glacier trip.  Long nights... but fun filled days.

Family picnic dates. This picture is from our trip to Gibson Park in Great Falls.  It was a super fun and relaxing day!

Ciarah's visit!  A trip to Missoula, rafting, swimming in Augusta, lots of movies and a pizza party.  Good times!

Ethan and I's trip to Colorado.  10 packed days of energy and people.  

It has been a great summer!  Goodbye Summer... see you again after the SPRING!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Work

The picture above was taken at the beginning of summer and the one below was taken yesterday.  I just love looking at pictures that compare the growth and progress because sometime when you are in the day in and day outs of life you forget where you have come from.  Although the pictures are taken at opposite ends of the flower bed - I hope you can see the growth!  I think next summer I need a lot more yellow and orange in the beds to brighten them up!

See this cute little black kitten... I have two of them that I am earnestly looking to give AWAY!  Do you want one?  Oh - please say yes! They are cute as buttons, but I really do not want to have 4 cats.... 2 is stretching it.  I use to be a cat person - but after cleaning up after them in my gardens and having them think that all my plants have been planted for their endless entertainment (pouncing on... attacking... DESTROYING) - I have moved from the love stage to the tolerating stage (and even in this stage I am not very tolerant!)

Tomorrow is our last day of summer... it has come and gone quicker than I would have liked, but I really think I am ready for the next season... I am just thankful for all the lovely memories I have lived in the last few months.  It is hard to believe we have a 1 year birthday to celebrate in the next couple weeks!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A moment to remember and REALITY

Last night Micah put Ethan to bed and I went to pick raspberries.  Oh.. yeah!  Tomorrow I will make raspberry jam... MY FAVORITE!  There are many reasons why I love raspberries but one of my favorite it because my grandma loved raspberries.  Every year she gave us a few precious jars of jam and throughout the year we would ration it out and savor every single drop.  With each bite we remembered our grandma.  Now grandma is with Jesus and so being sentimental like I am I like to grasp onto things that I know were precious to her.  She also made pies - which is the main reason why I love making pies.... really went you get down to it I have no personality of my own - I merely borrow pieces from those I love and adopt them as my own.  I never fully take credit for my borrowed traits, because when I talk about 
who I have adopted that part of my personality from - 
I can enjoy those moments of remembering some one I really love or have loved. 

Reality has hit me.  In front of me is a list of names... girls or should I say women who I will invest the next 9+++++ months of my life into.  It is weird to me how in a few months this list of names will no longer be a list, but will be names that represent someone who has impacted my life.  Someone who has challenged me, stirred up insecurities,  questioned me, encourage me, etc... I think you understand what I mean.  Every year I get asked what I am going to teach in Bible study and what my goals are for the year - and honestly I can put it in a few words.  My goal is to be a student of these human lives that have been made in God image.  I want to learn, fail, get back up, and live in authenticity.  Do I have it together... NO... will I ever?  Some days I honestly think... NO!  I am a mess!  If only you could get inside my brain - you would NOT be reading this blog... in fact I would probably be locked up in a crazy farm - that is IF you could read my thoughts (hopefully for your sake you won't have to experience the full craziness of my insanity!) I guess in a nutshell... I just long to walk in grace this year.  PERIOD!  

Now a blog is not a blog without getting to talk about Ethan... What would life be without him?  Hum... let's not think about it... okay?!  I love this picture because I love him... and because it captures him enjoying popcorn.  He eats it by the bucketful.  He loves it and I love watching him love something.  Next week we are starting school.  I have a little curriculum planned out and don't worry... it is nothing intense... mainly we are going to start working on letters, numbers and colors.... and it will only be for a few minutes a day, 
but it will be fun and involve a lot of art!!!   
But enough talk about school... we have 4 days of summer left! - 
and I am going to enjoy each moment!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Coloring Boy

Make Every Day an Adventure

"Our summer days are coming to an end" I thought to myself (yesterday) as I was working on some school stuff.  "I am not ready for this"  I continued to think.  The thought of leading a weekly Bible study, mentoring 8 girls, being involved in continual activity, doing a bunch of office work, and writing newsletters feels completely overwhelming at this moment in time.  I loved having the summer without the thought of being intentional with anyone other than my husband and son - it was freeing.  But reality is - that a week from today that will change.  The intensity of the school year will be upon us and it will be our life for the next 8-9 months - and I love it... truly I do... it is just overwhelming.  One goal that Micah and I have for next year is taking our days off.  That seems like a simple goal, but when you live on campus and stuff is always going on - it is difficult.  We usually end up going months without a day off and then when we are burned out we think.... ah... we have not had a day off in 6 weeks... it makes sense.  So hopefully this will be the year!!

Yesterday I really tried to just enjoy my time with Ethan.  It is fun being able to just focus on little things with him.  He played in the yard for a long time and of course I just had to get the sprinkler out and we played until we both were soaked.  He now has four teeth.... and has grown out of most of his clothes.  I really need to go shopping.....

For dinner we all enjoyed a quiet dinner... well between Ethan's squeals, ripping his bib off, and throwing food on the floor.  I made some yummy yogurt/herb bread and it was tasty!  We finished off our chicken salads with a slice of apple pie.  It is fun to enjoy these moments together!  

One of my favorite moments of the day was "after bedtime"... Ethan usually goes right to sleep at night, but last night he was not ready for bed - so I got him back up.  Micah was studying his Bible on the living room floor and Ethan wanted his pencil.  So we gave him his own pencil and Ethan wanted to write... well I ended up grabbing his brand new fat crayons and we colored for about 1/2 hour.  He is a natural at holding crayons!  

Today will be another day filled with adventure.  Thank you, God for life!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The First Step...

Well.. today is a special day... we sent off the first paperwork for starting the adoption process.  1 down - 1,000 to go - but it was pretty cool.  We have been sorting through adoption agency packages all summer long and so after a lot of thought and evaluating our options we figured out that there was really only ONE option.  Because we make less that the poverty level we do not qualify to adopt with any adoption agency that does adoptions overseas.  We really wanted to adopt a child from Africa, but after calling and being told the same thing over and over - we were pretty stoked when found out that adopting with the state of Montana is free. So we will see.... We continue to pray about this and we are confident that God will lead and guide us through it - we are just stoked to have taken the FIRST step.  Can you pray with us?  We really would love to have a brother or sister for Ethan... whether it is biological or adopted.... we honesty just want to do what God wants us to do. Yeah... for first steps!

Remembering Jesse

July 27, 1989-​​ Augus​t 7, 2008

On the 27th of July I wrote a blog about celebrating Jesse Benson's birthday. Little did we all realize that less then 10 days later he would be celebrating for eternity with His maker.  At 3:00 am-ish on August 7th Jesse was driving home after spending the summer working on campus and fell asleep at the wheel somewhere in Utah.  

When I heard the news I just sat for a long time.  Life is so precious... so short... at any moment that could be me... ANY MOMENT.  

I remember at the birthday party I asked Jesse to tell us the highlight of his year.  He said that being at MWSB was the highlight and I asked why?  He said, "Because this year has really helped me prepare for the future."  

How true were his words.... he was prepared to meet his Savior.... and that is the most important thing about his life.  We will miss him - he truly was the kindest, most compassionate young man.  We are so thankful for the time God allowed him to be in our lives.