Archive: April 2013

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Winter Elsewhere ~ Oak Hill

Amazingly so, it is time to say good-bye to April and Florida. It’s definitely too hot there now so it’s best if we search for Spring Elsewhere. As I conclude this series, writing from the mountains of Idaho, let’s take one more quick road trip to a place I think you’re going to love ~ Oak Hill.

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It’s funky. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to walk barefoot even if the hot white sand burns the soles of your feet just a little bit.


Oak Hill actually concludes a huge loop we took through north central Florida and puts us on the Space Coast. That’s because Oak Hill is ideal for watching space shuttle launches. If you had x-ray vision like Superman, you’d see the launch pad in this picture, way off to the right.

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And being from McCall, Idaho, we have a definite interest in that. Barbara Morgan, an elementary teacher from MCall, officially became the Teacher in Space when her partner Christa McAuliffe, the original teacher in space, lost her life in the Challenger explosion in 1986. Many people we know gathered just a few miles from Oak Hill to watch that fatal launch and 22 years later, all our eyes were on the launch of the Endeavour as Mrs Morgan began an 8 day journey in space 30 miles from here as the pelican flies. McCall named its newest school for our astronaut teacher.


So whenever we are at Oak Hill, I think Barbara and I think space and I like to imagine the exhilarating excitement it must’ve been for both of those launches and all the others. And I actually experienced just a tiny inkling of that excitement this winter. When some friends visited, we took them to Oak Hill and stayed in our usual cabin out on the point.

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While we were out and about, someone told us that there was going to be an unmanned launch the next day. I googled it and sure enough, 10:10 was liftoff time. So we lined up our chairs on the deck and faced Nasa and waited. And waited. And waited. Then we saw a flash of light,


like a ball of fire rising into the air. And then followed the boom and the roar. It was mesmerizing.

That was as close as I’ll ever come to watching a space shuttle launch but I have a vivid imagination. But hopefully we will return again and again to Oak Hill, which is located on Mosquito Lagoon,


to enjoy the birdlife


and the salt life

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and the simplicity of a little community tucked away

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just waiting to be explored. And of course you know it’s coming…the sunrises aren’t bad either!

Oak Hill Sunset

Daily Devos with Max~Knocking

Posted by Robin


I have a daily devotion flip calendar on the window sill above my sink.  It’s Grace For The Moment, Volume II,  by Max Lucado.  I see it often throughout the day while I’m doing dishes, washing hands, etc.  I’ve been thinking about sharing them with you and the other day’s devotion was really good.  I think every day is good, but some just speak louder to me than others.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I am!

(painting by Holman Hunt)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.
Revelation 3:20 NKJV

“Perhaps you’ve seen Holman Hunt’s paintings of Jesus.  Stone archway . . . ivy-covered bricks . . . Jesus standing before a heavy wooden door.  It was in a Bible I often held as a young boy . . . .

Years later I read [that]. . . Hunt had intentionally left out something that only the most careful eye would note as missing . . . I went back and looked.  Sure enough . . . there was no doorknob on the door.  It could be opened only from the inside. . . .   God comes to your house, steps up to the door, and knocks.  But it’s up to you to let him in.”

By Max Lucado


A few of my insights . . .

Not only does this pertain to our salvation when we ask Christ to come into our hearts, but I believe Jesus stands at our hearts’ door asking to come into an area we have shut off or buried so deep that we either forgot about or don’t want to remember.  Or it could be an area in our lives/hearts that we had no idea was there!  I know I have areas in my life that need cleaning!

Sometimes it could be how we handle our kids when they’ve done something wrong.  Maybe it’s learning to be content with where you are right now in life.  Is God asking you to work on forgiving another?  Walking in more love?  What is He wanting to do in you?  As we ask the Lord to show us what we need to take care of and clean out (repenting, forgiving, and/or submitting to God, etc.), we also need to be willing to obey as He leads us.  Allow Him to sanctify each of us, so we can draw ever closer to Him.  He will show us if we ask and listen.

Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  James 4:7-8   NIV

Are you drawing near to God? If He is knocking on your heart’s door, I hope you will answer and invite Him in.

P.S. Keep on the lookout for more “Daily Devos with Max”.

Simple Things in Life

posted by Robin

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make memories, smiles, and happy kids (and therefore,  moms!).  Last week while we were in town running errands, I let Cy pick out an ice cream treat for the ride home.  I, myself, chose an ice cream cone, you know, the ones covered in chocolate and nuts.  (YUM!) Well, Cy chose one of those push up ice cream snacks.

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And boy, did he like it!  This was his first one. Ever.  We might have to do that again.


posted by Chelsea

I’m not sure what your experience with Christian “self-help” books are.  I’ve read my fair share of these books, particularly the ones directed towards moms and wives… and at this stage in my life I’d like to say I’m not picking up any more anytime soon.  I’m frustrated with them and I’m not afraid to say it.  I know their tips and I’ve read their words and at times, I’ve even been inspired by them to “try harder” and to “do better”.  The general theme of most of these books is to work a little harder- go to bed earlier so you get a good night’s sleep, get up earlier so you have quiet prayer time, plan a meal schedule and stay in your budget, exercise so you have more energy, keep your house clean and don’t be idle.  At which point I’d like to say, I have three small kids at home and I long for some time to be idle, just sayin’.  There are days when I feel like if I manage to get anything done to completion,  including a shower by myself or a meal cooked- one that everyone actually eats– then I’ve found a touch of success.  Days when I let my 4 year old  spend the majority of her day “washing dishes” for me….

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… success?!

Days when I find a moment to play a game or have a tickle session with one of our kids- that’s a taste of success.  Days where I get a workout in- success for me? Absolutely.  Days when we practice sight words or get through a reading book, one that might even be turn-in-able at kindergarten- eeek!…success!  Nights when I get a teething baby back to sleep four times and we both sleep for more than two hours at a time- major win!  Never mind the day after- just survival is a victory  for MANY young-mom-days.

Success has to be kept simple in my life.  For instance, I cleaned my fridge out on Saturday and filled it with much-needed fresh food.  I don’t do that every week or most times even every other week.  I even managed to pick up a $2 bouquet of daffodils for my table…

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On the contrary, the last time I worked a shift at the hospital I did so without a meal plan for my family.  Sometimes I plan ahead for those days, but most of the time I don’t.  AND amazingly enough, the fam doesn’t go hungry.   I regularly leave the crayon bucket where Cooper can reach…

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… and pick up the same mess all. the. time.   And I kick myself every. single. time.  What’s my point? I think most young moms are working their tails off.  I think most of them feel like they’re not doing enough.  I think most feel inadequate and pick up Christian self-help books because they want a recipe for success.

After 6 years of motherhood, I’m slowly learning one recipe for attaining success and I don’t need a whole book to share it with you. Well, at least not one written by the so-called “experts.”  It’s pretty simple and yes, my friend, it’s Biblical.   Here goes, “Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  Do the next thing on your list and while you do it, rest in Him.  Don’t think about everything that needs to be accomplished.  Don’t worry about your successes vs failures.  Just do the next thing and in the deepest parts of your soul, find the ability to rest in Him amidst the chaos.  That’s all.

Jack the Cowdog

posted by Robyn

Everyone cowboy has or has had a favorite dog.  Personally, I have a “list”, but today I will write about Jack.

Meet Jack, ( aka Jacky, Jackson,  Yack, or as my dad likes to call him, Ack) When he was 5 months old he got ran over by the 4-wheeler. With a result of two pins in his right hind leg. Jack has favored it ever since; can you blame him?


Jack was 12 years old this March.  I got him when he was 2 months old.  He went everywhere with me.  Imagine my surprise when Jack decided he liked to swing during a trip to Lewiston.


He has worked many a long, hard, hot, dry , cow-moving day, sometimes alone, but most of the time with help.  Afterwards, he gets to hang out with his buddies, half-brother Doc, and Anna.


He has been around the world, per se. For a dog, that is.

Jack’s chased squirrels to China…

…guarded the back porch, with a little help from his feline friend….

….sat on top of the world (Anybody would look small when you’re sitting on top of the world!)….

…made friends clear to Coos Bay, Oregon(Jack has good taste in friends)…

…rode in a helicopter (use your imagination on this one)…
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…really gets into his naps…

…and has even had the cat by the tail…….YIKES!!

Jack is officially retired this year. He has lost most of his hearing, some eye sight, and his hips and leg bothers him now.  He still loves to hunt for smaller critters, well, anything that moves, really, and Jack just loves to hang out at cow camp ( his favorite place to be). Nevertheless, Jack is an incredible cow dog. Wouldn’t you agree?

Big Girl’s First Time Roping

by Charlotte

If you listen to my husband, I grew up on the wrong side of the Rockies, because (according to him) on this side of the Rockies girls learn to rope.

Big Girl choose her first day carefully (a year after her younger brother).  She likes to keep the audience small and the pressure to perform low.

The crew was mostly kids.  The herd was small.  Seven bottle calves was all.

She took her time.

(Like she does with everything.)  And proved successful.

Her father made sure she was safe and learned how to do it right.

She mentioned to me that, “Dad makes it look so easy.  And it’s not.”  With the coils and the rope and the moving calf and the moving horse and the dallies and the reins and the environment and trying to catch the calf and then trying to keep track of the calf … so on and so forth, there is much to do and much to keep track of.  And her father does make it look so easy.

(Just had to put that in here because it is a good branding photo.)  *sheepish grin*

Overall she did well.

Winter Elsewhere ~ Forgotten Coast Day Three

posted by Dona

And all too soon, our time on the Forgotten Coast is drawing to a close. But let’s experience one last full day of unique and memorable sights and sounds, smells and tastes, before we return home. I have a respectful admiration for the variety and appeal of this great world God created. So let’s go explore just a little more.

I was determined to catch one worthy sunset so I got up early, dressed warm, grabbed my camera, and took the short walk to downtown Carabelle.

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Though the sky wasn’t doing much, the sea offered a sneak peak of its bustling activity. Just at dawn, a good-sized fishing boat began its approach.

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A man pulled up in a pickup and explained to me that the couple, husband and wife, in the boat had been out all night shrimping. As I watched, the husband masterfully backed his boat into a space marked by moorings barely bigger than his boat and made it look effortless.

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It reminded me of the many times I’ve watched my husband back a big rig or a truck and trailer into a tiny little parking space. No way would I even attempt it. As they pulled in, the man jumped onto the boat

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and began bartering for the seafood onboard. They must’ve cut a deal because he left smiling. This whole time pelicans are flocking in by the dozens,

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two or three dolphins poked their little grey noses up periodically and even a heron perched on a nearby piling. The couple continued to park the vessel after their grueling workday. The boat was a mess, with bulging bags of crustaceans, ropes, traps, buoys, coolers, and more.

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The weary fishermen tied up and got off the boat, agreeing to let me take a few pictures, while they headed off for a much needed cup of coffee. Keith and I would return a few hours later so I could show him the boat and here’s how it looked then:

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Spotless, wouldn’t you say?

Before heading out of Carabelle, here’s a bumper sticker on an old beat up pickup.

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Reluctant to travel inland just yet,

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we hugged the coast one last day. And what a day it was! Our first stop was Panacea, where there’s a marine lab

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open to the public miles from nowhere. We got a kick out of the little shop


across the street.

Just a short walk away, it was easy to see how the owners of this garden made a living.
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Here’s the other side:
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Many homes in this part of Florida have been mysteriously abandoned,

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neglected, never to be occupied again. Then others

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find creative ways to survive. Many homes took this tactic

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to defend themselves against the constant threat of hurricanes. But today the Gulf is calm

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and the sea beckons kayakers to enjoy its wares.

And everywhere we went, the azaleas bloomed bright and beautiful,

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bringing life to a sometimes drab-colored landscape.

It’s lunchtime and since we are not even close to a town, we opt for the only eating place around, advertising fresh oysters. We got more than we bargained for when we entered this eclectic little place.

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It’s run by senior citizens, remnants of the hippy years.

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But it’s hippy meets Confederate. I think I forgot to tell you that there are many places in Florida that still fly the southern flag with pride and prejudice.

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One bar I know of has a painted sign that says, “I have southern blood in my veins and Yankee blood on my front lawn.” Hmmm, better keep my Boston accent to myself! But these folks turned out to be characters. The walls were covered with signed dollar bills,

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thousands of them. And out back they had a toilet garden.

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OK, so maybe you had to be there.

Their food was delicious,

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though I passed on the bacon-wrapped shrimp.

Our afternoon was spent at Keaton Beach which brags of the best hot dog stand in America.

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Not sure where they get their business, it’s pretty quiet around these parts. But this place can be yours if you like solitude. and hurricanes!#*^!

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Keaton Beach is located in “The Big Bend” on the Gulf Coast of Florida, which is part of Taylor County’s “Nature Coast”. Keaton Beach is 17 miles south of Perry and 17 miles north of Steinhatchee on CR 361 where we’ll be spending the night, the “Scenic Coastal Loop”. Taylor County’s coastline consists of over 150 miles, with 90% of it unspoiled and owned by the State of Florida.

The beach was nearly deserted except for a young family who’d grown up there. They kept stooping down and putting something into a cup. Turns out they were a kind of shell that resembles sharks teeth. I joined in the search. Then they told me there are pockets of shells at the end of the jetty so the dad waded out and dug up a handful and brought them back. The mom said when she and her sister were young they made the mistake of going in the water here and cutting their feet up walking unknowingly on oyster shells.

Our parting shot from Keaton Beach was this cross,

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in the middle of near-deserted Florida’s Nature Coast. And on to our final destination: Steinhatchee (steen hatch ee). We really didn’t know much about the town but the guidebook touted it as an interesting place and it was! They hold an annual scallop contest early summer. Thousands of pounds of scallops come out of this bay. We liked our clean little motel but we especially loved the incredible sunsets.
(Warning: I’m going to get carried away here…………)

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Well, tomorrow we’ll be home but we had a blast. I hope you did, too. We covered 770 miles, hundreds of it shoreline, most of it hard-working America, much of it economically challenged, and some of it too beautiful to capture even with a camera.
So, to conclude our journey that began with but a single step, I’ll leave you with a sign we saw in Apalachicola. Thanks for coming along.

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Crazy Crew

posted by Chelsea

Brandings for the kiddo crew…

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means a lot of things.  It means…

friends to play with…

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roping and branding to watch…

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It means special treats they don’t usually get to enjoy.  Treats like soda…

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It was a fridgidly cold day and the kids could barely hold the icey cans, but they powered through and enjoyed every sip of sugary-cream-soda-“goodness”.

They also enjoyed licorice…

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…which is something that seems to come much more readily from a supplier who isn’t your own parent…

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(Apparently Gabe knows how to make friends with my children.)

For the littler cowkids, brandings are a great place to get a good nap…

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While the bigger kids enjoy playing on the haystacks…

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and making slides…

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out of tarps…

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What can I say?

Life is good!!

April Spring

posted by Donna

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Thermometer ~

acknowledge spring

and the returning birds

she will inevitably bring.

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Fresh light footprints

in declining snow;

tiny green buds

begin to grow.

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Soon the farmers’ plants

in the earth he’ll sow.


A new phase of sun

starts to appear;

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the freshest of forage

feeds bighorn and deer.

Hawks go soaring

in precipitous skies;

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once frozen ground

where a puddle now lies;

old and new trees

to a greater height rise.


The rivers run swiftly,

muddy and cold

past inlets and rivulets

and banks streaked with gold.

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Soon gentle breezes

warm the earth and me

and I thank the Lord

that we’re still free

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and I count my blessings

with each spring I see.

Lazy J

posted by Chelsea

Thanks to a super helpful crew of friends and family,

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our first Lazy J brand…

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was put on this weekend. Despite frigid wind and the need for these Smart Wool winter socks…

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… we got the first bunch of calves branded,

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… and ready for turnout!

Life is on the busy side, but know that on our spring is off to a good start.  I’ll show you our helpful crew of cowkids in my next post :-)

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