Monday, June 27, 2011

many blessings


counting almost to the halfway point of 1000 Gifts…


L and M’s stories from camp

clean towels

C.S. Lewis quotes to read and think slowly

Mom’s carpet freshener sprinkled all homemade around the house

spending a few days with just Mom- shopping, eating, laughing

R’s persistent question- “do you want to play?”

walks through our new neighborhood

a cool shower


senior pictures coming back leaving me thinking am I really that old?

the Lillies blooming in our yard

sunflowers that we thought would never bloom… blooming

water in a clear glass- all peaceful on the counter

Ball Jars all lined up on the counter

this photo- all color


May the Lord bless you abundantly today~


Thursday, June 23, 2011

our neighbors

Do you recall a time, oh, maybe 8 months ago?

This post?

About the coyote?


Remember how I was thanking God that he didn’t pay attention to my prayers when I was younger that we didn’t live out on a farm where coyotes like to…hmm…  frolic?

Guess where I am sitting right now.


not on a farm.

Across the street from one.

And since moving in, I had forgotten about coyotes- it hadn’t entered my mind,

and I was blissfully ignorant.

We had just come in, enjoying a glass of water after a long afternoon of playing in the snow in February.

At the island-like counter with R, I talk and laugh.

Then M comes roaring down the stairs all eyes and giggles and hands flying and she can’t get it out…

(does this sound familiar? :) ).

“LOOK! There he goes!”

I whip around, thinking

our neighbor- the dog- the garbage man…

but no,

it is there that I see him crossing the street, diving up and down in the field- skinny thing with big ears pointed too tall and a tail to big for its body.

Mister Big Ears himself-


I shake my head, forget about it, don’t think about how I was just outside 30 seconds ago and how I could have been EATEN (okay, maybe not, but I don’t like those critters…)

We forget about it, move on.

But then.

We were sitting on the couch- that miss M and L and dad and I, enjoying a laugh-out-loud hystericaly funny Andy Griffith episode.

Nice night, and we are in our new house, second floor out of four in the living room.

M, all teeth and smiles, leans over, face scrunched- “Do you SMELL THAT?”

I shake my head, then stop. L is giving me a YUCK face too.

I sit, then yes.

How could I have missed it? Did a skunk just walk into the room? Nasty!

We are giggly now, and the smell goes away, Dad shaking his head at us, saying we’re crazy- he hadn’t smelled it.

Back to our show, we don’t but barely hear Kira’s not-so-fierce growling up on the landing. But remember this, because it’s kind of important. :)

Episode over, we all giggle, then M freezes- she is sitting next to the window. “IT’S BACK!”

Dad comes over and sure enough, the stink is back.

Dad thinks, looks at us funny, then says mischievously, “Coyote!”

A week later we find his little burrow a few blocks down in the field.


And now, at night when our windows are all open,

breeze flying through,

guess what we can hear?

Coyote pups yipping.

Joy to the world.

More neighbors.

Monday, June 20, 2011

thankful for…

soccer games and a sister with her green ball and pink #8 jersey…


a little boy with a big backpack and big ambitions…


sisters crazy excited to go to camp and walking in the fog…




just being here today…



blessings and happy monday…


Sunday, June 19, 2011

a book review

care to read a book review today?

here’s one on The Big Burn by Jeannette Ingold.



The Big Burn: A Singeing Historical Novel

“The wildfires lay behind a brown haze that was beginning to shroud mountaintops and drift like dirty fog through the forests of the Idaho panhandle. Though no one then knew it, they were fires that would join ranks and run in a vast wall of flame. When they did, it would be called the big blowup, the great burn, the Big Burn.”

So begins the dramatic true story of Wallace and Avery, two small towns in the Idaho panhandle, 1910. Three teens face the flames, and in the process, find that hope can be the greatest strength there is. Jeannette Ingold’s book The Big Burn is a story with a plot thick enough to keep you guessing, characters realistic enough to identify with, and a message that encourages readers to never ever give up hope.

Ingold masterfully pulls her plot together, making her historical novel one that is extremely accurate. In the back of the book, she notes several resources for her information that show that Ingold has done her homework. One newspaper that she quotes is The Idaho Press of 1910, actually giving the reader real reports on the fires from the cities of Wallace and Avery. Her characters read this newspaper to keep up on the news of the fire, which links the fictional characters to this nonfiction event. Another source is “I’ll Never Fight Fire with My Bare Hands Again”: Recollections of the First Forest Rangers of the Inland Northwest, written by Hal Rothman. This book is a record of interviews of multiple rangers of the northwest, including Idaho. The Big Burn: The Northwest’s Great Forest Fire of 1910, by Stan Cohen and Don Miller, is another example of credible sources. This book includes facts and interviews with people who were there: Thaddeus Roe, a firefighter trying to save Avery, Idaho from the wall of flames; Mr. Swain, a surveyor of the Coeur D’Alene area; and Ed Pulaski, a firefighter who would go down in history as the man who saved his crew.

When the blowup engulfs Pulaski’s firefighting area south of Wallace, he directs the forty or more men he was given into an old mining tunnel. In his autobiography, Pulaski gives his take on the Big Burn: “The wind was blowing so hard it almost lifted men out of their saddles. Trees were falling all around us.” Ingold confirms this by including his heroic story to save his fire crew in the Big Burn, giving us a real look into something that actually occurred. Her retelling of Pulaski’s story is as follows. “West of Placer Creek, Ed Pulaski gathered about forty men who’d been cut off by the flames and eventually got them into a mining tunnel that had a small stream running through it… and he held back at gunpoint those who became so frightened that they tried to bolt.” In reading of the things that these men faced, it thickens the plot, bringing the reader into the real story and not just one that was invented by an imaginative author.

People who are more knowledgeable about the Coeur d’Alene fires may find a few points in the book where Ingold uses some creative liberties on the true history. I could not find any such points, and only noted how she included her characters in the story. The book is written to be historically accurate while at the same time personal. Ingold could have written like a historical document, but if she had, her creativeness is lost in the facts of the story. In short, Ingold takes minor creative liberties to make her book more enjoyable to read.

Throughout the story, Ingold uses the drama and intensity of the story to enhance her plot. When the fires come upon the firefighters, the roar is deafening and the white flames blinding the reader’s eyes- all while sitting on their couch. Publishers Weekly says that “Ingold captures the momentum of a wildfire.” Ingold is able to masterfully weave an intricate story through her clear, concise writing and her passionate adjectives that are used throughout the book. For example, right before the blowup on August 20, she uses the point of view of a National Forest Service recruiter to give you an idea of the stress that permeated everything move they made:

“As he often did when looking at his fire map, Mr. Polson pictured a firefighter. Sometimes the imagined man would be a middle-aged immigrant in shabby clothes; sometimes he’d be a young man out to prove himself, sometimes he’d be a young settler carrying a pocket watch with a photograph of his family fitted inside its case. Always, he had ash in his hair and soot ground into his skin. He was hot and tired and hungry and thirsty, and always, always, in harm’s way.”

In writing with such simple yet vivid words, Ingold produces a feeling of sympathy, anger, and sadness in her reader. This in turn forces the reader to flip the page in order to see the outcome.

Ingold’s characters are her strongest motivators to keep reading her book. She provides for the reader multiple personalities to identify with. She reaches out and shows the teen reader, whom this book is directed at, that she understands them well. There is Jarrett, the teen in search of a better future, and willing to work as a firefighter to make his mark. Then there’s Seth, an African American boy learning to be a man, and officer, as great as his father in the army. Seth is surprised when he ends up not fighting men, but fires. The female hero of the story is Lisbeth, a young teenager in love with the land she lives on with her aunt. Ingold deftly weaves their stories together into an unforgettable tale. Whether these characters find themselves together or apart, their deeply human attributes make their personalities relatable.

While some people may not agree that the characters are relatable, they shouldn’t have any problem with this. Nearly everyone can think of a time when they were stubborn enough to stay in a dangerous situation. Lisbeth shows this in staying with her land, even in the growing threat of fires. Grown men and women will be able to identify with the struggle and hard work that Jarrett faces to become something in the world. What about Seth, the young soldier who tries to live up to the fame of his father? Those of us who have at one time tried to live up to the expectations of man will be able to sympathize with his disappointment. Because they know that in doing so, all he has found is emptiness.

While readers may still not be able to relate to the characters, they need to realize something. It is virtually impossible to include every personality type there is in a single book. Ingold instead chooses to use a variety of the more commonly recognized characteristics such as talkative, quiet, simple, picky, the brave and those who would rather run and hide. In doing so, she sets up the story so that most or all of her readers would be able to identify with one kind of character.

When the story comes to the climax, the reader comes face to face with the real reason for it all. This tale of courage, determination, and love-of-the-land comes together into one single line that gives the book its meaning and purpose: Never, ever give up hope. Sadly, to many readers today, this sounds cheesy and boring. “Why read a book that ends on a good note?” For those who would disregard the book simply because of its theme: this story is real. It’s not a figment of the imagination, the conglomeration of thoughts one human author put together. Ingold does not take away from the story in that she shouts the truth of the story- the miracle of it all- from the very first page to its last. Ingold gives a beacon-book for this theme, and it is displayed through her character’s determination to survive the catastrophe they are faced with. While walls of flame engulf towns, send settlers running, and even the army goes home, what is there left? There are those who meant from the start that they were going to survive in this land no matter the costs. Those who refuse to give up hope, and they are the ones to reap its benefits.

Throughout this story, readers will encounter history untold, strong characters and the real heroes, and a message that will shine through the smoke of life. When Ingold chooses this topic, she did so because of its significance to her; Her son is a firefighter for the forest service. However, in her passion of the subject, she comes up with a story that will singe the hairs on the heads of all who read it. Ingold’s book is well-worth the quick read, and its fast-paced plot will keep the reader thrilled. While other books choose to end in darkness, this historical novel shines through with the truth that hope is a powerful ally. This book keeps the stories of the heroes of Coeur d’Alene alive and will leave a burning impression on all its reader’s lives.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Eatin’ Shmos…

or, as they are more commonly known,


City s’mores, to be exact.

Is it too cold,


too hot,


too windy

DSC03053to start a campfire?

Never fear!

The stove is near!



Skewered City S’mores.


Ingredients and Tools needed:

1. A shish-ka-bob stick

(this can be found anywhere sticks are sold)

2. two marshmellows

(because one just isn’t enough)

3. one graham cracker

(split in half… or two whole ones stacked to make a l-o-n-g s’more)

4. 1/4 of a hershey’s milk chocolate bar.

(at least)


one perfectly golden, nice a sweet, gooey, sticky s’more.


Warning: sugar buzz will follow.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Listen to the Sound… of Grace

Amazing grace!

how sweet the sound!

that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost

but now I’m found;

was blind but now I see.



(video on link of the song “Listen to the Sound” by Building 429)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

many blessings

after a wonderful weekend at the lake, I am so thankful for the family and friends that I have!

many many blessings today…


evening drives to the lake

backseat bingo with laughter all the way

DSC03118the smell up there… perfectly summer


DSC03170waking up to cousins running, bare feet pounding on the wood floors

jayden’s morning hair… too sweet…

DSC03121outside and on bikes or scooters before 8

DSC03122Lorsey’s house

memories tucked in every corner

planting flowers for Lorsey



the dragonflies that were everywhere… beautiful!


first pontoon ride of the year and wind in my hair

fishing, swimming, sitting, chatting for 2 hours on the lake

finishing touches on quilt squares ready to come together


Blessings to you this monday!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Finally! (reposted one year later)

remembering R's Officially Ours Day one year ago today!!!

God is good and we are remembering that joy! Blessings and stay cool today! Kaye

Yesterday came and went quickly.

Up at 5:30, up north by 9:45.

Into the courtroom at 10:30, out of the courtroom by 10:34.

Quick as that.

But still a huge, exciting, tear filled, love filled day for our family.

Because R is finally ours for good and forever!


finally standing in front of the courthouse

remembering my camera

our house busy at 5:30 am with excitement to leave

the church in front of the courthouse

how cool it is that the name of the church, in front of the courthouse where our family was made complete, was Bethlehem.

walking up the stairs to the court area

the robin that followed us all the way from the parking lot, down the sidewalk, on the sign, to the entrance

getting smiles from the people in the court area

the beautiful corsages that Miss Ellen surprised us with! One for each of us. This is a photo of what us girls’ corsage looked like.

FOUR MINUTES in the courtroom, paper signed, and walking out just stunned...

the happy tears on the way home

chocolate milk- the treat R wanted to celebrate

subs at Jimmy Johns

phone calls of joy and celebration throughout the day from praying family and friends


God is SO GOOD to us and we are just thrilled that our adoption of R is final and complete! Yeah!!

(kaye ann)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

So Much to Read… So Little Time!

I have been following a bunch of bloggers in the Philippines this week as they travel with Compassion International, a child sponsorship and relief aid Christian organization.

They have some great blog posts that will challenge, inspire, and make you smile- and cry- at the same time.

Would you like to read them too?

Shaun Groves on the neighbors next door… a big reality check… but a good one, and his explanation, his surprise, and isn’t that just how God works? :)

Patricia on the ‘unhappy’ kids… :) big smiles with this one!

Kat with her video to one of our family’s favorites

Emily and her awesome perspective on the transportation and life they live there…

Stephanie and her stories of these kids! and how they are being helped by compassion… and Christ!

And, okay.

Totally switching gears now…

I am SO with Jasmine on this…

please please PLEASE don’t say this to me.




Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Would you like to get new stories that I publish on my other blog Birdhouses and Band-Aids sent to your email?

click here, then look to the left.

There will be a heading about midway down that says “enter your email below to receive the latest stories in your inbox”.

Type in your email,

and click submit!

It’s that simple!


Kaye Ann