"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, June 29, 2017


We spent the last two weekend completing the framing of interior walls and beginning the electrical rough-in.  It is fun to see the rooms take shape.  It is even more fun to see Brenna and Chad work together.  Brenna Joy has a knack for putting things together.  She "gets" it intuitively.  Chad LOVED working with her, saying he preferres her help in framing over the help of some of his employees.

 Mataya is so good at keeping herself entertained at the cabin.  Sawdust kept her busy for hours!
Joshua is always looking for ways to help.  It is sometimes challenging to find a job that seems important to him, that he is capable of completing.  One thing he loves is hauling all the framing scraps to the firepit with the ATV.

When your daddy lets you mark and measure boards, you are trusted.
(He definitely does not let me do this!)

Brenna in the "kiddie loft."  
 Weekend number two of framing, Brenna was busy, which meant Chad was stuck with my help!  Since I am less talented, he had to work harder.  Basically, I swept a lot and held boards in place while he did all the rest.  
Oh,  and I also took pictures!  Ha!

 This is a pretty good shot of the loft.  Below the loft is the kitchen.  Above is a bathroom and two bedrooms.  And above that a bonus area we have named the kiddie loft.  It has very low head room, but will work great for sleeping or secret-telling.
Mataya was SO happy when we got the temporary railing done, and I finally allowed her into the loft.  Daddy even helped her climb into the kiddie loft.

The most exciting accomplishment in the last few weeks, though, is POWER!  Electricity means that for the first time in Dietrich camping history we do not need to run a generator to power the camper.  It also means we don't have to wake up in the night to fill that generator with gasoline.  Or listen to the generator night and day.  I have SOOOOO appreciated the generators.  They have provided comfort in the form of air conditioning, television and refrigeration for years - but I am not sorry to see them go!

This weekend, Chad, Brenna, Joshua, Mataya, and I will get to spend nearly five days at the lake. . . siding.  The trailer is loaded and bags are nearly packed!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Freedom in Commitment

(post long run ramblings. . .)

While I always exercise enough to keep my doctor moderately happy, for the last four or five years I have done the bare minimums.  Building our home, work, pregnancy, taking care of my baby and then Krissy's baby, teenagers, etc. . . have all been allowed to take priority over most of my personal goals.  In some ways that has been healthy and wise.  In other ways, it has been an excuse.

This spring I had a girlfriend ask if I would run a half marathon with her this fall.  My initial reaction was that I had too much going on this summer to add a "real" training plan into the mix - but I told her I would think about it.  Within 36 hours, I had committed.  I have wanted to train for a half for more than a decade.  One year I even put in the miles to complete one - but chose to watch Jamison race rather than run a race of my own.  Ready or not, convenient or not, I decided this was a great opportunity to complete a long time goal.

And you know what?  That commitment has set me free.

For years I have allowed the schedules of everyone around me to completely dictate if and how long I worked out; however, after making a real commitment to run, I feel empowered to add running to my list of priorities.  It has become a non-negotiable, and rather than resenting it, my family is excited for me.  It is not always convenient.  I have had to run earlier than I wish many times.  I have also had to run on the treadmill, rather than outside, more than I would like.  However, once I made a real commitment to running, I have found a way to make every run on my training plan happen.  It has been so much simpler than I ever would have guessed.  (Finding the time that is.  A few of the runs have been pretty rough!  Ha!)

The truth is, although society (and sometimes my teenagers) would argue, I believe that commitment almost always sets us free.  In my experience, being committed validates what we are doing or feeling in a wonderful and powerful way.

Take marriage - a spouse is sometimes referred to as "the ball and chain" signifying some sort of weight you are forced to carry around with you once you say "I do."  In my experience marriage has set me free.  Knowing Chad is committed forever, sets me free to love deep and wide and with complete abandon.  It has set me free to truly pursue my deepest desires.  Rather than being stifling, the commitment of our marriage, makes me feel safe, empowered, and supported.

My relationship with Christ is the same.  Sure He has expectations for me, there are rules and guidelines, hopes and dreams that come with our relationship.  But rather than feeling like I am missing out on anything, His boundaries set me free.  Free to love safely.  Free to make wise choices.  Free to attempt the impossible under the umbrella of His protection and grace.

"I run in the path of Your commands for You have set my heart free."  Psalms 119:32

(The best part of a long run is that when I have NOTHING else to pay attention to other than the movement of my body, my brain rests - the fog clears, the chatter subsides, and His whisper is much easier to hear.  It is a beautiful thing, painful - but beautiful!)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lake FUN!

Admittedly, most of the time we spend at the lake we are working.  HOWEVER, I make sure we mix in an adventure or two every time we are there.  (Can you believe it?  I am learning to be the fun parent!)

So far we have:

Raced to the back of the lot to watch the sunset - my personal favorite - at least once every weekend.

Gone fishing.

I am learning to enjoy tolerate the four wheeler.  Generally speaking, I would rather walk or run or kayak than drive - but I am learning to use the four wheeler to get me to the places I long to explore on foot or boat.  The kids (Mataya included) still coach me as I start it - but I am learning!

We have had the kayaks in the water a couple of times.  I have so much fun in them.

Mataya, her daddy, and Joshua totally enjoy the four wheeler.

 We have done a bit of exploring in nearby towns.  One evening the kids and I drove into Harvey.  Jamison and Joshua tried out the disk golf course.
 Brenna, Sierra, and I tagged along - alternating watching them play and goofing around in the park.

We stopped at  the local version of Dairy Queen for a treat before returning to the lake.  We are looking forward to spending more time in the small towns near the cabin.  We have scoped out the  movie theater, bowling alley, pool, several parks, a church and a restaurant or two that we hope to investigate as time allows.
 We have done the tiniest bit of hiking.  Mataya likes to explore on foot, like her momma and biggest brother.  Joshua prefers "horsepower" like his dad.
 Because of weather, we have only had the jetski in the water once.  We did enjoy that one time though!
 I have been training for a half marathon, which means I have explored miles and miles of gravel roads and prairie trails in every direction of our lot.  One weekend, I spotted the most beautiful wildflowers in the ditch.  I knew I HAD to bring Mataya there to pick flowers.  She loves flowers and rocks and feathers and grasses and weeds and leaves.  Truth be told, she has even proudly brought me the fluffy, white cotton that is blowing in the wind right now.  (Yuck!  I am totally allergic to that fluff!)  Where we see weeds or allergens, Mataya sees beauty.  And she delights in it.  It is precious.

So I loaded up Mataya and Joshua on the four wheeler on a several mile trek to gather wildflowers.  Mataya was so excited!  Joshua was just happy I was driving the four wheeler.  He figured he better go with to supervise.

 Diving back to the lake with our large bundles of flowers was an adventure in itself.  We giggled and giggled as Mataya's fist full of flowers kept obstructing my view, not to mention tickling my nose.
 Those wildflowers definitely made a beautiful bouquet!
(Fragrant, too!  So fragrant that we had to move it into the cabin.  Ha!)

While we all know that next summer will be much more fun, I am determined not to wait a year for  adventure and laughter and silliness.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wyatt is 2

The boy who made me a LaLa turned 2 today.

Oh, Wy-guy!

At two you are such a joy.
You talk constantly.  You share your own thoughts and ALSO repeat the last two or three words spoken to you.  The way you learn language and rule the universe at the same time makes my heart giggle.

You are the sweetest big brother.  You rarely pass Sophia with out checking on her and giving her a toy, a hug, or a kiss.  You call her "sissy, Sophie, and Sophia" with such tender pride.

You love trucks and balls and puppies and outside.

You are always moving, yet you love books.

When you enter our home calling, "LALA!!!" and running in search of me something amazing happens in my heart.   I feel overwhelmed by love in a way that is new to me.  Its LaLa love, I tell you.  Deep and silly and blind and giddy and gushing with a force I can barely control.   And if that it what it feels to be a grandma, maybe that title is not so bad. (But, lets stick to LaLa until we are both a decade older, OK?)

You have rocked my universe, young man, in a most amazing way.

You, my precious grandson, are dearly loved.

My prayer for you remains unchanged, precious boy.

"May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is."  Eph 3:18

So many people love you, Wyatt.  Your grandparents and great grandparents, your aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and especially your mom and dad and sissy.  BUT none of us love you as perfectly, as wide or long or high or deep as the Lord does.  My greatest prayer is for you to accept and return His love for you.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Building My Dream

Our BIG project this spring and summer (and probably fall) has been building a lake cabin.  Chad and I have been enjoying the project immensely.  The kids. . . well, they are tolerating it!  (It is a lot more fun to just GO to the lake than to work at the lake.  And since they are not the ones saving bunches of money on labor, it is understandable that they are not quite as hyped about the project as we are.  They ARE helpful, which is a huge blessing!)

Last Fall, Chad and his employees poured footings, framed the cabin, and put on the roof.  The rest of the project will be completed by our family. So far this Spring we have:

Installed all the underground plumbing.

 Prepared the interior of the cabin for its concrete floor.
Brenna and I learned to screed sand.  Sierra shoveled.  A lot!
 Brenna took a little nap while waiting for the next step.
After the sand was leveled, Chad packed it.

(Chad and the guys poured the concrete later that week.)

Chad, single-handedly, installed the septic system.  Oh, how I adore the septic system!  That means we can use water in the camper (which we are living in as we build) to my hearts content.  I don't know how he did it alone, but I sure appreciate it!

We have slipped in a few fun projects, too.

The kids and I built a firepit all by ourselves!

It is on my favorite corner of the lake lot - the cliff that overlooks the lake and has an amazing sunset view.  It is a good thing we got it done early this summer, with the lack of rain and high fire index it may not be used much this year.

The kids and I also created a flowerbed our of rocks.  I love the results.

That is Joshua running the skidsteer - all by himself!  I found the rocks we wanted to use, and he hauled them into place.  He does an amazing job, and he is beyond proud of his skills.
The girls helped me arrange the border of the rocks. Then the girls and I ran into town to select some plants. Mataya and I tilled the soil.  Sierra chose the plant placement.  And Brenna planted.  It was fun to work together.  It was also fun to see the girls' creativity come alive.

The next project was to install all the windows and doors.

 These two shots are before windows were installed.
It was so fun to watch Chad cut in the openings and have light flood the interior of the cabin.
 Chad has never been an impatient person, but his patience has grown with age.  He takes so much time with Joshua as we construct, allowing him to learn and work at his dad's side as much as possible.  They are precious together.
Mataya's version of helping looks a little different than Joshua's!

These three shots are the cabin with all doors and windows installed.

My handsome hubby loves to get me on a roof.  Although the guys roofed it, they left the ridgecap for us to do.  Luckily I am not afraid of heights. I enjoyed view from the lift while we worked!

The cabin itself a simple design.  It will have three tiny bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with an open concept kitchen, dining, family room.  I am loving watching it's personality unfold.  More than any other project Chad and I have done, this is "ours."  Because of its rural setting, we have much flexibility. We are having a lot of fun creating a totally custom place utilizing as much left-over or re-purposed materials as possible.  It will be a creative and quirky space that totally reflects us.

Chad and the kids are planning to use it as a hunting lodge this Fall, so the race is on to have the main level completed by November. 

It has been a TON of work with much more work to come, however I am SO thankful.  A lake cabin has been a long time dream of mine.  Even in the chaos of construction, my soul rests at the lake.  It is my happiest place.