Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas 2017

Dear Family and Friends,
2017 has been a year of completion and new beginnings.

We completed a full year in Trout Lake as our home, and began a second year more established. I rummage less through the unpacked boxes. We spend time cozy around the hearth. The farm animals are thriving. Marshal filled the freezer with his own hand- raised pork and beef. Calves and lambs were born. Marshal gets me up every morning to milk the cow with him. The calf is just about getting all the milk now, so we may give up that sweet routine by Christmas. Gabe hatched about 80 chicks and guinea keets that free range all the way to the doorstep. I’m glad that he is thinning out the cockerels for stewing chickens.

We completed the conversion of an old duplex at the heart of Trout Lake to a working medical clinic and opened our doors to the community and beyond. The Direct Primary Care model is all Marshal hoped. He has time to spend with each of his patients, establishing relationship and comprehensive care. People appreciate the convenience of care in their hometown, and genuinely feel cared for. I have the opportunity to get to know people I wouldn’t otherwise and share holistic recommendations in nutritional therapy, showing compassion, empathy, and heartfelt friendship. People keep signing up, and the business model is working too.

Gabe and Lydia completed a school year with their cousins in Aunt Megan and Uncle Jesse’s farmhouse, and embarked on spending their days more independently at home and on our own farm while Dad and Mom spent long days establishing the new clinic. They both tell us to come home earlier or stay more. Lydia thrives with the book learning, and is highly motivated to teach herself, currently studying middle ages to reformation history, astronomy, English mechanics, and pre-algebra. She has continued with violin group lessons and is teaching herself Suzuki piano! Gabe takes the hands on approach and is always busy with new projects. He prefers YouTube videos for his teacher, and has been pleased with what he has learned in keeping a quad running and wiring auxiliary headlamps into it. He has also taught himself professional quality hide tanning skills. He employed his frontiersman skills in acquiring a couple pelts here on our farm to tan. He of course expends the majority of his time caring for his many domesticated and wild birds. He acquired three Toulouse geese this last month. He has an extensive bird feeding station behind the house. He was just asked and participated in a bird census for Trout Lake. He has enjoyed journaling again and proved that he can write some good stories in texting format. Yesterday he announced his goal to bake about 15 dozen cookies. I came home to good smells, a clean kitchen, and both Lydia and Gabe finishing up their day’s baking! Gabe announced that they successfully baked 153 cookies. He was frosting headless gingerbread men, and Lydia was rolling Russian Teacakes in powdered sugar. Anzacs were already in the tin. When Marshal and I came home there were not 153 cookies for long. Special that the kids are now old enough to fulfill Christmas traditions for us! They went with the cousins to cut mountain trees this year after Thanksgiving and brought the prettiest one home. They got it up and decorated with my finishing touches in record time too.
Gabe's second batch of gingerbread men.  These are spicy Swedish men.  Mmmm.
Gabe postponed Driver’s Ed and completed a season of spring baseball with the most improved players of the league. Lydia completed a year of ballet with a dance studio in Hood River and danced like a princess en pointe to Faust. Both tried something new and ran for Dad’s Trout Lake Mustangs X-Country team in the fall! Gabe ran his way to state, and Lydia was running at the front of the pack herself by the end of the season. Marshal was living the dream as a small town doctor, farmer, and X-Country coach with his own kids supporting his superstar team!

Marshal and I completed 17 years of marriage and later in the year, took an opportunity to revisit the step of the old cabin on the high prairie above our home where I accepted Marshal’s proposal, this time in a very different season of our lives, literally and figuratively, but bright with the same sun and bright with the same faith, hope, and love. I walked from that old wooden step a second time with Marshal, arm in arm, with the sensation that I loved him in a whole new way, a fullness of love, with a promise I could keep of unconditional love without expectation. For that very morning, I was being perfected in love, love of the Bridegroom, who showed me that I was complete in His love first.

I don’t know how many have been aware, received, or seen my posts, messages, and emails this fall. I don’t know who I’ve caused concern, troubled, confused, stirred up, or impassioned. Feel free to let me know. You cannot hurt my feelings, and I am sane enough to talk to. I know how crazy mad, fanatical, and passionate I appear. I could not eat or sleep for at least 40 days. I caused others to not sleep. I cried many tears. I can not deny what I received. There has been a spiritual shift, an awakening is stirring, an urgency. 2017 brings an end and a beginning. I just flipped open my Bible to Malachi 3:1-3. That is the essence. The words of the prophets come alive to me as present and active and as real as my own flesh and blood. The fulfillment is past, present, and future. How much more is the second advent of Christ’s coming fulfilling Malachi’s prophecy than the first that we celebrate in these next days! Malachi, a messenger, wrote these words 400 years before Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. 400 signifies sign; God’s sign like the sun, and the moon and stars that He put in the sky for signs. The moon is 400 times closer to the sun than the earth and 400 times smaller than the earth for a perfect solar eclipse. What about that sign on August 21st? What about the sign 400 years after Malachi of a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger? The angel of the Lord told the shepherds of the same region of Bethlehem that “the savior is born this day.” Luke 2:12, “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” The shepherds were in the same region that a young woman “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) I visited a cave in Bethlehem three and a half years ago where sitting inside, a Palestinian Christian told our touring group that the fields of this region were for the shepherds and flocks that supplied the Jerusalem temple with lambs for sacrifice at the time of Christ. The sheep were brought into the caves, stables such as this cave for protection at night and where ewes gave birth to the lambs. The firstborn male lambs were swaddled at birth to keep them from spot or blemish and laid in the manger to be set apart for Passover lambs. Mary’s firstborn son was swaddled and laid in a manger, a feeding trough in Bethlehem, house of bread, a sign at His birth of His death that would be a sacrifice for our sins. He would be crucified at Passover thirty-three years later in Jerusalem as the Lamb of God, atoning for the sins of all mankind by His own righteous blood and offering His flesh to us as the Bread of Life. Did the shepherds understand the sign? Probably not fully; it was a wonder. But only the Bethlehem shepherds would have begun to understand the significance of the sign. Luke 2:16-20, “And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning the child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

May we all wonder, ponder, glorify and praise God for all we have heard and seen as it has been told us, as we close this 2017 and head into this new year of 2018!

With much love from each of us, 
Marshal, Shanea, Gabe, and Lydia 
Native Tree from the Forest

Belated November

I missed November!
Wild Tom came back to say hello and show off his turkey tail fan to Gabe.  Isn't he awesome?
He is a beaut, parading, fanned out, or not.

Thanksgiving pies with love by Mom.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Celebrating Lu...

Two eldest granddaughters with heads together at Grammy and Grandpas for birthday celebration.
October Birthday Girls - 12 years and 2 days apart, Lydia and Piper, light and music.
Grammy's gift wrap behind the cupcakes.  I think "Art Deco" although I do not know the proper meaning of the term.
Princesses looking on at gift opening time.
Happy Birthday Wish!
Pretty Cupcake...
Pretty Girl polishing off her ice cream, Black Hawk Fudge, and cupcake.  Another happy birthday. 

Birthday in Gear

Lydia's Birthday Brunch.  Dad even came home from the clinic for her Finnish oven pancake.

14 Candles for 14 Cupcakes

Cupcakes for Dessert

Pretty Brown Paper

Powdered Sugar Dusting

Drumsticks and Mac 'n Cheese on the Menu

October Color

Here are the last rich colored garments of the trees in the golden setting sun of autumn before the roaring wind stripped them bare.
Crab Apple

Heifer in the middle had a calf this morning.

Lydia headed out to her cats.

Cottonwoods have a golden splendor in the fall.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday October Sunshine

Finding buried treasure.
Guineas in the Garden
Gabe's rooster helping us scratch up the tators.
Guineas with keet

Crabapple and Wild Rose Entwined
Clump of Yarrow in the yard

Lydia and Oliver Cat
Sugar Maple

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 12

Burning Bush 
Crabapple and Maple
Lilies and a fall leaf, blown from the maple, at the front door.
Garden left wild for chicken foraging.  The chickens left some pumpkins.
There are some real apples in the crabapple orchard!

Late Purple Clematis Blooms