Tuesday, December 13, 2011


In Deer Lodge, Montana
Cole and friends

Clay and I at the first annual Pumpkin Classic

Next on my list of 20 Great Things from 2011 is BOYS!  Today marks the beginning of my motherhood of boys.  It's Clay's 12th birthday today, and like every other mother in the world, I can't figure out where the past dozen years have gone.  I do know they've been a lot of fun, though! 

Had you asked me if I expected to have all boys, I would have said "no way!"  I was pretty sure that girls were in store for me.  Now it all makes sense, though.  God knew I was not capable of french braiding hair, doing makeup, or spending hours in a shopping mall, so He blessed me with giving crew cuts & clothes shopping at Cabela's instead.

I am surrounded by boys all the time, and all the fun stuff that comes with them.  Usually, that involves bikes piled at the back steps, some dirt, bb guns around every corner, some more dirt, motorcycle helmets, a little more dirt, tools laying around, did I mention dirt(?), Nerf gun bullets in my flower arrangements, a dash of dirt, 12 baseball bats per child scattered across the yard (but no baseballs because they've all been hit into the neighbor's yard), a pinch of dirt, hay in every pocket of every article of clothing, still more dirt, widespread Legos and tractors and army men,  and a never-ending stack of clothes covered in DIRT.  In fact, sometimes I wonder if they just take clothes from their closets and add them to the pile just to make sure it never shrinks?

Despite the ongoing mess and dirt, my boys are GREAT for more reasons than I would ever have the space to write.  They are brave, straight forward, strong, independent, big-hearted, adventurous, God-seeking, funny, loving, helpful, capable, energetic, creative, busy, respectful, kind, prayerful, considerate, and they fill my heart with JOY.  It's so cool to think of all the ways my boys have blessed my life over this past year. 

Clay is dependable.  He is the ranch hand that I call on to help around our place.  From driving a tractor to shooting a coyote, he can do it.  He is confident and resourceful, able to figure out how things need to be done.  When it comes to serious matters, Clay is someone I can talk to and confide in.  At 12 years old, he is mature and wise beyond his years.  I'm thankful to be able to lean on him in many ways.

Cole reminds me daily that love rules.  He is full of kindness and forgiveness.  He treats people and animals alike with the kind of love that God wants all of us to show others.  Last month when a World Vision catalog came in the mail, Cole spent most of one night reading every detail, and when he was done, he asked if he could take $100 from his savings account to buy a goat and 2 chickens for a poor family in another country.  If we all had his desire and willingness to give freely, we could impact this world in amazing ways. 

Carson is inspirational.  He has shown me that a child is never too young to set an example for an adult.  With our normal, stable family life shaken up for much of the year, he trooped along with his big brothers leading the way.  He was brave and strong when Keith and I were not there, and as if that wasn't enough, he repeated that bravery when it was his turn for 5 surgeries & hospital stays.  One night before going to the hospital, he sang me a song..."Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  I needed that.

As different as they are, it's clear that God put each of these awesome boys in my life, not only for me to help raise into His men, but also for them to teach me!  I'll gladly take all the dirt that comes along with them. :)

Simply put, life is good, being surrounded by boys.

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