Sisters, friends, blessed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016

Our Christmas was extra special this year because Grandma came to be with us!! The weather was a bit treacherous, but God got her safely here.
All three made it through the sister sleep over this year (much to Piper's relief, Bryndel was much quieter this year!).
Hadley & Piper enjoyed testing out their new scooters, indoors!
Good helpers with the punch ring. And then, Grandma arrived with a special gift for Bryndel... her very own American Girl Doll!!! As you can see, she was ecstatic and enamored with Maryellen:)

In many ways, we just 'survived' our first Christmas without Dad. But in other ways, we found joy too. Just thinking about what the angels must sound like in heaven on Christmas, is enough to bring a smile through the tears. We will continue to choose joy in the New Year. Sure love you, Mom!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve 2016

It was a beautiful Christmas Eve just the five of us. Early church, followed by the big football game, some sledding, and a delicious dinner.

We are so blessed by the gift of our good health, our happy family, and God's own son.  We can feel extra heavenly love being showered down upon us this year, with both our dads celebrating their first Christmas in heaven. God is good.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Graham Family Christmas 2016

We celebrated 'Graham style' last weekend. Which means: hallways of secret Santa stockings, 10 happy and noisy cousins running loose, and an abundance of love. And while it was a difficult Christmas in many ways, we still found joy in so much of it. Dad's absence continues to make our hearts ache, but God's goodness also continues to carry us through. We are blessed. And thinking about Dad celebrating Jesus' birth with the angels this year, is pretty awesome.
We started the weekend off right by celebrating Grandma's birthday!
Everyone's favorite: matching jammies, or 'Grammies' as Bryndel calls them :)

Cylas thoroughly enjoyed being Hadley's secret Santa!
Hugging Grandma for the enormous Lego set she gave them!
Nathan had these shirts specially made to honor Kyle's dad who was often seen wearing one :)
We finished the weekend by watching Grandma at her Christmas cantata, it was wonderful!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

We spent a special Thanksgiving in MN this year with Grandma. We worked hard finding the JOY and gratitude we know that both God and Grandpa are calling us to do, but Grandpa's absence was felt by us all. Whether it was in the actual carving of the turkey, or the laughter and conversations around the table, his voice and giant smile were greatly missed. 
We sure enjoyed spending the day with LeAnne & Dan and Oma & Opa.
Kyle surprised us with a giant 15 foot tree for Grandma that he cut down from our land!

We had quite the time getting it in the house as well as lighting it! But it sure looks festive, and certainly fills the room.

The girls were thrilled to have some cousin time too!

We made it home with time  to find a tree for our house as well, a little bit shorter though :)

And much to the girls' delight, our elf made her return. It is going to be a bittersweet Christmas season, but one definitely filled with blessings.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Both Grandpas in Heaven

Our dear sweet Grandpa A went to heaven on Saturday. He was such a trooper, battling Parkinson's for 18 years. Ever so slowly losing the ability to walk and even talk, spending his last 20 months in a nursing home. But he never let it win. His gentle and kind spirit always won out. Even in the final stages, he would eek out a smile or eye twinkle for those he loved.

My favorite Jim story took place when I was pregnant with Hadley. It may have even been the weekend of her baby shower in Poplar (pictured below: my dad, Kyle, and Jim that weekend). We were eating dinner that evening, and somehow it was just the two of us at the table for a moment. He put his big hand over mine and said, "I heard you are planning to stay home once the baby is born. I didn't know that, but that makes me so happy." And when I looked up to thank him, his eyes were brimming with tears. I always, always felt love from Jim, but at that moment I felt like I was one of his own.

I won't lie. This has already been a difficult fall. But, thinking about my dad and now Kyle's dad being in heaven together, well that is something pretty special. We might not have dads on earth anymore, but we know without a shadow of a doubt they are both happy and healthy and no longer suffering in heaven. We like to imagine that they'll get to fish or hunt or play ball together; this especially makes the girls happy :). We are going to keep looking for JOY, as we know they are both experiencing unspeakable joy with Jesus.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Newest Hunter

Hadley just may have been the youngest hunter Saturday morning to harvest not one but TWO deer! Just after daylight she shot and dropped a nice doe, and less than a half hour later she shot a 6 point buck. I am not sure who was more tickled, her or her dad. Decked out in Grandpa's blaze orange, she also made both him and Grandpa A so proud. We could practically hear Grandpa's 'Whoodi who!' from heaven, and Grandpa A got to hear the story straight from Hadley herself  at the nursing home.

The doe she shot and dropped at 140 yds.
And the 6 pointer shot at 100 yds, and tracked just a short while through the newly fallen snow.

We also got to meet brand new great-grand baby, Thaddeus, down from Alaska for a visit!
Proud Grandma & Grandpa

It was a wonderful weekend of togetherness. Much of it spent with Jim at the nursing home. While we know that his outward body is beginning to fail, we know that his heart of gold is directed toward Jesus. And we will keep praying that God will help him feel all of our love.