Okay Rayia, here’s that post I especially promised to you.  And guys, be forewarned, this is all going to be ultra feminine; you may just want to skip this one. 

Perhaps it has something to do with having lived in a predominantly female household for the past month, or maybe it’s this glorious summer weather, but lately I’ve had a hankering to try things that are new and different.  I’ve been threatening to cut bangs since Ransom and I were married almost three years ago, but only now have I had the gumption to actually do it.  So Rayia (and any other gal for that matter), what do you think?

Another “new and different” thing I’ve done lately is – brace yourselves – paint my toenails!  I never thought I’d have the nerve to do that.  But, while I was at Wal-Mart earlier this week (under the influence of Paige, I will add), I timidly picked out a fun-but-still-safe shade of pink polish.  When Ransom got home later on, I sheepishly showed him the bottle and asked what he thought.  Much to my surprise, a very pleased grin spread over his face and his eyes began to twinkle.  “Very fun,” he said.  YES!  That was just what I needed to boost my confidence.  The next day, while my babies were napping, I eagerly scrubbed and clipped and painted and here is the final result:

I would like to try a slightly more “grown up” shade next, something a little darker.  This color reminds me too much of Pepto-Bismal.  Anyhow, I’m having fun rejoicing in these girly things. 

Paige took these pictures…thanks sis!  She can be so hilarious, and there were multiple times during our “photo shoot” that I simply couldn’t helping laughing at her ridiculous antics:

Here’s to sisters and all things girly!

And, just in case some guy actually read to the end of this post (i.e. my brother-in-laws), by rejoicing in femininity, I’m not saying anything negative about masculinity.  Quite the contrary.  Women who are feminine and men who are masculine desperately need each other.  This is the way God has designed it.  If we were the same, things would be pretty boring.  Opposites attract and opposites work well together.  

One of the reasons I was attracted to Ransom was because he was comfortable being a man.  He didn’t make any apologies for being a strong, opinionated, in-your-face leader.  Nor was he afraid of confidently forging ahead and boldly moving toward his goals.  Yet, at the same time, he fell in love with me because I was so unlike him.  He wasn’t attracted to a wild, daring, take-charge persona, but one of gentility, tenderness and grace.  I will add that he wasn’t attracted to me because I was wishy-washy either; I had firm convictions and strong opinions too.  But I digress…

The world needs truth; it also need mercy.  One without the other is nearly useless.  Likewise, masculine men need feminine women.  When opposites are combined, a new element is created that is dynamic and earth-shattering.  May this be true of our marriage, and all marriages that are built on Christ Jesus, to the the glory of God.

Wow, this has turned into a post about anti-feminism.  And it all started by writing about cuttin’ bangs and paintin’ toenails!


As many of you know, my sisters are kinda horse-crazy.  Come to think of it, I am too…kinda.  Since becoming a wife and mother, I’ve become a little too practical for horse fantasies.  But, occasionally, when Ransom and I are out on a walk, I’ll get this wild desire to jump on a horse and gallop away with him to who-knows-where.  Maybe it’s the setting sun on the mountains, or the playful way the wind blows in the evening that brings out that bit of eight-year-old girl I’ve retained who is madly in love with these beautiful animals.  Horses are pictures of contrast: powerful and controlled; strong and graceful; rugged and beautiful.  There’s something incredibly tantilizing about seeing one running through a field, mane and tail blowing wildly, hooves barely touching the ground, nostrils flared, head tossing, eyes gleaming.  Oh, I’m getting shivers just thinking about it. 

Wow…maybe there’s a lot more of that little eight-year-old left over in me than I thought.  No wonder I married a cowboy. 🙂

Following are pictures of my sisters and Honour riding horses at Frank and Micki Strickland’s house, my Aunt Paula’s in-laws:

Katie was a natural!  And Anna has a beautiful posture in the saddle.  Honour, not even two-years-old, has already proved to have a bad case of horse fever.  When riding time was over, he pitched a royal fit, kicking and screaming, and repetitively saying, “More horse!”  His favorite toys are his aunties’ plastic horses here at the house and his favorite book is his daddy’s A Complete Guide to Horses.  When he’s grown up, maybe he’ll be rich and famous and actually be able to afford to keep one.  🙂


I was just at Karen Dunham’s blog and she has a wonderful post and some great pictures of our Thursday gardening adventure.  Click here to view them.  Thanks Karen!

Well, my last post was entitled “The Weekend,” and here we are going into the next weekend.  We’ve had a busy but wonderful week and gotten a lot done.  Besides doing school and keeping the house generally tidy, we got the garden planted!  The Dunham ladies came over Thursday afternoon and helped us put in lettuce, spinach, cucumber, two varieties of squash, and corn.  We also weeded, put cages on the tomatoes and pinched the extra runners off the strawberries.  Thank you Karen and girls!  We were productive and had a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of our time together.  But, Mom, don’t panic, Karen did; you’ll be able to see the whole event. 🙂

Honour loved being in the garden with us.  Problem was, he kept wanting to stand right where Karen and I were making the cucmber mounds.  Karen came up with the great idea of making him his own mound, accompanied with a watering can (with water) and a small garden tool.  Well, Honour thought that was great.  And so did the younger girls.  They decided to contribute to his water supply from their own watering cans and buckets and ended up creating a minature mud bog.  By the time our work was done, Honour was coated from the waist down in mud, and most of the girls were wearing “mud stockings,” not to mention mud splatters and blotches on every other exposed surface.  Needless to say, they had a great day, and our cucumbers stayed intact, at least for the remainder of that day.

I must mention that Ransom and Paige planted all the corn…quite the undertaking for two greenhorns.  Now we’ll just see if any of it comes up. 🙂  But honestly, I’m quite impressed by how quickly it all got in, considering none of us had any experience in the business.

And now, for everyone’s viewing pleasure, here are pictures of my beautiful baby girl, Remember Elizabeth.  I think her little outfit epitomizes summer and it makes me think of her Auntie Rayia. 🙂

And here’s Honour…I love that little smudge of dirt on his forehead.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer.  May it be a time of rejoicing in the beautiful and simple things God has given us…such as little boys splashing in mud puddles; your baby’s giggle; the romantic scent of roses; your porch and porch swing; icy lemonade on a hot day; picnics with your friends; fireworks on a cool evening; daisies nodding in the breeze; clothes on the line; the sunrise; the sunset.  Take time to enjoy your family.  Tie heart strings with your children.  Take walks.  Read books.  Talk.  Savor what God has given you.  Rejoice in it all!  

And, on that note, I would encourage all the ladies to check out the new link I have under “For Fun” entitled “Shoshanna Gardens.”  You’ll find all sorts of at-home pampering tips along with a bunch of great pictures.  Enjoy!

Other than me being rather sick with a head cold, we enjoyed a lovely weekend, spent primarily with the Ray Mallery family.  On Saturday we all went up the Strawberry Lake road and enjoyed a picnic:

Remember with her Uncle River (16)

Mom Mallery, me and Raijoice (12), doubtless laughing at something one of the boys said

“Guy time” with Uncle Roman (25)

Remington (20)

Roshua (14)

Raydeemie (10) holding a bouquet of yellow violets

Ridge (21), giving us one of his goofy smiles 🙂

Honour walking with Ransom (L) and Remington (R, 20) with Roshua (14) ahead

Me and my husband

On Sunday after church we enjoyed the afternoon with a wonderful family dinner and each other’s company.

The dinner table…the main dish was rosemary-garlic chicken with vegetables.  I’ll post this recipe sometime; it was a hit!

Raijoice (12)

Radiant (6)

Setting up horseshoes

As I looked over this post, I realized the only Mallery child that I don’t have a good up-close picture of is Regent (9).  Sorry buddy!  We’ll have to get one of him in here later.

Anyhow, it was a wonderful weekend.  We’ll have to do it again.

Hello everyone.  Things are continuing to go well here and nothing terribly eventful has taken place.  Here are some of the things we’ve been doing lately.

On Wednesday morning, on his way home from working the night shift, Ransom picked up doughnuts and flowers as a treat for the girls.  How sweet!

And, here are those much-anticipated images of the girls industriously attending to their studies…we don’t wing it every day!

Anna Grace doing her math…she’ll be eleven-years-old on June 26!

Remember and me helping Katie with spelling                                                   

On Wednesday afternoon, Rachel and Leah Siblerud and Leann Maltby, friends from church, came to help us create some special Father’s Day gifts.  Thank you ladies!

And here are some miscellaneous pictures:


Paige Elizabeth washing the milking equipment


Anna sending her love to Dad, Mom, Jay Jr. and Grandpa Schmid


Honour and Remember keeping occupied during school

 I love those expressions!

 Kissin’ sissy 🙂

Many of the pictures I’ve been using in my more recent posts have been taken by Emily Ann.  She seems to really have a knack for photography.  Here’s a picture of her as well as some of the shots she’s taken lately:

Bigsky Country

With that, I’ll sign off.  Thank you all so much for your continued prayers for my dad.  He’s doing well.  Don’t forget to check the journal my mom is keeping.  You can also sign a guestbook at this site and send some encouraging words.  Your notes are a huge blessing.

Love to all of you,


As I finished last night’s post, I determined I would take lots of wonderful pictures the following day and show you all (especially Mom Rickel) just how well we’re managing, keeping everything running like a well-oiled machine.  I hoped to be capturing our 6:00 AM family worship time, the girls diligently attending to their studies and my sweet children playing together harmoniously.

But, alas, it was not to be.  My “sweet” children, specifically my son, decided to wake me up multiple times throughout the night.  This has become a habit for him of late, and we’ve had several successive nights like this.  So, when my alarm went off, I really did not want to get up and, interestingly enough, Honour seemed to be sleeping very soundly for the first time since I had put him to bed the night before.  I decided to “wing it” just once, and asked Paige to take over for the morning.

What I did not know at that time was that it was snowing outside.  Yes, snowing on June 10 of all days!  And it wasn’t just a little flurry.  Here’s a picture to prove it:

The situation outside created some extra work.  Paige quickly responded by bringing plants inside, shutting the chickens in their coop with their food and a heat lamp and starting a fire (inside the wood stove).  All of this happened while I was sleeping very soundly.

I finally got up around 8:15 AM and I must say, I felt very refreshed and fully justified in choosing to get up late.  What with responding to the weather abnormalities and such, the morning hadn’t gone as it typically would, and the girls hadn’t started school.  So, we had to modify plans.

Somehow, our initial modification, which was to eat a quick breakfast and get as much school done as possible, metamorphosed into ignoring school completely, making pancakes and generally enjoying the day.  We eased our consciences by saying that, really, the house needed some attention; surely Mom would want us to take the day off school to catch up on some of the housework! 🙂

Here we are, enjoying the wonderful breakfast Paige made.  What an industrious morning she had!


Honour and Remember:


Anna, Emily and Katie:

After we enjoyed our breakfast, we did actually do some housework.  At 2:00 PM, Monica Hemmingway, a friend and neighbor, picked us up and took us to her house for an afternoon of stamping.  What a fun project!  We all made several cards:

Thank you, Monica, for sharing your supplies and time with us.

So, that is a synopsis of our day.  Mom, you can be proud of us for our, um, adaptability. 🙂  We love you!


P.S.  Thank you to Emily Ann for taking most of the pictures in this post! 🙂