Friday, August 17, 2012

Deer...Beware...We're on the loose!

The sound of the gun pulling back...cocked...
Raising it in the air... the feel of the gun in your hands...
The shot's fired... followed by the clink of the cartridge hitting the ground...
The range is filled with gun smoke wafting through the air...
Then there's that rewarding hole on your target (well, at least that's how it was for some people *blush* :)
There are few things to compare to the thrill of shooting!

Six o'clock Saturday morning, Jonathon, Leisel and I climbed out of our beds and did just that. We and Mr. Bowers headed for a beautiful area up in the woods.

For five hours straight, we shot, using up approximately 1,000 rounds of ammo...

...we shot everything from .243, 7.62x39, .308, 7.62x54, and 30.06 rifles to .22, 9mm, and .40 handguns. (the .40 was a personal favorite.)

Then, it came time to shoot the bowling ball...'twas a sight to see. The ball burst into an explosion of tiny particles of plastic.

We even tried some trap shooting...but, we soon discovered that it was a lot harder than the guys made it look :)

My favorite part was the quick reloading drills, where we started with the gun in the holster, the magazine containing an unknown number of bullets. Then we'd pull it out and fire the bullets in a rapid succession. As soon as the magazine was empty, we would one-handedly release the magazine and insert the ready one that was in our pocket. 

What, you may be asking yourself, why all of this if just the excitement of shooting were not enough! Well, as some of you might know, come this fall, we happy few are goin' hunting! (and we plan to come back with something :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Adventurers Return to the Heights of Munra Point...

A.K.A. Jonathon and I went on a hike :)

Well, after all of the said "dangers" described on my previous trip to Munira point, I decided to brave it again,  with my brother, and return to Munira Point. This hike had been in the planning for quite some time as a gift to Jonathon for his birthday, and we finally found a time to do it... last Saturday (I know, this post is a wee bit more than a little late :)

The hike is a very adventuresome one, extremely scenic....and, well, a bit steep. Truth be told, it is straight up most of the way, going at an elevation of 1850 feet, which is hard enough....but doing it in 100 degree weather (I think it reached 104 that day :) just makes it all the more complicated! I decided to not look up in front of me the whole hike... otherwise, you look up at a 90 degree angle and think to yourself, "how in the world am I ever going to reach there." I very much recommend the other approach... looking down from above, and thinking to yourself, "How did I ever get up from there to here?"

This picture just made mom really at ease that this was REALLY a safe hike :)

The views on top of the point kinda put back into perspective how small we are in comparison to how great our God is! You felt so little standing up there on top of all of that, and thinking how this was just a corner of the earth. "Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing...AND YET...

....Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you."

On top of the point, you have so many different views...the mountains from ones side, the lake from another, and the tree-covered hills...It's spectacular!

Adventure reached its peak that day when the two daring men in the party decided that they were going to brave the walk across this little ledge ejecting from Munra's point.

Jonathon said it got so narrow at some parts that he had to straddle his way across.

I was so glad when I finally saw them making their way back...and still in one piece :)

...the two survivors.

This, my friends, is proof of our making it to the top. When we reached the top, we all sang, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" appropriate for the moment!

And, as we were doing this hike in honor of Bub's birthday, the Bystroms had kindly prepared a delicious slice of cake for the sharing of all of the hikers.

As we made our descent, we figured that were one of us to fall backwards, it would create a chain reaction....leaving the person at the bottom to catch all of the rolling hikers.

Our hiking guides...

Hiking back down was actually the hardest part, as you were walking downhill at a steep angle with sometimes nothing to grab onto...and the dirt/dust is super slippery, along with the tiny rocks. (NEVER wear just regular tennis shoes on such a hike....I'm tellin' you from experience :)

I would like to say that this picture was taken while we were hundreds of feet off the ground, dangling our legs from this giant tree, but nay, we are simply a couple feet from the ground...hoping beyond all hopes that we don't fall backwards :)

And, at last, we made it...probably covered in poison oak and a couple bruises here and there...but we were  all alive (Even though the next morning I didn't feel so alive as I rolled my sore body out of bed :)

~Ever Stalwart :) ~

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Just Another Day in Paradise

"Well, it's ok. It's so nice
It's just another day in paradise
Well, there's no place that I'd rather be
Well, it's two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn't trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise"
Song:"Just Another Day in Paradise" Phil Vassar

We have oft times gotten the question from many a person what a day in the Spafford household is like. Well, I am afraid that requires a rather long answer. But summed up, I figure, each day is like another day in paradise. Cossey and I decided a couple weeks back that we were going to try to find at least one thing that the Lord had blessed us with each day so that through the business of life, we would not overlook those many blessings that He continually drops in our laps. Well, we found that the problem with that was not trying to FIND the blessings, but trying to limit ourselves to just one.

The day starts...Cogburn's crow, remindin' us that the day's schedule ain't gonna' go away. So it's down the stairs and someone makes a b-line for the coffee pot, making a strong cup to wake us all up (otherwise, we get grouchy :) Then it's some sweet time of fellowship with our Savior. The little kids wake, and downstairs, they find that mommies ready to snuggle up... but all three on one lap can make for a challenging snuggle time. Of course before all of the said snuggling occurs, they first make their morning rounds of hugs. Upon reaching me, Ania and Austin expect their morning sip of my waker-upper...perhaps I should not be telling y'all that, though :) After the devotions is through, we girls sit around, coffee steaming, and laugh about the silliest things, of which I dare not mention.  But the work doesn't disappear, so we all eventually, and perhaps a bit lazily, rise from our warm position on the couches... then it's, take a breath before jumping full force into another day! From Dad's room, as he is getting ready for work, we can hear his new favorite song playing high pitch from his ipad. (he always has a new favorite)....and we all get to enjoy it over, and over and over again....of course, we kids make sure and give him a thoroughly bad time about it. But what else should he expect after having seven daughters.
It's breakfast time, and as Ania says, another "fend for yourself meal", and a morning rush to make Dad and Bubbie's breakfast and lunch for the day. Bubbies 'bout to leave, but he can't go till he kisses little "girlfriend" goodbye... and his sisters crowd round him and Dad to hand out hugs and kisses before they both head off to work. After the goodbyes are through, I run upstairs to get dressed for the day... but as I run into one of the rooms, I find that I have walked in on my little brother who is on the floor, kneeling in prayer...while at the same time, I can hear Ania singing a hymn from the other room, but beautifully out of tune. (that's when I stop and thank the Lord for a child's faith). Then.... the day begins, and the peace and quiet of the proceeding morning is ALL OVER till you crawl into bed at night. The house is now abuzz with a mix of singing, whistling, violins and cellos playing, kids laughing and crying, and a Cd that's playing in the other room.  But that's just a part of big families, so you just smile at it, and move along with your day. (even if you were to desire to escape into another room, I am sure that you should find it occupied like all of the rest of them :)
There are some things that are just part of everyday life, like that sink of dishes that is never empty, and the fam begins to wonder what the bottom of the sink really looks like. And Mom, who's upstairs putting in her 3rd load of cloths for the day, and not the last either.
You hear a dog and you know it's yours, and he's got the UPS cornered in his truck...AGAIN. So you call him back and your day continues. But there are always those times when you feel overwhelmed and a wee bit tired. That's when your little bro presents you with a picture that he has just drawn, and your little sis, sitting on your lap, looks up into your eyes and says, "Nae-Nae, I'm glad that we're so close." That just seems to put everything back into perspective :)
Then there's that summer night when the sunset's perfect, so two of the kids race to the swing, running barefoot in the grass. Must be somthin' 'bout the weather cause those two girls on the swing are actin' 'bout as crazy as they can get, laughing over silly jokes, or maybe nothing really at all. Then a bi-plane passes overhead that gives them both goosebumps, and we (oops, did I just say we?) close our eyes, tip back in the swing and just breath in the country air.
Evening comes, music's playing, and little bro comes up to me and asks for a dance. (But what else would he do to amuse himself in a houseful of girls?) Then it's sittin' on the counter, watching dinner being made. And as I am sitting there, I get to thinking that perhaps the cook needs a taste-tester for that delicious looking meal. And thinking becomes action, as I proceed to taste the food before the cook returns. Yet, it's that pile of spoons on the counter that gives me away (um... Yah, I said pile. I had to be doubly sure it was good :). Then Bubbie's home, and it's more hugs and kisses. (And he bares it all with a smile :) The cook comes in, informing Bubby that we're missing one of the key ingredients to the meal, so it's back in the car, and a run to Winco....and not for the first time, I might add! It's Bubby, Leisel and me, windows rolled down. (it may not be a truck, but hey, it's still amazing) The evening breeze mixed with the awesome sunset just takes my breath away. Another reason to bless the Lord that day. Then Daddy's home, and Mommy's there to meet him at the door and whisper sweet nothings in his ear...while all of us kids pretend we don't hear them. That's when Ania looks at me and gives a great big sigh and says, "Oh! They're just in love!" 
"Dinner time!" And again you're thinking, "it should have been called twenty minute in advance", for without fail, it takes about that amount of time to collect 11 people at one table for prayer. Then Daddy looks around and says his usual phrase, "Is someone missing?" followed by, "Man! Connie, this seems like a small family!" Then we bow our heads and thank the Lord.
Along with dinner comes the usual table conversations, and catching up on all the big events that happened throughout the day; the calls that came in, and the funny things the little ones said. The table's abuzz with 10 different conversations, and when you take a step back, you just can't help seeing God's amazing grace in giving us each other, and letting us all be together each evening at dinner. Dinner's done, and here comes the daily divvy-out, where the nights jobs get passed out. And Leis and I are on dishes once again. But that's all right cause we got the radio, and we sing along to our favorite songs.
Night's come on and you expect after all the kids are in bed that it will quiet down, but if it can be imagined, the noise level just goes higher. It's sitting on couches, eating dessert, and acting like it was midnight. But we finally decide, maybe 'bout midnight, that we best be hittin' the hay, cause the next day, we have to do all of the above all over again....and with smiles :)

Lastly, I have to share this amazing photo. I think God must have planned this scene perfectly, just for me. Knowing how much I love old beat-up farm trucks and wide-open fields of hay. And I thank Him continually for awesome scenes like this, and spectacular days that I am priveleged to live everyday, surrounded by the love of those that are most precious to me.

After all, it's them simple days that make life heaven. You don't have to be some where grand. You get that just by being around family!!!

I think that God gives us a little taste of heaven each day that just makes us appreciate Him all the more...and gets us imagining, man, if we like this, Heaven must be beyond description :)
Hope y'all  have a spectacularly amazing day with your families!