Summer in Montana

August 1st, 2015

summer in montana

Yellowstone National Park is at our back door. I can hear it with the number of RVs and rental cars pushing down the road. I can feel it as I hear conversations about buffalo and bear as I wait in line with a bag of charcoal at the grocery store. We don’t venture into the park in July or early August unless we’ve got a guest from Germany or someone who’s never meandered down to the park.

It’s too crowded for me. I crave the open wilderness with country roads that are not blocked or paved.

I asked a Chinese man about the crowds he’d seen in the park.

He looked aghast. “What crowds?!” he inquired.

“Isn’t the park packed?” I asked.

“Nooo …” He proceeded to tell me what it’s like hiking in China. The trails sound like they are as full as the grocery store checkout line the day before Thanksgiving. He said you cannot take a picture without other people in it. You can’t even stop to take a picture. It’s person after person after person in a line, one step at a time.

To him, Yellowstone is peaceful and empty right now.

To me, peaceful and empty are words like the photo above. We had a little blast of cold air that let us snuggle into sweaters for a day. Then it was right back up to temperatures in the 80s and lower 90s.

We all have our perfect place. One by one, I would show you ours. I would take you down the trails and show you the wildflowers we’re spotting (and sharing here). Not online. These are the things that have to be experienced in person. They’re what make me grateful to be exactly where I am.

It won’t be long before those little blasts of cold become something bigger that sticks around here and doesn’t really lift for a while. The RVs and rental cars will be gone. The grocery store will feel abandoned. (I certainly won’t be buying charcoal!) All any of us can do is slow down and enjoy summer right where we are.

Gosh, I love this season. I want it to never end. But it will. And then I will adjust my gratitude, thankful for the outdoor skating rink and the day we can finally get that little boy of ours into his first pair of downhill skis.

P.S. This blog post was originally a journal entry that I wrote in response to a writing prompt in this journal. I added a few more thoughts as I typed it out to share with you. Right now, this once a month blogging feels right as I make some major leaps over at Gadanke that have involved so much bravery, vulnerability, fear, possibility, and—I’m hoping—accomplishment. If you don’t want to miss these monthly musing here, sign up for the Making This Home monthly email here.

A German word we need in English

June 23rd, 2015


My toddler son, Niklas, is learning German words like “Elefant” and “Schuh.” They’re easier for him to grasp because he’s also attempting the English equivalents.

There is no translation for the German word I want to use, though.


It sounds like a train chugging up a hill. Clickity clack, clickity clack. The meaning of the word, however, gives you the opposite feel. Gemütlichkeit is like the word cozy, but it goes a dozen step further. Snuggling under a blanket while you sit in a camping chair by the campfire is cozy. Gemütlichkeit is surrounding yourself with close friends, a bottle of beer, s’mores, and lots of happy stories and jokes while you snuggle in your blanket by the campfire.

Gemütlichkeit is cozy, and it’s celebration. Gemütlichkeit is a word that describes the good life.

This story and this life that we’re living, especially as summer reminds us of everyday sunshine and joy, is a good life. We need a word to celebrate it!


Dear pregnant mama,

May 3rd, 2015

I know how you want to chronicle the joy in your heart right now. I also know how challenging a consistent journaling practice can be. I hear you. I’m listening.

I began journaling my experiences and writing a series of letters to my son when I was pregnant. Keeping that journal really helped me prepare for his arrival. I discovered a greater sense of love, joy, and gratitude each time I picked up my pen. Writing helped ease my doubts and fears. My heart opened wide. That journal is one of my most treasured keepsakes today. We’re talking grab-it-if-the-house-is-burning-down! And I want to guide you, so that you can put your pen to paper in the most heart-felt, gratifying, and consistent way as you prepare for your child, too.

That’s what this powerful new 6-week eCourse and paper kit is all about!

pregnancy journaling ecourse

Receive meaningful lessons and transformative guidance via email four times per week, so that you can develop a powerful and consistent journaling practice. Write a series of love letters to your unborn baby. Keep track of things you need to arrange for parenthood. And document your thoughts and feelings during pregnancy.

how to keep a pregnancy journal

Lessons are packed with content: PDF journal pages of thought provoking writing prompts, true stories (personal and otherwise), peeks in journals (including my pregnancy journal), inspiring motivation, photo challenges, documentation ideas, and suggested reading.

pregnancy journaling

Course begins Monday, May 18.

And because you are my friends, even if we’ve never met face-to-face, I have a special Mother’s Day gift for you:

Pre- course enrollment discount: 20% off!

I hope you join me or can share the heart-felt experience of this course with a pregnant mom you love.