Sunset on the lake

A Reminder to Live

I believe that everything that happens has meaning and purpose. I believe God set this universe into motion and continues to work through every detail of it. I believe he is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives in an effort to bring each and every one of us into a relationship with Him.

This 4th of July we spent the day on Lake Pend Oreille on my aunt and uncle’s hugely awesome houseboat (hugely awesome defined: extremely impressive and large; inspiring great admiration and possessing great size). The kids were beside themselves with excitement, to say the least. The drive from our house to Hope, Idaho, where we were to meet the boat, meanders along the shores of the lake with spectacular views of the water and surrounding mountains. As a side note, the air conditioning in my car decided to die right before temperatures in our little piece of paradise decided to climb into the 90’s and 100’s for an unusually long heat wave. I couldn’t get an appointment to have it recharged for a number of days so I was sweating and driving with my windows down.

As I crossed the bridge that separates Pack River from the glorious Lake Pend Oreille, the combined smell of water, the Pack River Delta vegetation and 95 degrees of sunshine came rushing into my car and sent a shiver down my spine. It was one of those good shivers, like when the sun warms your whole body on a cool day, or when you climb into your bed wearing new socks with new sheets on the bed, or an Epidural in the middle of labor. The smell was so alive that it reminded me that I was alive; it reminded me to live.

God gave us our senses for a reason. Yes, there are practical purposes for a sense of smell, but what I experienced was a reminder about life; a reminder that life is short and I am alive and while I am alive I must live. It seems a silly little thing and lot of meaning to put into a little smell, but just one little smell set my whole day into a new direction and a new focus. I began to think about what other smells remind me that I am alive whenever I encounter them. The following is a list of smells that remind me to live:

  • Coffee…it’s the best part of waking up (even better if it is being brewed before I get out of bed)
  • Bacon in the morning
  • Bacon
  • Fresh cut grass
  • Fresh baked bread at Grandma’s house
  • A horse barn
  • A sweaty horse
  • A recently bathed horse
  • Pretty much just a horse
  • Lilacs in the Spring
  • The earth after it rains
  • Dirt
  • The water on the lake at sunset
  • Babies
  • Puppies
  • My husband after he cuts firewood
  • My husband after he showers
  • Carrots straight from the garden
  • A creek while you are sitting in the shade fishing for brookies
  • A Christmas Tree
  • A Campfire
  • Chocolate
  • The morning at sunrise
  • A fresh cut hay field
  • Grandpa’s cigar
  • A mountain trail
  • An old Violin
  • Leather
Daily I am given little reminders to live; to live big and to live for Christ. Most days I am moving to fast to listen to these reminders, but because my air conditioner died, I got the message. On that day it was a simple little smell. What reminds you to live? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I pray that I would remember that lesson that I learned. That I would count my days and LIVE.

A Day in the Life of a Ranch Babe

Have you ever wondered what goes on at a North Idaho guest ranch during the unpredictable month of March? Through rain, snow, hail or sunshine, the ranch-hands continue their work on the ranch. Follow Emily through her day and learn just what a ranch babe does to help the ranch prepare for spring.

Emily starts the day out by helping Grandma to make beds in the guest rooms.  She makes sure the quilts are  on exactly the way she wants.
The ladies who come for quilting retreats need some help too.  Emily loves to help them sew.

Next, its time to head to the barn to ride horses.  This time of year, everyone is riding horses to prepare them for the summer guest ranch season and the young horses are getting a refresher course.  All the action takes place in the indoor arena because everywhere else is covered in snow, ice or mud.  Emily likes to supervise the riders, dogs, and cats from the hay stack.
The horses stand in the alley, waiting patiently to be ridden.  This is Chance sporting Emily’s saddle. Yes, that’s a big horse (16.2+ hh) and yes that’s a tiny saddle (8″ seat).

When she is not supervising or riding, Emily is just outside the barn checking the mud levels.  
All that work tuckers a girl out! After a quick lunch break, Emily is ready for a nap.  Anywhere will do, even the kitchen counter is a good spot to catch some z’s.

After lunch, the sun is out so its back to the haystack to supervise the cat and soak up some much needed vitamin D.
Now its Emily’s turn to ride! She loves to ride with grandma and tell the horse exactly what to do.  “Walk, trot, whoooooooaaaaaaaahhhhhhh, walk, whoooooooaaaaaaaahhhhh, trot”,  she tells Blue.

Blue is nice, but Chance is warm and comfy.  There is no better place to rest your head.

By the end of the day, this ranch babe is worn out.  A bag full of horse blankets in the tack room makes a nice place to rest.

Isaac and Libby’s Wedding

On September 10, 2011, Isaac and Libby tied the knot! For those of you who don’t know, Isaac is my little brother. Their beautiful, country wedding (complete with a tractor) even made it into the Spokesman Review. Rather than spend several pages describing the beauty and uniquness of the wedding, below I have shared several of my favorite pictures to tell the story.

I just had to share this picture of my little girl, Emily. She was the flower girl.

Emily Joy Otis is here!

For all of you who have been waiting to hear the update on Emily and I, here it is.

On November 30, Landon and I headed to the Labor and Delivery wing at the Bonner General Hospital to begin my scheduled induction one week past my due date. Since Emily wasn’t showing any signs of entering the world on her own, we were having her evicted. We spent all of Monday at the hospital with me on a drug to help get things rolling. I had just enough contractions to make me very uncomfortable for our overnight stay at the hospital but not enough to encourage Emily to come meet us.
Tuesday at 11:00am they decided to start the pitocin. By 1:30pm the contractions were bad enough that I decided

to plan ahead and ask for my epidural knowing it would take about an hour before the anesthesiologist could get to me. Two hours later I was more than a little frustrated that I had not gotten the epidural yet, however by 4:00 I was resting comfortably and unable to feel the increasingly strong contractions. You know the feeling of being under a bunch of really

heavy, warm blankets? Well that’s what it felt like. I have decided people should get epidurals just as a relaxation tool. Epidurals are pretty much amazing. At 6:30 pm the doctor came in and announced that I was ready to have this baby. The doctor exited the room to take a phone call and I tried to pull myself from my two hour long relaxation period and come to the realization that I was about to meet my little girl. To say that I pushed for 5 minutes would be an exaggeration. At 6:43pm Emily came into the world. She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 21 inches long.
Emily is beautiful! Landon and I spent the next two nights in the hospital recovering and getting to know our little girl. Landon is absolutely loving being a Dad. While

we were in the hospital he commented that having Emily made him feel like he either wanted to have five more, or only Emily so she could be extra special. He couldn’t decide. He was like super dad while we were there. I did not change one diaper! Even my grandpa was impressed with the way Landon cared for Emily. The first night, he stayed up most of the night just to watch over her and make sure she was okay. He is amazing!
She is now 6 days old and is still doing great. Landon and I are suffering from a little lack of sleep but still going strong.
Thank you to everyone who has visited us and given Emily gifts. Your support is wonderful!


I have been grounded!

It has been 70 days since I last rode a horse. One thousand, six hundred and eighty hours since I have sat astride the most magnificent beast ever to walk the earth. One hundred thousand, eight hundred minutes since I have been grounded.

For many people, this period of time off a horse’s back is of no consequence. For me, it is becoming torturous. During the third week of September, the ranch put on an adult horsemanship clinic. For the duration of the week, I found myself in either the office answering phones or in the kitchen cooking meals for our guests. All the other employees at the ranch were outside on horseback. As the week drug on (for me), I became more bitter by the day. By the end of the week I was not the most pleasant person to be around. I wanted to be outside riding my horses. But, no. I was almost 8 months pregnant and no one was letting me get anywhere near the back of a horse, especially my father.

I am now 38 weeks pregnant; just 2 weeks away from giving birth to Landon and my first wonderful little girl. I have recently begun planning for my first ride. Hopefully I will be horseback no more than three weeks after our little one is born.

To those of you who are getting in the last rides of the season before winter hits, please take advantage of these beautiful Fall days and take a ride for me.