Monday, April 29, 2013

Revival of one.

It's so easy to wish for - even pray for - change in others. You know, the whole log and speck in the eye story. It's all of us. We point the finger and think we know what's wrong, what needs fixing.

This is especially true on the National Day of Prayer. Thursday is this year's annual date when Christians nationwide are encouraged to step up and pray for our nation and its leaders. Oh, how easy it is for some of us to make a list of what's wrong in our country, with our leaders. Oh how we could pray ourselves into a tizzy focusing on all the issues, the problems, the worldly muck in our society.

I have a memory of gathering around the flag pole at my elementary school to pray for our country, which was sometime in the early 80's. The tradition is that old. In fact, my pals at Wikipedia told me that President Truman signed its observance into law in 1952. And I've participated in past years. Praying for our country is a good thing. The Bible even commands us to pray for the leaders that the Lord has assigned to govern us. I'm not ever going to say we should not be praying for our country and our leaders. We absolutely should be.

But first things first. This year, God is stirring my heart in a new way. This year, I need to talk about something that seems to get left off the prayer request list in most circles on the National Day of Prayer.

Instead of praying for our leaders to change or find Jesus or get ousted somehow, we need to take a hard look at our own hearts.

There is no point in praying for spiritual revival in our country until we ourselves are living wholeheartedly revived.

This week, I sat at a cafe eating a chicken salad sandwich and tearing up reading out of Zechariah. It reminded me of our nation:

Cry out, thus says the Lord of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster.
Zec 1:14-15

God is passionately in love with us. And therefore He is intensely jealous for us when we turn away from Him. In reference to that verse, can you think of any nation more "at ease" than ours? Our US of A has been turning more and more away from the Lord, and yet we think we've got it all together. We are horribly falsely secure. And when hard times come, do we as a nation understand the circumstances as possibly the Lord's discipline? Do we bow down and recommit to obeying Him? Or do we further the disaster? Instead of repenting, do we provoke Him to his face?

Yes. Yes we do. Our country as a whole does. And I do, and you do. 

So this week, let's pray. Every single one of us. But let's get on our knees in grave acknowledgement of our own sin. Let's examine the ways we as individuals need reviving.

Now I know you're not murdering any people. Or trafficking children. Or being besties with a drug cartel. And because of that, pride has a way of seeping in; that's one reason why we're so at ease. Because we compare ourselves to others and think we're not that bad.

But the white collar sins are still sin. There are so many corners of darkness that we tolerate, we indulge. We resist the long suffering required to grow up and out of our bad habits. 

What about your anger, you know, the kind you didn't really know you had until you had kids?

The little white lies and the ways you don't follow through on your word.

The overindulgence when you know you should, but you don't stop. It could be wine, spending, gossip, or the conversations you let spin and spin in your head that carry your emotions to a dark place you know you should not go. Self-control isn't even a thought.

What about lack of respect for your husband.

Or inappropriate thoughts about someone else's.  

Selfishness. Anyone?



The constant striving of discontent.

Anxiety for ANY reason at all.

Can you find even one thing above that regularly tangles you up in your own heart? I sure can. So how can I pray for someone else's need for change unless I understand and am taking responsibility for my own desperate need for revival first? 

Friend, revival in our country starts with you.  

On Thursday, would you repent with me? Ask God to expose the dark corners of your heart that you tolerate. Ask for forgiveness. Plead for personal revival, that in the name of Jesus, the dead places inside would literally be revived and healed. And ask God what it would look like for you to live wholeheartedly revived in your home, in your church, in your town.   

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God promises:

"...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

It doesn't say, "If you pray that other people would be humbled," or "If you pray that other people would become believers." It says, "If MY people humble themselves..." This verse says revival starts with you.

You and you alone are priority number one. Except to me; I am my own first priority for prayer this Thursday.

Will you commit with me to pursuing a revival of one? Maybe encourage your readers to do the same? I don't think I've ever suggested this, but perhaps consider tweeting the challenge or facebooking it. Recognize the urgency here; in this day and age, living a wholehearted, revived life in the name of Jesus cannot be put off. The current is so swiftly against God and His ways now that your revival is critical. My revival is critical.

Please be on your knees with me. We are in a desperate place.

God, heal us. We need you.

{The Christian Band Sanctus Real wrote this song for the National Day of Prayer and I love what it says. To learn more about the National Day of Prayer, visit their website here.}



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Updates on all of the things


I must say that you are a WEALTH of cold weather living information! I am so very grateful to each of you who emailed me or commented on my last post with advice. I need to sit down and digest all the recommendations and try some stuff. I'm excited to have so many ideas in my arsenal now for my family. So thank you so much. Your words were exactly what I needed.

So for some other business, in all the unpacking, I'm finding the need to thin out my closet. And I'm finding a lot of good stuff, but I'm forcing myself to simplify, so I'm going to be posting some of it on my Instagram feed for sale. There is a lot of cute and perfect condition stuff, much from Anthropologie, and I don't just want to donate it. So if you're around my size and on Instagram, look me up at "leslie_padgett". Most tops and jackets are smalls, pants are 2 or 4, and I even have an Anthro duvet cover to sell. Just so I'm not flooding every one's feed with stuff, I will be listing only a few things a day.

After that, I'll be listing my remaining inventory of Tidbit clothing, which was the clothing line my friend Shauna and I made and sold for three years. Here's baby Lily modeling some of it. It's all brand new clothing, blankets and bright, decorative pillows for girls aged toddler through about 8 yrs. And most of it is perfect for spring. It will pain me to part with the rest of it, even though I don't have a little girl to fit into anything anymore (sniff). I want every bit of it to be gone, so it will be priced to sell. If you're interested, follow me on Instagram. Also I won't accept you if you're a dude named Guido1990 who forget to wear a shirt in your profile pic.

Speaking of following, I heard that Google Reader is closing down. Or maybe it has already. If you're looking for a new way to follow my blog, Bloglovin' is a great way to organize all your favorite blogs into one place. I like the format over there. Here's the link if' you want an alternative to Google Reader. Also, you can always subscribe via email by clicking the orange RSS button on the right side bar and entering your email address when prompted. Then, you'll get an email every time I post.

As for 101 Wednesdays, I wish I could promise a restart date. I'm sorry. It's all I can do over here to unpack, find new normals for our daily routines, and locate all the things we need in our new town. Thankfully, this weekend is promising warm weather (!) and so the challenge of staying warm is off the table for the time being.

I will say that on Monday, I'm going to be blogging a challenge to you for next week. Did you know that next Thursday is the National Day of Prayer? Well, based on that, God has stirred up something in my heart recently, and I feel passionate about sharing it with you. I hope you'll be back Monday.

And one last thing...have you made your own Passion Tea Lemonade yet like they have at Starbucks? Instead of just giving my kids lemonade, it's a version full of antioxidants. You can use any hibiscus tea, but the Tazo variety has other beneficial herbal things in it like rose hips. I just brew one tea pot full of tea using three tea bags, letting it steep for about 10 minutes. Then I combine equal parts tea and lemonade. I buy natural lemonade (no high fructose corn syrup!) and then pour the whole carton, plus the whole pot of tea into my dispenser. It look so pretty that my kids want it all the time.

It's easy peasy and tastes like summer - something we're all looking forward to.

Have a great weekend, pals.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Help a girl out {some questions for you}

I'm finding myself in unfamiliar and puzzling situations a lot lately in our new space and new state.

And I decided I'd be foolish to not ask you guys some of these practical questions. The blogging community is such an amazing resource, and I just KNOW some of you are experts on the things I am not. So this is a quirky little post, but I'd love it if you had any advice for me in any or all of these areas. Seriously. Help a girl out. Pretty please?

So here we go. Numbered lists are my favorite.

1. My son and I both have severely dry skin. It was an issue in CA, despite the high moisture in the air there. One of my biggest concerns of moving to MT, a much colder, drier climate, was that it would cause issues for us. And it has. I need some recommendations of like INTENSE moisturizers. I don't mean the nice and pretty lotions whose main benefit is the smell. I mean serious stuff, and preferably as natural as possible. My son is scratching himself to pieces because his skin is so dry and itchy. What about lips, hands (mine now look like the grim reaper's, and my fingers are starting to crack and bleed), and body products?

I've tried drinking a lot more water, making it more appealing, and serving it every day. But that doesn't seem to be helping much.

2. On a related note, have you tried any whole home humidifiers? Or small ones for bedrooms? I need input on this whole hydration problem. My daughter is saying she is scared at night because she runs her hand on the blanket and it sparks so much from the static. Sheesh.

3. I am so thankful that I have lots of wood floors now. But the dirt from the outside is coming in a lot. I bought a special mop type thing for wood floors and treated pads that go on it, and I hate it. I need some ideas for cleaning big areas and the right kind of products and tools for wood. I know some of you have genius ideas for me here.

4. Any systems for keeping track of the kids' hats, mittens, etc. at school? My threats that they'll have to rebuy lost items with their savings is probably not the best strategy.

A before school snack: this one will eat snow no matter how scarce.

5. We don't have a mud "room," it's more of a mud "area," but how do you use this space efficiently so it doesn't become just a dumping ground of junk - some of it muddy or dirty - blocking the walkway?

6. In cold weather, does the windshield washer fluid in your car freeze inside its tank? And is it totally dumb to try to use it anyways, because will it clean off your windshield or will the water just freeze up on the glass and make your vision worse? I'm sure this sounds ridiculous to some of you.

7. Do you think it's a good time of year for us to be on the look out for new or used winter sports gear, of which we have none, in anticipation of next year? Do your kids have more luck skiing or snowboarding? Is one easier than the other for kids? Everyone wears helmets now for this stuff too, right?

8. Lastly, do you know where my wine glasses, pillowcases, and oven mitts are? Because they're all still missing. We have t-shirts on our pillows. Any prophetic knowledge about where these boxes might be would be appreciated.

Thanks so much friends.

And wait. Ahhhhh. Remember this? This I know.

If you ever move to Orange County and need tricks to getting sand off a wet child, the best way/place to teach your kid to surf, or tips on how to prevent green-hair syndrome from too much time in the pool, you know where to find me.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Moving in and culture-shock

Thanks be to God in heaven, our moving truck rolled into town two Tuesdays ago. We've been living in our new Montana home for 12 days now. And here are some scenes from our life lately.

Empty boxes make really good forts. And warm cookies right out of the oven are a cozy comfort when it's snowing.

When I need a break from unpacking, I've been checking out some of the local antique and thrift stores. I've been finding some treasures (like that original Stratego game - a favorite of my brother's and mine when we were kids). And I am repeatedly aghast at how many dead animals and their parts are strewn about these shops. All manner of animals. A couple days ago, the kids and I went into one shop that had a row of FOUR full body pelts (heads included) of baby black bears hanging on the wall. Really? Cubs? I mean, antlers are one thing. I'm even cool with mounted deer heads, because those guys are super plentiful. But bear cubs? C'mon.

Let's just talk about animals for a minute. And California. There is zero hunting in Southern California. Most people's dogs live in greater luxury than 90% of the world's children. And while I've never taken my dog to the doggy day spa, or bought him a $5 doggy cupcake from a special doggy bakery (yes, there are several) I actually really love animals. I once spent about 30 minutes on the beach freeing a giant, exhausted pelican from fishing line cutting his skin and a hook puncturing his wing. A stranger and I worked to free that poor bird, which was so big that both my arms had to wrap around its body to hold him still. So I'm experiencing a bit of culture shock seeing the walking sticks made out of deer hooves, pelts that still have the faces on them, and, you know, dead baby bears.

Also, I took that bottom right photo of my lovely shelf paper in the pantry project. I almost wanted to jump off a cliff by the time I was finished, and it took me a crazy number of hours. But it looked great at the end. I organized my shelves, filling them with cookbooks and canned goods. It looked so cute. I thought it was worth it. For about two days. Until all the shelf paper started to peel up. Mmm hmm. No more sticky downy.

And here are some local sights you'd not see in Orange County. The DMV shares a building with a Baptist church, come to find out. Imagine how that would go over in CA. And I love that I live in a town with old abandoned mills (it's so Scooby-Doo, right?). The snow lacing this white wooden church was so lovely to me. I'm really enjoying the snow, actually. And then there's a pheasant in someone's front yard. I've never seen one of those guys in person before.

The last thing I wanted to share that falls under the category of "Not in California" happened at church today. (I wish I had a photo, but that wouldn't have been appropriate, right?). Someone on stage said that a baptism was coming up, and there was a big sort of temporary pool on the left of the room. When the lights were directed to the baptismal, I strained my eyes to see that the head pastor was in the water with the person getting baptized. And next I realized that the pastor was wearing a white undershirt and suspendered rubber waders nearly up to his chest. Is that Montana, or what? We are probably living in the fly-fishing capital of the world, and obviously the pastor wears waders into the baptismal! In fact, I now think the manufacturers of waders are missing a huge market. Five minutes later, he was back up on stage ready to preach in his dry clothes. Sort of genius.

So it's different here. Oh it's cold, but breathtakingly beautiful. I love my house, I'm loving exploring, and I love experiencing a different way of life. We are still missing our homeland; just tonight, my son said, "Let's talk about happy memories from California." But we're growing into our new culture.

And I like it. Well, except the baby bears part.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Teachable Moment: God's Plans


I haven't done a Teachable Moment post in a while, but I used to fairly often, when I'd see a sprout of truth taking root in my child's heart, or take an opportunity to plant another seed. 

Well, since we've moved, I haven't had much energy to be planting fresh truths about God and His word in my children's hearts. But I did see evidence that something I'd planted a while back had taken root. It was a simple thing, really.

I picked the kids up from school, mid-way through their first week, when in the backseat, my son said, "I think God planned for me a friend. His name's Brennan."

I asked a few more light questions about this new acquaintance, but my mind lingered over his phrasing. I was struck by that sentence: I think God planned for me a friend.

In those few words, I peered down into the layers of meaning, layers of belief...really beautiful understanding and belief in the heart of my seven year old.  

Let me back up.

On New Year's Day, I wrote this post. I couldn't share the news yet that my husband had been pursuing a job in Montana, and that God had been pursuing us to make this change. But that day, up on some rocks at Monarch Beach, we shared with the kids what we thought were God's unfolding plans for our family. My daughter took the news in soberly, but with optimism. My son, however, who wears his heart on his sleeve, wept into his hands and said his life felt perfect as it was.

It was difficult to explain to him the abstract truth that God's plans for us are always for our good, and we may not be able to see ahead of time exactly how. We didn't expect his young heart to grasp this. He is a little boy, and his world is in the "now", not the "will be." And so all along, we respected his grief. And of course, we shared that grief as a family, since change is never easy.

But concurrently, over the weeks following, I know I shared the concepts in Jeremiah 29:11 more than once with my kids. The verse says,

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, and not to harm you; plans to give you a future and a hope."

It was the first verse I named my favorite as a high school student. And early this year, I was preaching it to my kids. In casual conversation, when the topic of our move would arise, I'd tell them things like this:

God has plans for you, ya know. You are so valuable to Him that He has made plans.

And those plans are good. Really good. They might not always feel good, but He knows what's best for you. And you can trust Him because He loves you, even more than I do.

These plans, well, they include really important jobs too. Jobs only you can do. And following God's plans takes a lot of courage because sometimes His plans are in places we've never been, or His jobs ask us to do things we've never done. But He has made us just right for these things. He has good plans, for good reasons, and He asks us to follow.

Daddy and I are nervous too. We don't know what God's plans are. But we have more experience with Him. We know we can trust God, because He has been by our side through a lot of other adventures. He always wants to show us His good plans. And from our experience, Daddy and I know that God's plans are actually much better than plans we could make on our own.

When I think about it, I realize that all this teaching I was doing is on one of the most important concepts there is for my kids to understand. Funny that God used this move in order to use me to teach them. But I think in my flesh, often I was talking about it all to ease their discomfort and maybe even to excuse my husband and myself from the BLAME of picking them up out of their lives and relocating them to all sorts of new challenges.

I mean, I understood and believed every word I said. I just don't think at the time my motives for speaking it all out were fully pure. My mommy heart that wants to insulate my kids from any and all discomfort was too intertwined.

It's such good news that God had grace enough for me even then. He still, miraculously, planted clean seeds of truth in their hearts. And then He was kind enough to let me catch a glimpse of the little green shoots of faith breaking the soil of my son's heart, here in Montana, as he processes a new friendship as proof that God's good plans are unfolding around him. I have no idea the path that seed has taken in his heart. But he used those words: I think God planned for me...

That's huge. He understands that He is loved enough that God has customized, special plans for him. And He is looking, eyes wide open, for the goodness of those plans. {What if all of us lived like that?}

There is perhaps nothing sweeter to see it work, this ministry of motherhood, this exhausting, relentless effort to raise up children in the hopes that they become independent and bold believers in the one true God.

The occasional glimpse that it's working is like getting a glimpse of heaven. It's wind in my sails. It's hope for our world. It's a sign that God is alive and powerful and good. And it's strength to keep loving and teaching with conviction and with all I have for one more day.   

{for more Teachable Moments posts, click the "teachable moments" tag on the sidebar in the square that looks like an assortment of post topics}


Sunday, April 07, 2013

Finding my Alleluia


It's Sunday night.

And it's safe to say that this week, my nose has been to the grindstone, working to shape this transition for the kids. It's also safe to say that God has supernaturally provided for me as a mom. He likes to do that, particularly when odds are stacked against us. And they sorta are for me right now.

I could find a number of things about which to complain or feel sorry for myself. But for some reason, He hasn't let me hang my head.

He's given me laughter at the kids' silliness (I don't always have that.) He's given me fresh eyes to appreciate the nature around me (I don't always have that either.) And He's buoyed my heart with joy despite my circumstances.

That's God, people.

I mean, you know we are all five (dog included) in a single room in a hotel still, right? It has a moose wallpaper border. And a massive fort using all the furniture. Because why not, to both things.

But today I realized something.

We were about to leave for church, trying one for the first time, and God whispered to my heart, "This is not about you. Not about your evaluation, or who you will meet or your impressions of them, or theirs of you. This is still all about Me. Don't forget."

He said that because He knew I was forgetting. I've been in such a mode of DOING, that I was forgetting about BEING. Especially, being with the lover of my soul. I was fixated on testing out this place, evaluating it and its people to see if it would be the right congregation for us. But I was forgetting that He wanted to meet me there, get my attention, quench my thirst. And, oh, my thirsty heart was longing for Him, but in all the doing, I hadn't noticed.

The first couple songs during worship were not familiar to me, but one repeated, "Alleluia, alleluia..." over and over. When I picked up the melody and started to sing along, somewhere in there, I found Him. For the first time in a while I stopped doing and started being. I'm at a loss in describing what it felt like to connect with Jesus again in that moment. But what went through my mind in the middle of my damp eyes and the chorus was this: I've found my Alleluia.   

I didn't know I had lost it. But with such a dramatic life change that's been happening in our family, and my feeling so responsible (maybe too much) for how this transition goes down for my kids, I can see how its happened. Just simply living out of a suitcase and not knowing where most of my stuff is - my devotionals, my Bible, my verse memory book - has left me so disheveled in every way.

On Instagram this afternoon, I posted a photo of the corner of the church building with a comment saying that the church we tried was great. And yes, it was. It was a great, Bible-teaching church that seemed to have many things for which we are looking in a body of believers. But I don't know if we'll choose that one, honestly. It was sort of beside the point for me today. I walked out of there with a full heart for another reason.

I had the privilege of BEING in God's house.

He invited me in. Welcomed me with open arms just like He always does.

And helped me find my Alleluia.

Of course, that was exactly what I needed.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

The in between


I've lived in Montana for four and a half days now.

But we are not in our home just yet, and our moving truck is in a mysterious location somewhere between California and here. They can't promise us the date when it will arrive. If I didn't have people under my care every minute of the day right now, I'd be tempted to seriously LOSE it on the phone to these people. But I'm choosing to flex and make the most of our week.

We are living in the in between: two adults, two children, and an elderly wiener dog living in one room at a hotel. It's getting old. Obviously.

This hotel...well, I'm not a fan, but they took dogs. That should have told us something. Our room has been cleaned once in 4 days. One day, I heard the "girl" went home sick. The next day, there was a handwritten note on one bed saying she was sorry she couldn't make the bed, but there were things on it. I believe it was two stuffed animals and a child's blankie. I guess they violated her bed-making pre-requisites. And glasses. There are no drinking glasses. Wait, I just remembered there was one random white mug in a cabinet. And let's not forget the three large-ish dixie cups next to the coffee maker sized for gnomes.

Cal, our dog, cannot be left in the room, so he comes along everywhere we go. I've made him a bed in the hatchback of the car. Luckily it's not hot here; this scheme would never work in CA. Today, he was getting restless, so I calmly put him in the cart at TJ Maxx and acted like I did not have a dog in my cart. The kids thought it was hilarious, of course, and I had to ask them not to draw attention to him. Poor Cal. We did not get kicked out.

Despite the dog, the exploring has been the best. We landed upon our new library. Our new grocery store with a great salad bar. Our local Baskin Robbins. Moving to a new city means all our favorite spots are exciting discoveries. Maybe I'm the only one who is really excited about most of them, but that's okay.

And between you and I, I'm waiting until the kids are in school next week to even begin to venture out to the real gems I can see from my car...the antique mall near my neighborhood, the sprawling Goodwill, the bead store peeking out next to Safeway...

I also love that I live in a city with areas that look much, much older than anything I was used to in Orange County. We went outside the town yesterday and found this old mill and this abandoned building across the street. I so wished I was a person with a good camera and who took good pictures with it, like so many friends I know. If you have one, you should come here, because there are a multitude of cool spots and amazing barns to photograph. They'd look extra cool with my cute family standing in front.

And I love that tonight, when we went looking for the church we plan to try on Sunday, it was over long, undulating country roads that we drove. When we found it, there were open fields as far as you could see. Black cows dotted one of them, and my California 'tween said skeptically, "Are those even real?"

Yep. They're real. It's all real. We are here.

But the fact remains that we're in the in between. No one is really sleeping, unless I am the nicest mommy who lets the kids swim in the indoor pool until bedtime. But I'm not the nicest every day. Just some of the days.

And on others, like tonight, I'm needed for stroking backs, playing quiet music on my phone for them, and rubbing hair off foreheads. My little guy looked more like three, not nearly eight, when he reached his skinny arms up around my neck to pull me into himself, trying so hard to get comfortable.

We are all trying to get comfortable. And what we're all needing right now is just a bit of comfort.

Whether it's extra snuggles, a familiar scoop of ice cream at Baskin Robbins, or a quick read out of Psalms like I grabbed in two minutes this morning, we are clinging to these bits of comfort.    

The in between has its own lessons too, I believe. We are reminded that this world is not our true home. The Bible says that Jesus had no place to rest His head. We long for comfort here that ends up feeling so transient, so fleeting. But it's never truly comfortable. Not for me, anyway.

Even after the last box is unpacked, the last flower bed is planted, and the last shelf in the pantry is stocked, I won't feel fully at home. Because we're still here, on this broken earth, still making mistakes and getting hurt and desperately needing love.

It's good to remember that all of life itself is truly just the in between.


Monday, April 01, 2013

Climbing the country to new life

It's been a blur, these last few days.

My husband's new job in Montana started today and instead of enjoying Easter, taking our time, and meeting him there in a week or so, we decided to go as a family.

Stick together. Power it out. Drive for two and a half days. Make memories.

It was truly a good choice. This adventure was meant to be shared.

But the last minute change in plans called for flexibility and letting go of some popular family traditions. I ached to let go of the extended family celebration and Easter service we enjoy every year. Also I had to let go of the things I love to do with my kids like dye eggs, make "He is risen! rolls," and walk through our set of plastic Resurrection Eggs that tell the story of the cross.

Good thing Easter is not confined to any tradition but one: remembering that Jesus died and rose again so that we could be reconciled to Him. And this celebration requires no plastic grass, no fancy dresses, no mixing bowls.

As for the kids' favorite traditions, we did our best. We called it "mobile Easter" and they chose treats from the trunk every couple hours all weekend (most of which served to entertain them in the car; multi-function giving at its finest).

And we saw the land, all the miles that separated our old life from the new.


First it was buildings and then cactus and then farmland and then mountains.

We climbed the country in our Volvo, pulling some suitcases and the few things that didn't make it into the moving van.

Callahan, our 14 year old dachshund, rode drowsily in the trunk, and was lifted out every few hundred miles to sniff a new patch of grass.

After several tanks of gas, we finally spied the boundary marking the edge of our new home state. The moment needed to be documented; and on advice of a friend, we let Montana know that we had arrived.

They may not have known we were coming, but God did.  In fact, He went first, He paved our way.

We arrived in Montana on Easter Sunday. This wasn't ever our plan. But I know it was His. (We are sometimes reluctant travelers; He is so patient to show us His story). And I don't believe for a second this date of our arrival is a coincidence. If reading the Bible tells us anything, it's that God loves Him some symbolism.

Rebirth, indeed. We get it, Lord.

And went we drove by our soon to be home, He blessed my children with their favorite thing at the edge of the neighborhood.

He blessed my husband with his favorite thing across the street (the view of breathtaking, nearby mountain peaks).

As for me, the things that bless me most are not always visible, but I know I'll find them soon.

Having hopeful expectation is how I understand what it means to walk in faith. As best I can, it's about keeping my eyes wide open, on the lookout for His surprises and His work.

It's a little like an egg hunt.

Except each one you find is golden.