Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Life... isn't it exciting? :-)

After all the excitement of moving and Sara's birth, life has slowed down a bit. Dad has not pursued looking at much property while Mom is recovering (and can't exactly go along), but on Sunday (the 29th), they went and looked at two pieces. The first one being an old train depot that had been turned into a house. The owners are unique in their way of life... for instance, they hold to a Russian tradition of throwing their empty glasses at a wall when they are finished with their drink. Glass shards littered the floor in one corner of the living room. To get the house in a livable/workable condition for us, it would take an immense amount of work. It's too bad because living in a retired train depot would have been a lot of fun. :-)

But the trip was not all wasted. A friend of ours went along for the ride and directed them to another piece of property which they liked very much. The only thing about this one is that no one is sure it's for sale (the owner had to abandon it because he was too old and feeble to take care of it and himself)... so we're doing our best to contact the owner.
Cilla (7) informed me today that Sara is tall for her age. :-)

Speaking of age... on April 1st, Sara will be two weeks old! How quickly time flies. Before we know it, she'll be a month old. :-) She is growing and changing a lot. Hannah took some pictures today that I will (hopefully) be posting for your pleasure. :-)

A bit of an update on my health: I have been dealing with fatigue and lack of energy since we moved. I had two and a half good days, today being the last day. I am not sure what is causing it. I am trying to be careful and obeying all of my rules. :-) We are trying to locate a dr. who can do the vitamin C drips for me as I need one or two more to make sure I have kicked what I had totally. Sometimes homeopathic/natural drs are very difficult to see in Canada (not due to eyesight problems, btw :-P) as in some cases one must schedule an appointment 6-9 months beforehand. If it appears it's going to take that long to get a drip, I am not sure what will be happening. Your prayers for God's will to be done are appreciated. :-)

Lately, I have been struggling a lot with fear and worry. I was saying all the right things with my mouth ... “God is in control.” “Isn't God good?” “He has orchestrated my life just fine so far... I can trust Him in this, too!” but I forgot to let my heart know about all of that. This afternoon, I was having a bit of devotions and talking with my Lord when He suddenly opened my eyes to what I was doing. I feel ashamed and so very grateful. :-) Ashamed that it took so long for me to realize how worry and fear were taking the place of my joy and peace. Grateful that God took the time to show me and help me make amends. :-)
I am still thinking the same thoughts but catching a glimpse of what I am actually saying... “Isn't God good?” He is. He's loving, kind... just, wrathful... patient, friend to the friendless... yet pitiless in some instances.... and many other things that I don't take the time to think about often enough. I am trying serve God... and He is awe inspiring.
And yet, what does it all come down to?
“...we love him because he first loved us...”
Get your definition of love right and that verse will knock your socks off. ;-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


boys... moving

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odds and ends

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Announcing the Arrival of...

Sara Edith Holter
March 18th, 2009

3:55 am
8lbs 2oz
20 inches
I can't tell you how cute she is! :-) So tiny and perfect...

The labor went fairly smoothly... thank you all so much for the prayers! Mom is doing well, although understandably tired. She is ever cheerful and enjoying her new daughter. :-) Dad says he's given up on ever evening up the boy/girl ratio in the Holter family, but he doesn't seem to mind having 8 daughters in spite of that fact. ;-)

And of course... the rest of us are enjoying having a new baby in the house. We had been half expecting a boy (Malachi Kenneth) and had obviously been speaking of him a lot because this morning (4:30 am) while Ruth was holding Sara, she asked, “Where is Dad hiding that boy?” and decided that she would “see him in the morning.” LOL! She was just convinced that there was a boy...

We had been tossing around a couple girl names but neither of them worked when we saw Sara. ;-) So we had quite a bit of conversation all morning. The one we all agreed was ok was Keturah Edith. But when Mom woke up, she said she didn't care for it. So we discussed names for another hour before finally deciding on the name Sara Edith for these reasons:

It was the full name of our great-great Grandmother Vandermolen...
Mom's mother's name is Patricia Edith...
our dearly loved adopted grandmother was named Edith...
We know several Sarah/Sara's and they are all sweet...
And besides all that, Sara simply fits her name. :-)

Over the course of the morning we discussed many names. All of us added our two cents (some consisted of murder threats if the name Jael was used... haha) and I thought you all might enjoy...

Uriah's name suggestions:
Idaho Ray
Germiniah (this one had me giggling ;-))
The Lone Ranger
:-) :-) :-)
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Safe! :-)

The Population of Waldron Doubles

In the late afternoon of Saturday, March 15th, 2009, a commotion awoke the sleepy community of Waldron, Saskatchewan. Several smaller vehicles, a large moving truck and lots of people had suddenly burst upon a rather peaceful scene. A flurry of excitement ensued into the empty home of their friends who were (alas!) living in Alberta.

As if that wasn't enough, a Uhaul (the largest size) rumbled in a few hours later with two more people. At that point, it was decided that such disturbance to normal life was hard on the heart, but it keeps a person young.

Thus the community of Waldron, Saskatchewan went from being (approximately) 12 persons to 24.

The happy Holters have descended... er.. arrived. ;-)

Greetings from a snowy Saskatchewan! I'm sitting in a bedroom (which may become mine and Ellie's... that is still to be decided) on a bed, typing this blog entry on my computer. There is absolutely no internet access in Waldron but Mom mentioned running to Yorkton today... so I wanted to be ready, just in case. ;-)

Our move went well. It was very eventful and considering everything that could have gone wrong, I think I can honestly say it went smoothly. :-) One thing for sure, God had His hand on us!

We had four vehicles: dodge truck with stock trailer (Dad, Lydia and Martha); 15 passenger van and utility trailer (Mom, Ellie, Hannah, Priscilla, Zeke, Uriah and Ruth), Ryder moving truck (Mark [friend] and Jesse); Uhaul moving truck (Emma [friend] and yours truly).

Getting through the border took all of 15 minutes. We've moved three times across the border and never before has it ever gone so quickly or smoothly! I can still see Dad's surprise when the border guard said, “You're good to go!” It was a huge blessing.

We actually weren't too far into the trip when Emma discovered that our brakes weren't working well. And the further we went, the worse they became. We had a few close calls in the later afternoon and she began to pull further and further behind the others so she would have room to stop. We got to Sorgards safely but not before we had both squealed a couple times. :-P Alberta drivers are rather known for their fast and devil-may-care vehicle handling (not saying all Albertains are that way, but... ;-)). That fact has never bothered me before but it really does make a difference to have good brakes when someone pulls out in front of you or stops suddenly to turn off...

But to hurry along with my account... We had a nice evening/night at Sorgards and were preparing to leave the next morning when Dad decided to check out the brakes in the Uhaul. It was a good thing he did. A line burst and we had no brakes at all. After several phonecalls, a tow-truck arrived and carried away the Uhaul to see what could be done. After it had departed, much discussion ensued and it was decided that everyone but Emma and myself would go on ahead. We would follow after with the repaired Uhaul.

It really was the best thing that could have happened. Both of us needed the rest... and Lindsey and I were overjoyed because we were able to get a good talk in. :-) We also watched part of Pride and Prejudice. We both found that it's great fun watching girly movies together! :-D
The next morning, the mechanic who was working on our Uhaul called and announced that it was ready. He had originally said that we would be on the road by noon, but he had decided to come early and work on it... so we ended up leaving at 9 am! We were very happy about that. ;-) Emma had never been to Saskatchewan and I had never navigated anyone anywhere so it was a new experience for both of us. It's a good thing we like each other... LOL!

All seemed well until about the fourth time Emma stepped on the brakes. The familiar hissing noise began and the truck with all it's weight didn't stop until she had pumped on that brake. :-P We looked at each other and decided to go on. Who wanted to be stranded until Monday? And who wanted to Dad and Mom driving back (Mom being 5 days overdue) to pick us up? Not we. :-P On we went...

The roads in SK aren't the best and we found out our axles appreciated them as much as we did. Let's just say we did a lot of praying! But in spite of all the problems, we made it to Melville in 8.5 hours! (The others who went on before made it in 10 hours)

We were just going to go straight to the place we were going to be renting but our gas went into the red and we weren't sure we could make the 5 miles on fumes. ;-) So we pulled into Extra Foods Gas Bar and I spotted a 15 passenger van with Idaho plates.

I've never had more fun than I did when I walked up behind my Mom and sisters... “Hey guys!” The look on Mom's face was priceless. :-D “How'd you get here so fast?! How did you find us?” It turned out that when Dad had phoned Sorgards to see when we had left, he hadn't been able find out. So he guess since we had left “early” we had left around 11 am. :-) So, it was a big surprise for us to arrive in the early evening.

It also worked out very well to find Mom and the girls at the store because the house we were intending to rent didn't work out. It would have been fine in almost every aspect but it was moldy. To have a new baby in that atmosphere would not be good... and it also would have been hard on my health. So they scrambled to find something else before Emma and I arrived. That something ended up being 20 minutes from Melville in a small town called Waldron.

The house here is small, but we have room for everyone! We will need to buy a stove to cook on, but we have (hot and cold) running water, a wood stove (for heating and some cooking), a washroom, a living room that will seat everyone comfortably... and many other conveniences.
Mom hasn't delivered yet. She seems to be quite calm, cheerful and staying busy. As of today, she is 6 days overdue. The baby seems to be doing well and is content, except when she sits still (which isn't very often).

Water is dripping off the eaves this morning! That means it's around 30* F. or so... of course, it is still March so I'm not counting on Spring until another month or so. :-) But it is nice that it's not -40* F!

We plan on getting a phone # and P.O. box tomorrow... Our email is still the same so if you would like to contact us, that would be the way for now. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to get into town to catch a internet connection but hopefully it will be more often than once every two weeks. We shall see.

Regardless... as often as we can, I or one of my sisters will keep you updated. :-) Thank you all so much for all the prayers! We felt them. :-)

March 16th, 2009
I wrote this yesterday... nothing too new happening here, except for the fact that Mom says the baby should arrive tonight or tomorrow. Your prayers for a safe delivery will be greatly appreciated. :-) We're now in Yorkton, returning the Uhaul and trying to find a stove to buy... Mom brought along her emergency birth kit just in case.

Any guesses as to the gender? ;-)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fiction -- Reflections

The thick clouds had gathered in an instant, seemingly. One moment, the mountains were sun kissed and shining with snow and the next, almost invisible. The wind stirs them and for a moment, I catch a glimpse. Then it comes swirling down and brushes my face, once again obscuring the tall forms towering above the valley.
Where else has that wind touched?

Looking over what I had just written, I picked up the notepad and tore out the page.
“ ‘Sun kissed’ sounds like L. M. Montgomery, who I am not.” I said aloud. “I’m Sarah. With a pen in my hand.” I crumpled the page and nearly tossed it into my waste basket. Then stopped myself. I sighed and smoothed the paper out again. I hate it when I’m in this mood. Even my music reflects it. The piano just doesn’t sound right.

My physiotherapist tells me that I think too much. Perhaps I do but sometimes it’s so nice just to sit, looking out my window and let my mind take me back over the past few months. Retrospect, they call it. I do not worry. I just think. And wonder. Smile over good memories and keep away from the others.

Life has never been what you might call boring. But the past few months have been positively riveting. It didn't matter if I was dancing through the house with my baby brother on my hip or rescuing an old lady in distress, I have been on my toes. Then, I got hurt. That's why I'm sitting here, right now, scribbling randomly on a piece of paper.

Israel's little hands clung to my shoulder as we whirled first one way then another... He squealed and giggled from a mixture of terror and joy. The look on his face could be defined as rapturous. Then we sat down on the living-room floor and giggled some more as I tickled his fat little belly...

Life can be so sweet.

Yes, it can be filled with dread... but amid the hard times, God sends His rainbows, sparkling and shining with promise and love. There is so much to be thankful for.

I listen to a violinist play with his song. Softly... the strings seem to quiver with emotion and I am still. Slowly he builds, the notes mournful and tender. The vibrato so cleverly done that only a listening ear could discern it. And now, the bow dances with seemingly wild abandon. When the end of the song comes, I realize I am not breathing.

What do they say? Life is like a violin... Yes, it's true.
I have heard the fiddle play a song for each of the phases of my short life... for love, for grief, for anger, for joy, for laughter, for melancholy, for faith, for selfishness, for tenderness, for duties... a song to echo my soul and each of it's desires.

Dusk is slowly falling through the valley. First it covers the mountains and the wind. Then slowly, it blots out the houses, one by one. As it slips into every room, lights come on and the warm glow of them sends a message that the dusk makes way for night. The wind whispers a secret and I look up. There is the moon. Warm. Genial face glimmering at me. Just a wink, then it vanishes and we are again clothed in darkness.

“God is in heaven. Good night, world,” I whisper, still gazing up

But, I can't sleep, so it's not good night for me. Not yet. Sitting here at my window, looking over this valley... I am still remembering.

When I look back over my life, there is a time that seems not unlike the evening's dusk. There was a time that I thought I had the perfect life with perfect people in it. I was quite satisfied... but my Maker wasn't.

My world fell apart. I was forced to look in one direction: up. But He never left me; not once. And, in time, He became not just a Savior but a friend, too. That was the dawning of a new day for me. The joy I have been blessed with has been beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
I can say with conviction that if He had not allowed my life to enter night and brought me to the Light, I would be not be alive today.

Not long ago, something happened to me and it was none of my fault. Oh yes, I asked, 'why?'. Yes, I felt the horror and shame. But through it all was my Friend. I still don't know why He allowed it to happen. Couldn't He have used another way to accomplish His purpose?
But He didn't.

I read His promises and think of them often... He does have a purpose for me. I know -- I do believe-- with all of my heart, that the tapestry He is weaving of my life will beautiful. I can only see the bottom of it, now. It looks so messy and there is scarcely a pattern to follow. But when it is done, I am anxious to see the top!

Oh yes! There is one thread I can see clearly throughout the bottom of my tapestry. The name of the thread color is God's love. And I am resting in that. Forever.

Someday, my feet will dance again. I promise you! But for now, my heart dances. It is enough.

As the girl drifted off into peaceful sleep, the wind parted the clouds and showed the moon making it's journey through the sky. Tomorrow would dawn another day. The mountains would still stand granite and vast. The sun would melt the clouds. Life would go on. Because it could go on.
Jesus was with her.

--Naomi Holter

Moving Back to Saskatchewan!

My Dad found a place for us to rent in Saskatchewan. All the doors seemed to be closed in MB, so we're heading back to where we moved from.

I am sad and excited at the same time. Sad because we'll be further away from some of the dear friends we've made here in the states... and excited because we'll be going back to some of our dear friends in SK. :-)

My Mom is due on March 8th... two days. She does usually go overdue, which is nice in this case. She seems to be doing well.. and the baby is active. We are thankful for that.

My Dad and the girls are on their way home now and should be arriving this evening/night. Things will probably begin to move rather quickly after they get home. And that's the news from the Holter family of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. ;)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Out of the mouths of little babes...

My friend Lindsey posted this joke on her blog... never fails to make me laugh. :-D



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Update... and connection problems

My Dad and sisters are in SK tonight. On their way home... sort of. They are stopping and looking for a place to rent on their way back down. All the doors seem to be shut in MB.

Mom is doing well. The baby seems as active and cheerful as always. During Bible the other day, it kicked or moved somehow visibly about six times. LOL!

And... my internet connection has been very difficult lately. :-P So if I don't reply to something, blame my negligence on that. ;-) Thankfully, it's been enough to get the basics done...

I am feeling pretty good. My sore throat is gone... I am slightly congested but it's not too bad. I am really taking a lot of supplements and that seems to be helping.

I hope you're all having a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

updates... and other odds and ends

It's overcast here today... the mountains surrounding the valley are dusted white with newly fallen snow and it's still out...

I woke up with a sore throat. :-P It's not surprising in a way, since most of the family has had it for several days. But we had hopes of me escaping it, since I was on the high dosage of vitamin C. I'm going up my vitamin D & A intake, as well as all the others. I've been awake for an hour or so already (it's 7 am), scheming how to knock this in the head. ;-) My health in general seems to be progressing steadily. I am so thankful for that!

Dad called yesterday evening with the news that they hadn't found anything yet. I guess they are just going to stay up there until they find something. One good thing about this is that they are having a good time and are meeting new people. They are staying with some mennonites and today, they are going to church with them.

Mom is doing well... she had some contractions (which she assured me were not labor contractions) yesterday while walking. I am starting to feel a bit on edge! haha... (And I'm not even the one pregnant! :-P) I'll be glad when things have settled down a bit. That could be awhile, I guess. ;-) One thing for sure, the baby seems active, healthy and happy.

Packing is going slowly... but surely. The cold put a halt to things for a day or so. But I think with everyone feeling better, it'll start up again full force. I was sorting letters yesterday... threw away some. Saved a lot. Too many of them are from people I love dearly and have made precious memories with. Isn't God good....?! I have so many wonderful, caring friends. I wish everyone could experience the joy I have been granted.

Mom and Hannah took a lot of things to our goodwill this past week. On their way home, Uriah suddenly pointed and exclaimed, "Mom!!! Look!! There's a snow-spitter!" They couldn't figure out what he was talking about until they saw someone using a snowblower. *chuckles*

May you all have a blessed week, full of the joy that comes from the Lord Jesus. *hugs*

P.S. Hannah... thank you for the lovely new dress you made for me. :-) (www.thepanhandleroughriders.blogspot.com)