The Mountain Cemetery 

We went to the mountains recently one Sunday afternoon. Since we moved to Great Falls last fall, the closest mountains are The Little Belt Mountains. They are known for their great ATV trails and they are certainly a gem! We had only been there once before and access to the spot we wanted to explore is unmarked, so we went in hopes of finding it and also stumbling into more serendipity. 

We found it, our surprise for the day, on the outskirts of Neihart, MT, a small town that last had a gigantic census of 51. Although it wasn’t what we imagined discovering, it was delightful and amazing and a bit heart breaking. An old cemetery interwoven across  a hillside of pine trees. 

Some of the stones were reset with newer versions and some were old original slabs of wood. The  gentle whisper of wind through the pines and the burble of water in the nearby stream spread a restful sensation over the graves. I felt the presence of God as we wandered through the scattering. I wandered how many hearts broke here. How many gallons of tears were cried, or if the folks back then were stoic and calm. 

This mother buried two of her children. They were only 5 and 6 years old and died the same day.

Another family plot had three children buried. I wondered if the two boys died of an epidemic in a hard  winter. 

Then there were these amazing plots that made you pause in reverence and respect. Somebody loved these people. Somebody grieved their death. Somebody erected a fence to mark their resting and memory here on earth.

Though overgrown with brush and weeds, love still shone through the years of weathered boards.

I wonder if this lady was a pioneer in her day. She must have been very courageous and brave.

And this stone….since I couldn’t put flowers at my little girls grave for Mother’s Day, I placed some here. Imagine my heart feeling so hugged when a friend in Pennsylvania placed some at my own daughters grave! Elsie and Kierra were born a day apart in July, but in two different centuries. Isn’t that amazing!? I mean….God just blows me away with His little love notes He drops my way!


 Perhaps God let them meet in heaven on that Mother’s Day Sunday. I like to think so.

So many of the graves were babies and young children. It was astonishing to me. Even teenagers and thirty year olds were not uncommon. It was a hard life they lived….these brave people that carved their mark into the history of Montana. There were two stones that seemed to sum it up for every one.

We saw the most glorious sun works on the way home and it reminds me of the song…” The hills are alive with the sound of music…” And I could nearly hear the joy of spring bursting from the green country side. 

It was a wonderful day, and heaven felt a bit closer. Kobe was totally overjoyed with his first roasted marshmallow of the season and I felt refreshed in body and spirit!

Heaven opened and shone us some love. Thank you, my Jesus! Give Kierra an extra hug for me tonight! 


Mother’s Day and Grief

“Let us then with confidence 

Draw near to the throne of grace

That we may recieve mercy 

And find grace  to help 

In time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Sometimes life comes at you like a train wreck and you feel an inevitable collision headed straight for your heart. Time marches on and has no mindfulness of stepping aside and tiptoeing around pain. So I am learning to tip toe.

Mother’s Day is just a few days away and I have had a rough week to be totally honest. This past week has been full of exceptionally wonderful times even as I slug through emotional lows and grief. I strained an arm muscle last week and it has been a nagging ache ever since, my shoulders hurt from doing a rock job that I plan to write about later since I learned some really valuable lessons, working in dirt and rocks for hours on my knees, I have bruises on my legs from unidentifiable times and while I was cleaning up the back yard, I backed into an ugly,nasty ,sharp tree branch that was waiting to be turned into fire wood. My wheelbarrow load of extremely heavy soil and weeds tipped over and took me with it. I have nasty scratches on my legs that sting. I was baking huckleberry scones and the parchment paper slid off the pan into the 450 degree oven and I burned every finger down to the phalanges. Well, not quite 🙂  my four year old had meltdowns for strange reasons this week and he ate dates out of a bulk food bin at the store. He has an abscess in his mouth and hid behind me, jumping away from my hands when ever I tried to catch him in the Dr. office. 

Physically I was a wreck. My hormones were screaming at me. My muscles ached and my bones were ‘like water’….-(King David). I was so cold and I couldn’t get warm. This seemed to drag on all week long. Not a pretty picture for Mother’s Day. 

But there was a saving grace. I felt God near. I had dinner with a friend who spoke words of life and prayed for me. I got a hug from a beautiful soul I had never met before. She put her arms around me and held me while I cried because I missed Kierra so very much. I had little messages of Gods love and grace sprinkled through every day. I felt so very loved and blessed, while I felt so weak and helpless.

Grief is tricky and you can’t always predict what  will trigger an emotion or a memory. But you can learn to slow down. To breathe. To tip toe. To take time to acknowledge how you are feeling. To be OK with that feeling. I am learning to take that emotion to Jesus. Just telling Him, “I don’t know why I’m feeling like this right now, but I am. I need You!” takes the pressure off myself and my feeble attempts to analyze and fix myself. I can never fix myself but My Father has the perfect solution to every single thing I face. So I rest my case in His love.

For years, I struggled with accepting compliments. To often there was a barrier in my mind like a 10 ft wall, 3 foot thick. I deflected words of kindness and compliments. I turned my mind into denial mode. Instead of allowing encouraging words to bless me and build me up,  I chose to look at my faults and short comings by adding thoughts in my mind like, “if you only knew…” Somehow, in a weird way, I think I was trying to be the be the perfect Mommy in order to fill in the aching gaps in my life. Human perfection and striving can never fill in the gaps. Only God’s grace, acceptance of life, and acknowledging Truth will filter light into those dark spaces. Genuine, beautiful LIGHT! 

Negative thoughts are always destructive. 

“I am not enough.”

“I am such a mess. No one knows how I act under pressure at home.”

” I will never be good enough.”

Those words are all so starkly true, and I came to the place that I realized my total brokenness and dependance on God. But. His grace and love and forgiveness came in and took that sin away. To continue thinking negatively and constantly refusing to accept words of life and blessing, causes patterns of more grief and confusions. That kind of grief is so wearying and wearing that no mommy can stand under it. 

This Mothers Day I want to celebrate the good God has placed in me. I want to thank every one of my friends for telling me that I was a good Mommy to Kierra. That I am a good Mommy to Kobe. I want to embrace the beauty God has placed in me. The love He has redeemed me with that calls me His daughter. His bride. I want to rest in the hands of the One who created my Mommy heart. I want to revel in how very loved I am. How I was fashioned and born from the heart of God. 

A Mother’s heart hangs onto impossible hope. 

It bleeds compassion. 

It smiles and laughs for the sake of the children when it wants to howl at the cold unfair world.

It gives when it is inconveniate and exhausted…

Because it is born out of the heart of God.

Birthed with struggle.

Birthed from pain. 

Birthed for beauty.

It is a strong heart that stretches down to the depths of earthly hell, physical death, gut wrenching heartache, and it rises to eternal hope and the realms of heavenly beauty.

It is bigger then us. 

Because it is born from the heart of God. 

We can’t control it.

We can’t understand it.

We can’t always follow it.

But we can GIVE it. 

It is created for Gods glory.

And it is beautiful.

“For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory.  

All glory to Him forever!” Romans 11

No matter what situation you find yourself in this Mother’s Day, I want to ask you to simply BELIEVE!

Believe that you are loved. Beautiful. Gifted for your task. Cradled in God’s arms. He hasn’t forgotten you or overlooked your pain. He sees your struggle. You can simply rest in Him. He will fill in the hard places. He delights in you and accepts you right now, just the way you are. 

If you knew….really knew how MUCH God loves you, your insecurities would fade away. He loves you the most….because He is divine like that. 

Live like you are loved like crazy. Because you are!

And all through the day, tell Jesus how much you love Him!