What a full Sunday! After a morning of worship and fellowship with our brothers and sisters at church, my family drove out to Pactola Reservoir to picnic and kayak. What with all of us being employed, Anna still being in highschool, and Dad in seminary, our “just for fun, the whole family together” time has been somewhat rarer than it used to be. So we remedied that with our picnic at Pactola Reservoir.
Family Picnic at PactolaBeautiful weather and very little wind made for a nice kayaking excursion across the lake. Pennington County sheriff’s deputies were cruising around in a speed boat, checking fishing licenses and looking like they were enjoying their job – I loved seeing that. With all the vitriol directed at our public servants, it was fun seeing them doing something like that. I can’t imagine cruising around in a speed boat is much of a chore! I wanted to flag them down and ask if they would make wakes for us to kayak in, but they got away too fast.
Pactola ReservoirAnd finally – finally! – we drove home via Rapid City and picked up the newest addition of the Adrian household! Meet Trixie. I think it was love at first sight for all of us, even for Dad, who tends to be a little more reasonable about this kind of thing.
IMG_5183Trixie is a husky-golden retriever mix, or at least that is what we were told – She has all the grovelling sweetness of a golden, and at the age of seven months she still has all of her puppy energy. She was so excited and playful, to the point that she just about mauled each of us this evening, and she thinks she is small enough to curl up in a lap. Trixie already is treating us like “her people,” and she was determined to make herself at home – inside the cabin. That was a big “no”, but she is sleeping in her crate right now, and seems content. IMG_5238Needless to say, she was a little freaked out and overwhelmed, but she has the sweetest disposition and already seems to be settling in. The cats and she haven’t yet had a chance to come to a truce, but I’m sure they will in time. The cats had Baby, our sister’s dog, very well trained and it didn’t take long for them to train her. They kept their distance this evening, hungry for attention as usual, but uncertain of the intruder. I felt kind of bad, but they’ll figure it out.
IMG_5172We spent the 45 minutes before dinner playing with Trixie and taking pictures. Of course, we all wanted pictures with our new pup. I can already tell she’ll be a good fit. It has been seven months since we had a dog, and I think we were all very ready to have a ready-made hiking buddy, company when home alone, and just the delight a dog can bring to a household.
IMG_5223Our pets always remind me of the loving, good God that I serve, who created such an amazing world for us to live in, for us to enjoy, for humanity to have dominion over with gentleness and wisdom. God created this world to glorify Himself, and although humanity is the crowning piece of that creation and we all, Believer or not, bear the mark of our God, I do believe He takes delight in all of His creatures, even those not made in His likeness.

Welcome to the family, Trixie!

Laura Elizabeth

Findings | Here and There

The play of light.


Simplicity. A scrap of 100-year-old wallpaper and a broken blue Mason jar. Out at the ghost town Spokane.

Laura Elizabeth


Blooming June

DSCN0262.1The Black Hills are dressed in their best and most glorious finery. Wildflowers are sprinkled, sometimes lavishly, on hillsides and in valleys, the creeks are full to overflowing, and everything is green and lush and fragrant. It is always fun to see the Black Hills through the eyes of a visitor. Even though I’ve only lived here for four months, this has always been our home away from home, and consequently seeing it sometimes becomes, well, daily life. There is nothing like a new pair of eyes to renew my own love of this region.DSCN0310.1

Mom’s cousin Russel, his wife, and their three daughters have been staying with us since Sunday. I’d never met any of them, so it was fun to get to know my second-cousins from Texas! We all went down to the Mountain Lion Cave last night (or as close as we could get without crossing Battle Creek), and this morning my second cousin Julie and I headed out on an excursion. The rest of her family and Anna were going to Reptile Gardens and, as fascinating as I am sure it is, neither of us was particularly interested in spending hours there.

DSCN0324.1So out we went to Spokane and haunted the ghost town for a few hours, drove Iron Mountain Road, and visited Little Falls. The flowers were beautiful, and any little hollows or depressions were full of water, frogs, and mosquitoes. The thistles were becoming the prize-winning sort, and mushrooms were in abundance.





Violet and creeping wood sorrels flashed little glints of color in the shorter grass, their heart-shaped leaves green and moist and plentiful. Wild roses and geranium, blue-eyed grass and purple clover, asters and dandelions, all were tucked under trees and nestled into hillsides, along paths, thriving. The flowers and berries were peeking daintily from the Solomon’s Seal, and the lichen was thick on fallen branches and damp wood.





DSCN0258.1While on first glance not much had changed (it is a ghost town, after all…), when I looked closer there were dozens of new forms of botanical life, flowers that hadn’t been in bloom on our first visit, overgrown and flooded paths, and new clusters of mushrooms growing in the rich layer of decaying leaves and pine needles.

DSCN0187.1The house looked pretty much the same as before–the broken windows, rusted hinges, rotted floorboards, and the swallow’s nest in the stovepipe–but when on the hunt for details, I suddenly noticed many things that had escaped my eye before, such as the remnants of wallpaper in the house, or the lichen-encrusted nails on the windowsill, or the broken blue Mason jar and the scrap of blue and white wallpaper. DSCN0191.1The nest had a swallow in it this time, and little plants were growing in the moist earth where floorboards were missing. I noticed “love notices”, where boys and girls had written their names together on the walls. What an old-fashioned and romantic little spot. DSCN0220.1

Outside one of the windows, there was a layer of shattered glass. My camera is a bit finicky, and after taking one properly-focused picture, it suddenly stopped focusing on the glass. Instead, it was focusing on the reflections of the trees in the glass. The effect was enchanting! DSCN0232.1

DSCN0266.1Beauty may be subtle and well-hidden, even when in plain sight. It is hard to see beauty in the mundane when one is only looking for the mundane, or when one is overburdened with the world.  A certain optimism is required for seeing exquisite beauty in the drabness of rotting wood or broken glass. Optimism is not my natural state, but I find it exceedingly difficult to be pessimistic when I am surrounded by God’s beauty, and his little gifts. I passionately think we should nourish the vision to see those beautiful details. The world is a bleak place, but there are so many tiny joys and gifts given to us each day by a loving Creator, if we have the eyes to see them.

Laura Elizabeth