Today, a few more thoughts on my goals for this year:

1 — Like I discussed yesterday, sleep has to be first.

2 — Get to church more regularly.  It’s good for the kids.  It’s good for my soul.

3 — Ride more.  Also good for my soul.

4 — Buy a cow.  Cows (plural) would be even better.  My family has spent a lifetime managing cows for other people, but I’ve always wanted to have my own cows.  Time to get this dream rolling, and at the same time spend a little of our money on something that at least has a chance of paying dividends.

5 — Like I discussed yesterday, I want to write every day in 2020.  They say that writing ability is a muscle to be exercised, and that book I’ve always dreamed of isn’t going to write itself.  The question is, will I write it?

6 — The idealist in me comes out here:  Figure out homeschooling.  Conquer our personal budget.  Simplify and implement a plan of attack on the menu/groceries/prep-cooking monster that lives in our home.

7 — As mentioned yesterday, take a walk with the kids every day.

8 — And finally (also mentioned yesterday), organize my notes and computer files and toss thousands of digital photos.  One of my favorite bloggers, Crystal Paine, advises that goals like this are best broken down into bite-sized chunks.  For instance:  review and throw away three pieces of paper a day.  Trash one computer file and 15 digital photos every day.  I hear you, Crystal, and I’ve taken your pointers to heart, and a couple years ago I wrote out a plan to get organized according to your parameters.  Turns out, though, that progress happens not because of the plan… but because of actually doing what needs done.


So.  There you have it.  The list of everything I would love to accomplish in the coming year.  I’m thinking of how much my life would improve if I was truly able to slam-dunk every wish on that list.  At the same time, I’m reminding myself that I dare not hold that list too dear.  Because if my kids and husband have taught me anything, it’s that often my best-laid plans are for naught… because one gets pretty busy just living real life.


What’s Inspiring Me Today — Ivan Doig.  Oh!  Ivan Doig.  Way back when, Doc McDowell (my advisor at Rocky Mountain College) told me I needed to read Ivan Doig.  Doig (1939-2015) was and is an acclaimed Montana master writer, and throughout my adult life I’ve always meant to dive into his work, but I just… never quite got around to it.  Actually, it’s possible that I started one of his books but put it down and forgot about it.  Because this last summer my old friend Amber mentioned she was reading Doig’s English Creek, and I decided I should jump in and do the same, and I started the book in July… and I finished it yesterday.  Sure, my life was a little crazy and not exactly conducive to fiction-reading in those six months between, but there was also the problem of the missing climax in the book.  It’s one of those stories that gently builds, and I kept turning pages, thinking, Certainly we’ll get to the crux of the matter now… but we never did… so, a little bored and a little perplexed, I took a couple long breaks from reading.  But then, after Christmas last week, I decided it was time to treat myself to some fiction.  I picked up English Creek again, determined to finish it simply for the beautiful sentences, and also (admittedly) to see how an author might wrap up a renowned work of fiction without a climax.

Lo and behold, those slow sentences — hiding like little gems on most every page — started to string together to create a startlingly accurate picture of the real Montana.  Doig’s main character in English Creek is a boy… but the starring role in the book goes to the land, this storied Montana land that so many authors, including myself, struggle to capture in words.  Doig was able to do it — and that is why he is a Montana master.  Here’s what he reminded me of:  Land doesn’t move or change.  It’s inanimate and incapable of giving love and it has withstood so many generations of humans scurrying about its surface.  The people here, the characters that make up any given Montana story, are impermanent compared to the land.  Their hardships and victories are almost inconsequential in comparison to the hugeness and timelessness of the land.  But, as Doig’s writing gently reiterates, the point was never the destination anyway… but always the journey.



Today’s Weather — Still unseasonably warm and dry, which makes my husband happy.  High of 38.  Low of 24.


Today On The Ranch — Still the same relaxed mid-winter chores as yesterday.  Now that weaning’s over, Beau has traded his saddle for the desk chair.  His office hours are spent preparing for the budget meeting next week AND sifting through all the office work that piled up during weaning season.

As for me and the kids, the big highlight of our day was a trip to the swimming pool in Forsyth this afternoon.  My parents tagged along with us and at the pool we met up with some old friends — Shorty and Rachel Robinson, the couple who lived at Butte Camp here on the PV when I was growing up.  Shorty and Rachel’s daughter, Emily, is visiting from the mission field in Honduras with her kids… and it was fun, at the pool, to watch this third generation of friendship between our families blossom.  Beau drove to town separately and met us all for supper.

Oh — and there’s a lit-up cross standing atop the hill that towers over Forsyth, and every time we’re there at night, 4-year-old Marsielle looks up in wonder and says, “There’s the cross where Jesus died.”


Favorite Pictures From Today — These were taken during our walk this morning.  The kids decided to stop and play as I went an extra distance and then came back to them, and I returned to find they had all discarded the winter clothes I’d talked them into and were running around like little cave children, doing their best to total the family stroller.






© Tami Blake

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