Our last full day in Montana fell on a Sunday. We decided, kind of last minute, to make the kids presentable and head into town for church. Since we took the time to clean them up a little, we made sure to get a group photo. The two on the right are my friend Kari's boys. Evan is 9, Simon is 6. Nate and Simon made plans to co-own a ranch in Montana one day. I'm happy about it because it means I can come visit.
Church was a moving experience for me, as it usually is when I get the chance to worship in some new setting, with different people. I always feel honored to be a part of a different faith tradition's service, and to be welcomed into a local family of Believers. We went to a small Lutheran church in Harlowton, MT and were blessed by the thoughtful words of the pastor, the hymns accompanied by piano, the liturgical readings...(I'm all for my local church bringing on the liturgical readings, I love them!) and even the children were included when the pastor came over to talk with them during the service and asked them to recite some words at the end of the assembly.
Later that day we joined Kari's sister's family for a picnic. We drove to some State area (unsure where exactly) and were the only ones there using the gorgeous camping sites.
Cody finally got to do some fly-fishing. He had been hoping to do a little catch and release during our trip, and this was the only chance he got!
The boys especially had fun playing with each other. Simon was cracking me up, hiding behind this rock as Kari's sister drove into camp.
Nate, our constant explorer, was finding bones back near the creek.
I was photographing flowers and scenery. This thistle caught my eye.
As we left that evening we saw a doe with her fawn following closely behind her. They were leaping through the tall grass.
Then I looked over and saw the setting sun shining on this large rock and felt like it captured my sense of well-being perfectly.
It was very hard to leave the next morning. Most of all, I hated to say goodbye to Kari. She is such a precious friend to me, and I get to see her so rarely. My heart was hurting. But I also hated to leave Montana because it has captured a piece of my heart. I have never felt like that about any other land in my life. I've seen a lot of beautiful places, but none have touched me as deeply as Montana.