We’ve been praying for Nathaniel for the last several months. He was deployed to Afghanistan last summer and returned safely back to the States in early May. Thankfully, he and his family were able to visit this past weekend while he’s enjoying a month’s (much-deserved!) leave. Apologies in advance for the photo overload.

It wouldn’t be a visit from one of the extended Lowman clan without a trip out to the back forty. Heck, I don’t know if it’s actually the back forty, it’s just cool to call it that. Anyway, the three Goodrich (my dad’s sister’s son’s kids, aka extended Lowman clan) boys and my own boy were pretty geeked about hoofing it out back not just for our normal hike, but for the opportunity to shoot. Guns, to clarify. Connor and I borrowed his Airsoft gun (which I didn’t even know existed until recently) earlier that morning so he couldn’t wait to show the other boys how great of a shot he was. And he totally is. Is it wrong that it made me proud? 

I think I may have been grinning the entire time. Watching Spike (my cousin who has also served our country) and Nathaniel was really special. Aside from teasing him, he was also leading and instructing … just like my grandpa would have.

father and son

father and son

showing him how it's done

showing him how it’s done

awesome mom and boys

the rest of the fam looks on

And then, my own boy showed us how he rolls. Seeing Connor take aim made my heart swell.

big cousin and little cousin

big cousin and little cousin

As silly as it was to see a group of people aim at cardboard signs (with stick figures and other silly-looking shapes drawn on them), it was such a reminder of the gift we’ve been given as a family. This land. These people. Generations of men who have also fought for our own freedom.


oh, the faces he makes.


big brother and little brother.


luke and uncle dave

IMG_9281_FB IMG_9285_FB

And I guess I should also share that some of us gals got in on the fun because girls just wanna have fun, too, right?


driving miss crazy.


i’m not sure who that chick is but some hair-fixing and better aim is in order.


now that chick scares me with a gun.


mama takes aim.

Oh, also, my kid is awesome.


now you see it.


now you don’t.

The real reason we have to make a trip out back (And to clarify, when I say that I don’t mean outback like we’re in Australia, mate, just out back … like out in the back of the property. Sorry, I felt like I had to make that distinction.) is to visit Pete’s tree. I sort of call it my grandpa’s tree, really, but he had named it Pete’s … after Simon Peter. And it grows around a rock.


Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. Matthew 16:17-18 



connor knew the way. be still my heart.


jacob aka tarzan

I was so grateful that all of the boys could be there together to visit grandpa’s, er, Pete’s tree. When we got back, I checked my phone quick and saw a couple of emails. See, I found out on Friday that my friend Julie was visiting a tiny little island (and town) in the Upper Peninsula that my grandpa had called home for several years. And, appropriately, he’d build a church there, just outside of DeTour Village. The emails included photos of the church my grandfather had built. I couldn’t help but get emotional because the timing was perfect. These boys. This weekend. My grandpa.

And my grandpa? Yep, he built a church. And this family. And he was the rock.

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