Fall Road Trip

We signed up to use Tripcast, which “lets you share your travel photos with the people who want to see everything, not just the highlights.”  We’ve really enjoyed using it and highly recommend it.  For the purpose of this blog I’ll just post a few photos from our trip.

We flew to Seattle where we rented an RV for 2 weeks.  We headed toward Pasco, Washington to meet up with some friends.

We enjoyed a private tour on this 55' boat on the Columbia river. We went through the locks at Ice Harbor bay, which was a fascinating experience on a gorgeous day.

We enjoyed a private tour on this 55′ boat on the Columbia river. We went through the locks at Ice Harbor bay, which was a fascinating experience on a gorgeous day.

Next we ventured on toward Spokane and stayed at Coeur D’Alene Lake, which was quite lovely.

I was taking a photo of Keith sitting in the chair facing the water when a woman in the RV park came up to me and said it was no good taking a picture of just one of us and that if I'd set my camera up she'd just push the button. I said sure and told her it was our 26th wedding anniversary and then she began telling us what to do for the photos by saying things like "look at her", "hold hands", "turn around" while she snapped several photos. She was a hoot.

I was taking a photo of Keith sitting in the chair facing the water when a woman in the RV park came up to me and said it was no good taking a picture of just one of us and that if I’d set my camera up she’d just push the button. I said sure and told her it was our 26th wedding anniversary and then she began telling us what to do for the photos by saying things like “look at her”, “hold hands”, “turn around” while she snapped several photos. She was a hoot.

The next day we drove to Missoula, Montana and I got to spend time with Carol, who was a good friend when we were in Junior High in 1973 & 74. The last time we saw one another we think was about 1985.  She and her husband graciously entertained us and we had a wonderful time.

McDonald Lake at Glacier National Park

McDonald Lake at Glacier National Park in Montana.

We had intentions of touring around Glacier National Park but most everything of interest was already closed so we headed on to Yellowstone where we spent two days then visited Cody, Wyoming and another day at Yellowstone.  I have a ton of photos that are scenic as well as of wildlife.

The bison were pretty much everywhere and we were able to get pretty close to them.

The bison were pretty much everywhere in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and we were able to get pretty close to them.

Deer that just crossed the road near the east entrance to Yellowstone.

Deer that just crossed the road near the east entrance to Yellowstone.

Driving through Yellowstone National Park there was a mama grizzly bear and her cub beside the road. I had a pretty good view and as they were walking by the posts they each stopped to scratch their backs.

Driving through Yellowstone National Park there was a mama grizzly bear and her cub beside the road. I had a pretty good view and as they were walking by the posts they each stopped to scratch their backs.

After Yellowstone we headed for the Grand Tetons.

As the couple in the canoe paddled by Keith called out and thanked them for helping make our photo opp complete. –at Jenny Lake in Grand Tetons still in Wyoming.

We enjoyed roasted marshmallows (actually Swirlmallows caramel & vanilla) over an open fire.

We enjoyed roasted marshmallows (actually Swirlmallows caramel & vanilla) over an open fire in Montpelier, Idaho.

The National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier had a simulated adventure along the old Oregon trail that we did. It was entertaining and educational.

The National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier had a simulated adventure along the old Oregon trail that we did. It was entertaining and educational.

Google maps said we could take a 16 minute longer way to Garden City. Thinking it would be more scenic we opted for it but little did we know we'd be on an I paved road. It brings new meaning to shake rattle and roll when you're in an RV. On the way back we took the quicker route.

Google maps said we could take a 16 minute longer way to Garden City. Thinking it would be more scenic we opted for it but little did we know we’d be on an I paved road. It brings new meaning to shake rattle and roll when you’re in an RV. On the way back we took the quicker route.

Saturday morning we headed for Salt Lake City, Utah.

Spent an afternoon at Park City and enjoyed the Alpine slide and coaster. Pure fun!

Spent an afternoon at Park City and enjoyed the Alpine slide and coaster. Pure fun!

Monday we returned the RV in Salt Lake City and flew back home.  It was a grand trip with friends, fun, food and freedom from work.

RV NW Vacation

RVing is something we’ve done only one other time although we’ve camped in tents and cabins many times.  This time we decided to fly to Seattle and rent a 25′ RV  and return it in Salt Lake City in a couple of weeks.  Along the way we’ll visit new friends, old friends, national parks in Montana & Wyoming enjoying the scenic byways and wildlife.

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Consumed Yet Transforming

My brother, the only one home at the time, had only minutes to get the pets and a very few irreplaceable items out of his house before it burned to the ground on September 2, 2015.  According to http://www.ready.gov/home-fires website “in just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.”  Thankfully only material items were lost and a few photos and heirloom items miraculously survived and only need cleaning.

I’m scanning for them the photos that survived so we can have an electronic set available.  Meanwhile my brother and sister-in-law work with the insurance company to get a place to live in while their home gets rebuilt.  As I walked around the home in the days following the fire here are a few hopeful sights I observed:

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The ‘best’ room in the house. The rocking chair is one our grandpa built and I believe it is charred but can be repaired.

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The nearby trees are burned and we hope will survive.

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Jessie is safe and happy to be near what’s left of her home.

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The ‘worst’ room of the house was the garage. Notice the orange butterfly that is gracing our presence in the center of the photo.

As I stood in the garage with my brother and sister-in-law looking at the devastation, we noticed an orange butterfly.  There is much symbolism, mythology, and spiritualism attached to butterflies and their transformative yet short lives.  Some say that since butterflies have a way of getting our attention that angels send them as a message, possibly from a loved one who recently died, telling us they are okay and offering comfort to us.  One source I read suggests that an orange butterfly’s spiritual meaning and symbolism, “asks us to find our courage and strength to tackle a change to our lives, possibly a shift in location and or a new home or even just renovations. The orange butterfly also has a justice energy and works closely with people if they are or know someone in distress.”  (source: Butterfly Animal Spirit Guide)

The physical house and truck were consumed by the fire and the paths left could be seen as despair or hope.  My sights were set on noticing those things that suggest hope, such as the items that did survive, the ‘smiling’ dog and the orange butterfly.

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The orange butterfly

All Is Well

Let me tell you about one of my birthday presents.

My children, Travis and Kelsey, discussed what to give me for my birthday this year and agreed on a necklace that would say a sentiment such as “I love you”.  After further thought, Kelsey suggested the phrase “All Is Well” and the two immediately knew that was the perfect choice.  Travis, along with my husband’s help, combed through my mother’s handwritten study journals (which she began doing in the early 1970s) and found where she wrote the words “all”, “is” and “well”. They took pictures of those words, sent them to Kelsey who hired an artist to create from my mother’s handwriting a personalized necklace with the phrase “all is well”.

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When I opened the box and read the phrase I teared up and then when I learned all that my family did in thinking of this idea and making it happen, my heart melted even more.  Travis said to Kelsey after seeing my reaction that it will be hard to top this gift.  I agreed but told them it was always worth trying ;)

The significance of the phrase brings even more sentiment to the necklace.  On my mother’s blog she wrote:  “All is Well. I love the way this song expresses both the message of joy of the arrival of God’s salvation and the sense of peaceful calm that joyful message brings. It was both those aspects that led me to choose this song to be played at my mother’s funeral service. Both these songs are on Michael W. Smith’s “Christmas” album.”

After selecting songs for my grandmother’s funeral, my Mom recognized what a large challenge selecting songs for a loved one can be so she began gathering songs that she wanted me to know were her favorites.  She placed copies of the songs in one of two folders on her computer, one labeled “Donna’s Motivational” and the other “Donna’s favorites”.  Knowing the day would come when I would be selecting songs for her, she specifically encouraged me to consider All is Well.  That time came much sooner that we expected when my mom died November 25, 2014.  I spent hours deciding and planning her memorial service and one of the songs I selected was All is Well.  It’s beautiful, peaceful and powerful.  I hope you take the time to watch, read and listen to it.

The phrase “all is well” represents my mom’s beliefs.  My mother often said phrases such as “it’ll be fine”, “I’ll be okay”, “sounds good”, “I’m flexible”, or “things work out”.  Once when we were passengers in a vehicle with a poor driver on a snowy mountain she responded to my fears by saying to me “Sweety, it’s okay.  If it’s our time to go it’s our time to go.”  At the time all I could say was “oh great, that really helps me.”  During a different and rough time at work many years ago she made for me a small poster with the quote “You cannot direct the wind but you can adjust your sails”.  In time, I began to understand the message she was teaching me was really always the same.  So, for you Mom, I believe “All Is Well” and now I can wear it as a reminder of my family’s love and all you taught us.

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 References:

Chores and Diversions

Recently I bought an 84″ solid wood bookcase and spent time unpacking boxes of my mother’s journals, memorabilia and research as well as similar items from my dad. My reason for doing this is so that I can more easily see and access these materials as I continue to archive, index and etc for better accessibility. In the closet is much, much more that is almost completely processed.

The ivy was a plant we received for Mom’s memorial service and I’m happy it’s still thriving. The butterflies were in the flowers my son gave me for mother’s day.

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The book cover puzzle is Travis’ to enjoy while he recuperates from his shoulder surgery yet it has become my latest diversion.  Meanwhile the items on display in my new bookcase remain a chore to be completed.

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A New Path

Perhaps you heard that Lake Texoma got a lot of rain this year.  A couple of weeks ago we drove around to see how the water level was at several of the ramps, marinas and beaches.  You’ll need to make a new path to get to the docks, I’d say.

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Notice the light

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It’s taken until late July for us to get typical hot summer temperatures.  I’m sure this bunny is enjoying the shade and the cooler dirt in our backyard.  I’ve never seen a bunny that seemed this relaxed.

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The pie cooked up a memory

When I told my Dad about the baked apple pie and a cherry cobbler that Keith made for us to enjoy as part of our July 4 meal he immediately recalled how, as a child, cherry was his favorite pie.  Dad said that he must have really loved it because his dad sang “Roly Poly Daddy’s Little Fatty” to him although when he sang it he changed the pie to cherry.  Dad told me that my grandpa played the record and had a big stack of other 78rpm records he listened to as well.

“Roly Poly” was first recorded by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys in 1946 when my Dad was 8 years old.  All photos of my Dad as a child show that he was stout and healthy but not overweight.  While the title of the song isn’t very flattering, the song is actually about a a very active boy who eats continuously to keep his strength up.   I’m confident that my Grandpa found the song endearing.  Here’s the song with the lyrics below the video.

Roly Poly eatin’ corn and ‘taters
Hungry every minute of the day
Roly Poly gnawin’ on a biscuit
As long as he can chew it, it’s okay.

He can eat an apple pie
And never even bat an eye
He likes everything from soup to hay
Roly Poly daddy’s little fatty
Bet he’s gonna be a man some day.

Roly Poly scrambled eggs for breakfast
Bread and jelly twenty times a day
Roly Poly eats a hearty dinner
It takes lots of strength to run and play.

Pulls up weeds and does the chores
And he runs both ways to all the stores
He works up an appetite that way
Roly Poly daddy’s little fatty
Bet he’s gonna be a man some day

Keith’s cool July 4th apple pie triggered a memory and now I know another tidbit about my Dad and my Grandpa.

2015Jul04_0022Update:  My Dad responded to this post by adding “Memories! I can’t tell you how many times that song has played in my mind.  I loved my Dad! He taught me so much without me even knowing he was teaching me. I wish for every child to have such a Dad!”  And my Aunt said “I remember Daddy singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’.”

A Summer Weekend

Noble, Oklahoma has a restaurant that is known for its great chicken fried steak and that is where my brother and I took our Dad for lunch the day before Father’s Day.  Afterwards we visited the Noble cemetery and paid our respects to Mom and others.  It was the first time that David got to see our Mom’s headstone since it was set; it now has lots of grass growing all around it.  Mom’s 75th birthday was Monday; our first without her.

Looking north toward Noble.

Looking north toward Noble (Mom’s headstone is quite a bit behind me in this pic)

The next day was Father’s day and was a trip to visit my daughter and have lunch.  It was a perfect opportunity for a family photo using my remote control.  Here’s a selfie making sure the focus was set.

Freeze frame

Freeze frame

Re-filling my cup

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A souvenir cup from a genealogy trip Mom and I took a few years ago.  Everytime I use it, I recall the wonderful time we had together.

The week of June 7-12 I took another genealogy trip…without Mom.  I attended the week long class as part of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  It was an important event for me for several reasons including personal development, of course, and to get myself ‘back on that horse’ of doing genealogy research without my Mom’s help and company.  She would have loved being there and learning.  It was a great week and now I’ve got to apply pieces I learned.

My lunch spot one day during my week on Samford's campus.

My lunch spot one day during my week on Samford’s campus.

You Ask Y

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken or shared many photos.  Today my dad and I went to a local park and took photos that met the criteria of the theme we chose, which was anything that begins with or looks like the letter Y.  All the typically green grass, plants and trees have more yellow in them than may be typical due to the high number of days we’ve had only short amount of sunshine and record amounts of rain.  I present below a few of mine.

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