Monthly Archives: September 2015

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.



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 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:


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


The nearby trees are burned and we hope will survive.


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


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.


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”.


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.