Sunday, May 19, 2013


This is one of the very few recent family pictures we have, taken on Mother's Day this year, after burying Mom. Grandma and Uncle Tom are both missing, having passed on, and the boys are all grown with lives and kids of their own.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I has learned to pump and swing on her own. It was a great accomplishment in her eyes, and in mine, since she had determined to learn something, put her mind to it, and practiced until it was accomplished. She struggles with this process, so this was a great breakthrough. Likely because most of the process was at school. At home she tends to defer to me for help, and I succumb to it, a not so healthy dynamic that I hope to change. Nonetheless, I am proud of her, and am reminded, when things like this happen, that our children, thankfully, are influenced by a multitude of mentors. If left to just me, she would certainly be in trouble. We must remember that these are Gods children, not ours, and He will use whomever he pleases to achieve results. It's His"grace."

Sunday, May 12, 2013


We buried Mom today. She had hoped to make it to the farm to plant flowers on Grandma's grave for mothers day. Grandma died last year, and Mom struggled with the fact that she kept putting off the visitation, and was unable to say Goodbye. Mom passed 11 days before Mothers Day. But she made it to the grave. She was buried there along side it. Her flowers were planted. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. 

Even though Mom had been sick for some time, and we knew her time was drawing near, it did not come as expected. And we were unprepared, though we believed otherwise. The local news told of a woman's body found in a house ablaze, but the coroner's report indicated a massive heart attack. She did not suffer. But she was alone, and that bothers me the most. I think probably her greatest fear in life was being alone. Dying alone. And here we are. Alone.

I find myself choking up randomly, unable to breathe, as thoughts of her come, and I realize I cannot think of her without thinking, also, that she is gone. And also considering the sadness of her life, early death, and humanly struggles. I'd like to think maybe Jesus or an angel appeared to her to help her cross over, at the last, but I cannot bring myself to believe. I don't know where she is now. I don't have that assurance that I will see her again at the end. I want that. Very much. So I pray that God would bend the laws of nature, and allow me one last moment with her, even if to say "I'm sorry" or "I love you" along with the reassurance that she is safe in Heavenly arms. Then I could step confidently back into Life once again, knowing she is no longer suffering, but finally whole, happy, and Free.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cherry Gulch & Time Management

Today's message was about serving Christ. Specifically how to do so most effectively, which does not entail saying "yes" to every opportunity that comes our way. In fact, we should say no to many great opportunities, in order to say "yes" to the most important ones. We have exactly enough time in each day to do what God calls us to do, if we are falling behind, and overwhelmed, its time to weed some stuff out. This can be a painful process. And what did Jesus do with his last hours before crucifixion? He washed the disciples feet, and prayed, of course.  He served unselfishly, by performing one of the most degrading of tasks in that culture at that time, in order to love his people. Even Judas. He did not hold fast to a personal agenda, and this should guide us in how we decide what to use our time for, right? And we should do a few things exceedingly well, to the best of our ability as if to the Lord, rather than multiple things poorly, or not at our best.

I don't know about others, but I feel overwhelmed often just getting the basic stuff done around the house, and maybe that is my weakness, but I have to consider, what does God call me to do with my time. A bunch of tasks? or invest in people? I've never been a people person, and I have a really hard time loving people, especially if they drive me nuts, and I don't have any "feelings" of love for them. I struggle to love my own family, and I almost always have my own agenda. I rarely listen to God's. I know what types of things could certainly end up on His agenda, and I make a lame attempt to include those types of things in my life, but I don't think i have been super purposeful about it in quite some time, if at all. I haven't an answer to these questions yet, as I am starting to consider what this message might mean for my life. But the answer is not to be "busy' all the time, or to get as much done as possible. The answer is something akin to doing things well. And the loudest voice in all this, should be that of God, not our friends, spouses, or kids. Or ourselves. Its a bit of a oxymoron to "consider others needs above ours" but to listen to God on how to do that, rather than those people whose needs you are considering. Yikes.

Today we took a short jaunt down the cherry gulch trail in the North Hills of Missoula. It was windy, and cold. Isobel did a great job. Elias slept. And I actually enjoyed the view despite my tendency not to. I was glad for the exercise, regardless.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Treasure of the Day

I was looking over the trail map and noticed a comment about a duck pond in the city, close to us, that happened to be a favorite of at least one Missoulian. In fact, I have been driving past it almost daily, never noticing its existence. So I decided we should check it out.
After school, Isobel, Elias and I went to see this pond, (it actually made the front page of the Missoulian, when the water valve had accidentally been turned off, wreaking muddy havoc for the local fowl, threatening their habitat).

And we discovered a great little gem in the middle of a neighborhood, tucked behind the local Pattee Creek Market. Surrounded by multiple trees, grasses, and a trail, with a bridge, it was a nice home for local feathered friends, including two pair of Canadian geese, one currently sitting on a next of eggs, and one pair with newly hatched chicks (7 altogether).

The trees were full of various birds, including a host of red winged black birds. I was more than tickled to discover it, and it was difficult getting Isobel out of there. I had to lure her with the promise to come back in the morning armed with food, which we did. Cracked corn from the local farm and ranch store. They loved it (Isobel & the ducks).

Friday, April 26, 2013

St Helena`s Tribute

We just returned from a short trip to Helena, the capitol of the state of Montana. The most impressionable attraction in the city, I think, is the St Helena Cathedral. Its towering gothic architecture and elaborate stained glass windows immediately draws the eye, when entering the town. I had to see it. The most impressive part of the building was the numerous stained glass windows, which brought my mind to thinking about how these pictures were once used to tell the stories of the Bible, kind of like a picture book, to illiterate peasants. And I remember performing the stations of the cross in my own little parish, during my childhood, though we didn't have elaborate stained glass to tell us the story. We had carvings instead.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

M Trail

Ive been staring at that huge M on the side of Mount Sentinel for several weeks now, since we moved here. This past week I decided to haul my butt up the mountainside, crossing the M Trail off my Missoula to-do list. Since life took me away from Portland with so many un-crossed wishes, I have promised myself to just tackle life a little more now, and do those things I have a hankering for. It was harder than I expected. We are no longer at sea level folks, and even though the trail is short, with maybe 15 switchbacks, its straight up. Elias was my hiking buddy, and enjoyed every minute (aka took a nap in the carrier). The weather was nice and cool, and skies clear. There were several others on the trail that day, and apparently some of the local athletes frequent the trail for their running practice (can you imagine??!!). Overall it was a good experience, and I just might do it again . . . .

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Inner Passage

The lake and wildlife reserve immediately behind our hotel in Anchorage

We made good use of the scenery, sunshine and exercise while there for a short time

Isobel enjoyed the walk, and all the fowl and dogs

The neighborhood moose stopping in for a snack
Isobel's first moose sighting

Isn't he a doll?

Big band fun in the park in Anchorage while waiting to catch the bus to Whittier

On our way from Anchorage to Whittier, where we caught the ship. We had to wait for a train to go through the single lane tunnel through the mountain, so we all got out for a break

A picture of us on the ship prior to starting the journey and the last few rays of sunshine just before a cloudy overcast trip

Isobel watching the disembarkation
Bon Voyage!

Glacier watching from the ship in Glacier Bay

Ernest and Isobel braved to cold
I'm not much into ice blocks, unfortunately

Juneau, and some sun!
Home to the famous Mendenhall Glacier
A town of approx 30,000 it sits at the base of Mt Juneau

Sea planes came and went continuously

The aerial tram

A picture of us on the dock

Ketchikan, Alaska, 
Largest salmon producing city in world, about 15,000 population
It truly felt like a fishing village. 
I would come back here. 
It was super accessible to people on foot, with a great little bus system and focal town center.

"Totem" poles at Saxman Totem park
The term "totem" is a white man's word that has roots in Ojibwe "odoodem", 
or family kinship group, or family story. 
Unfortunately, these were not totems or idols they worshiped, 
but a story of a person's family carved into red cedar, mainly. 
The natives in the Pacific northwest did not have a written language, 
only phonetic, and this was their way of writing down their stories. 

Apparently back then they had dentists too ;-)
The only original totems that exist do so in the Museum of Anthropology and the Maritime Museum in Vancouver, BC. These are all replicas from the ?1920s.

One of the days at sea

Vancouver BC - view from our hotel

On the Trolley for the city tour

Celebrity sighting. He walks the same in real life as he does in Fringe

Beehives at the Fairmont. They pollinate the many rooftop gardens in the area.
There's also a bee tour every day at 3pm.

Outside at Canada Place on the day before we left
It was a really great city, but I sure wont miss the exorbitant prices

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sunriver Oregon Trip

Recently we were privileged to be able to travel to Sunriver Oregon
 to spend some time on much needed R&R
We flew in with the Flying Dentist Association, which is comprised of a bunch of plane loving dentists and their families, who get together for fly-ins frequently throughout the year.

Luckily the annual meeting was close to home this year, 
so flying was comprised of a short hour and a half flight
Some of the other members flew from places afar, like New York, 
which is probably a 12-16 hour flight, not to mention stops for gas. 

Sunriver, for those of those who do not know of it, is in Central Oregon, and is mainly comprised of a very large resort in this beautiful valley that is green with trees, and rivers.
The entire area is inter connected, and easy to get to via cycle, horse, or shuttle

Some of the grounds outside the cabins

Meadows in the valley surrounding the airport. 

Isobela, pine cone collecting - she found some beauties

The SHARC, the aquatic center, a 14 million dollar project for the homeowners in Sunriver, 
and its available to all resort guests. 
It had great indoor, outdoor, kids, adults pools, restaurant, etc. 

Isobel enjoying the little kids pool

Isobel learning to float

One of the fun things to do here is to canoe or kayak the river that runs through Sunriver
Its about a 2 hour canoe trip if you rent at the Marina
It was very scenic and peaceful

View from the canoe

After the trip

The resort is equiped with a stables where you can take riding trips through the area
The little kids get pony rides

Here's Isobel on her first horse (Blueberry)- she loved it

Did I mention she loved it?

One of the pilots taking off -I thought it was a cool picture

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lincoln City Kite Festival 2012

This past weekend we took a daytrip to Lincoln City, hoping to catch a bit of mild weather for the Kite Festival

 We lucked out. It was quite warm, and the Kiters were in full force
Kites are a big culture here on the coast. 

They had professional kite flying demonstrations for us to watch
Here there are six different people flying kites in formation, quite impressive

Sand time

We weren't expecting this much sun, so weren't quite prepared 
Here's Isobel borrowing Daddy's hat and glasses