Showing posts from May, 2010

A Day in Mobile...Day 11

I've long awaited the day of driving, once again, to my favorite clothing store (after Nordstrom, that is) - Stein Mart! Today was the day, and the visit didn't disappoint. Well, actually, it may have been disappointing to the young male travelers in our midst, but for us females it was great!

We enjoyed Stein Mart and then shopped Cato, as well. All successful, I'm happy to report; Lisa, Morgan and I all came away with very fun things that we would be hard pressed to find at home. Big smiles all around! Then, we went in search of Yellow Box sandals...fancy flip-flops, really. Success there, too, at a wonderful shoe and purse store called Shoe Station. Yeah...I said shoes and purses! Sweet!

Morgan wasn't particularly interested in the Yellow Box sandals, but a brand of shoe called Toms. I'd never heard of them, but there they were, in all their canvas glory. I guess they are a type of humanitarian shoe; for every pair purchased, the company will give a pair to a need…

Slowin' Down in the South...Day 10

Hangin' out at Meemaw's house is a lesson in slowing down, taking it easy, resting and sitting. A valuable lesson for me, that's for sure!

Us girls went to church this morning with Josie, my mother-in-law, and then we enjoyed a lovely, old-fashioned, sit-down-at-the-table Sunday 'dinner', which is actually served at lunchtime according to the rest of the country. We visited with my husband's brother for a bit then snacked, visited and sat some more. The kids went for a walk while I cleaned up Josie's computer a bit, then we watched a movie...all of us...together. I know. Strange.

We all got our laundry cleaned and re-packed, the boys hung out, read or played a bit of pool. They even went for a walk around the neighborhood between the thunder and rain squalls.

Distance traveled: less than 5 miles to church Calories consumed: ack! I don't even want to think about it! Movie watched: Hulk, the new was okay Loads of laundry: at least 6, but I wasn't …

Historic Vicksburg...Day 9

After bidding a fond farewell to our friend Dane in Memphis, we headed south towards the historic town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. This was quite an unexpected trip back in time that we all truly enjoyed.

The Visitor's Center was a small, gifty affair. But, it was the 16 mile drive that was worth the time. Beautiful markers noted the locations of the many, many men, both Union and Confederate, that were camped here during the 47 day siege. As we made our way along the route, we came to the gunboat USS Cairo that was recovered from the bottom of the Yazoo River and reconstructed. The museum of the gunboat and the artifacts it held for over 100 years while submerged was interesting and educational...not to mention cool!

We had the pleasure of talking to a couple of Civil War reenactors, dressed in period uniforms; incredible costuming and wealth of information, to be sure. The gentleman on the right demonstrated the rather complicated loading of a rifle - he was pretty fast, too. He ex…

We Were Walkin' in Memphis...Day 8

Mud Island River Park was wonderful in the glorious sunshine! A quick ride over the river to the park via Monorail gets you to the wonderful museum showcasing everything you could ever want to know about the history of the Mississippi River and the activities surrounding it, and an incredible model of the entire river that you can walk in and around. We really enjoyed everything about this park, except the $3 bottles of water.

After exhausting the Mud Island Park, we found the Memphis Zoo to explore. It is a nice zoo, but I may be spoiled by our own local Pacific Northwest Zoo offerings. The animal exhibits were a bit small for my tastes and silk foliage doesn't fool either the animals or the visitors, unfortunately. We still had fun taking pics and finding the animals sacked out in the shade, snoozing in the heat of the afternoon. My favorites included the tropical birds, the big cats and the small Three Banded Armidillos that resembled mouse droids, both in appearance and moveme…

3-in-1...Day 7

The travelers, plus a friend we picked up in St. Louis
The great states of Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee all in one day!
Last time we got to visit the Arch, it was overcast and spitting rain on us. This time, we were blessed with beautiful blue sky and sunshine! We completely enjoyed taking our time exploring the Westward Expansion Museum that is under the Arch - I highly recommend it (and, it's free!).

The next stop before heading back to the interstate towards our next hotel was the City Museum. We were NOT expecting the cacophony of noise and school field trips that met us there, that's for sure! The entire museum is four stories made of recycled and reclaimed materials from old architecture, decorative staircases and industrial cast-offs to vintage signs, discarded carnival attractions and found items. It was extremely cool, to say the least...even if very, very overstimulating.

Distance traveled: 271 miles... I think. Pics snapped: 184, between Tay and I Price paid at City …

More Kansas...Day 6

Historic Abilene, Kansas

Today's highlight was spending a couple of hours in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Museum in Abilene, Kansas. This was such a great museum! I was really looking forward to this stop and I certainly was not disappointed. Adjacent to the museum was a small 'old town' recreation of old buildings, which is always fun, too. We certainly got a good dose of history today, that's for sure.

Driving onward towards St. Louis we ran into more bad weather. Well, to say it was bad would be an understatement, actually. Heavy, heavy pelting rain, fog, attention-getting thunder and strike after strike of lightning, right on top of us I might add, beleaguered us for most of the last hour or so of our drive to meet with our good friend Dane. But, we made it and had a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable time at dinner. Luckily for us, we are going to be spending more time with Dane tomorrow morning as we tour a couple of local museums.

Distance traveled: 430-is…

A Long Stretch of Highway...Day 5

The drive from Denver to Salina, Kansas, is the longest, flattest stretch of highway I've driven for a long time. But, it was sunny and we had a good audio book to listen to, so it made the time go by a little bit easier.

We stopped for a couple of letterboxes in some interesting places. The first 'box was located in Limon, Colorado, at a cool little museum that featured an old one-room schoolhouse, an old train depot and a collection of saddles from as far back as the mid-1800's. Lots of old farm equipment was fun to look at, as well as quaint gardens and old playground equipment.

The second successful 'box find was located in Goodland, Kansas, at an absolutely HUGE replica of Three Sunflowers in a Vase by Vincent van Gogh. Standing 80 feet high, it was a sight to behold. We were all pretty impressed!

Distance traveled: 410 miles
Prairie dogs spotted in Denver: dozens and dozens!
Letterboxes: 2 found, 1 attempted
Pics snapped: 161
Worst coffee in the country: Aurora …

Onto Denver...Day 4

Today was a rather harrowing day of driving. I enjoy driving but today was really not very fun. Upon leaving Rock Springs, Wyoming, the weather was overcast. The rain started and the further we got down I-80, the worse it got. By the time we drove into Laramie, we were trying to outrun a very black bank of storm clouds. While enjoying a great lunch at the highly recommended Altitudes restaurant, the storm clouds caught up with us and dumped some of the biggest hailstones I've ever seen. Not enough to dent the vehicles, but we were all amazed at the size and rate at which they fell; I'm thinkin' they were about 1/2"! Enough rain descended to fill the gutters in a matter of minutes - now that's rain!

After lunch, we wanted to see some of the historic buildings of this cowboy town, so we proceeded to drive through town and to the University of Wyoming to see some architecture of the late 1800's. Unfortunately, it started to snow like no one's busines…

O-o-o-h Yes, Wyoming! Day 3

Today we left Utah and entered the Cowboy Country that is Wyoming. Yeah...rocky, scrubby sagebrush and juniper, dry, dusty landscape punctuated with high plateaus and creeks cutting through red and yellow dirt pastures and huge expanses of land. Horses are everywhere, along with cattle and sheep. We even saw cattle being herded with cowboys on an ATV...pretty modern, eh?

Distance traveled: 391 miles
Pics snapped: 102
Bad meals: 2 (ugh)
Arguments with hotel staff: 1
Letterboxes: attempted, 1
Price paid for gas: $2.99/gallon
Impulse purchase of the day: a Snuggie (haha!)
Highest/lowest touring temperature today: 65*/44*
Weather: mostly overcast with intermittent spots of warm sunshine

Worth remembering:
We decided to drive the loop around Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area hoping to see some spectacular scenery and photo opportunities. We got some good shots, but I'm not sure it was worth the 160-ish miles of driving it required. Ah well...I finally got a good shot of a Pronghorn Antelope!

Into Idaho...Day 2

Glorious travel! It was another wonderful day of getting up early, getting out the hotel door and hitting the road by 8 am. Yeehaw!

Quote from the Road: "A geological site? Wait a minute...the whole earth is a geological site!"

The hotel is really something here in Ogden - great fitness room, big rooms, friendly staff and good price (under $100/night). Highly recommended.

Distance: 375 miles Hours between continental breakfast and a real meal: 8 hours Letterboxes: found, 1 Pic snapped: 140 GPS Mis-directions taking us to the middle of nowhere: 3 Weather: snow! oh yeah! and a glorious sunset Price paid for gas in said middle of nowhere: $3.70/gallon (ouch!)

Worth remembering:
We drove the extra 'out of the way' to see the Golden Spike National Historic Site. We had the pleasure of seeing the replicas of the two trains that met at the meeting of the transcontinental rails. On the way, we stopped at a place that was simply called "Rocket Display" turned out to be a …

And It Begins...

the beautiful Eastern Washington countryside
Well, we are on the road - the first day of our road trip across the country. The drive to Idaho was pleasantly uneventful, albeit long. I believe this is our longest driving day...good thing, cuz this driver is whooped!

Distance total: 501 miles
Maximum speed: 80 mph
Pics snapped: 59
Letterbox totals: found 1, attempted 1
Weather: mixed everything - rain, hail, wind and sunshine intermittent

The Road Trip Redux

We are pretty excited about leaving early Friday morning on our Road Trip Redux! We have been counting down the days, shopping for the appropriate warm weather items and trying to nail down all the details. In case you were wondering, here's where we are stopping along the way:

Nampa, Idaho
Ogden, Utah
somewhere in Wyoming*
Salina, Kansas
St. Louis, Missouri
Memphis, Tennessee
Lucedale, Mississippi
Zachary, Louisiana
Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Tuscon, Arizona
Victorville, California
Kettleman City, California
Oakhurst, California
San Fransisco, California
Cresent City, California
Lincoln City, Oregon
then back home.

Phew...that makes me tired just looking at the list! It will take us a month to make the journey, stopping for a couple of nights here and there, and a few more than that in the south with family. We are looking forward to meeting several good friends along the way, and exploring as many National Parks and Monuments as possible. The itinerary includes the Rocky …

This Jedi Reviews (the new) Robin Hood

Last evening I had the pleasure of viewing the newest remake of the story of Robin Hood. I have to admit that it wasn't something that was even on my radar screen until a friend mentioned it to me. She is a staunch Russell Crowe fan and absolutely was not going to miss him as the 12th century legend. It sounded like a fun time out with the 'girls', so myself, my daughter, my best friend and our Russell-crazed friend headed for the theater.

The first thing that struck me was the costuming. It was so realistic and, well, smelly-looking! Excellent costuming made this instantly believable to me. Next, the musical score by Marc Streitenfeld was rich and well-orchestrated, adding to the texture and feeling of the time period.

Crowe (Robin Hood) and Cate Blanchett (Lady Marion)

I was impressed with this movie; it held my attention for the entire 2 hours and 20 minutes. Even though it is longer than most epics, the engaging story, breathtaking cinematography, excellent actin…


A friend posted a worship music video on Facebook yesterday. Not unusual, to be sure, but it hit me hard. How many times are we walking, striving, even struggling though situations, conflict, life and not realize how thirsty we are for the calming, cleansing effects of simple, honest worship. It is this kind of worship that brings me to my knees...and to tears.

Living out my faith as a Messianic Jewish believer is definitely different than that of the mainstream Christian believer. I love our liturgical synagogue service, the symbolism and history of our people. Performing the mitzvot (commands; like Sabbath, festivals, tzitzit, etc.) in a very hands-on way is something that, in my opinion, is missing from the church. I mean no disrespect, believe me; the church has one thing we don't seem to be able to get, and that is musical worship.

Maybe it's just the group of believers I'm in, or maybe it's just me...who knows. But the ability to stand, or kneel, before the …

Attention Readers:

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.

~Nadine Gordimer
If you are reading this blog for entertainment or you fit one of the criteria listed in the side bar of the readers who would enjoy it, I welcome you with open arms. I appreciate you and it makes my day when you take the time to comment on my posts. But, if you are reading my blog to find ways to disparage, criticize or harm me in some way, please don't come back. If what I write here offends you, or if you don't like my hobbies, opinions or musings, might I respectfully suggest you not read what I have to say?

I am not ashamed of this blog or of my hobbies, religion or any thoughts recorded here. I do not feel that I have sinned or that I am an idolater. I understand you may disagree and you have every right to your opinion. However, if that is how you feel, then please feel free to take this blog off your …

The List

Inspired by my friend MFF's blog listing her bucket list, I wanted to give it a go for myself. Really I had never thought of it, but it may be an interesting journey of thought.

As most know, a bucket list is the list of things you want to do before you 'kick the bucket'. I wondered, as I always do, where such a phrase originated. In my search on the web, I came up with this definition:

...the phrase comes from "an old-school suicide technique." The depressed person would allegedly stand atop a bucket with his or her head in a noose, then kick away the bucket and take a one-way trip to the great beyond. Another source agrees this might be the answer, but offers another, even more gruesome, possibility. Slaughtered hogs "were traditionally hung by their heels on a high wooden block." This block was called a bucket because the ill-fated hogs were hoisted with a rope and pulley in a manner similar to how a bucket of water is pulled from a well. Supposedl…

Where flowers bloom so does hope...

Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty
outvalues all the utilities of the world.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.
~Hanna Rion

Spring makes its own statement,
so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be
only one of the instruments, not the composer.
~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.
~John Ruskin

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair.
~Kahlil Gibran

The Beast Mom in the Wolled!

We moms hear whispers around special days. Clandestine conversations, encouragements and ideas of what the other family members are planning for surprises. We try not to hear, attempt to pretend ignorance, but I always seem to fail miserably. My husband revels in trying to figure out secrets about gifts for him and even takes pride in knowing before the big reveal, but I try to play along with the ruse. This Mother's Day was no different.

While preparing for our somewhat usual Friday night family dinner, there were sneaky whispers. At one point, I hear my dear hubby asking my youngest what he was going to do for his mother on Mother's Day. Not too long after, here he comes into my craft room where I was working at my desk. He doesn't say anything, just looks up intently at all the displayed Star Wars action figures, deep in thought.

"Mom," he says finally, "you need an old Ben. You don't have an old Ben, do you?"

No, I don't have an old Ben…

Need a little encouragement?

We all face struggles in this life. At the moment we are living through them, they loom large, consuming our every thought.

And we grow weary. At least, I do.

It would seem that some like to contribute to the struggles of others, for whatever reason. I will never understand it and I'm not sure I want to. Adding pain, heartache and sorrow to someone's life is just cruel and unjust...unnecessary. Speaking lies, spreading gossip and stirring strife is sinful, to say the least. It must make them feel powerful, important, perhaps even better about themselves. Like I said, I don't get it.

Fortunately, our Master has some words for those of us that are struggling, persevering against the enemies of our souls. Can these simple words make it easier for us to continue fighting the good fight? I hope so, because when I'm in the downward spiral of despair from months of struggle, it is all I have. It is all any of us has, honestly.

If you are struggling at the moment, let th…

"We Don't Date."

DISCLAIMER: This particular blog post is a work in progress, an unfinished pondering you could call it. I don't claim to have any answers and am definitely not an expert on this issue, by any stretch. As my children get older, and thoughts of the future are looming for them, I am seeking to find a way to support them in their journey to marriage and family.

I have been thinking about the whole dating-courtship-engagement-betrothal 'thing'. Surprisingly, in the midst of this pondering and discussion with close friends, I found my high school sweetheart on a favorite social utility. Strange turn of events, to be sure.

It seems to be the 'faddish' thing to not date. I have heard it mostly from parents of teens, all of which dated themselves. OK, so they obviously see the pitfalls of the dating scene and want to find a better way for the next generation - understandable. But it seems to me that it's not really the dating that is the issue, but the bonding o…