Friday, September 30, 2011

A Cookie and a Nice Cup of Tea ~

Slept till 8 yesterday.
 Too much sleep, maybe that was the cause of a day gone bad not so great. 
First stop the dry cleaners to put a new zipper in my favorite jeans. I can honestly say that I did not break it lying down on the bed attempting to zip.  No, remember I'm on Weight Watchers and still down in weight.  The jeans were fitting just right.  I may have acknowledge to my husband that the zipper was just over stressed from all the months of being forced to hold it all back.....
I left the cleaners to drop off a prescription for my 90 year old aching back. As I parked I noticed a crowd of five or so people around this elderly woman who had taken a pretty bad fall.  One applying pressure to her head as she made comfortable on the ground...only to see the good looking fireman and paramedics pull up ready to assist her.  It was heart breaking to see this poor woman so shaken up with a look of all aloneness (is that a word?) regardless of the crowd now formed around her.  Just left me feeling ....yucky....

Got in line to drop off my prescription and I hear a man's voice at the opposite end of the counter saying God Bless.  I turn to see one of my favorites from church.  He asks how my hubby is doing back to work.  Suddenly I'm a bit emotional....I have been worried about him looking so tired lately.  The hour and 15 min. commute wearing on him, learning a bunch of new things and of course the heat of Hemet, working in a brick building with an old, not always functioning air conditioner. My friend from church encourages me and promises to pray for the hubstir.....

I'm on the road for the 30 minute commute to pick up my retainer (sounds so teenage) that I took in yesterday. Turns out they don't bounce when dropped on ceramic tile. Fortunately I'm in and out of their in a jiff and on the road again, proudly passing up a taco from Del Taco......

I stop to fuel up prior to getting back on the freeway, this day didn't need me running out of gas!  I pulled in up to the pump, got my American Express card out and walked over to the machine to enter my pump number,  and insert my card .  Glasses on the passenger seat of the car, I attempt to wing it as though I can see. Why won't it take my card?  I'm almost forcing it with a fear it was going to get stuck....lame machine must not be working.  I am not walking all the way to the cashier.... :-( (hence the extra pounds).
  I get back in the car and drive to the machine on the other side....(why didn't I take my glasses)...I attempt the same, enter the pump number and attempt to again fit my card in the lame little slot. Now I am so annoyed that it is so not working!!  I'm still  not going to walk to that cashier.  Let me just get my glasses to make sure I haven't missed something. Hmmmm...that lame slot I was trying to get my card to go into was where the paper money goes in... I can now see the little, not so lame slot, off to the right and presto the card fits!!!!! It's asking for a pin?  American Express has no pin, they usually ask for my zip code.  What is going on here????  What is with this day....Oh, it does say, "cash or debit card only". Hmmm....
Debit card in, pin # entered, gas pumped and on the road again.  I drive away thinking I should have packed a lunch...

Here is where I let it all fall apart.... I was scheduled to go to a book signing of Pam Farrell's last night with a bunch of gals from Bible study group.  We were all bringing cookies to help provide for a big crowd of attendees so I decide to go ahead to the market and get some chili fixins for the rain expected this weekend and I might as well pick up the cookies too.  I pick up a bag of fresh baked peanut butter cookies thinking to myself, " bad idea you know you will eat some, you love peanut butter cookies". "Lets think smarter, buy those for the event and grab those Ginger soft cookies which are less calories and  have one of those with a nice cup of tea."

I'm home now, groceries put away. Now where are those cookies? I think I will have one prior to hopping in the shower to get ready. I'll keep this short.  I ate after the other, no time to make a cup of tea.  REALLY? Lectured myself, questioned myself and eventually started to feel, not so good. Not so good to the point that I knew I wasn't going to make it to the book signing. What I knew for sure was I needed to get these cookies (whats left of them) out of the house.  I end up taking them over to my daughter in law, I knew I could count on her to take them off my hands.  I arrive, gave a quick confession of what I have done and hand her what's left of the ginger cookies and new bag of .....fresh peanut butter cookies .  Almost as if she knew what I needed she told me to not be so hard on myself and " do you want to hold Khloe? "  So about 45 minutes later I head home with an upset stomach...still...but a full heart  :-)

So, with full heart and stomach I'm really not hungry again till about 6:45 P.M.  I preheat my oven and toss in a frozen enchilada, set timer for 25 minutes and wait.  Twenty five minutes pass, I pull out my dinner....still frozen in the middle.  Thought to self, " is God telling me I could very well do without dinner after all those cookies?"  Nah!  I give it another 10 minutes..........still cold to the touch in the center???? 
Microwave 2 minutes, eating dinner at almost.....7:30 P.M.

The hubstir softly says, " and you don't like to eat after 6 P.M. "  
He looks so tired.

A day of blessings really.
Magic pills on the way, I can wear my old jeans by Wednesday, Fireman just a block away from a fall, no charge for the retainer that doesn't bounce, full tank of gas and a car to put it in, a cookie free house, a happy daughter in law, a healthy grand child, a husband that comes home to me everyday, a good friend bringing me my signed book.

Look for the blessing !
This is what echos in my heart today.......

Monday, September 26, 2011

What in the World is Blog Sugar?

This last Sunday I attended a conference for Christian Bloggers with my niece Amanda and her Mom, my sister Deanna!  It was put on by Blog Sugar and it's history is this... it started over a conversation in a Starbucks I believe, women talking about blogging.  Out of the conversation came, why don't we get together as women and discuss our blog's?  The first meeting was in Rachel's living room.  The following year as word spread, there were approximately 100 bloggers in her back yard.  Sunday was the third event and there were I would guess close to 200 in attendance at the Westminster Rose Center. Women came from all over the U.S. to attend this 7 hour event and I was so thrilled to be a part of it.
My Niece Amanda and her Mom my sister Deanna :-)

From my time spent I learned so much about the opportunity and responsibility I have to reach so many through my blog, hopefully in a way that glorifies God and not SELF!  There are currently over a million blogs and to think out of all those to choose from...some of you are following mine!  What an honor to be read at all, I hope that you have seen God in my blogs.  He is in me and I want so very much for what I write to reflect that.

I learned that by being real, sharing what I am really about, flaws, fears, difficulties,victories, my sadness and my joy I am quite possibly connecting with someone experiencing a like experience.  We are helping each other, often not being aware we are doing so.  I was so surprised how many women had lost children yesterday and how blogging was initially started by them as a form of therapy, led them to other women who had lost children and they have therefore helped each other through a pain completely unimaginable by me. Those that shared this spoke of how much it has helped to blog through this pain as well as reading the blogs of those that could relate to a loss so great as their own while in their healing place.

Many share their crafts, recipes even DIY ideas which have led to incomes, fund raising etc.... It's amazing to think of all the connections we are making all over the globe!  One speaker brought to our attention the thought of .....what would our Great Grandmothers have thought of the freedom we now have to say all we now want to say as women?  Compared to their time when women really weren't to have much to say at all?  They would likely  tell us what a great opportunity we have and to use it wisely!  Help each other out!

So you may not believe you have much to say, but what you do say is reaching many people.  Your sharing with others can be a form of encouragement, sharing your experience may provide some clarity, wisdom,  uplifting, comfort, or bringing a smile or a laugh to one that needed it.  Reaching out to and connecting with another who is having or has had a same life experience.  So I  have a responsibility to say it well, to be my authentic self and most importantly keeping in mind the opportunity for others to see God in my writing and I hope you do.

I hope you will all check out Blog Sugar and maybe I'll see you next year at the conference!

This is what echos from my heart today......


Thursday, September 22, 2011

From Aprons to E-mail and the like.....

I recently shared the story of the apron via e-mail;
Remember making an apron in Home Econimics?

The History of 'APRONS'
I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.  But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent 
over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After 
the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.   Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron!!!

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love...

 The story of the apron brought the response below from my bff since Kindergarten, Vickie.

Ahhh, yes.  The good old days!  The Internet and email are great, but these two technologies alone have sure changed our World, don't you think? 

In my office, there are about 50 people within earshot and most of the time, the only sound you hear is the clicking of their keyboards.  There is no longer a need to speak on the phone because most communications are through the email.  Even to the person who sits behind you!  On this alone, these young people coming into the work force sit at their desks and text throughout the day....every day.   It is amazing!  And corporate America better clue in that getting rid of the older worker is not necessarily saving money because they hire the youngsters at 1/3 of the rate but they get a 1/3 of the work out of them!  The young workers have no allegiance to the company and most corporations no longer have allegiance to the workers!  Sad time to work, I'm glad I'm coming to the end of my work days!

I have heard many stories from Vickie and others about some of the younger adults in the work place today.  Not only from her place of employment but from college classes she has taken as a ....50 something year old. Stories of the lack of knowledge on every day life issues that many young adults suffer from. Their so unclear about "life" stuff. My Doctor told me he was interviewing for and administrative position and the interviewee when told the job was 5 days a week replied,
"In a row?"  

WHAT?(this is me speaking)

Now, this insight to how technology has had an affect on the work ethic (the constant need to text, and being paid while doing so), the absence of fully listening  and therefore learning something to prepare them for what about the experience of making a  connection while using actual verbal communication? 
It all got me thinking about the facts as I have witnessed them.

Verbal communication gives one so much more information than the words being typed if you will, not to mention  we are more likely to fully listen  if we aren't distracted by the incoming what is being said to us. 
Facial expression, emphasis on particular words are lost in e-mail, texting, tweeting 
(whatever the heck that is). 

I don't know how young adults would do  in an environment suddenly void of all this  technology?  Something to think about.  How do they learn to talk to a future spouse, employer, interviewer, or, express themselves with actual feeling to another human being? 
Would they understand anothers body language, pick up on what the speaker is feeling by looking into their eyes?

I personally have a difficult time when I am having a conversation when with someone who is constantly checking their phone, even texting replies back and forth while pretending to listen to , as I sit and think; really what is so important?  
It certainly isn't the time you are spending with me right now..

The same can be said while in a gathering of friends that you are so looking forward to seeing and they have that phone in hand....checking it all the while.  I want to say, 
why did you gather with us?

Don't get me wrong I do text and email, generally for yes or no responses which is great in the midst of a rushed day. I too understand that there are emergencies that happen..... If I have a loved one in the hospital or sick I will check my phone.  Otherwise, my attention is on you out of respect, so that you know that, what you say and my time spent with you is valuable to me.

I receive many texts in the evenings, my time with my husband....Call me, lets say it all in one swoop and we can both than get back to our evenings :-) 
Really, it's not that I don't want to hear from you....

I recently received the most beautiful card from my friend Lori and a hand written card from my Aunt Wilma. They caused me to pause and be reminded of how seldom we even write letters anymore.  There is nothing like going to the mail box and receiving a hand written note from someone who cares about you amongst the bills and junk mail we all carry in.

Had to sneak Khloe in here with her bubble blowing skills :-)
I'm thankful my grandchildren aren't texting yet....there is nothing that could top hearing the sound of their little voices and the expression in their words.  Maybe we need to start wearing those aprons again, maybe that will get us to thinking of how things used to be and what's been lost along the way to now.  

I realize technology will always be "improving" and making life easier for us.  But what is it robbing us of if we allow it into every part of our personal lives?

If I can't be with you, I want to hear your voice on the phone, because I care about you that much.  I want to be able to better sense how I should best reply to what you have to say.  I want to be able to sense your happiness, sorrow, depression, joy etc.... I want to be as present in our conversation as possible.

I hope that  in writing this I wasn't generalizing, or trying to make anyone feel badly. My intent is for us to consider what's been lost with the apron...if it came across in a hurtful way, 
it was not my intent. 

If you could hear me you would know that :-)
This is what echos from my heart today.......

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Body

I don't know about most but speaking for myself the body has always been an issue.  In my youth I was tall and skinny.  In my twenties I was never skinny enough (in my warped view of myself).   Why the obsession with our bodies? Does my worth come from how my body looks? 

I joined Weight Watchers about 5 weeks ago and I love it.  It's not a diet, it's eating healthy and learning how to do so with all the food I love.  Portion control is what I needed to learn.  My husband used to tell me when I was discouraged about my weight, " debi, you can't eat the same amount of food as I do and not gain weight"....that really was an eye opener for me.  He is around 200 lbs, a hair under 6 ft. tall and works out five days a week. I on the other hand am 5'10, ***lbs and do not work out.  Hmmm...kind of a  no brainer huh?

My added pounds began when my Dad was hospitalized.  My older sister and I decided to treat ourselves to ice cream sundaes or cones daily after leaving the hospital for the night... After his death, I continued to eat, and eat a lot.  I spent most of my time in front of the computer or on my couch.  The loss of my Dad and my job days later added a heaviness to me that wasn't weighed in pounds.  It was my heavy heart.

Longer story short I gained easily 23 pounds in the last three years.  My back problem and then surgery added to the lack of exercise issue.  All I could really do was walk, but I was so discouraged by the weight I rarely did that.  My friends never got the big deal....because of my height it was not noticeable to them just how much I had gained.  I turned down offers of spa days, going to the beach or the pool. A couple annoyed that I wouldn't go because of my weight gain... "don't be annoyed with me because I don't want to feel miserable, I want to feel comfortable with MYSELF."  It had little to do with what others thought, it was all about what I thought and felt.  I find little difference in the act of changing clothes 10 times before you find the clothes that feel comfortable and you feel good about yourself once you find the right one.  When a person has gained weight, they can't just remove it to feel better, they can't change into a new body.  Not understanding why I don't want to wear a bathing suit?  Let me dress you in an outfit that is easily 2 sizes smaller than what you wear and expect you to lets say attend your high school reunion in it :-)  Isn't that a pleasant thought and even prettier picture?

What I'm getting at is this.  I need to feel comfortable in my body and in my clothes.  This is not the 70's or 80's mentality of I'm not thin enough!  This is being comfortable in my own skin, regardless of what a scale says.  In my particular case I know for certain that my food choices, portion size and lack of exercise are what got me into this mess and I can get me out of it!  I want to feel good in my clothes and I have a clo$et FULL of clothe$ that I have been unable to wear.  I refuse to by another pair of "fat" jeans in order to feel comfortable, occasionally.  Buy the bigger sizes and I can assure you, those jeans too will eventually "shrink" and it's off to purchase the next size.  I don't want to feel comfortable  in a pair of pants that are a larger size, I want to fit in the clothe$ that take up 90 percent of our clo$et $pace!

I do not have a thyroid problem, I'm not going to tell you I exercise, eat right and don't understand why  my body doesn't reflect that!! Come on people!  I had a portion problem, a fast food problem, an, I can't resist that cookie, whom am I kidding, cookies...yes plural problem!  I was the one whom once my Bible study gals left, I would likely finish off what ever junk food we were enjoying that night.  They didn't need to know how many cookies I could put down when nobody was watching!

  I would joke about my weight, my inner tube of a stomach like it didn't bother did and I'm not going to laugh myself into a larger clothing size any longer.  It is time to get healthy, not skinny, healthy and I have not been at a healthy weight. I have children and grand children I hope to be around for, and how selfish of me not to take care of my physical health in order to be there for them!  Food is no longer more important than being healthy for myself and for those I love.  Last I heard, heart attacks were the leading cause of death among women.  What is the biggest contributor to that, poor diet and lack of exercise....

Food or family?

In five weeks I have lost 8 lbs. and that is without exercise. I wear a pedometer from the minute I get up until I go to bed.  The challenge is to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.  I am usually about 6 to 7,000 but everyday I become more conscious of those steps and add to them.  Little things like walking to the furthest bathroom in my house, I now take the trash out, a job my husband doesn't miss.  I offer to be the one to get up to get whatever someone wants.....adding to my steps always.

I'm not trying to be an advertisement for Weight Watchers, but I am never, never hungry and I'm losing weight.  I can eat unlimited fruits and vegetables that do not count as points.  I have a certain number of points in day and it's up to me how I spend those points.  If I want  ice cream I can have it...but then I adjust the rest of my days food with the amount of points left.

I already feel so much better, full of energy and already fitting in to some of my clothe$ that have been head hostage in my clo$et for three years :-)

Fearfully and wonderfully made?  Fearful, sometimes that I won't stick to it.  Wonderful, I think I'm headed in that direction, I'm getting there. 

I know I can't control the gravitational pull on every part of my body, but I can commit to being wise about how I live, a healthy diet and at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. I will no longer deny my body nourishment, nor will I offer it more food than it needs by overeating, or allow my muscles to atrophy because "its too hot to exercise" kinda attitude.

This is not about fitting into the sick culture of beauty and thinness, it's not about external beauty over internal genuine beauty.  For me it is being mindful that my body is a temple of God, why would I spend my time allowing harm to come to it?

I do want to be at peace with that reflection in the mirror, I no longer want to be disappointed in her that she has not taken an interest in her health and allowed this to happen.  I aim to get there and in the mean time my focus will continue to be striving for inner beauty.  Beauty, a heart full of kindness, mercy and patience and grace.  Once I am healthy on the outside I intend to be content with how I look regardless of a number on a scale or size my jeans are.  Healthy because I eat right, exercise and I'm a healthy weight for my height.  I'm on a mission.

I want to be around long enough to have many grandchildren, hanging out with a Gram that may have lots of wrinkles and sags, but they are attracted to my heart.

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well"  Psalm 139:14

It's a new dawn, it's a new day...nah...that belongs to Jennifer Hudson..........

This is what echos from my heart today......

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Absence of Light ~

Darkness, in contrast with brightness, is a relative absence of visible light.
Yesterday our power went off at 3:45 in the afternoon and was still off at 11P.M. when I went to bed.
Power out from Yuma Arizona, parts of Mexico, the southern tip of California, San Diego County, up as far as Anaheim.  Yes even the happiest place on earth, Disneyland went dark.

We had candles burning, a generator running  the refrigerator and the television for news reports 
and of course the football game:-)
We had no use of our land lines and for most of the afternoon and night no cell phone service with the exception of texting.

Our only use of the internet was those of us that could access it via our cell phones.  Our cable companies without power and related problems meant no computer use.
As I looked out my windows I saw black, I mean real darkness. It was so incredibly quite, no air traffic, no traffic on the freeways nor could it be heard of on the surface streets.  A few brave souls attempted to get to markets to buy ice in the hopes of saving  refrigerated items and frozen foods.

I realized that many families were likely actually talking to one another this night. 
I could hear families out in their yards trying to escape the heat of their homes, homes lacking air conditioning, fans and LIGHT.  
I could hear the quite conversations throughout the neighborhood, a neighborhood in darkness, realizing whats been there all along.....eachother.

No distractions, nothing calling for there attention other than the absence of light. Nothing preventing or interfering with them reaching each other, it was, this is all we got conversation.
In the darkness they could hear.....
This could be a good thing.
This world in contrast with God, also an absence of visible light.
That is God, my light, not visible, 
but I know He is there. 

So if we can't see light do we still believe it's there?  
As a believer I have a responsibility to be a light unto the world. 
Others should be able to see Him through how I live my life.
I am to be a reflection of Him, His love, His way.

Can our presence do much good in this world?
Is it a wasted effort in a world that shrugs off even the idea of Him? 

Even if on occasion, 
in a time of tragedy they ask us to pray,  and they themselves likely asking for God to help. 
The same God they don't want to hear about ?

It is recorded in our first history book, the Bible; 
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad; for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:10-12)

  The Lord went on to tell a handful of Palestinian peasants (all godly servants in every generation) that their influence would be nothing short of remarkable. 
They would be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world." 
So, the influence of His servants in societies presence would be 
as significant as salt on food and as light on darkness. 

Without our influence, Christians, would the world realize our absence?
They world may not admit it, but I believe that we would be missed
Society needs both salt and light. 

God has called us to be light-and-salt servants 

I want to be a reflection of Him....kind, humble, loving, forgiving, helpful, courteous,
and the list goes on. Though we are far from perfect ,to be a light to others, an avenue to lead them out of the darkness they may be in.

For many in the darkness, in the darkest of times, it's a time of financial worry, jobs and homes being lost on top of many other day to day worries this economy brings.
  A giant sense of hopelessness, a very, very lonely place.

For me it's a hope that those in the darkness know, that in the quite of your mind, body and soul, even with the distractions of the world, there is a God who can hear your voice.
He is the light that will show you the way out of the darkness.

So, the darkness may be an absence of visible light .
What is always present, always available in a world that has lost its power,
is He, the Power and the light.

This is what echos from my heart.........

Monday, September 5, 2011

Big Sky Country.....Still !

Well, I have been home from Montana for sometime now, yet just getting to posting about my trip.

Prior to leaving home I did see my Physician who prescribed me with something to help the anxiety of my first plane trip in 20 plus years.  He prescribed  a low milligram Valium.  " Start with one and if after 45 min. or so if still anxious take another...and so on...."  Really....I would like to be able to walk off the plane on my own!

The morning of the flight I was experiencing no fear. Once we reached LAX I was sure it would happen then...I would panic and swiftly open " the Pills" and began to over medicate.  Again, I was very calm.  Once inside the terminal we proceeded to the line where I expect to be patted down and hoping for no "inappropriate touching " as the news media and some passengers have reported. I did tense up about that!  They scanned my belongings and stared at the screen observing the contents of my suitcase and purse, likely wondering how in the heck I managed to load so much into so little a suitcase...(a carry checking bags my sister insisted). So I successfully made it through the scan myself and nothing suspicious in my carry-on.  Then much to my surprise the rushed me on my merry way...not so much as a handshake during my "inspection".  Don't get me wrong , it's not like I was disappointed !

Sister Deanna fetched us a cup of Starbucks to enjoy while we waited for the boarding call. Still no sense of worry, fear, or anxiety.  We have priority boarding so we are in our seats in a jiff.  My only sense of panic was after sitting for what seemed like forever while the hundred or so others boarded. Then things started to change.  I was suddenly aware the air conditioning wasn't on, I was very aware that it suddenly was standing room only down the already too narrow isle.  People looked annoyed instantly that things weren't moving quickly enough.  I watched as some tried to fit very overstuffed bags in the over head.

Eventually the overheads were full up in the  front of the plane causing those who had seats in the front of the plane to now meander to the rear of the plane to find a home for their luggage.  The only inappropriate touching is now occurring...the isle at best can handle a  medium size individual to walk down without touching seats on either side of them.  Suddenly they began  squeezing past each other to accomplish  luggage storage.
Some toward the end of the boarding line are now getting annoyed that they (a party of 6) couldn't all sit together! didn't pay for the assigned seats so please just sit down so we can get some air in this place!!!!!  I'm thinking I was going to have to rush all these people in order to reach the door !!  I had visions of just sticking my head out of it like a dog out a car window, just to get some air.

Again I think if this plane doesn't get moving I will have to take a pill.  Eventually the teenage stewardesses (yikes they look young) show us how to use the oxygen mask if it is needed.  I'm thinking please just release mine NOW as I really need some air!!  So, now we know how to use the oxygen masks,  where the exits are and we're advised that our seat could be used as a flotation device....not real effective if something should happen other than the first couple minutes as we take off over the ocean.  After that there is no water to speak of......

When I saw this, I was really thankful  I had a small breakfast.....

In case I forget it's written on the seat in front of me :-(


Once we took off and leveled out I began to really relax.  Actually looking out the window most of the time, amazed by all the open space, landscapes from beautiful red rock over Utah/Arizona to lots of green everywhere I looked. I used to look down and think of the horror of...well possible grabbing hold of the "flotation device"  and oxygen mask while en route to my final landing.  This time I didn't think it once...I really just sat, silently fascinated by it all.

Before we knew it we are preparing for landing in Billings Montana.  I was a bit rattled when the pilot started "applying the brakes", suddenly, slowing down when we were nowhere near the airport let alone the ground! I was told, not the brakes but wing flaps.  Whatever, we were no where near the ground.

We then leave the plane and head for the car rental counter.  It takes awhile but we made good time of it taking photos in the airport ......nothing like our California airports.  For one its like Barbie size!!  The photos below say the rest.

This is my Mom at the baggage claim they want us to believe it comes in on horse back? 

Deanna and I very amused by the horse :-)

We hit the road in our, I believe it was a Hyundai...economy car, good on gas, air conditioned and a radio.  Our only requirements met.  We head out to Bozeman, oldies station playing enjoying the new view...I had never been that side of Bozeman before.  We traveled along the beautiful interstate singing along with the oldies (that didn't used to be oldies).

The sky was, well, it was as it always is, BIG and blue.

I was
thrilled to hear my sister say, " it really is a big sky".  I have always said that the sky really is bigger in Montana....nice to know I'm not alone in the thought.

We arrived at the old family home of my Grandmothers where she gave birth to eleven children. Three bedroom one bath....I might add.  My Aunt Wilma and Uncle Ray now own the home and it holds so many wonderful memories.  I always feel happy when I'm there.
Since I can remember my Aunt has had this at her door in the event they missed you when you stopped by :-)
My Aunt and Uncle's home....

Every so often a cargo train about a hundred yards away goes by and loudly blows it's horn.  I love it, even if its in the middle of the night!  The first time it goes by, we are sitting outside visiting with several relatives and in mid conversation Deanna and I jump up and run out to the yard to listen and watch...undisturbed by any conversation.  We take it all in.  I know for me, that train and its loud horn take me back to my childhood, long before wrinkles, cellulite, gray hair and gravity became real to me.

We had a great visit with all our family, repeated some old stories, that never get old.  Got caught up on each others lives.  The anniversary party for my Aunt and Uncle was so perfect.  Cake, punch and coffee in the basement of their church.  Many family members in from all over, lots of old friends and neighbors of theirs came to congratulate them.  It was very sweet to see how happy they were with the people that showed up to wish them the best.

After that we, all the family, about 40 of us went to dinner at the famous steak house, The Oasis.  A little bar and restaurant across the alley from the family home.  Manhattan is a small town but has this jewel of a restaurant!

We spent one day in Three Forks.  A very small town where my parents bought their first home and Deanna and I attended our first Sunday School.
Our first home....
This is myself and my first cowboy crush, Cotton Todd, a long time friend of my parents.  When I was little I was in love with him, he always wore a black cowboy hat, Levi's and black boots.....yep he was it!  I stop and see him every summer I go home...

We toured the beautiful Sacajawea Hotel.....

Girl trip participants !

We had many late night talks at my cousin Linda and hubby Mike's beautiful home.  Wish we weren't so far away from each other.
Cousin Linda has managed to make elegant/animal heads work!
I saw some incredible rainbows, our reminder of God's promise...we will never need an ark again!

Departure day just four short days after our arrival.  We said our good bye's and watched my sweet Aunt and Uncle watch us drive away , never fun to say good-bye to them.

...and we hit the road in the early A.M.  toward the airport.  The flight home was great....again just a little trouble with the hitting the brakes prior to being near the actual ground. :-)  Other than those couple moments I was thrilled to know that I had done it.  I had conquered my fear of flying, in order to not miss such a blessed celebration of 65 years of marriage for my sweet Aunt and Uncle.
I did it all without  the need to fight with the child proof cap on my vial of Valium.  Yep, drug free!!

It was great to be home as always.  Entertained by my great niece Ruby,
Ruby shared her Hello Kitty stickers with us all....

Read us a story and demanded quite while doing so....

Love this little photo with her Pappa Mike.  It's her Mary Poppins pose :-)
then home to see  our new baby Khloe whom I couldn't believe could change so much in a period of a week. 

I'm thankful I had this little trip with my Mom and sister....and even more thankful for my Hubby whom encouraged to go and welcomed me home .

Very thankful for those of you that really did pray for me as I  prepared to board an airplane after so many years of  saying I didn't think I could ever do it.

I told myself prior to flying, my two favorite things are, the State of Montana and my Dad.....I was either landing in Montana or I would be with my was a win win for me!

I told Bob that I was ready for a flight to Italy now.....he hasn't really responded, even still?
This is what echo's from my heart today......