Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A few minutes alone and I have time to turn on the Christmas music, brew some tea, and sit and idly contemplate the season.

Our tree is up and decorated, the house is covered in Santa and nativity scenes, Christmas books from the library, and some of our own, are read in increments, our calendar is filled with upcoming activities, and yet the quiet, still snow outside reminds me to take each silent moment I have and revel in it.

Our lives pass so quickly, and it is moments like these when I can allow the peace of the day to calm my mind. I say a prayer, and I look forward to finding more quiet moments like this in the days ahead. I am ready for the good will of the Christmas season to come into my life, so I can go and share it elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Snow

Our first snow of the season came this week, leaving our mountains white and the evergreens with patches of snow glistening in the sun. We can usually anticipate a snow storm to arrive around Halloween, preparing us for the winter months ahead.

This snow was certainly enough to stick around for a few days, and still here, although not quite enough for building snowmen. We are reminded to get out our winter clothes, although most have never been put up, gather up the hoses, get the toys out of the yard, and prepare to cozy up by the fire.

We begin to settle into our slower routine. No longer the busy go, go of summer, enjoying the sun while we can, but now we can sit down and enjoy the warmth of something warm to drink, and fill the air with something sweet baking in the oven.

Although I am not fond of driving on snow packed roads, I am ready for a little slower pace. To curl up, like the squirrels must and the bears, and enjoy the warm fire. To rest awhile, while the snow does its magic and allows the earth to be quiet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bears on the trail

My sister and I were fortunate enough to be able to spend some time at one of our favorite places in the world. The catch was we stayed in a camper trailer with four kids under the age of 4. There were a few afternoons where we needed a break from being confined to small places and small people, so we took turns going off by ourselves while the little ones took a nap.

It was a hot afternoon and it was mine to go off and me on my own. I knew exactly where I was going. I would ride my bike to the trail head of a trail I hadn't taken before.

The heat from the Indian summer contributed to an early sweat, but I pushed the bike along, enjoying the breeze I made for myself. I made the trail head with plenty of time to hike the trail, see where it went, and still have enough energy to ride my bike back to the camper and help my sister with dinner.

My legs shook a little from the muscle power I used to climb the hills on my bike, but I felt strong. I wouldn't say I was nervous- although being alone in the woods can always be a bit apprehensive at first. I was in a location where there were no grizzlies, like where I live, and I could hike without a care or any worries of checking my back as I went.

I made it to a meadow, a very short way from the trail head, and stopped to look at the forest before me. A breeze touched the trees and I decided to wait until the breeze died down. Normally I would not have worried about a breeze, but with the massive amounts of trees in the Rocky Mountains being killed by beetles, weak root systems left them victim to the wind and many were know to fall down. I didn't want to take my chances.

Feeling the wind stop I decided to move on. I had nothing to be scared of, no trees fell.

Not far into the forest I heard a noise like a tree popping. I immediately stopped and turned towards the noise. Maybe I shouldn't have been hiking through the trees after all.

I saw movement, and realized it wasn't a tree but a black bear I had spooked. He or she was less than 20 yards away.

I had enough sense to turn around and start walking towards the trail head, away from the forest and away from where I saw the bear. Had it seen me? I had no idea, only a natural response of leaving- quick. I knew better than to start running, knowing the bears response to this would be to come after me, but I felt my feet carrying me away quicker than a walk.

In hind sights, I should have gathered myself enough to look around for more bears, but my flight instinct was taking over my brain. So when I heard another noise, I turned my head to look and see, out of the corner of my eye, a bear run up the meadow I had been hustling back through.

I don't know if it was the same bear or not.

I didn't stick around to find out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Poor and content is rich and rich enough." ~Shakespeare
Shakespeare puts into words some of my reflections over the summer. How easy it is to be unhappy with the things you don't have, verses being happy with what you do have. I know I often find myself in this trap: wishing for a bigger house, more of something that ends up being insignificant, a change in what life hands out.

But when I sit outside and watch the clouds gather together, listen to the little creek by my house, and let the wind blow my hair and the sun shine on my face, I realize all of the 'things' I think I need are unnecessary compared to the peace I find outside and finding pleasure in the small parts of each day.

Then suddenly I am rich, and rich enough.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Foto Friday: San Xavier Mission

Out in the desert near Tuscon, AZ and the Mexican border, lies the San Xavier Mission; beautiful white Spanish style buildings climbing to blue skies, surrounded by tall green cactus and a dry desert landscape.

As a young girl I went there with my family on our way to Mexico. My mom was captivated by the place, and being the age I was, I didn't understand or ask why she found the place so remarkable, although I myself felt drawn to the landscape, culutre, and history. Now an adult, and after my mom had passed away, I went back to the mission a few years ago and found the place captivating on a different level.

I took this photo- one of the many nooks in the mission, because I loved the way the steps led up to the window allowing light into a little room. The room was a cool haven from the desert heat, but an area which could become dark with the close of a shutter.

An imagination like mine runs wild: who closed the window, so long ago?; why did they put the window there with steps leading up to it?; who stood and looked outside the window longing for a returning love? an army to pass? the wind to stop blowing? rain clouds to come? a wildfire to cease? an answer from God?

One of my cousins returns here often, understanding the remarkable pull of the mission and in remembrance of my mom. Since I wasn't able to go there myself this year, sharing a photo seems an appropriate way to remeber her- her birthday was this week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recent reads: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

A sinus infection in the summer time leaves little time for fun, but I was able to take time to relax and finish reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Since the book was recommended by a friend, I decided to put it at the top of my list, instead of delving into the pile I already had waiting for me.

Shanghai Girls is an account of two sisters' lives in the 1930's. Like the title of the book, their lives are influenced by the town they live in- Shanghai. An easy life is soon turned to tragedy, as family lies threaten their way of living and the Japanese army forces their way into Shanghai. With nowhere to go, they leave their past, and look for a new life in America.

Best friends and sisters, the relationship between Pearl and May is continually challenged, leaving the reader left to wonder at the power of forgiveness.

I was very surprised at the unique voice the author portrays of the older sister- Pearl. For the entire book my thoughts paralleled the older sisters, until the very end when the author lets us hear what the younger sister has been thinking and feeling about the tragedies they have faced together.

Besides teaching about the powerful relationship between sisters, the author also touches on what it was like for the Chinese to become U.S. citizens during and after World War II. The author takes the reader on a journey through the prejudices and obstacles faced, some bringing more sorrow than can be imagined.

I am always excited to find a new author, and I will be looking to read more of Lisa See's books in the future.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Banana Bread Recipe

A neighbor lady down the road has been very gracious to me and my family. I often try to find ways to thank her for all she has done. This week my kids and I made her some banana bread; a small payment for a giving heart. Here is the recipe, and maybe you can make it for someone who has been kind to you.

Banana Bread
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup nuts
3 TBS milk
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 good sized bananas mashed

Combine ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. to 1 hour. Enough for one regular sized bread pan or 2 small pans.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Foto Friday: 45th Parallel of Latitude

I like taking pictures of places with significance. They become a photographic witness you have "been somewhere important". In Yellowstone National Park, I was able to snap this shot before another person stepped up to have their own personal photo by the sign.

With big horn sheep climbing on rocks across the road from the sign, the 45th parallel of latitude is a great place to be on a summer evening.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Foto Friday: Tetons.

The Tetons are a sight to behold as the Snake River weaves its way below them.

What a sight for a summer day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pep talk

Nerves are high today, as I am headed off to the Jackson Hole Writers Conference. I am excited to learn, but intimidated by the "great ones"- writers- that will be there. Really, I shouldn't be, as it is an opportunity to meet them and find out their keys to success.

But I am still nervous.

I did find this quote which I will keep in mind as the conference goes on:

Excellence is aspiration with a higher goal in mind, to trust in God and reach for things of a more rewarding kind. ~Jill Wolf.

So, I have packed my briefcase bag with plenty of pens, pencils, and paper. The bag was my grandfather's and his name plate is still on the bag. He was a very successful person in life, one who knew his heart's desires and worked very hard to see his dreams come true. I'm not superstitious, but it can't hurt to carry a bag that once belonged to a person who achieved much in his lifetime.

As I head off, his story is my inspiration too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hiking to Mystic Falls

Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park was the destination for our weekend. We don't live too far away from these beautiful places, but when friends invited us to come along we said, yes.

While the men and one of my children took off to fish the Firehole river, my friend and I searched the hiking books and found a hike we wanted to conquer: Mystic Falls and the scenic loop.

We strapped the packs filled with snacks, water, and our papooses on our backs and took off. Camera, trekking pole, hat, sunscreen, a few other adventurous souls, and freedom accompanied us along the trail.

The hike to the falls was easy, a stroll one author called it. A thirty pound child riding on my back made the stroll more of a challenge, but hearing my little boy exclaim happy noises at all the treasures along the trail made the sweat dripping down my back worth going- no matter what we saw or how far we made it.

We heard the falls before we saw them, and exclaimed at the gorgeous sight when we did catch the view. My friend and I stopped to enjoy the moment.

After pausing to take photos, we began the climb up the mountain to continue on the trail and follow the loop which would take us to panoramic views of the valley, and eventually back to our vehicle. We had the option to go back the way we came, but a quick discussion, and the same line of thought about taking the scenic route, and we were on our way.

Thirty pounds of papoose began to cut into my shoulders as the trail wound up and up and up. But at one stop, we saw Old Faithful spew from a birds eye view. Worth the effort and the aching shoulders.

We made it to the overlook and watched the Firehole river snake its way through the valley and around the hot sulfur springs. Breathtaking.

Our decent was a challenge as switchbacks angled at a decline, the ground mainly made of loose shale rock and lava rock. The little boy on my back was tired of being in the pack and was very fussy. On the steep angles he began to rock, making concentration and steady legs on the trail very important; but we made it down safely, and everyone was happy to be free of the packs.

The Mystic Falls are certainly not the most beautiful falls in all of the world, but the day and time my friend and I were able to spend there together is what made the trail special- a memory blazed in my mind. As much as I enjoy the challenge of hiking and exploring new places, sharing the opportunity with a friend makes the trail much more unique.

Here's to many more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"The sun illuminates only the eye of man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child." ~Emerson, from his book Nature
My little boy walks in the sunshine, the light bouncing off of his golden hair. He carries a little wooden car with one wheel missing, but his grip is so tight he won't let go of his treasure as he walks down the hill. His small stature makes the hill seem like a mountain.

My little girl meanders through the dandelions looking for her own treasures as she picks a few, hoping I'll be happy with the gift from her. To her, the dandelions are as impressive as wildflowers and deserve to be loved as much. The sunlight dances on her hair too.

They are in search of a few adventures, enjoying worry-free moments of childhood.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Foto Friday: Random finds

While traveling down a mountain road and crossing over a bridge, my husband stopped to look at the water flowing underneath us. Since he is a biologist, a fly fisherman, and generally just interested in seeing what fish are doing, we often stop whenever there is a stream, river, pond, lake, or creek present.

While he studied the water, I thought I might as well take a few photos. I was surprised at what I found.

At first glance, the reflector on the post was nothing out of the ordinary, and held no reason for me to pay any attention to it. My eyes scanned right past it. Then, when I looked again, the little pliers seemed to come out of nowhere. Obviously they have been there for quite a long time. Some fisherman's gear is short a pair of pliers.

Well, here they are.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Burdened gray clouds rest over our mountains; rain escapes, as though the seams holding the clouds together are weakening. The thankful Earth soaks up the water, but we are trapped inside- unable to enjoy the day.

A trip to the library refreshes the little kids souls, and mine, searching for books to take home and read our way through the socked in storm. We find a treasure- a book on poetry of the North American Indians for children, but I know I'll like it too.

Reading the carefully chosen words of people long ago, we find a poem that changes our outlook on the day:

You, whose day it is,
Make it beautiful.
Get out your rainbow colors,
So it will be beautiful.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wyoming trust

When my family and I first moved to the west side of the state, I was selling items on e-bay. One of the ladies at the post office caught me one day and said, "Do you do e-bay?"


"Do you think you could help me sell some things?"


She wrote my name and number down on a scrap piece of paper, one that had plenty of other things written on it, and she said she would be in touch. She told me she had lots of antique items she wanted to sell, but was having trouble with her computer. She was retired and needed some extra money.

I never heard from her.

Over a year later, my husband came home with a letter from her and a couple of antique items he found in our mailbox. The letter said:


Could you sell these for me on e-bay? I'll make it worth your while. Get as much as you can for them. Ha!

What a trusting lady, to leave the antiques in my mailbox with only a letter and the hope I would sell them for her and not run off with them.

I'm glad to see there are still trusting people in the world.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Passing storms

A storm settled in over our valley last night.

We stood in front of our window and watched the clouds hustling across the sky, right in front of the mountains. The speed in which they moved was amazing.

The horses kicked and bucked as the temperature dropped and the winds picked up.

Lightning flashed close and the thunder echoed over the mountains, as if the sound touched each peak. Soon a mixture of hail and rain pelted our house and cars.

With the fast pace the storm moved, we hardly knew what had happened. Our minds had to adjust to the quick change in atmosphere, and then move on as quickly as the storm passed.

What amazes me, is how much our life parallels the storm I just described. Changes come quickly and without warning, leaving us to move along with whatever happens. At times I wish we could see the changes coming, so we could stand back and be prepared.

Even still, watching the storm move in and move by was powerful. Maybe there's a good reason why the bad storms pass quickly.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Foto Friday: Funny birds

While we were out boating on the bay side of the Keys, we floated by these funny little birds. They are perched on PVC pipe sticking out of the water.

We anchored near them for those who wanted to fish, and I watched them for several minutes. None of the birds moved.

I wondered what they must be thinking.

Resting on the PVC pipe probably meant nothing more than searching for fish, or a reprieve from flying; but to me, they looked like they were having some type of conversation. A round table meeting. Planning what to do next.

They were sure fun to look at, and definitely worth capturing in a still photo.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

They grew on the bridge

Out on Seven Mile Bridge, close to Marathon, FL, a few natural phenomenons grow out of the concrete mass of an abandoned railroad track running beside the bridge. A tree and a few shrubs have made the old tracks their home. Driving over the bridge, your eyes take a second look to make sure what you are seeing is real.

It is real, and a view from a boat helps to make the illusion reality.

How can something that needs nutrients and fresh water grow in the concrete? How did the seeds of the plants reach all the way out across the bridge and survive?

I'll probably never know the answers, but would love to return after many years to see if they still survive, and if there are any new ones growing.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Free snow removal

Stopping in Marathon, FL for a bite to eat, we saw this beat up truck soliciting free snow removal.

Since I'm from Wyoming, the iron nature of the sign deserved a good laugh and a photo. I'm sure the driver rarely gets called in Marathon, FL.

If the driver were in Wyoming, I'm sure the sign would be removed less than a few days of arrival. Free snow removal would put him out of business, pronto! His phone would never stop ringing, and he would certainly need to expand to keep up with business.

Since the phone number is on the side of the truck, maybe I should give it a call next winter, just to see what might happen.

No calls for snow removal in the Keys, but a person from Wyoming could never let an opportunity like this one pass by.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Palm tree extravaganza

Last week, and a couple of extra days, were vacation days; therefore no blogging, writing, or checking e-mails. I exchanged my waterproof leather hiking boots for an open pair of Teva sandals. I left the scenic mountains to gaze upon the turquoise ocean and marvel at the beautiful sunsets splashing vibrant colors across the sky. Wyoming to the Florida Keys.

Extra time and exploring a new part of the world, guided me and my camera around. Palm trees became a natural focus on my lens. Clear skys, pink hues from the setting sun, and the natural environment in which they grow pay homage to the tall and lean tree.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Foto Friday

While we were in New Zealand, we had the opportunity to visit Milford Sound on the South Island. We weren't planning on going there, but made a spontaneous decision to go. I'm glad we did. The day was foggy, but beautiful none the less.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Following the Lander Trail

Following the Lander Trail, the same trail the emigrants moving west took, I wonder why they didn't plop down in this very location and stay the rest of their lives. The landscape is gorgeous, silent, and unending. True, there are miles and miles of no human presence, making life hard and lonely; but I wonder if I would have been one of the people moving west, if I wouldn't have homesteaded right here. Miles of prairie growing into rugged mountains seems to be the perfect location to me.

I suspect, being the type of people they were to set off on such a dangerous excursion, they probably wanted to see what was beyond these mountains- the Wind River Mountains. Perhaps they thought: Where else can we explore?; What mountains abound beyond the horizon?; What other beauty will we find?

Something spurred them to keep going on, and without the calling there might be a conglomeration of people in this one spot. Their trail still exists, along with the solitude and the beauty of days gone by.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Memorable Mother's Day

For me, Mother's Day comes with a mixture of emotions. Having lost my mom, the day seems to be sad and sometimes I feel a bit more like Scrooge on this holiday. Even though I missed my mom with incredible depths, my husband and kids made my day exciting and happy by spending the day exploring along the Green River.

After a few cups of coffee and a wonderful breakfast, not cooked by me, we headed off towards the woods. There is still too much snow for hiking, so we drove as far as we could get up a bumpy mountain road. We slipped along the muddy trail and fish tailed once or twice, making the kids giggle and smile as my husband kept control of the truck.

When we reached the very end of our road- the end due to snow - my husband rolled down his window to look at the tracks in the snow. They were fresh, and they were grizzlies. We looked and searched some more to find two more sets, three different sets of tracks total- a momma and her cubs. What a treat to see on Mother's Day, a natural and wild mother taking care of her brood.

Not far from the grizzly tracks were the tracks of wolves. Although we didn't see the creatures with our own eyes, seeing their tracks and knowing their presence was close by, seemed to be enough for the day.

We took an afternoon rest and went out for the evening.

My soul quiets when we are out in nature. The peaceful views and the serene world around us reminds me that life is good, even when we are face with tragedies. My mom often retired to nature, teaching me the importance of being quiet and and allowing our souls a moment to rest. Thank you, mom.

On our evening exploration, we came upon a mother moose and her yearling calf. It won't be long and she'll boot him out, making room for her new young one. Thankfully, I still have a lot of time left with my children before they move on to lives of their own.

Sandhill cranes, swans, Canada geese, mallards, elk, deer, more moose, and plenty of pronghorn made our evening a very memorable Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recipe: Sausage Bread

Sausage bread is one of my family's favorite meals. The most exciting part, putting in as many creative elements you can think of make this dish different every time you make it. Sausage can easily be substituted out to make a vegetarian meal.

Roll your bread dough out on to a baking dish.

In a skillet, cook your desired meat- my preference is breakfast or country sausage.

Add in your desired veggies. I have added spinach and red pepper. Mushrooms are excellent options, along with zucchini and squash, cabbage, carrots...really, whatever you want.

Place your mixture down the middle of your dough.

Add cheese. Again, your preference. I added a medium cheddar, but often add mozzarella, provolone, or pepper jack.

Roll up and fold in the sides, making sure there are no open crevices. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Weather thoughts for the better

The snow blew sideways again today and the gray sky makes it hard to wake up full of energy.

May 4th, the fire is burning hot to warm the room, and we'll be lucky to reach 30 degrees Fahrenheit today. Although the weather outside is a definite deterrent to being outside, people in Wyoming don't let the blowing snow keep them indoors.

In fact, people in Wyoming don't take too much time to complain about the weather. Oh, the weather comes up in conversations everyday, but Wyomingites hardly take enough time to dwell on any situation of the weather, good or bad.

Perhaps the weather should be thought of as like a person- accepting the weather as it is, accepting the person as they are. Each have their good and bad and unfortunate faults, but if we accept each for what they are, not allowing the faults to determine our day, we might all just get along a little better.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Onion or artichoke?

Upon meeting a new friend, and getting to know one another while the children played in the background, we soon ventured on the areas of our lives which were perplexing and mind boggling. It was nice we could talk openly about the oddities of life and the things or people who arrive and make chaos of our deep rooted ideas of the "way things should be"-should, ought to be highlighted there.

She openly told me she never thought certain things would happen in her life, and the instances that were taking place before her opened her eyes to reval the naked truth.

I knew exactly what she was talking about.

I've had a few of my own experiences in this area.

It's amazing how your ideas of what are "real" can be peeled away like an onion, layer by layer, slowly revealing a side to a person, family, or part of your life you could never see before the layers began to shed.

Maybe it will all end up more like an artichoke, peeling away the layers to the heart- the best part.

As we continued to talk about life and raising kids, she made the comment, "I wonder what I'll do to mess up my own children's lives." We laughed together, knowing our lives were all and all good lives, but there were still things we were both dealing with and hoping we weren't going to pass any of our own problems on to our kids.

Lightening the conversation, I told her my kids won't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or any sandwich. They like cheese quesadillas, or beef and bean burritos. Give them salsa and chips, they're happy. What has happened to them?

Even though the layers of life have been pulled away and I have a different perspective, I'm glad life can still be what we make of it- hopefully the artichoke heart. Not that it is always going to be easy, but once we have the reality wide open we can deal with it and hopefully grow as a person. Maybe someday my kids will learn to like sandwiches.

Friday, April 30, 2010

April reading

Sitting by a cozy fire with a cup of steaming coffee always seems to plague me with the question: To read...or to write?

I could easily wrap up in a blanket and pull my book up to my nose and become lost in the imaginative words of someone else- instead of coming up with my own; but then, the characters in my mind come alive and I have to write down what they are doing. So, I take the time and reward myself with a good book in the early morning hours and before I go to bed. (Sometimes in the afternoon when no one is watching.)

Lately I have been reading Dana Stabenow. Surprise, surprise; as I have read all of her books a couple of times over. However, Whisper To The Blood had not made it to my hands until yesterday. I was walking the rows of the library, pulled by two very loud kids, me saying SHHHH! a little to loudly, when I was automatically steered to the "S" section of the mysteries. I had to make a quick decision, and have been wanting to read this one for a long time.

On my way by the "R's", I quickly pulled a Phil Rickman book off the shelf. He is new to me, and I can't wait to read this U.K. author. Thankfully, if I like him, he has a whole mystery series about a female Reverend who is a diocesan exorcist- intriguing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ode to the Wind

The wind blows, whistles, whips, and stomps its way across Wyoming, revealing its merciless power during all seasons, but especially during the spring. Fortunately I grew up with the wind- yes, the wind blows just as much in northeastern Colorado- rocking the sides of my house and waking me up in the middle of the night, so I am use to the moans and the lonesome cries the wind can make. Even still, the sharp chill of cool air breaking through your layers of clothing directly to your skin is always a surprise.

Even though the wind can be a nuisance, I can't help but wonder about the wind. Does the wind ever cease, become nonexistent, or does it simply move on to another part of the world, only to return again, the same wind? I can't help but think the same wind that knocks on my door, might be knocking on someone else's door, in another part of the world on a different day. Has the same wind that runs its fingers through my hair causing chaos, and a really good reason not to have an expensive hair due, done the same to someone in the past? Does the wind whisper secrets, the same secrets, over and over?

As thoughts about the wind drift along the breeze, a few poems about the mysterious element come to mind. Here they are:

The Wind Blows
By Molly Bredehoft

The wind blows,
Pushes the air,
And makes my wind chimes sing.

The wind blows,
Up to my house,
Knocking the sides to find me.

The wind blows,
Down the chimney,
Whistling words of confidence.

The wind blows,
Swaying the willows,
In flexible stance.

The wind blows,
Dancing with the pines,
An orchestra of its own.

The Wind
By Molly Bredehoft

The wind, the wind: Does it ever stop?
The wind.

The wind, the wind: Where does it come from?
The wind.

The wind, the wind: Where does it go?
The wind.

The wind, the wind: A simple continuation.
The wind.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Evidence of Spring

As the snow flies sideways and the wind howls through my door and around my little cabin, spring seems a long way from arriving. The scene outside my window- large snowflakes, snow gathering on the trees, rooftops and willows blanketed evenly with snow- makes me think of Christmas Eve and appears as though Santa should be visiting, not the Easter Bunny. I'm sure more than six weeks have passed since the groundhog saw it's shadow, yet the snow abounds. The little animals from the stories of Narnia must understand my plight.

Even as the snow descends, the birds outside my window chirp and cheep, the red winged black birds sing their song of spring, and the geese, sand hill cranes and swans can be seen along the open riverbanks. Spring must be closer than my mind can comprehend, otherwise they would not be back from their winter migration. The birds understand the snow better than I do, for they know the snow will melt away into spring run-off and provide a healthy drink of water for the earth.

When getting out is possible, even my own eyes can see the evidence of spring. The photos reveal the quiet transformation from winter to spring in a landscape where snow exits for many months out of the year.

All photos copyright of M. Bredehoft

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I can still remember the first time I saw a Leprechaun.

I didn't believe they existed, and certainly didn't think I would find their existence to be true. Finding the end of a rainbow was impossible, although I hadn't actually tried, a good solid education in science told me the truth on the matter. I could imagine finding the end of a rainbow- climbing hills covered with slick boulders during a drizzling rain, low clouds covering the area with a thick fog, all the while keeping my eye on the rainbow and searching for the precise location of its ending. But then, science tells me the sun would be shining or the rainbow wouldn't even exist.

On the day I saw the Leprechaun there were no doubts of science telling me the existence of what I was seeing was my imagination.

I searched with my eyes reading the terrain for clues and looking in the most unlikely places, because in the stories Leprechauns were quick and masters of making themselves invisible.

I looked on the ground but there were no tracks, behind the grass- but no Leprechauns. Finally, behind the sagebrush up close to the pronghorn sat a Leprechaun on the dry prairie ground.

Dry prairie ground? Sagebrush? Pronghorn?

You were probably imagining emerald hills with lush grass rippling from the slight breeze blowing off of the ocean, bringing dreams and music with poetic lyrics.

But it was on the prairie lands, a surprise location, where I spotted those mythical creatures.

So, be looking for those Leprechauns everywhere you go. They might just show up in one of the most unlikely locations.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A man who can't laugh at himself should be given a mirror! ~Irish Saying

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Raise your glass for this one!

May we always have a clean shirt, a clean conscience, and a bob in the pocket!

~Irish Toast

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Irish reading

In celebration of the green month, I have been reading Nora Roberts. Her Born In trilogy takes readers on a romantic tour of western Ireland, with stops in Dublin and a few other locations in Europe. Through her writing I can hear her characters speaking the Irish brogue and wish I was sitting with them in their local pub eating stew, drinking a cold beer, and listening to the local music.

Born In Fire takes the reader on a journey through the life of Maggie Concannon, an artist on the brink of discovery. Coming from a family with dark secrets and little love, except overflowing from her father and sister, Maggie is scared to step into life and take a chance on love and her own talents.
What an excellent way to begin the month- dreaming of lush green hills, rocky shorelines and love just around the bend.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A month for being Irish

May leprechauns

strew happiness

Wherever you walk

each day

And Irish angels

smile on you

All along the way

~Irish Blessing

I love the blessings and the wisdom o' the Irish, they have a way with words. Since it's a fine time to be celebratin' the Irish, my blog will follow recipes, sayin's, and good books about the Irish. Grab a cup o' tea or a tall Guinness and enjoy as the March days roll by.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pizza Dough

My kids love to eat- just not veggies. Honestly, I can't blame them, but we all need more veggies in our diets. I found hiding veggies in pizza not only snuck them into their diet- providing a wonderful and natural vitamins and minerals, but also helped them learn to eat their greens- ummm... me too. Here is an excellent pizza dough recipe- one you can learn by heart and make very quickly. The best part is there are no preservatives! Top with pizza sauce, cheese, meat, and any assortment of veggies you like!

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm milk (or water)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 TBL sugar
1 TBL olive oil
3 cups of flour

Warm milk (or water) and pour over the yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and oil. Slowly add the flour. Allow the dough to rise for approximately 30 minutes. Roll dough out onto desired baking pan and top with ingredients. Bake until pizza is golden in a 375 degree oven. Makes one crust.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A little inspiration

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
~Theodore Roosevelt

Thank you to those who have gone before and failed, later to succeed at their dreams; not only failed, but failed miserably and given the rest of us inspiration to keep dreaming and striving. Thank you to those who know living life to fullest, at times, means hard work, sweating, and wanting something so bad you are willing to fail again and again, until you succeed.

I'm in the arena, and although I have seen defeat, I'm learning how to win - because once you step into the arena if you're listening, sweating, starting to make your way through the punches and more persistent than the one throwing the punches, victory can't be far. The old saying for success is right: if you fall down seven times get up eight. The best part of stepping into the arena is feeling life.

Step into the arena. You'll know your living.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A new way to be healthy

If your play interrupts your work, you're healthy. If work interrupts your play,
you're broke. ~James O'Hara

As an adult/parent, finding time to play can be a challenge. Taking the time to play can be another type of challenge; like when the time actually arrives and a nap sounds so enticing. How easy it is to forget how to play like a little kid, with no time restraints except for bedtime.

I'm reminded to let me kids play and enjoy their "free" time before so many other activities and school start to take the time up. I hope they will learn to use their imaginations, and continue to let them grow and wander.

I think I need to be healthier; let more play time interrupt my work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lately I have been reading books with advice for writing fiction. Most of them suggest writing about something you know, like your life for instance. The books say our personal experiences can provide for great stories that lead into fiction, or for me a novel.

Great! I have plenty of exciting personal experiences!

But wait!

The words of wisdom from these books on writing fiction say not to actually write about your life because your life has no plot, and a good book needs a plot. Hmmm.

But there are so many good stories...

Like rolling my suitcases down the streets of Washington D.C. to try and find my hotel for a leadership conference I was attending. I thought the bus would let me off at the hotel, only to find out from the unsympathetic lady behind the counter at the bus stop that I would have to find my way to the hotel by myself. Which I did, evn though I was only sixteen, from a town of less than 200 people, alone, strolling through the streets of Washington D.C. and not the good side of town.

Ok. No plot. But there is a little drama.

Then there was the time in Alaska when I couldn't get the 1980 diesel Oldsmobile- Stella- started at the gas pump in Anchorage. Some extremely nice girl came to my rescue and helped me push the car off to the side. Only in the process of moving the car I put the car in neutral and shut the door. I quickly remembered when you put the car in neutral, or any gear, the doors automatically locked. That was bad. But the nice girl found a nice guy who was able to unlock my car.

No plot again, but there was drama and a very happy ending.

My driving record is a completely other post, but there again, no plot.

I guess all this means is the plot will be left up to my imagination. With the personal experiences I have had, I'm sure I can come up with an interesting plot.

Monday, January 25, 2010

One cap too many

Our house is filled with caps.

Sports caps, work caps, dark caps, light caps.

I don't know where they all come from. I believe some of them spontaneously appear out of the sky. Maybe the dog brings them home.

I don't know.

We don't have any squirrels around that could be the culprits, and no mice right now either.

I would like to blame my husband for all of the caps around here, and although a majority of them are his, I have to admit that some of them are mine.

But which ones to give away. I can't part with my Jimmy Buffett hat and my new University of Wyoming visor is not going anywhere. I have a brand new Rocky Mountain Elks Foundation hat with "Committee" embroidered on the back, and I have to keep it around until after the banquet where I will probably gain another one, besides I like this one.

I have a hat to wear in case we need to paint around the house. There's my orange cap I like to wear when I'm hiking in the fall; the color is perfect to warn hunters that I am not a member of any family they would like to shoot.

Another orange one from Humpy's Ale House in Anchorage, Alaska. Far too many memories to send this one out.

A sky blue Ducks Unlimited hat, it's a nice color and sporty looking, why let this one go?

Who could get rid of a Wind River White Water Rafting hat?

So, for now, I'll keep them around. Not everyone can say they have one cap too many.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Disney ride home strikes me down

An excellent time away from home enjoying friends and family, while discovering new places, is the best way to describe the recent holidays.

I felt relaxed to be away from all of the happenings of normal daily life. My children were surrounded by constant playmates, and they had fun. I didn't have to cook unless I wanted to, I didn't have to do dishes unless I wanted to (and of course I did to keep peace in the family since we were all staying together); I could read all I wanted, and I did as I gazed out of our room overlooking the sound. Ahhh. A well deserved vacation...and then we took the plane ride home.

When the airline called for anyone with small children to board the plane early, a majority of the crowd started to head towards the gate. The thought that I could not keep from running through my mind went, "At least my child will not be the only one making noise or screaming on the plane." No one would be able to blame all the noise on my family in row 19. We wouldn't be the only ones receiving nasty glances from the people trying to sleep or enjoy their books or just wanting a peaceful trip to where-ever they were going. No, this would be a noisy plane ride. I didn't plan to sleep anyway.

As we began to board someone said, "Is this the flight to Disneyland or what?". Pretty darn close.

One baby cried the whole way. I felt bad for those parents, trying to juggle a newborn and two toddlers. The little boy behind us peeked between the seats to try and see the movie we put on the computer, until the battery died. Other kids screamed and made distracting noises or played with loud video games, making for a regular nursery right on the plane.

My little boy dropped fruit snacks in the seat and I, unknowing, sat in them; which then caused the snacks to melt on the seat and my pants. Between my kids and all the others on the plane eating snacks and ripping up magazines, I'm sure the plane had more than an extra bag of trash scattered about the cabin and stuffed into interesting places. I felt bad for the people who had to clean up that plane.

Despite the fact that we did not land at Disneyland, all children and parents on the plane were ready to get off and get on with their journeys.

However, like a nursery, a germ was passed around, I'm sure. We came home and were sick for over a week- leaving my blog neglected and New Year's resolutions unthought-of.

At least I didn't have to clean up that plane! / CC BY 2.0
'>Photo by Kossy(at)FINEDAYS via