"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Sunday, December 29, 2013

This is Christmas

Christmas is behind us now.  It came and went as quickly as it always does.

Every year I try to make it as stress-free as possible, so I can actually enjoy the moments. I think we all want to do that; to just let the season saturate our souls; partake of all that we can; simply enjoy the beauty and the wonder of the holiday.

Having said that though, I still always want to celebrate Christmas with gusto. In my opinion, the more and bigger the celebration becomes, the better off we all are. In a time when some are actively trying to attack this special Christian holiday – even remove it from its roots – it is up to the Christian to protect it. I really don’t care how Christmas is celebrated: Trees, ornaments, gifts, cards, Santa, singing, decorations in November! And of course the tranquil, but inspiring Christmas Eve services; I say do it all!

Regardless of some traditions being secular (and of course we all know there are many) it still causes us all to come back to one thing – Jesus. It’s probably the only time of the year the world is compelled to talk and think about Jesus. Even through secularization of customs, it all still comes back to Jesus. Only if the atheist or the progressive leftists are allowed to stop everything in the way of celebration (which they are indeed attempting) do we lose. I say CELEBRATE! What other day of the year, does everything almost completely come to a stop because of one Man…that’s saying something! That Man just happens to be King of kings and Lord of lords. He is largely and vividly apparent to everyone this time of year; and that is a good thing. That is a witness to the world.

This year, I feel like I was able to slow down more and really enjoy this wonderful time of year. I had several moments this Christmas season that quietly said to me: This is Christmas.

Below are some of my most precious moments and memories of this most blessed Christmas season...
  • I stood behind the door of our bedroom watching our son stealthily walking down the hall with his arms full of gifts. He didn't want to be seen. He didn’t know I was there.

  • Going out to the forest with my son to chop a Christmas tree in the freshly fallen snow.

  • My son randomly saying: “I can’t wait for Christmas morning.” “Are you expecting something special this Christmas?” I asked.“No, it isn’t that,” he replied and he changed the subject. I later understood that rather than expecting something, he was giving something special – something very special indeed.

  • My folks worshipping and holding their lighted candles as I sat behind them watching in a church my grandparents helped start.    

  • Sitting there listening to my great niece sing a special solo accompanied by her grandpa. Enjoying her beautiful voice, yes; but also realizing that I have seen 5 generations serve in some capacity; in different ways and at different times in this little church that each of my family, to some degree, calls home.
  • Little kids thinking my husband is Santa; even a parent stopping us to ask him if he would talk to their child. That was special enough, but what was really special in this was the joy my husband got from it.

  • Matthew playing Santa for the community. The community coming together to really support this brand new endeavor, that also helps the less fortunate.         

  • The beautiful box of Christmas cookies that our neighbor delivered, still warm and perfectly shaped. It wasn’t simply about the cookies. It is about the wonderful new neighbors we have in this young couple. I LOVE them! They warm my heart, make me smile; and make me feel safe; and give me hope. They bring the past to the present.

  • A material gain!  My son gave me a new beautiful wrought iron bench with a horse design. It is only partly the material aspect. It is more about the fact that I KNOW how hard he had to work to find, purchase and deliver this bench. All the while keeping it totally secret. He knew I have been trying to get this particular bench for YEARS! It brought tears Christmas morning, because it said, "I know you and I love you."   ;-)

  • "Mantles" were passed this Christmas season. The younger generation took over hosting Christmas dinner. My oldest sister took over making the Rosettes my mom has made for a generation. My niece made the "Doc Holidays". I took over the pickles some time ago; but I just realized it this year. I will make the rolls next year.

  • The cards that come daily in the mail - mostly from people that one only hears from this time of year, but are forever in our hearts.
  • Coming home from my niece’s house downtown and seeing all the elaborate and beautiful Christmas decorations on the houses in the city. For a moment, realizing this is the city I grew up and once loved. (Sorry, not so much anymore; but perhaps for that moment.)

  • The stillness on the drive home, with very few stirring. Almost no businesses open. I sat in silence as my husband drove, and my son had already quickly fallen asleep due to the irregular hours he has been having to keep. It was a special, special moment. 

  • What other day of the year causes the whole world to practically come to a stop? I thought to myself. This is the only day of the year that it does…every year, for generations. We decorate, we celebrate, we buy, we stress, and worship and live and laugh and love and then we stop; the whole world stops - for the King’s birthday; to honor the only One worthy… Whether one realizes it or not, the world stops as we celebrate the King. This is Christmas.

    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6 KJV


    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

    Jesus our Emmanuel

    Hark the Herald Angels Sing
    Charles Wesley - 1739
    Hark! The herald angels sing,
    “Glory to the newborn King;
    Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
    God and sinners reconciled!”
    Joyful, all ye nations rise,
    Join the triumph of the skies;
    With th’angelic host proclaim,
    “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
    Hark! the herald angels sing,
    “Glory to the newborn King!”
    Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
    Christ the everlasting Lord;
    Late in time, behold Him come,
    Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
    Hail th’incarnate Deity,
    Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
    Jesus our Emmanuel.
    Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings,
    Ris’n with healing in His wings.
    Mild He lays His glory by,
    Born that man no more may die.
    Born to raise the sons of earth,
    Born to give them second birth.
    Come, Desire of nations, come,
    Fix in us Thy humble home;
    Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
    Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
    Now display Thy saving power,
    Ruined nature now restore;
    Now in mystic union join
    Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
    Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
    Stamp Thine image in its place:
    Second Adam from above,
    Reinstate us in Thy love.
    Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
    Thee, the Life, the inner man:
    O, to all Thyself impart,
    Formed in each believing heart.

    Merry Christmas!

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Silly Rabbit

    We have a bunny in our yard. Not positive where he/she/it came from. Not sure what he/she/it is, so I will call it "it" when referring to gender.

    It most likely belongs to the neighbor across the road. I'm sure it is a domesticated bunny. It is a little bit afraid of me, but not really...just wary. It seems to have a Ronald Reagan kind of policy. "Trust, but verify."

    It/ he is sure cute. I like the little rascal and he has personality. Maybe "he" would be better for the pronouns. He definitely isn't an "it".

    He has been here since summer, I believe.  I really have been meaning to call the neighbors to ask if they have lost a rabbit; but I have bothered them so much about their animals in the past, I almost hate to call them again. Let's see; we have had in our yard, their horse, their cow, their dog, their cat, their turkeys; and most recently their pig.  I think that is about all, so far...and now we have their bunny. I hate to say these animals are all from the same neighbor, but.....

    I like my neighbors, anyway.

    I am not taking care of this rabbit. I don't know the first thing about taking care of rabbits and I don't want a rabbit. Matt says he is pretty sure the little guy is also returning home now and then and that I shouldn't worry about him.  Mr. B. says: "They are wild animals after all; they know how to take care of themselves."  I agree.

    Lately, I have noticed the little guy has been leaving little traces around the horse trough. I think perhaps he is getting a drink there. I don't know how he is getting over there, though. We have a tall fence, and I didn't know they could jump that high.

    Bullet, the beagle, has been spending more and more time outside at night. I didn't know why. Usually he is an in and out kind of dog - especially in the winter. He hales from Texas after all; he is a southern boy to the core. Last night, though, I finally figured out why Bullet has been slow to come in from outside when he goes. The little bunny has been in the yard.

    My lab is the one who noticed the rabbit first, last night. She caused such a commotion I went outside to see what was going on. My lab was giving Mr. Rabbit a run for his money. 

    Now my lab is the most obedient being (animal, human or other) this side of heaven. And when I called her to stop chasing the bunny, she stopped. She just looked at me like "Really, Mom?  Do you know what is out there?" But she stopped and stayed. The bunny stopped, too. He sat by the tree and just watched us. Silly rabbit! The lab looked at me, then looked at the bunny, then back at me. "Please!" she begged. (Yes, she did to say that.)

    Bullet also had to come out and see what all the commotion was. I didn't want to let him out, but he was carrying on so, I almost had no choice. Plus I figured the little bunny could run, and maybe he/it wouldn't come back and would run away home.

    Now, Bullet is a hunting dog. He comes from prime hunting stock. His ancestors have names like "Wilson's Rabbit Tracker" and "Roscoes Red Sawdof Browning Shotgun". I thought for sure, he would smell that rabbit and head out "on hunt", as we used to call it when he would transform into hunting mode.

    Didn't work that way. The lab remained obedient, the bunny remained "Reaganesque" and Bullet missed it all. He simply wandered out a ways, did his business, and headed back to the porch. Well, he is getting older, after all. And it was dark out. The lab wasn't chasing or barking anymore; there couldn't be too much going on out here. There are lots and lots of reasons why the beagle missed his chance to hunt. The younger beagle would have been so disappointed in the older beagle. The bunny won.

    I brought both dogs back into the house. If the little bunny was after water, I wanted him to be able to get it. I really don't want anything to happen to him. He has survived this long; I am not going to play a part in his demise.

    I felt bad for the beagle; I was proud of the lab...and I'm still shaking my head over that troublesome, silly wabbit.

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    One of Us

    My phone crashed yesterday. I mean big time, flat out, without warning, complete crash. Ugh! I didn’t panic though. I was in town with Matt, and when I noticed, I knew the cell phone store would be our next stop.

    We had just stopped for gas before heading home and when Matthew got back into his truck, I informed him, “Next stop, Verizon.”

    He looked at me quizzically. “Phone crash,” was all I said. He knows me well, and knows I don’t like to be without a phone.

    Well, I know I shouldn't be this bold, but I would like to say, I won’t EVER be without a phone. But I know better than to say something like that. In all reality, though, I feel like I absolutely cannot be without a phone so that my husband and my folks are able to get in touch with me at any given moment. For that reason, my phone never and I mean NEVER leaves my side.  My folks had needed me one other time several years ago, and could not reach me. I vowed to never let that happen again.

    Anyway, I didn’t panic when I saw my old phone had gone kaput. I knew I had had a free upgrade for sometime now, and I was so thankful the crash happened while already in town.

    The biggest downfall was loosing my contact list. If that is the most I have to worry about, that isn’t much. However, I did like that list! I had worked hard on it. I mean I had it exactly like I wanted it. I was just thinking the other day, how perfect it was. I know! How many people think about the perfection of their contact list? How can one not? I mean I had just about every person I know in there; I had my friends as well as a few of Matt’s friends. I had work contacts to reach both my husband and son if necessary. I had doctors for my family and folks; and bookstores; the Capitol and State Senators! Why, I even had the local movie theatre in there that I only attend about once every 5 years!  But hey, if I want to know what’s playing when I hear of a movie that is coming out that I might be interested in, that was a pretty convenient number to have. Ahhh, the convenience was soooo nice!

    I told Matt we should try the cellular store that was just up the street from where we were getting gas. We had been there before and did ok there.  It would be quick and easy and then we could get back on our way.

    We were greeted at the door immediately. Yey, I thought, we hit the right time of day to come: late afternoon, but before the after-work rush started. However, it didn’t take me but a moment to figure out, I wasn’t going to do very well here. When I told the clerk what I needed all was fine, but when I asked her about checking my plan, I sensed a bit of unwillingness from her.  She tried to talk me out of it, saying she was sure I wouldn’t do any better.  She started talking about a bunch of stuff, I didn’t really need to know.

    "Well wait a minute," I countered…"I just need to know [such and such]"…and I explained what I needed to know. (I will spare you the details) She balked, and then she lied. I knew she had lied, and that was, in fact, confirmed later.

    “You know, I am just not in the right frame of mind to do this right now”, I told her. And then we left. I guess I lied too, because I really wanted to tell her. “I reallllllly am NOT going to work with you. I'm outta here!”

    But on top of all that, I had frustrated Matt. I felt bad I had done that and I explained as we headed out the door. "I can't work with someone I don't trust. I'm sorry," I whispered.

    “Let’s go up to the main store,” I told him when we got in the car. “That just wasn’t working for me.”

    I got greeted right away at the next store, too. A nice looking young man with a big smile welcomed me. “What can I do for you?” he asked.

    I sensed right away it was going to be different this time…I don’t know, but I always just sense attitudes. I think that’s common when one is paying careful attention.

    I told the young man what I needed, “But,” I said, “I have a few questions, first.”

    “Great!” he said. “Well come on over here and we will look at everything.”

    This is better already, I thought to myself. Matt had dropped me off and gone up to run another errand.  We knew this would take a while and he would have time to do that.

    The young man talked me through everything, always with a smile and even a joke or two. I was well-pleased by the time Matt got back. Then they connected as well.  We started talking about any number of things. God, politics; kids and the way they should be raised; the way he was raised.

    I was absolutely loving this kid by now. Where did you come from? I asked him meaning “you are not fitting into this world” kind of question rather than where he was from geographically. He had already told us that; North Dakota. “There are not many like you around, anymore.” I explained further.

    But he already knew what I had meant when I said it, and so did Matthew. And we all got a good laugh when Matthew said. “He already told you, North Dakota.” We laughed because we all knew that wasn’t what I meant. It was a really fun connection. And a real connection it was. This guy could have sold me the ocean…in Arizona, if he had tried.

    At some point I told him he needed to get into politics. So, if you know me, that will give you an idea of his beliefs. “I have heard that many times before,” he laughed. "There is NO way!"

    The next thing I knew he was making Norwegian jokes.  I could have been knocked over with a feather. “You are one of us! That’s what we do!” I exclaimed as I explained our little family tradition. But what I really wanted to say, was, “Can you come home for dinner, tonight?”

    Anyway, before we were done, I had just the right phone for me, with a correction in my plan. “I couldn’t retrieve your contacts,” he told me. “I’m really sorry.” And I could tell he meant it. “That’s important after all.”

    Matthew also picked up a new phone while we were there. His had not been working properly either.

    “However, I was able to save all 355 of your girlfriends, though,” he told Matt. “But you need 10 more, there are 365 days in the year, ya know.”

    I looked bewildered and our rep noticed. Sorry he told me, I couldn’t resist. 

    “It’s ok,” I responded, “I didn’t ‘get it’ anyway.” (I hadn't really been listening just then, Matthew had to explain later.)

    He laughed good-naturedly. But when Matt told him my lack of understanding was due to the fact that: “She’s Norwegian,” our new friend doubled over in full belly laughter. Just as if he was one of us! Honestly! It was so much fun!

    Oh and by the way, I found out that sure enough the female clerk at the first store had indeed lied to me about the number of minutes our family had been using. It was a lie of 3 times as many minutes as what the truth was. I had had a pretty good idea she had pegged me for a fool that didn’t know what I was doing. Our new rep. though, treated us with respect and with a servant attitude…like family would treat family. We had sure enough been blessed with a successful shopping experience due to this young man.

    “Do you get paid on commission?” I asked him as we left.

    “Yes”, he said sheepishly.

    “I don’t mean to be nosy,” I explained.  “I just want to come to you every time, now. You are the best I have ever dealt with in the cellular world. EVER!

    He beamed when I said that, but I suspect he has heard it before. He was that good! There was already a lady in line waiting for some time to see only him! He understands loyalty and service. I believe simply because he cared, and treats people…like he is "one of us".


    Saturday, November 30, 2013

    Goin' There

    Another favorite song for me! Besides being a way to share what I love, posting these videos gives me a means to easily find the ones I don't want to lose or forget.

    Mr. Trace Adkins outdoes himself on this one. Absolutely LOVE it...enjoy and "Turn it up some."

    "Wayfaring Stranger"
    I am a poor wayfaring stranger
    Traveling through this world of woe
    But there's no sickness; no toil; no danger
    In that bright world to which I go.

    I'm going there to see my mother
    She said she'd greet me when I come
    I'm only going; goin' over Jordan
    I'm only going over home.
    Yes, Lord.

    I know dark clouds are gonna gather around me
    I know my way is rough and steep
    But beautiful fields lie there just before me
    Where God's redeemed their vigils keep.

    I'm going there to see my father
    I'm going there no more to roam.
    I'm only going; goin' over Jordan.
    I'm only going over home.
    Take me home, now.

    I can almost see the lights of home.
    Shining at home...


    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Silly Redneck Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I think most people stop at this time of year to think about things for which they are thankful. I know it is something that is on my mind a bit more, during this time, than is usual. I see a few people on Facebook posting a new comment each day regarding a thankful thought.

    Other than the obvious things for which we are all thankful: faith; family; friends; good health; a country that actually sets apart a day to thank the Creator, I decided I have had enough seriousness the last few weeks, and that it might be time to talk about some of the silly things for which I am thankful. I thought it might be fun to write about some of the things that one may not always stop to remember and appreciate. So leaving all serious things behind; below is my silly list.

    • I just heard on the news that Thanksgiving is the busiest time of all for airlines. The day after Thanksgiving is the second busiest day. To my surprise, it even beat out Christmas for air travel. I kind of like that. It says people choose to travel on Thanksgiving to see those they love, but they chose to stay home for Christmas. I think that’s cool. More people are at home at Christmas. Though it may seem silly, I’m thankful for that.
    • I’m thankful for the Flickers that come into my yard. I love them! They aren’t my favorite bird, but they are the bird that always makes me smile. I love watching the expression on their face and I love their curious antics.  I even love it when I hear the tap, tap, tap outside my bedroom window, which often wakes me up in the morning. It always makes me smile – always. I’m thankful God created those little woodpeckers even though my husband hates them.
    • I love it, but I also hate it, when the neighbors’ critters get out of their pens and make their way into our yard. I'm thankful that I live in a neighborhood where that happens and I love each of their silly personalities....the critters; not the neighbors.
    • I am thankful for my new neighbors next door - D. and M. They know all about being neighborly and they do it perfectly...with smiles.
    • I’m thankful for my beagle that wants to be covered up and tucked securely into his bed at night. And I am glad I am the one he wants to do it. I love it that he is almost never up in the morning before I am.
    • I’m thankful for every time my beagle scratches at the door, because that means he doesn’t go potty on my floor. EVER! He is such a good boy!
    • I am thankful for my lab that absolutely will NOT let me sit down without making sure my hand is on her head for a loving pat, for at least a moment or two. And who absolutely demands I throw her bone every time I step out the door. She is the boss, but she doesn't try to be.
    • I am thankful for horses that can look through my living room or dining room window and demand that I know it is their feeding time. Not that I would ever forget.
    • One thing that is always on my list whenever I make a list is rustling Bible pages. It means people are doing what they should be doing…wherever that might be.
    • And of course I’m thankful that God appointed me to the time that has running water and indoor plumbing and electric heat.
    • I’m also thankful, that I live in the generation that was able to meet PM Netanyahu.
    • I am thankful for arguing politicians and frustrated television commentators. At least that means someone cares and is trying to get something done.
    • I’m thankful for cell phones and I am SO thankful, that I was WRONG (probably the most wrong I have ever been) when I told the salesmen the first time I ever saw one, that “Those will never go anywhere!”
    • I’m thankful that I have a good highway to drive on that I absolutely hate to drive!
    • I’m thankful for instant meals, instant entertainment; instant news on demand; and instant messaging, and then whenever I want to, I can make it all distant in simply an instant.
    • I’m thankful it is now less than a month to the shortest day of the year, which means the days will incrementally start getting longer - in just 25 more days!
    • I'm thankful I can count.
    • I’m thankful I opened the first jar of pickles for the season, and they are every bit as good as Mom’s this year.
    • I’m thankful for country music.
    • I’m thankful I thought about learning to play mandolin this year, then laughed about it and forgot about it… and well maybe.
    • I'm thankful for Christmas lights, even if it is early.
    • Someone once told me, "If you leave your Christmas lights up year round, you may be a redneck."  I'm thankful I'm a red-neck.
    • I’m thankful for my new dryer, having gone a week or so without one.
    • I’m thankful I have more pounds to lose, because that means I ate really well this year.
    • I’m thankful for friends from 40 years or more.
    • I’m thankful my roof isn’t leaking and my heat isn’t broke.
    • I'm thankful for my barn; even though it's small, it smells and feels like a real barn.
    • I’m thankful for the stars at night and that I actually live somewhere where I can still see them.
    • I’m thankful for sunrises and sunsets and fingernail moons.
    • I'm thankful that almost every time I see a sunrise, I think of Jim Croce...hmmm hm hmmm hmmmmmm...
    • I'm thankful I am a morning person, as long as I don't have to be around anyone else for an hour or two....or three...
    • Oh, and coffee.
    • And then there are all the important things - I’m thankful for the things too deep to write and I'm thankful that I don’t have to.
    Here a moo, there a moo....
    Happy Thanksgiving!








    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    Movie Musings

    So, there is a new movie coming out in March, of 2014. I guess it’s supposed to be incredible in the way of photography and special effects.  Sorry, I’m not a movie buff, so I really don’t know what that is called. “Photography”, I’m sure, isn’t the correct word. Anyway, the new movie is based on ancient history about the flood. The movie is Noah I’m struggling with words here, too.  I can’t call it a “Christian” movie; I’m sure it’s not.  I can’t call it a "Biblical" movie. For neither is it that. Well, maybe I could say it’s based on a “biblical” setting with little accuracy about the real account. Therefore, I used the small “b”.  But sorry, when we are talking about things of the Bible there is no small “b”.

    Anyway, I woke up this morning thinking about that movie. Not sure why.  It brings me a bit of sadness.  I read the reviews.  Of course, coming from Hollywood, it has a political agenda. And if you don’t already know this, don’t kid yourself…most all movies out of Hollywood do have a political agenda, or a politically correct statement that “Hollywood” is going to get into the script by hook or by crook. The movie industry, mostly controlled by the liberal left, wants to influence us. It’s the way of it.

    Well, in this movie, for one thing, Noah is the first environmentalist.  Not really so bad, is it?  Caring for the world is good!  Why doesn’t God care? How dare He destroy it with a flood!   (In case you couldn't tell, I'm being factitious.)

    I suppose Hollywood has made their fair share of Biblically based movies.  I know some have been considered to be pretty good.  I don’t know; I have never watched one.  And I pretty much mean never. Not The Ten Commandments; nor The Greatest Story Ever Told; nor any of those that the great movie star, Charlton Heston, has made.  Heston, by the way, is one of my heroes. 

    Why haven’t I watched? Somewhere deep down inside of me I am not allowed. Now, I am not making a judgment here as to whether one should watch those movies or not. That is certainly up to the individual. I just have never been able. I never wanted what I knew, learned or believed about the Bible to be from a Hollywood movie…I didn’t want something from a movie getting into my thought process only to confuse me about what is really true. You don’t think that can happen when you know and have studied your Bible so well?  Wait until your 60 and suddenly you find everything starts to get muddled up there.  J

    I really don’t know from where my conviction on this comes. I am not saying it is the Holy Spirit. That would put me in a judgmental position, now wouldn’t it, for those Christians that do choose to watch these Hollywood movies? And I don’t want to do that.

    I absolutely do not want to be one of those Christians who projects my beliefs upon others; that is only for God to do. Besides, the minute I did that; someone is going to say: “Well, you listen to country music…all that drinkin’ and runnin’ around, and fightin’!” And I’m going to say: “Yeah, I do listen to country; always have and probably always will.” But country music isn’t distorting the context of the Bible and I intend for this post to be only about that!

    No one would judge me for listening to country music or whatever, you say? Ha! This ain’t my first rodeo. Christians would do that. We do it all the time, with whatever thing we happen to feel holy about at the moment. I really do not want to be one that does.

    So, anyway, I say that only to say this post isn’t about a judgment on anyone for watching a particular movie or anything else they do. I just felt like writing about my deep-seated belief about the accuracy of the Bible in movies; and now I will get to where I think that deeply held belief came.


    My paternal grandpa was an old-fashioned, “holiness” preacher. He would not mind being defined that way. I remember as a youth, one day in Grandma’s kitchen, Grandpa was trying to find out where I stood spiritually. Now that was nothing unusual for my grandpa.  If anyone continually had the Gospel on his lips, my grandpa did. I don’t remember how old I was when he questioned me. But, I do remember my answer.

    “Why, He’s my Lord and Savior, Grandpa!  I fairly exclaimed. And Grandpa, lit up with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye, like only he could.  In fact, to this day, I have never known anyone that shines like Grandpa. Yes, I guess I did say “shines” – present tense – he has been gone almost 30 years now I would say, but he has a heavenly home.

    But anyway, I felt and understood his approval. I still feel it to this day. I also remember his next words.  “Get in a church that preaches holiness, Jan.” I don’t remember if he elaborated on that. I’m fairly sure I remember the discussion leading to him saying…”Well, I know He is your Savior, Jan…but is He your Lord?”  

    Not sure how I answered that, but I should have said, “I’m still working on that, Grandpa.” 

    As a matter of fact, I am still working on that to this day, 50 some years later. And don’t kid yourselves, you are, too; we all need to work daily on making Him the Lord of our lives. But that is for a whole other discussion, as well.
    That’s all I remember of that day in Grandpa’s kitchen; But I have never forgotten that moment.

    As a side note, (because I am musing here - see title; maybe it should say wanderings) another thing I remember about Grandpa’s holiness life style is that he absolutely would not shop on Sundays. When asked about that, he replied, “Well, if I shop, I am requiring someone to have to work on Sunday, now am I not? And I believe Sunday should be a day of rest.” 

    I was reminded of Grandpa’s conviction the other day as I listened to the controversy among news commentators over whether stores should open up for Christmas shopping on the evening of Thanksgiving.  I heard someone say, “Well, people don’t have to shop! They can stay home if they don’t like it, but they shouldn’t prevent others from shopping.” And I thought to myself:  Wow, we have come a long way since the days when my Grandpa thought of others in his decision to not shop. What about forcing people to have to work on Thanksgiving evening, when they would probably much rather be home with their family. It appears that simple fact didn’t even enter the commentators mind. But there’s an example of the difference from then and now.

    As I shared this story a couple of years ago, a man adamantly stated, "That's going too far!" Maybe. Probably; certainly by today's standards. But I'm not sure he fully understood the message. Certainly our faith isn't about do's and don't's. But that isn't what this was about either. It was about thinking of others first.

    I suspect, though he never said it, Grandpa always wished my family would attend his church; instead my family attended the denomination that my mom’s family had always attended. But anyway, because of my dad’s upbringing, I was raised with an old-fashioned, “holiness” belief system to some degree. I suspect there-in is where my belief on watching Hollywood movies about faith came.

    Not saying I don’t watch Hollywood movies. Of course, I do.  I’m just saying I don’t want to watch one about faith, or one that tells the story about the Bible from a Hollywood perspective.  I was raised with the belief, that if one isn’t a Christian, and they try to tell the story, they can’t possibly get it right. I absolutely believe that; and more than that, I believe when it comes to the things of God, accuracy matters!

    I know there has been a time, and I don’t remember exactly when, but I remember one day as I scanned television channels, I caught a moment of Richard Chamberlain in one of the movies he made about the Bible.  He was portraying Jesus, and I happened to catch it at the moment when he was portraying Jesus sitting around the fire with the sinners as they drank while Jesus fellowshipped with them. In this movie, Richard Chamberlain was obviously portraying Jesus as a bit tipsy. Now, there were no words that claimed Jesus was drunk, there didn’t need to be. With the excellent acting that Chamberlain was capable of, he was clearly able to give the viewer that understanding without words. I don’t know; maybe he actually had to get a little tipsy himself to be able to film it with that much reality, but there was no doubt, he was drunk – either by his acting methods, or actually getting drunk in order to film it realistically. 

    As I watched, I was furious. Jesus was without sin! Jesus would never have been drunk.

    Granted, we have the controversy over the wine and whether Jesus drank. Whatever! There are also many that have done studies on this, (and my son is one; David Hocking, another) that can prove by Scripture using the Greek, that it was not fermented wine. But that is also for another post. And again I am judging no one; most Christians and I do mean most, drink, today and that is best left to one’s own convictions.
    One more example of inaccurate movies, however, and I will get off this subject and back to the main movie I wanted to discuss - Noah.

    Another time, and again I don’t remember exactly when or where, someone I was talking to was telling me about the movie they had just watched.  And I’m sorry, I don’t remember which Hollywood, “Biblical” movie it was.  But the person was telling me about how moved they were when the black man rushed from the crowd to help Jesus carry His cross when Jesus was no longer able. Well, I’m glad this person was moved.  But what was explained that happened in the movie simply wasn’t the truth.  The person that came to help Jesus with His cross would have been Simon from Cyrene. He was possibly black, but not certainly. He was a Jew, and he was from Ethiopia. There were Jews in Ethiopia, so he wasn't necessarily a black man. He also could have been a black Ethiopian who was a converted Jew. That doesn't really matter or Scripture would have told us. But what does matter is that, Biblically, Simon didn’t rush out in compassion to help Jesus. Rather, Simon was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. The Bible uses the word “compelled” and that means “forced”. In the Greek – “aggareuo” – which means “pressed to service” or the technical term for “requisitioned”. Either way, Simon did not do this of his own volition, but rather was untimely, ordered. As a Jew, he was probably humiliated and horrified, as this rendered him unclean for the upcoming Passover meal.

    To me that matters! But it doesn’t fit the politically correct agenda today as well as Hollywood might like.  And it was Hollywood’s opportunity to make things look better, than they actually were. For me, if someone was forced rather than graciously offering help; I want to know that, don’t you? It changes the truth and therefore the meaning otherwise.

    For those of you that are younger than me, there was a time in television and movie history, when Jesus would absolutely never have been portrayed physically on the screen. It was considered blasphemy to do so. And Hollywood pretty much honored that. The first movies attempting a Biblical theme may have used a voice from the background*, but they would never show Jesus physically. Next, they began with only showing His back, but never His face. Eventually of course, we all grew up, became more sophisticated and believed there was nothing wrong in portraying Jesus physically. (See sarcasm) By the way, when the theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar first came out, that was also considered blasphemy my many. Now, it is almost accepted as Biblical.

    Just another side note, I’m glad that I remember the days when almost everything on Sunday was closed. And I’m also thankful I remember when even Hollywood wouldn’t portray Jesus physically in the movies. That may seem silly; but I'm just glad I know and remember.

    So in this new movie, Noah, Noah is a man portrayed as even more loving than God. The Creator, rather, is a cruel enemy that only wants to inflict judgment on man. Noah cares for the animals, the earth, and mankind. He wouldn’t dare kill an animal for meat, and he certainly wouldn’t take lives that should be precious…just apparently not precious to the Creator.

    Some may say, “Well so what? I know the truth of the Bible. I just want to enjoy the film.” Great! Enjoy! But I bet you won't. 

    And for me, this is where those sad feelings come from that I experienced this morning. The feelings that led me to write this post in the first place. I simply miss those moments when everything was more simple. I wish the people that choose to see this film could know what I know about the way things used to be. You know, like Grandpa's days...Maybe that's wrong. I guess it probably is. Maybe it's a judgment, in a way, that is all my own.
    Russell Crowe as Noah
    But is this inaccurate movie really something that doesn’t matter?  Yes, we know the Truth, but what about those that don’t know the truth? What about the unsaved that are being misled by this movie? Haven’t we, in part, just undone the Great Commission by supporting something that isn’t true? The Biblical story of the Ark is a Typology of Christ – a foreshadowing of the New Testament in regard to how God saved us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is the Gospel message; the Great Commission which we are commanded to share.  I would say by supporting this movie, we have just undone that…at least to some degree. Wouldn’t you?

    Hmmm; it all makes one wonder if that’s why Hollywood picked on Noah in the first place…

    So, all this rambling just to get us here. Somewhere, sometime, something has to matter…I simply believe keeping Scripture accurate is one.
    For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
                                                 ~ Revelation 22:18-19 KJV


    *The Robe - Cameron Mitchell 1953 - Voice only
    **Disclaimer:  In this post, I am referring only to those movies made in Hollywood apart from a Christian production. Those movies from a Christian production, is for another discussion/post as well as the others I've mentioned. Got lots of those! J


    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Heavenly Peace

    It was a perfect morning...well, as close to perfect as is possible.

    I woke up about 5:00 a.m., actually feeling rested...but I stayed in bed until about 5:30. I got up to make Matt's lunch and as I worked the sunrise slowly made her appearance.  It was so unsual with beautiful fog and cloud formations, that I decided I should walk outside to take a picture. The ground was white and frosty, so my slippers did not get wet. It was magical.

    The horses saw me from the end of the pasture, and watched me, alert, as if trying to decide what I was going to do. Actually, Not "as if"...that is exactly what they were doing. I snapped a few photos, but with my small camera, it was still too dark for them to turn out well.

    The horses decided it wasn't feeding time yet, but still started slowly making their way to the barn.

    I paused for a moment or two, just to take it all in. The air was fresh and crisp. The sunrise was changing quickly as it does this time of year. As I started my way back to the house, I noticed there was fresh snow in the mountains. Goodness, I love it here, I thought to myself. It was so still and quiet...my own little piece of heaven.

    As I came back in, Matt called me from the back of the house..."Hey, Mom, check your email."
    My Heavenly Piece
    I knew there would be something special. So I turned on the computer and finished filling his thermos as I waited for the computer to load.

    This was what I found:

    Certain talent always makes me cry when I hear it...this was one. I hope you will take a moment to listen. It's a bit early, I know. But I have always believed Christmas carols are for year around. And it really isn't that early.

    Don't forget to listen to the words....I mean, really listen.

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

    Thank A Vet!

    We all know Veteran's Day is approaching, and I am sure most of understand and celebrate the meaning behind Veteran's Day.

    November 11, 1918, began the armistice - a temporary cessation of hostilities by mutual consent* - of World War I. It was the “truce" between the Allied nations and Germany which interestingly took place on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. But the "Great War" (World War I) didn’t officially end until June 28, 1919.

    Thus it was that President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, proclaimed November 11thas Armistice Day.
    "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
    However it wasn’t until June 4, 1926, that the date was officially and formally observed by the United States Congress:
    Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

    Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

    Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
    In 1938, the 11th of November became an annual,legal holiday known as "Armistice Day."

    Though Armistice Day was originally enacted to honor veterans of World War I, after World War II, veterans groups urged Congress to include all veterans in this act. Therefore in 1954, the word "Armistice" was replaced with the word "Veterans” ensuring the inclusion of all vets. Officially, June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

    Things get a bit convoluted when in 1968 a bill (The Uniform Holiday Bill) was signed to orchestrate a three day weekend for federal employees. Four national holidays were targeted now to be changed to Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.

    I remember the controversy this change created. Many thought (and I am one) the change would cause history to become distorted and the real meaning of the holiday to be changed or forgotten. Some states honored the change while some did not.

    With this change, Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25th for the first time.  Because of the confusion the new date brought between the states there were  new, valid concerns. Some believed the original meaning of the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month would now be forgotten.
    Our battle-worn flag charges forward,    
    thanks to those who have served.
    Due to these concerns, President Gerald R. Ford signed law to return the observance of Veterans Day back to its original date of November 11, to begin in 1978. Ford found overwhelming favor among veterans and the majority of Americans with this law.

    Veteran’s Day observance now coincides with the date in history it began, not only preserving the historical significance and meaning, but also allowing us to honor patriots of all war s who  fought and died to preserve our freedom.

    Though I have a loved one who has served in each of the major wars, this year, I have chosen a photo to honor those form the Viet Nam War.
    “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
     And that is only one of the reasons we need Veteran's Day.


    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Peering Over the Fence- One Last Thank You

    I bought my third copy of American Sniper, a few days ago.  That seems excessive, I know.  And it most likely is. I certainly didn’t need it. I had already bought a copy for my own personal library and then I bought one to lend. But now, the publishers have released a Memorial Edition with an additional 80 pages of memories from friends, family and co-workers of Chief Chris Kyle. I wanted to read those memorials, for sure; but I also simply wanted to support the book. As I said before Chris Kyle is an American hero, and he is my hero, I simply believe in supporting the statement he has made in writing his book. In a nation, that often makes heroes of actors, singers, and athletes that are not worthy of hero status, I believe in supporting one when we finally find one worthy of that honor.

    If you are looking for perfection in a hero, you will not find it in Chris Kyle.  But for that matter, (of course we all know) we won’t find perfection in any man or woman.  But that is not what heroes are about. We are not making “gods” of heroes or putting them on some pedestal from which they can fall.  They most certainly will fall. But rather, heroes are about honoring a job well done, heroes are about respecting some one who isn’t afraid to stand for what they believe, but most of all heroes are about leading by example and causing us to see we can be better, too. We can excel, we can be exceptional, we can, in spite of our faults, aspire to something higher. Heroes are about making ourselves better; every nation needs that.

    So that said, I simply find that in Chris Kyle. I have written about him before which you can read here.  I am not sorry I bought the Memorial Edition of his book. There are so many lessons in just those 80 extra pages that his friends wrote. It absolutely amazed me what could be drawn from each letter:  The importance of family; the fight for our nation; that others should come before ourselves; that even all of that is in vain without our Savior and Lord Who will always get us through, but not necessarily out of our circumstances.

    I wanted to single out and write down each lesson from each letter – as I said there is a valuable lesson in each. But obviously for space, I can’t do that. However, I did write it down it for myself. And it is easy to see there is a common thread woven throughout each letter. I decided to highlight those threads. One of the most common and most consistent is Chris’s humility. I love that; humility is something that has always been very important to me. The other is his service to others – Chris Kyle always put others before himself. Chris defended the underdog – always. Finally, he was a man of faith, and knew he could get nowhere without it. He gave credit to the Only One who deserves credit.

    He was very simply a humble and kind-hearted man. He would be the first to admit that he was a man filled with sin and far from perfect. But what his life revealed is he was a man who lived out what he believed. That’s better than some of us. Some of us, as we look down our noses at others in judgment at someone with whom we disagree, totally forget our own “righteousness is as filthy rags”, but not for the blood of Jesus. As we go about looking down on others, we forget to offer a hand up. Chris Kyle always offered that hand, as you will see over and over and over again in these memorials. I am so glad I bought this edition.

    I would say just read the letters, there are so many lessons in each one of those letters.  But I am sure one wouldn’t understand the depth of the lesson in the letter without first getting to know and understand the man. I would say American Sniper should be read in every high school, if not for some of the language used in the book. But don’t let that side-track you from the message he has written with his life. And don't say I didn't warn you; as I said before, he cusses like a sailor on steroids...because he's a SEAL.

    I’ve had many heroes throughout my life, and that is simply because I believe in heroes.  As I have said before, I believe heroes have always held an important role in our society. We have moved away from that, these days, it seems. Though I am old enough to be his parent, I have learned much from the life of Chris Kyle.  And maybe it isn’t even that I have learned so much from his life, but rather that he has validated that which I believe so strongly. Maybe it’s that he encouraged me to believe there are still young people that “get it”. Maybe it’s that he exemplifies the best of what man can do for their fellow man. Maybe it’s simply that he believes what I believe. But he put action to his words, so much better than I ever have. I’m thankful for the hero, I found in Chris Kyle.

    Below, as example without giving too much away of what is written, are some of the lessons others have shared in the Memorial Edition. There are many more worth taking the time to read.

    • From his parents: About Chris - “One who could stand proud, even in defeat, but humble and gentle in victory.” And also from his folks: “He would not allow words to take the place of deeds.”
    • From his wife, Taya: True love is a package deal; the whole sum; good and bad; failures and successes.
    • Chris’s brother: “A guy who was 'wired' to help other people…just a regular guy.”
    • Friend: A true gentleman...in every sense of the word.
    • Marcus Luttrell: “He saved countless lives.” His constant mission – “draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect his brothers.”
    • Businessman: “Being a businessman, I found it hard at first to believe that he gave away all of the money from his book; after spending time with him, I believed it.  His big black ford truck looked pretty cool, but it also had around 150,000 miles and he could not afford to replace it. He was a true American hero.”
    • Sergeant, Dallas Police Department: “He stood ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm.”
    • Co-Author: Regarding the most memorable moments of Chris’s passing “…the sight that is burned into my memory is the long line of faces peering over the fence behind us, people from around the city, the state, and the country, regular folks offering one last thank-you to a man who gave his all to his country, his God, and his family.” (The faces extend far beyond that fence line – I am one of them.)
    • Wife of Ryan Job, Fellow SEAL Wounded in Action: - …one of the few who still came…


    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Comfort Food Day

    It’s a tomato soup day.  I almost woke up craving it. Definitely by the middle of the day, I knew I wanted some.

    I searched the shelves….Oh man, I don’t think I have any. As I searched, I remembered the delicious tomato soup I made in my Vita-mix, last year!  I had forgotten all about it.  I wish I would have remembered to make some when I had all those tomatoes from my garden this summer. Instead, I canned them and made fresh salsa.  I guess I could use some of my canned tomatoes today to make some soup, but I just wanted something fast and easy. I wasn’t feeling well, and I kind of felt like the most I could muster was opening a can and putting it on the stove. 

    I searched a bit more; and there at the very back corner of the kitchen cupboard was a lone can of tomato soup.  Awesome!  Yey!  It even has a flip top!  I didn’t even feel like messing with the can opener today, and I wouldn't have to!

    Sometimes only tomato soup will satisfy; nothing else will do.  I was kind of having one of those days, today; so I was really glad when I found the can.

    Wanting it so badly today, I found it bringing back memories of my youth.  Everyone has grilled cheese and tomato soup days, right?  Well, that was one of my favorite lunches when I was a kid…well even still!  But also as a kid, I liked just having the tomato soup all by itself. I would always add a dollop of butter when the soup was good and hot.  I loved how it melted the butter and it would lie in a ring around the top of my bowl or mug. YUM! 

    Often, when I was a kid, I would add Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup to the Tomato.  It always frustrated my dad when I did this…I think he thought I was taking the noodles, adding it to the tomato, and then just leaving the chicken broth for anyone else that might have wanted the chicken noodle. And what do you know?  I guess I was! Now as an adult, I still like it that way and I still do that sometimes because I don’t have as many hungry mouths to feed.
    Another thing I like to do with my tomato soup is butter a saltine cracker and then place it directly on the top of my bowl of soup to float there. I wait until the butter is nicely melted and then I scoop up the cracker with my spoon to enjoy.

    Breaking up the cracker and crumbling it over the top of my bowl? No, Yucky!  I have never liked that.

    One more thing that I liked to do with my tomato soup when I was little, is take a piece of white bread and remove the crust.  I didn’t waste the crust, I dipped in the soup and butter and ate it that way.  But with the white part of the bread, I rolled it in my hands until it formed a nice firm ball.  I then placed it in the hot soup to saturate the bread with butter and soup. YUM!  Of course, I am much too refined…and uh...mature, to do that now.

    Tomato Soup and Rolled Bread.
    Sounds fancy, doesn't it?
    Some days are just comfort food days…this is one.

    Saturday, October 19, 2013

    Point in Time

    I thought I would recognize him.  I mean the memory is engrained in my mind like it was just yesterday. I loved him so very much!  And he was extremely important to me. It has probably been 55 years since I have seen him; but I was so sure I would know him, again, the minute I saw him.

    I had the idea to “Google” him to see what photos I could find after his name came up in conversation the other day with my mom and my oldest sis.

    “It was Tenny,” I told them, “Because, I couldn’t say Teddy.”  I was probably 2 – 5 years old when Tenny was a big part of my life.

    Odd, you say, to remember something like that? Maybe, but I remember it more clearly than what I had for dinner, oh let’s say, 5 nights ago.

    Tenny was my stuffed teddy bear and I probably named him when I was 2 years old..which is why it became Tenny instead of Teddy.

    “When he came up missing, Mom, I always thought you had taken him away from me because I was so attached to him.”  I reflected as we visited.

    You know; kind of how a parent will take away a toddler's baby blanket, when they got too old to be seen always having it in tow. Yeah, like that.  Well, I always wondered.

    “You actually reasoned that out at 5 years old?!” my sister exclaimed.

    “Yep,” I responded laughing, “I was always a very deep, very thoughtful child."

    “Yes you were," she agreed.
    "I know I was 5 when I lost him, because of where we were living at the time.  I always believed it was either Mom that took him, or that the neighbor girl stole him.” 

    After he came up missing I had seen a bear just like him at the neighbor’s house one day. I told her that he was my bear; but she argued that no, he was hers. I stole him back, and then she stole him back from me, one more time. That was the end of Tenny - or his identical twin, if indeed the little neighbor girl was telling the truth.

    I never saw him again. But I always wondered about his demise.

    After doing some reminiscing a bit the other day, as I mentioned, I decided to “Google” “photos of teddy bears from the 1950’s”.  Holy Cow!  I didn’t expect to see so many photos…I thought he would be easy to find.  He wasn’t!

    Ha!  That’s a whole lot of photos.  I’m having a hard time identifying him.  This is exactly what his nose looked like; I always remembered it was plastic or rubber.

    This is so close, wrong color, though, his nose doesn't appear to be plastic, and something else isn't quite right.

    In this photo, I can clearly see his disposition….I mean if a stuffed bear could have a disposition, this is clearly it.
    <------Now this photo totally sparked a memory.  I think this might have been the type of two-tone body that he had…could have sworn he was all one color though…the more I look, the more confused I get. Definitely, isn’t him, though; Tenny was always smiling…always.

    I totally remember this little guy.  I think my sister had him…Anyone, remember this one??------>

    Now see this little guy, below; right next to the two-tone guy….That, I believe, is the color he was...with the darker body and lighter hands and feet. We are definitely getting close here…if only his nose was rubber! But no, I'm sure this bear is too small.

    I don’t know, I thought I would recognize his mouth anywhere! Maybe this is what his nose and mouth looked like instead....No, definately not him. 

    Oh well!  I will keep looking… I want my Tenny!

    Ha!  Pretty sure I remember saying those same words at another point in time!
    Ok, I am having waayyyyyy toooo much fun, since I lost my job, autumn has arrived and my work load has diminished.  But no worries, it’s only for this point in time.





    Friday, October 18, 2013

    History Belongs

    “History belongs to those who write.” I can't remember who said it, probably a Communist or something, but the truth is in this statement just the same.

    In fact, there is a whole lot of truth in that statement. And it makes sense, doesn’t it?  I mean if we are going to keep history intact, and correct, it must be written down. Think about it; every accurate piece of history we have comes from the written word.  The first and most obvious example would be the Holy Bible, wouldn’t it?

    But this post isn’t about that beloved Book, this time.  This post is about correcting fallacies that seem to be merging in slowly becoming “truth”. I’m not going to write about any big, life changing, societal events. This post will deal with “local” truth, that in the whole scheme of things really doesn’t matter very much; but it matters to me.

    I had to attend a meeting last night.  I have attended many meetings like this, not always for the same cause. As examples, some of the meetings I have attended have been school board meetings, homeowner association meetings, land management meetings, home school meetings, or church Sunday school meetings, just to name a few.

    Almost always, without fail, at any of these meetings I attend, I am the only “native” present. That shouldn’t really be any big surprise, the influx of people into this area over the last 40 years, almost ensures that there will be more people at the meeting that have moved into the area, rather than any that have been here for a few generations. 

    The majority of people with whom I associate are not from this area.  The neighborhood I live in consists almost 100% of people that are not originally from the state of my birth. The church I attend probably has a 10 to 1 ratio of people from out of state as opposed to those that were born and raised here. That shouldn’t come as any surprise, either, as I attend a “denomination” that had beginnings in another state. Those from that state that have moved here naturally gravitate there when they seek out a church after they arrive. 

    I say, "Welcome!".  I love my church, the people that attend there, and I love my neighborhood and the many new friends that I associate with in my life. Many feel God brought them here, and I have no doubt that He did.  There is no better quality of life and place to raise a family than right here where we live. God wants the best for us and He wants the best for our families.

    That being said, however, I have never (and I mean NEVER) attended one of these meetings when some type of incorrect fact about our area didn’t come up in conversation. There are many incorrect beliefs floating around in the sea of local history here that simply are not true.

    I will list a few, beginning with the rumor I hear most often. It is the one that I heard last night at the meeting I attended, which then led me to write this blog post with thoughts I have reflected on for so long and so often.

    “Yeah it was scary when I first moved here. All the people here, had signs posted up on their property saying, ‘Enter at your own risk.’ Or ‘Keep out, or I will shoot!’.” 

    "The properties and people look like something out of Deliverance!”

    Yes, I have heard reference to that movie in regard to the natives that live here, over and over and over!  I actually sat through a meeting one time, when a woman present, told everyone there that “people in North Idaho were all inbred and not all there" [meaning mentally]. Now, one hears things like that from time to time, and one mostly would believe that it is joked about in anger or some dissatisfaction. But oh, my goodness!  I could see this woman really believed it! Bless her! It really made me question the tales I have heard regarding this kind of comment in respect to other areas across our nation. I don’t know about that, but I do know it is not true here!

    I didn’t say anything that time at that meeting.  Most of the time I don’t say a word, realizing it would most likely be futile. People want to believe these things, it seems.  It has been propagated enough now, that it has pretty wide acceptance.

    I sat in a meeting one time, when a woman lamented the fact that no one here knows how to drive on a freeway.  “They put their brakes on, on the freeway!” she exclaimed shaking her head.  I kept quiet.  I wanted to say, “How do you know they are natives?”  With the huge arrival of people in the last few decades, odds are in the favor of it being someone that is originally from out of state.  I mean think about it if the population was 30,000 (county) in the 1960’s when the growth was just beginning, and it is almost 150,000 in 2013, who do you suppose you are most likely honking at!  (see chart below) And with that kind of ratio, who do you think is most likely (considering the odds), honking at you?”
    Kootenai County has experienced exceptionally strong population growth since the 1970s. From 1997 to 2007, its population grew 34 percent from 100,108 to 134,442, while Idaho's population grew 22 percent and the U.S. population grew 11 percent. The county’s spectacular scenery, outdoor recreational opportunities, proximity to urban amenities, and high quality of life continue to draw new residents. Strong population growth shapes many aspects of the county's economy. The county seat, Coeur d'Alene, had a population of 42,300 in 2007. The population of larger cities are:  Post Falls, 25,400; Hayden, 12,600; and Rathdrum, 6,600. Kootenai County is closely tied to its Washington neighbor, Spokane County, with a population of 460,000.”1
    The first meeting I attended like this with the majority of people being from out of state, would have been in the mid ‘70’s. Now that has been some time ago, and I don’t even remember what the meeting was about, but I remember laughing, when someone pointed out that I was the only “native” in the room. Everyone got quite a kick out of it, laughing and joking that they finally met a native.  Now that was probably the very first time someone told me, that I am the only “native” they have ever met, but it certainly wasn’t the last.  In fact, it is now a refrain I hear quite often.

    While most of the time I don’t say anything in a meeting like this, last night I could not keep quiet. When someone was going on and on about how scary the signs and people were, I had to respond.

    “I’m sorry, you guys, but those people are most likely not natives.” And I proceeded to give a little history.  “We had a great many people start coming here in the late 60’s and early 70’s during the “hippy movement”.  People were coming here for the isolation, and ability to hide from authority.  Those people you are talking about most likely were not inbred natives, but left-over hippies protecting their ‘grow’!”

    I had an Avon route in the early ‘70’s which in part included the Hoodoo Valley. I know the people that were there (and it wasn’t very many!). But this is the area most people like to point to about the “scary in-breds”. Most of them probably don’t even know where the Hoodoo Valley is, but as I said rumors propagate themselves and they have heard it so they restate it. The truth is however, most of these isolated areas drew a lot of people that wanted to escape, and/or grow their marijuana without being found.

    That’s not to say “natives” haven’t posted signs warning people to stay off their property. Heck, I have thought about doing that myself.  But the stories that go along with “the scary natives and the threatening signs” simply are not true.

    I want to share one more quick, story about this battle between natives and those that have “immigrated” here.  One evening as my family camped, I was sitting around a campfire with friends quietly listening to the men talk.  The conversation came up about construction in the area as this was the profession of these two men. They both had some obvious disdain for one of the builders in the area, with whom they both had worked.  They carried on a while about him and it mostly wasn’t very nice. I knew the man well, but kept quiet. I also knew his reputation; some of their discussion may have been warranted.  But, I couldn’t keep silent any longer, when one of the men said something like: “He’s just another native that hates Californians.” 

    “Guys!” I exclaimed. “Hold on!”  This man isn’t a native! In fact, he is a Californian himself and he came here in 1968! His daughter is one of my best friends.”

    Needless to say that stopped the conversation. I share this story, because believe me when I say this, there are as many Californians bashing the Californians that come here as there are "natives" doing the bashing. I’ve heard it! But for the record, I don’t care!

    The truth of the matter is, we all just want the best quality of life we can possibly have, and when someone comes and tries to change all that, or brings destruction to our community, we cry out.  And well we should!  But it isn’t a matter of “native” verses “out-of-stater”. I see it more as a matter of protector verses destroyer. Most of us want to protect! As do every one of my neighbors in the meeting I attended last night.

    The influx of people here really began in the late 60’s and early 70’s as I said. It increased exponentially when the big resort was built down town in 1986 due to nationwide advertising and promotion bringing more attention to the area.  The big amusement park north, built in 1988 brought even more people, also due to their nationwide advertising which of course brought more visitors that eventually came to stay. Nothing out of line there, every state across the nation is growing, including the states people are leaving.

    Neither, am I so much looking through rose-colored glasses at the place of my birth in so much that I believe it is a place of perfection, or a Garden of Eden.  (Well, almost!)  Obviously, as any city across the nation we have blights on our history. One such example would be the stories of Satanism and witches that were said to be found in the little town of Rathdrum. Now while some of these stories got way out of hand and built up to untruths, there is of course partial truth in this particular rumor. Again, these were not locals, but rather people that came here for the isolation. In my early adult years, I had always heard the stories, as had my dad. As a young woman often traveling alone at night due to working a swing shift, my dad armed me with a revolver to keep in my car for my protection. We didn’t know how many of the rumors we heard were true, but we wanted to be careful. Again, it was mostly hearsay, but I do know there was an element of truth.  Imagine how surprised I was when watching Johnny Carson late one night, in the early ‘70’s, he had as his guest a “witch”. When Johnny asked her where her headquarters was, she calmly answered, “Rathdrum, Idaho”. 

    I also worked with a man in Spokane who had been actively involved in Satanism. He had since been “born again.” And though, I no longer remember his name, I remember his long hair and dark beard; his peaceful countenance and his joy at now serving the Lord after going through all he had been through.  I remember our deep conversations as we worked on an assembly line that didn’t require a whole lot of thought or attention. He assured me that the covens in this area were “beastial covens” and not covens that sacrificed humans as was the rumor of the day. And yes! I know! That’s bad enough! But the "devil worshippers" were a very small number of people that succeeded in getting a whole lot of attention.

    I want to make mention of another blight on our area, which of course most people are aware; and that is the neo-Nazis that made their home and had a compound at Hayden, Idaho. Again, these were not locals, but rather people that came here for the isolation and accentuated freedom we have here due to limited laws and “red tape”.  Again, this was something highly exaggerated because it made news! And a political agenda could be created from it as well. Yes! That makes news! They were no where near the force reported, simply a small band of people that were highly confused. Mostly they were young men that were recruited, because of a lack of home life and firm foundation. They were looking for a place to belong and they found it with Richard Butler in the manner much like any cult finds their devotees.  I worked with a couple of these young men in the mid ‘80’s. They were both from Ohio, as were also some of the other members.

    They were lost young men, but they were always kind to me at work. “I would like you better if you had blue eyes,” one said to me at work one day. I became a bit concerned when they found my phone number and called me one night. But they never bothered me again. After hearing their oft quoted motto “rape, pillage and plunder” I was thankful they knew we didn’t see eye to blue eye and neither of them ever called me again.

    I worked down town, when the neo-Nazis took credit for a bombing at the Federal building in downtown Coeur d’Alene.  My place of employment was just a block away, and I was at work when the explosion went off.  I remember my boss going outside to look and then she called me to look, too. The damage was minimal. A corner of the building had some rock blown out of the foundation. I had a good lesson in yellow journalism that night when I watched the news and they reported the atrocity of it all and the incredible damage. I don’t know how they did it, but the photography and video they used succeeded in making it look like it had been a massive explosion. I was shocked, because it just didn’t look like that in real life. And yes! I know! That’s still bad enough. But this small group of rebels certainly didn’t warrant the nation wide attention they received and for as many years as they received it.

    I have one more important event that took place here in Idaho that I feel is worth mentioning. It certainly wasn’t any kind of “blight” on our history as the aforementioned, but rather it was a sad time that forever changed things. And that is the Sunshine Mine Disaster in 1972.  Ninety-one men lost their lives that day in a community of only a few thousand. That’s radical. They were daddies and brothers, husbands and sons. They were the men that were the foundation of that community. Of course this loss reverberated across that county and into the next. We all felt it.  We all lost someone, or were close to someone that did. It was our own personal 9/11 and it affected the communities much the same way 9/11 affected our nation years later. People grieved. Families were broken; understandably sadness took over. Depression, both mental and economic was a way of life for awhile. Obviously, it didn’t take any exceptional astuteness to feel the cloud that covered the valley. Some that were new to the area might not have understood it; but I can guarantee they felt it! However the people in that little community are strong and they rebuilt!  They overcame and that community honors, annually, those that they lost. When looked at in context of what happened, those people are an incredible source of pride for those of us that lived with them through that disaster. Those that were here during that time have not even an iota of disdain for a “less than perfect life” as erroneously explained by some. I will always correct any false assumptions in regard to this tragedy.

    All cities and locales have things like what I have written about in their background; it isn’t anything unique here. We are not some low level place which breeds atrocities – quite the opposite!  We have a far better quality of life and fewer issues than most places. That is why so many come here. May they all grow to love it and respect it like the majority of us do!

    There’s my soapbox…it became quite a bit more intense than I thought it would when I began writing this morning. I have lots of passion for this subject. It’s my home, it’s my roots; I want things accurate. I wonder how many will even make it through the length of this post. J Oh, well!

    This isn’t an attack on anyone moving here from someplace else. It really isn’t! Like I said most of the people with whom I now associate and have contact (other than my family) are not from here. Of the people that read this blog, I would say only 3 are natives. So no, I certainly don’t have any criticism for those that came from someplace else. I am glad each and everyone is here.  I married a Californian.  I like to joke my son is a “half-breed”.  I hope people can see the humor in that. I simply want to make an attempt, as small as it might be - I really don’t have a great number of people that read this blog – at setting and keeping the record straight. After all, I am a firm believer in the fact that “History belongs to those that write.”
    1 http://lmi.idaho.gov/Default.aspx?TabID=2201&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

    Historical populations
    Est. 2012
    U.S. Decennial Census[6]
    County Census...1960 - 29,556      2012 - 142,357   Wow!!  Who do you think is honking at you?? ;-)