Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Great North American Bison

On Thursday, my friends and I went to Cheyene, Wyoming to enjoy the day.  One of the fun things that we did was to tour Terry Bison Ranch.  This ranch has approximately 27,500 acres.  It is a ranch that offers cattle drives, horseback rides, fishing, and an area called "kid corral" (this is where the kids can ride ponys, practice roping and play horseshoes).

Another activity is riding the train into the pasture to experience the "great North American Bison". We boarded a train and rode out into an open field.  There were approximately 75 buffaloes and their calves waiting for the train.  They knew the passengers would be carrying sacks of large pellets to feed them.  The owners of the ranch want people to be able to get up close and personal to the bison. The bison would approach the train and stick out their long tongue for the pellet.  The tongue is very smooth, but very wet.

During the early 1800's, there was an estimated 30 to 60 million bison roaming North America.  After the slaughters of the bison, there was approximately 1,100 that survived.  Currently, there are about 500,000 bison that roam the great plains.

The bison was important to the American Indian.  The bison's hide was used as a blanket to keep them warm and the hide was also used to make their tepees.  The Indians used the meat for food and the bones for tools.  The buffalo were an inspiration to the Indians on how to live their lives.

The American Bison stand some 5 to 6.5 feet tall and can weigh over 1,000 pounds.  They eat 1/3 less than cattle,  they only need to drink every 3 days, they are very fast, and are disease free.  The giant mound of fur on their heads is called a cape, and they can flip it forward so it acts as a snowplow in deep snow.

If you ever have the opportunity to try a Buffalo Burger, please do.  Buffalo/bison meat is similar to beef, but much less fatty and very tender when cooked correctly.

There is something about the west that has always intrigued me.  The American Bison plays a big part in the early movement of the settlers from the East to the West Coast.  They almost became extinct, but the herds continued to grow and to roam North America.

The American Bison should be a symbol to me. I should not give up even when someone is trying to knock me down. I should continue to stand tall and to continue persevering.  I will be given hope and a new direction to continue my journey, such as the great "Bison".

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Yesterday was the day that I stepped out of my comfort zone.  One would say that I am a "city girl" and not a "country girl".

My friends and I took on the challenge of hiking one of the paths on Horsetooth Mountain.  The mountain is nestled in the foothills west of Fort Collins, Colorado.  According to local legend, Horsetooth Rock is the remains of an evil giant's heart cut in two by the powerful Chief Maununmoku, thus protecting his people from the giant's wrath.  There are 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.   The path we chose was a 2.4 mile round trip to the waterfall.

We began the hike energetic and ready to seize the day.  It was noon, sunny and about 95 degrees. There were other hikers there as well.

After walking about 30 minutes, we began to wonder how much further was the waterfall. We were getting tired from the walking and the sun beating down on us.  As other hikers passed us, we asked how much further and they said "they didn't know, this was their first time to hike this trail."  We were all new in hiking this trail.

Like many goals in life, we took the challenge of "going and not knowing".  We persevered through the path that at times was rugged and strenuous in areas.

About thirty minutes later, we finally reached the waterfall to see that it was only a dribble.  Since it was the middle of July, the waterfall had dried up.  We were disappointed, but excited that we had made the 1.2 hike through the mountain.

We took a break and enjoyed the shaded area.  After resting, we were able to make the hike back to the parking lot.

This will be an experience that we will always remember and in years ahead, we will laugh about about the hike and the trickling waterfall.

Sometimes we just need to step out of our comfort zone and do something different. You will be surprised of how it can give you a better attitude in enjoying each day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

After the Storm

Monday evening, I was headed to the Denver airport to pick up my friends, Rita & Ruthie.  They were flying in from Dallas and Austin. As I was driving south on I-25, a storm blew through. Fortunately, I was in a big truck because the wind was blowing and the sky was black and it began to rain.  The storm passed through quickly.   As I got through the storm and was turning east on the toll road, a double rainbow appeared.  I was in awe of the the beautiful colors and the double rainbow.

Of course, I googled double rainbows and found out that "while a primary rainbow is visible when light is reflected once off the back of a raindrop, a secondary and usually dimmer rainbow is spotted when light is reflected twice in a more complicated pattern.  The colors of the second rainbow are inverted, with blue on the outside and red moved to the inside."

Our surroundings are so majestic.

Seeing the rainbow brought to mind the story of Noah in the book of Genesis.

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.  Never again will the water become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13-16

The promise of the rainbow reminds us of God's faithfulness.

The storming rain and the rainbow reminds me of life and the trials and tribulations that we go through.  As you go through difficulties, know that God is there and He is helping you through those times.  He is faithful and He does have a plan for your life.

I will end with these lyrics.  "Someday I'll wish upon a star.  Wake up where the clouds are far behind me.  Where trouble melts like lemon drops.  High above the chimney top.  That's where you'll find me.  Somewhere over the rainbow."  These words were sung by Judy Garland for the movie "The Wizard of Oz."  

As you follow the road of life, your rainbow will be waiting for you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Break Away from the Routine

I am sitting here this morning, planning out my day by making my to do list.  I am getting ready for my friends, Ruthie & Rita, who are flying in this afternoon.  I need to wash clothes, water plants, go to the store, and bake cookies.

All of the sudden, I remember where I was a week ago today.  I was sitting on the swing at the beach house drinking coffee, looking out at the Gulf of Mexico and watching the sunrise.

I picture my legs walking on the sand and feeling the surf as it runs across my feet.  I walk slowly as the sun was rising, picking up seashells that the tide had brought in.   Most of the seashells were broken, yet some shells were whole, having survived the crashing of the waves.

I had no worries for the day, no to do list.  Is it only a week ago?

My life is such a routine.  But I need a routine, to be able to accomplish tasks throughout the day.  If I just got up every morning with nothing to do, I would do nothing.  Nothing accomplishes nothing!

It is good for the spirit "to break away from the routine".   To spread our wings like the seagulls, and to fly with the wind.

Breaking away allows me to get out of my box and remove the blinders that cover my eyes.  So often, I feel that I do have blinders on, and I don't see beyond a few inches.  It feels good to see beyond the horizon and to dream.   Without dreams, we can't move beyond a certain spot.  Dreams are what gives us life and growth.  Dreams lift us out of routine into living!

Allow yourself to get out of your routine.  Once you do this, your routines will flow so much smoother and you will have a joy that will keep you going!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Building Sandcastles

It was a great week with my family and seeing friends.  It was a nice break.   Seven days without WIFI and cell phone usage.   Now back to reality.

It was very relaxing to listen to the surf, soak up the sun, and play in the sand.  I love to build and design a sandcastle.  I don't know why, but I just love putting my hands in the sand and feeling the grit.  No one wants to assist me with the castle.  They just enjoy watching me.

I always build my sandcastle away from the surf.  This way I don't have to worry about the surf destroying my castle.  I work on the castle every day that I am at the beach, adding on different designs.  I have a bucket of tools that I work with.  I use various molds to utilize in my design

I just sit down in the sand and I begin to create.  I don't have any blueprints.  I just allow the mood of the moment to move me.  Every year my sandcastles are different.  I start out by reconstructing last years sandcastle, but then something happens and I begin to construct something totally different.

As I design the castle, my senses take over.  I hear the waves coming in and hear the seagulls and feel the sun on my back.  There is something about creating something from scratch.  You allow your personality to take over and you feel free to create.  There is no rhyme or reason or right or wrong.

Most of my life is very structured in what I do on a daily basis.  Designing without a plan and no one instructing me in what to do allows my free spirit to create.

This year's sandcastle started out one way, but after an hour or so, I decided the design was not good, so I began to begin walls with an opening and a moat around it.  By the second day, I began to construct towers on top of the wall and around the wall.  Third day, I began to collect seashells and made mosaic walls for the castle. Then I began to add moldings of dolphins, octopus, fishes, seahorses, etc.

On my last day on the beach, I felt as if I had created a masterpiece.  It was Denise's masterpiece. Accomplishing something does make me feel successful.  This is something that I need to remember as I handle daily tasks.  Take the assignment, do my best and allow my spirit to create!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

No WIFI at the Beach!

Yesterday was a great day at the beach!  Friends from Houston came to visit, as well as another friend who is doing her intern at UTMB in Galveston.

This morning I began my morning by watching the sunrise and then walking down the beach to see what sea shells came to shore during the night.  The beach is another "quiet place".   As I walked through the water and felt the sand in between my toes, I prayed for my family and friends and prayed for peace and strength for the day.

Back at the beach house, the family got ready to head to the beach to conquer the waves.  As my great-nephew and myself were riding the waves, he told me that he loved the beach because you could experience all your senses.

You can touch the sand; hear the waves; taste the salt from the water; see the pelicans, sandpipers & seagulls; smell the surroundings; and feeling the wind and water against your body.  Out of the mouth of babes.

I thought that is so true.  We sometimes forget to enjoy the senses that God has given us.  The beach is a great place to get back in touch with life & to get in tuned with your surroundings.

At the beach house, there is no WIFI and limited cell phone usage.  Yikes!  It is time to unplug and to get back to experiencing our senses and to enjoy being a kid.  So I am enjoying building sand castles, riding the waves, getting some Vitamin-D on my body and just allowing myself to let go and enjoying what God has created.

I challenge you to unplug and to get in tuned with your senses!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Galveston Island

My travels continued on Saturday morning. My sister and I drove from Dallas to Waco, to pick up my parents, and then we headed to Galveston for a family vacation.

We looked like the "Beverly Hillbillies" driving down the road.  The van was packed with luggage on top.   Inside, there was my sister, my parents, my two nephews, myself & more luggage.

As we proceeded down the road, we were hit with many road blocks.  A trip that normally would have taken 4 1/2 hours, took almost six hours.

One road was closed & we had to detour in another direction to get to Interstate 45, which would take us to Galveston.  Because we did not have internet service, we weren't able to pull up google map.  Thankfully my sister had her old faithful paper map in the glove compartment.  As we approached Houston, there were signs saying "I-45 is closed in the downtown area".  Fortunately, I had lived in Houston, so I was able to take an alternate route.

About 5 pm, we finally crossed over the bridge into Galveston.  We saw the ocean & we knew we had arrived.  We drove straight to one of our favorite restaurants, Benno's, to enjoy hush puppies, french fries, and fried shrimp.

After dinner, we headed to the beach house with the ocean front view to unload.   After unloading, we were able to walk the beach and enjoy a beautiful sunset.  This was a great ending to a very stressful day.

For those who are not familiar with Galveston, here is a little history.

Galveston is an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas about 30 miles south of Houston.  It has a population of approximately 47,800.  The city served as the main port for the Texas Navy during the Texas Revolution, and later served as the capital of the Republic of Texas.

During the 19th century, Galveston became one of the largest ports in the United States.  It was devastated by the 1900 Galveston Hurricane.  The natural disaster on the exposed barrier island is still ranked as the deadliest in United States history, with an estimated toll of 8,000 people.

Galveston Island is a family favorite vacation due to its  32 miles of beautiful Gulf beaches. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Where Is Your Quiet Place?

This morning as I woke up in Dallas, Texas and walked into the kitchen to grab my coffee and the newspaper, I noticed the headlines.  "Ambush, 11 officers shot; 4 dead".  My heart began to grieve for the family and friends of these officers that were shot and for the ones that were killed.

I knew I needed to go to my "quiet and place" and to pray for each of these families.  Everyone is asking, "what is happening to our society?"  Everybody has an answer.  I feel that people have lost all respect for mankind.  As I go to the dictionary, Webster says that respect is "a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.; a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way; and a particular way of thinking about or looking at something."

As a society, we no longer respect individuals for their own opinions and we no longer respect people for who they are.  None of us have the same DNA, so none of us are going to think exactly the same way.  God created us with a "free will" and a "free mind".  There are a lot of people that I don't agree with, but I still love them for who they are.

We each need to have our "quiet place" to be still and to listen as God whispers.  He is wanting us to have a gentle spirit, to be kind to one another, and to love and to respect others.  We all have a free will and it is up to us in deciding which path we will choose.

Take the time to find your "quiet place".  A place that you can go when your heart grieves for someone or for a situation.  In those quiet times, you can lift up those concerns and you will begin to feel the spirit as it feels you with the wisdom and insight that you need.  Your "quiet place" can also be a place where you are also happy and just need to rejoice.

"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him."  Deuteronomy 30:20

Here is a picture of my sister's "quiet place".  It is her backyard where she has planted various flowers and plants. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Leaving On A Jet Plane....

This morning I headed to the airport to fly to Dallas, Texas.  I love airports and I love to fly.  Most of my friends and family would be happy to never set foot in another airport or airplane.  I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the airport.  There is always something happening.

I remember my first flight.  I was 20 years old and I was flying from Dallas, Texas to Washington, D.C. to visit family and friends.  Even though I was anxious, I loved every minute of it.  I still have the photos from that first flight.

One wonders what went through the minds of Orville and Wilbur Wright as they flew the world's first successful airplane?  What were they thinking?

Maybe the one reason that I enjoy flying is that I love to travel.  When you travel, you are discovering new places and meeting new people.  There is always a new story to hear or a new adventure happening.

As you are sitting in the plane and looking out of the plane seeing that panoramic view from 35,000 feet in the air and traveling at about 575 mph, you begin to see and understand the greatness that God has created.  In the winter, to fly over the Rocky Mountains and see the snow packed mountains, you are in awe of the beauty.

A perfect flight is having a smooth flight with no turbulence or no crying children or talkative people around you.  I do enjoy the quietness of the flight and just being still.  I have discovered that I read more books when I fly because of the quietness and flight-time.  There is also the enjoyment of when the plane hits the tarmac and you know you have arrived safely.

Yes, there are those flights that are delayed because of weather or maintenance and you have to sit around the airport all day.  During those times, I have met some interesting folks.  I have had to learn that I am not in control and circumstances happen.

As I head to the airport, I am always thinking or humming "Leaving on a jet plane, all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..."  This song was written by John Denver in 1966 and was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary.  And here we are 50 years later, still singing "Leaving on a jet plane..."

Flying has opened up a brand new world for me.  It definitely has allowed me to "step out and to shine through".

The next time your flight is delayed, try to relax and meet someone new.  You never know what new story could come out of that delay.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

May the Wind Be With You!

Today was one of those windy days.  As I looked out upon the wetland area, the wind was blowing the cattails in a very slow, steady motion.  As you watched the motion, you almost felt as if you were in the ocean and the waves were pushing you to shore.

My day was like that slow motion with a push from the wind.  As I am trying to get ready to head to Texas for the next 10 days, I felt like the wind was pushing me all day in moving me to prepare for the trip.

As I am trying to pack, I am also trying to get the house in order. As soon as I get back, I will have two friends that will be visiting me and they have never been to my home.  I want to make sure that everything is in order.

I have been working all day, washing clothes; changing sheets; finishing some work projects; cleaning out the fridge, etc.  It has been a steady flow, but consistent, just like the wind blowing through the cattails.

Our lives are like the wind.  As long as we have the sun, we will have wind.  Wind is caused by air flowing from high pressure to low pressure.  It is the wind that causes the windmill to spin.  Years ago the windmill was used to pump water or to mill grain.

As individuals we need the wind to keep us going, to give us the energy that we need to complete our tasks.

Robert Louis Stevenson knew how important the wind is.  He even wrote a poem titled, "The Wind".

So I am thankful that my day was a windy day because that is what kept me going and helped me to complete all my tasks and to pack my bags for my new adventure.

May the wind give you the energy that you need for your day!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


This morning I took my friend, Linda, to the airport.  I hate goodbyes, but I have learned it is part of the process of life.  My parent's divorced when I was young and I hated it when my dad would come pick my sister and I up for the weekend.  I always dreaded Sundays when he took us back to my mom's.  I was an emotional wreck.

It took many years, but I learned to get in touch with my emotions.  I did begin to understand that goodbyes didn't mean that I would never see my dad again.  It meant that I wouldn't see him everyday, but I would see him.

This quote sums it up:  "Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end.  They simply mean I'll miss you, until we meet again."

So Linda "goodbye", until we meet again!  In the meantime, I will treasure our friendship & memories that we have built!

Monday, July 4, 2016

I Love America!

This morning as I woke up and I could smell the brisket that had been cooking for the past 9 hours, the first word that came to mind was "freedom".  It is Independence Day and I thought that was appropriate.

What is freedom?  Webster said "Freedom is the liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another: independence".  Those words are so true.  I have talked with a lot of people from other countries that did not have the freedom to do what they wanted to do or have the freedom of speech, etc.  They came to this country so that could achieve success in education and have the freedom to select the job that they wanted to succeed at.  I have also spoken to individuals who have grown up in the USA and they did not have the freedom to do what they wanted to even within their own household, but they overcame that obstacle and succeeded as well.

So as I enjoy today, I will reflect on what Independence Day means.  July 4th commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  The Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.

As you are enjoying family, picnics, firework shows..., thank God for your freedom!

The verse that comes to mind is:  "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.  From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth."  Psalms 33:13-14.  God Bless America!

I will end with these words that my friend Rick loves to say "I Love America"!  Rick, I love America as well!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Another Beautiful Day!

A great day was spent at Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  

Estes Park is a town located outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.  It is a very popular summer resort.  There are shops, restaurants and more shops.

Rocky Mountain National Park is in the north-central region of the state of Colorado.  The park features majestic mountain views, mountain lakes, a variety of wildlife(such as elk, moose, eagles, big horn sheep, etc.), climate change(being at 60 degrees at 8,000 ft to 48 degrees at 12,000 ft) from wooded forests to mountain tundra.  The park was established in January 1915 and last year celebrated 100 years.

If you have never been to a National Park, you need to add one to your list.  National Parks do  tell the story of our great country and helps you to get in touch with nature.
I have attached 3 photos from today to show you what you are missing.  


Saturday, July 2, 2016

America the Beautiful

My friend, Linda, and I have enjoyed the day by going to the movies and then taking a walk around the lake, which is only about 3 miles from my house.  July 4th is in two days, but everyone is beginning to celebrate.  At the lake, people were fishing, water-skiing, picnicking or just enjoying a casual walk.

There are sculptures that are displayed around the lake.  One of my favorites is a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.  Linda and I were able to capture a photo of the statue with the American flag behind it.  Another sculpture is children walking across a log.  These sculptures and the Rocky Mountains in the background made me think of the song, "America the Beautiful".  I can hear the tune, "for spacious skies; for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain!  America! America!  God shed His grace on thee....."

We ended the evening sitting on the balcony with the coolness in the air,and watched the neighborhood fireworks.  As the beautiful red, white and blue lights lit up the sky, I thought of the soldiers who have fought and died for my freedom.

As we celebrate this July 4th weekend, may we thank God for our country and our freedom.  God bless America!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Stop & Explore

How many times have you passed a place(a park, a store, etc.) thinking I would love to stop and explore?  Normally, you are in a hurry, you need to be somewhere or you just don't have the time.

Today, was the day that I pulled into the parking lot of the "Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area" with my friend, Linda.  I looked at Linda and said "We are going exploring today."

The trail is 2.4 miles one way.  It is a shortgrass prairie landscape.  Drylands and wetlands provide habitat to a variety of plants and animals.  The pathway connects to two other parks.

Linda and I and two bicyclists were the only ones on the paved trail.

As we walked along the trail and looked out into the prairie towards the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, all I could think about were the pioneers who crossed this exact trail so many years ago. They were on foot, in a wagon or on a horse exploring the unknown.  It definitely wasn't a paved trail!

With the Rocky Mountains ahead, they were trying to cross over the mountains before winter set in.  In the early 1800s, these people were discovering the unknown, not knowing what was ahead of them. What danger would they encounter? Would they have enough food and water?  Would they make it to California?  The unknown?

They got up each day, willing to face the unknown so that they could obtain their dream of living in a new place that might provide them new opportunities.

I thought of my own unknowns and of my own dreams.  Do I have that same drive in me to reach my dreams?  Am I willing to walk the unpaved road of not knowing what is ahead?  We live in a society where the roads are paved.  We can get on our phones to find out how the traffic is flowing; what the weather is doing; and how far is our destination.

The pioneers did not have these luxuries..  They went without knowing.  They were willing to take the risk.

Be willing to stop and to explore!  The unknown and your dreams are waiting for you!