Tag Archives: Washington

Smoke on the Waters

News of wildfires are not unusual this time of year.  This week the news came to us live; smoke – filling the Columbia Basin for days. Literally.

The worst of the flames were far enough from us that I could appreciate the beauty in the midst of hardships and troubles.  Smoke subtly displayed colors I couldn’t actually imagine before.

On Day Two:

Sunrise through smoke over the eastern neighbor’s house,

 

from the barn looking over the shops and the main house.

 

Sister Roan and I came to call the following God With Us Curve. The road turns sharply and drops to the left (north) winding down and around the steep hill. ‘Not gonna lie, our first winter here, ice covering that drop intimidated us. In the photo this week the continuing road is visible through the smoke from the center of the house near the top of  the hill – almost like the road winds from the chimney.

 

 

Late morning, Day Two, Smoke obscures the river view from God With Us Curve.

 

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” ” Psalm 91:14-16 (NLT)

4 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex, photography

Still Workin’

Yeah, it’s been a while. Originally I imagined this imposed hiatus would be a week or two.

We plan – God laughs.

It turns out I’d carried a lot more baggage home with me than I’d realized. And surprise, I’d gotten so used to carrying it all I hadn’t noticed the the weight. As it happens, hurting my arm and shoulder wasn’t entirely a bad thing. I had to lay a few things down and I’ll tell you, sometimes doing that right can be a long process. I’m determined to stick with it and not need to do this again!

 

Still, I enjoy my new life on the ranch, despite how it humbles me – daily. So much to learn, such astounding lessons.

 

 

I finish the chores early in the day so I’m back to work on my chapters now: Write – edit – edit – edit – submit.

I don’t have my head around my new What’s Next format – yet – but I don’t want anyone wondering if I’ve gone off the rails either.

So for now, enjoy the link to what feels like my life’s sound track from Mandisa and keep checking in!

 

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

21 Comments

Filed under A Door Ajar, Notes from the Apex

The Stihl of the Night

wood-pixabay

**

Sunday night Cole was plowing after dark. Although I typically avoid working on Sunday, I pulled on my boots to help shovel the pile-up from the walkways. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Almost immediately Cole passed between my cottage and the shop. As he went, he called to Kendra and me, “Let’s build a bonfire!” – long after dusk on a work night. Crazy. Right?

icy-snow

We often enjoy bonfires at parties or on a relaxing evening after a hard day’s work. But not in 9 degrees and wind with a foot or so of snow. And it was late.

Cole and Kendra also know I typically retire early in the evening. I’m not literally an insomniac. Still, turning my brain off takes hours, so I typically “rise and go to roost with the chickens.”

As we shoveled Kendra shared that Cole had mentioned cutting wood earlier. I’m ashamed to admit my next thoughts were how I’d told him the day before I’d cut all the wood I could with my little chain saw – that he gave me for Christmas. He’d responded saying he’d go to the grove the following day, bring in more wood, split some logs and start up the big Stihl saw.

Another job came to the shop, so that didn’t happen. And then it snowed – yet again.

As Kendra and I worked I realized some other important facts:

  • The main house where they live has forced heat and air. Their wood burning stove is essentially aesthetic, more for ambiance. They don’t need wood for heat. I do.
  • For several consecutive days Cole spent hours on the tractor moving snow from the lots and the driveways. We all appreciate a path to the pastures.
  • Cole and Kendra team up to ensure I have all I need: heat, transportation, food, companionship and even hugs.

pepper-snow

Fortunately, before shooting off my mouth without engaging my brain, I realized Cole was looking out for me. Sure, he teases me saying, “You’ve been sheltered too long. You’re spoiled.” Cole actually doesn’t know better. He sees me today with all my “quirks” – not the scarred and torn Former Me. As Kendra said, “translated that actually means, ‘I have your back, Sister.’ ”

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.*”

Daily I thank God for my whole family. While Cole’s manners and personality can sometimes be annoying, Kendra is his soft side. We have shared some rough times together.

Four years ago, with my sister, brother and niece, we were all a family here together on the ranch. Cole, Kendra and the boys occupied what’s now my cottage and the loft. And then all our lives changed forever; Roan and I were barely settled into our apartment in McKinney, Texas when Cole called. Without warning Cole’s best friend, Kendra’s favorite neighbor, my precious kid brother suddenly, unexpected died here.

Jan 26, 2014 5 a.m. Opal, Roo, Seagh, Roan, Cole, Kendra

Jan 26, 2014 5 a.m. Opal, Roo, Seagh, Roan, Cole, Kendra

Yes, life goes on. Still, Seagh is such a huge part of our lives we all miss him – daily. We all occasionally see him in our peripheries. We need never explain those moments.

Initially Cole was my brother vicariously through Seagh. Though he knows comparatively little of my history, today Cole’s close as a brother. In his life Seagh called three men his brother; one is by blood, one a friend from his youth and then Cole. Kendra’s become a sister.

Sunday night was a reflective occasion, only it didn’t hurt as much. Because of Cole and Kendra I was only mildly concerned taking the last of the cut wood early that same morning. At the time I had no idea exactly how much the full wood box would actually comfort me that night.

God blessed me with many brothers and sisters and good friends. Though I miss many of them often, especially Seagh, Cole and Kendra have my back – daily.

I’m glad to see I “Stihl” have room to grow into a better person.

Have your circumstances forced you to grow where you didn’t realize you could?

It’s -3 degrees this morning. With this crazy weather the crib’s almost empty again. No problem, we got this.

“And my God will supply every need of ours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

*James 1:27

**Image courtesy Pixabay

14 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

More Thanks

While I await the moist heat to relieve the aching muscles I’d forgotten I have, with a good connection back at home again in Washington, I’ll share a couple of my favorite moments from Thanksgiving weekend in Idaho with the extended family.

20161125fritz1

Roo and the new boyfriend

sassy1

Show me the snacks

fritz2

Do I smell apples?

Potlatch

Harvest time beauty

“May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4 (NLT)

19 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Good Call

kendra

Kendra taking a moments pause

Here at the ranch we observed Veterans Day with deep gratitude, heartfelt prayer, revisited photos of the valiant service members throughout our families (including Cole, three of my offspring…), tribute posts to Facebook, and lots of labor. At sunset our Friday gathering of friends and visitors left Kendra’s Cowboy Caviar long enough to salute the flag in honor of our veterans.

pasture-femmes

Feeling a bit drained I decided to recline with a DVD for the later part of the evening, American Sniper. But minutes into it Kendra and Cole burst through the door, Kendra giddily declaring, “We have a calf!”

Jumping up from the couch, I grabbed my jacket and was on their heels, out the door and westward to the paddock. Cole had already moved Girlfriend, the mare and Nickel, the steer to the south pasture. The cows, C’mere and C’mon furtively chomped alfalfa while eyeing the fence yards away where the newborn calf rested comfortably.

Cole wandered off to points east while Kendra and I ooh and aah-ed over the new arrival. Wrapping our coats more tightly around ourselves, Kendra thought aloud “How funny; weeks of great weather and she waited to birth on a foggy Veteran’s Day.” I replied, “We’ll call him Grunt, maybe?” And then, “Nah. What’cha got?”

After a nano-second pause, Kendra said, “Hero.” “Bam,” I replied. Much fist bumping ensued.

hero-2016nov11

“The Lord your God will bless you as He has promised.” Deuteronomy 15:6 (NLT)

9 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

The Long Haul

I just made another addition to my voided driver’s license collection. Over the past three years, exactly 35 months, 3 weeks and 3 days, I’ve lived in Illinois, Washington, Texas and Colorado, also visiting family in Arizona and driving through New Mexico twice in that time. I’m now back near the Tri-Cities in Washington State; near enough to the delta of the Columbia and Snake rivers to hit a ball into either major waterway.

Speaking of hits, Cubs Win! But this isn’t about baseball or the 2016 World Series. That’s a confirmation it was time to come back to the only place I actually felt at home. Surely I earned some time to drop a line in some water and rest a bit.

This latest chapter began with our branch of the family together here on The Ranch. Over the last decade Cole became our brother here – Lord, help him – and his love, Kendra, her two boys, the dogs, cats, etc. learned to accept love us. Although sister Roan and Opal are still in Texas and Seagh walks beside Jesus now, such fond memories were born here I never wanted to leave. But that’s another story.

Six weeks ago I Googled the stats: It’s 908.6 miles from Erin’s house on the Western Slope of the Rockies to the hills and slopes of Finley. Days later Cole drove from Finley to Erin’s to collect me.

Five weeks ago Erin and I had talked it out, cried it out (separately, of course – it’s how we roll) so there was nothing left to do but the leg work. Days after I’d decided it was time to move on it took one phone call. In a few more days Erin and I loaded the boxes, and Cole tied down most of my worldly belongings into his trailer. With quick, teary-eyed, squishy hugs, very aware we were running out of daylight, Cole and I left Erin’s company and were on our way. Home. Where my hiraeth impetus can find peace.

Another four weeks later I’ve unpacked, burned the well-worn boxes and arranged the apartment to my liking, so I’m ready to return to work.

Following are photo highlights of our journey north and west. The photography from a constantly-moving vehicle doesn’t do the scenery justice, but at least we made excellent time. It’s not like I’ll never make the drive again and take the time to shoot it right.

img_1500 img_1506 img_1512 img_1520 img_1537 img_1542 img_1543 img_1558 img_1566 img_1572

With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home..” Exodus 15:13 (NLT)

16 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Weather

20160731_133228Of course it’s raining today.

 

Rain fell as we left Arlington. Scattered showers continued intermittently most of the way across Texas, New Mexico to the Western Slope of Colorado.

 

Why wouldn’t it rain the day we load the trailer taking me to Washington tomorrow?

 

 

That’s right. More change. Another move. New photos coming.

You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.” Isaiah 52:12 (NLT)

Chris Tomlin video courtesy YouTube

12 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Catch Up Over Coffee

While I adore the idea of meeting up with you all, I’m too much of a realist. We’d have to meet somewhere public and I don’t know my new area well enough to know some wonderful, quirky place with superior food and drink to meet yet. I will have to arrange to have one of the cars, which doesn’t always happen on anyone else’s schedule easily. Face it, we’d settle on texting photos, on our coffee breaks. Still, anyone in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is welcome to come by. Call first, of course!

So, since we’re planning this date to share coffee together in the not-too-distant future, I can get to the local Starbuck’s which is now also Teavana – yeay! You are most likely aware I cut myself off of any form of caffeine and processed sugar after ten-ish. So tea, especially herbal blends are kind of a big deal in my world. That way you don’t wonder if I’m not a gremlin after midnight, manning the captain’s chair inside the head of a robotic costume.

I don’t give a care about what cups they’re serving around their beverages, I don’t frequent non-fair trade coffee shops enough that I feel any guilt or remorse (again, walking distance), and the atmosphere is almost always pleasant. Not only that, if we embarrass or offend anyone there, no one there will ever recognize us again. Besides, being new in the community and far from other friends and family, my speaking skills need remarkable warming up before conversing. You get to start!

Josey tea Carli Jean

While we share tea together I’ll be delighted to hear what’s new since the last time we talked (Skyped, whatever). I’ve learned (finally) that listening is actually more important than talking, or entertaining as I tend to do. While I have become adept at systematically changing names to protect the innocent in my stories, many of my dialogues and short stories come from simply listening to the people around me – with a little splash of creative drama now and then, just to make it interesting. Besides, I am literally so weary of my story where it is right now, I’ve been writing it in the first person the way I thought it would go starting two years back. It still sucks at times, but I feel better a lot more often in my fiction.

While we share tea together we’ll go over the last week’s global events and the news from each other’s localities. Getting trapped behind my side of my nose makes me forget the many different perspectives on the other side – your side of my nose. What’s more, the world isn’t quite as frightening on your side of my nose as it is in here! Over drinks together we get a better grasp of reality, examine truth for what it is and find better balance in the world today. As Ellen (you remember meeting her) used to say, “we must get together and talk through the world’s problems, fixing it all over a pot of tea (or a bottle of wine) soon. Balance. It’s all about balance in all things and one simply can’t do it alone.

While we share tea together I’ll torture you with the details of building my blog, the amazing things I’m learning about the mechanics of WordPress, the people I meet and the fun I’m having taking the Blogging U. classes. I’ll pester you for ideas to write about and how to promote myself where I haven’t already. We won’t talk about that episode last spring when I put into action a clever promotional idea, but the officer thought I was soliciting. I played the Grandmother card and he let me go. Whatever…

While we share tea together we’ll discuss the latest fitness challenges I’ve tried out and diet discoveries have come to light since our last visit. Surely something there will help me shed another five pounds so I’ll be back to normal body weight six months after I start lifting and boxing again. If I’m still breathing, of course.

While we share tea together I’ll tell you the actual discoveries I tried and work well for me in my overall health care (like coconut oil), especially during the last bout with cancer – ugh. It’s all gone and all good now, “… I said, knowing I gained five pounds the last six weeks. (The physical therapist ordered me to not walk every day). I couldn’t believe she was serious about that until I popped one of the sutures in my calf going down the stair too fast. Note, it was only one stitch.”

While we share tea together I can tell you the secrets to spotting poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. I never heard of the latter either until I Googled homeopathic treatments, not wanting steroids. I can also advise you (after my second contact – they actually are bigger in Texas) how to treat the rash before it spreads – take the steroids. The End.

While we share tea together I’ll only be dull a few minutes boasting about my thirteen adorable, amazing grand kids, my marvelous sons and my heroic daughters-in-love. I promise only to show photos from my phone if you ask. And you know better than to ask just to be polite.

While we share tea together I’ll tell you the wonderful, interesting new ways I’ve learned to meet new people in Texas (not counting that soliciting thing). We’ll probably even touch on how I found the best church home (third time was the charm). You will be amazed that I’m not on the Worship Team and remember that’s where I served primarily for the last thirty years. We’ll talk about the good old days and we’ll look forward to what’s coming up ahead.

I’ll bet you can hardly wait. Hey! Where are you running so fast?

Leave a comment

Filed under The World According to Roo

What A Ride

Part of preparing to relocate from Southeastern Washington State to North Texas, Roan and I experienced one of the roughest landings of both our lives.

But leading up to that, our brother Richard, Roan and her almost-twenties daughter, Opal and I talked for months about combining my household with theirs under one roof. We hashed over each facet and question, until a year later we decided to just do it. I’d move away from my sons’ families. Roan and I would move for her new job in Texas. Richard would keep his job in Boise, spending his weekends in the apartment at the Ranch, and Opal would take an apartment in town close to her job.

In three days including travel time, Roan and I did what often takes months. We located the best home for the two of us for the next two years, signed a lease and then headed for the airport to return and pack it all up.

Before takeoff

Before takeoff

On the flight back to Washington we were road weary and too physically exhausted to sleep when the Boeing 727 began lifting, dropping and seemed to twist before we approached the Gorge. Within a few minutes, I turned my head down to look around my shoulder and noticed white knuckles all down the aisle. Then the flight attendants strapped in too, announcing we were experiencing some turbulence, blah, blah, blah – an understatement.

Instinctively, I began to pray to remain calm. The rollercoaster ride of the past few years flashed a few still shots through my mind. But then suddenly, I saw like a video, scenes from a rodeo years before playing a continuous loop. I understood the heavenly reply immediately.

With the next upward buck from beneath me and a hard dip to the right, balancing on my seat, I lined up my head, hips and heels, I could feel reigns in both hands, straight but loose and close to the mane. Soon I leaned into the turns as I rode around the barrels. Roan caught on, laughed and let out a “whoop!”

Grinning, she lifted one arm up as we lunged and rocked along, not bothering to look at the other passengers around us. Determined to ride it out, all previous drama faded into oblivion. All I could hear was:

“… Life’s a highway
There’s only one way
You’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist
Be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight
And just LeDoux it…*

Though we boarded, weary and worn, we walked off that plane onto the Pasco tarmac with our packs slung over one shoulder feeling delightfully revived. Striding along, we glanced at one another and I had to say it, “Good ride.”

There’s been a few times since when sliding off and walking away crossed my mind. Instead, I pull my hat down tight…

* Good Ride Cowboy, written by Jerrod Niemann, Bryan Kennedy, Richie Brown and Bob Doyle, recorded by Garth Brooks in tribute to Chris LeDoux (October 2, 1948 – March 9, 2005). Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Major Bob Music Inc., First Wind Music, Major Bob Music Inc. O/B/o Cowboy Hat Trick Music, Major Bob Music Co. Inc., New Songs Of Sea Gayle, Rope And Dally Music.

3 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex