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Any Man’s Death…

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”


John Donne,
No Man Is An Island

 

Sometimes it feels that the world gets smaller each time a person’s life is lost.  I appreciate that it’s human to feel a twinge of sadness even if you didn’t know the person.  Even if you knew someone that knew the person, it should render us at least sympathetic.

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Then sometimes we go for a while and the memory gets less.  Maybe we should pledge to never let the memory become so vague it walks out of our thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Me There

Please scroll down my blog to view new photos/images on the right sidebar.

You may be, like me, on a journey – you’ll understand those old roads ready for your new journeys.  Start now!

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Has a window or door recently closed or opened in your life? Take it as a new opportunity.

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I consider myself “bilingual” because I speak MUSIC, too.  Almost any kind of music speaks to my heart, and I feel it in my soul.

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If you want a few minutes of solace, scroll down my blog and enjoy the images/photos.

Leave me a comment if you like them!

2 Sisters’ Road Trip Comes Home

2 Sisters' Road Trip Comes Home

ALL ROADS LEAD TO SOMEWHERE…and that’s where I’ve been for the past month. After 28 days on the road; after crossing 11 states and 15 major rivers…a familiar road led me back home!

After nearly 3,600 miles, I can truly say each turn and each straightaway brought unexpected views and amazing vistas. Some were paths; some were dirt roads; some historic drives; some interstate highways; and some should not have even been where they were!

I believe even more now than before that there’s only one reason I venture down the pathways of life…and that is to find New Journeys on Old Roads.

Welcome back! I’ll begin posting stories, photos, trip routes and ramblings over the next few weeks. Follow along…let’s travel across this great country of ours. See part of America through my eyes!

ROAD TRIP! 2 SISTERS ON THE MOVE

th[3]Over the next 30 days I’ll be posting pictures of America at her best…from the Arbuckle Mountains to the Ozarks; the Smokies to the Appalachians…crossing rivers, skirting lakes…walking Beale Street and Main Street…crossing 11 state lines and driving some of the remaining original segments of the Mother Road (Route 66).

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If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a ROAD TRIP through some of the country’s historical landmarks, roads and byways, maybe you’ll remember some of your past travels or get the map out and plan your next one.

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Because it’s springtime, roadsides and highways should be teeming with wildflowers.  We will stop to capture as many as we can.  

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 Some of the best places are off the main road.

th9EUUN2NWclare-road[1]TX old school in small town

It’s the moments you take the time to explore an old road, a quaint bridge, a field of flowers, or Small Town, USA that will fill your heart with joy and your photo albums with memories.

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…and doing it all with your best friend & sister…priceless!

Hold on! Here We Go!

Click to hear “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash

 

Have you been there?

Leave me a comment and let me know how you’re enjoying the drive.  Let’s share America with everyone.

 

 

 

 

South by Southwest vs. West by Northwest

41_19_76_web[1]It was just a spur of the moment trip.  I really had not planned to go anywhere last Friday, but there I was, driving west and headed to an old familiar place.  I’d taken this road many times—back and forth to my dad’s place over the last 30 years.  The road felt like an old friend.  I knew where each turn was, where the speed traps were, and how far it was to the next bathroom.  I knew where you had to stop and fill up with gas because THAT gas station was always the cheapest.  And I would stop there again–just because.  I knew I could make the trip in less than 4 hours.

You start off heading west on Interstate 20th[10] as if you were going to California—because, if you don’t stop for several days, that’s where you’ll be—or at least El Paso for an overnight stop!  In El Paso, you can catch Interstate 10 600px-I-10.svg[1]and then scoot across the edge of New Mexico around Las Cruces and Lordsburg.  From there it’s just hours on to Tucson.  That’s where your compass might become confused because you come to a crossroads.

Crossroads can sometimes be confusing if you don’t have a clear idea of what your final destination is.  But I didn’t need a map today…I knew the road and my destination.

From Tucson, you can continue to California by taking a hard northwest on to Phoenix and then set your sites on The Los Angeles area.  Of course, don’t get me wrong…that’s more than the 4 hour trip that I’m making to west Texas…but if the music on the CD is right and the gasoline card and credit card have enough available balance, I just might keep on those west-bound roads and be sipping a cool drink on the pier in Santa Monica. Tempting!cocktails-and-lemon-slices[1]

But I’ve overshot my daydreaming just a bit.  I’ve just arrived near the small town of Cisco TX so this is one place I have to make a decision.  Do I make that south turn and go on to my dad’s place—or do I set out on a 5-day trip that takes me all the way to California.

I know deep down he would think the trip west was a good idea.  He traveled all of those roads for many years and told great stories of traveling across the US during the depression and WWII years working when they could.

I would love nothing more than to sit with him again and hear all those great stories.  But a few years ago, his life, well-lived, came to a close.  I’ve gone back only a couple of times since then…and maybe that’s enough…to see if everything is still the same in the town’s rock-road cemetery.  What do I expect will change about it?  I don’t know, but it feels as if I ought to watch over his place like he always watched over me.

MY DADDY…

…could do anything—and I mean ANYTHING!  A carpenter by trade, that didn’t stop him from fixing my dainty jewelry, helping with homework, building a house for us, or making sure that we had enough to survive.

Seems it didn’t take as much in those days to get through—something about our greedy desires have increased since the 50s & 60s.  What we didn’t know about, we didn’t need. 

I have just picked up a hamburger and cherry coke and I’ve made the south turn onto State highway 183th[6] that will take me on to Brownwood, then a connect with US 377 on to Brady, TX.

Brady - Heart of TXA town of about 5,500 located in the geographic heart of Texas, Brady had been a place I had looked forward to visiting every summer when I was a little girl.  My mother and dad would go for a visit to my Mama’s & Papa’s house there, and I’d get to stay for a couple of weeks.

That was just great—especially when I was the last of the cousins (and the youngest of a dozen) to still think it was cool to be gone for a couple of weeks in the summertime staying with some old people.  My Papa grew vegetables and they had chickens.  I didn’t like that at all so I’d just stand at the wire and watch my Mama feed the chickens from the pockets of her always-present apron.

My Papa would pick and dig up vegetables and put them on the big picnic table under the tree to ripen.  I could already imagine those juicy tomatoes, that warm yellow watermelon, and those snap peas cooked in a big pot with potatoes!

Yes, my grandparents were old, but I didn’t mind because I was alone with them and my thoughts.  They had lessons to teach if I would just listen.

The town hasn’t changed too much from those days.  The roads are still made of shale rock and unpaved in most of the town.  Many of the old houses still look like they did when we would drive slowly (because everything in that town was/is slow) to the town square.

Brady Courthouse (2)The square, built around an old county courthouse constructed in 1878, never changed.  There were maybe 40 stores around that square.  As I drive in today, some are still closed up and some have transitioned from a theater to a hardware store, to a boutique, to a coffee shop, to another empty store in a dying commerce of downtown shops.

My destination is just a little off the square northwest on Highway 87  There, in the constantly blowing wind of west Texas, is the old cemetery.  My dad’s place is looking sleek and clean—because nothing can stay long under that incessant wind.  I tell him how much I love him, think to myself of how hard he worked, how much he liked Country Music & TV, how much he loved me from the time I could remember to those recent few years ago.  Many times he rode his white horse (really a brown Ford pickup truck) to save me from a bad decision I had made or a situation that surprisingly turned bad.

YellowRoses[1]I put some yellow roses in the vase near his name with birth and death dates.  Then I blow him a kiss and let the wind clear my eyes.  The skies look clear out here because the wind just blows the clouds out of those west Texas skies.  I look up and I feel the power of God in that wind and I know my daddy is resting in His arms.

I’ll get another cherry coke and start that ride back.  It’s less than 4 hours.  When I get to the crossroad again, I’ll turn east back into central Texas.  El Paso, Las Cruces, Phoenix and Santa Monica will have to wait for another time.

TX sundowner             Driving away from the setting sun with the road humming along and my music set to old country music–the kind my daddy loved. I start to sing along, like my daddy always did.  I felt sad but comforted by the trip to my daddy’s place.

In some ways, today I carved out a new journey down this old road. Traveling never looks the same when your purpose changes.

It’s good to know God will help you if you develop a new vision 

or if you need to take a new journey

even if it is down an old road.

What I’m Reading

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Reading is like traveling in your mind.  I’ve always loved books and love to tell the story of going to the Bookmobile in the summertime.  I was allowed to check out only one book.  Well, I’d be through with that the next day and had nothing to read until the next week when the Bookmobile came and parked at the school.  I asked, and received, special permission to check out as many as I wanted!  I was the happiest 4th grader in town.

When I would run out of books, I would read anything around the house–my dad’s Outdoor Life, Field & Stream and my mother’s Bible.  Any story was better than none!

You might well imagine my house is full of books.  I don’t like to get rid of them, so I buy more bookshelves to hold them.  I stack them two rows deep, I file them on shelves, I arrange them by color, I turn them any way making them fit to the top of the shelf.  Sell them?  Oh, no…never!  In my “final wishes” I’ve instructed my family to NEVER SELL my books…give them away…that’s OK…BUT NEVER SELL THEM.

From time to time I will share with you here what I’ve been reading.

Will be back here soon to update you on my reading list!

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 3/7/14

The first time I came across the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach was in the 70s.  At the time I was reading other books like Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and Shirley McLaine’s Out on a Limb. Those types of books were part of the cultural/spiritual evolution and revolution of the 70s.

thTX9HV6T3The next time “Jonathan” came into my life was when a friend of mine gave me the book in 2002.  Asked if I had read it, I said, “Yes.  A long time ago.”  So I sat down to re-read the book.

That period of time was a particular new discovery for me, and I found “Jonathan” to be inspiring this time for me in a whole new way.  As I’ve traveled some journeys in those last 12 years, I have revisited “Jonathan” again and again.

If you are one of those people who needs or searches for some solid comparisons of how your life can be experienced by others and how others find answers, it might be worth a first or another read for you.

“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill.  We can be free.  We can learn to fly.”

I have discovered that being free from shackles of inefficiency and ignorance can lead us to perform great tasks—greater than our minds are capable of imagining.

Upon “Jonathan’s” achievement of the ultimate (he thought it was at the time) life in heaven, he realizes he has broken free of his earthly limitations; he learns the art of flying high and soaring (which is not nature for a seagull).  His mentor explains to him:

“You will begin to touch heaven, Jon, in the moment you touch perfect [speed].  Perfect speed my son, is being there.”

Nearly two years ago upon my retirement during an occasion where my colleagues were honoring me and my service, I thought about “Jonathan.”

I told the group what has come to be my anthem about those people and opportunities that come into our life and either pass through or stay for a while or maybe a lifetime.

“If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then we’ve destroyed our brotherhood [mankind].  Overcome space and all we have left is HERE; overcome time and all we have left is NOW.  In the middle of HERE and NOW don’t you think we might see each other once or twice?”

That is my belief—that we never say goodbye to those in our lives—we simply meet them on another level.

As the reader nears the last pages of Jonathan’s tale, there are comments and references that will remind you of the story of Jesus—how He came to the earth to help His people.  “Loving the flock enough to return to it and help it…”  His mentor continued,  “…[this] is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and your whole body, wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than the thought of itself.”

I’m not saying this story is a replacement for any religion or philosophy nor does it suggest nor does it address any religion.  I don’t think it is meant to do that.  I am, however, saying that the thoughts of who we are encompasses what we are here on earth and the idea there is more that awaits believers.

If you want to watch a process unfold before your eyes, pick up the book today and let the author’s thoughts walk—or fly—among your thoughts.

Richard Bach. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – a story.  
MacMillan Publishers, 1970.  ISBN: 0-380-01286-3; Library of Congress Number: 75-119617

After Notes:  this link will bring you up to date on Richard Bach and his writings.  After a near-death experience, the new publications are a must read to any fan. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/11/richard-bach-jonathan-livingston-seagull-part-four

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1/1/14

Wanted to tell you I just finished From Elvis to Elvira-My Life on Stage by Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys, with Steven Robinson.  Autographed & available from ORB website @http://oakridgeboys.com/merch

From Elvis to Elvirahttp://oakridgeboys.ras.bustores.com/richard-sterban-autographed-book-from-elvis-to-lvira.html 

If you are a fan of the Oak Ridge Boys and their more-than-40 years of entertaining, you will enjoy this behind the scenes look.  Moreover, if you are an Elvis fan, find out how  Richard Sterban is associated with “The King.”

 
When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.     Erasmus

Christmas Wishes

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There are angels among us and

Christmas wishes can come true

Hope your many wishes, prayers and thoughts are strengthened with the joy of knowing it’s possible.  There’s nothing as precious as wishes made in your heart at Christmas time.

May peace fill your mind and heart today and for every day of the year(s) ahead. There is no greater peace than what God offers.

Whisper a prayer, and let this angel deliver it to the heart that needs it most…I just did and sent it to you..

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One of my all-time favorite singers with a great song.  Thanks, B. J. Thomas, for all the music through the years…and for this particular one!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Luke 2:14 KJV

Mother’s Birthday

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My mother is having a birthday this week.  It’s not just any birthday but her 94th.  I definitely realize how lucky I am to still have her in my life.

The role of a mother begins long before you give birth…it is formed in your heart first when you know you want to be a part of the ongoing process of life.  Then, at that momentous second you give birth, few are prepared for how huge the job becomes!  The little things of nurturing that child, teaching that child, loving that child, then letting that child go when the time comes for freedom.

That, to me, is the test of any mother’s love…can you let them go?

My mother did all those things for me:  loved me, cared for me, taught me, and then…she let me go.

I am well into retirement age now, but my mother still seems young to me.  She has two beautiful and smart daughters, 3 fantastic grandchildren, and 4 loving great-grandchildren.

Some of her greatest exhibits of strength have come in these later years.  She was married over thirty years ago to her friend and lover.  Nearly two years ago she lost him tragically.  The way she has handled that great loss is exemplary not just to me as her daughter…but to the grandchildren and adult great-grandchildren.  We all pulled together to help her, and it seems, in the long run she helped us through the tragedy.

About twenty years ago, she began her technology training when her husband said, “let’s get you a computer.”  She didn’t know if she could learn that but today she is a prolific e-mailer, a web surfer and finds more things on the internet than anyone else can!

What can I say to my mother I haven’t said in my 60+ years?  Perhaps I’ll give her the greatest compliment possible.  I’ve learned to be a mother by watching her.  She is my greatest strength and role model.

Mother, God is giving our family a present this year—to share another birthday with you!   Happy Birthday!

The future is the past through another gate.

Arnold H. Glasgow

JFK

Each Generation Writes Its History

As the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination approaches, I am reminded I am now part of the generation who must own that day’s history.  We don’t always know what to do with that awful memory, but we know we must do something.

So, we read about it, talk about it, then try to put it back in the box in the back of the closet along with yellowed newspapers reporting every horrendous hour of that day–pictures clipped from Life or Time magazine–and maybe a scribbled message on notebook paper when our high school principal told us about what had happened.

Generation X remembers hearing about it–for often the history just before we were born is what links children to parents.

Generation Y only knows it as a sub-heading in their history books.

Each generation now has some horrendous event that is “of their time” be it Pearl Harbor, World War II, Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, 911, or Iraq & Afghanistan.

Was the country really listening to the young president’s inauguration speech as he challenged:

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You; Ask What You Can Do For Your Country.

Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy – January 20th 1961

What should we ask today from our country or ourselves?

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