Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring clean up

I love spring!  The discovery of new growth and color in the yard once again!  These warm days encourage buds and blooming - everyday there's something new to see.  And hear!  The birds are singing once again - a joyful noise to my ears.  I bet they are scouting out the best nesting sites!
Magnolia Tree bursting with buds

Along with the color, there's a lot of dead leaves and blooms on the hydrangeas!

Look at the geraniums that have not been watered, just sitting on the workbench in my garage since November!  Amazing, they never died because we've had such a mild winter!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Retreat Weekend, Part II

We decided to do a little walking tour on Saturday afternoon.  We started at the Museum.  Connie learned they have 70,000 artifacts, but only 12,000 on display at one time.  I enjoyed the display of cameras and radios.  If we just knew what might be meaningful to another generation we could surely save those items, but what would we save?  Telephones? Computers? Record Players or boom boxes?  I think most of us have the attitude that we should just get rid of the old and embrace the new...

Our family has a distant connection to Sam Emmanuel, who donated some of his collection to the Museum.  We enjoyed reading about the Kopczynski orchestra and seeing our uncles in the front row!

From the Museum we walked to the Spirit Center and enjoyed a lovely tour by Sister Lillian.  Marilyn, Karen, and I have enjoyed retreats here.  Then we walked to the Inn, where four lovely rooms await guests who want to enjoy the quiet and awesome views.
For old times sake, we walked up the hill along the path of 14 Stations of the Cross, stopping at the Grotto for a quick Hail Mary.  There was a wrestling tournament going on at the Prairie High School Gym to we walked in and were amazed at how small everything seemed compared to the way it felt when we were in high school.  We looked at some of the boards capturing names of outstanding athletes - this one track and field stars.   Larry went to the snack area and bought some popcorn.

We enjoyed some cocktails before our big dinner at the Keuterville Pub & Grub.  Larry brought Strawberry Hill Wine, Cherry Vodka and Squirt.
Cherry Vodka and Squirt - just like high school!

The Keuterville Pub's owner, Linda, fixed us a dinner of prime rib.  While we were waiting we looked at lots of old pictures of the area.  Don expressed surprise at some old pictures of Cottonwood that we'd never seen before.  Our uncle, John Hoene, owned the Hoene Implement.

 Linda told her own story of moving to the area ten years or so ago, then caring for her mother who has MS, and finally her son who died of a brain tumor.  I thought of the courageous heart reading from Joyce Rupp and noticed that it was Linda who knew "how to laugh and to enjoy life even in the most difficult of times."  Stories unfolded about collecting money for swear words, even as much as $30 in one night.  She never lost her sense of humor!

Sunday Morning = Snow!!!
We enjoyed a long morning sitting in the rocking chairs.  Connie read a little from Mom's prayer book:
After our circle morning prayers we walked over to the Monastery, took a little tour on the main floor, noticed the clean, clean laundry room and then headed upstairs to the Chapel.  Spike and Peggy greeted us with warm hugs.  Allan particularly noticed the dwindling number of sisters present in the chapel.  We were honored that so many greeted us after Mass - Sister Chanel, Sister Angela, Sister Bernice.  We enjoyed a lovely Sunday dinner of turkey, real potatoes, dressing, egg souffle, salads, home made pickles!  Maureen noticed the purple place mats and a small bowl filled with sand and a sign, "Thou art Dust."  She said, "I love Lent because I love purple."  We said goodbye to Don and Joan and spent some more time in our rocking chairs discussing forgiveness, acceptance, love, Richard Rohr's ideas, and the Catholic Church!

Larry spent hours making music CD's for us - one called "Breathe" and the other one "Summer."

Monday morning the Spokane car left around 8 AM and Connie and I stripped beds, cleaned out the refrigerator, and washed the dishes.  We gathered up all our treasures, newly made CD's of Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary that Don made for us, Larry's music, and our Red Survival kits.  
I unpacked mine after I got home.  Look at all these great reminders of Connie's touch for the weekend!  
From encouragement to smell the roses, to ensuring that we get a good night's sleep, to finding something sweet to share and hoping the weekend is filled with JOY!  She must've spent hours labeling all these little treasures.  I appreciate all that work and the meaning behind it.  
Did we have fun?  Did we create memories?  Did we learn anything?  Here's the EMails that have come in this week:

From Karen:  I am so in awe of this weekend.   I honestly feel it will be one of the most important experiences and memories of my life.   There is so much memory associated with childhood and family.   To have all of our relationships feel so open, loving and nurturing, is a gift in my life beyond description.   I love all of you, and equally important for my life experience.....I feel so loved BY all of you!   Reflecting on Sundays discussion about our personal friendships and possible lack of intimacy for some of have an intimate family like ours has got to be a rare jewel of life experience.

I told Joe Booth in my office about the nine rocking chairs around the circular coffee table and he said it was great therapy.  Like Karen, I feel it will be one of the most important experiences and memories.  Absolutely priceless! 

Thank you, Garry & Connie, and may God bless you for the Family Retreat, thanks Theresa for the wonderful soups and chocolate hearts, thanks Don for the great dinner at the Keuterville Pub & Grub and thanks to the travelers, Maureen, Allan and Karen for flying in, thanks Marilyn for the transportation to Cottonwood and thanks Larry for stoking up the stove.  Hugs, Joan
Connie, it's you I thank for the gift of the weekend.  From your prayers, your vision, your desire just to be together.  You've never given me a greater gift - one that I'll forever treasure.  The gifts of love, time, sharing and opportunities for growth!

Both of these came true for me!  Let's not forget to thank Garry for providing the resources to make the trips possible.  And Connie - the joy continues to fill my heart as I write this!  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Retreat Weekend, Part I

Early in December, my brother-in-law, Garry, called me with a great idea for my sister, Connie's 60th birthday.  "Connie's face lights up, she steps a little lighter, and can't quit smiling when she anticipates spending time with her siblings.  My idea is to pay for a sibling weekend so you can all be together.  I'm sure she'll want to be a part of the planning."  We were all a little surprised when she decided going to Cottonwood was a desire of her heart.  She told me she didn't want it to be all about her birthday so we designed a retreat weekend at the Farmhouse at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.  I made airline reservations so Maureen, Allan, and Karen would arrive on Friday and leave on Monday.  Connie and I planned the menu and shopped for our favorite foods.  We packed the SUV with everything for meals and table decor.
Connie and I scurried around the FarmHouse labeling bedrooms, decorating the table, putting hearts on pillows, lighting the candles - all as a way to welcome our brothers and sisters to the retreat!

The Kop kids traditionally are used to cramming people into one car - Marilyn and Joan picked up Karen, Allan, and Maureen at the Spokane airport and arrived at our guest house by 5 o'clock.  Larry scouted around town for firewood and had the place warmed up when they arrived.
We enjoyed Friday night sharing high school stories, teasing Marilyn about her knitting project, and just setting the tone for the weekend sitting in rocking chairs in a big

The sunrise over the Camas Prairie welcomed us early on Saturday morning.

We gathered in the circle with our coffee and tea and read "The Courageous Heart" from Joyce Rupp's book, Fresh Bread.   Joyce writes, "courage is growing through the hardships of life without bitterness, discontent or disillusionment.  With courage, the struggle can develop in us a mellowness and a deeper sensitivity to just how tender and special the human spirit really is." Larry and Karen, "the little kids" in our family provided the catalyst for sharing their courageous hearts.  "Despite their fears, they constantly stretch their inner selves to take risks, to meet challenges.  They believe in their giftedness and know that the best way to thank God for it is to continually reach into risk, discovering and developing their hidden potential."  Their sharing brought tears to my eyes, but also inspired me to appreciate how one's vulnerability causes growth.  The challenges Karen faced transformed her heart and led her to a new spirituality.  Larry's hidden potential is revealed by his ability to focus on his family instead of on himself.  We also shared some of our favorite books and what we've learned from things we've read.   Maureen and Marilyn told us about a book called, "The Longest Trip Home, a memoir by John Grogan.  Here's a little clip:

We hopped in our cars and took a little road trip around the Butte, downtown Cottonwood and then down to Pine Bar on the Salmon River.  Oh, so may stories were shared of drinking beer, partying, and getting into trouble in high school!  We also heard about working for Mrs. Flint and Bert Lute, haying, babysitting, delivering newspapers, cleaning houses, schools, and the community hall. 
Don drove my Aunt Johanna's big boat Buick down to the river when he was 14 because she wanted to go steelhead fishing and had never learned to drive.  
  I certainly appreciated the views on this sunny Saturday much more than I did in high school.
Taken near Jim and Sally's Rehder's
Our Dad owned the City Electric with his brother, Jake, and brother-in-law, Les Reed.  My brothers helped my Dad from the time they were 10 years old learning all about electricity.  Dad paid them a little when they were in high school and they worked on Saturday helping him with wiring or repairing. 
Larry told us about leaving the door to the plumbing section open at the City Electric, instead of locking it at the end of a work day.  Then, he would sneak back in, leave $8.00 on the counter and walk out of the Cottonwood Cash with a case of beer, take it to the high school dark room and store it in the darkroom chemical refrigerator.  He made sure no one ever accused him of stealing beer!  He got away with it until Uncle Jake noticed the plumbing door had been unlocked.
Karen remembers spending a lot of time at this spot fishing with her three sons!

The younger kids admitted it was the perfect party place in high school - 15 miles from town and local police.

Our neighbor, Pete Hutter, taught all of us to float on our back at this very quiet spot in the River.

I took this picture because my former husband's brother, Ted, was also a drowning victim on this river in 1952.  He was home on furlough, and jumped in the water to rescue a pretty girl and never made it back out.  Roy was just 10 years old when that happened.  We remembered other drowning victims.  
Larry, Don, Connie, Allan.  Front row:  Joan, Maureen, Marilyn, Theresa, Karen.  We were all happy to enjoy the warm sunny day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Surprises

Valentine's Day is one of the favorite holidays celebrated at Juniper Meadows.   The residents stuffed the ballot box all week, voting for their favorite King and Queen and sweetheart couple.  Prior to the announcement the Golden Voices from LHS showed up in the dining room and serenaded two of our residents.  The teenagers looked stunning in their tuxedos and formal dresses!

 The sweetheart couple
Love still blooms for this couple married over 50 years!
These balloons and hershey candy bar welcomed me home from work today.  No one ever surprised me with a balloon bouquet on Valentine's Day.  I was quite sure Bradleigh had delivered them, but there's more to this story...
Last Thursday's paper advertised: While roses, chocolates and cards are the lingua franca of Valentine's Day they aren't the only language of love. Here are five local ways to mark the holiday, whether you like it or not. "It is a real hoot to deliver these singing valentines; they make people so happy and we have a lot of fun," says Paul Hill, a member of the barbershop quartet Four Names in a Hat.
Jim made arrangements for them to sing for Marcia on Valentine's Day.  Ed Novak, Paul Hill, Orrin Iseminger, and Doug Ashburn crooned while Marcia reacted with joy!
She thought they were going out to dinner, but Jim insisted he'd forgotten his wallet as a way to get her back home.  Not only was she surprised by the lovely songs, but her friends were hiding behind the piano and got to enjoy the music and her surprise as well.

Joan, Regina, Jean, Marcia, MaryLou, and Cecilia

These guys were on a tight schedule, but paused long enough for a great picture.  
Notice the balloons I thought were for me?  Wrong!!  They were to be a part of the surprise...Jim just failed to call me when he left them on my back porch.  
We ended the evening at Marcia's drinking a little wine and enjoying this lovely cake.
These are my surprises  - a lovely card from my sister, Joan, and a handmade heart from Colin.
More valuable than all the chocolate or romantic songs in the world!
Now I need some people to help eat all those M&M's!