Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Bike Rides

This year the fall colors take my breath away.  I've been doing some bike riding just because the days have been warm and the colors exquisite.  I rode the Chipman Trail from Moscow last Saturday, after spending the morning with Duane and Colin at the Farmer's Market.  It's about 10 miles from the old Tidyman's parking lot to Bishop Blvd in Pullman.

I always like to stop and read the signs - I learned most homesteaders came west and desired to settle along rivers and creeks, initially by-passing the hills.  Early homesteaders later discovered the rich topsoil of the Palouse and the area quickly filled with settlers after 1860. 

Last Tuesday I loaded my bike on my car and drove to Spokane anticipating a long bike ride with my brother-in-law, Dan.  He found several quiet residential streets  that eventually took us to Manito Park.  I thought he was willing to take  a lot of risks on the road,  and he thought I was the risk-taker because I wouldn't stay on my side of the street, often wandering into the middle of the street.  I had a brush with a big semi truck near High Drive that resulted in a battle scar to my knee, but not enough to stop us from enjoying the gorgeous colors of the maple trees in the Japanese Gardens of Manito Park.

Dan is standing on the same bridge that he and Marilyn had their engagement picture taken 36 years ago!  

On Wednesday we drove to Gonzaga University and got on the Centennial Trail that one can ride all the way to Coeur d'Alene.  

We rode all the way to Boulder Beach and back, a 10-mile ride on the north side of the Spokane River.

Now I'm even more convinced that I need to take a road trip and explore more bike trails all over the country.  One can ride Rails to Trails in almost every state and I think it's a great way to explore God's creation - so much better than traveling on a freeway and being confined to the inside of an automobile!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spike for the Cure - Breast Cancer Awareness

My granddaughter, Bradleigh, played a big role in Clarkston High School's fundraiser for the Gina Quesenberry Foundation.  Gina died of cancer, after fighting it for 5 years, when her daughter, Laynie was only 21 years old.  Laynie and her family started the foundation when she discovered local nurses often paid for some expenses, not covered by insurance, of cancer patients.    The foundation often pays for travel costs to get the patients to their chemo or radiation treatments and even for motel rooms and rent for those requiring extensive treatment.   You can learn more about the foundation at  
Bradleigh had to organize the DECA event, seek donations, and plan educational sessions for the girls at the high school.  I enlisted the generosity of my siblings and 4th Day sisters with the suggestion their donation might be a way to support my sister-in-law, Dena, recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a great event and I'm bursting with pride about Bradleigh's involvement.  Here's a link to watch the interview from KLEW TV:

Be prepared to see a lot of pink in the following pictures:

 Sixteen teams signed up, involving over 90 students and a handful of brave teachers.

Karen, the official photographer for the DECA scrapbook, took a lot of pictures and I got her to sit still for just a minute to get one of mother and daughter together.
This team - all seniors, named themselves "Itsy Bitsy Spiker."  They came very close to winning the event, but were eliminated by the Half Staff in the final round.

This is a picture of the auction table that John ended up "guarding" while the matches were being played.  

This is a picture of an adorable young person named Kayla.  She came to the door prize table several times, eyeing a lovely pink necklace.  She probably had 5 tickets in her little hand and her numbers were never drawn.  My son-in-law, John, was charged with “guarding the prizes” so he and Kayla had several interactions throughout the night.  When one of his numbers was drawn he invited Kayla over to pick out a prize and her face lit up when he handed her the pink necklace.  Her mom told me she chose it to give to her great grandma who has breast cancer!  Just the sweetest story ever!

Great job, Bradleigh, on your DECA Community Service Project

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Autumn Ache in Us

I love my 4th Day of Grace Prayer Group.  The ladies are my best friends, my loving support and encouragement, and partners in my faith journey.  When they all agreed to a mini-retreat at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Marcia, Regina, and I sprung into retreat action....  We searched our spiritual guidebooks,  our Bibles, the Catholic Music Issue, and built a little retreat using Joyce Rupp's book as our beginning point.  We all recognize we are in the autumn of our lives and their is an ache in us.."a tender nostalgic desire to gather our treasures to us and hold them close because the ache tells us that someday those treasures will need to be left behind."
We shared what goodbyes were happening in our lives and why letting go is so difficult.  We came to the realization that saying goodbye involves a lot of trust in the One who cares so deeply about each one of us.

We began our morning by drinking coffe and eating Mary Lou's wonderful biscotti.
We used leaves as a reminder of how difficult it is to let go sometimes because we, like trees, feel so empty, dead, or useless.  "Autumn is a season to hold the trees close, to stand with them in their grieving.  It is a time to open my inner being to the misty truths of my own goodbyes."
We made time for silent reflection, walking, and napping.  I walked around the FarmHouse grounds, marveling at the beauty of God's creation in the pond, the wheat fields, and the spires of the Monastery.
The quiet time gave me pause to think about letting go once again of my job at Juniper Meadows and saying goodbye to a schedule!  My friends helped me see the hello in free time  with time to ride my bike, be with my grandchildren, and minister to the homebound.
Marcia and Regina led us in reflections that encouraged us to share the pain in our life, the challenge of forgiveness, and ways we recognize how much God cares for us.
Marcia's  walk inspired her to write some poetry.  She mentioned that some good-byes lead to new avenues of creativity.  For her it's been her painting and now this beautiful poetry.  

Regina read, from the front page in her Bible, the names of Cursillo leaders.  We heard some names over and over, but just the sharing began a whole conversation about our the 3-day Cursillo experience.  We tried to remember the words to Las Mananitas, but could only come up with words here and there.  Thanks to the magic of You Tube we can hear the words in English...
Too bad we didn't know about You Tube back in the 1990's - we'd be able to hear, once again,  the angelic voices that woke us up at 5:30 AM in the gym in Genesee!
We walked over to the Monastery Chapel and joined the Sisters in Evening Praise!
We love the views from the Farm House - Thursday was a night of the full moon rising.
Sister Carlotta joined us for Happy Hour and took this picture before we left for our dinner at the Keuterville Pub & Grub!
We warmed ourselves to a cozy fire as we gathered for morning coffee and a lovely breakfast.
But not before the coffee maker exploded and made a huge mess in the kitchen.
Some of us took a tour of the Inn, the Monastery Bed & Breakfast that Regina helped make a reality.
The new covered entrance made packing and unpacking so much easier!

Marcia, Regina, and I shared our "close moments" and what the retreat meant to us as we made our way back to our homes in Lewiston and Clarkston.  

I likened the experience to receiving the gift of a necklace a with jewel-like pendants holding the tender and wise words of my Cursillo sisters.  Every sharing, every tear added to the value of my beautiful, colorful necklace.  I plan to wear the "necklace" close to my heart and treasure the moments in weeks to come.  But, this is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in all the gorgeous color surrounding me as I think about the glorious hellos ahead..

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My heart runneth over....

The events of the past weekend filled my heart to overflowing.  That's what happens when I spend time with my sisters and this year, with a sister in law and niece!  It's a bit of a challenge to clear the calendars of seven women and set aside time to reconnect as a family.  Once Paul agreed to watch the kids, Maureen felt free to book her flight from Denver and spend two days with us.  Connie considered staying away because of a sinus infection, but the rest of us begged her to come - she even brought masks to wear, but the doctor-wanna-be's said she was not contagious.  Karen graciously opened lodge-like home to us and we settled in on Friday night with wine and a home-cooked meal.  Lots of talking, lots of remembering wore us out and I think we were all in bed by 9:30!  This is what Maureen and I awoke to early Saturday morning:

Karen's home has a total 360 view of Moscow Mountain, the city, and other mountain ranges far in the distance.  Just absolutely gorgeous!

Shortly after Dena and Jill arrived we brought out the sunshine basket we'd prepared for Dena.  She shared the challenges of her illness, which brought us to tears most of the time, but touching all the things in the sunshine basket brought lots of smiles to her face and joy into our hearts.
 We first presented her with a prayer shawl, knitted by Marilyn, and blessed by her prayer shawl ministry group!  We prayed that Dena would be wrapped in love and cradled in hope by feeling the love and concern knit into every single stitch.
She seemed to love all the soft goods - fuzzy slippers, a fleece blanket, warm fuzzy lounging clothes!

Karen and I met Kim Uhlorn on our hiking trip to Imnaha Falls and she agreed to do a pamper party for us!  Wow, it was awesome!  She did foot detox, hot wax, reflexology, a little Reiki, and full body massages.  My feet never felt so pampered!  Connie's quite sure the Reiki massage took away the inflammation in her sinuses.  Kim spent the whole afternoon pampering us and encouraging us to relax.  She's a self-taught alternative medicine para professional who loves to share her knowledge.    I think this event beat out the sauerkraut making we did last year!

Kim took these pictures before we left for an afternoon hike around Karen's property.

 Then it was time for dinner and home grown potatoes from Karen's garden and
Baked salmon in parchment paper!

We actually spent a lot of time all weekend talking about food!  It's a concern for us because we were raised by a Dad who did not believe in pesticides, white sugar, or white flour.  Our Dad taught us to appreciate real, healthy food and if we couldn't get all the nutrition we needed he insisted we take vitamins and minerals to supplement our diets.  Maureen's job as a stay at home mom involves weekly baking and planning menus that her food-sensitive children can eat.  We're angry at the seed companies who altered wheat seeds way back in the 1970's.  We all read food labels and wonder if gluten causes sinus infections.  And does all processed food include gluten?  What about all the food additives that we can't pronounce?  Those chemicals just can't possibly be good for us.  Our Dad probably would've loved our conversations and happy to add his two cents worth.  
We posed for one last picture before we rushed off for 8 o'clock Mass at St. Mary's.  We took a few moments to bless Dena with the words from my favorite book of prayers by Edward Hays.  
"May this cancer be for us a cause of gratitude,
We who are enjoying the fruits of good health.
As we pray for Dena
May we also thank You
for this fragile gift of health
that we possess.
May peace, grace, and love surround Dena
and an awareness of Your Divine Presence
be a tent of protection during her next surgery."

The entire weekend blessed me and filled my heart to overflowing!
Thank you to my sweet sisters, to Dena, and to Jill.