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Wayne 1956.

In the summer of 1956 my parents helped me run away from home.  I felt there wasn’t any room in the 32′ trailer we were living in at Woodley Hills trailer Park in Alexandria, VA., for Dad, Mom, Jay, me, Evy, Davy and Wayne.  We may have added the alumo room by then so Mom could have her piano and cedar chest.  I don’t remember if Grandpa Roy was visiting us at that time.  I would turn 13 in July so I determined that I should go visit Grandma Grace Belle, Grandpa Roy, Grandma Isabel, Grandpa Claude, Uncle Hollis, Aunt Jeanne, cousins Richard, Janet and Bob in Spokane.

1956 Grandpa Roy with Mom and Davy by alumo room.  I think she was pregnant with Wayne then.

Spokane 1954 Richard, Uncle Hollis, Aunt Jeanne, Bob, Grandma Isabel, Janet, and Grandpa Claude.

Spokane 1958 Richard, Bob, Janet.

1950 Grandpa Roy and Grandma Grace Belle.

My Wisconsin relatives–  Aunt Emily, Uncle Ernest, cousins Kit and Rinda would be driving from Eau Claire to Spokane that summer.  It was arranged for me to take the bus from Washington D.C. to Eau Claire and hitch a ride with them the rest of the way. 

Uncle Ernest and Aunt Emily 

1957 Rinda and me.

1957 me with Kit.

Mom and Dad had no idea that I would have to change buses in Chicago.  Fortunately for me I looked young enough that nobody tried to “pick me up” at the Chicago bus terminal.  Also I had become bus sick and my dress may have been smelly. A soldier asked me if I knew where to get the bus for Eau Claire.  I didn’t.  He pointed me to where I should wait then he took off to go to a bar. 

Meanwhile, at the same time, Jay left for Mexico to visit a family who we knew through Aunt Emily and Uncle Ernest– the Benitez.  His letter to us follows.

1956 letter from Jay. Sounds like Jay had a wonderful time.

On our trip from Eau Claire to Spokane I remember one lunch Aunt Emily prepared for us which we ate as we drove.  She took hard French rolls and filled them with deviled ham.  The best sandwich I had ever had up to that point.  Kit and Rinda read quite a bit as we traveled.  I had never been able to read in a car without becoming sick. As I studied them I was tempted to read.  I picked up some of their reading material and started reading just as we entered the Badlands of South Dakota.  Aunt Emily instructed me that I was missing the Badlands.  I was shocked.  All this time Kit and Rinda had been reading and just as I started reading I was singled out.  I was not happy with her.  My angry retort was, “I’ve already seen the Badlands.” ( I didn’t take correction well.) My family had driven west through South Dakota many times.  Our family stopped at Mt. Rushmore one time.  I remember the buffalo steak served in the restaurant.  It was delicious. (We had roast buffalo at R Ranch and it wasn’t as good.)

When we arrived in Spokane I asked to be dropped off at Grandpa Roy and Grandma Grace Belle’s farm.  Unfortunately my aunt and uncle had planned for me to accompany them and my cousins to Walla Walla.  So after a few letters flying back and forth I joined them.  After that excursion I was dropped off at the farm and my Aunt Evelyn and cousins Dorothy and Richard arrived just then.  

The highlight of the summer was a birthday cake for me provided by Aunt Evelyn. Trips to Natatorium Park and Liberty Lake were special memories for me.  (My cousin Kit tried to get me to scream on the ferris wheel when he would turn our enclosed cage upside down.  I refused to scream.) I hated shopping but Aunt Evelyn thought I didn’t like to shop because I had no money.  She gave me some money but I still despised it.  (My daughter and my husband shop for me now.). Grandma Grace Belle was a good cook.  We had steak, potatoes, and from the garden– fresh peas, beets, carrots, and salad.  She kept a watermelon in the refrigerator for anytime we would want a slice. 

There are several letters from me to my folks that summer saying that I wasn’t coming home until they bought a house.  I believe I was under the influence of Grandma Isabel as she had much to say about us living in a trailer. They did buy a house and I went home.

I was informed by one of my correspondence writing teachers that my story about my trip cannot be published as a children’s story because there is no plot.  Nothing bad happened.  So I leave it here for the family to read.

Psalm 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you

    to guard you in all your ways.

On Monday, September 19, 2022, Queen Elizabeth was laid to rest.  If you would like to see any of Queen Elizabeth’s State Funeral service go to hour 3 on the You Tube above.  Joel Rosenberg wrote about the service in his newsletter.  If you would like to read it go here

Me with Heather and Jes in 1991.  We are on a ferry with the twin towers in the background.  From a video by Chris.

On our visit to New York City in 1991 we never imagined that people we had welcomed into the United States would turn out to be terrorists in 2001.  They were our neighbors. What could have been done differently to save all of the lives that were lost on 9/11?  Maybe by loving our neighbors well enough that we legislate strict immigration policies?  Israel’s policy may be a good example to follow.  

Now in 2022 our immigration policy still has not been fixed to work well.  We are hearing news that may be true or false.  What are we to believe?  We see “everyone doing what is right in their own eyes,”  much as in the day of the Judges in the Old Testament.  God raised up presidents and congress to help our nation but it seems our country is embattled in fighting each other instead of the real problem of evil.

Here is what Justice Sonia Sotomeyer said about what the people of the United States should do to get along: 

SOTOMAYOR: With every single person that I meet, particularly if I disagree with them, I try to find the goodness in them. I try to find what part of them can we communicate with together. And so I may have used and I have used as an example, my relationship with Justice Clarence Thomas, I suspect that I have probably disagreed with him more than with any other justice. That we have not joined each other’s opinions more than anybody else. And yet, Justice Thomas, is the one justice in the building that literally knows every employee’s name. Every one of them, and not only does he know their names, he remembers their families names and histories. He’s the first one who will go up to someone when you’re walking with him and say, Is your son, okay? How’s your daughter doing in college? He’s the first one that when my stepfather died, sent me flowers in Florida. He is a man who keeps, cares deeply about the court as an institution, about the people who work there. He has a different vision than I do, about how to help people, and about their responsibilities to help themselves. I’ve often said to people, Justice Thomas believes that every person can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I believe that some people can’t get to their bootstraps without help. They need someone to help them lift their foot up so they can reach those bootstraps. That’s a very different philosophy of life. But I think we share a common understanding about people and kindness towards them. That’s why I can be friends with him. And still continue our daily battle over our difference of opinions in cases. But you really can’t begin to understand an adversary unless you step away from looking at their views as motivated in bad faith. And so, yes, I have friends of all backgrounds, and friends have all political views. And I will continue to do so because that’s important to me. Understanding how I can make the best pitch, long term, to achieve the goals that I think are important.

May the people of the United States listen!

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'”. 

Navigation station

Beware the “Ham Nazi.” He’s similar to the “Soup Nazi” on one episode of the “Seinfeld” TV show.  I had a run in with this guy when we were living on our boat in Mexico.  We had just taken our weekend ham radio class and had gotten our licenses. I was looking forward to some communication with friends in the U.S.  Unfortunately I did not speak “ham” yet. You must only use certain words.  Other words are not allowed. No freedom of speech on ham radio.  He demanded I add the Mexican identification letters. Well I may have flunked “ham radio” but the following young girl knew exactly what she was doing when she talked by ham radio to the International Space Station.  Click the link here to listen or to read the story.  

Antique classic books and book ends from my parent’s collection.  Photo by Chris.

Many years ago Grandma Isabel saved issues of the PTA Magazine.  In a 1948 edition a list of good children’s books was published.  I thought this was a wonderful way to help parents when they were purchasing or checking children’s books out of the library.  

When my children were growing up in the 70’s I could trust Dr. Seuss, Caldecott, or Newberry Award books to provide enjoyable literature.  But in the 90’s I noticed that children’s books were taking up themes of cannibalism, adult themes of sexuality, and using foul language. 

What is a parent to do? Book reviews help to weed out bad books and to find good books.  But what parent has time to read a review of every book your child is interested in reading? Well, one could stick to Dr. Seuss, Caldecott Award Books or even find bloggers who review books. (Newberry Award Books are no longer reliable choices.) I read one blog by a pastor, author and book  reviewer — Tim Challies— which is helpful.  There are probably many others. My prayer is that Friends of the Library Parents would start a Facebook page or website where parents could check out what others are saying about the books.  On Breakpoint this week Maria Baer was concerned about a book her daughter had checked out at the library.  She was so alarmed she threw it away.  She will reimburse the library for the book of course.  But in this day and age it is difficult to discern good books.

Personally I have been reading all the Christy Award books as I know they will have good themes and no bad language.  

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Four Lakes Church

Grandma Grace Belle and Grandpa Roy preferred to attend St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Spokane. Sometimes it was just too far to travel from the farm.  Instead we would attend the Four Lakes church.  If we were staying with Grandma Isabel and Grandpa Claude we would attend the Westminster Congregational church.  If we were visiting Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Hollie, we would attend Manito Presbyterian.  

Today I read a blog about how each Christian is given a Spiritual Gift to be used to build up the Body of Christ, in other words–  build The Church.  Instead of complaining — use your gift to build up the congregation.  My gift is being a good listener.  Here’s the blog from

Teaching Others to Sing SweetlyThe story is told of a musician—a particularly skillful musician with a highly-developed ear for pitch, tone, and harmony—who visited a new church for the first time. He arrived a little late and entered the sanctuary just as the congregation was beginning to sing the opening song. To his chagrin, the singing was badly out of tune. It pained him to hear the people attempt to sing one of the great hymns of the Christian faith without the least bit of success.But as he walked to a pew and took his place, he began to hear one voice that stood apart. Amidst all the dissonance, one woman sang clearly, calmly, and perfectly in tune, her sweet voice rising just above the din around her. She was undistracted by the flat notes and grating tones, undistracted by all the unskilled singers that surrounded her.As that musician stood and listened, he noticed with fascination that first one voice and then another was drawn to this woman’s. Soon those immediately around her began to follow her lead, to match her melody, to hit the same notes. Then those a little farther away picked up on it as well. Before long the whole congregation was singing the hymn just as its composer had intended. Soon the whole congregation was making a truly joyful, truly lovely, truly beautiful noise to the Lord.We sometimes wonder what difference one person can make to a church. The man with a heart for evangelism can be discouraged when he observes that the members of his church seem apathetic. The woman who loves to extend hospitality can find it difficult when she sees that so many other people in the church neglect it. The teen with a heart for Bible study can be tempted to move on when the other young folk seem unconcerned with these basic disciplines.Yet as this woman displayed that morning long ago, one person truly can make all the difference. That woman did not need to stop the congregation and formally instruct them. She did not need to interrupt them to bring a stern reprimand. She did not need to grumble or complain. She simply had to use her gift until one person and then another and finally the whole church had heard her voice, had matched her tone, and had fallen into perfect melody. For “as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I Peter 4:10 

Sinbad, Chris, Daddy Bert, Teddy Bear, Dana 1950.  Photo by Rita.

Wayne and Davy with Mink Stowell, Alexandria, VA, 

Grandma Grace Belle and Grandpa Roy always had “barn cats” to keep the mice away from the farm. The cats were always kept outside and the dogs inside. Mitzie, the overweight black cocker spaniel, would lounge in front of the wood cook stove.  Grandma would use her foot to slide Mitzie away from the stove so she could get near enough to do some cooking.  I don’t recall ever seeing any mice on the farm.

My brother Jay had pet white mice.  They were kept in a cage in the basement of our Virginia home.  Suddenly the cage was overwhelmed with baby mice.  Somehow the cage and mice disappeared.  I heard a rumor that they were sold to a research firm.

 I’ve never favored mice.  When I saw a gray one race from one side of the grocery isle, and scurry under the nearest cooler, as I was shopping,  I reacted with an ugh and a shudder!  I was in a hurry and kept retrieving needed items.  Can’t let a mouse or even an earthquake interfere with my schedule!

Later that day I thought about that mouse and decided to e-mail Fred Meyer.  I received several replies from at least 3 different people.  They thanked me.  The last person instructed me to report any such sightings in person to the store manager.  I hope there will not be a next time. 

So the learned lesson is –“See something; say something.”

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Nan and Heather 1971. Photo either by Chris or Ralph.

1993 or 1994 — Nan and Heather. Photo by Chris.

I was shocked.  My “after visit summary” from my new doctor reported that I appeared my stated age!  That is old!  Maybe it is the gray in my hair or the fact that I’ve gained 20 lbs in the last 20 years.  But that is the least of my worries. A college classmate has a wife who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. I am concerned about this disease.

Me with my gorgeous birthday cake by granddaughter Samantha. Photo by Heather.

So now I’m praying, like my friend Nan prayed every day, that God would “Keep us in our senses.”  Nan was the wife of my dad’s closest friend, Ralph, and Heather’s godmother.  She became my closest friend and prayer partner in her later years.  Years ago her aunt had a stroke and ended up not being able to function normally.  Nan said she would rather bleed out from blood thinners, so she wouldn’t have a stroke, then to end up like her aunt. God answered that prayer.  

I last spoke to Nan when she was on her way to hospice care in a hospice facility.  I could tell she was in a lot of pain but, as usual, she was glad to hear from me.  My cousin, Janet’s husband, Alf, as soon as he found out that she was in hospice care, went to visit her.  She was already in a coma.  He sat with her and remembered her love and care for all of us.  She had given him Ralph’s Bible previously.  

My mom had some form of dementia.  Her thinking was irrational.  Arguing with her did no good.  Later I learned from a Facebook post that one should not argue with people who have dementia.  The only statement I could make to her that would bring her to her senses was–  “That isn’t making disciples or spreading the gospel.”  Also, if I wrote out prayers for her this would calm her down.  Some people are helped by listening to their favorite music.

So Nan finished the race well and I daily pray that we shall also.

II Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Jes –photo by Jessica

From Our Daily Bread:

“A man named James took an adventurous, 1,250-mile journey down the West Coast of the US—biking from Seattle, Washington, to San Diego, California. A friend of mine met the ambitious biker near the cliffs of Big Sur, 930 miles from his starting point. After learning that someone had recently stolen James’ camping gear, my friend offered his blanket and sweater, but James refused. He said that as he traveled south into the warmer climate, he needed to begin shedding items. And the closer he got to his destination, the more tired he became, so he needed to reduce the weight he was carrying.

James’ realization was smart. It’s a reflection of what the writer of Hebrews is saying too. As we continue our journey in life, we need to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (12:1). We need to travel light to press on.

As believers in Jesus, running this race requires “perseverance” (v. 1). And one of the ways to ensure we can keep going is to be free of the weight of unforgiveness, pettiness, and other sins that will hinder us.

Without Jesus’ help, we can’t travel light and run this race well. May we look to the “pioneer and perfecter of faith” so that we won’t “grow weary and lose heart” (vv. 2–3).

What do you sense is weighing you down on your life journey? How might you persevere and be free of the weight that entangles?”