Tag Archive | Incredible Journey

13 Things You Might Not Know About Me

horses by oceanFollowing the lead of These Grace Filled Days, a blog I follow, I’m going to start off the year by telling you 13 things about myself that you may not know. I don’t think any of them will be shocking. Ready? Here goes:

1. I love animals, and if I didn’t have my husband reining me in, our household would probably be over run.

2. I’m a Californian, and although I’ve lived in Florida for 21 years,  whenever anyone asks me where I’m from, I say California. I just happen to live in Florida.

3. Although I consider myself an extrovert–I love having loads of people in my house–I’m not good at all at making small talk, and other people’s parties are usually uncomfortable for me. I’d rather have a small group of close friends that I can talk to than scads of people that I barely know.

4. I’m married to a reluctant vegetarian (he eats that way to help alleviate symptoms of his ulcerative colitis), and I have a child with a dairy allergy, so cooking is a challenge around my house.

5. I really don’t have a crafty bone in my body. I look at what other people do, and I think, “I could do that.” Truth is, I can’t. If I try, it never turns out looking right.

6. I’d much rather text and email than talk on the phone. I guess that’s the writer in me. Texts and emails can be edited. What you say just comes out the way you say it. No take backs.

7. I’m an adult orphan. My parents died within 16 months of each other. My dad had a heart attack in April 0f 2006 and I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer is August of 2007. There’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t think about something I wish they could experience with my family.

8. I’ve always wanted to own a horse. Once, when my dad was between jobs, he applied for a position in Oregon. He said if he got it, we’d get a place where I could have a horse. Never happened. My dream home is on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a pasture of horses around it. A view of the ocean and horses is my idea of paradise.

9. I hate being cold. It seems to affect me more than others. I get chilled all the way through. I’d much rather sweat than shiver.

10. My mom was a concert violinist, but I never heard her play. That makes me sad. By the time I came along, she had long since put away her instrument to raise, at the time, three kids. Then my younger sister was added to the brood, and my mom sold her violin to help pay for the piano that now sits in my living room.

11. I cry whenever I see someone else crying. For real. Even if I catch just a few seconds of a movie or TV show, if they’re crying on screen, I cry. Hallmark commercials get me every time. Even if I’ve seen a movie or read a book 50 times, I’ll still cry. You know the movie “The Incredible Journey?” You know the part where Shadow finally shows up at the end after they had given up on him because he was so old? Yeah. Gets me. Every. Time.

12. I’m intrinsically lazy. Given the choice between sitting on the couch and reading a book, and getting up and doing something physical, I will choose the book every time.  It’s something I have to work really hard to overcome.

13. Years ago I got to be the only other voice on a demo tape that a friend of mine was making in hopes of launching a music career. I loved the experience of being in a studio and recording and had hopes of maybe being a singer myself some day. Oh well.

Can you relate to any of those? Let me hear from you.

Have a blessed new year!

Thankful today for:

743. still having the doors open in January

744. a new year

745. happy animals

746. clean water

747. leftovers

748. sight

749. my daughter’s delight in reading

750. my Christmas village

751. the bird’s antics

752. a wall filled with Christmas cards


Way to Go, Idaho!

The last two days (days 22 and 23 of our journey) find us in the surprising state of Idaho. I say surprising because I didn’t expect to be overwhelmed by its beauty. I don’t know why I didn’t expect that of Idaho, but I did. Western Washington is majestic, and Northern Idaho blends into it with itS mountains, lakes and rivers. As we drove on a small highway, US 95, for hundreds of miles, we made our way through those mountains, then into valleys of rolling hills of green and yellow, up mountains again, into canyons by the beautiful Salmon River. The scenery was amazing, causing my eldest to dub it the most scenic state yet.

Once again we had to leave family we didn’t know when we would see again, but we were also blessed to visit friends I hadn’t seen since high school. Our time is coming to an end, but we stil have Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore to see. Many more miles, many more friends, and just a week to go. I think it might take a long time to process all that we’ve seen and experienced. It has been an incredible journey.

Thankful today for:

489. late sunsets

490. the anticipation of Yellowstone tomorrow

491. the sound of river rapids

492. wifi

493. a chance to catch a fish

494. picnic lunches

495. kittens

496. shared memories

497. insurance that will pay for the ding in our windshield

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times


The cool thing about doing this traveling is that we get to see all these people we haven’t seen in so long. The bad thing is, they get to see us. The real us. The us who bicker with each other, have bed head when we get up, and sometimes don’t get our masks on completely straight before they catch a glimpse.

But so far, at least as far as I can tell, they seem to love us anyway. So why the mask? Why not just be who we are all the time? Just like an artist who doesn’t like showing a work in progress, I think we don’t want to reveal ourselves until we’re perfected.

Problem is, that’s not going to happen until heaven, and we have a lot of living to do before that point. So we bear with each other, let them see who we really are and, like a business going through improvements, wear a sign that says “pardon our dust.” God isn’t finished with us yet; but we’re still open for relationship.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever‑increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV84).

Thankful today for:
486. A beautiful day for an outdoor wedding
487. Being married to my best friend
488. Unconditional love

Saying Goodbye

Day 17 of our trip finds us in one of our main destinations: Kirkland, Washington. It’s here that my niece Hannah will be getting married in two days. We stayed overnight with friends in Medford, Ore., and saw another old friend the next morning. Whereas seeing friends and family has been fun, fact is, I may not ever see some of these people again. My 94-year-old aunt; my 92-year-old prayer warrior friend. The fleetness of life has hit me more in the past couple of weeks than it has in a long time.

When my mom died 5 years ago, and we sold the house where we had grown up (my dad had preceded her in death 16 months before), I

I keep this close to me as it is the image on my Discover card.

knew going back to the Bay Area would never be the same. But when we drove through the other night without stopping to see the place, I felt sad. I really can’t go home again; my home is no longer there. My home was with me in the car that night in the form of my husband and my three kids. The place doesn’t matter. As we drove on, I said goodbye. I won’t refer to California as my home anymore.

Driving up to the Pacific Northwest is a joy. As we drove through lush green valleys in Oregon, I thought to myself, I could live here. Horse farms, flowing rivers, mountains on every side. It was so peaceful. If it was 78 degrees year round, I’d seriously consider a move.

We’ve passed the halfway point mileage-wise and time-wise. After the big wedding on Saturday, we will relax on Sunday and then have fun rooting against the Yankees at Safeco Field on Monday. Then, we hit the road again, this time to Idaho to visit more friends. After that, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park.

We are blessed.

Thankful today for:

471. open doors on a summer day

472. safe travels

473. the smell of coffee

474. the ability to help

475. hot tubs

476. varying terrain

477. birthday celebrations

478. wedding preparations

479. technology that allows far-away people to stay in touch

It’s Grand All Right

Day 7 of the Incredible Journey finds us with good friends in Glendale, Ariz., where the sun rose this morning at 5:29 a.m. Nice. Yesterday was a full morning at the Grand Canyon, after staying the night on historic Route 66 in Williams, Ariz.

I loved the kids’ reactions upon first seeing the Canyon. Amazement. Awe. Excitement. First thing they wanted to do was hike way out on the tips of these rocks that were hanging out over the precipice. Yikes. It took everything I had in me to not keep saying, “Be careful!” I said it to myself. And I prayed. At one point, my entire family was out on one of those rocks. If they went over, I was hosed. The keys to the van were in David’s pocket. (For the record, I didn’t go down there the the first day because I was wearing flip flops. I got my share of hiking out onto precipices the next day, in decent shoes.)

We hiked the South Rim trail. At one point, it felt like we had the place all to ourselves. Most of the other visitors were in the other direction. It was wonderful. Sometimes, I just felt overwhelmed by the vastness and majesty of the place. There were some vistas that I didn’t even try to photograph; it just wouldn’t have done it justice. It is one of the 7 wonders of the world. I can see why.

Thankful today for:

435. swimming pool on hot days

436. the sun coming up

437. friends along the way

438. the U.S. highway system

439. firefighters (they put out a highway blaze that delayed our drive into Glendale by a half hour. Could have been a lot worse).

440. cool cacti

441. mountains

442. Gas Buddy

443. my job, even if it has to be done at an inconvenient time

444. anticipation

445. travel mercies

446. varied landscape