Gathering Graces 5/25/2020 Congratulations to Zoe our newest graduate!!

There was no cap and gown.

There was no "Pomp and Circumstance".

But there was a recognition of the group of students from Boise State University who were completing their Master's Degree in Special Education.

The ceremony was done on Zoom, with pictures of each graduate flashed on the computer screen with one of their favorite quotes.  Then one of their advisors would share some uplifting and encouraging comments about the graduate.  After their photo was shown, each student had the opportunity to say a little bit about how the program has helped them.

Most of the students had been in their Master's program for the past two years after receiving their teaching certificate as an undergrad student.

Zoe and two other students are receiving their Masters in Teaching in Special Education and still have a summer session to go until they are completely done with their Master's Program work.

Paul and I were both very proud of all the hard work Zoe has put into this program, and enjoyed sitting and watching this celebration with her.  Between her and her advisors they were able to figure out how they could meet the student teaching requirement this last spring without being in the classroom with the students.  

Zoe received some other exciting news.  She has been offered a teaching job at Meridian Middle  School for next fall teaching Special Education.  She has been a paraprofessional at this school for the past four years.  We are so excited to see Zoe pursue her love of teaching her future Special Education students.

Way to go Miss Zoe!!


Gathering Graces 5/7/2020 Geranium Day

Each year my P.E.O. chapter sells geranium pots and baskets to raise money to help support the furthering of education for women.

Today was "Geranium Day" when the flowers arrive and I go around the valley delivering pots and baskets to my friends who ordered them.

Paul helped me deliver this year, and was such a big help.

He dropped off orders at Kellogg High School, the school district office, Kellogg Pet Medical Center, and some of our neighbors.  Then we headed up to Mullan to drop off and order, as well as dropping off an order in Wallace.

I love the smiles these flowers bring to people's faces each May when they arrive, because then people know that spring is here in full force, and it is almost time to plant the flowers in our gardens.

Gathering Graces 5/6/2020 Tulips

I have loved watching the tulips bloom in our new flower bed in the front yard!

Gathering Graces 5/5/2020 Snackin on Cinco de Mayo

Christy and Everett invited Bill and Debbie over to their backyard and wondered if  Paul, Zoe, Sadie and I wanted to join them for some snacks this afternoon.  It was BYOB.

We were able to spread out in their backyard and visit, and be all together for the first time since our stay at home rule was in place.

I have been very careful to follow the lead as far as seeing my siblings, by responding to their invitations, because they are more at risk than me, and I want to be respectful of their situation.  So it was nice to get an invitation to come over and see everyone.

Hopefully times like this can occur more frequently in the future.

Gathering Graces 5/4/2020 Star Wars Memories

May the Fourth Be With You.

Yes, it is Star Wars Day today.

I remember seeing the original Star Wars movie in high school at the Drive In Theater in Smelterville.

I don't think I really understood the movie the first time I saw it.

But they must have released it later, before the next episodes came out, because I eventually got it.  Or maybe I watched it on VHS before I saw the "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi".

I will always remember the night I saw "Return of the Jedi". I think my memory serves me correctly.  For Christmas, Paul had his mom, sister Laurie and cousin Di help put on a dinner at his mom and dad's house.  Then we drove to Spokane and watched "Return of the Jedi".  It was one of those times when the temperature hovered around zero, and when we got to the theater, the heater was not working.

When Paul drove me back home, and gave him his Christmas present.  It was also the first time we professed our love for one another.

But it was not a Princess Leia/Hans Solo kind of love declaration.  I did not say to Paul,  "I Love You", and he did not reply, "I Know".

Instead I wrote it in his Christmas card.  And, after reading it, he told me he loved me too.

And we have been loving each other ever since....through all nine episodes of the Star Wars series.


Gathering Graces 5/3/2020 Resurrection Celebration

Today we were able to meet the guidelines at our church and open the doors for our morning worship service.

We celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus today.

For the safety of our older church members, we wore masks to keep them safe.

What a glorious time to be together.

I am thankful for the many ways of being able to gather with other believers throughout the weeks we were staying home and social distancing.  I worshiped with people in New York City, worshiped with family and friends one Friday night through Zoom,  and worshiped with community members at the old Drive In Theater.

But there is always something special about gathering together with your own church family.

It filled my heart with JOY.

To me, wearing the masks during church was being a servant to my fellow church goers.  Especially those who are older.

It reminded me of a chorus I learned a long time ago...

"If you want to be great in God's Kingdom.  Learn to be a servant of all."

I am pretty sure we had it on a children's praise tape when the girls were little.

Here it is:


Gathering Graces 5/2/2020 2000 Published Silver Valley Stories

On February 2, 2007 Silver Valley Stories was born.  On May 4, 2020, a little over 13 years later, I just published my 2000th blog post.

Here is what my first blog post said:

No shadow seen by the groundhog today in my backyard. Looks like an early spring in the Silver Valley. Which may not be a good thing when you enjoy two ski resorts within half an hour of each other. Believe it or not, the above picture is a color picture, not black and white. It was of a recent dump of snow here in my back yard. Just so much snow, you don't see a lot of color.
Today is the day to start my blog. My brother, at www.kelloggbloggin.blogspot.com has inspired me the last few months by his daily posts regarding growing up in the Silver Valley, his three beautiful things, and his new digital photography hobby. But what I have got the most out of his blog is getting to know him on a whole new level.

I guess that is what I want to accomplish with my blog. I want my readers to get to know the Silver Valley on a whole new level. Through my eyes. I love the stories about this area, and there are many. When I used to be a local journalist, my favorite stories were the human interest pieces about people who lived and grew up here, and the stories they would share.

I hope to share some of those on this blog. I also want to share some of my experiences about my daily living in the Silver Valley. Also my observations about living here. And share other people's observations about living here.

So welcome. I hope to hear from others who love the Silver Valley as much as I, and maybe I'll even get a few converts who want to come check this place out sometime. Yes, the fact we are a Super Fund Site is part of the history of this area, but there is so much more to know about us here. Enjoy!


So much has happened in my life since 2007, and my blog has gone through many phases.

I have told stories about the Silver Valley.  I have told stories about my own life. For a while I wrote about "Silver Linings", where I focused on good things happening around the Silver Valley.

During the first year of my blog, I took a picture of the Tri-Color Beech tree in our backyard every day for a year, and posted a different picture of the tree with some kind of poem or quote.

In November of 2006, my siblings and I started assigning one another "Sibling Assignments".  According to my brother Bill's blogpost here is how these assignments got started:

My sister, Carol, pitched a writing idea to my other sister, Christy, and me.  We both agreed to her ides.  The idea:  Carol would give all three of us the same writing assignment regarding our lives growing up and we'd see how similarly or differently the same thing looks from our three perspectives.  Our first assignment is to write about Thanksgiving at the Jerry and Corrine Turnbow house.

Through these assignments we learned a lot about one another and connected in a new and special way.  At the time we began, we were living in three separate states.  I was in Kellogg, Bill was in Eugene, Oregon, and Christy was in Kettle Falls, Washington.

We branched off into Sibling Photo assignments for a while as well.

In January of 2017, I took my blog in another direction, with the beginnings of what I call "Gathering Graces".  Here is why I started this:

"Gathering Graces".

That is what I am going to attempt to do from now on to keep a track for me personally the wonderful things that happen in my life on a daily basis, and to make these things a part of my family and friends near and far who may want a glimpse into my daily life, as I similarly get a glimpse into my brother's daily life.

As I looked at the word "Grace" it fits so well with what I want to share.

As a Christian, God granted me grace by redeeming my life from sin.

We can say "Grace" before a meal to give thanks.

We say someone has grace if they have seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form or proportion.

Grace is also synonymous with mercy, kindness, and goodwill.

In Greek mythology, a Charis, or Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility, together known as the Charites or Graces.  The usual list, from youngest to oldest is Aglaea (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer).  In Roman mythology, they were known as the Gratiae, the "Graces".

Marble Statue Group of The Three Graces
Throughout the past 13 years, I have been consistent and posted every day.

I have posted here and there.

I have gone "dark" for long periods of time.

But I somehow always return, and find comfort in writing about my personal stories of living here in the beautiful Silver Valley.


Gathering Graces 5/1/2020 Entering Privileged Space

I love to find quotes about gardening.  I like the following quote because it talks about taking a privileged space and putting a twist on it, turning prose into something near poetry.

"A garden should make you feel you've entered privileged space--a place not just set apart but reverberant--and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry."
--Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardner's Education

That is a good description of what Paul and I hope we are doing in our yard.  We are putting our own little twist on the existing landscape, through creating small spaces throughout the yard.

Today that twist was tending to the vegetables.  I took a chance on March 20 and planted some seeds in my "Salad Garden" hoping they would come up and grow.



Black Seeded Simpson

Gourmet Blend

Burpee Bibb

White Paris Lettuce


Swiss Chard

They did!!  Then I said I would plant more seeds on May 1. So today, I cleaned out each tire that I plant my salad garden, and planted more seeds.  Some seeds did well, some came up, and then something ate the little seedlings.  The one vegetable I am very excited that is growing is the beets.  I have not had good luck growing beets in the past, but there is now little beet seedlings, so I am hopeful!!

I also took the vegetables I purchased yesterday and transferred them to bigger pots.

I also enjoy walking around the front and back yards to watch the progress of the bushes coming to life, the tulips blooming, the trees beginning to bud, and everything coming to life!


Gathering Graces 4/30/2020 Gardening and Friendships: Instruments of Grace

Today I experienced two of my favorite combinations....Gardening and Friendship.

And I love this quote by May Sarton, that sums up both gardening and friendship:

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.  Gardening is an instrument of grace."

I think friendship can be the same way.  Friends can slow us down, make us patient, set us back into slow circles of nature.  Friendship can also be an instrument of grace.

Today I got to experience the instrument of grace through both gardening and friendship.

One of my favorite local nurseries is the Pine Creek Nursery run by "The Idaho Tomato Lady".  You can check out her website at www.idahotomatolady.com to see what she sells.

My friend Kellee texted me and said they were having an early bird opening for Facebook followers today and would I like to go with her to get some plants, especially tomatoes.  I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea.

I went to the website and made my list, and, once I arrived, I was ready to start boxing up some plants.  I ended up with nine different varieties of tomatoes, some summer squash, some cabbage, some cucumbers, a rosemary plant, a mint plant and some flowers. The Idaho Tomato Lady always has unique petunias that I like to put in the planter boxes around my patio.

Here are some pictures of what I purchased.

These plants won't go in the soil right away.  Last year I learned that you don't plant the tomato plants from the container you buy them in right into a bigger container.  They need to grow a bit more before they go into my final tomato containers.  So I transferred all my tomato plants and all other vegetable plants to larger pots.  They will stay in these pots for about two weeks until the weather looks warm enough to plants the veggies.  I will keep these plants in the garage at night, and bring them out during the day to acclimate and harden them to the weather.

Planning and executing my gardens is one of my special instruments of grace in my life.

After shopping, Kellee and I stopped by a local coffee stand and bought some drinks and headed to the Pinehurst Trailhead to do some social distancing visiting.  We had not seen each other since the end of December, and a lot had happened since then.

For a few hours we talked, cried, laughed, encouraged and enjoyed another special instrument of grace...friendship.

That evening I received this special message that made my heart sing...

Friendship....a special instrument of grace.


Gathering Graces 4/28/2020 Looking To The Future and Remembering the Past

Two virtual meet-ups today.

This afternoon, Paul and I were a part of a call looking to the future of our church opening back up, and what that would look like.  It was decided we would be opening the doors of Mountain View Congregational Church this Sunday, and focus on the Resurrection, which seems appropriate!

Later in the day, I enjoyed another "Zoom Happy Hour" with my Tri-Delta pledge class sisters.  Today's theme was showing glasses and pictures from dances we attended in college.  Pictures were shared and stories remembered.  Lots of laughter and fun abounded.  In my search for college memorabilia, I found this mug, and this sweatshirt my friend Carolyn made for me in college, because my nickname in college was "Wooly".

One thing that was interesting in the midst of this call, we got to talking about the virus, and what it was like in the parts of the country where everyone lived, such as Colorado, Montana, Washington, California and Idaho.  When I mentioned that Shoshone County had zero reported cases of the virus, people were a bit shocked.  I just hope and pray it stays this way as our state opens up in the next couple of months.

Gathering Graces 4/29/2020 Knitting and Frying and Building

I got a text from my sister-in-law Debbie earlier this week, wondering if she could come over and do some social distancing in our backyard so we can catch up.  I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea.

And with Debbie coming over, I decided to get my prayer shawl knitting project out that I have been working on this past year, and have her help me get back on track.

Mission accomplished.  Debbie and I got caught up, she got a tour of some of the new things in our backyard, and I got my knitting back on track...at least until I totally mess it up again.  But at least she is just across town to help again if I get off track.

Great minds thought alike tonight.  I had taken out some rockfish to thaw for dinner, but hadn't really thought about how I was going to fix it.  I think I saw some picture of mention of fish and chips as I was looking online during the afternoon, and thought it might be fun to make my own fish and chips.  Zoe came into my office at some point, asking what was for dinner, and I said I thought it would be fun to make fish and chips.  She said she was thinking the same thing.  So I told her I would make the fish if she wanted to make some homemade chips and homemade tartar sauce.  A plan was made, it was executed beautifully, and we had a very delicious dinner of homemade fish and chips.  I will definitely try this again.

I made an offhand remark a few days ago, saying it would be nice to have another bird house, because our one bird house in the backyard always gets occupied as soon as the swallows arrive.  Well, I am sitting outside on the patio, and all of a sudden, Zoe comes over with a bird house her and her dad had constructed.  Paul put it up on top of one of the poles surrounding the patio, and before I knew it, we had an occupant!