Sibling Assignment 2015.10: The Beauty of My Hometown #3Siblings

This week Christy gave us our Sibling Assignment.

When you want to surround  yourself with beauty, where do you go? Take five pictures of that place and share your thought on it's beauty.

Christy's post about "What I Will Leave Behind" is here, and Bill's post will be here soon.

I am going to share about the beauty that is right outside my front door, here in my hometown of Kellogg, Idaho.  I didn't take photos this week for the assignment, but rather I am using photos from last summer I took when I realized how much beauty was so close to my front door.

Last summer we didn't travel anywhere during the summer, so I did a series on "Vacation at Home", and took some little hikes around Kellogg that were all no more than 15 minutes from my house.

This photo was taken after walking up behind Kellogg High School.  I graduated from KHS, and now that is where I go to work each day.  It is a beautiful setting for a high school.

Down the road from KHS, by Shoshone Medical Center, there is a walking path that takes you up to the top of the hill where you get this magnificent view of Kellogg.
This is what it looks like walking up the trail from the hospital, before you get to the top.

If you walk down Bunker Avenue, past Kellogg Middle School, there is a trail along the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, to the west of the school.  This is a view of the river as you walk along the trail.

This is taken along a trail on the north side of the river.  There is a trail on both side of this river, and it is a nice walk to enjoy some beauty of the South Fork.

Kellogg is a beautiful place to live, surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes and streams.
I love the beauty of this area.

So for me, if I want to surround myself with beauty, I only have to walk out my front door.


Sibling Assignment 2015.9 The Important Thing That Has Slipped Away

After a bit of a hiatus with the sibling assignments, brother Bill assigned the following assignment:

Do you have anything in your life that you've not been doing that you used to a lot more of?  In other words, have you let something important in your life slip away -- maybe not completely, but more than you'd like in a perfect world.
Write about it -- why it matters to you, how you miss it, and how you think you'll go about getting back to it.

I am getting an early start on my blog post this week.  You will find Bill's post here, and Christy's blog post is here.
This was an easy one to pinpoint in my life.
Researching and writing a book.
That is that something in my life, something important in my life, that I have let slip away, definitely more than I would like.
I was reminded of this last Friday when I was at a Pampered Chef party.  I used to sell Pampered Chef, and one of the parties I was a consultant for was the friend who was having the party last Friday.  I met a woman at that party about 10 years ago, and she asked me if I was still working on my book.  She remembered.
I often run into people who ask me this question.  And it makes me feel like a failure. I hate that!!
The premise of my book, or actually books, is great.  It is a historical fiction novel series about the Silver Valley.  The first book has the three main characters, a mining lawyers daughter, an Italian immigrant, and a Coeur d'Alene tribal member all meeting on the lawn of the Cataldo Mission when they are all about 14 years old, in the year 1888.
The first book focuses on the girl, and her life moving from back east to Wallace, Idaho, and her life in this new mining town.  The Italian boy's family came this way, because the father was working on building the railroad.  After that job is done, his father gets a job in a local mine, as does the son, eventually. 
The book opens with the girl seeing a train full of local miners wearing hoods, and heading west toward Kellogg.  The year is 1899.  The girls sees a scar on the arm off one of the miners, and knows it is her Italian friend.  These men are heading west toward Kellogg to blow up the Bunker Hill mine mill.
This is a photograph taken of the men who were put in the "bull pen", a makeshift prison that men suspected of blowing up the Bunker Hill Mine Mill were put in to after the 1899 explosion.
Then the scene goes back to 1888, when the three friends meet on the lawn of the Cataldo Mission, and how there lives continue to intertwine, while telling the colored history of the beginning of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District, which is now known as the Silver Valley.
The second book begins with blowing up the mill, and the main character is the Italian Immigrant.  This covers the next ten years, from 1899 to 1910, the year of the largest forest fire in U.S. history, occurring right in and around Wallace, Idaho.
The final book focuses on the Coeur d'Alene tribal member, and begins with the aftermath of the fire, and goes until about 1920.
Personally, I think it is a great story, and I have done a lot of research.  But life got in the way.  I am not one of those people who are disciplined enough to write late into the night.  Especially when I was raising a family.
But, times are different now.  Paul and I are practically empty nesters.  So now, I am hoping I can take the time to get back into writing the first book.  To reacquaint myself with the girl from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the boy from Italy, and the Native American, who was born into a peaceful tribe who roamed the lands of what is now Washington, Idaho and Montana.
And, if you want to help me with this project, ask me about my book.  Talk to me about the story.  Encourage me to keep writing.  That is what will help me get this story down on paper, and one day, hopefully, get it published.



Sibling Assignment 2015.8: Martin Luther King Jr. and "Selma"

So, over a month ago, I gave the following sibling assignment:

 "Pick a movie you have watched recently, and talk about how that movie changed the way you look at the world".

The same week, my Mom fell and fractured her shoulder.  My life has been a little topsy-turvy since then.

But, today my pastor and church quoted Martin Luther King Jr., and my brother mention MLK in his daily Three Beautiful Things.

I took it as a sign to finally get this blog post written, so brother Bill can assign the next one.  Here is Bill's post about "The Last Metro" , and Christy's post about the movie "Into the Wild".

The first time I visited Washington D.C., we went on a tour of the memorials and monuments.  The last time I visited, there was an additional one added.  The memorial dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.

I loved reading the quotations he shared.  I think part of my fascination with MLK Jr. is the fact that many of his greatest achievements happened the year I was born, 1963.

Here are a few of the photographs I took when we visited the King's memorial.

I was moved by the words, and thought about all he did for civil rights.

A couple of months ago, I took my daughter and niece, who are both 20, to see the movie "Selma". I knew the movie was about King, but didn't know the circumstances surrounding the Selma march, and what the premise of the movie was.

All three of us were moved by the film, and what we saw. Especially the parts of violence that was released on the people who were marching by law enforcement officers.  It was so shocking.

But then I look at what is happening now in this country, and some of the same problems exists. 

This morning in church, our Pastor preached on the verses in James 2: 1-13 that say:

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

We are not to show favoritism toward anyone.  Jesus came to make us all equal.  To make us all of the same tribe.  As he says in Galatians 3 there is not Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free.  When we are in Christ, we are all equal.  That is one of the things Christ brought into the world.  A level playing field. 

But often, even we Christians don't get it.

MLK Jr. reminds us through his words from the past that we can be better.  We can strive to live the way Jesus died for, that we just celebrated last Easter Sunday.

We can focus more on the greatest commandment that says "Love Your Neighbor As Yourself" instead of living a life of fear of those who are not like us.  Not a part of our group.

King had a dream.  I dream, too, of a world where we live our lives guided by love, and how we can help others, instead of fear and looking out only for ourselves.

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Sibling Assignment 2015.7: Capturing Moments #3Siblings

This week Christy gave us our Sibling Assignment for the week:

 " Write how photography has enriched your life".

Here is where my sister wrote about photography here, and my brother's post will be here.

As I look back through my life, I think photography has enriched my life by capturing moments in time that help preserve not only my history, but the history of what is going on around me.

It also helps me remember things I have done in my life.  People I have met.  Places I have visited.

I love looking at the first photograph ever taken of me.  I was five months old.  It was once explained to me that a photograph was not taken at an earlier age, because I almost died of pneumonia soon after I was born.

First photograph of me when I was five months old, being held by Mom.

I has been a record of my garden from year to year.

Healthy looking beans.


It has helped me chronicle the years of my children's lives and of our family.
Molly, Coco, and Zoe

As a reporter for our local newspaper for a few years, it helped me preserve historical images of the Silver Valley.

For me, photography isn't so much a creative medium, but a medium where I catalog memories of things that have happened to me over my life.

Sadie and Paul, Christmas 2008.

I like looking at photographs from my childhood that show what kind of things I did, and how goofy I looked at times.

I love finding photographs that I don't remember seeing before, and trying to figure out when they were taken.

I love remembering my time at the University of Idaho, my summer in San Bernardino, California, my time living in Glendive, Montana and our daughter Molly's birth.

University of Idaho graduation, May 1985.

I love looking at photographs of our time living in Meridian, Idaho, and the births of our daughters Zoe and Cosette.  The looking at photographs of their various birthday parties they had filled with the many cousins who lived close.

I love looking back at photographs of living in our first Kellogg house up on McKinley, the house that no longer exists.  Thank goodness we have photographs of that time.

I love looking at photographs of my dad with me, with my siblings, with my mom, and with my daughters.  Dad is longer here, either.  In June he will have been gone 19 years.  But the photographs help keep the memories alive.

Grandma Woolum and I.

Mrs. Price and I.  Mrs. Price came into our home and took care of me the first three years of my life.

Mom and Dad...aren't they cute?

I love looking at my wedding photographs.

I love looking at photographs of all the many pets we have owned.
Our Keeshond Peaches.

I love looking at photographs from different places we have visited, such as Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland.

Washington D.C.  This is from my second of three visits to our nation's capital.

I love looking at photographs taken at the Oregon Coast, Yellowstone Park, various places in Montana, Grand Coulee Dam, camping trips, visits to Christy and Everett's house.
Oregon Coast

I love looking at past Christmas photographs.  Some of this helps me remember the country we cooked food from.  Some of the photographs helps we remember warm, happy holiday moments.
Christmas 2008---Africa

This reminds me of the Kodak commercial from the late '70's that used the Paul Anka song "The Times of Your Life".


Sibling Assignment 2015.6: Pin It! #3Siblings

Pin It!

You find something you like, what do you do.....

Pin It!

Recipes. Crafts. Pottery. Books. Quotations. Blog Posts. Decorating Ideas. Ways to use bottles.

These are just of few of the things I have pinned on my boards on a Social Media phenomenon called


And Pinterest is the topic of this week's sibling assignment given by brother Bill:

Write a piece about Pinterest.  What do you value about Pinterest?  How has it made a difference in your life?  Can you tell a story about a particular thing you did at a particular time that went really well because you are a part of Pinterest?  On the flip side, is there anything about Pinterest that disappoints you?

 Bill's post is here, and you will find Christy's post here.

I was leary of becoming a part of Pinterest.  I had heard stories of friends getting "lost" on Pinterest, spending hours of time looking for and finding items.it didn't become much

But I eventually succumbed and started making some boards, and I didn't get "lost" in the world Pinterest.

The things I value about Pinterest are the ideas.

I love looking for ideas about new recipes, crafts, decorating ideas.

Pinterest has simplified finding particular kinds of recipes.  The search function is great.

For example, last week I had corn tortillas, cheese, peppers, black beans.

Search for Mexican corn tortilla casserole vegan.

Voila!  I found a delicious casserole that I could make with all the ingredients needed on hand.

My brother has recently been boasting about this wonderful peanut sauce he makes.

Click, click, Pin It!  Now the recipe in on my Recipes I Want To Try board, and I made it tonight for dinner.

One thing that has been a really fun way to use Pinterest is getting ideas for making pottery.  I have collected all kinds of ideas, and used many of them in the past few months since I have learned how to create pottery. My friend Rachael also find ideas she may think I would like, and she shares them with me.

Here are a couple of example of items she shared with me, that I later made.

One piece nativity scene by MacMichaelPottery on Etsy, $24.00

The only thing that disappoints me with the links sometimes.  You can't find the item that you pinned.

Other than that, Pinterest has been a very useful tool.


Sibling Assignment 2015.5: Boy Crazy #3Siblings

Since it was Valentine's Day weekend, I gave the sibling assignment with a Valentine's theme:

Think back to celebrating Valentine's Day in Elementary School, and share about any memory or memories you may have from one or more of those celebrations, and how it made you feel.
Here is Bill's post about Hating Valentine's Day here, and Christy has her Loving Valentine's Day blog post here.
My, how Valentine's expectations have changed for me since back in grade school.
For example, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day with my Valentine Paul this year.  We drove to Coeur d'Alene and had breakfast at the Garnet CafĂ©.  Then we came home and took a nap.  Then we walked the dogs.  The we had dinner at my mom's house with Christy and Everett.  Then came home and visited with Coco and her three friends before they headed back to Moscow.  Then Paul and I started watching "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" on Netflix, until it got too late, and it was time to head to bed.
Just the fact I got to spend the whole day with Paul made this Valentine's Day very special.
I think I was a little boy crazy back in elementary school, so I probably really analyzed the Valentine's certain boys gave me, and probably read more into it than was actually there.
Apparently me liking boys goes back to at least back to second grade.  Recently my mom has been going through old photos, cards and letters, and she found the following letter I wrote to my Auntie Lila when I was in second grade.
I have no recollection of who this "boyfriend" might have been.  But it looks like I have written proof that I had one at the young age of seven.
I wonder what kind of Valentine I received from this "boyfriend" of mine?
Looking back on Valentine's Day with Paul, one of my favorite Valentine's memories was one of the first years we were married.  We were living in Glendive, Montana, and we traveled to Billings, Montana for the weekend.  We each were given $10 to buy the other person some Valentine's gifts in the mall in Billings.  That evening, we saw Bobby McFerrin in concert, before he was really famous.  What a wonderful concert.
Valentine's used to be about getting cute cards or special candies.
These days, the best Valentine's present I could ask for is what I got this year, spending the whole day with my one and only Valentine Paul.
I guess I'm still boy crazy after all these years.....but the craziness is all for one special boy named Paul!


Sibling Assignment 2015.4: Kellogg, Idaho is My Corner of the World #3Siblings

This week's sibling assignment was given by Christy:
Write on the following:'My Corner of the World."

Christy's assignment is here, and Bill's is here.

Kellogg, Idaho was my corner of the world growing up.

I lived here from the time I was born, until I moved away to my first job after I graduated from college.

My life's journey took me to Glendive, Montana and Meridian, Idaho.  But then that journey returned me back home....to Kellogg, Idaho.

I have lived here, for the second time, for almost 15 years. 

This is home.  It will always be home.  It is also home for my husband, who lived between Kellogg and Meridian his whole life growing up, but claimed Kellogg as the place he always felt was his home.

Kellogg, to me, isn't just a place I live.  It is my history as well.

My great- grandparents on my Dad's side came out to settle in Idaho in the early 1900's.  My Grandma and Grandpa Woolum followed them out here.  My dad was born in Kellogg in 1930.  Kellogg was still a pretty new town at that time.

I think my love for Kellogg is in my blood.  Dad loved Kellogg.  He loved living here, and when he had to move to Spokane with my grandma when he was still in high school, I know he wasn't very happy about it.  But after he went to college in Lewiston, he returned to Kellogg and never left.

He was home.

When I grew up in Kellogg, I don't think I thought much about living here when I got older.  But after getting married, and moving from place to place, I think Paul and I didn't really have a plan to return to Kellogg, but we just knew we would eventually end up here.

And we did.

My corner of the world has seen a lot of changes over the years.  Legend has it that Noah Kellogg's Jackass found an outcropping of galena on the hill that eventually became the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mining Company, back in 1885.

This is me portraying Noah Kellogg a few years ago in a local theater production I wrote about some Kellogg history.

There used to be a billboard greeting you when you entered  Kellogg that has been resurrected in the past few years that looks like this:

 I am not ashamed to be descended by a Jackass.

The landscape of my corner of the world has gone through many changes.  Kellogg is in the middle of a valley in the Bitterroot Mountains.  The South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River flows through Kellogg.

Now I think of this body of water as a river.

Growing up, it was known as "Lead Creek", because of the mining waste that flowed through it. 

Growing up, I didn't not think of it as a river.  It was "Lead Creek", a place you didn't go in to.

The mining changed the landscape of this area, causing the hillsides to become bare, and the river to be polluted.

This is a photo of the landscape from 1958.

Here is a photo I took of Kellogg last summer.  Things have changed in the last 50 years or so.

Today a friend a graduated from high school with traveled from Kennewick, Washington with her church's youth group to spend the weekend here in Kellogg.  She had not been in Kellogg for many years, and commented on how beautiful it was.  She also said that, once she arrived, she felt like she was home.

That is not an uncommon feeling for people who lived here.

Through mining booms and busts, EPA clean up, Silver Mountain Ski Resort expansion, and other local changes, my corner of the world has survived.

It is filled with people who do things hard....the like to live hard....they like to party hard.....but most of all....they like to love hard.  They are generous to a fault. 

And they are my people, here in this corner of the world.  And I am proud to be a part of them.

I wouldn't want to live in any other corner of the world right now, but this one nestled in the middle of Idaho's Silver Valley.