Thank You For Being A Friend

I am blessed with wonderful friends, and have a wide variety of people I consider my friends.

But this hasn't always been the case.

When I was in grade school, I had a best friend. We did everything together. We were inseperable.

One year, she replaced me with a different best friend. Oh, we were still friends, but I wasn't here favorite any more. Ouch!!

It took me years to get over that rejection. It made me wierd when I did have other close friends. I felt possessive. I felt fear.

It took me years and years to finally trust others with their friendship. I am amazed at how deep that one incident of rejection in grade school made a lasting impression on my life.

But now I have come through to the other side, and have women friends that I love with all my heart, and I know they love me for who I am, warts and all. I have friends all across the country, young friends, old friends, and I love them all.

It is a good place to be.

Thank you, ladies, for being my friend.


White Out At Dawn

Do you remember the scene in the movie "Dante's Peak", (filmed in the Silver Valley, in case you didn't know) where the kids are in the humvee, and the ash is coming down so hard they can hardly see anything around them.

That was what it was like this morning on the Fourth of July pass at 4:30 a.m. while I was driving to the Spokane Airport to catch my 6:30 a.m. flight to Boise.

I was disappointed, but not surprised as I pulled out the of garage this morning, and saw the fresh blanket of white snow on the lawns. But it really wasn't snowing much at that point.

As I approached Cataldo, it was snowing a little harder, but still not bad. A snow plow was heading east in the other lane.

Then I drove past the Rose Lake exit, and all of a sudden, I was in a white out. Blizzard conditions. Severe weather advisory weather. The flakes were huge. I couldn't see anything in front of me.

I slowed down to 25 mph. I put it into 4WD Lo. (Thanks again, Lord, for this wonderful vehicle.)

I watched the jersey barriers on the left side of the road to make sure I stayed on the road.

I passed semi's stopped, with their drivers getting out to chain up.

Thank goodness it was so early, and there wasn't much traffic.

Thank goodness I had left early enough, so I knew I had time to make my flight.

Once I made it to Wolf Lodge, the snow subsided a bit, and I was able to see. The road cleared, just a bit wet.

I made it through Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, Spokane Valley, and Spokane, and made it to the airport at about 5:50 a.m.

As I approached the gate, the nice steward tells me to line up for boarding.

On the plane I was, safe and sound.

Thank you, Lord!!!


Silver Valley's Girls Version of Poem Where I'm From

IEG gave us Sibling Assignment #61 this week:

In honor of National Poetry Week use the poem Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon and compose a piece about where you're from. You can find the poem and background at http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html.

IEG's poem is here, and RP's will be here.

I am from string mops,
From Spic ‘n Span, and S.O.S. pads.
I am from green moss in the flower bed.
(Green, and soft
Like nature’s own lush carpet.)
I am from lilac bushes and
The backyard maple tree
That had many trunks growing out
From the roots.

I am from oatmeal cookies and plastic rain bonnets
Folded into a matchbook-size pouch.
I am from flea tickets
And cooties,
From the lunch recess call at Sunnyside School
Saying “third graders on the other side.”

I’m from Rose Lake and Cedar Island,
Creamed peas and new potatoes.
From my grandma with her hunchback,
To the splinter that blinded my dad in one eye.

In my bedroom was a cedar chest
Full of mom and dad’s love letters,
Mom’s wedding veil that I take out and I try on,
and other family treasures.
It helps connect me to my parent’s past.

I’m also from green short shag carpet,
Cast iron skillets, Revereware that never
Wears out,
And a clear Pyrex percolator brewing MJB coffee.

I’m from All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show,
The Carol Burnett Show
and M*A*S*H*,
Hee Haw, The Lawrence Welk Show
And Marcus Welby M.D.

I’m from yearly summer trips to Orofino to watch
Dworshak Dam rise from the riverbed,
Trips to Spokane visit to Grandma, and shopping at Northtown
and University City.
Journeys that forever helped defined who I was, and what I would be.


Three Local Women’s Hearts Pull Them To Africa

Silver Valley Worship Center members Beth Bartlett, Yvonne Davis and Shirley Dockter look at pictures Mama Bernice Balmes brought to show them of the children living in the Jewels for Jesus orphanage in Bungoma, Kenya, Africa. These three women are planning a mission’s trip to work with children living in the orphanage, and also help the people who live in Bungoma. There will be a breakfast to raise funds for their trip on Saturday, April 26 at the Osburn VFW Hall from 7 – 11 a.m.

SMELTERVILLE—The faces and plights of the children in some parts of Africa are often shown on the television.
For some it is information. For other it draws compassion. Still others are drawn into action.
This is the case of three local women who are raising funds and planning a trip to Africa.
Yvonne Davis, Shirley Dockter and Beth Bartlett are all members of the Silver Valley Worship Center in Smelterville. All three have felt a special calling to go visit the people in Africa, and help in whatever way they can.
“I have always had a love for children,” said Davis. “I see the pictures on TV of the hungry children in Africa and it always touched my heart.”
This feeling became even stronger about four years ago when a former SVWC Pastor took a group of people from his church to Africa and they returned and shared about their experience. “
“I was really listening and in my heart. I wanted to go so bad,” said Davis. “It was at this time that I started saving my nickels and dimes.”
Beth Bartlett is 17 years old, and a student at Kootenai High School. For several years she has had a strong desire to go on a mission’s trip to Africa to help the people.
“I have always had a heart for Africa since I was in middle school, and my youth group leader at the time took us to California where we processed peaches, and the plan was to then follow the peaches and deliver them to Africa,” said Bartlett. “This plan never worked out, but I have always wanted to go since the trip to California.”
Pastor Corey Berti knew Bartlett wanted to go to Africa, and began to put it into action.
Pastor Corey Berti called Davis to see if she would like to go. “That was my confirmation,” said Davis
Shirley Dockter said her heart has always been drawn to the children of Africa.
“I feel a desire and a yearning to go,” said Dockter. “Last time Mama Bernice was here and talked about the kids in the orphanage, I just looked at the kids and knew there was a need.”
Recently, Bernice Balmes, or Mama Bernice, as she is more commonly known, came to the Silver Valley to help prepare these women for their trip, and give a presentation at SVWC. The women learned about the clothes to buy, the health products to have, and the opportunities available to them to minister to the African people.
Mama Bernice started her mission’s work in 1969, while living in British Columbia. She works with Bishop Frances Bushebi and his son Pastor Dalmus Bushebi of Gospel Believers Fellowship. Bishop Bushebi has been a visitor to the Silver Valley. They all help administer the “Jewels for Jesus” orphanage in Bungoma, Kenya, Africa. She told the women there are many opportunities to help while they are in Africa for their three week stay.
“There are opportunities to feed the street children, do an all day event with the children, or visit the women in their homes,” said Balmes. “Pray about what you want to do, and what it is God is calling you to do.”
Some of the ways financially the African people can be helped is by building a well for $3,000, buying sheep at $30 a piece, then raising and selling the sheep and earning enough money to buy a cow, or raising a larger amount of money to help build another orphanage building.
Mama Bernice was very adamant about using the church for sending money straight to help the African people. She said often the money given by the United States government isn’t used for the way it is intended.
“Our countries give money to these countries for development, but all that money goes into the politician’s pockets,” said Balmes. “If you give money through the church, 100 percent of the money goes to help the people.”
As the women plan for their upcoming January 2009 trip, they are giving community members the opportunity to help in this mission’s venture.
On Saturday, April 26, there will be a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Osburn VFW Hall from 7 – 11 a.m. to help raise funds for their trip. Tickets can be purchased at both Stein’s Family Foods grocery stores in Osburn and Kellogg, or at the door. The cost is $5 a person, with children four and under free.
People wanting to make donations to help the people in this African community can contact the Silver Valley Worship Center, P.O. Box 196, Smelterville, Idaho 83868.
“God has a plan and purpose for everyone’s life,” said Davis. “It is our desire to step out and allow God to use us in whatever manner He chooses, not only in Africa but in our own community.”


Sibling Post #60: Things I Want To Do By The Time I'm 60

I posed this sibling assignment to IEG and RP. IEG's is here, and RP's will be here soon.

I realize some of us are closer than others, but, never the less, what are 10 things you would like to accomplish by the time you celebrate your 60th birthday?

1. Place to visit in United States: New York City

2. Country to visit outside of United States: England and France

3. Career accomplishment: Finish and submit book for publishing.

4. Physical accomplishment: Compete in another half marathon

5. Mental accomplishment: Learn how to converse in French.

6. Spiritual accomplishment: Read the Bible cover to cover. (I'm on my way!!)

7. Creativity accomplishment: Create a creativity workshop that allows women to blossom in their creativity.

8. Financial accomplishment: Help three daughters attain a college education by helping them financially.

9. Personal accomplishment (or perhaps more a desire) : Have enough financial stability to hire a housekeeper.

10. Helping others accomplishment: Go on a short term mission's trip to a third world country to help in whatever way I can.

Home for a while, then on the road again

These few weeks are crazy in our household. Z2, Kiki Aru and I arrived home from Caldwell on Saturday. The picture above shows Kiki Aru and her two friends doing their performance on the conflict of the Salem Witch Trials. They did a great job.
I'll post the documentary Z2 made with her friends on the Conflict and Compromise of the Coeur d'Alene Indian's Tribe soon.
PKR and The Princess hop on a bus tomorrow morning and head to State Speech competition in Rupert, Idaho. They'll return early Sunday morning.
Today, Kiki Aru is in Coeur d'Alene at Triple Play for a band field trip.
Z2 takes off to the Great White North on Sunday morning to a trip to Inverness, British Columbia on a band trip. She'll return on Tuesday.
Then there is my schedule. I go away for the weekend to the beautiful town of Cataldo for a Women's Encounter weekend with some ladies from our church. I get home Sunday afternoon, then I take a few deep breaths and prepare for my trip to Boise the next morning for my spring Gear Up conference. I'll be back on Wednesday afternoon.
If reading this schedule tires you out, just think how I am feeling!!
But I'll get to spend some time with some friends in Boise, so that will be good. I look forward to that.
So if you don't hear much from me in the next week, you'll know why.

Elton John is a Class Act

From the beginning to the end of the concert last Saturday in Pullman, Sir Elton John was amazing. From the first notes he played on the piano, to his last wave goodbye, it was such a wonderful musical experience.

One of the most impressive things to me was the band's interaction with the crowd. A group of people got to go up to the stage, and band members gave them picks and drum sticks. Then Elton John came down and signed autographs for a few minutes. Now that is classy.

PKR's favorite was the drummer, Nigel Olsson. He has been with Elton from the beginning. PKR was enthralled.
From the light show, to the amazing piano playing by Elton John, the whole evening was a treat.
My favorite that night was "Crocodile Rock", but every song was great.
I did notice he couldn't hit the high notes any more, like on "Benny and the Jets". But that was the only thing I noticed. The rest of his talents more than made up for a few missed high notes.
I wonder if, after a while, playing in a smaller venue like the Beasley Coliseum is rather refershing for these guys. A bit more intimate, perhaps.
I can attribute my love and knowledge of Elton John music to my sister IEG. She was a big fan, and had an album or two that was played at our home growing up. I think I could sing along (I'm not sure if I was singing the correct lyrics or not) to all but one or two of the songs. I kept thinking he had played all of them I knew, and then he would sing another I knew.
Last Saturday I attended one of the greatest classic rock concerts of my life, and it is a night I'll never forget.


Sunshine On My Shoulder Makes Me Happy

College of Idaho

What a welcome sight. We arrived in Caldwell, Idaho this afternoon, and there is blue sky and SUN!!!

We have traveled down here for Idaho State History Day.

Z2, Kiki Aru and I got on a bus at Kellogg Middle School at 6 a.m. this morning (and this is one of those Alpha Omega charter buses...not a yellow school bus) and we traveled down through Washington and Oregon to arrive here this afternoon, to pleasant weather.

We did run into some snow on the Blues, and ran into problems a few times when the normal rest areas that we usually stop at were closed because of the snow. But we survived.

It was amazing to go to dinner, and see green grass and sprinkler systems running. There were fruit trees in bloom.

Okay, it has been a very long winter in the Silver Valley.

I look forward to being at College of Idaho tomorrow. It is a beautiful campus, and we can again enjoy some more of the beautiful flowers and grass.

I'll give an update tomorrow night on how the girls do in their respective categories. Z2 is doing a Junior Division Group Documentary on "The Conflict and Compromise of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe's Culture". Kiki Aru is doing a Junior Group Performance on "The Conflict of the Salem Witch Trials".



Sibling Assignment--A Poem For Today

April is National Poetry Month, so Raymond Pert focused this week's sibling assignment on poetry. His assignment was to post an entry focused on one poem that is currently important to us. IEG's poem about afternoon naps is here, and RP's poem will be here.

I have a book called Pilgrim Souls that I purchased about 10 or more years ago. It is a collection of spiritual autobiographies. One of these autobiographies is about Denise Levertov, a poet. The collection that is in this book show some of Levertov's poetry that emphasizes on the poet as poet, her vocation and destiny, her discovery and re-creation of the order behind the seeming chaos of life. They also trace what Levertov called her slow movement from agnosticism to Christian faith.

The poem that I can relate to most today is a struggle I deal with each and every day.

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.

Problems insoluble and problems offering

their own ignored solutions

jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber

along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing

their colored clothes; cap and bells.

And then

once more the quiet mystery

is present to me, the throng's clamor

recedes: the mystery

that there is anything, anything at all,

let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,

rather than void: and that, O Lord,

Creator, Hallowed One, You still,

hour by hour sustain it.

My mind is filled with so many problems, ideas, things to do, projects and other distractions, that it can divert my thoughts to everything but spending that quiet time with my Lord and Saviour. But then God's grace helps me find that time and that place to quiet my mind, and focus on His presence, and His mystery.

Winter...I Mean Spring Break Winding Down

As I enjoy the last precious hours of spring break, I am thankful for a nice, relaxing week.

On Friday, PKR and I got to spend the day together. We actually had a date all day. We went to Spokane, then to Coeur d'Alene. We ate at the Olive Garden. We checked out the movies, but nothing looked very interesting.

We drove out by Hayden Lake, and enjoyed the scenery. It doesn't look like Avondale or Hayden Lake Country Clubs will have many golfers anytime soon.

We wandered around Borders for a while.

It was just nice to have a day of uninterrupted time with each other.

Saturday was rather interesting. A writer had read some entries on my blog, and had contacted me to interview me about an article he was writing on how different things are now with the current mining and tourism boom, as compared to when I grew up here. He talked to PKR for a while, and then called me and talked to me as well. I also gave him a couple of names of some local mining guys to interview. When the article comes out, I'll put the information on how to read it here on my blog.

Earlier that morning, I was the journalist doing my own article. A friend of mine is preparing to go on a mission's trip to Africa with two other women, and Mama Bernice, who works as a missionary in Africa was here this weekend to talk to the women to help them prepare for their trip, which will be next January.

It was fascinating to listen to here talk about the children they work with in the "Jewels for Jesus" orphanage. She also shared alot about the culture of the African people. Mama Bernice is from Canada, and originally started traveling to Africa and working with there in 1967. She has a genuine love for these wonderful people, and she is doing a wonderful job.

I was asked by my friend Yvonne to write an article for the local paper about their trip so if people want to support them in this mission's venture, they can. Once I write the article, I will share it here as well.

Today was church, then we had a really good church leadership meeting after church at our pastor's house. We have a women's encounter retreat and a men's encounter retreat coming up at the end of the month that we are preparing for, and I am really looking forward to seeing how God will change the lives of the women and men attending these retreats.

The only problem with being so lazy and relaxed this weekend was I now have a pain in the neck...literally. My neck and shoulder is tight and I have a really big knot in my shoulder. It is not very pleasant.

Maybe once I get off the couch and start doing something, it will go away.

Back to work tomorrow, but the day beings with a quick trip to Coeur d'Alene to take Z2 to the orthodontist. Then on Thursday I take a short trip with Z2 and Kiki Aru to Caldwell for State History Day. Then Elton John on Saturday night!!

That about wraps it up for now.


Visiting With April in April

I have three special people in my life named April. One lives in western Washington. One lives in southern Idaho. And ones lives with me here in the Silver Valley.

I could find no better way to celebrate the fourth month of the year than to have breakfast with one of my friends named April. Since she lives the closest, April from Kellogg had breakfast with me this morning.

She has a habit of going to coffee at a certain restaurant in Kellogg every morning, so I knew, if she was in town, she would be available for breakfast.

I called her last night, and found her at home. She said I must have been reading her mind, because she had been at coffee that morning, and saw three ladies having breakfast together, and thought how fun it would be to have breakfast with some lady friends. Plus, she had been thinking about me, and realized we hadn't seen each other in a while, so, as she put it, my call and invitation was very serendipitous.

We discovered each other when we were both working on a project as board members of the Staff House Museum here in Kellogg. April and I worked on creating a pamphlet to hand out to school children who came on field trips to the museum. April is the artist. I am the writer. Our talents complimented one another, and, through this project, we formed a bond.

One of the things I love about April is she is about 15-20 years older than me, and it is so fun having such a good friend with a different perspective on life. She is such a joy to be around, and she always inspires me to do more creative things.

It was fun to hear about her playing the bass fiddle in a bluegrass band last summer. And she has now moved onto another band.

April likes to journal with pictures in a sketch book. I love it when she shares with me her newest creations. She owns chickens, and frequently chickens are the subject of her drawings.

I'm glad I got to spend one of the first days of the month of April with my wonderful friend April!!


Watching The Ocean Go By

Danny Ocean, that is.

PKR and I have watched Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen over the past few days.

They are three fun movies about a group of thieves who pull off three different big jobs.

Ocean's Eleven is a remake of a 1960 version starring original "Rat Pack" members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

The first movie has the 11 thieves planning to heist three big casinos in Las Vegas. Their leader is Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney.

In Ocean's Twelve the group head to Europe to pull off three different heists, so they can repay the money to the casino owner they stole from in the first movie.

Ocean's Thirteen finds the group back in Las Vegas, when one of their group is double-crossed by a casion owner, and the group wants revenge.

I enjoy the twists and turns of these movies, and the way they are able to pull off their plans. They also throw in some funny moments that are just goofy, and make you laugh. That is one thing I enjoy about George Clooney as an actor. He never seems to take himself too seriously.

They are rated PG-13, but the language is actually fairly mild throughout (especially since it is set in Vegas), and really not a whole lot of blatant sex scenes or violence. (Personally, I think those scenes can get a bit old after a while.)
Just a few good escapist movies to watch that are pretty entertaining.