Our Backyard

I love my backyard.

It is a beautiful, peaceful sanctuary filled with birds....






And my favorite part of the whole backyard is the Tri-Color Beech Tree that spreads its' beautiful branches and leaves over the north end of the backyard.

I have often remarked that if we ever move from this house, it will be the backyard I will miss the most.

And this is the best time of year to enjoy our backyard.

And today, when we had a party to celebrate Coco's graduation, the conditions in the backyard were perfect.  It was cool, but not cold.  The sun was shining, but it wasn't too hot.  I was amazed at the perfectness of the moment.

As friends and family gathered to celebrate our daughter's graduation, I was filled with gratitude at the people in our lives, and the place that we live.

I hope to spend a lot of time with my family and friends in my backyard this summer, building relationships, enjoying one another's company, and taking in the beauty of our backyard.

(Photo credits go to my daughter Zoe Roberts.  Thanks Zoe!!)



Today was a day of preparing things to eat for tomorrow.

Loaves of bread were baked, some by me, some by Mom.

Cupcakes were baked (with help of daughter Zoe.)

Fixings were purchased to make the Top Ramen Cabbage Salad to serve tomorrow.

Food brings people together.  It is fun to see what people serve at a party.

On our menu:

Fresh homemade bread.
Sliced ham and Sliced Turkey
Mustard and Mayonnaise.
Sliced cheese.
Salads, salads, salads, with the help of Mom, Christy and me.
Finger food.
Pickles and Pickled Vegetables.
Nuts and Bolts (Coco's favorite made by Grandma Mary).
Lemon Water to drink.

I look forward to sharing food with our guests and seeing all those who come to help celebrate Coco's graduation tomorrow afternoon.



Today I have been in a bit of a funk, and many of my insecurities have found their way to the surface.

Now, you have to understand that my baby girl is graduating from high school in two days, and I am pre-menstrual.  That is not a good combination.

I think it started this morning on my walk with my friend when she asked me if I had a lot of graduation parties to attend this weekend.

I got a little choked up when I told her, no, we weren't invited to any.  No, we were invited to one, but it is the same time as the one going on at our house, so we can't go.

So then I have been thinking about this all day.  The fact we weren't invited to any graduation parties.  Now I imagine some people could care less about attending these parties.  But I really enjoy them.  If you have ever done a color code activity, my color is yellow, and yellow means fun and parties.  I would love to help celebrate the student's graduation at their parties, like I have in years past.  But it is not going to happen. 

Well, there is the graduation ceremony itself.  But, if you read a post of mine from a few weeks ago titled "Things That Make Me Uncomfortable", you read that graduation ceremonies make me very uncomfortable. 

So then, in my emotional state I am experiencing today, I start to question if I made any impact on these students at all. Why didn't I connect with them?  Why did the two other ladies in the counseling center at the high school get invited to parties, after only working with these kids a year, and I have worked with them for six years, and no invites for me.  Yes, the insecurities are roaring their angry heads tonight.

And of course I blame myself.  I should have done more.  I should have connected more with the kids and parents throughout the years.  I have known many of these kids since preschool, and have watched them grow, but I have not mastered the art of making connections.  And then I ask myself, "What is wrong with me?"

So then, in the middle of this funk, this wallowing in today's insecurities, the grief I am feeling of not having these students who I have watched grow up not be in my life anymore, Maya Angelou reaches out to me from Heaven and lets me know that I am okay.

And she did it through my husband.

Often when I am feeling upset, I turn to housework.  See, if I wasn't happy most of the time, my house would be immaculate.  Like this afternoon, I turned to doing the dishes in my sorrow and funk of the afternoon.

All of a sudden Paul comes in with his Chromebook and says, "Can I play a song for you?" 

I said okay.

He explained that one of his favorite Maya Angelou poems is called "Phenomenal Woman", and he found a woman singing the poem on You Tube, and wanted me to listen to it.  He said that whenever he teaches this poem to his students, it reminds him of me.

It didn't take long into the song for me to start sobbing.  Because I did not feel very phenomenal today.  I felt foolish.  I felt like a failure.  I felt like what I do doesn't matter.  I let one thing really get to me this morning, and ruin my whole day.

But then I heard the words of Maya Angelou's poem sung by Ruthie Foster, and realized there is at least one person who sees me like this.....the person who I hope would see me like the woman the poem describes.

God knew I needed those words at that moment.

God know I needed Paul to share those words with me, at that very moment.

And God knew I needed a good cry on my husband's shoulder right then.

As you listen to Ruthie sing, read along with these powerful words to

"Phenomenal Woman"
By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I will eventually realize that this weekend isn't about me.
It really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things if I attend parties or not. 
Because this weekend, it is about the women and men who are graduating,
and who are moving on to the next phase of their lives.  And their celebration of this milestone in their life that they have just completed.
It is about celebrating with my daughter Cosette, and her successes, and her graduation celebration.
And I will silently cheer and celebrate with the seniors on graduation day,
hoping they know that I have been cheering them on all along the way.



I was being laughed at by two of my daughters this evening while we were watching "You've Got Mail", because I kept dozing off, and while I doze off, I snore.

My family has been cursed with snoring.

We probably got this "gift" from my dad, because I don't think Mom snores that much.

Sometimes I wake myself up snoring.  This happens especially if I fall asleep in a chair, while sitting up.

Because of my snoring, I now travel with ear plugs just as a precaution to give to people I may be in the same room with, who may not like my snoring too much.  And I may not like their snoring either.

So, now you know it.

I am a snorer!!

And I'm starting to doze off now, so I had better shut this down and get to bed.  Hopefully no snoring tonight.



Of the multitude of chores I do around the house, doing the laundry is actually one of my favorite.

Maybe because this was a task growing up that we were forbidden take part in around the house.  Mom was the mistress of the washer and dryer, and we did not get to touch those two machines.

I didn't use a washing machine or dryer until I moved to college. 

At our house now, everyone does their own laundry, and it has been this way for quite some time.

I don't mind doing my own laundry.  I enjoy separating the clothes into different piles.  I like the feel of clothes coming straight out of the dryer, all warm and fresh smelling.  I like coming into my bedroom and putting the clothes on the bed, and once again sorting them and hanging them up in my closet.

Tonight I finally did the clothes exchange in my closet.  This is a bi-annual ritual I do where I pack away the clothes from one season, and replace them with the clothes of another season.  This happens twice a year.  Today it involved removing the sweaters, turtlenecks and flannel pajamas from my closet, and replacing them with the brighter colored short sleeved and sleeveless tops, shorts and capris.

Often I get a little behind on the folding part of the laundry.  We have a table right outside the laundry room that often gets piled high of towels, sheets and blankets.  And then I kind of get used to them on the table, and forget they are there.  This past weekend I finally got caught up on the mound of towels on the table, and got them all folded and put away.


For many years, I was a fabric softener sheet user.  But in the past few years, I have started using liquid fabric softener, and am now a convert.  I love the feel clothes have when you use fabric softener, especially towels.  And they smell so nice, too.

I was fortunate I was able to do laundry tonight, and have the time to get it put away.  The worst times to do laundry is when you don't have the time to put it away.  Then it gets put in a big pile, and laid in the closet, and then it just becomes a jumbled mess.  Things are back to some semblance of order in my closet.

For some reason, this makes me feel very content.


Family Togetherness

Another summer of family togetherness.

Every year I keep thinking it will be our last summer with everyone under the same roof. 

But it hasn't happened yet.  Yay!!

I cherish these times with everyone still living at home for part of the year.  With all three girls in college next fall, who knows what the future holds.

But for now, I am glad Zoe is home from Caldwell, finishing up her second year at The College of Idaho, that Coco is around this summer as she prepares to leave for Moscow and attend The University of Idaho, and Molly will be taking summer classes at North Idaho College, and continue through next school year, with plans to get her AA degree in about a year.

I am so proud of all of these girls.

I'm not sure what our summer plans are at the moment, but I do hope we get to do some family outings to take advantage of all being together for another summer.


Studio 60

Back in the 2006-2007 television season, NBC aired a show called "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", a comedy drama hour long show that was a behind the scenes look at fictional sketch-comedy TV show, similar to "Saturday Night Live", but was I Los Angeles instead of New York City.

The show was canceled after one season.  I watched it, because it was an Aaron Sorkin production, and I am a big fan of anything Sorkin has ever written. 

Many people believe the show was canceled because the writing was too smart for the average network television viewer.  It was too witty.  It wasn't all funny....there was drama in the show, too.

Maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much.  I like television shows that make me think.  I don't like a lot of things on television, but I was a big fan of "West Wing" another Sorkin project, and Sorkin's newest project on HBO, "The Newsroom" was unbelievable.

I like the way Sorkin's mind works.  I like his outlook on life, and how it comes through his writing on his various projects.

In "The West Wing", he believed politics could be a good thing.  In "The Newsroom" he believes news reporting could be better.  In "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", he believed television could be better, too. 

Mathew Perry and Bradley Whitford have a great chemistry as the two main characters on this show, who are the co-producers of the late night comedy sketch show.  And all the other characters are really good, too.

If you want to try out a fun, witty, well-written show, I highly recommend you watch "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip".


Drinking Water

I am fortunate to have the ability to go and get good drinking water out of the door of our refrigerator.

My favorite way to drink the water is to put it in my special "Mom's Cup" with some cubed ice and lemon.

We take our water for granted, because most of the time it is there when we need it.  We go to the sink and run the tap.  We flush the toilet.  We take a bath or shower.  We turn on the hose outside.

This is when water is our friend.

But before you know it, water can also turn into our foe.

Today at our house, water became our enemy.

We were enjoying the first day of our three day Memorial Day weekend by relaxing.  We are both in our bedroom, and all of a sudden hear some water running.

"Honey, do you have water running anywhere?"  my husband asked.

"No," I replied.

He proceeded to investigate, and discovered our hot water heater had blown something off of it, and water was gushing from the tank, all over our basement floor.

Paul was able to turn the hot water heater off, and hook up a hose to drain the hot water heater into our Sewage Ejector Pump hole.

He then hooked up a hose to the water heater to drain the rest of the water out of the tank.

Then we needed to purchase a new hot water heater.  So Paul went over to Furniture Exchange and purchased a new hot water heater.  Within half an hour, the owner, Pat Elfsten, arrived at our house with the hot water heater, and a hand cart and helped Paul carry the heater down to our basement.  He also left the hand cart for him to use. 

"Just return in back to the store when you are done," said Pat.

In repeating Paul's words, "You have got to love this small town service."

So now, Paul is working on replacing the water heater.  His dilemma at the moment is figuring out how the old water heater was moved into the space where it goes.  This was a water heater that had been in our old house uptown, and we had replaced a water heater that was already here with the one that just broke.  So we had to have put this water heater back there. 

Paul is just not sure how.  But he will figure it out.

This has been a string of water mishaps in our home since the beginning of the year.  In March we had ground water seep up through a crack in the cement floor in our basement and flood our storage area. 

The Sewer Ejector Pump Switch quit working.  All of our toilets in the house are malfunctioning in one way or another.  Then the hot water heater breaks and begins gushing water once again in our storage area in the basement.

Ah, the joys of home ownership.  When it rains, it pours....especially when dealing with water!!

Well, Paul figured out the water heater dilemma.  We got the old water heater out of the house, and, as I write this, Paul is getting the new water heater back into place and hooking it up.

Maybe I will get a hot shower tonight!!

So, if you believe in prayer, please pray that there are not mishaps next weekend, as we celebrate Coco's graduation.  It does say in the Bible to pray for our enemies....okay, maybe Jesus wasn't exactly talking about faulty plumbing, but we could still use your prayers!!


Favorite Music

Tonight my favorite music was the Big Band sound of the Kellogg High School Jazz Band.

In the cafeteria tonight was the annual Big Band Dance.

This is the last time I will hear my daughter play the drums as a Kellogg High School band student.

Actually, besides the graduation ceremony, this is the last event we will do with Coco being a part as a KHS student.

It was bittersweet as the evening ended, watching the students play and realizing I will never hear this particular band ever again....because many of them are moving on.

Actually, all the seniors that are in Jazz Band are attending the University of Idaho.  (Lucky Them!!)

It was fun watching Paul and Coco dance together.

It was especially fun dancing the night away with the most handsome fellow in the room....my husband.

There was a really great crowd there, as well as some sitting on the side just observing and listening to the great music.

I'm going to miss being a KHS Band Parent.  Now I move on to being a U of I Marching Band Parent. 

That will be fun to......

but not at all the same.


Apple Cider

Tonight I finally had a night to sit at home and relax.

As a treat, I opened the hard apple cider my sister gave me for Mother's Day.  It was delicious.

Yes, hard apple cider has a certain amount of alcohol in it. But not a high amount.

I have never been a fan of beer.  And there are a few drinks with alcohol I do enjoy from time to time... and hard apple cider happens to be one of my favorites.

I discovered hard apple cider when we still lived in Meridian, Idaho.  We had gone to have dinner in downtown Boise, and ate at a Basque restaurant.  They had a hard cider on their menu, and I decided to try it.  It was delicious.

So, from time to time, I would try different kinds of cider.  Some are better than others.  For a while, they weren't really popular, but have gotten more popular recently.

I have never liked beer, and never been a beer drinker.  But a hard apple cider is delicious.

Two years ago my brother and I drove up to Canada and stopped at a pub for lunch.  I ordered a hard apple cider.  It was so delicious.  It was Okanagan.  But last summer when I returned to Canada with both of my siblings, I sought out this particular brand of cider, and couldn't find it.  I am still searching for that delicious cider I tried.

I am constantly in search of good apple cider.  It isn't because I like to drink to excess.  It is because I enjoy the taste and flavor of hard apple cider.  And I have tried other hard ciders made of other fruit as well, and many are quite good.

I will continue to search out different ciders to try.  And I will continue to enjoy them along the way.


Things That Inspire Me

Tonight we attended the Kellogg High School Sports Banquet.

It was a wonderful evening honoring many athletes.

Our daughter Coco was honored a couple different times.

But I'll talk about that later.

First, I want to talk about the moment in the evening that really made me proud to be a part of a small town community.

It was when the George Wild Booster of the Year was announced.  The football coach, Tyrel Hendrix, got up and started talking about a man who opened up his business to help student athletes become better athletes, and encouraged them, despite the fact he battled a fight with cancer along the way.

Tommy Rahm receiving the George Wild Booster of the Year Award.  Such an inspiration!!

Then he announced the Booster of the Year as Tommy Rahm, a KHS graduate who now runs a local gym, and is a big supporter of the KHS athletic program.  As soon as his name was announced, people at the banquet spontaneously rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.  He happened to be sitting close to us, and he just sat in his chair, tears streaming down his faces.  Someone finally told him to go up front and get his award.  It was a very touching and inspiring moment honoring a very special member of our community.

Okay, now back to my daughter Coco. 

Coco received the Kellogg Booster Club Student Booster of the Year Award for the second year in a row.

Coco and Tommy, both Boosters of the Year!!

She also received the Tommy Brainard Inspirational Award for Soccer. 

This award is voted on by the teammates in each of the KHS sports. 

This award was established to honor a senior athlete who died tragically in 1967..  Outstanding in sports competition, Tommy was an inspiration to all who knew him.  This award honors his memory and names winners each year who have served as an inspiration to the teams on which they served.

Such a wonderful culmination of all of the years of playing sports at KHS, and in the Silver Valley Community. 

Her Dad and I couldn't be more proud of this girl!!


Jazz Music

Yet another ending tonight.

It was Coco's last spring band concert.

It is the last time she will play in concert band.

It is the last time to hear the Jazz Band play in concert.

She does have a big band dance on Friday, so I do get to hear her one more time.

It was fun to have the concert start out with the Jazz Band sharing some great songs, and Coco doing a drum solo on "Sing, Sing, Sing".

I enjoy hearing the Jazz Band play Jazz Music, and am glad we get to enjoy it one more time Friday night.

I have always enjoyed Jazz Music.  I was in Vocal Jazz Choir in high school, and in college.  I love the close harmonies of songs "Manhattan Transfer" sings.  I love that Jazz is an American form of music.

There are certain times that listening to Diana Krall just hits the spot.

Or singing along to "The Boy From New York City", or "Operator" is what I need to do.

Last year Paul and I did some vocals at the Big Band Dance.  We may sing a few songs this year.  It is fun singing along with a band.

My dad loved Jazz Music.  Maybe that is where I get some of my love for this kind of music.  I really do love the music of my parent's generation.  Some of my dad's favorite songs included "Moon River", "Fly Me To The Moon", "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", "Star Dust", "Misty" and "Unforgettable". 

When I was in college at the University of Idaho, one year Ella Fitzgerald came and put on a concert during the Jazz Festival.  I took my friend Tina, and it was unbelievable seeing her in live on stage.

Dad's love of Jazz continues in our daughter Zoe, too.  She sings in a small Vocal Jazz ensemble at the College of Idaho and performs throughout the year.  I hope we get to make a trip to Caldwell next year to watch them perform.

I'm glad our family loves music, whether it is vocal or instrumental.  It was very rewarding at tonight's concert as Cosette earned another pin for her band letter, as well as one of four students who the band director Rick Dickinson gave the Haddock Service Award.  Cosette also shared with fellow senior Alex Galford the McKinley Inspirational Award, voted on by the band students, and given to the senior they believe was the most inspirational. 

 Senior band students presenting Mr. Dickinson with two ties and a photograph.  Cosette, Caroman Turner, Chris Cagle, Alex Galford, Curtis Briggs, Mr. Dickinson.
 Cosette and Mr. D.
Cosette and Alex, McKinley Inspirational Band Students

When it is your baby going through these endings, it seems very final.  With Cosette heading off to college, there is a shift in our life.  A season is coming to an end.  It is sad, but also exciting.  I remember leaving Sunnyside Elementary for the last time was very emotional.  Then I said goodbye to Kellogg Middle School, as a parent.  And now I say goodbye to Kellogg High School as a parent. 

Yes, all of a sudden I am hearing the strains of "Sunrise, Sunset, sunrise, sunset"..........

Wait, we are talking about Jazz Music, not Broadway show tunes........

And Coco ends the line of family members on both sides of our family who will attend Kellogg schools, unless one of our daughters end up living here in Kellogg.  After a long line of Woolum, Taylor and Roberts students have attended and graduated from Kellogg High School, Coco's graduation brings that all to an end.  And that is a little sad as well.

The song below is for you, Coco, sung by one of Papa Pert's favorite singers, Dinah Washington. 



The busyness of my life ebbs and flows.

Most people look at my life and think the flow is much more prevalent than the ebb.

The flow is definitely prevalent this week.

The school year is winding down.  I have a senior who is involved in lots of things as the school year winds down.

Tonight Cosette, my senior, was awarded the Glenn Exum Outstanding Senior Award at the Scholarship Awards night at Kellogg High School.  We are so proud of her.  She also received some really great scholarships to help her pay for college.

Tomorrow night is Cosette's last band concert at KHS.

Wednesday I take a group of Gear Up students to Silverwood Theme Park for Physics Day.  When I return home, Paul, Coco and I will attend this years KHS Sports Banquet.

Thursday, I do have an ebb.  One day and night with a pretty light schedule.

Then on Friday I take about 90 8th graders to Eastern Washington University for a college visit.  Then that evening Paul and I will attend the KHS Big Band dance put on by the KHS Jazz Band.  Coco's last Jazz Band performance and concert.

The weekend will be spent getting the house and yard ready for family coming in for Coco's graduation.  But I plan on putting some relaxing time in the weekend as well.  I'll need some after this week.

I like the ebb and flow of my busy life, but I predict once I don't have any students in school, that the ebb will start becoming much more prevalent than the flow.



I have spent my life attending church.

When I was little, I walked across the street for our house to church to attend Sunday School.  As I got older, I attended church services on my own.  It was just something I chose to do every Sunday morning. 

Going to church was a little harder in college.  But I went to several different churches while attending the University of Idaho in Moscow.

I am glad I have attended a variety of different churches throughout my life.  I think it has helped me appreciate the different denominations and beliefs of different Christians.

Today I attend the church I attended in my youth.  It was called The United Church of Kellogg when I was growing up. But at some point in the last 20 years or so, it was changed to Mountain View Congregational Church.

Our church service today was very special.  It was one of those Sundays that reminds me why I believe being a part of a body of Christ is important, and to have a fellowship of believers to have in your life so you can lift them up, and they can lift you up through the trials and the triumphs of life.

We have a couple in our church, Simon and Amy Miller, who have a special calling in their lives.  The calling is opening up their hearts and lives to Chinese orphans who need adopted.  Their first daughter they adopted is named Gracie.  Two years ago, they adopted Gemma.  This week they travel once again to China to meet their third daughter, Gia. 

During church this morning, we as a church body gathered around this family, laying our hands on them and praying for them.  Many people prayed for a variety of different needs that they will be facing in the coming weeks.

Then Simon got up and shared from his heart about this adoption process.  I love when Simon shares.  He is so real.  He tells it like it is.  He shared about being excited.  But he also shared about being scared.  He shared about being anxious, because when they first got Gemma, she cried and cried and Simon had to hold her for over an hour.

But through his sharing, Simon showed us that we are the same way.  God, who is Our Father, also holds us with an unconditional love, even when we are scared and kicking and screaming, because He knows what is best for us, even if we don't quite get it at the moment.

Last night, Simon had been doing some work on this laptop while watching TV, and fell asleep on the cough.  At 1 a.m. he woke up, and Michael W. Smith was singing on the television.  The song he was singing was the exact song Simon needed to hear last night, and the words were perfect for what they are going through right now in their lives.  The name of the song is "Sovereign Over Us" and here are the lyrics, followed by Michael W. Smith singing the song:

Sovereign Over Us

There is strength within the sorrow, There is beauty in our tears
You meet us in our mourning, With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting, Sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding, You're teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
Faithful forever, Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined, Who could understand your ways
Reigning high above the heavens, Reaching down in endless grace
You're the Lifter of the lowly, Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me, Your promises are my delight

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good and for your glory
Even in the valley You are faithful
You're working for our good, You're working for our good and for your glory

If you would like to follow Simon and Amy's journey with their daughter's Gracie and Gemma as they go meet Gia, you can read their blog at http://www.vandalgrads.com/

And I'm sure they would appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks as they travel to China to meet their new daughter.


Gospel Music

I watched the documentary " 20 Feet From Stardom" tonight on Netflix and highly recommend it!! 

It won the Oscar for Best Documentary--Features at this years Academy Awards.

If you look on IMDB, this is how they describe the storyline:

The backup singer exists in a strange place in the pop music world; they are always in the shadow of the feature artists even when they are in front of them in concert while they provide a vital foundation for the music. Through interviews with veterans and concert footage, the history of these predominately African-American singers is explored through the rock era. Furthermore, special focus is given to special stand outs who endeavored to make a living in the art burdened with a low profile and more personal career frustrations, especially those who faced the very different challenge of singing in the spotlight themselves.

It was fascinating hearing these women's stories, and the evolution of the back-up singer throughout the evolution of popular music from the 1950's and beyond. 

But one predominate thread that seemed to connect all these women and their stories was the fact they were raised in church and their strongest musical influence was Gospel Music.  In fact, at one point in the documentary, Bruce Springsteen said that putting on a concert is like going to church, with the main singer as the preacher, and the back up singers are like the choir.

They talked how they learned to harmonize in church.  They learned to hear the music in church.  The beginning of their craft began in church.  They all believed they had a special gift, and needed to learn how to use it.

There were a lot of discussions about singing music to sing because it meant something to you.  And how when you sing music, it should be a spiritual experience.  Music should not be about making money....it should be about sharing something from deep within your soul.

It showed how some of the back up singers tried to make it big as solo artists, and it just didn't work.

And it showed how back up singers are very rare in popular music anymore.  Partly because of the technology that people can use now, and how accessible it is to produce your own music.  So people can do their own harmonies using their own voices, or use family members to harmonize. 

But the sound in the 60's and 70's needed the back up singer. 

And many of these women were very prominent with many singers, such as Stevie Wonder, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson.

If I haven't convinced you yet that you should watch it, here is a trailer.....

One of the women that particularly stood out to me was a woman by the name of Lisa Fischer.  I'm sure as people watch this film, different singers' stories will appeal to different people.  Fischer's story appealed to me, because she loved to sing.  She sang for the love of music.  She didn't care so much about making money.  I loved her story.  Here she is singing at a screening of the movie.

If you enjoy music, and enjoy hearing stories about creating music, please take the time to watch this documentary.  Right now you can stream it on Netflix.  I hope if you watch it, you love it as much as Paul, Coco and I loved it.


Rose Lake

I had a meeting today at the Rose Lake Community Center, so I grabbed my camera to take a few shots of the lake area. 

I have a lot of memories of this area from my youth, and spent many Fourth of July celebrations at this lake as I was growing up.

My family was friends with the Turnbow family, and every year they had a large group of people come to their lake cabin on Rose Lake.  Their cabin was on Park Road, and there were quite a few people we knew who had cabins along this road.

Almost every summer for as long as I could remember we would drive out the Rose Lake for the Fourth of July.

They had a dock, so we would swim, and people would water ski, and one time I remember going out on a floating boat thing (I think they called them "party boats") when I was pretty young.  It apparently didn't agree with me because I got sick and threw up off the side of this boat.

Then at night there was always a big fireworks display off the docks, and a bonfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows.

People would bring food to share for large potluck, and in a late afternoon we would all have a big dinner together.

It was kind of the same routine every year.  The same people were there.  Some of them had their own cabins on Park Road.  Others, like us, came in from town to join in the festivities.

There was a group of men around my dad's age that would often sing as the night wore on, and harmonize together to tunes that were sometimes Irish in origin, such as "Cockles and Mussels".

My birthday is July 3, so sometimes I would celebrate my birthday at Rose Lake, and there was often a birthday cake for me as well.

There were some kids around my age that the only time I would see them was this one particular time in the summer.  But, being the socially awkward child I was, it was always uncomfortable getting reacquainted each year.

Sometimes I would be with other kids, and sometimes I would wander around and hang out in the lake cabin, or lay out in the sun on the dock.

But I always remember it being a fun time and a good time, and something I always looked forward to each summer.

As a child, I didn't appreciate the beauty of Rose Lake, and the accompanying other Chain Lakes.  I didn't have enough time yesterday to really just sit and appreciate my surroundings.  And I wish I would have had binoculars.  I plan on returning, to get a closer look at the large white bird off in the distance that was doing a dance on the water.  I love the look of the wetlands surrounding Rose Lake, and it was so peaceful and quiet out there today, with the overcast skies. 

Yes, it called me back for another day.  To smell the marsh, to hear the birds, to take in the peaceful feeling of the still, small lake along Highway 3 in North Idaho.



I think I need to work on forgiveness.

I know this because of my gut reaction when certain things happen, and what I think about at the time.

If I have a negative reaction about something, it usually means I have a negative reaction toward that person, because of a lack of forgiveness on my part.

In the sixth chapter of the Book of Luke in the Bible, Jesus says these words:

43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[g] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

My heart often has an abundance of things that I don't like lurking about in there, and then those awful thoughts come forth when I least expect it.  Because my heart is harboring feelings towards others, whether it be resentment or anger or jealousy, or a host of other things I don't want hanging out in there.  And the root of these feelings is the problem of forgiveness.

Forgiveness frees us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us.

Forgiveness frees us to let go of those negative thoughts that bind us down.

It is good to be made aware of my thoughts and feelings, and to be made aware of the ill feelings I harbor toward others.

I pray that as I discover these feelings, that I quickly forgive those who I feel bad toward.

Then I will have the freedom to love freely those I come into contact with each and every day.


Favorite Books

I am going to free associate for a little while, and come up with a list of some of the books I have enjoyed most over my lifetime.

1.  Les Miserable
2.  The Shadow in the Wind
3.  Harry Potter series
4.  The Chronicles of Narnia
5.  The Space Trilogy
6.  The Foundation Trilogy
7.  The Outsiders
8.  Wild
9.  Bold Spirit
10.  Anne of Green Gables
11.  Wuthering Heights
12.  Jane Eyre
13.  The Catcher and the Rye
14.  Haroun and the Sea of Stories
15.  A Wrinkle in Time
16.  The Red Tent
17.  The Orphan Train
18.  The Grapes of Wrath
19.  The Color Purple
20.  My Antonia
21.  All The President's Men
22.  Angela's Ashes
23.  Are You There God, It's Me Margaret
24.  In Cold Blood
25.  Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
26.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
27.  The Lord of the Rings series
28.  The Poisonwood Bible
29.  To Kill A Mockingbird
30.  Unbroken
31.  The Deep Dark
32.  The Great Gatsby
33.  Gone With The Wind
34.  The Invention of Wings

Here are some that come to mind.  I'm sure there are many more, but this list is a start to listing my favorite books of all time



I read this great article today in Relevant Magazine.  The name of the article is How To Help a Friend Fight Depression.

In dealing with members of my family who have dealt with depression, I can tell you I have had both wise and grace filled responses from Christians, and well meaning but ignorant responses from Christians.

I can tell you, the wise and grace filled responses make the situation much easier to get through.

This article goes over 7 Dos and Don'ts for helping a friend who is struggling with depression.

These are:

1.  Don't Judge
2.  Don't Tell Me To Believe in Things I Already Know
3.  Learn to Listen
4.  Don't Try and Fix It
5. Sit With Me
6.  If You Give Advice, Back it up with Support.
7.  Pray For Me and With Me.

Many of these lessons I had to learn by trial and error.  Because I made mistakes.  I was judgmental.  I did cram Christianity down my loved one's throat.  I often was afraid to listen, and wouldn't take the time.  I wanted to fix it.  I was afraid or uncomfortable to sit.  I would give advice, but wouldn't back it up with support.  And sometimes I was too afraid, or angry or confused to pray.

But, as time went on, and God in His infinite love and mercy opened my eyes and showed me some things, I started understanding depression a bit, and how it works.  I backed off.  My attitude changed.  I wasn't so harsh or judgmental. 

I learned to listen.  I didn't try to fix things.  I sat.  I prayed for them and with them.

And that is when the light began to shine in the darkness.



Tonight while addressing graduation invitations, I wanted something to watch easily that I didn't need to really pay that much attention to while multi-tasking.

I decided to watch episodes from the early days of "Glee".  A song that focuses on singing.

It was fun going back to the beginning.  "Glee" got a little weird after a while, and I quit watching it.  But I did like it when it first began.

One of my favorite episodes was when Neil Patrick Harris starred, and Joss Whedon directed:

Another favorite, that I am watching right now, was the performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" while Quinn was giving birth to her baby
The nice thing about the show "Glee" is that it made singing and performing fun.   

And some kids need that......they need to know that singing and performing is okay. 

It fulfills a need in many kids. 

And I have seen kids who have been transformed by music...by performing it, by experiencing it, by enjoying it. 

Music has a tendency to do that to us.