Gathering Graces 7/30/2017

*Mom was up, and had eaten breakfast when I arrived this morning.  We visited for a short time before I headed to work.
*I had a couple of fun encounters at work today.  The first was visiting with a fellow Vandal alum.  We were talking about the prostitution that used to be in Wallace, and he said he heard a lot about that when he was a student at the University of Idaho in the 60’s.  He was in the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and he believes a couple of his frat brothers were from the Silver Valley.  He named Dennis Wheeler and Rod Higgins.  The name Dennis Wheeler was very familiar.  Rod Higgins also sounded familiar, but I wasn’t sure why.  I told him I had also attended U of I, and has been a Tri Delt, and that my daughter will be a senior at U of I this year.  It was a nice conversation.
*My other conversation was with a man from Texas who was visiting.  I often get asked why Wallace is called “The Center of the Universe”.  The reason has a little to do with the EPA.  As I talked about the EPA, I shared a bit about living in Kellogg.  Then he said he had attended Silver King Elementary in first grade.  I told him my mom had been a teacher at Silver King.  He asked me what her name was, and when I told him, he said she had been his second grade teacher.  Mrs. Carter was his first grade teacher.  Then in third grade his family moved from Smelterville to Coeur d’Alene.  His name was Bob Guthrie.  He remembers having a broken wrist in second grade.  I told him I would ask Mom if she remembered him.  When I told her the story, she said his name kind of sounded familiar.
*Paul had to be at the theater this afternoon, so he stopped in to say hello, and deliver a lovely gift from one of my kind and lovely friends from church.  She sent me a “self-care” basket, full of bubble bath, bath salts, a candle and candle holder, and some bath puffs.  She encouraged me in the card to take a bath to calm myself when needed.  I was overwhelmed by this kind gesture.  When I later arrived at Mom’s room, she had also left a beautiful gift for Mom as well.
*I am glad I have been able to take some time since January to reflect on the graces of each day.  And as today came to a close, I was blessed with the gathering of many graces as I spent time with Mom this evening.
*When I arrived around 6:30, Mom was up talking with Bill.  She had napped a good part of the day, but was now awake and alert.  When Bill left, I talked with Mom for a while.  A good part of the time was explaining to her how long she has lived at Kindred, why she is living there, and why we feel, because of her health, it is the best place for her.  I was glad when she said she felt she understood now why she was here.  Many of us have had similar conversations about this in the past, and probably will continue to have them about why she is living at Kindred and not at home.
*At one point Mom said she was ready to go.  I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk, and she said Yes!  Do you want your wig on.  Yes!!  Her oxygen tank was low, so we got that switched out, and off we went around the hallways of Kindred, with Mom smiling and greeting everyone she saw.  She had a short visit with her friend Peny Benson, she said hello to other residents as we passed them, and seemed to really enjoy being out of her room.  At one point she said she wanted to go outside, so out we headed to look at the fruit trees, flowers and vegetables in the backyard area of Kindred.
*Once we walked around and had our “tour”, with Mom enjoying talking about the flowers, I parked her wheelchair so she could watch the hummingbirds come to the feeders.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening.  It was right before sunset, and there were no bugs out, and the temperature was perfect.  I asked Mom what some of her favorite hymns from church were.  All of a sudden, she was singing the first first to In The Garden, and I started singing along.  I noticed some tears forming in the corner of her eye.  This was a hymn sung at both my Grandma West’s (her mother’s) funeral and at my Auntie Lila’s (her sister’s) funeral, if I remember correctly.  She told me it was one of her favorites also.  She also liked The Old Rugged Cross.
*Mom also let me take some “selfies” with her, and put on some great smiles for the photos.  This evening was a moment in time that I will cherish the rest of my life.  It was a gift to be able to have these two and half hours with Mom, some of it spent sharing a beautiful summer evening in Kellogg, watching hummingbirds and singing hymns. 
*Last spring I found this poem about hummingbirds, and I feel like it fits as I celebrate the joy of everyday.
The Hummingbird
Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration.
Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends.
Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday.
The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.


Gathering Graces 7/29/2017

*After being in Italy for a few weeks, and being spoiled with drinking an espresso coffee drink every day, I felt the need to dig out our espresso maker from the bottom kitchen cupboard that has been stored there for I don’t know how long and start using it.  This morning Paul and I enjoyed an espresso shot in our morning cup of coffee.  The night before we each had a shot of espresso sweetened with sugar, just like they do in Italy.  Delizioso!!
*Mom was in her wheelchair this morning eating breakfast when I arrived.  She was enjoying her mandarin oranges.  We visited for a while, then I was off to work.
*Today was my first doing “going solo” at the mine tour office this summer.  And thank goodness, it went just fine.  The trolley driver Steve was there to help me out if needed.  I did charge one family twice on their credit card, but caught my mistake, and corrected it when they returned from their tour. 
*I was wearing my James Taylor t-shirt from last summer’s concert, and a gentleman (probably in his early sixties) asked me where I saw him in concert, and I told him in Spokane last summer.  It brought back such fond memories of that concert that Paul, Kellee and I attended.  As I usually do, I asked this man where he was from.  He said he and his wife lived in Mullan and were missionaries with the LDS church, and had been for the past six months or so.  His children and grandchildren were here visiting from Utah, and they were having fun enjoying what the Silver Valley had to offer!
*Paul picked me up from work, and I got home and threw together a raspberry, apple and huckleberry crisp to take to our family dinner tonight.  Then I went to spend some time with Mom.  She was pretty sleepy, but I did manage to get her to drink about half of her milkshake.  Then she started to get uncomfortable in her wheelchair, so I pushed her button to have some aides come and get her ready for bed.  I stayed while she they got her ready for bed, and then kissed her and told her goodnight.  “I love you, Mom.”  She replied, “I love you.”  
*It was a joy to get a call from my youngest daughter Cosette while I was sitting with Mom.  We hadn’t talked for a while, so it was nice to get caught up, and I look forward to seeing her when she comes to Kellogg in about a week.
*We had a wonderful dinner at Christy and Everett’s house, and I finally got to see my sister-in-law Debbie, who is here from Maryland.  Christy made stuffed zucchini in the crockpot, wilted lettuce salad and cucumbers in sour cream.  It was a wonderful summer meal.
*Molly and Travis arrived Friday night, and brought with them another grand fur baby, a new bunny named Booker.  So right now at our house, we have Sadie the Pomeranian, two cats of our own, Toby and Benjamin, Clark the cat, who belongs to Molly and Travis, two rabbits, Dumblebunz and Booker, and a toad that lives in the window well outside Molly’s old bedroom window. 
*Yesterday in my Gathering Graces post, I shared what I am going through regarding my grief and depression regarding Mom.  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support, encouragement and kind words I received from people throughout the day.  I was so touched, and know there are many people who understand and are there to help.  Thank you to all of you who responded.


Gathering Graces 7/28/2017

Many angels crossed my path today.
Today was a hard day, but it was a good day.
*I had my yearly physical with my healthcare provider this morning.  Toward the end of the appointment, I started crying and I told her I was struggling with dealing with my mom, and that I felt like I needed to talk to someone to deal with the depression and grief I was experiencing.  She asked if Mom was on Hospice, and I said yes.  Her suggestion was to use the grief counselors they provide through Hospice.  She had used them herself, and she said they would be very helpful.  She was the first angel of the day.
Today was a hard day, but it was a good day.
*I attended Ellen Barrett’s funeral service at our church this morning.  As I sang the hymns In the Garden and How Great Thou Art, as well as reciting the 23rd Psalm, tears came to my eyes thinking about the inevitable fact that family and friends will gather in this same place in the future to celebrate the life of my mother.  But there were angels at the service this morning.  Women I had not seen all summer at church because I have been unable to attend, asking me how Mom is doing, and telling me they missed me.  It felt good to be missed.
Today was a hard day, but it was a good day.
*My friend Kellee and I had been texting back and forth throughout the morning, and just at the right time, I received these simple words in one her texts: “How are you doing?  How is your Mom doing?”  My favorite Italian roommate angel sent the right message at just the right time today.  And it was nice to be able to say to someone, “I’m not doing that great”, and that I knew she understood.  In the midst of the loneliness I had been experiencing, a ray of light burst through with four simple words....how are you doing?  Even though you know people in your life care, sometimes it is good just to be reminded.  I told her that her and Paul were my rocks right now.
Today was a hard day, but it was a good day.
*As I sat with Mom early in the afternoon, another angel entered my life.  Andrea, the nurse from Hospice arrived.  She explained some things to me about how we can best keep Mom pain free.  She was very good about explaining what Mom’s body is going through, and how she can be comfortable.  Mom has had some good days, and I have had good stretches with Mom this week.  But Andrea explained how Mom’s body is dealing with a condition that makes it hard for her heart and lungs to do their job.  Toward the end of the conversation, my tears started flowing again, and I asked about talking to one of the grief counselors, and how I would go about contacting someone.  Andrea was very compassionate and explained how it all worked, and said she would put me in contact with one of the Hospice social workers this afternoon.
Today was a hard day, but a good day.
*Paul arrived to be with Mom, so I came home so I could type up all the information that Andrea shared with me so I could share it with my siblings.  In the middle of this process, I received a phone call from another angel.  As promised by Andrea, one of the social workers called to talk.  Again, through many tears, I shared with her some of my struggles.  One of the things she told me that really helped was to not look at the past, but to look at the here and now.  We talked for about 30 minutes or so, and she was very helpful.  But I think I just scratched the surface, and I look forward to talking to either her or another Hospice Social Worker soon. 
Today was a hard day, but a good day.
*Back on January 15 when I began gathering my daily graces, I shared that grace is synonymous with mercy, kindness and goodwill.  I have been shown much grace today.  Many were God’s hands and feet as they reached out and touched me with His gracious love.  I have gathered these graces all together and have hid them in my heart to retrieve when I need some light in my world that is often now filled with times of darkness.


Gathering Graces 7/27/2017

*For some reason I forgot to turn my alarm on the night before, and I woke up too late to go walking with Nikki.  But I did hear a dog barking when I woke up.  I knew it wasn’t Sadie, because she was in the bedroom with me.  I ventured out to the front door, and discovered there was a dog barking on the front porch.  Paul had had a restless night’s sleep, and was on the couch in the living room, and said the dog had been there since about 4:30 a.m., barking off and on the last hour and a half.  I said we needed to bring the dog in.  Once in, we discovered it had a rabies tag with the number to the Silver Valley Vet office on it, so we would wait until about 8 a.m to call to find out who the dog belonged to.
*The dog was about Sadie sized.  She was a real cutie, and Sadie was good with her, as were the cats, and she just wandered around the house.  Close to 8 a.m., Paul called the vet clinic, and we discovered the dog belonged to a friend on Bunker Ave.  So I called her up, and she was in my driveway before I got off the phone with her.  We were glad to reunite Raja with her owner.

*My time spent with Mom today was really good.  We had a good morning.  After they came and had her shower, we went outside for a walk in the back courtyard area, and looked at the fruit trees and flowers.  Then she was ready to go back inside, just before Christy arrived.  Later, Paul and I returned around dinner time, and Mom ate some dinner, and we visited about one of Mom’s lifelong friends, Jody Robinson and her family.  Then Mom was ready to go, and started propelling herself with her own foot power out her room door.  I had to stop her a moment to switch oxygen, but then she proceeded to make a loop around the Kindred facility without hardly any help from me at all.  She was a women on a mission!  After it was all done, I said I should have been singing the theme from Rocky.  Mom has never moved her wheelchair on her own whenever I have been with her, so it was fun to see her have so much drive and energy to complete this task.  When she returned to her room, she was ready to get in her pajamas and get in bed.
*It is amazing when you go on a trip, all of a sudden you are meeting people who are planning to visit the same place.  Earlier today, a friend called wanting contact information for April, because she and some friends are planning a trip to Italy.  Then I ran into some other people I know in Yokes, and they are planning a trip to Italy soon, and they asked me about where I visited, and what their plans are when they visit.  I enjoy sharing with people about my trip.  I love that I can share information on Facebook, but sometimes when you share so much about a trip, I think people think they know everything you did, so you don’t get asked as much about your trip experiences.  That is unfortunate.  Because there is often so much more that happened on a trip than you share through photos.  (Or maybe I am deluding myself, and maybe people don’t really care to hear about my trip.  I guess that may be true, too.)
*Paul and I bought items at Yokes to make BLT sandwiches.  I hadn’t had one this summer, and it sounded really good.  Unfortunately I don’t have any of my own ripe tomatoes to put on the sandwiches, but the lettuce was ours, and it tasted great, even with the store bought tomatoes!! 
*Some things in my garden are not producing as well as I had hoped, but one vegetable I never seem to have trouble growing is string beans.  I spent some time last night picking about half a colander full of the beans.  I plan to cook them with some of the bacon I purchased and have them for dinner tomorrow.  Yum!!


Gathering Graces 7/26/2017

*My legs felt better this morning.  I can tell they are getting stronger as we walk through our beautiful town.
*I did not work at Sierra Silver today, so I was able to spend more time with Mom.
*Shortly after I arrived at Kindred, I took Mom outside in the back courtyard area.  I pushed her around and we looked at the many apple trees and also found a pear tree.  We also looked at the flowers and vegetables and berries growing.  We stopped long enough for Mom to pick a few raspberries to eat.  Then I parked Mom under the covered patio area and we visited about flowers and gardening and many other things.
*After we went inside, Liz, her CNA from Hospice came for a visit, and visited a while.  She had just been a part of a wedding over the weekend, so she was asking Mom about her wedding, and it was fun to hear Mom recall events from her wedding day.  One thing that stood out to her were the steps you had to go down to the reception area in the basement of the church, and how that was hard for some people to do.
*After Bill arrived, I left and went home and did some work on my other job, Gear Up.  I have one more year left on this job, and I have to complete my plan for next year and submit it to my directors in Boise, and this is causing me a bit of anxiety, because I have not completed this yet.  My goal is by the end of Friday, it will be completed.
*Paul, Sadie and I arrived around dinner time to spend the evening with Mom.  She ate pretty well, then was ready to do some picking up and cleaning in her room.  She put things in drawers, and tidied up a bit.  I asked if she wanted to go out front and sit in the gazebo, but she would have none of that!!  She wanted to stay in her room.  At 7 p.m., Jeopardy came on, and this used to be one of Mom’s favorite shows to watch, but she hadn’t watched it in a while.  But tonight was different.  She sat and watched Jeopardy, (I couldn’t believe Jeopardy could devote a whole category to English Muffins, but they did tonight), then watched Wheel of Fortune, then was ready to have someone come and put her to bed.  It was nice that Mom had a good full day today.
*I had just finished Fannie Flagg’s book I Still Dream About You, and was now looking for a new book to begin.  I went into my office and looked on the shelves, but couldn’t find anything.  Then I opened the doors in the hallway, and there was the perfect book to start, one I try and read every few years, All the President’s Men

Gathering Graces 7/25/2017

*Day two of walking in the morning.  I seemed to be a little slower.  The heel on my left foot that gave me some trouble in Italy was a little tender this morning, but not bad.  As long as I have supportive shoes on, it seems to be okay. 
*When I arrived in Mom’s room, she was up and ready for the day.  I stayed and visited with her for a while before Paul came and picked me up to take me to work.
*Work at the Sierra Silver Mine Tour was busy today.  In the afternoon we had a tour bus come in for tours. I almost messed it up because I didn’t mark down the correct times the groups would be touring.  But it all worked out.  It was a crazy couple of hours, but we all survived!!
*I had a conversation with one of the ladies from the tour bus.  She was from Connecticut.  She told me she was sorry, but she was not that impressed with our mountains here in Wallace.  She preferred the majestic Rocky Mountains around Lake Louise and Banff in Alberta, Canada.  I am the total opposite.  Yes, I believe the Rocky Mountains are beautiful, but I love our Bitterroot Mountain Range here in the Silver Valley.  I remember when we lived in Glendive, Montana, and would drive over the state of Montana, and we would arrive in a certain part of western Montana, where the valley would narrow and the mountains would be on either side, and I knew I was getting close to home.  The Rocky Mountains of Montana and Canada are majestic and beautiful, but give me my enclosed mountain valley any day.  To me, that is home.


Gathering Graces 7/24/2017

*Nikki and I finally started walking again this morning.  It felt so good to be walking through beautiful Kellogg in the morning.  But boy did my legs feel it by the end!!
*Mom was still in bed when I arrived at Kindred.  She had not wanted to get up or have breakfast.  But she wake up enough to drink some water and take her pills.  And I found out that holding her hands calms her down.  So I held her hands before I left for work which seemed to help.
*A busy day at the Sierra Silver Mine Tour today.  I had not taken the tour yet this summer, so I hopped on the trolley and took the 11:30 a.m. tour through the mine.  I always learn something new!! 
*It is always interesting the things customers share.  Today, a gentleman was looking at the wood around the entrance to the hallway in our gift shop, and he came and showed me photographs on his cell phone of a tree house they toured over in western Washington that a man made himself out of cedar, and the main doorway was a polished cedar trunk turned upside down.  It was beautiful.  The whole house was very interesting.  Apparently there is some reality show about tree houses that was going to come and interview this man about featuring his house on the show.
*Paul spent the afternoon with Mom, and around 4 p.m. I received a text from him saying Mom was awake and happy!  That was great news to hear.  And later she ate some of her chicken salad sandwich.  When I arrived around 6 p.m., she was still pretty alert, but was getting tired and wanting to get back on her bed.  So I waited until she was back on her bed and kissed her good night, and headed home.
*My brother Bill has been in Eugene this past week, and today he and his wife Debbie traveled from Eugene and arrived in Kellogg sometime in the evening.  It will be nice to have them both here.
*When I got home, Paul and I ate dinner out on the patio, and I read some of the book I am reading, and by around 8 p.m., I was in bed. 


Gathering Graces 7/23/2017

*I went to see Mom at Kindred this morning.  She was up in her wheelchair, and one of the aides had put on a different wig and had fixed it really nice.  I sat with Mom for a while in her room, then we went outside in the courtyard to enjoy the beautiful morning.  Paul came and joined me after church.
*Paul and I left and headed to Coeur d’Alene.  We stopped at Costco to stock up on a few things.
*Around 1:30 p.m. we joined our daughter Molly at the Kroc Center.  She was joining us to watch their production of South Pacific. It was really well done.  Listening to many of the song brought back lots of memories of using those songs on the Sixth Street stage.  I hadn’t remembered some of the story, which was nice, because some of the show surprised me.
*One such song, in particular, will never be the same for Paul, Molly and I ever again.  And it didn’t really hit us until the song was being sung.  As soon as the actor on stage began singing Some Enchanted Evening, Molly turned to me and said, “I don’t think I can ever take this song seriously again”.  She started giggling.  I started giggling.  Paul started giggling.  The reason was two or three different times at the Sixth Street Theater, Paul and I dressed up like the Farmer and the Cow, and it was one of the songs Paul, as the Farmer, sang to me, as the Cow, as I mooed my way right through the song.  In case you never saw it, here is a photo of us.

Farmer and the Cow at the Sixth Street Theater
*After the show, Molly, Paul and I headed to MOD Pizza in Coeur d’Alene.  I had heard wonderful things about this restaurant from many different people, so we decided to try it.  It did not disappoint.  There are three sizes of pizza, and you can put as many toppings on the pizza as you want, and the price is the same.  My pizza was delicious, and I paired the pizza with a glass of Pineapple Hard Cider which was also delicious.  An all around really great meal!!

Pizza and Cider at MOD Pizza
*When we arrived back in Kellogg, we stopped and dropped off Mom’s laundry and hung it up.  She was in bed.
*We went over to Christy and Everett’s house and visited with them a bit and talked about how Mom’s afternoon went.
*Then Paul and I headed home and I enjoyed the rest of my pizza outside, enjoying another beautiful evening in our backyard.


Gathering Graces 7/22/2017

*The day began with a big hug from Zoe as she departed for her home back in Caldwell for a couple of weeks.  We will miss her, because it has been so great having her here for the summer.
*When I arrived at Kindred this morning, Mom was in her wheelchair, and they were making her bed.  They got her dressed and back into bed, and she was ready to rest.  While I was there I turned on Mom’s Smart TV, and pulled up a radio interview my sister-in-law Debbie and her group Babes With Axes has done on Friday for Mom and I to listen to. Babes With Axes was having a reunion concert in Eugene, Oregon tonight.  It was fun listening to the interview, and hearing a few of the songs that the group would be performing at the concert.
*Mom’s friend Mary Pierce arrived for a visit, so I left so they could visit together.  Mary asked me a bit about my trip to Italy, and asked if I had made it to Croatia, because that is where her mother was from.  I said, no I was only in Italy.
*Paul went over and sat with Mom in the afternoon.  She was too sleepy to get up for lunch, and Mom slept the whole time Paul was there with her.
*I enjoyed some time in the backyard this afternoon, eating lunch and spending a bit of time on my hammock.  It was nice to have a relaxing afternoon to just be.

Mom enjoying a beautiful evening in the gazebo in front of Kindred.
*I returned to Kindred and Mom was up in bed, and had eaten some dinner, and was quite alert.  She got some help to get into her wheelchair, and Paul and I took her out to the gazebo located in front of Kindred, and enjoyed the beautiful summer evening.  What a gorgeous view of the mountains surrounding Kellogg from the gazebo, and the blue sky against the dark green mountains was breathtaking.  Yes, I think I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world!! Christy and Everett soon joined us, and we all had a nice visit together.
*Paul and I returned home and had some dinner out on the patio, and then Paul said he thought he might like to see a movie.  I looked at the options on Netflix, and said, “How about a Disney movie?”  Zoe had given us some good reviews about Moana, so we started it, but didn’t quite make it all the way through. We will finish it on Sunday evening.


Gathering Graces 7/21/2017

*Spent some time with Mom this morning.   I had brought my computer, so I showed her some photos from my trip to Italy.  Before I left for the morning, she was resting in bed.
*I went to the store to do a little grocery shopping.  I experienced a bit of a traffic jam in Kellogg.  If you have never been to our little town, sometimes the Yokes grocery store has a semi truck back into their back door area to deliver freight, and it stops traffic for a few minutes.  Well, this particular truck driver had to take a few tries to back into the door.  Mr. Impatient Guy, a few cars ahead of me, gets out of his car, puffing on his cigarette and you could tell he had been “quite inconvenienced”.  Please...give me a break.  We had to sit there maybe five minutes at the most.  Nothing to get all exasperated about.  Mr. Impatient Guy jumped back in his car, roared down Hill Street, and headed for the Interstate.  I hope Mr. Impatient Guy takes time to stop and smell the roses today.
*I shopped at both Kellogg grocery stores today.  I started out at Stein’s.  The road work they are doing around Kellogg has reached the corner of Cameron and Hill Street, and the road in front of Steins is all torn up with crews working on the sewer project.  So then drivers think the Stein’s parking lot is the Indy 500, as the roar through the parking lot to take the back road of Brown Avenue to get where they need to go.
*Taking the wrong way through Kellogg’s streets can prove to be a bit dicey.  Usually when I go see Mom at Kindred I take a right out of our subdivision and go around past Kellogg Middle School, over the river, then down Cameron Avenue.  The road work is beyond Kindred now.  Well, one day I made a mistake and took a left.  Trying to navigate back on the Sunnyside area streets is a little scary.  You go down one street, big front loaders are coming your way.  You detour down another street, and you wonder, “Am I even suppose to be on this street?”  Well, I made it through the maze of road work to Kindred that day, but will never make the mistake of turning left out of my subdivision to see Mom again.
*Zoe had been having trouble with air conditioning in her car, and Paul has become the master of watching YouTube videos to figure out how to do things, and it has been very successful.  Today, the part he ordered to fix Zoe’s air conditioning problem arrived, and he crawled under the dash of her car to fix the problem.  I had been taking a short nap, when all of a sudden Zoe comes bursting into my room with a big smile on her face, saying, “He did it!!  Dad fixed the air conditioning.  I turned it on and it works!!”  She was very excited, because she is driving back to her home in Caldwell tomorrow, and the air conditioning will make the trip much more pleasant. 
*Paul and I started dinner preparations for our small dinner party we were having this evening.  Earlier in the week I had received a text from my wonderful friend Stephanie Bauman Broaddus, saying she would be in town and if we could get together.  We decided Friday night would work for dinner and a BBQ.  Her daughter Jenna would be joining us, and another daughter Jamie would be driving over from Glendive, Montana that day, and would be coming as well.  The next day I received a message from my sister-in-law Laurie, saying her and Tammy McMorrow would be in town, and if they could come over and visit Friday night.  So, all of a sudden, Paul, Zoe and I are hosting a wonderful summer bbq with five very wonderful guests.  We fixed barbecued chicken, grilled veggies, green salad and fruit salad.  Stephanie brought some Italian bread and a couple of pies.  We had some wonderful visiting time, with Tammy, Jamie and I talking about our travels to Italy, Stephanie sharing about her time on her recent cruise to Northern Europe, and Jenna had just returned from a trip to Washington D.C., which she loved.  
*After Paul, Laurie and Tammy returned from a three mile run, we moved our chairs over to the fire pit, and enjoyed a wonderful fire and more spirited conversation.  I went and got the marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers, and some of us roasted marshmallows and made smores.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect summer evening.

Check out Tammy's book on Amazon.com.
*Tammy has recently published a book called Gatekeepers: Let’s Talk About Teaching.  Here is a description of the book from Amazon.... In Gatekeepers, Tammy McMorrow recognizes that teachers live in a world of deafening voices that bombard their profession with opinions, traditions, and mandates. Yet she beckons teachers to be sentinels at the doors of their classrooms — to stand watch and protect their students from any method or practice that could prove harmful. Tammy combines the research of several distinguished educational pioneers with over twenty years of her own classroom experience to question the status quo. The varied topics in this book challenge teachers of all grade levels to critically think about how they teach students’ hearts and minds. She invites her readers to join this important conversation and guard the gate. She invites them to be gatekeepers. Stephanie and I both purchased a few copies, and I look forward to reading it.  If it sounds like something you think you may want to read, look for it on Amazon.com.