Remembering Our Loved Ones….

As the golden river of life gently flows on…

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Family history is a living breathing life that is passed on one generation to another…often filled with colorful memories and traditions of family heritage.

America The Beautiful!

Memorial Weekend is a time of gratitude for those who fought to protect our freedom and to protect our American life.

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It’s a time of reflection…a time to honor those who went before us, who made our life better with hard work and sacrifice.

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The last few years I began sorting boxes and memories of almost a hundred years stored in our home…each box took me back, like a historical time machine.

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When I was 34, Mom gave me a big box of letters written by her parents when they were courting in the late 1890’s. Writing was the only way they had to stay in touch and that is what they did. Their letters and love notes are full of young love, sweet tender words that speak to your heart…priceless. I hope to put them into a book someday, as they tell of a time in America we could not imagine…and they share a sweet story of love.

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Our house was built by my Norwegian Grandfather for his mother, my Great Grandmother Anne Marie, who was still living in Norway. The house is what I call a typical craftsman farm house built in 1920 and a mansion then,  as it has about 3800′.

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I have always loved living here…the old house to me is a peaceful sanctuary…it speaks deeply to my heart of family honor and love. I have been asked many times what is it like to live in the house you grew up in?

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For one thing, after WB and I were married and living here, I knew exactly where to put things:) I can predict the weather and tell you what the sky means…I know the neighbors by their exhaust…and I cherish every memory that I carry from growing up here with my parents…and moving here with my husband WB…and we are yet making “our” memories:)

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When we pulled the carpet up off the old wood floors, there was worn stenciling on the floors…the foot paths were very evident and I could see and feel where my ancestors walked!

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 I spent a few weeks on my hind end scooting along the floors, pulling the carpet nails out before we refinished it, with a box of kleenex and lots of tears. It was profound to know that your family, walked right there!

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This is home to me…a small place on this vast earth where I walk in the footprints of those who went before me…this is home.

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I give thanks to God for my family and especially my Great Grandmother, my Grandparents and my parents…my family and my heritage.

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May you be blessed with good memories and good stuff this Memorial Day!

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HRCG is over and out with Ellie and WB!

Time Has Come Today

“Time Has Come Today” drifts in and out of my mind as I fall into a time warp…I’m listening to music that wrapped itself around my life and my heart during my high school years…Gloria…The Rapper…Wild Thing…Time Has Come Today…tunes that take me back to old times…and old memories.

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I’m not sure why I am writing about the 1960’s and 1970’s…the words tumble out as I write and the memories come back fresh as new. I was an impressionable cowgirl at heart, who loved her parents, loved her horses, loved her family and loved her country, during a time in life when our world was in turmoil.

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America was at war in a foreign land called Vietnam and yet also with itself in many ways. It was a time of fear, rage, war, confusion and changes that had never occurred on American soil in our lifetime…it was a crazy time in American History to grow up in, as the world was upside down…life was precarious and America was changed forever.

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American youth did not know what to make of going to war, let alone a draft number. If your draft number was chosen, it was ultimately scary as you had no choice but to go…we could not vote but we were sent to fight a war in a foreign land that we did not understand. We could shoot and kill the enemy…only to be shot down ourselves with enemy fire…coming home…dead in a box…none of us understood what war hell was and we did not know what to do.

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Many of us, like myself, supported my parents generation and World War II, I had heard the stories and seen the reels of American war history play out in US history classes. I had uncles who fought in Normandy as well as D Day and Pearl Harbor…and I knew friends and cousins who either enlisted to go to Vietnam or had their number called in the draft to go to war.

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Growing up in a very small community…I went to a small school that included all 12 grades with the same 8-12 kids in my class…we were close as our small classes felt more like family, and some were as I had cousins in every grade when I was in school, all the way through! My class it seemed had the luck of the draw, as we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the 1960’s.

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We began High School in 1967…we had hopes, dreams and plans for our future. Our biggest fear was Freshman Initiation…and that was a very scary deal! Our initiation lasted for a week…my Junior initiator, (eventually became my boyfriend, he was lucky as we did not have many boys to choose from), chose for me to be King Kong (did I say real lucky) on the first day which entailed having brown grease paint smeared on my face and on every part of my skin that showed…I had to wear a dark brown sweatshirt with dark brown tights…and they put gunk in my long red hair! It was a crazy week as each day was different…one of the days we had to roll a jelly bean across the floor during noon hour blind folded so the entire high school could watch us! The last night, which was Friday night, we were blind folded and one at a time we had a dozen eggs cracked over our heads in front of the entire student body and faculty…as the night wore on after the eggs, we had to crawl around outside on the grass and be blasted with cold water…it was part of tradition…it was part of the deal!

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Life was intense back then, but we stood together as a nation, one nation under God, indivisible with justice and liberty for all. We had Vietnam and rebelling against society…I was a rebel without a clue, and I was not very good at that thing called rebelling. I did not know anything, except that life was changing. I knew there was a horrible war overseas that we had never heard of called “Vietnam”…and we could not vote in an American election until we were 21 years old. Many young men and women went to “Nam”and did not come home…and I wondered, “Why can’t we vote?”

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As I walked in the door after school each day, I heard David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite reporting how many casualties we had in Vietnam today…how many young American men and women died…showing graphic images of war that was very real…and terrorizing! Our American youth were dying in a foreign country and we could not vote in America until we were 21 years old…yet we could be drafted to fight in a war we had never heard of. It scared me as I knew some of those who enlisted or were drafted…it was incomprehensible in my mind that so many young Americans were being killed. As the daily TV news reported and played the photo journalists video with their daily shots of the life and war…we saw deeply traumatizing photos of people, children and old people fleeing the war while being shot down…nightly news was war hell and it gripped your heart deeply.

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I was safely locked up on a cattle ranch….(thankfully) for my own good! I listened to Wolfman Jack if I could pick him up at night…we did not have electricity or running water…we had one portable AM  transistor radio that could pick up stuff at night sometimes…(we did not have FM back then or satellite)…I can still hear it crackling, fading in and out. And if I couldn’t get Wolfman that night, then Dad had Ira Blue coming in and out all night…and Mom lived between her 16-year-old daughter who now fashioned herself as a cowgirl hippie and her husband who was John Wayne and keeping an eye on his only daughter with a grrrrrr!

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I did not turn against my country and I never turned against my parents or my family. Mom and Dad and I could always talk even if we were all a bit perturbed…we did not yell at each other…we would not talk until we cooled down and then we would talk and seek to resolve the problem. I am sure that the late 1960’s and 1970’s put my parents to the test at times with all my questions. I am a seeker as I want to know everything, the facts and the why, what, when and where or explore the hows and whys in order to find a solution…and ultimately understand the reasons.

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America had subtle signs back in the 1960’s and early 1970’s…but no one thought America would turn on itself

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We lived through President John Fitzgerald Kennedy being assassinated, I was in grade school and his public death was the first time I saw death. I worried why this happened…as America is safe right? But our President was shot in cold blood so how could America be safe? Our nation grieved deeply…we were a nation in deep mourning and shock.

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We cried when we saw a young first lady with her young children mourn the loss of their husband and father…we as a nation could not make much sense of how it all happened…but we as a nation stood tightly together…we knew we were now on a new road.

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Vice President Lyndon Johnson took President Kennedy’s place, as our nation was thrown into turmoil…he became our President during one of the most confusing times in history…riots, war hell, American lives taken and America itself was at war with it itself…nothing was sacred anymore!

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Five years later, the shocking assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4th, 1968…I was with my boyfriend at the time and we both heard it at school as we walked to the library after school…I was working on a historical debate! We were shocked…another assassination…and why? During my debate the next week, I spoke out as we grieved another loss of life…and two months later Robert Francis Kennedy was shot dead June 6th, 1968…he had visited our small town a month earlier and enjoyed breakfast with locals that I knew. I had followed him in my government class  and I was supporting him.

On June 6th I was spending the night with girl friends, school was out and we were celebrating…my freshman year was behind me, and I was about to ditch my glasses as I was getting contact lens…whoo-hoo!

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It was close to midnight when we heard their Mom let out a sound that was not right…we ran to see what was wrong and stood speechless as we watched RFK being shot down and the life and hope go out of him. He was a family man with kids…this cannot be happening again…no way…is nothing sacred anymore? And Vietnam raged on as now America was at war with itself!

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President Johnson tried to do right, but gave up after 5 years in office in 1968…and we elected a new president.

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President Richard Nixon took office as Johnson headed home to Texas. Nixon was a family man who was respectful…he wanted to end the Vietnam war, bringing home our troops…and from the get go, he sought to do just that.

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Nixon began withdrawing troops out of North and South Vietnam. America had a glimmer of hope and then…Kent State riots and shootings happened on May 4th, 1970…it was the end of my Junior year in high school. Mr. Keller who taught our government class, found a small black and white television for us to watch the riots and history, live, unfolding before our eyes. Four students lost their lives that day at Kent State, two of which were not involved in the riots…when the shooting stopped, many more students lay injured.

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 In 1973 Nixon signed the Paris Peace Accords, which basically ended US involvement in the Vietnam war and the protests in America came to a formal end. However, the memories of Vietnam and Kent State echo in American culture and U.S. society…and they yet echo in my mind and my heart.

As peace was slowly restored to our nation, something called Watergate was in the news for months…wire tapping and spying…what is that and what is happening…it sounds like a Mission Impossible episode! “What did you say? Nixon is in on it too, as well as his cabinet and top aides? Water what?” Sounds bad…and yes it was.

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President Richard Nixon resigned August 8th, 1974…I was nine months pregnant at cow camp in the mountains, with Dad’s black and white TV hooked up to antennas on top of trees and up on top of mountains so we could watch the world news.

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I remember holding my bulging belly watching as Nixon resigned and I thought “WHAT?!” A month later on September 8th, 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon…and I delivered a son.

Life was not rosy in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but America still had dignity and respect…morals and values…with civility…honor and regard for our fellow-man. We grew up being taught to value and respect our parents and elders…even if you had to go scream in a pillow! And, yes I did that too, all of us did back then! We were taught to honor the lives of our elders and parents with value and respect for the sacrifices they made for us…and that is why young people who “could not vote” went to Vietnam to fight for our country…to fight with dignity and honor for America…to fight for us!

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America as I knew it, evolved into our present America…which is nothing like it was when I grew up in the 1950’s – 1970’s. It saddens my heart as I know we can never go back to the good old days. Life has changed and the world we once knew is now American History…and those of us who are still here…well, we try to remember the good times and the bad times…with dignity and respect for the price our fellow Americans paid for us to live…and to be free…and we move on.

I hope that the United States brings back American History and American Government to our schools…we have had several young employees who have never heard of Pearl Harbor. It makes me ill and sickened that our youth today are not being taught the old ways…the ways that bring gratitude, respect and appreciation for those who went before us…those that paid the price for our lives, giving us freedom and respect. My parents taught me, if you choose it, it is your choice and you will suffer the good or the bad…you made your choice, go lie in your bed. Yep…that was how I was taught and learned from my parents and from my aunts and uncles…that is an honorable life…and we honor our history and our heritage with respect, honor, love, civility and love….

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Do I support our troops….you bet….Amen! I respect those who fight for our freedom and stand firmly for America!

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I will forever stand with our troops and with God for America. I am a 100% born in America American and I will fight for our lives…I will stand firmly!

As Dawn Breaks…..

As Dawn Breaks…A New Day Begins In Juniper.

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Rays of light sparkle and dance on my window…calling me out of bed to capture the first blush of dawn.

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Wiping sleep from my eyes, I throw on some warm clothes and grab my camera hurrying out the door!

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Daybreak will soon be exploding into heavenly colors full of majestic beauty.

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“God’s Glory” shines with heavenly delight above me as,

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Sky colors dance across my lens, filling my heart with strength of heart and a renewed hope!

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Hey Min-Min? Psssst…wake up…its almost daybreak:)

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Magic time light surrounds me as the silly struggles of life softly fade away…

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It’s a brand new day to write a page or two on a clean slate!

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Deep gratitude fills my heart with joy…today will be full of good things!

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Minnie’s awake…my beautiful green-eyed kitty girl…so very precious to my heart and she is almost 20 years old:)

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And its coffee time…Java Java Jing Jing Jing! (My parents sang that tune way back in the early 1960’s)

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Coffee? Who needs doffee, I’m wide awake and still on the night shift. Hey Minnie, quit yawning…you silly kitty girl:)

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Welllll…Tucker I’m not silly!!! I had the night shift too and Dad snored…kept me and Mom awake all night! Mom, tell Tucker to quit staring at me!

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Lets join in and sing Barry Manilow’s song “Daybreak”…I love that song as it puts you in a happy mood! And its Daybreak…ain’t no time to grieve…its Daybreak, if only you’ll believe and let it Shine Shine Shine all around the world…so lets Sing Sing Sing it to the world…and let it Shine Shine Shine, all around the world! Keep singing Barry!

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Mom…seriously, look into my green eyes…do I look happy? Tell Tucker to buzz off! Now where is my caffee?

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HRCG and her gang are over and out for now…but we will be back:) Now hush all of you guys…we all have to get along:)

August Introspection…

August introspection is slowly settling into my heart once again as summer is winding down…soon it will be going going gone…summer this year disappeared too fast!

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It reminds me how quickly the years fly by…how life passes on faster than we want…which means we either grab on or hang on.

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I will grab on and ride on!

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August is my birthday month…a time of gratitude and a time of thanksgiving for the life that God has given me.

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Each birthday brings me to a place of self examining…how can I improve myself…what do I need to change? We will never know it all and we will never be perfect people…I am not perfect at all, I am more of a klutz with a good heart! I love to learn new things to improve myself…and I love to write and to capture lifetime photos:)

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August weather can be unpredictable…you never know what is brewing…such as today’s forecast for severe thunderstorms and lightning and…

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I will be watching and grabbing images of the storm to share with you all:)

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Usually August will bring summer’s last hurrah…a week of 100 degree days with very warm nights.

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And you’ll find me clicking away as much as I can, trying to grab the remaining summer we have left. Late August brings many enchanted evenings outside…

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Perfect for photos that bring much delight! And as I look up to the heavens, I stare in wonder at the magical colors displayed above me.

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I love living here…never a dull moment…always something that brings life to your heart:)

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I wanted to share this interesting photo with you as I have never seen anything like these clouds…you may need to click on the image to bring it up so you can see the ethereal but enchanting clouds…they look a bit transparent and yet they look like lace in the sky or voile…beautifully odd but very interesting!

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And as I swing through life…I trust Him who holds the ropes to my life…I look up and laugh for He has me in His hands:)

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Minnie Mouse (above), Ellie Belle and I wish you all a great week!

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Life is good…Life is beautiful!

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A year ago today our Ellie girl came to live with us…

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She is so cute, so smart and a great protector!

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And HRCG…Minnie Mouse…and Ellie Belle are over and out for now…but not for long:)

Days Of Summer…Old Time Memories And Country Life

Days of summer…old time memories and country life…summertime is one of my favorite seasons here in Juniper Canyon. In early June the fields of wheat are lush green…we hope for a few June showers to water the crops and before we know it July takes over…usually with hot temps, today it’s 95 degrees, with a hot breeze blowing that dries the crops out as they go from green to an amber golden color. This is exactly where we are right now with harvest coming up soon.

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Tonight, as the golden twilight falls, long ago memories drift gently through my heart…I can hear the sounds of little girl giggles and make believe imagination as I rode my white horse Prince around the ranch…or ran through the sprinklers…and if I was lucky a couple of cousins would be visiting!

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The air is warm and ever so still…our canyon breeze seems to have settled for the night and in its place…country silence. I can hear a hawk occasionally making his twilight hunting sounds along with the owls up on the hill behind us…as coyotes howl across the horse pasture while in the near distance their relatives answer back…setting off our dogs. A typical warm summer night in Juniper Canyon…and life as I know it.

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Harvest is in the air and on everyone’s mind…old memories of growing up here, takes me back to the sounds of harvest and also the sounds of the cattle ranch in the mountains. My cousins experienced more of harvest than I did, as my uncles did the farming here while my Dad managed the cattle in the mountains…however Dad kept me busy riding for cows and helping him on the cattle ranch through the summers…

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Until I was old enough to join my cousins in harvest and drive wheat truck. Harvest was a family effort…one that made you proud and glad that you were a part of bringing the crops in. We made lots of great family memories along with many hysterically funny stories to tell on each other at lunch!

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Harvest will always be about the common bond of family that stretches over a 100 years…in my heart I can see and feel the sacrifices my Norwegian Grandparents made to give us a future and a hope. They worked hard for every kernel of wheat to support their families well into the future with a legacy of hard work and family honor. Family heritage is who we are today and where we came from.

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It is fitting that old memories are flooding my heart as this weekend we had a large family wedding to attend. It was a beautiful ceremony full of love, friendship and a forever and ever love. My cousin’s daughter was the beautiful bride…she married into a family full of heritage and family honor, much like our large family. They will have a lifetime of happiness!

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The thing about good family memories, family history and family heritage, is that those heartfelt memories are the foundation, we as a large family have built our lives on…both in good times and bad times. Our Norwegian grandparents built the good stuff into their children who became our parents and in turn they built the family honor and heritage into us.

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I was blessed to grow up with my cousins by the dozens, and my aunts and uncles who always welcomed me into their homes if my parents were going to be out of town etc.

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Family meant the world to all of us…as we were old-fashioned close…celebrating family birthdays and holidays together…both young and old enjoyed the connection and the relationship.

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I’m not sure how my uncles and my Dad put up with us, but when we worked for them in harvest or on the cattle ranch, we knew it was serious business and we better pay attention! We would try hard to do that but we were kids…and we would laugh out loud about how so and so got their truck stuck or how so and so got in trouble for spilling a bit of wheat but the uncles were not laughing…nor was my Dad when I managed to loose my herd of cows some where up Chimney Creek! Oh the good old days…we still believed in fairy tales and happy endings.

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And this last weekend…we were part of a beautiful love story filled with fairy tales and a beautiful happy ending. Dreams do come true!

In The Blink Of An Eye…

In the blink of an eye…life can forever change.

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Life seconds and blink moments can knock us off our feet, with either good or bad surprises…I usually blink a few times while digging my heels in to either celebrate the good or to fight the bad…we can never give up! As I often heard growing up, “Go catch up your horse, saddle up and be ready to ride hard!”

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June 12th was a warm summer day and Ellie our Aussie pup (she is looking at me with her sweet Ellie look) was going to have her first birthday! We were so excited for her and wanted to help her celebrate with lots of love and fun Ellie style!

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However, we had an appointment to go to in the big metropolis that we live close to…and we also needed to do some much needed shopping…we would be home later that day to celebrate operation EB!  (EB is short for Ellie Belle:)

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We left early that morning heading to the city…Costco had been sending out telepathic message waves to me to come shop the new stuff…as well as various stores we like to shop…like Ranch and Home…Home Depot…the Mall…Yippppeeee!

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After months of doing without…it is very serious and labor intensive for the country cowgirl to shop ALL the stores she wants to shop in a couple of hours! I keep telling WB we need to spend a night when we do this…he replies with a grrrunt!

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It was a sunny and warm day with lots of promise for fun…we laughed and talked about what we needed to do as far as shopping.

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We knew we had to find our Ellie girl some awesome new chew toys for her first birthday. We shopped some here and there, ate lunch and ended up with Sadie Suburban packed brim full after Costco…and the day was gone!

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It was after 6:00pm when we had the Costco groceries loaded…would have loved staying for dinner but we had a birthday to celebrate! Our little country cowgirl was waiting and she depended on us to bring her home a few fun toys, with lots of love and lots of fun treats!

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Did you know that Schwan’s Ice Cream has Doggie Sundaes as in ice cream flavored like meat? Well they do and Ms. Ellie had hers for her birthday celebration! She loved it!

OK back to driving home.

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By the time we pulled onto the freeway the winds were blowing and picking up to 30 to 40 mph, we had heard on the news that morning that late in the afternoon we would have heavy winds. I mentioned to WB that wind and dust storms often delivered conditions just right for wrecks on this freeway. Thankfully the dust was not blowing yet as we could see quite a ways and it was still light.

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Less than 5 minutes later we went by an exit that had several trucks and cars merging into our part of the freeway….we were in the left passing lane as the traffic was merging into the freeway in the right lane…and then…like a nightmare, a Honda Minivan was jetting across the lanes trying to avoid being behind the semi-truck we were passing in the left lane…

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The driver was trying to cut into our lane but there was no room between us and the semi and yet, he kept coming towards us like he was trying to push us off the road, by merging into us.

Precious Life Seconds Passed…

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WB kept his cool and kept steady on the wheel…I braced for the wreck as the van came so very close…close enough that our mirrors almost hit!

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I was certain he was going to hit us full force into the side of the Suburban in front of my door…WB laid on the horn and by the grace of God we were spared. It was very serious and very close…the worst close call that I have ever been in as far as close wrecks.

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I thank God for my husband as he kept a cool head…he has always been a good driver. If the van had hit us we would have spun out…ending up between the van and the semi along with many cars behind us or rolling.

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Neither of us said a thing or emitted a sound during those eternal seconds of life…we both knew how close we came!

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Thankfully God made a way for us to survive. I hope the van driver learned a lesson on driving and how life can change quickly with impatient hot-headed driving!

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Meanwhile, Ellie Belle had a Happy 1st Birthday!

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She is so very cute…she is our kid and we love her lots!

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And I leave you with this as I love it…it is so very true…amen!

Code Of The West

Code Of The West

By James P. Owen

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Cowboys are known for being a symbol of American culture and values. They live by the Code of the West.

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The West is a place where the fence is always tight but the gate is always open to friends and neighbors.

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A cowboy gets his strength from knowing what is right and what is wrong. A cowboy is true to his beliefs. The Code of the West is not carved in stone, in fact, it is not even written down on paper. Yet, while not every cowboy abided by the Code, every cowboy knew what it was.

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Today’s cowboy may not use this specific term, but it remains his inner integrity for making daily decisions.

What follows are several principles that capture the Code of the West.

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Sit tall in your saddle

Take pride in your work.

I Corinthians 14:40 / I Corinthians 9:24 / Psalm 37: 23-24

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Put in a good days work

Always finish what you start

Romans 8:28 / Jeremiah 29:11 / II Theologians 3:10

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Tend to your herd

Take good care of your animals

Proverbs 27:23 / Proverbs 12:10 / Mathew 12:11-12

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Be a top hand

Live everyday with courage

Joshua 1:9 / Psalm 27:14 / Psalm 121:2

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Mean what you say and do what you mean

When you make a promise, keep it

Mathew 5:37 / Luke 16:12 / Proverbs 10:9

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Cowboy UP!

Do what has to be done

Proverbs 16:3 / Proverbs 10:4 /  Proverbs 6:10-11

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Draw a line in the sand

Know where to draw the line

Ephesians 6:13 / Proverbs 12:9 / Proverbs 12:11

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Be a straight shooter

Be tough, but fair

Psalm 112:5 / Proverbs 11:3 / Proverbs 16:11

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Ride for the brand

Be a good steward of your land and your ranch

James 1:22 / Psalm 37: 3-4 / Mathew 6:33

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Careful or you’ll have to eat your words

Talk less and say more

Ephesians 4:29 / Proverbs 18:21 / Proverbs 15:2

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Remember that some things aren’t for sale

Don’t compromise

Proverbs 22:1 / Acts 8:17-20 / Proverbs 4:7-9

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Lord willing and the creek don’t rise

Don’t worry, Be happy

I Peter 5:7 / Philippians 4:6 / Mathew 6:25-34

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Be neighborly

Give a helping hand

Mathew 7:12 / Mathew 5:16 / Mathew 5:41-42

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Be thankful every day as you praise God for your life

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Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD!

Psalm 150:6 / Psalm 118:24 / Colossians 3:17

This Memorial Day weekend we will remember those who went before us…

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God Bless You Mom and Dad…I miss you and I love you!

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We will remember those who went to war for the United States of America…to protect our lives and our country.

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Wherever you are, let the sunshine warm your heart, your face and your words…as summer is almost here!

HRCG is over and out but not for long…..

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