Country Life…Silence Of Time…It’s Time To Write!

Country life brings times of a silent hush across the land…I call it a Godly hush…a revered silence that softly fills your heart with the solitude of peace. It fills the air around you with the sounds of nothingness…memories drift back into my thoughts and I pick up my pen and write, hearing the old times and the memories playing in my head as the golden words begin to fall onto my paper from my pen.

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Tonight as I lay my head down on my pillow and close my eyes, quietly reflecting my day…I hear the sound of nothing but stillness and a peace of holy silence fills my heart with peaceful rest…memories of life past and memories of life to come. And then the ultimate gift…rain drops began softly falling…on this century old farm house…falling on the same roof that has covered me all my life…a serene serenade of silence begins to play…as I close my eyes and let my ears hear…the words in my heart begin to paint a picture in my mind as my vision flows freely. Nothing can take the place of silence and the stillness of life…only silence…if the rain was not falling tonight, my windows would be open and I would hear a different sound of silence filled with the crescendos of crickets and the soft ribbet croaking of the occasional frog….or I would hear the soft knicker/sigh of my horses as they shift their weight on a quiet country night.

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With all the crazy noise we have today…radios blaring satellite stations from all over 24/7, news, sports, music, church, talk shows…smart phones and dumb phones…trucks and cars with airplanes overhead and TV’s hooked to satellite stations with anything and everything…noise pollution has gotten out of hand. I love going to the big city to shop for clothes and fun stuff…to experience culture and the life of the city spinning fast…seeing a musical or a play but after a week or so let me come home to solitude…silence…rest.

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The silence and the quiet glory of my world through the seasons begins with the first snow falling in a hushed silence, falling on all creation, both man and animal, with a holy pristine beauty full of God’s grace on the landscape. The sounds of life are muffled as the white flakes fall silently, beautiful with glistening sparkles as they cleanse the landscape with purity, peace and holiness…silence becomes a very different silence when it snows here…I do not know how to describe it for sure…but life stops…the world stops…no cars drive by…it is a holy silence filled with incredible quietness.

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Spring months Spring upon us…we often have soft gentle showers to water the crops, my horse pastures and our yard etc. Everything turns from dried up dead weeds and landscape to a beautiful carpet of green…with all the different hues of colors! I love sitting up on the hill behind our house gazing out at the vast emptiness of the land and the ever so quiet gentle kiss of a breeze stirs the grasses and the trees…I am the only one who can hear it as I am alone up there…and it truly is beautiful to hear. New life is everywhere…the birds come back…I hear my turtle-doves every day and night…the robins are hopping around my yard looking for worms and bugs…quail families are nesting and raising their babies and we see deer out and about too and the sage brush begins to bloom along with everything else…all in the silence of miracles and holiness.

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I love early summer evenings as you begin to smell the heads of wheat drying and it smells wonderful! Knowing that we planted a tiny seed last fall to grow wheat and now the first of June it has quietly grown, filling out the heads with kernels of wheat…slowly the colors begin to change from green to a soft golden-yellow. Harvest begins and once again the sounds of silence change somewhat as all the farmers now use big semi’s to haul their wheat from the field to either the elevator or down to the Columbia River loading it on a barge to feed the world. Still if you go out in the field and listen quietly you can hear the history of your family harvesting from the days of old.

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And then by mid August or so the sounds of silence begin to change…the crickets sound different and the air feels caught between summer heat and cooler fall days. There is always a grief in my heart as the seasons go so quickly. I love each season and each year. Life brings good stuff if you look for it…and yeah I know it also can bring horrible stuff…bad stuff…hard stuff…but we take steps of faith and strength from God above…and we keep on a going.

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I have weathered
Colder winters; Longer summers
Without a drop of rain
Push me in a corner
And I’ll come out fighting
I may lose but I ‘ll always keep my faith

Cause I’m country strong
Hard to break
Like the ground I grew up on
You may fool me
And I’ll fall
But I won’t stay down long
Cause I’m country strong

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I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain High…I’m Gonna See What’s On The Other Side!

Climbing that mountain high took a few months of packing our lives up for the move of a lifetime! Moving from our home here to a new home 300 miles away was a huge undertaking…not only did I pack my entire life…I also packed memories and dealt with many mixed emotions. Never living far from home before, created a traumatic journey at times and yet…it was a wild at heart chapter of pure adrenaline in our spirits! Relocating our life by moving to an area, rich in cowboy culture and steeped in buckaroo tradition, was an exciting opportunity, as we would be managing a large 35,000 acre cattle ranch, doing something we both loved and knew how to do. We had many new adventures planned ahead…while some adventures were unexpected beyond belief.

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Parts of this post may be a bit repetitive from my Split Seconds introduction post a few weeks ago…please bear with me as I felt there were some blanks that needed to be filled in on our life before the flash flood and specifically the day of the flash flood.

Moving day dawns…and the epic day of moving my lifetime begins!

“I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain High” was blaring from my stereo, as I pulled up to the familiar stop sign, at the junction of Highway 37 in my truck “Della” (we name our vehicles around here), pulling my horsetrailer just as dawn was breaking into a brilliant red sunrise as I sang along with Reba…

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“Red Sun A Rising….Oooover That Hill” “I’ve Had Enough Of This Desert To Last From Now Until”….”This Could Be The Day I’ll Finally Find My Way Out!”

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Tears ran down my cheeks as I sang in a quivery voice…I had just hugged Mom and Dad as I left the house…I wiped my tears and blew my nose…telling myself “It’s time to put my Big Girl panties on!” My parents would be fine…but I missed them already, and I was only 10 miles down the road…but they would come to visit! “Now darn it MJ, be a Big Girl!”

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Giving “Della” the gas, I pulled onto Highway 37, and continued singing with Reba..while my kitty “Kalamazoo” laid beside me on his comfy blanket on the front seat..he was 11 that year…solid black, with just a bit of white on his tummy, he was my green-eyed Manx kitty with no tail of course and he had quite the “Cattitude”…he was my baby, Zippy or Zoo (as we called him) and he was given a tranquilizer shot from our vet early that morning before he left for the trip with me as he hated riding in the car…he equated it with going to the vet and he hated going to the vet!

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My trailer was loaded with our much loved horses, my 10 year old red sorrel mare Lottie…oh how she loved to cut cattle and work them! She could dance and boogie down anytime and I hung on! She was beautiful and I do still look for Leo bred horses as she was a triple bred Leo mare…incredibly smart and when you did not need her fire, she was laid back…and always was a joy to ride…she trusted me and I trusted her. In later years when my Dad was ill and in a wheelchair we would go outside during the magic hour on a summer evening so he could watch Lottie herd a small bunch of cattle to a corner and then stand and wait to see which one would try to break away and she would go to work cutting them off and herding them back…Dad laughed and got such a kick out her…I miss her and I miss her…someday I know I will see her again.

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(We had matching red hair and temperament too!)

And Odie, who was WB’s 6 year old black gelding…he was beautiful with his big eyes, very refined for a gelding and such a sweetheart! We raised him out of one of our best AQHA mares, Sally, who was a beautiful colored Grulla. Odie was a character much like Wild Bill! He set his own rules as he was due in early May and instead he was born July 9th! Both Sally and Odie had me up every night checking on them for months! His birth was normal and all was well with both mom and foal…we called him Odie for Overdue:)

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My trip to our new home took about 9 hours driving, as I had a heavy load pulling my horsetrailer and I drive slow and easy when I have my horses behind me. I stopped along the way to let them out to stretch while offering water to them and Zippy…walking them around a bit to keep them balanced and happy. I started out the trip on a two lane country road leaving here…traveled about 80 miles of freeway before climbing up out of the Columbia River Gorge to Highway 97 which was two lane all the way to the ranch…but I made it and got the horses out who had big eyes and then Zippy who had even bigger eyes…and then we began to unload more boxes. Oh my gosh, I even brought 20 years of The Quarter Horse Journal…which is a heavy, monthly, horseman’s bible…when we moved the next time, away from the ranch, I donated them all to the AV ranch!

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Moving into the historic white two-story 100 year old house above in the picture was an interesting ordeal as furniture now a days compared to 1900 furniture was a bit bigger…the house had lots of character and charm which I loved. Close to the house was a large 50′ by 50′ barn that you can see to the right with the pitch to the roof line and it also had the ranch tack room in it, where we kept several of our saddles and all of our horse tack…the smaller barn, was closer to the house and was called the Milk Barn, and we had lots of various corrals, the loading chute and a few smaller buildings, along with a small 100 year old ice house that we used to keep our vet medicines in. The historic ice house had thick walls and was without windows since its original purpose was to store and keep ice. All the corrals, barns and buildings were built on and around a dry creek bottom, called Newsom Creek.

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As you turned into the ranch complex and crossed the cattle guard, the ranch house was to the left, with a small pasture next to the house and yard, where I kept our two horses Lottie and Odie…and to the right of the turn in was the equipment shed, with the shop joining on to it and straight ahead was where the barns and corral complex sat. In front of our house was an irrigated hay field and pasture that eventually led to the Crooked River. The ranch house and headquarters complex sat back about a 1/2 mile from the main highway, where you crossed the large bridge over the Crooked River to reach the ranch.

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 The above picture was taken in 1915 of the AV Ranch, at the time it was owned by Wallace and Ida Post…whom Post, Oregon was named after. The large two story house you see in the picture is the house we lived in…and looked pretty much the same except the balcony was gone. By the way, if you get an Oregon map out, draw an X from corner to corner, Post, Oregon is right in the very center of Oregon…and it was a small post office combined with a small grocery store, when we lived there.

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 It’s taken me several years to write about the flash flood, and even today I find it hard to talk about. It was a life changing event to me, as it was the most fearful experience I had ever felt. There was nothing that I could do…there was nothing anyone could do. It was overwhelming to witness the power of the water and the course of natural events caused by it. We barely escaped with our lives…one young man wasn’t as fortunate…loosing him and his horse was very difficult for his fiancé and his family…for us and our 15 yer old son, who found him a day later. The power of the water carried his body 8 miles and took his horse 16 miles…for many months there was a cloud of heaviness over the ranch and grief in all our hearts.

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The deadly flash flood began 20 miles above us, on top of the Murray Mountains. During the afternoon the clouds continued to build and collide,  producing a cloudburst of water and energy, it was estimated that 6″ of rain fell in 20 minutes on top of the mountains behind us…which began the run off of the water down the dry canyons. And instead of absorbing the water into the dry dirt, the water ran on top of the dry earth, taking juniper brush and logs with it, along with boulders and rocks, building the deadly energy of the water into a roaring wall of water and debris that was headed down canyons that converged into Newsom Creek, about 8 miles above us. Down at the ranch headquarters where we lived, we had very little rain. By the time the deadly wall of water hit Newsom Creek it took everything and anyone in its path…there were no warnings and it caught both man and animal off guard. We had no idea waking up that warm summer morning, that all hell would break loose that afternoon and by nightfall, our lives would forever be changed.

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August 5, 1991 dawned like any other day that summer. It was hot with humidity and was hazy from the mixture of heat and dust. The summer had been unusual for us…as we were still settling in after moving our life to the ranch…I had spent the last two months unpacking, which was a huge task for me as it took time to figure out where to put things. By the 5th of August I was finally feeling like the end was in sight and the ranch was beginning to feel like home to me. I was able to look around and see our things here and there…I felt content as now I could concentrate on living the life of the ranch, helping my husband and getting to know the vast land we were on. I felt a new hope and anticipation for a new life with Wild Bill. I was finally back on a ranch doing what came natural…I loved waking up to cows and horses each day…it was pure heaven!

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We were busy getting in the last of our hay crop for the coming winter months of feeding cattle. Wild Bill was running the bale wagon in one of the hay fields, which means he drove it and it picked up the hay bales loading it, then he drove it carrying the load of hay back to the haystack yard where he unloaded it into the stack. Youngest son, was swathing or cutting hay in another field and our oldest son Travis was bailing hay into hay bales in another field. We had one more issue to contend with…rattle snakes! They often would be wrapped up in the bales with their heads sticking out of the bale still alive and they could bite…so you had to be careful.  The fields were spread out along the Crooked River for several miles and that day, Bill and the boys were all in different fields. In 1991, we did not have cell phones or two-way radios as we lived where we could not get a radio signal due to an iron mountain that was close to the house, so we had no way of communication on the ranch.

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After everyone got up and got going that morning, I decided it was time to  clean the house, doing my regular dusting and vacuuming, washing clothes and in general spiffing up the place. I was in and out of the house moving the water in the yard, watching for snakes as well, as the yard was a nice cool place for them to be! I had our two horses in a pasture next to the house, which I loved and they enjoyed the big trees to stand under for shade and being able to visit me. I often took turns on the horses, riding each of them out to find where Bill and his crew was for the day or the afternoon.

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The ranch owner had several horses that summer that needed work and training so I was working with the very young ones getting them ready for the horse trainer who lived at the ranch for the summer. I had five weanlings in five separate steel paneled pens that Bill and Mike had set up for me the week before next to the house and close to the big barn. I also had an assortment of yearlings and two and three-year olds in the corrals next to the barn and was taking care of two aged mares of the owners in the pasture behind the equipment shop/shed. I was in horse heaven delight! My only complaint was a sore tummy from a horse kick a few days before but it was a long ways from my heart…an old saying that I heard growing up.

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Bill and the boys came into the house at noon for lunch…I fixed them some sandwiches and we ate outside on the deck because it was a hot humid day and we had just bought a patio table and chairs a few days before. It was our first patio set and we all enjoyed sitting on the deck looking at the mountains, our horses and the cows…mostly we enjoyed the peaceful scenery and the quiet. As the guys were getting ready to go back out at 1:00, Bill said “You boys better pay attention to the sky this afternoon, it looks like we’ll see some lights in those clouds coming in. If you see any lightning, come into the house…don’t stay in the field. I remember thinking that Bill was right…I also thought that the clouds looked odd and appeared to be a different kind of cloud. They were moving in a swirl of sorts in a funny rotation. It looked like we were getting clouds from two different directions, and weather systems were colliding over head from the South and the Northeast. After Bill and the boys left I got busy again cleaning up the kitchen. It wasn’t long before I heard the wind picking up…never failed that after I cleaned we would have a dust storm…we lived on a gravel road as well, with lots of log trucks and traffic, as the road was a short cut over the mountains to Brother’s, Oregon.

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About 2:30 a car drove up to the house, it was my neighbor from over the mountain. She had tried to go up the road down farther from us and ran into a bit of flooding ten miles up-country above us. She called her home to let her husband know that she would be taking a different route home. I asked her if we should be alarmed about the flooding…she said “No, the storm would pass…that it was just a little run off…nothing that doesn’t happen every once in a while.” I offered her a cup of coffee and we sat at my kitchen table talking about my great view of the meadows and made our acquaintances We had never met before and meeting other ranch wives was so important as you needed each other so I was happy to have made a connection to her. She left about 3:00 for her home and by then the wind was picking up with severe lightning and I was beginning to worry about Bill and the boys. I went outside to see what was happening…it was pitch black overhead and not because of dust. I sensed something very wrong about this storm…the clouds were almost a vortex of sorts and there was a funny feeling in the air…it had a strange color to the skies above and felt eerie…by now I was really worried. I remember praying for my neighbor to make it home safe and sound with her little girl.

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Just as I was about to take the pick up out to look for my family, Travis, came in from the baler. We were standing in the mud/laundry room talking about the storm, he said it looked really bad up-country in the mountains behind us as they had been shrouded in black clouds all afternoon. I told him about our neighbor stopping in and taking a different road home due to the flooding on her usual road. We were starting to get a few sprinkles of rain by then but not much, except a nasty lightning and thunder storm. I was now feeling more panic as to where Bill and Greg were, so was Travis. It was roaring outside as the wind picked up blowing in bursts along with the thunder…it was black as coal out like it was 8:00 at night instead of  3:30. Greg came blasting through the door about then, looking frightened and said he saw the bale wagon sitting by the shop and figured Bill was with us.

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We were all feeling on edge by now and didn’t know where to look for Bill. We finally decided to make a run for the shop and the barns to see where he was and what he was doing. No sooner had we decided that…then Bill burst in through the door. He had been hiding out in the little building we called the Ice House or vet medicine room. It was a 100 year old ice house that we converted to a vet/medicine room out in the corrals where we worked the cattle. He had been waiting for a break in the storm to make a run for the house. Luckily, he came in…as that little building was the first one to disintegrate when the wall of water hit…it had no windows, so Bill wouldn’t have been able to see the water in time to escape with his life.

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Mike, the horse trainer, pulled up in the driveway about 3:45 getting out of the pick up with a serious concerned look, so Bill went out to see what was up. The boys and I were still standing in the mud room…when the lightning hit our phone on the wall with a loud popping sound and the phone was smoking…Greg started to walk over to it and I said “Don’t touch it”. He decided to go out and tell Bill and Mike about the phone. In a split second our power was surging…Travis and I decided we had better find the fuse box fast before the surging hurt our computer and blew our microwave as it was beeping away. Looking back I think it was warning us that all hell was about to break loose….

Stay tuned with me as we travel back to moments between life and death, with the rest of the story…to be continued.

Split Seconds Between Life And Death…

“Split Seconds Between Life And Death” is the introduction of surviving a devastating flash flood in a blink…of a split second.

Double-click the photos and newspaper article to enlarge them for reading the small print and seeing the details…most of the pictures were taken before I had a digital camera.

The morning of August 5th seemed like a typical summer morning as we rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn, stumbling to the kitchen for our first pot of very strong coffee to get the cobwebs out of our heads to plan the day.

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We sipped the dark caffeine as we watched the sun rise into a clear, beautiful blue sky morning…promising to be another warm sunny day in the hay fields.

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Due to the isolation of the ranch we managed on the Crooked River and the location of a mountain full of iron that was close to the house…we could not pick up radio signals or television to hear the news and the weather forecast. Unknown to us, there were several weather warnings for August 5th…and the possibility for severe storms on top of the mountains behind us. The summer day seemed perfect that morning…who could imagine that a massive wall of water would be building and rolling toward our home and our lives, later that afternoon, traveling at 15 mph or more with certain death, if caught in it. This is my story and account of what I saw and felt that fateful summer day, when we had a few split seconds between life and death…with our life being turned upside down in a matter of minutes, by the end of the day.

And so it begins…

After lunch we were sitting out on our deck when, Wild Bill mentioned to his hay crew to keep an eye on the sky. He noted that clouds had been building the last few hours on top of the mountains behind us…they looked ominous and were spinning in an odd way, like they were coming from different directions running into each other.

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Heading out the door, back to the hay fields, WB said “If you see lightning or the weather changes, park the equipment and come into the headquarters,” which was our home. I was headed to Prineville, 35 miles away, for a doctor appointment, as I had been kicked a few days earlier in my lower abdomen by a young three-year old horse that packed a hard powerful punch that ripped my jeans where she kicked and it had not gotten any better…instead it turned into a combination of several colors, much like the clouds in the photo below. I looked four months pregnant from the swelling, and could not zip up my wranglers all the way and it hurt to move or walk fast.

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As the afternoon wore on, I watched as more clouds were developing behind us in the Maury Mountains…my gut intuition told me to not go and to stay home so I made different arrangements for my doctor appointment. I heard thunder far away towards the mountains, and as time passed, I could tell it was coming our way…

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And soon the thunder was on top of us…with lightening all around…and then drops of rain began to fall. I began to worry about Wild Bill and our two sons who were also part of the hay crew. Time began to speed up and before I knew what was happening, in a split second our life was spinning out of control  between life and death.

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Tick-tock…fractured moments…tick-tock…life and DEATH…tick…RUN…tock…wall of  WATER…no time…RUN…your LIFE…NO TIME…move…NOW…GET OUT OF THE HOUSE…RUN!

Split seconds in a heartbeat, become moments in your life that you will never forget…and on that warm humid summer day, I did not know what I was escaping from, when my husband yelled and I ran out of the house in my socks, despite the wet ground from the rain we were now getting…carrying my boots…with Wild Bill frantically yelling “MOVE…HURRY…NOW” as I jumped into a moving pick up that was already backing up in reverse…and then…I saw the wall of water coming directly towards us and our house. Once we were safe on higher ground, we watched in stunned silence as the roar of raging flood waters hit the ranch.

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In a matter of seconds, our focus was on a 200′ wide by 7′ deep river of flood water moving at 15 mph or more, engulfing our lives…our house, our horses, our vehicles, the equipment and buildings…we saw the entire ranch move as we stood helplessly by. Witnessing a D5 Caterpillar tractor with the blade parked down in the gravel, walking itself out of the quickly deteriorating equipment shed that was attached to the shop…the tractor was bobbing, floating, bouncing and dancing with the energy of the flood waters like it was a toy.

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At daybreak, the following morning after the flood, Wild Bill and I walked through the war zone of what was left of the ranch where the battle was fought…showing the power and might of the water. The lone stock truck ended its journey through the flood waters settling into the mud, where the 50′ by 50′ barn “used” to stand, before it disintegrated with the forceful blast of  flood water…it happened so fast, none of us saw it collapse…and yet the smaller barn survived and was left standing alone…it became the “Miracle Barn.” Every building on the ranch either disintegrated upon impact or if left standing, leaned in a different way or moved with the jarring force of the flood water when it slammed into the complex, rolling over anything or anyone in its path.

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Loosing the life of the young cowboy, who was passing through on his way home, trying to save his horses, was the hardest and most difficult part of our grief…fractured moments of a human life, painful memories we will never forget. The State Of Oregon did numerous studies of the massive flood for several years. How could this happen and why…could it happen again…the environmental conditions that played a part…the odd weather and the rain storm that caused the flood…on a warm summer day in August, as we were baling and putting up hay…a typical ranch life one second and a nightmare the next.

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 Surviving the flood with God’s protection was evidenced by Wild Bill being aware of the clouds looking ominous at lunch…he kept watching them through out the afternoon as the weather was changing quickly…and thankfully he came home into the headquarters as it had barely begun to sprinkle with rain, along with lightning and thunder…and then, he saw the wall of water coming at us in time to escape…that was God’s provision.

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Our horses lived through the flood…they were close to where we were safe, but I could not reach them which was awful!  Thankfully God heard my prayers and spared them from death but not from the fear they felt.

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I’ll be sharing a few more chapters on the flood in the coming weeks…the many memories and the miracles…I hope my story of survival will give you strength and hope…knowing that life can at times be unexpected and incredibly tough but we can do it…we just have to keep on a going, no matter what!

Stay tuned for Chapter 1 of the “Historic 100 Year Flood”…HRCG over and out for now but not for long!

Seasons Of Weather On The Land And Spring Fun!

Seasons of weather on the land and the hints of spring fun are coming! I love this time of year, as over the years of living my life on the land, I have gained the understanding of faith, hard work and the importance of being a good steward of the land.

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I notice the seasons more vividly as you depend on them for the health of the land and often you are outside in the elements of weather everyday. Maybe it’s driving to your job 30 miles away in town or maybe you are blessed instead to be out on top of the hills gathering cattle…or farming round and round on a tractor.

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Being in the middle of nature’s elements, you feel the weather on your face with each passing storm, while watching the seasons slowly change.

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From long winter days cloaked in gray fog as you wait and hope for a good wheat crop, growing under the obscure ashen gloom that covers the land from your sight.

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Finally the first breath of spring air comes, blowing off winter’s gray coat, revealing your hard work…your faith has been rewarded, with a beautiful green wheat crop underneath…

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The miracle of life, with that one tiny seed of grain the farmer plants in faith, months before…has grown into a harvest bushel full of wheat.

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Which also means with the changing seasons I will be doing the part that makes me Hot Rod

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Cowgirl…and yes I love the cool cars my hubby WB builds:)

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But, I will always be a cowgirl through and through that loves my horses and the life of a cowgirl…I do admit it is fun to drive the ba-bump-a-boom sounding cars WB builds, with the deep throaty sound of horsepower and a healthy cam:)

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Seasons are a changing…March can be crazy and wild!

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Minnie will be putting away her “Cat Operas” for the year as she will instead be watching out the windows and smelling smells through the screens of spring and then summer…already we have the nightly serenade sounds of crickets in the creek close to the house and lots of robins, doves, quail and various colored birds are flying about to her enjoyment:)

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Hang on…as soon…

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Faster than a speeding bullet…

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Blasting off like a rocket! No silly…not the jet above…

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“Its Lola!” She’s out of winter hibernation and on the road again:):):)

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Lola’s my speeding bullet…”Lola’s my baby:)”

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“Classic…Fast…Built From Days Of Old…” When they still knew how to build real cars…out of steel and real leather interiors and actual horsepower:)

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Beautiful skies above and our little red car below…

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Lola! La La La Lola…Love you Lola!

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Springs a coming….sooooon:)

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Hang on here we go!

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As reported from “The Life Of Hot Rod Cowgirl living in the Wild West!!!”

“Blog Of The Year 2012” Award Times Six!

“Blog Of The Year 2012” Award Times Six Stars! What a wonderful award gift to be given:) I am very late in posting the news of this award as I received the award between my hubby’s two surgeries with December 26th being the second surgery and then we lost our beloved dog Kiah…who we miss very much.

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I was both the head nurse and doctor at times…when you live 60 miles from the hospital and the Dr., you learn to do both…my friends laugh at our “Hallway Closet” as it is the equivalent of “Rite Aid,”with all kinds of tape, gauze, antibiotic creams, itch creams, bug sprays, thermometers and band-aids. Between taking care of WB and making sure he did exactly as he was instructed to do and did not sneak out of the house to go to the shop, life has been busy…thankfully his doctor gave him the heads up to venture out a few weeks ago, but the first few months I had to watch him like a hawk!!!  I run the office so I am forever busy keeping up with both the ranch books and our custom car business, and I can’t believe how fast the months go!

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We hired three new employees to add to our team, one great apprentice and two gifted, talented and experienced technicians that know how to do the job right. Luckily our winter weather has not been terrible this year so with the help of our new apprentice, I took care of the horses, making sure their water, which is heated during the winter months, was working and heating right. I felt like I was the lady of many hats, as I wore many different hats from Head Nurse to the Mrs. Grrrrr Boss to the Cowgirl Queen of All…hee-haw!

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And then I had the nicest surprise in receiving the nomination for the “Blog Of The Year 2012” Award with the first of six stars from fellow blogger Candy at http://findingorderincorpusa.wordpress.com/ I was both humbled and in a state of shock in a very happy way:)

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 Thank you Candy for thinking of me:) Be sure to check out Candy’s blog as I promise you will enjoy it! She has a blog full of positive encouragement, which helps as we go through some of those truly yucky-blah days of our lives…and she also shares lots of wisdom to apply to our lives too. Here is the link to Candy’s blog and also the link that has all the rules for this award  http://findingorderincorpusa.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/

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And then I received my second star and another nomination for the “Blog Of The Year 2012” Award from my friend Marilyn at http://teepee12.com/

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I was now laying on the ground, having fainted with delight, while my horse Melody was staring at me with her big beautiful eyes wondering if I was ok…you can see she is worried, she is the sweetest horse I have ever had. “Ahhh Mel, I love you lots, but I’m ok:)” I was smiling and glowing with excitement as I felt so very honored to receive this award by both these admirable friends and fellow bloggers…go check out Marilyn’s blog at  http://teepee12.com/2013/02/24/daily-prompt-the-glacier-quarter-2011/

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Because it was the holidays and the season was full of holly jolly joy joy! My laptop was singing away with sonar ba-blurps, as my notifications sound like a submarine when they come in…so I checked to see who was ba-blurping me and it was Marilyn at http://teepee12.com/2012/12/15/blog-of-the-year-2012/ she had awarded me with my third star, to add to my nomination for the “Blog Of The Year 2012” Award!!! If you have not gotten over to Marilyn’s blog by now…get going! She has a worthy blog called “Serendipity” that is filled with words written by Marilyn, who is a gifted writer.

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The picture above is Annie, she is so pretty…and the photo below with the white stuff hanging off the garden stake with the horse on top next to the fake flowers is called “Hoar Frost.” It builds and grows each day until it hangs off of railings, power lines and etc. When we have long periods of freezing temperatures with freezing fog, a heavy hoar frost will grow on everything. Often we lose power as the power lines sag with the weight of the heavy frost eventually breaking the lines, leaving us without power for several hours or days. When you have livestock, they need water to survive. Horses can colic, which means they get a tummy ache and they lay down and roll on the ground trying to get rid of the pain, and often twist their gut. In severe cases they can die or will need surgery…the colic is caused by eating dry feed without water for their gut. so when you lose power and are without water for your livestock, you haul it or bucket it from another water source.

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With Christmas upon us and snow forecast with freezing fog delight, my kitty Minnie was doing her computer time a few days later and said,

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“Meowzers Mom…I just heard your laptop make that funny email noise again…I peeked and now you have four stars, as Marilyn gave me, (Minnie), a star for Christmas cuz I’m the cat who knows where it’s at! Meowohooey! Thank you Ms. Marilyn:)”

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I did a fancy cowgirl two-step with a yee-haw and

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Minnie looked at me and left in a hurry….she was worried it somehow could involve me picking her up for a kitty hug and holding her close to my heart for a kitty dance. She does not like to be held off the ground at all…and since I am 5’9″ tall, I’m a skyscraper in her eyes!

The Rules For This Award Are Simple And Easy:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.

2. Write a blog post and name/tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3. Please include a link back to this page  ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!).

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5. You can now also join The Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook Group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting the six stars.

And Wowee-Wowzers!!!

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And I just got my fifth star!!!

The best part of receiving this special award was being nominated by my peers for the equivalent of the Oscar Award with the “Blog Of The Year 2012” Award. It feels very good to have recognition from your friends that are on this artistic journey with you. When I began this blog I had no idea that it would feed my heart and soul the way it does. I have always always always loved to write…and photography has been a passion that I knew was there in my heart but in raising our kids, money was tight and buying fancy cameras was not in my budget…basketball shoes alone cost as much as a college education. I did write and I have journal upon journals of my life over the years, filled with emotions, memories and daily life.

And then only a day before Christmas I found I had received my sixth star from Marilyn as she too wanted to pass on the holly jolly joy and share her stars with me for the “Blog Of The Year 2012″Award! Thank you Marilyn and Big Hugs:)

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Thank you Candy at http://findingorderincorpusa.wordpress.com/ for the first nomination for this awesome award and thank you Marilyn at  http://teepee12.com/  for blessing me with this awesome award with several nominations…neither of you had any way of knowing that, on the days you blessed me with another star to this award, it was a day that I had a fire of life dilemma to put out here…so each of your stars gave me hope and a big smile! Thank you both for being my friends and fellow writers on this journey of words and of life:)

Drum roll please for my nominations…I would like to nominate all of the bloggers and writers I know…I enjoy every blog on Word Press:) It is not easy to choose only a few blogs as I have many that I believe are worthy and that is all of them!

1.http://euzicasa.wordpress.com/ George has an outstanding blog that I love to read as I often learn new things about many different areas of life, music, various animal species, historical world events and then today I heard two songs that I had not heard since way back when and they brought back great memories:)

2.  http://thesedaysofmine.com/ I love Dianna’s blog…she has a beautiful kitty angel named Sundae-Girl who also writes occasionally…she is one of my kitty angel Minnie’s best friends! Dianna shares her sunrise and sunset photos with the ocean behind them and the water right out in front of her home…and also her daily life with her family and her historic roots that run deep in Virginia.

3.  http://rumpydog.com/ Be sure to go meet Rumpy dog as his blog is awesome! He keeps us filled in with animal news and all things animal…different new animal friends and also animal health facts as well as animal fun stuff. Rumpy is very cool…how many dogs do you know that have their own blog? Go see Rump’s blog and enjoy:)

4. http://savannahspawtracks.com/  I love Savannah’s blog..she is a very cool kitty angel, she is always up to something fun and she takes good photos. She calls her blog “Autobiography Of A Shelter Cat”…she is very beautiful, as she is a Russian Blue kitty angel with a great personality to match her beauty and lots of white detail like Minnie has on her toes and under her chin:)  Her Mom and Dad are awesome for adopting her and they loves her lots! Minnie loves her too:)

5.  http://catfromhell.wordpress.com/  Minnie and I both love reading about Nellie’s adventures…she is 14 years old and is also a rescue kitty. I think her Mom and Dad are awesome for adopting Nellie and making her part of their home. Nellie writes great daily blog entries that keep us hooked, reading about her explorations and life full of fun with other kitty angels and she loves Rumpy too:) She is a very cool kitty as she paints some beautiful paintings of her friends and she is part of the FBI too….so go say Hi!

6.  http://triciabookerphotography.com/2013/02/21/beautiful/  “Capturing images, words and horses.” I saw the previous sentence by her name and I was hooked:) I truly enjoy Tricia’s blog and her amazingly beautiful photography of horses, various animals, flowers and life through her lens:) She is an amazing photographer…go see as she has incredible images to see and enjoy:)

7. http://tau0.wordpress.com/  I love this site as the amazing scenery in Mike’s photography speaks directly to my “wild at heart spirit!” Both my hubby and I share the wild at heart…I love the sheer beauty of isolated, jaw dropping beautiful places that you can not see unless you are willing to get off the beaten path and seek them out. Mike captures amazing views and waits for the perfect light and his timing is magical:)

8. http://russelrayphotos2.com/  Russel has been a photographer for many years and shoots beautiful shots of San Diego life and history…and incredible shots of scenery and flowers, butterflies and life etc. but my very favorites is “Zoey, the Cool Cat!” He is a character and great at posing for Russel’s camera.

9.  http://marcellarousseau.wordpress.com/ Marcy has a great blog that educates you on healthy eating and living. She is awesome as she seeks to help others to lose weight and get in shape…I know I need more of every fact she teaches and shares so I check her out often to see what is good for me and what I need to get rid of:) And we both share the same name of Marcy:)

10. http://godguidesme.com/ Vivian has a wonderful blog and I so enjoy the pictures she takes of the Nevada Desert…I love the peace and solitude of the desert and have found that the desert has a way of drawing you into its magical light, colors and silence…there is something incredibly beautiful and spiritual about the desert and Nevada has LOTS of mountains too so don’t let the desert fool you. Vivian’s blog is full of inspiration and incredible scenery.

11.  http://emjayandthem.com/   MJ’s blog is awesome as she makes you think deep and I love to think deep! She shares about her life growing up and also her life today…the lessons she has learned and the ones she is yet working on…her writing style hooks you into her words as you can identify with what she is writing about…she is a great writer and also takes great photos. She is an incredible lady to know and I always enjoy her comments when she visits me:) Go check MJ out…kind of funny but I am also called MJ…so from one MJ to another MJ go enjoy another MJ’s blog:)

12.  http://pacificnorthwesttravelerdotcom.wordpress.com/ I so enjoy Bob’s blog as I live about 200 miles from him and many of the various photos he shoots I am aware of or I have been there. Today’s lesson he is giving is on how to frame one of your photos in Photoshop…and I plan to give it a try too:) He shoots incredible scenery shots and then also goes to the Portland Zoo and takes some amazing shots of the various animals there….as well as “Jack” the kitty cat!

13.  http://onespoiledcat.wordpress.com/  This is Pam (Mommy) and Sam’s (Sammy) blog on Sammy’s fun antics and Pam’s wonderful words, she has a wonderful writing ability, she has published a few books and also short stories and she also is an artist as she paints. I always enjoy seeing what Pam is up to and Minnie has a kitty girl crush on Sammy…and I love to see what Sammy is up to as he has gone undercover before as a secret agent and he has taken care of business:) He is one cool dude!

14.   http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/    I truly enjoy Sharla’s blog, her writing style, the memories she shares, the books she has published, and I love the name of the blog Catnip Of Life…yeah, that is perfect and Minnie agrees:) Sharla gives you deep things to ponder and think deep on which I love as it keeps me thinking all day when I am out and about doing ranch stuff:) I love her poetry too, her positive comments and her laughs as I love to laugh:)

15. http://patinaandcompany.wordpress.com/  Awesome blog! I will be reading each article on gardening, flowers and landscaping that Patina & Co. has posted. I am subscribed to Leslie’s blog, she lives North of Toronto, yesterday she posted pictures of the snow around her home and yard…I will not complain anymore about our weather!!! Go check out this blog as she also has interior decor ideas and ideas for the exterior of your home.

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Marilyn, thank you again for nominating me for this awesome award, Marilyn writes and takes us into whatever it is that she is describing…and that is what I strive to become, as a writer…I hope to write and pull the reader into my story so that they can actually hear, feel and taste or smell what I am describing…and I hope to do the same with my photographs:) Marilyn, I am working on “Tagged”…I wanted to get this award out as it is so special to receive. If you have not been to Marilyn’s blog yet, go to: http://teepee12.com/2013/02/24/daily-prompt-the-glacier-quarter-2011/

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Thank you Candy for nominating me for this honorable award and for blessing me with the first star:) Candy has a fun blog as well as a web site for her professional organizer business…and she can be hired to come into your home or office to organize it so that you can do your work or job with everything in its place instead of a mess. I am pretty organized most of the time but right now with taxes and going through all the office stuff I need you Candy!  On her blog, Candy has fun stuff, encouraging slogans and positive remarks for us to keep on a keeping on:) So be sure to check out her blog at http://findingorderincorpusa.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/blog-chill-day-8-2/  and also her business web site at http://www.orderyoursteps.net/

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Minnie and I have learned so much from all the many bloggers we have met in the last almost two years. The best part has been getting to know you…and to view your artistic abilities from photography to writing words that tell the stories of your life or of the lives you write about. The creative spirit is amazing and ever changing, growing and developing…I love the burning fire of artistic abilities that are God given, that burn deep in my heart. It is always there…sometimes it just smolders and other times it fires up into a roaring campfire…I love it:)

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These roses are for each one of you:) I am going to keep on writing words upon words and shooting a zillion photo images to share with you:) How about you? Have a “Super Sweet Sunday!”

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What Gives Writers And Artists Their Fire?

What gives writers and artists their fire? I take it for granted that we all think about words and photos the way I do but we don’t. I have known all of my life, that God blessed me with the desire and passion to become a writer of words and life. I am drawn to writing words that create visual pictures…words that become alive and draw you into the story or maybe the memories of your life. Writing is my heart, as the words explain the me that I am and the whys of my life…words of feelings…words of emotions…words of heritage and memories…and the words of a country cowgirl…words upon words upon words. Writers write to share what they feel and see in the moments of tender memories filled with times of faith…times of hope…times of life. I think they are born with a desire to tell the story as the seed has been planted in their hearts to write the words.

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Writers are different as we see and feel the actual word…we see emotions and feel life differently. Quietly our soul takes in all the words we hear and the pictures of life we see…the writer in us takes both the seeing and feeling emotions, weaving them into a story to share. Our words are poured out onto the golden pages of a book full of stories and memories, both real and fiction. If we are really good we can make you guess what is real and what is fiction. I think my writing and the ability to feel the words and to see the story in a quick snapshot blink of life is partly because I grew up by myself, with just my parents and our ranching life in the mountains and here at home.

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I never knew any different way of living, I thought everyone moved to the mountains to summer on a cattle ranch…now that I know differently, I feel very blessed that I had the opportunity. I carry the memories of almost 40 years, working first with my parents on the ranch and then with Wild Bill. My world has been full of horses, cows, kitty cats and dogs, and various critters…the sky and clouds…the elements of weather…hard days and good days…life was all of that and in my mind it was a novel of golden days…the days of my life. The one soap opera I watched for a couple of years, was of all things called “Days Of Our Lives”…go figure, I was doing what I knew as I actually do see the days of my life.

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I began to shoot pictures of my life and the life moments around me during the last two years…I bought a quality camera and once it was in my hands I hung on to it and slept with it if I had to! It was the missing piece to my life of words…it was the part that fit with the creative visions and the words I had inside my head and in my heart. If done correctly, one picture can tell the story from beginning to end…one photo can do that if you are good and that is what I strive for. I want to be that good with my camera…so I take 1000’s of photos every week…keeping some and trashing the others…I love learning:) When I read the story and saw the photos of Vivian Maier a few years ago, I was in awe and in photography heaven…she was incredible and had such an eye for the right moment and the perfect timing to capture the life of her subjects and the life of America. I would love to see her work in person! Here is the link to the web site of her images…enjoy.  http://www.vivianmaier.com/  She was truly a very gifted artist of life.

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It is the same with words…you have to write and I write a zillion words each week both on paper and in my head in order to develop what is already there inside me, writing your thoughts and words, keeps you fresh and wide awake! I write stories and heart filled memories of life, mine and also of other lives that I have seen and been part of. It is crazy how I can feel another persons heart and their thoughts…their emotions and feel what they are not saying as easily as what they are saying. No it is not some woo woo thing or a new age technique. I am blessed that God made me with the passion and ability to write, feeling the words of the story I see in a blink second of another persons life or the scenes of life that travel through my world. I love it and will never grow tired of words and images.

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Switching gears, I want to thank you for wondering where I have been and if all is well. I am here and we are doing fine. I hope to post my first of many award nominations that I have been given to share soon:) Somehow my “life went into hyper-warp speed and lately I have felt like I am Lieutenant Uhura on the U.S.S. Enterprise on Captain Kirk’s bridge traveling at warp speed to do battle with the Klingons in some new galaxy!” I think I need to write more and get outside with my camera…my imagination is getting a bit weird! No I’m not a Trekkie but I did like Star Trek in the 60’s.

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As I sign off for now I will leave you with a couple of verses from “Alabama” with their song called “I’m In A Hurry,” as it fits:)

“I’m in a hurry to get things done…Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun…All I really got to do is live and die…But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why”
“Don’t know why I have to drive so fast…My car has nothing to prove…It’s not new, but it’ll do 0 to 60 in 5.2”
“I’m in a hurry to get things done…Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun…All I really got to do is live and die…But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why”

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Right Tucker? “Rrrruff-righto Mom.”

I wish you the best of days or nights where ever you may be. “May God Bless You With A Totally Terrific Thursday or Fantastic Funny Friday!”

Blessings That Fill Your Heart With Gratitude

Blessings that fill your heart with gratitude are little miracles in themselves, bringing sunlight and glory to our days here on earth.

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Sometimes you have to look around to see the blessings in your life and other times they can be right in front of you!

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I thank God daily for my life as I watch the sunrise on a brand new day, full of God’s plans for my day and His breath of love on each one of us, for we are all His kids:)

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And at the end of each day I am always blessed with each beautiful sunset, filled with God’s golden glory…with a renewed hope for tomorrow.

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Growing up Mom had a newspaper clipping on our refrigerator for many years held by a magnet. The clipping stood on the truth of its words.

“Oh Lord, You have given me so much,

Give me one more thing, a grateful heart.”

Gratitude…remembering the incredible things we have been given. I still have the clipping in my bible…and had it on my refrigerator for several years until we bought a stainless steel refrigerator…then my magnet would not work, so it is tucked away in a safe place.

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I am thankful and more than grateful for the many blessings in my life. When things get bumpy on the road of my life, I try to focus on the good and positive blessings that God has given to me…so I often make a gratitude list to add to as life is ever changing…below is my current gratitude list…if I were to write them all…I would have a book to share with you:)

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1. I am thankful that I have the freedom to worship God.

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After traveling to the Middle East in the mid-90’s, I experienced many different ways of life and many diverse cultures. I loved seeing where Jesus walked..it was profoundly holy and spiritual to walk in His footsteps. I loved the Old City and seeing the diversity of people. Israel was beautiful to see…I was blessed to have had three weeks to travel, as there were so many historical sites to visit and experience. However, when my plane touched down at JFK, I made a beeline to a Burger King for an all American hamburger with the works! The next morning was surreal to wake up here in Juniper Canyon…the farmers were in full swing of wheat harvest. I remember thanking God that He decided I was to live here in America, it was so peaceful and quiet. We do not know how blessed we are to live in the USA!

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Jordan was ancient in the scenery and beautiful. I loved seeing the desert and Petra was my favorite.

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 Petra was incredible in how they carved it and designed it…it was one of those places that all you can do is take pictures and stand in awe. I also enjoyed having dinner with the Bedouins one evening in their tents. Kind and wonderful people to meet. Everyone I met on the tour was very nice. We began our tour in Damascus, Syria and I loved seeing Palmyra too….we did a day trip into Turkey and then on to Jordan and finally Israel…loved the Sea of Galilee, so peaceful and yes you do float on the Dead Sea and Masada was incredible too. I did ride a camel which was both fun and funny:)

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2. Thank you God for my hubby Wild Bill…my soul mate and my forever. We actually do fit together like a jigsaw puzzle made by God. He is the most thankful part of my life on earth and the best part is that we will be with each other forever into eternity and beyond:)

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3. I am grateful everyday that I am alive and living with good health! Having gone through a serious diagnosis puts a new spin on your life and you truly do see life in a different way….with a thankful heart:)

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4. I am grateful for my parents….who loved me and kept me forever. I know I will see them again. Both WB and I were lucky that we lived next door to them for 20 years, as we were able to help them and do things for them before they became ill….and when they did become ill, we were there 24/7  for them. We were able to support them, finding things to laugh about, long talks into the night, helping them through medical tests and the pain, taking them places and helping them maintain their dignity. I loved my Mom and Dad more than I can say.

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5. I know I am one of the most blessed women to live with always owning a horse….growing up on a large cattle ranch helped…so did having a Dad who was as horse crazy as I was! We always had horses….and we still do. I love the smell of horses, the sound of horses and the relationship one can have with horses and everything about them…they represent a part of life that is my history and heritage. God loves horses too!

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6. Minnie Mouse our kitty girl…almost 18 years old and so much a part of my heart and my life….our life. She has been with through losing three of our parents, cancer and various tough times, and she always gave us her love and lots of funny antics to make us laugh…she has been with us longer than any of our kids and she loves us…we love her and she is our kitty angel:) Blessed by God:)

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7. Living in the very house that I grew up in with my Mom and Dad….that my Grandpa who I never got to meet, built for his mother, my great-grandmother who I never got to meet.

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Living here in a 100 year old family house though, I feel that I do know them and carry the same beliefs and family heritage they passed on to us. A house full of memories, honor and gratitude.

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8. I am grateful that I have always lived in the country, away from the hustle and bustle. I love the quiet and peaceful life of country living here, but I miss the solitude that I grew up in when we summered at the mountain cattle ranch without telephones, electricity, water and no TV let alone radio signal. It was pure bliss to live in such a beautiful place in the Blue Mountains, riding my horse everyday moving cattle or checking cows with my Dad. Life was simpler and the world was different then. I am grateful for all the memories I have of that period in my life growing up.

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9. I am more than blessed to own my “Little Red Car”…WB surprised me as he said “For my redhead and my love, this is your car”. And we do belong to the “Little Red Car Club”.

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10. And for my forever horses, that I will never forget…as they are forever with you:)

Mostly what I want to give to you is this…

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Sometimes when we look out the window of life…we see life that is gray and stormy. It can be depressing, discouraging and tough to see the storms of life we are facing…that is when we plug into our gratitude list, that is filled with determined faith, full of both small and large blessings and the tough times we survived before…as we can’t give up or in, we gotta keep on a going.

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And as we “stand strong on our faith and hope”, life will get better again. The good in life, continues to battle it out, with the evil during our lives…as life will never be perfect until we get to heaven.

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And God has already won for us! No matter how dark it can look in our lives, never ever give up:)

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Wild Bill and I are celebrating the day we met 37 years ago on Valentines Day…February 14, 1976! The picture above was taken two years ago when WB and I were interviewed here in our shop Holton Secret Lab on TV. Notice who is cracking a joke at the end…I am sure we were all nervous and making a funny joke was all I could think of doing…I love to laugh:)

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Happy Valentines Day! My hubby surprised me with the beautiful red roses this morning:)  I wish you all a very special day or night where ever you are!

As a footnote: I am working on the many awards I have been given the last few months. I am terribly slow this time and I hope that all the award givers will not give up on me:) I so appreciate you thinking of me and this blog. Wild Bill had a second surgery December 26th on his shoulder that has taken a longer recovery…he is getting better and still has to take things slow for a few more weeks but he is doing well…he began PT this week:) That is part of the reason for being slow to post new awards and blog the last few months…but I am here and working on getting those awards passed on soon:) Hugs and Blessings:)

Surviving Storms Of Winter As Life Flows On.

Life flows on like a river, as winter takes hold of our lives in Juniper Canyon.

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Surviving the storms of winter can be tough if you are caught without warning…

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Life can change in the blink of an eye.

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And yet if we persevere with hope…our faith is strengthened in a deeper, stronger way.

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2012 ended with the physical pain of WB’s surgery and the emotional pain of loosing Kiah. Dealing with pain itself can be a life storm…a war that you fight for healing and the return to your normal life.

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Loosing our animal family members is equally hard, as truly our animals are part of us, part of our hearts and part of our humanity. I grab hold of my camera every second I can to capture the ever changing life around me…now if I can find the words to express my heart.

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I do know that we live life everyday, never knowing what each new day will bring…having “faith” to believe that no matter what it brings we will survive.

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God never planned for us to have a perfect life as He wants us to depend on Him.

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Each day the road is before us as we keep our focus and walk on. Life is full of adventure…hard times…exciting times…sad times…learning times, but mostly good times.

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Where ever you are I hope that tomorrow or today or tonight is blessed with perseverance that develops your hope which will deepen your faith…no matter your circumstances.

Kiah Sweet Kiah, Yippee Ki Yi Yay…God Bless You And Keep You Always!

Every once in a while when you grow up living on a ranch…you will own a special dog, a once in a lifetime dog, a dog filled with heart and love for you…and your heart fills with love for them and they become your forever friend…the best dog you have ever had. When we lost Kiah December 30, 2012, we lost one of the best…she truly was our heart, our girl, our silly Ki Yippee Yi and we loved her so much.

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Many of you who have followed my blog have been introduced to Kiah…looking at her face, you can see her heart in her eyes…she was so smart and intuitive as she seemed to know what you were thinking!

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Kiah came to live with us in June 2011…turning a year old in September 2011. A good friend of ours mentioned to us that he knew the breeders were looking for a new home for Kiah and he told them about us. I called them and drove a 400 mile round trip to bring her home:)

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Is she not beautiful? I fell in love with her the second I saw her…her cute face and her beautiful coat of colors. When we got home and she got out of the pick up behind me…my hubby, Wild Bill fell in love with her too. I knew God blessed us with Kiah as we needed her and she needed us:)

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Kiah was immediately part of our hearts…she was full of love and so full of spirit. Our other three Aussie’s loved her too…Auz, the oldest in front just grunted at her and that was it. Dash liked playing with her and she loved to playfully grab his ears in her dog game version of “Speed Runs By Dasher To Grab Ears Hee-Hee.” Tucker in the back was not a huge fan at first as she had been the only girl for several years.

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But Ki loved Tuck anyway and Tucker eventually loved Kiah too but, she was a bit jealous of this new cute doggie girl, who liked to take her toy or stick of the moment away, see it between them? Tuck is daring Kiah to try it. And if Ki managed to get it away from Tucker she would bounce around the yard with the stick doing the dog style of “Neener Neener”…while Tucker would try to keep up barking at her the whole time…it was funny and quite cute to watch as eventually Ki would drop it and let Tucker have it back:)

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Kiah was very very human…she knew what you were contemplating and she understood your emotions in a very uncanny way. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say God made her different. She was a part of you and you immediately connected with her and she with you. She loved to crawl up into WB’s lap as she loved to cuddle…she was a large part of life here, our Kiah girl.

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“Don’t forget us Barn Lions!”  “We loved to watch her torment both Tucker and Dasher with “The Neener Neener Game!” “We just meow-laughed with hee-haw meowsy chuckles…plus we had a good view!”

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I loved her silly smiles and grins when she bared her teeth…and I loved her eyes when she squinted them into little slit eyes that were so cute!

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“Mom…I can squint my eyes and smile showing my teeth too!” I know Minnie and you are my baby too…my kitty angel that I love very much.

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And I know you loved Kiah and she loved you…she sniffed your nose through the window and would smile at you…at first you were sort of like Tucker but then you warmed up to her too.

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“Uh what?” “I didn’t kill the bird Mom really!”

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How can you be mad at a face like this? Kiah had so many expressions, and she was so cute:)

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But she could look mean too…she loved her family as all protective dogs love their family. I just miss her. Everyday I find myself looking for her as she would go hang out in the shop for a while to be sure WB was ok and then she would run up to the house and peek into the windows to be sure I was ok and all was well…then once she knew both WB and I were ok.

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She would do a speeding bullet run up the hill to survey the ranch below circling back down to make sure the horses were ok too.

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My Yippee Ki Yi Yay…

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Who loved sleeping in my dirt flower pots like a curled up colorful doggie flower…ahhhh…make that muddy doggie flower:)

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The day we buried Ms. Kiah…it was getting close to twilight time and I noticed out my kitchen window that the light looked sort of an odd color of gold on the hills…so I grabbed my camera and headed out the door in my socks no less as the light was changing quickly and I wanted to capture a few shots.

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After a few landscape shots I looked up and saw the most incredible golden skies above. None of the following pictures have been photo shopped or light roomed or manipulated…just my eye and my camera took the shots capturing it well…I love my camera:)

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Clouds with all kinds of layers and odd shapes…filled with golden swirls and colors of ember golden light.

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I felt that Ms. Kiah was sending us a message from heaven saying she was well and happy…playing in God’s glory and all was well:) That she would see us again someday when we get to heaven and she plans to be in the greeting party with our parents and family members, along with various horses, kitty cats, and dogs.

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I shot 44 pictures of this amazing sky…the layers of clouds with the incredible light and colors were truly not normal for this area…like Kiah who was unique and full of beauty.

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God is good and I do believe He said something like this…”Ms. Kiah, welcome to heaven you cute little girl:)”

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“Now come over and let Me have a look at you…oh you are so sweet and cute…we are going to send your Mom and Dad a message and you get to pick the colors as you are a colorful little girl…and I made you too:)”

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I could keep going as I have so many more special moments to share with you but, I know having a ton of photos can be boring to your readers at times and I need to learn better how to pick and choose. With Kiah, I wanted to share her heart with you all, as she was so special, and we were so blessed. I hope you have enjoyed seeing parts of her very much loved life with us.

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However, I do have to show you one more short set of a true “Kiah Moment”…a photography sequence that will make you smile…she was good at posing and looking adorable:)

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“What?”

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“Huh?”

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“Oh, yeah I totally agree Mom.”

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Our sweet Kiah may you rest in God’s arms and heaven’s peace…we LOVE you and hold you tightly in our hearts forever.

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We will never forget you…we miss your sweet spirit everyday and night.

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Our Sweet Kiah, We Love You Forever And We Like You For Always. Forever You Will Always Be Our Kiah Girl:)

Psalm 36:6 NIV

Morning Chores On The Juniper T With Fresh Snow And Artic Cold!

Last Sunday, on a typical Juniper Canyon morning the end of  December, we had fresh snow, loverly foggy views and crispy, cold, frigid temps!

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I was out and about doing the usual feeding chores for our dogs, cats and horse’s morning breakfast buffet, while loving on each one of them:) It’s really not a chore, more of a love fest for all my animal kids:)

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As I went out the garage door first, feeding our doggies was top on my list….Ms. Kiah got to eat her breakfast in the garage as she has so much energy she has no fat so she needs lots of calories to keep her weight on. Ms. Tuck and Mr. Dasher Masher both have to watch their figures…so they eat outside.

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Ok guys I’m a coming…hang tight…love you Ms. Mel and Mr. Buck:)

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But first I have to go through the hubbies massive shop and into the century old barn that I love…

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Then upstairs to check on Pat and Jack, our monster orange Lion Cats….and to get Annie’s hay for her breakfast…

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“Did someone say hay?”

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Annie’s horse condo…auto water set up….and hay feeder….cushy rubber mats….nice lights to see and safe…I need more sawdust on the next trip to town….she likes her stall and so does Pat the cat sitting behind the trough…and often Melody stays in the stall across from Annie. You can’t see it but we have a hay chute that feeds her hay from upstairs into her feeder….nice and clean.

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My winter round corral….resting and waiting.

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Annie is waiting too:)

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And, I’m sure she can hardly wait!

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Coming back through “Wild Bill’s” shop…this is one of our latest projects…very cool huh? Every time I see this pick up I hear “ZZ Top” playing “Sharp Dressed Man.”

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Tuck is waiting patiently for me to come out of the shop…

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So is Ms. Melody. She really likes her food…she enjoys every morsel:)

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And Buckaroo Buck looks rather dapper this morning…I’m hurrying guys…trying to not fall on my hind end as it is super slippery today!

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“Ahhhhh…finally…munch munch munch…I love my yummy nummies”. “Life is good again!”  “Wait, Mom, put that camera down…don’t take my picture when I am eating….geez…Buck will think I am being a piggy or something!!!”

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It is dang cold and dang foggy too…the fog can get on your nerves if it hangs for several days and every once in a while that happens as the fog drifts up Juniper Canyon from The Columbia River which is about 20 miles or less from us.

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“Wild Bill I hope you have the coffee on and ready….Good Morning Sunshine:)”

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Last Sunday in a freak accident, we lost our beloved Kiah. She ran to greet me when I was across the road yet feeding horses and she did not see the slow-moving vehicle in the fog. I will share more of her wonderful photos and life in a post soon…right now I have too many tears. She was so gallant, so brave and so loved.

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“I miss you Ms. Kiah…I will carry you forever in my heart. I will like you forever and love you for always. God Bless You My Kiah…My Yippee Ki Yi Yay.”

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