Occasionally I have the good sense to back up and assess where I am and most important- who I have become.

It jumped out at me that I have become far too dependent upon social media and blogging.  Social media has been my lifeline - the line which has become the substitute for one on one communication.  In MANY ways, it has been a blessing to become reconnected to so many I had lost touch with over the years.  I have loved catching up with each and every one of those relationships.  It has been interesting to see who has not changed one bit--and others, like me, who are not the same person they were 40 - 50 years ago.  I have been blessed with wonderful new friendships-that because of distance would never have been possible except via the WWW.  BUT anonymously slipping through your profile page and glancing at your pictures and reading your blog pages-perhaps is not a true representation of who you are---just who you want us all to think you are. Knowing my own caution of how much I reveal about myself--why would I expect you to not do the same.  When given the opportunity to paint my portrait for public viewing--what would you expect but a prejudiced slant of the truth.   I have slowly exchanged time on Facebook and time reading friends blogs for conversations---of any type.  Perhaps social media has stymied my socialization processes.  Time to regroup.

I have made a decision to go on sabbatical from social media and blogging until at least after Labor Day.  It will be interesting to see what I do with the time I have spent personally disconnected through my internet connection.  Perhaps I will achieve more balance in my life--perhaps I will remember the art of conversation--perhaps I will find new projects---perhaps I will grow into a better person.  Perhaps---my relationship with The Father will deepen--as I spend some of that time--seeking His will for me.

I am NOT dropping out of the human race---I will still check my email--I still will have that smart phone---and my messages will be visible, but I will not be plugged in all hours of the night and day.  On my trip to Alaska, I did not have my computer with me--only my phone.  I found it rather refreshing to not be a slave to the latest announcement of what might be happening via the WWW.  I came home and found myself deeply homesick for those great conversations---moments of amazement at God's creation---and moments of peaceful stillness and quiet.  I long for the face to face connection which highlighted my trip.  How do I reclaim that which is lost?

SO--please email me, text me, call me, message me--or best of all--come and sit with me on my porch and talk.  I long to hear about you and your thoughts--your hopes--your dreams and how life is treating you.  My email address is on this page--you may have my other contact information--but if not--that can be remedied.  I will be praying for you---as you pray for me---Dear Friends--but it is time to take a break--unplug--and reassess.

“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6: 22-26


I have a hate-hate relationship with the camera.  I have deleted-torn up-tossed more pictures of myself than Carter has liver pills.  A photo becomes the mirror in my bedroom---it automatically focuses on all the flaws.  I have swallowed the world's propaganda hook-line & sinker---everyone else is beautiful--and I come up short.  I come from a long line of those who missed the lesson on affirmation.  Throughout my life---I have allowed others to poison my self image to the point-at times- of self loathing.  She is very beautiful--you are not-you are the goat in the picture.

I am working on over-coming this---in my on-going quest to figure out who I am.  I am who I am---a dukes mixture of James-Gillespie.  I forget those who would love to have my skinny genes (got some of those skinny jeans too).  I ignore those who desire the muscle definition-long and lean--that others work really hard to get.  I forget my easy laugh and smile that takes in my entire face.  I forget I look like those who loved me from the beginning.  It is not easy to remember I am more than what I see in the mirror.

OH--but I have strayed from my purpose...if someone painted your portrait---would you dare to let the world see you for who you are?  I am reading a book about the great painters throughout the ages.  Rembrandt was known for his uncanny ability to capture his subjects for who they were.  He could take the grotesque and reveal the beauty of it.   I dare say---most of us want a royal portrait--with no flaws--no wrinkles--and no window into our soul.  Why the truth of the matter is--I have hazel eyes--so they change---depending upon what I am wearing--the day--what is happening in my life.  So exactly as my eyes change colors---who I am also changes---not in a day's time--but moment by moment.  

If one of the great masters painted me---for who I am--not who I wish I was--who I desire to be--who I strive to be---but for the person I am in that moment, what would I see when I studied that portrait?  Would I like what I see---would I be satisfied with my reflection--or would the truth of the image break my heart?  If I saw the reflection of the scars--the lumps-sags--and discolorations, would they reflect the beauty of a life well lived or would they feed me the lie of ugly?  Would the lines, wrinkles, and age spots that came from living in the sun--laughing-and crying be the image of life lived to the fullest--or would it scream of imperfection?

What would I see---if I dared to strip down to the truth--

Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
Philippians 2:15



There needs to be an on/off switch connected to my brain--for when I get turned on---there seems to be no way to switch it off!  Some thought-idea pops in my head and I am OFF to the races.  Analyzing-over-analyzing-but NEVER under-analyzing--I look from every angle and view point---seeking answers.

I have been thinking over my prayers---my time talking with God.  NOW-before you point me in the direction of ALL Great Wisdom---I am NOT looking for answers--suggestions/comments are welcome--but truthfully I am putting on this page what has been rolling around in my head--in an effort to search for clarity.

When you ask me to pray for you, as long as you are asking for something which lines up with The Word, I pray.  I have found--my solution to my short term memory problem is pray as soon as you ask me.  Now some things remain on my heart and I pray on-going prayers--bombarding heaven for you.  But the shame of forgotten prayers I promised has forced me to come up with a solution--and immediate action is the solution.  So if I tell you, I will pray, feel confident within moments you are lifted up.

In an effort to pray within God's will, I try to not list each and every trivial request which has no eternal consequence, but is rolling around in my wish list.  God loves me and cares about the details of my life--but praying over what I should cook for supper seems a bit extreme.  

BUT--am I limiting God by not asking for those things which I desire and line up with HIS will as told in HIS Word?  Do I not ask for the desires of my heart, because I am fearful of the answer?  Is it possible I put limitations on my expectations of God's greatness by not taking certain requests before Him out of fear?   Does my unwillingness to hear a "No", because of my propensity to sit upon the throne, cause me to not come clean with God?  AS IF HE DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW!  

PLEASE somebody turn the switch off or throw the breaker---My own shallow definition of the greatness of the God of the Universe ---is disappointing and my switch needs to be reset--

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, - 
Ephesians 3:20












The Hiding Place across the street has gone from this

To This

I have given my stamp of approval!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Meanwhile in a moment of lunacy, we decided it was time to ramp up the socialization of The Three Amigos.  When Dr. Daddy is working at bedtime, someone needs to step up and help get these people to stay in the bed until they go to sleep.  Everyone goes to bed at the same time--Little Lucy included--and since she requires topping off (her mother's words not mine) at bedtime---someone must keep the troops in line.  Some nights---my name is Someone.  

This week it seemed a good idea to take all 4 of these child wonders out to dinner on one of my nights as Someone.  In the past--all restaurant outings have involved playground equipment included dining rooms.  Not exactly gourmet dining--but HEY---who has time to cook while chasing Wild Indians?  I have this brilliant idea we should take them to the new Jason's Deli--still not gourmet dining--but no playground--that is a couple of blocks from my house.  I must have lost my mind!

 Do these people look like they will sit and eat a civilized meal while enjoying tantalizing family conversation?  EXACTLY!

So their mother steps up to order and I am trying to restrain 6 little hands from fingering EVERY drink in the cooler that some genius placed at toddler eye level.  In fairness---the 6 year old is well behaved--the 4 year old will listen after threats---the 2 year old---WELL HE IS 2!  

I finally sweep them away--all with their chocolate milk in their hot little hands while their mom--orders something.  By this point in time--we are both thinking--just bring us food and let us get out of here.  I find a side of the restaurant with no one else sitting there--for  very obvious reasons.  You will totally loose any appetite you had if you watch these hyenas attacking their prey (I mean meal).  So IMMEDIATELY--they all 3 scarf down their chocolate milk, effectively killing any appetite they might have had for the nutritious chicken nuggets coming and opening the door for restaurant exploration.

This begins the fun---as I am trying to eat--something in front of me--still don't remember what I had to eat--the four year old decides to crawl under the table and do an inspection of the floor and anything which has been placed (stuck) under the table.  I am flipping out--their mother is trying to eat---her philosophy is if they are in eye sight and not tearing anything apart--let it go.  I am wound a little tighter!

The 6 year old is reading a World War II arms manual to the 2 year old--DON'T ASK.  And the 2 year old is totally ignoring him, while spreading ketchup over the top of the table.  

The two little ones decide they would prefer my dinner to theirs--whatever it was--and are fighting over who gets the next bite as I begin to glaze over.  We finally ingest our dinner, I think, and move on to the next treat of ice cream.  Why else would you go to Jason's Deli--but for the ice cream.  As we saunter to the front of the deli where they have hidden the ice cream, trying our best to not acknowledge the war zone we left behind, all eyes are on us---WHY?

We then take the soft serve ice cream out to the patio---it just seemed prudent.  I am certain the staff are thinking---they are going to mess up another entire area?  It is 90 + degrees in the shade on the patio--and we have ice cream cones---let your imagination go wild.   Well--they ate the ice cream--with plenty of sticky proof left on the table--the chairs--and the floor.  They immediately wanted to return INSIDE Jason's for Round Two.  I stood in front of the door and pointed to the van---Enough Socialization for this year---we will save that fun for their future wives!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nothing else to report
It's too hot for trouble
Here in Texas



Another year's great adventure comes to a close.  I leave you with a hodge podge of miscellaneous photos taken by our Trip Photographer--Sam!

I am fortunate to have three first cousins and their families who call Alaska home.  Karen the youngest of these siblings and her husband, Paul invited us for a salmon dinner our first night in town.  So gracious and hospitable---they filled us with loads of tips and suggestions about "Don't Miss".  We left them in shock at how much this group can eat.  Logging Crew comes to mind while watching the carnage.  MANY Thanks to them both for a wonderful evening of Alaskan hospitality!

YES--it was cold this day!
Jim is pointing to where they are headed.  It had already been a LONG climb and I could see plenty.  Laura & I sat on the side of the trail and watched the others finish the climb to the top of Flat Top Mountain.

You have to enlarge the picture above to see they are down on all 
fours trying to make it to the top.   I believe the words heart pounding might have been used.

Yes, you are seeing how far it is to the bottom--a LONG WAY!

We saw beautiful water falls

And strange looking beasts

And might have been over the top with views and napped instead.

We paused before leaving for our annual "Homecoming Court" picture with the view behind our VRBO.

The two "Whipper Snappers" who tagged along this year--were loads of fun and somehow resisted killing all the old people in the group when we gasped and complained about the next planned activity.  Planners extraordinaire and navigators with a flare---LOVE these two being on this year's adventure!

A Little Story To Close

This majestic eagle---visited us the day we kayaked.  The symbol of our nation---these beautiful birds do not socialize and keep their distance most of the time.  As we listened to the instructions by the guides, he flew in for a look--first landing in the tree overlooking our group.  He then swept down on the shore---and sat--and watched---and let us all admire his great beauty.

I thought back as he took his flight---of the great wonders and beauty of God's creation we have been blessed to view all these years.  Truly amazing that God would send this beautiful bird to remind me of the great gift of nature.  It has been beyond my wildest dreams to see all that His hand has created and witness His creation in its finest from points only accessible by hiking.  As this great symbol of our nation took flight and soared over us as we kayaked, I was reminded---so God watches over us and blesses us with a view of His greatness as exhibited all around us.  

And so---it's a wrap---another year--another adventure---and already talking over next year---if God so ordains--there are more trails to trek and more wonders to behold--as He leads me down the path.

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31


One of our days while in Anchorage was reserved for a biking trip down the Coastal Trail around the Cook Inlet.  Words cannot express my reluctance to hop on a bike for a twenty mile trek when my rear has not been on my bike in two years.  I had taken some spinning classes, but not since before Christmas.  To say I had a tender rear is an understatement.  

The day began with getting lost--or unable to find the trail head when we were told to go the wrong way---translation difficulties? or the other left statement?  We NO sooner got on the trail than we had to stop for a picture at a scenic outlook above.  Unfortunately the scenery is way off in the background.  Behind us are mud flats--which are extremely dangerous if you dare to try to traverse them.

 Here is living proof I did bike part of the trail.  One of the bikes had already experienced mechanical difficulties, when I managed to almost tear my derailer off.  SO we call the rental owner, who also happens to be in the hospital following surgery.  He first sends someone to replace the other bike and then comes himself--directly from the hospital to replace mine.  By the time he makes the exchange--the others are headed back.  They made the discovery the coast is only visible the first 6 miles of the trail and turned back.  So I am headed back and enjoying a slow ride thinking they will catch up with me.

Turns out they encountered a mother moose and her calf.  Of all the things we had been warned about repeatedly--fooling around wth a mother moose when her baby was near was at the top of the list.  MORE dangerous than a bear!

After hiking with this bunch for all these years, I was not surprised to hear they stopped and got a picture.  The only shocker was Sonja did not yell get my picture with both of them in it!  They reported the baby was injured and the mother was grazing nearby.  

After "Moose Gawking", the crew headed back and we headed to Seaward---after EATING --of course!

When Pablo (the bike shop owner) came to give me a new bike, we had a conversation.  My normal---stream of chatting--getting your social history and medical prognosis. (By the way-he was not driving, but riding with the friend who picked him up at the hospital)   He looked at me as I prepared to bike off and said- "Your accent is very sexy."  KNOCK ME OVER WITH A FEATHER!  NOW he WAS under the influence of pain killing drugs--but there is a story behind why I was so floored.  Some have been critical in the past about the "twang" in my voice.  Oh, if I really am conscious of it, I can sound as neutral toned as the smoothest of announcers.  I do not think about it much at all---and it has been painful to have others point out their perception of a flaw.  And then God redeems that criticism---and allows me to see not all consider it a flaw.  Why some even like it.  

A reminder--I am who God made me to be---and that is not bad.  He loves me exactly as I am--twang and all.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
I John 4:16


A one lane tunnel shared by cars in both directions and the train marked our entry and exit into Whittier, Alaska.  This town is perhaps the most unique village I have ever visited.  To get there---be at the line up point at the half hour, pay the toll, and wait your turn to drive the  2 1/2 mile long tunnel through the mountain.  Built during WW II to ensure portage to protect this valuable line of defense, the tunnel was amazingly constructed in two years.  

As you drive through the tunnel you note the jet engines providing ventilation to keep the fresh air flowing and the fumes exiting.  An intricate system of "Safe Rooms" are seen periodically through the tunnel--a reminder--it can collapse--there are earthquakes in this neck of the woods--it has been there for more than 60 years---things happen.  Driving in the same lanes as the railroad rails requires a certain skill and a steady hand.  It was best to NOT think about stalled traffic--breakdowns--being trapped---under tons upon tons of rock.

The village itself boasts 220 full time residents, including this lady above who I found LOTS of information on including here.  I also watched a documentary by a local school teacher who has lived there for years.  It is an interesting life--and it attracts all kinds.

This building and another multi-story abandoned army base watch over the small village.  It seems 80% of the village residents live in these condo's.  A system of tunnels connects this building to the school, but all things necessary for day to day life are in the building.  

After the bustle of the tourist season is over, Whittier settles in and prepares for Winter.  With snow that would bury the first few floors of the condo building and winds purported to reach 150 mph---living in Whittier is NOT for the faint of heart.

It takes a special breed--a modern day pioneer to live here.  Anchorage is over an hour away and the tunnel is only open during certain hours of the day.  Once those doors In the tunnel close---you are stuck--unless you brave the trek over the mountains or a sail upon the trashing waves in the sound---Whittier is where you will stay.  With 20-22 hours of dark during the winter--you are behind closed doors and hunkered down until the long sleep of winter ends.

I must admit---this has a certain attraction for me---cave dwelling at its finest.  THEN I remember --I do not do well when the sun does not shine for extended periods---in TEXAS!  There is always hope here that the rain will stop and the sun will shine again here.  There is a sure and certain knowledge while living in Whittier it will be dark---A LOT!  Those LONG days of daylight during the short lived summers are not enough for me to overcome the deep dark of the everlasting winter.  I will continue to take my chances in Texas.

Many choose to live in the dark even here in Texas.  Why, in fact, those dark dwellers are all over the world.  Those of us who know the path to the light are charged with being guides.  Guiding those who have lived in the dark to the Bright Light of the Son.  We hold the keys to the door to the short tunnel to the light- while those in the dark--wait---for an invitation to the light.  

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoeverfollows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12


If it is glaciers you want to see, Alaska is the place to be!  I lost count and certainly cannot remember the names!  For a rest day on our Alaskan Adventure, we took a cruise in Prince William Sound.  We eased up to that huge river of ice and listened and watched as it shed large blocks of ice into the water.

Some of us were concerned about being seasick and used motion sickness prevention patches.  That lead to a few of the tired adventurers taking a little siesta.  HEY--it's not easy following this group around and the rocking of the boat was a gentle lullaby to exhausted hikers.

Some of those in better shape than me--actually hiked to a glacier and then walked on the ice field.    

And then there was my friend, Susan, and me who opted for a helicopter ride up to the glacier---NO SHAME!

Here is a little glacier trivia for you---a hundred feet of snow will compress down to 8 inches of ice on these mammoth rivers of ice with time and pressure.

Having also hiked Glacier Park---this was absolutely unbelievable to see so many glaciers in such a short period of time and in such close proximity to each other.  I suppose the fact it was much further north than Glacier Park plays a role in that.

As you gaze at the rivers of ice and hear the historical and scientific facts-it becomes quickly apparent you are gazing at history.  You are seeing the wonder of God's creation LONG ago--before your very eyes.  And yet as you watch, the creation is melting and running into the ocean.  Even these monuments created over thousands of years--will eventually melt and be absorbed into the vast bodies of water at their base. 

There is nothing of this world which lasts forever and some things disappear in the blink of an eye.  Only God is timeless---eternal---endless.  He gives us the great gift of the hope of eternal life also---and with a simple prayer it is ours to receive.  Our lives are inching forward--to the edge of extinction--unless we choose the gift of eternity.

 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
I John 2:17


One of my favorite parts of the Alaska Great Adventure was the hike up to a hand tram and the ride across the gorge.  The hike was through a beautiful forest-which reminded me a great deal of the hikes below the tree lines in Colorado.  A beautiful climb through a needle carpeted trail following long slow switch backs that lead to the tram depot at the top. The fact I had never rode a hand tram had a lot to do with my claim of being a favorite.

You notice I am letting my fearless partner, Sandra do all the work in this picture. There was only enough room for one to pull in the tram and the possibility of rope burn was huge.   We actually took turns and those left in the depot on each side are pulling and pushing as well.  It was a fast ride when you departed and in the middle--but when you started back up the other side---it was a huge effort from all.

OH--but the view you were blessed with when riding across the gorge.  There was so much going on and such a beautiful view--you had no time to think about the danger involved.

 AND the view further up the trail after tugging everyone across the deep - dangerous - beautiful gorge was spectacular!  We are all hanging over the bridge looking at the cascading water coming down from the falls above.

The hand tram reminded me of a tug of war.   Except we are all pushing and pulling in the same direction.  It would be impossible to ever cross the gorge--unless we all worked together.

I came home to a tug of war of my own.  Spending 8 wonderful days with friends of many years led to a tug on my heart strings by Ruston.  I tend to forget how much I miss my heart home and especially my family and friends from there---in the busyness of the days in Texas.  My dive back into those relationships and immersion in the blessings of friendship left me yearning for more.  I am in a tug of war between Texas children and grands and my forever home in Louisiana.  I came home trying to figure out how I could have it all.  Sadly--I don't think it is possible.

We all experience tug of wars in our lives.  The tug between right and wrong; good and evil.  The world is tugging at us--showing us all we could have---and the HS is pulling us--reminding us of all He offers.  Determining the winner of these wars is our heart and soul.  Who we are listening to and how we react gives the advantage to one or the other---I pray we all choose wisely and pull with all our might toward the eternal priceless goal of Joy and Peace--all else is fleeting and temporary--gone in a fraction of a second.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. 
Isaiah 5:20








I began hiking with my buddies in 2007---WOW!  Time flies when you are having fun!  The first group went the year before-so next year will be my 10th anniversary of these adventures.  

2014-Maine & New Hampshire-White Mountains
2013-Colorado - Maroon Bells
2012-Europe--I missed the fun
2011-Missed the fun-but they went to Western Canadian Rockies & Victoria Island
2010 Snow Skiing in CO
2009-Cascades & Mt Baker in Washington State
2008-Glacier Park--US & Canadian sides
2007-Banff, Canada
2006-Banff, Canada

Here is a short slide show of some of the sights we have been blessed to view---

Snow Skiing

Above 3 are from Maine/New Hampshire in 2014

The absolute best thing about all these trips-sharing it all with dear friends.


We kayaked to a World War II fort on the coast of Seaward while in Alaska.  The day began with a top layer of water proof clothing and donning the equipment necessary to stay dry and keep you from drowning.  The water is a frigid 50 degrees--and turning over is not advised.

After our instructions and safety lecture by the two guides, we headed out for a five mile row to the fort.  I was fortunate enough to be placed in the front of the kayak of our only male hiker-who is an experienced kayaker.  

The guides were impressed with the good time we made kayaking to our destination.  Obviously they did not know we all are slightly competitive and it quickly became a race.  When they suggested we could stop and rest, there were no takers.  

The trip to the fort was easy--smooth water, light breeze, and rested rowers.  

 Lunch was on the shore and then we made the five mile hike to the fort at the top of the shoreline.  It was interesting to hear all the history of the WWII battles and protection of the Alaskan territory.

The thing about kayaking  is you need to establish a cadence as you row.  You are headed for disaster and certainly will be slowed if you are not rowing in unison with your partner.  Since I was in the front of the kayak, I set the pace.  I am happy to say we worked well together and had to be pulled back in a few times as we surged ahead.

We did not realize until we were almost back that we were in any danger.  The winds had picked up when we started back and the tide and waves created rough going.  Until I got out of the kayak at home base, I did not realize the guide had been concerned.  One of the kayakers overheard him ask the other guide where the rescue paddles were located during the rough seas part.  He breathed a sigh of relief and admitted his concern when we hit the calmer waters near the landing point.  All this time, I am getting a little wet from the big waves, but enjoying the ride as we are surfing along with the waves.  

How much easier would life be if we learned to work together?  Husbands and wives; friends; co-workers; brothers and sisters; any relationship where we are working toward a common goal would be simpler if we pulled in the same direction in unison.  Too often we become stuck in our own efforts and fail to look around and notice those by our sides--offering help.  My favorite admonishment, "Get my eyes off my navel," and look up and around.  You do not even realize you are in rough waters, unless you are looking up.    Would life not be better if we worked together and stayed in sync?   There are times to lead and times to follow--and most important times to accept the help being offered.  What's the saying, "It takes two to tango" but someone needs to lead--lest you become tangled up and trip.  OH--but the beauty of the dance when one is leading and the other is following!

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
Ecclesiastes 4:9