A Recommendation

Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. To recognize the significance of that day as well as honor the lives lost, National Geographic released a six-part documentary series, “9/11: One Day in America.”

We pledged we would “never forget” and this documentary is our reminder. It’s a hard watch, but I highly recommend it.

Jackson Family Cross

No Mercy

Renae and I took the short walk from Linda’s cabin to their neighbor’s across the street. The Dixie Fire showed them no mercy. It put into perspective how this destruction could have just as easily been them. As the saying goes… “There but for the Grace of God go I”. My heart hurts for this family and all families that return home after being evacuated to find everything gone.

I chose to convert these pictures into black and white, because honestly that’s what it looked like… black burnt trees and white ashes.

A Miracle

On August 5th Ron told Linda that things didn’t look good for their Chester cabin as the Dixie Fire was marching toward Chester. On August 6th they got word that the fire blew over their cabin… but they didn’t know exactly what that meant. On August 8th they received a video of their cabin… still standing. They could breathe a sigh of relief and cry tears of joy.

When I heard they were going to clean up after the fire we invited ourselves to go and help. Good friends Bob and Renae came too and with the six of us working it wasn’t long before their dusty, soot covered cabin looked happy again.

Ron is hosing fire retardant off of his granddaughter’s Christmas tree. Fingers crossed that it lives.

The cabin was saved but their view has changed dramatically. The blackened forest surrounding them is a reminder of just how blessed they are.

A hot spot still smoldering.

Probably because of the water used by the firemen there are already signs of new life…

Now more than ever we pray for everyone that are not as fortunate as Linda and Ron… those that lost everything, those being threatened by one of the many fires still burning, and those that are anxiously awaiting to go back home. We give a huge THANK YOU to the firemen that work day and night to save our homes, cabins and businesses… they are our heroes!

And we thank God for our miracle.


How could I have missed National Dog Day yesterday? Well, in our house everyday is Dog Day because Kari is justifiably spoiled. We rescued her, but as the saying goes… who rescued who?

I could go on and on about what she adds to my life, but I’ll just leave it at she makes me happy and I love her to pieces… snaggle tooth, moody temperament and all!

Miss Kari Lou

Your Own Backyard

You don’t always have to drive a long distance to go for a nice hike/walk. There is usually something beautiful or interesting in your own back yard (figuratively speaking). This is a picture I took when we explored the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge. It’s about 20 miles from our house. This trail was more interesting than beautiful and we didn’t see any wildlife, but enjoyable nonetheless. And we didn’t have to drive three hours to get there!

The Wait Is Over

I couldn’t wait until we could go watch Brenden and Logan play soccer… or baseball… or karate… or dance, etc. Whatever it would be that interested them. Well, the wait is over. They played their first soccer game on Saturday. It was entertaining, to say the least, and I enjoyed every minute of it. And they had fun, which is the most important thing.

After the game we all went for ice cream. Soccer and ice cream… what a great day!

Logan started as goalie. When he tired of that he played on the field. When he tired of that he just ran off to sit with mommy and daddy!

I’m already looking forward to the next games!

Too Bright But Beautiful

I was itching to take some “artsy” pictures when we visited The Natural Bridge in Oregon, but it was way too bright and I knew everything would be contrasty. So I just enjoyed the walk and beautiful scenery.

The Natural Bridge is an inlet where the Rogue River disappears into a lava tube, taking 35 seconds to travel 200 feet to the tube’s outlet.

I tried zooming in on smaller details and these are the best I got.

Oh well, it was fun to try. I need a cloudy day… hopefully (pray) one that brings some rain with it!

The Kids

We had four kids join us on our Shady Cove RV trip (and their parents, of course)…

Did I say four? I meant FIVE!

The kids opened a salon and took appointments… manicure, foot soak, leg rubs, shoulder and hand massage, and they also provided a fan to keep us cool. It was on the pricy side, but worth every dollar! My appointment also came with a refreshing margarita (Thank you John!)

An art table kept them busy and I have to say they were quite creative!

Of course they loved being down by the river. Whenever they saw a raft coming they would run down and grab their squirt guns.

We told them to try and roll that huge rock in the river… good entertainment for us!

And of course they rode their bikes and scooters around the campground… around and around and around and around!!

I loved having these kids join us, and I’m pretty sure they loved it too!

All ready to raft down the river.
Don’t worry… Gio is a very good driver!

Shady Cove

The most beautiful things

in life are not things.

They are people and places

and memories and pictures.

They are feelings and moments

and smiles and laughter.

Bernard Meltzer

I am still recuperating from our ten day Shady Cove, Oregon RV trip with family and friends. I was going to go into detail about everything we did… our day trips to Crater Lake and nearby waterfalls, two rafting trips, guided and bank fishing, morning river walks, celebrating the 4th of July and Linda’s birthday, water fights, etc., but decided to just post a few (ha!) pictures instead.

These were all taken with my phone, not my “real” camera. I was busy having too much fun to concentrate on photography!

Already looking forward to next year’s trip!


After two years and four months Collin got to “ring the bell” at Valley Children’s Hospital yesterday. The ringing of the bell indicates that he is FINALLY leukemia and chemo FREE.

Family and friends gathered outside the hospital entrance excitingly waiting for Collin to walk through the doors to witness this momentous occasion. When we saw him, his smile said it all… his lab results were good and he is FINISHED! I think he was a little overwhelmed by the number of people that were there to support him. I know I was.

Oncology… the people that make days like these possible for so many children.

Congratulations Collin. You and your family weathered the storm by staying strong and keeping your eye on this day that I’m sure at times you thought would never come. But here it is, and now it’s time to celebrate… I think we are all more than ready!!