Moscow Trip Homework (pt. 2)

As you may remember, last month I shared a bit of some non fiction I wrote while at a writing conference in Moscow, Idaho. 

Well, I have another fragment of writing to share with you. I hope you enjoy it. If there is something you especially like or dislike, just drop a comment. I would love to get some feedback.

A young woman animatedly places her order across the counter to the employee who wears all black, apron included. The name of the coffeehouse is embroidered in gold lettering on his chest.

Students, teachers, mothers, writers all gather to do homework, grade papers, catch up with friends or get a lunch.The smell of fresh coffee mixes with the odors of bread, soup and the regular smells of the human body; the sweat, perfume and laundry detergent.The coffee machines mummer. Voices chatter indistinctly. People’s names are called out as their orders are ready for pickup. Change jingles as it passes hands and fingers click on keyboards. The refrigerator hums with electricity and forks clatter on plates.

Shoulders ache from constantly carrying full backpacks. Feet sweat unpleasantly in boots while the heat warms bones chilled by the cold weather. Stomachs fill with the food that will now fuel their bodies to allow them to continue on with life, the added bonus is that the food also appeases the taste buds.

Bookshelves covered in books line the walls, giving the place the feel of a home. Soft classical music plays in the background. Somebody falls asleep. They are probably a college student in desperate need of sleep, but unless his snores tell, or a friend walks in, no one will know. 

Remember to always seek truth, goodness and beauty.

Until next time, 



Moscow Trip Homework

As I mentioned in *this post*, I was in Moscow, Idaho for a few days for a writing conference. I was blessed by several fun days with many new acquaintances (and an old friend), a wonderful concert by The Gray Havens, and a series of spectacular lectures/workshops on writing. One of the lessons was about noticing what is around you, always being aware of what is going on at any given time, so I thought I’d share one of the papers I wrote while I was there. It’s just a short paragraph, but it was fun to write.

Puddles of water and small leaves lie on the cement and on top of wooden benches that litter downtown Moscow, Idaho. Old stone building are found on almost every street corner and new college students wander in and out.
The rumble of car engines and the creak of buses, along with the clatter of many people fills your ears.
The seven (or so) restaurants that are within a one block radius, supply your nostrils with wonderful smell and your stomach with hunger.
The crisp fall air chills your fingers and toes, while the sun warms your head and back.
A young woman sits on a wet bench in front of you, her legs crossed, shivering from the cold. A small notebook sits open on her lap and she bends over it, scrapping her pen across the lines. She is attempting to write something with stiff fingers, but most of the time she just sits, hands shoved in her jacket pockets, trying to ignore her aching feet.

Most people actually tune out all that is going on around them because there is so much and we end up only grasping a very little bit.

Are you generally one to notice your surroundings? Or do you find yourself sitting somewhere for several minutes before you even realize even the simplest of things?

Until next time, may you seek truth, goodness and beauty.


Who Was Adolf Hitler?

I know. You’re probably thinking, “Of course I know who Adolf Hitler was. Where is she going with this? And why is she writing a post about the most notorious mass murderer in history?”…

There are three reasons: 1) I have been studying WWII and Adolf Hitler (which has included reading his 720 page autobiography/propaganda filled book); 2) Today marks 128 years since his birth; and, 3) Many don’t actually know that much about Hitler, except that he was the world’s most infamous dictator, and a mass murderer. So, I am going to give a synopsis about his life.


Adolf Hitler was born on April 20th, 1889, in Austria, to Alois and Klara Hitler.

From a young age, Adolf was constantly rubbing shoulders with his equally stubborn father. When Alois wanted his son to follow in his footsteps by studying financing, Adolf purposefully did poorly at school in the hopes that his father would relent and let him study the much preferred subjects of Art or Architecture.


(Adolf at around age 10)

When Alois died suddenly in 1903, Adolf’s mother allowed him to enroll in a different school where his performance improved.

In December of 1907 (When Adolf was just 18) his beloved mother died of breast cancer, leaving him orphaned and homeless in Vienna. He was rejected twice from the Academy Of Fine Arts In Vienna and forced to work for a living. During this time he was introduced to racism and, some suggest this is also when he embraced anti-semitism.

He moved to Munich in 1913 and in listed in the Bavarian Army at the outbreak of World War I  (or as it was then known, The Great War) where he was wounded, temporarily blinded, and received several badges for bravery.

In 1919 Hitler joined the German Worker’s Party, which later changed it’s name to the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (the Nazis). Hitler himself designed the banner.


(A Swastika in a white circle with a red background)


He was discharged from the army in 1920, and he began to work full time for the “Party.”    Hitler was an impressive speaker and soon people were flocking to hear him rage against the unfairness of the Treaty Of Versailles, and his hate of Marxists and Jews.

Influenced by Mussolini’s March On Rome, Hitler and his “Beer Hall Putsch” marched to overthrow the Bavarian Government. Twenty people were killed in the failed attempt, and Hitler was arrested for treason and placed in prison, where he wrote part of his autobiography. Released in late December of 1924, Hitler rebuilt the National Socialist German Worker’s Party and sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his book which laid out his plans of transforming Germany into one, pure race.

Adolf Hitler

In January of 1933, Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany. In July of that year, the Nazi Party was named the only legal party in that country.

In 1934, the President of Germany died, and his role in office was merged with Hitler’s role as Chancellor, making him Führer. In the following years Hitler continued to gain power and soldiers, eliminating anyone who opposed him publicly.

On September 1, 1939, the German army invaded Poland, starting the Second World War of which all major countries (and many minor) in the world took part.

As Germany invaded country after country, Hitler’s numerous death camps appeared. Horrible atrocities were committed on people solely because of their ethnicity, color, age or disabilities. Hitler’s plan for a pure world could include nothing less than strong, healthy, young, and fit “Aryans.” Men and woman, young and old, were shot, starved or worked to death, sent to the gas chambers, burnt alive and mass murdered; all because of one ruler’s twisted beliefs, other wicked men (and women), and the blind obedience of his followers.


Once a young boy, devastated by the loss of his brother, and later his parents; Hitler is now responsible for the worst mass murdering the world had ever seen. (Only the number of babies killed since 1980, which is more than 1,000,000,000, tops Adolf Hitler in intentional killing)

The number of deaths caused by the Holocaust stands around 10,000,000. The number of deaths during World War II stands over 60,000,000 people (over 40,000,000 of which were civilians).

When Hitler realized the loss of the war was inevitable, he ordered his labor camps to start killing their workers. It was his last attempt to “cleanse” the world.

In April of 1945, shortly after his 56th birthday, he and his newly wed wife, Eva, killed themselves. Ending Hitler’s 12 year reign of terror.





History Of Valentine’s Day

How many of you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Either as a special day to show your significant other that you love them, or as an excuse to buy yourself some much needed chocolate as you mourn the fact that you are single, and no one is going to buy the chocolate for you. Or send you some roses. (Gotcha)  But do you even know the story behind this special day? Well. I am going to tell you it, so snuggle up and tuck your blanket under your chin… just kidding, it’s fairly short.

Once Upon A Time there was a man, the Roman Emperor in fact. This man’s name was Cladius II or Cladius Gothicus as he was later called. He was a great military leader and won many victories for Rome (though some of his conquests were frowned upon for being unnecessarily).

Cladius soon found that he didn’t have enough soldiers for his liking. Men who were married had a stronger attachment to home and therefore less interest in joining the army; he decided. So to fix this “problem”, Cladius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome, in the belief that this would increase his army’s strength.

Valentine, a Christian Priest, chose to ignore this decree, realizing the injustice of it and the real problems that might come from forbidding marriage (A sacred act between a man and a woman for life). Our hero continued to preform marriages, but in secret.

Before too long Cladius was bound to find out about him, but that did not deter Valentine, he continued the marriage ceremonies.  Sure enough, he was seized and thrown into prison. Not long after, he was killed. Valentine was first beaten, then stoned and finally beheaded, on the fourteenth of February, around the year 279 AD.  

Emperor Cladius II died of the plague not long after.


Basically the moral of the story is to all you lovers/soul mates/couples/strangers who met today for the first time… just get married already. Who knows, soon we might have a Cladius on our hands….( Just kidding, you can keep your shirt on).  But seriously, did my story interest you? Or have you already heard the great tale?


P.S. Legend has it that the last words Valentine ever wrote, were in the form of a letter,  and read: “From Your Valentine”.

Gratitude For 2016

Yes, I know. 2016 wasn’t unicorns and glitter, but there is a whole list of things that I am incredibly grateful for. Here are some things I was able to do in this past year.

I enjoyed Spring Training in Arizona with swimming, baseball games, sunshine, ice cream, and hot air balloons. When we returned home for a few months, I did some camping, knitting, writing, farm work, and threw a surprise birthday party for my sisters.
June rolled around and our family welcomed the first grandson/nephew, we paid a short visit to my brother (a Marine) at his base, and spent a few hours at the beach. We took a small vacation where we visited Mt. Rushmore among other places, and enjoyed the beautiful drive to Montana for the baseball season, where I went hiking, rock climbing and ran a 5K at the capitol. Got to enjoy baseball games and a wonderful library.
During the summer we also visited the stunning Glacier National Park, made new friends, visited old ones and experienced new things.
Fall/Winter brought us home once more (not before visiting Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons and some friends) where we enjoyed the beautiful seasons, some quiet time, and celebrated Advent and Christmas with family and friends.

I have grown in many ways this year, and I am eternally grateful to God for all he has blessed me with. There were hardships, but God brought me through with His deep love and grace.
Enjoy this new year and always be grateful.


What Is Love? (Pt. 2)

(Picking back up on the subject, but branching off of my last post on it)

Most people when they hear the word ‘love’, think of a warm fuzzy feeling, or always agreeing with your spouse which makes a perfect marriage. Or maybe love is always being “nice” and never being stern, or not saying what you believe is right or wrong if it makes the other person feel uncomfortable.

Well, let me tell you, loving someone is a lot more messy then that. Loving someone is telling them when you think they are doing something wrong, always looking out for their good, even if they don’t want to hear it and want to do their own thing. As they say, “Yeah, maybe I will mess up, but it’s okay, because hey! We are after all, only human.” Right?

Let me give you an example. Sally and Nancy are best friends, Sally sees that Nancy has started “taking” little things from random places. A box of crackers from Wal-Mart, a chapstick from Ross. The world would tell Sally that love is to just leave Nancy alone, let her make her own mistakes and learn from them. What’s a box of crackers anyways? Or a $2.00 lip balm?

Well, little things become big things, and soon she’ll be stealing million dollar bracelets. Not that stealing is better if it costs less, but once you start, and if you aren’t approached with the heart of the matter, there will be no end. No boundary. Soon Nancy could be in prison for life. And when Sally visits her friend, Nancy will be crying on the other side of the glass, asking why you (Sally) didn’t stop her, help her realize what she was getting herself into. And the only thing Sally can respond with, is: “I didn’t want to sound insensitive or sound like I was judging you for who you are, I didn’t want to loose our friendship.” Which sounds pretty lame considering you watched her steal her way towards prison, and said nothing.

The other option is going up to Nancy and telling her that she needs to stop because she is doing wrong. Maybe Nancy will realize that you (Sally) are right, thank you for correcting her and change her ways. Maybe she’ll tell you childishly, that you are judging her and that she no longer wants to be friends. But true love is telling her.

Tell her, lovingly but sternly, that she needs to change, because that is love. That is truly caring. Pray for her, and maybe in two days or ten years, she will tell you honestly; that the step you took to truly care for her, made the biggest difference.


Thanks for reading my rant.





What Is love?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines love as “a. Like very much. b. A great interest or pleasure in something”. However, the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “Unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of others”. Those definitions are pretty different and the reason is, the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary is “old fashioned” and the New Oxford is, well… New.

The word ‘love’ is overused and under appreciated. Over the centuries, love has changed and become a word we use instead of words such as; enjoy, fond of, adore, savor, appreciate, and like. Let’s be honest. Both you and I are guilty of it. We LOVE ice cream, we LOVE puppies, and chocolate, and explosions, and movies, food, games. The list just goes on and on. But maybe we need to take a moment to realize the true meaning of love. Well, it tells us in 1st. Corinthians 13, verses 4-7 that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Now let’s be painfully honest and admit, we can’t even love people in the true sense of the word. How many times have we wished we had Laura’s hair, Sam’s cool new toolbox, or wished that we could go to Disney with Grandma and Grandpa instead of Jim?

Now I’m kind of going off track, but what I mean to say is, that by saying we love (for example) ice cream, how much does that lower, in our thoughts, the love God has for us? God’s love is everything stated in the verses above. Yet if we “love” ice cream, slowly we will, and are, bringing God’s love down to what our sinful minds have made the meaning. Something WE like, or WE find tasteful, or something WE have an interest in. Because it all comes back to US, and what WE want. True love is the opposite. True love is selfless, gives and looks to the needs of others.

So let’s try our best at truly loving, and put others first… And let’s try to leave off “I love” in front of objects or things.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.