Sunday, November 06, 2016

Reflections

If pictures tell a thousand words, then I've told millions of stories for sure.  Having a rare quiet solitary weekend at home, I decided to update my computer photo program and start getting photos consolidated.  Other than the fact that a weekend doesn't even scratch the surface, I have enjoyed this project.  As I quickly scroll through decades of photos it is easy to see what is important to me.  Family, pets, friends, nature, and adventure are probably the biggest categories.

Here are a few of those souls no longer with us here on earth, but permanently imprinted on our hearts.

Beloved (Great) Grandparents:





The pets in our lives love so unconditionally.  Their time with us is too brief, but they leave us changed forever.
Hot Shot, Speckles, Cash, Iron Cross (Felix), Millie, Hawk, Leo.










RIP LEO  2003-2016


All missed.  Make the most of the moments you have.  Enjoy the holidays.  Go make some memories!



Thursday, January 07, 2016

2015 - A Plethora of Panoramas



Loved visiting these great places.  For more detailed information about each location, click on the caption.  Wishing you fabulous adventures in 2016!

La Tigra Mountain Range, Honduras

Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Sante Fe, New Mexico

Rolling Hills of Kentucky's Bourbon Trail 

Sunset on Fort Myers Beach, Florida
Hiking in the clouds of Cheyenne Canyon, Colorado Springs, Colorado


Sunset at Pt. Cabrillo, Mnedocino, California
Hiking in Sedona, Arizona
Grand Canyon Mule Rider Adventure
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
On top of the world at Zugspitze, Germany

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Reflections - A Trip to DC and not my USUAL post!

                    
Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright 
    

 Before traveling I always ask friends what book they would recommend.  This trip I chose Whistling Past the Graveyard a quick, entertaining, yet thought provoking book.  As a perk, the author, Susan Crandall, has Indiana roots which is always a bonus.  The book is set in the Deep South in 1963 when the Civil Rights movement was just gaining momentum.       
     Interestingly enough, my trip to DC, which included a wonderful symposium featuring Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright, also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March so "Justice, or Else" was in the news a lot during our visit.  It turned out to be a peaceful gathering of thousands filled with strong speeches regarding social injustices, especially in black communities, that continue to exist in this country.  
     Maybe my thoughts and emotions were churned up by my book's darling spitfire protagonist Starla, or maybe it was Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright's discussion on diplomacy (also known as compromise!), or the Million Man March that I could not help noticing interactions of my fellow travelers, including my own way of interacting with strangers.
     As I waited for my homeward bound plane to board, I was reflecting on how many of the racial injustices occurring in 1963 in the book thank God no longer exist, yet still there are so many similarities to current racial tensions.  My thoughts were interrupted when a polite young black man sat down in the seat between my husband and me. After greeting each other, we ran through the basic niceties.  When he said he was from New Orleans, I told him that we enjoy visiting there, and I always feel like there are stories I want those streets to tell me as I wander through them.  He asked me about Indiana, and for what it is known (corn, beans, and the Indy 500 I guess.) 
     Usually when I fly, that would be the end of the conversation.  Usually my headphones would go on and my favorite music would fill my ears as I watch for tiny landmarks thirty thousand feet below.  Usually I do not even introduce myself to the stranger sitting beside me.  This was not the usual flight for me.  
     I refer to certain types of happenings in life as "God-incidences".  This was one of those.  As we continued to speak with each other, I noticed a large tattoo on the side of his neck, 11:11.  Over the years, I have seen many tattoos on strangers and have wondered about their significance, yet until this day had never asked, but for whatever reason, I felt comfortable enough with this stranger to ask.  After he told me about 11:11 and the Lightworkers, which I had never heard of but found fascinating, he asked me why I had asked.   explained that my husband (sitting next to him with his headphones on) and I always think of our daughter when we see the clock at 11:11.  (That's a story for another day). At that point I tapped my husband's shoulder and had my new friend turn and show him his tattoo.  A big smile immediately came to both their faces and a new conversation began between the three of us.  Again, very unusual.  Our conversation continued the entire flight, and ran the gamut of topics from family, religion, faith, politics, current events, culture, professions, and life experiences. 
    We shared our life experiences and saw the other's experience from different perspectives.  Even though our own lives seemed to have no similarities, we both agreed that we have so much more in common than not.  We come from completely different backgrounds, yet we are so many of the same values.  It just emphasized to me in these tumultuous times that if we could just connect on a respectful level with those that we think we have nothing in common with, our problems would be much easier to solve, and many would just disappear on their own.  Maybe we could have a "Racial Awareness Month" along with all the other good causes that now have a month of awareness dedicated to them.  I guess that's for another day too.
 As we waited to deplane upon our arrival, the young man chuckled and said, "Wow! That's the very first time I have ever talked all the way through takeoff, the entire flight, and landing."  I told him that was a first for me too, and what a pleasure it had been speaking to him.  At that point we introduced ourselves by name, and shook hands.  He said he could never had imagined in a million years, having such a meaningful exchange with two middle aged  white people from Indiana, and that he felt that our conversation might have been the real reason God sent him to the Million Man March in D.C.  I told him that I felt the same way, except in my case it was with an amazing young black man who has lived a life I could never have imagined, but clearly God plans on using in a special way.  Again, everything but usual.
    For whatever reason, that conversation has stayed with me.  It reiterates the importance of keeping your eyes wide open to life's experiences, and what can be gained individually by stepping outside your normal comfort zone and speaking to a fellow human being, albeit a stranger.
    I know this particular conversation would not have occurred if I hadn't asked a friend for a book to read for fun.  Thank you Susan Crandall for Whistling Past the Graveyard, which encouraged me to take more of an interest in passing strangers in my everyday life, and for once again bringing this country's racial relations to my attention.  Thank you Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright not only for your dedicated service to our great country, but also for your willingness to share your wise words and experiences forcing me to consider current events in further depth than I usually do in my daily box.  Next read..., Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh as recommended by my new friend,  Vonnie of New Orleans.  Thanks again for the truly enjoyable conversation.  

The consistent USUAL occurrence here is that my hubby once again gladly brought me along as his sidekick for his required travel.  Because of his willingness to always accommodate my eagerness to expand my horizons through travel, I have yet again had a meaningful trip.  Thanks Kevin, I love you dearly.  --Carolyn

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Drive to Remember

     Maybe it is because I was born, raised, and continue to live in Indiana (not known for its rugged varying terrain or coastlines), or maybe it is just an internal "in awe"' factor I have for the magnificent mountains, oceans, and vast skies other states boast.  Whatever it is, I am always thrilled for an opportunity to visit these other places.  This was the case last week as we landed in Eugene, Oregon, jumped in a rental car and headed west to experience all the scenic wonders the Pacific Coastline Highway has to offer all the way to San Francisco, our final destination before returning home.
Salt Lake City

Three Sisters
Cougar Dam and Reservoir
                         I always choose a window seat so if the weather allows, I can see our great nation from a birds eye view.  Geography may not have been my fifth grade strength, but I love picking out land marks from the air.  Salt Lake City and the great Salt Lake spanning the background was the first shot of the day. Then as we got closer to Eugene, the Oregon Cascade's Three Sisters peaks were right below, with Mt. Washington, Jack, and Jefferson seen peaking through the clouds to the north.  Magnificent mountains.  My heart soars.

Our first stop was the Bandon Dune Golf Resort located on the coast.  What a spectacular location.  While not making a tee time mystified the staff, our plans included enjoying their property and hiking their wonderful trails out to the dunes and the ocean.  This was the first sunset of many along the coast that I felt mandated to photograph (with my iPhone, not my Nikon this trip) due to the sheer beauty they provided.



Soaking in the vast beauty of the dunes against eh clear blue skies
A peak through the trees to the coast
     After enjoying the dynamic sand dunes, our scenic drive continued through forested coastlines with magnificent redwood trees towering hundreds of feet above us.  The photos can not begin the capture the breadth of these great trees.
     As we continued our drive, we stayed in Eureka, California (the only "sore" spot of the trip according to Kevie), then continued south zooming in and out of the State Parks and National Forests along the Shoreline Highway of northern California.  We did have to make several obligatory stops at "Roadside America" type places such as Paul Bunyan's "Trees of Mystery," and the famous "Chandler Drive Through Tree."  While probably over-rated compared to the sheer beauty of the scenic drive, they did offer a place to stretch our legs and to interact with some of our fellow tourists...always good for a few laughs (for both them and us!)

Not a bad place to make a few work calls.
Lady Bird Johnson Redwood Grove


 Just south of Fort Bragg, we made our next stop over in Mendocino, California.  We were fortunate to find The Brewery Gulch Inn


which provided us not only lovely accommodations close to town and spectacular views, but scrumptious eats as well.  The quaint town of Mendocino has a rugged coastline with sea stacks and rock shelves making a perfect backdrop to the artsy shops, charming architecture, and gorgeous flowers found around every corner.





We made our way to the Mendocino Hedlands State Park to watch the sunset.  With the waves crashing against the massive rocks far below where we were standing, Kevin got a bit nervous, while I was energized by the magnitude of the ocean's forces at work against the coast.  It truly is awe inspiring!
The Point Cabrillo Light Station was on a point just north of town, and we enjoyed the hike out to it.  Again, the magnificence of what I was experiencing can not begin to be conveyed through my iPhone camera lens. But I sure tried to capture it for all of our viewing pleasure.

Point Cabrillo Light Station




 The next day we left the coast for additional Redwood Forests and winding mountaintop roads leading to the dry and vast Sonoma wine country.  We continued south, had lunch in the bright and happening bay front town of Sausalito, drove across the always grand Golden Gate Bridge, and on into San Francisco, where once again, I happily photographed the sunset.

I couldn't resist one more shot from my window seat during take-off as we passed over the bay bridge and the peninsula just after sun rise.  A fitting end to our picturesque adventure!