Sunday, September 24, 2017


from today's Twitter feed:  

48 minutes ago

Joy multiplies when you share it!

Joshua McElwee and Cindy Wooden on the Papal Jet, telling Pope Francis about the book of essays they edited. 

It will be out in February. (L'Osservatore Romano photo)

And, there's always joy for us in Sandpoint whenever we learn that our own Cindy Wooden has achieved yet another impressive milestone in her long career as a journalist and, most recently bureau chief, at the Vatican.  

This time, she has helped edit another book associated with Pope Francis. 

From Liturgical Press:

A Pope Francis Lexicon is a collection of over fifty essays by an impressive set of insightful contributors from around the globe, each writing on a specific word that has become important in the ministry of Pope Francis.

Writers such as Sr. Simone Campbell, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, Fr. James Martin, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby, and Carolyn Woo explore the Pope's use of words like joy, clericalism, money, family, and tears. Together, they reveal what Francis's use of these words says about him, his ministry and priorities, and their significance to the church, the world, and the lives of individual Christians.

The entire collection is introduced by a foreword by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide, and a preface by one of Francis's closest advisors, Cardinal Seán O'Malley.

This is no set of encyclopedia entries. It's a reflective, inspiring, and often heartfelt book that offers engaging answers to the question "What is this surprising Pope up to?"

Cindy Wooden is chief of the Rome bureau of Catholic News Service. She has been reporting on the Vatican and the Catholic Church since 1989. She has traveled around the world with John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis. As a result of this work, she is respected as an authority on the life and workings of the church. She is the author of Luis Antonio Tagle: Leading by Listening.

Joshua J. McElwee is National Catholic Reporter's Vatican correspondent and a contributor to the Italian news website Vatican Insider. He has reported on Pope Francis from 23 countries and his work has earned numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association. He is the author of Ten Things Pope Francis Wants You to Know About the Family.

Congratulations, Cindy! :)


Speaking of JOY.  Some of us family members had a very enJOYable day yesterday in Montana.  

Ravenwood Arabians, near Ronan, is located in full view of the rugged and spectacular Mission Mountains.

Yesterday, the mountains offered a particularly spectacular show as we visited the Arabian farm where many of our family horses were born.

Some advice to horse lovers:  don't go look at babies.  Just as with puppies, your heart will likely melt and then play havoc with your mind. 

Then, you have to have one. 

On a trip over to Ravenwood with my sisters a while back, I fell in love with a flashy little bay colt with all the chrome: four white stockings and a cute strip in his face.  

I couldn't get him out of my mind.  Eventually, the weakening began and yesterday I wrote a check.  The little guy is pretty young, born early last month.  So, he'll be staying there a while before coming home to Sandpoint. 

My sister Barbara and our friend Nancy, who had already bought cute little babies came along, as did my daughter-in-law Debbie.  My brother Kevin, also an owner of Ravenwood horses, came from Frenchtown with his wife Joyce. 

So, during the family invasion to Ravenwood, the little bay trotted around a pen with his protective mother, while the other two babies, along with a friend, received some loving and even some grooming. 

It was an all-around fun day, filled with joy and laughter, both inside the car and out. 

And, the joy will surely continue as the three little bundles of equine beauty mature and make their way over to Idaho.

Thanks to all for this day filled with JOY, which I don't mind sharing. 

Thanks also to Pope Francis for the reminder.

Happy Sunday.  

Nancy's baby filly.

Barbara's baby boy. 

My brother Kevin with an experienced heart melter. 

This guy was happy to receive a little love from everyone, including Debbie. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

First Hike, Fall 2017: the Pack

The calendar said it had been Fall, 2017, for a couple of hours.  Our clock (not the one which is 90 minutes fast, by the way) said we had a couple of hours for a short afternoon hike.

Bill asked if I wanted to go up Pack River and then told me to bring my hiking shoes.  Mike and Mary had just left the house from their visit, so probably by the time they had reached Selle Road, we were gathering up items to take to the pickup.

Since we would only be gone a couple of hours, the usual filling up a backpack with snacks, extra socks, shoes, etc. wasn't needed----just the camera, a walking stick and an extra coat.  First day of fall was pretty cold. 

When Bill pulled off the road and said we'd be hiking from there, he also told me we'd be walking down Homestead creek, which flows into Pack River. 

It was a fairly easy and quick walk to the creek and soon to the river where Bill showed me a spot with a swimming hole.  He had been there last week fishing and had seen foot prints in the sand.  So, it's probably someone's "secret" spot along Pack River. 

Wearing hiking shoes turned out to be a good idea because we did go up and down a few small hills and walked over a few boulders as we viewed the river from different spots along the shoreline. 

Bill also showed me where he'd caught fish the week before, and I pretty much assumed this might be a scouting mission along with a hike----the river had come up after the week's work of rains, so I have a feeling he was checking out how the good holes were looking. 

By the time official fall was about four hours old, we were headed back home down the Pack River, which is a heckuva lot less dusty than it was last time I drove it three weeks ago.  That rain helped. 

Twas a nice way to start the fall, and today we're supposed to have an even nicer day ahead for experiencing what we all really love about this welcome season---clear skies, crisp, clean air, neat color combinations and beautiful scenery. 

Happy Saturday. Enjoy the photos. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ben and Liam's Excellent Adventure

I've gotta quit hanging out with Dorothy Arthurs.  

But then I'm having too DOG gone much fun, thanks to my friend who owns a couple of Border Collies.  

Hot off from an experience where Ben and Liam had been classmates learning agility, Dorothy arranged for our two pups to have a herding lesson yesterday at a well-populated Border Collie Nation, located at Black Rock south of Coeur d'Alene. 

Norm and Vickie Close, owners of Handhills Border Collies are trainers and Border Collie lovers who have made a name for themselves with their dogs and dog products.  

In fact, we were lucky to get a lesson in this week because the couple had just returned from a competition and will soon be going to another---the Sheepdog National Finals next week where Norm will be judging. 

From the Sheepdog National Finals website:

Norm Close

Norm Close is an accomplished Judge that has earned the reputation of being professional, fair, and accurate. He has Judged numerous trials in the U.S. and Canada including the 2011 USBCHA National Finals, the Big Willow Double Lift twice, Old Chatham, North Carolina State Championships, Hilltop, Phantom Ridge Classic, Sterling Acres and more. 

Norman is also accomplished on the trial field, winning many open trials, including the Canadian National finals. He is a successful clinician and travels throughout the US and Canada, teaching and training. Norman was raised on a mixed farm in Lancashire, England and has been working with livestock all his life. 

In 1980, he immigrated to Alberta, Canada to work as a herdsman and now resides in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, with his wife Vickie, together they have a very reputable breeding and training program, Handhills Border Collies. 

 Norman's commitment is to run and breed strong dogs that work well on farms, ranches and also make successful trial dogs.    

So, of course, I could not wait to load Liam up in the car and go, even if it was raining and even if it was pretty cold.  Any time you get to go see a Border Collie operation and have your dog meet a nationally known trainer, the weather doesn't get in the way.

Just after we arrived, while Ben was having his lesson, Dorothy's hubby Dr. Jim Arthurs introduced me to Vickie who was about to let her dogs out.  That's when I learned that Handhills Border Collies is a "his-hers" operation.  

The dogs stay in the barn where Norm has his side, and Vickie has hers.  The next few minutes---even with just half the Handhills herd running loose---was pure joy as Border Collies often are.  

In this case, one by one, they launched off across a big field, racing, playing, doing their business and just plain being beautiful Border Collies. 

To say I was in awe is an understatement. 

Liam wasn't too concerned about the other Border Collies, but he greeted them in between pulling me toward those sheep pens. 

Vickie said Liam looked like a handful.

Later, Norm said Liam looked like a handful. 

Then, Norm said he'd take him out there and see if he was "keen" on those sheep.  

Yes, Liam was, probably a bit too keen.

Later, Norm noted the distinct contrast in how the sheep reacted during Liam's entrance and Ben's.  

Much calmer for Ben, but wondering what the heck kinda monster is this when they saw "eager" Liam.

After a while, though, Liam kinda settled down and started learning how to conserve his energy by attaining a "balance," tracking behind the sheep rather than huge circles. 

I learned while watching too, commenting that, for me, this was just like someone coming and watching a horse show for the first time.  Where the novice sees horses just going in circles at different speeds, a trained eye sees the extensive discipline and training needed for a good ride. 

Same with sheep dogs.  

At one time, Norm actually used the term "sheep dog" in reference to Liam, cautiously though.  Liam has a ways to go if he's ever gonna get serious about being a sheep dog.  

Norm said Liam had stamina, and I'm guessing that could be good. 

All in all, it was a great experience.  I know Dorothy was pleased with Ben, and I was just thrilled with the whole visit, especially the part where Norm, the Brit, asked if we'd like to come in an have a cup of tea.

I haven't laughed that much in a long time.  Tea time is truly fun with Norm and Vickie. 

My only regret about yesterday was that Bill couldn't go because of another commitment, but then that has a good side:  Liam will just have to take another lesson so Bill can see him in action. 

And, knowing Dorothy, I'm sure that can be arranged.  Thanks to all for a memorable and fun day at the Handhills Border Collies. 

Happy Friday.  Hope you don't mind ALL the photos of these black and white wonderFUL dogs!

Vickie Close, an accomplished artist and photographer, with HER dogs running free. 

BEN at work:  

An added benefit for golfers at Black Rock is to see Norm at work as they pass by in their carts. 

Trainer Norm Close visiting with Dorothy and Jim Arthurs. 

Good Dog, Ben!

Liam at work: 

Good Dog, Liam

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lovestead Scenes and Memories (TBT)

We were supposed to be figuring out rainy day projects yesterday, but Mother Nature threw us a curve and gave us a beautiful afternoon.  

So, after I finished my day's worth of projects, I saddled up my Lily and went for a ride around the Lovestead.

As usual, Lefty raced around his pasture and screamed,  as loud as only Lefty can do. Fortunately, Lily has listened to a lifetime's worth of Lefty's screaming, so she just plodded along as if there really wasn't a crazy horse dashing in that field, yelling out to her.

We have several nice trails in the woods now, and I've been methodically, sawing, snipping and breaking off the multitude of overhanging tree limbs that tend to slap riders in the face as they move on down those trails. 

So, the fields and the woods provide an adequate place for my horseback riding fixes.  

Every scene along yesterday's hour-long ride was beyond beautiful with all the cleanliness and freshness and such.  

Nice to have our colors back and especially because the fall show is just beginning in the front yard. 

Bill's ever-growing woodpile (most of which has been gathered from our own woods) serves as a reminder that we'll be starting fires in the wood stove pretty darned soon. 

This morning, I've also included a few photos from yesteryear. Soon after we moved here, Bill showed the iddy biddy triplets (who just did Homecoming with one even reigning as royalty) how to plant a tree.  

Kinda neat cuz this year, Jacob won the community art contest for Arbor Day, and his logo was passed around some of the schools in the Coeur d'Alene area.  Maybe be Uncle Bill's influence as a forester planted that artistic seed. 

The other photos, minus the last one, were taken during our first year in Selle when we invited several neighbors to a Halloween party.  Twas a fun evening for all.

And, of course, I included some horse photos of Dusty with Barbara, Lefty with Laurie and Lily in their younger days.  

Today, in fact, in the next hour or so, Liam is going on another adventure in his educational journey.  More on that tomorrow.  

Happy Thursday to all.  Enjoy the photos and a special memory or two below.  

HOT OFF THE PRESS:  Annie just now posted on the geocaching blog about her recent harrowing geocaching experience high up on a rock wall in Austria.  

Check it out.

Apparently, Eva had made an important point while visiting with Mother at our neighborhood gathering a few months after we moved here in 2006. 

We, here in the neighborhood, all miss Stan Meserve, the fine man on the left.  In this photo, he's visiting with Gary Finney, also a fine friend and classmate, who lives across the road from the Meserve Preserve.

I'm thinking Stan has to be smiling down on us these days cuz we've had a pine-squirrel invasion, and those frisky, ever-busy little characters have chased away all the town squirrels.  

Needless to say, it's an understatement to note that Stan did not like town squirrels!

An "unscreaming" young Lefty. 

Some really special people.  

Actually, I have been blessed with a life surrounded by special people, and I never take that gift for granted. 

This morning I'm posting this photo of the 1981-82 Sandpoint High School Monticola yearbook staff, which with no reservations whatsoever, I will say was one of the greatest groups of kids with whom I ever worked during my teaching career. 

For many, many reasons, that year from start to finish was hilarious, very productive and magical.  First, every person in the photo contributed uniquely to an atmosphere filled with positive, meaningful and creative endeavors. 

Phenomenal human beings they were and definitely the source of daily smiles and good cheer!

Sadly, this morning's newspaper includes the obituary for one of those, whom I've named in the photo via his T-shirt.

Anyone who knew Brian Long has been reeling for the past several days after learning of his sudden passing. 

Sweet Brian, funny Brian, brilliant Brian, caring Brian, loving Brian----those are just a few of the descriptive terms I can easily apply to this young man who has left us all much too soon. 

I have always loved Brian's family and his extended Kiebert clan, and I know the depth of this loss---not only for them but for everyone with whom he came in contact as a teacher, gifted lawyer, logical and eloquent thinker, loyal friend, big brother, son, uncle, cousin, etc. 

So, my thoughts continue to go out to Kay Kiebert and the extended clan.  Brian loved them all, and they all loved Brian----as did we all. 

RIP:  Brian.  We already miss you.