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Showing posts from July, 2017

Colorado

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A few months ago, we took a trip to visit my Aunt Kim who lives is Denver, Colorado. Dad bought a nice little trailer a while back, so we reserved a spot at Chatfield State Park, about 30 minutes outside the city.The park was lovely, very clean and quiet. Of course we were there during the week, so when the weekend did roll around, families started pouring in. But it was nice to sit in our fold up chairs watching the little kids driving their child-size ATVs around and riding their bikes.We brought Scout along and he had a lot of fun walking and sitting with us during the day in the shade of the trailer's awning. We were there the week of Mother's day weekend, so on that day we attended a "bird banding" at the Audubon Center. The event planners had laid out breakfast foods for attendees and after we ate, the tour guide took us down a path and into the woods where the banding was took place.The lady doing the banding took small wild birds native to the area out of tin…

The Fairy Pools

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The glen where the fairy pools cut their way down the mountain was also full of magic.We walked down they very steep hill, then up the other side, hopping over small streams as we went. The pools are numerous and quite large, and are situated like a staircase, each one lower than the other forming lovely waterfalls. There were so many of them that I had most of them all to myself for several minutes as we walked down the path beside them.The water is turquoise, yet blue like the Mediterranean, which I have seen with my own eyes. Although I have never seen colors quite like these. The temperature of the water wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, but I still did not jump in, unlike some of the other hikers who were braver than me.After perusing the lower pools for a while and admiring their jeweled tones, I continued up the path and past the pools on my own. The mountains before me were so majestic they took my breath away. I couldn't do anything for a while but sit on a bou…

Sheildaig with Caroline

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Lots of beautiful scenery today. The sky changes constantly. We drove past a man standing in his sheep pen with the black faced sheep gathered in a bunch at one end. He was old and wrinkled, wearing a tweed jacket and hat. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest, just looking out over the loch. The water moved slowly and the clouds hung low over the stacked brown, green, and golden hills.Everyone has a Border Collie here. They are beautiful and run ahead of their owners.On our way to Sheildaig on Wednesday night, we saw a young man with about four Border Collies in a field. It looked like he was ending his work day with them.Sheildaig was beautiful. A quaint little loch side village with white buildings facing the water. A few people sped by on bikes, but a few walked with small dogs off leash trotting behind them. We had dinner in the pub next to our hotel. I had crab cakes and chips. They were delicious!Our beds were large and soft. They felt like sleeping in massive marshmall…

The Old Man of Storr

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Today, I tried to walk up the (very) steep path to see the Old Man of Storr rock, which was scaled by a man named Don Whillans, an Englishman, in 1955 for the first time. The climb was steep and I only made it halfway before a German couple came down and met me on the path.I asked them if the clouds were covering the rock that day, making the Old Man invisible. They said yes and that we shouldn't try today. Wasn't worth the climb, so I went back down. It really tuckered me out, but we will try again tomorrow when we pass by on the road.The next day: We saw this rocky tower from a distance as we drove along. The day before it had been covered in clouds and was totally invisible.The golden eagle, the national bird of Scotland, used to perch high on the Old Man's head. It is 160 feet high and stands dark and foreboding against the pink and golden light of evening. I am so glad I got to see it.I was afraid I had come all this way only to be disappointed by a cloud.We passed th…

Dunvegan Castle and Kilt Rock

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Today, we drove to Dunvegan castle, where Flora McDonald and Sir Walter Scott stayed many, many years ago. The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 14th century.The castle holds the Fairy Flag, a silk banner dating from somewhere between the 4th and 7th century, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s waistcoat, and a lock of his fine hair.Dunvegan was closed, sadly, but looking at it from the outside was stunning. It is built of dark stone and holds a commanding presence, like something out of a Gothic story or film. We stood on the edge of the water and looked at the castle, sitting on the edge of the water to our left. I could imagine Bonnie Prince Charlie in his tiny boat with Flora McDonald, on that dark night in 1746.As we drove along the edge of the island, we stopped and took in the sight of the cliffs near Trotternish that look like a giant kilt. These cliffs are straight up and down, and the formation of the rocks makes them look striped. The sun was hidden but we could see them clea…

South Uist: Flora and Bonnie Prince Charlie

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Today, we hope to visit Flora McDonald’s grave in South Uist, on the far North section of the island. Flora was the young woman who saved the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie, leader of the Jacobite rebellion from being English by helping him escape to Skye in 1746.It is said that Flora was buried wrapped in the sheet that the prince slept on.Dunvegan castle is on the way to her grave, and I learned that during their escape, Flora and Bonnie Prince Charlie rowed past it on their way. How deliciously romantic!At Flora McDonald's Grave in Kilmuir: The grave yard is a lard square area, the mossy green hills rising like funny bumps all over it, with headstones covered in green plants probably blown in from the sea which the graveyard overlooks.Flora's grave is a large white celtic cross that stands tall above the others. I imagine she enjoys looking out over her beloved coastline of Skye on stormy nights. There are lovely sentiments engraved on the stone which was replaced by her des…

Highland Roads

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This entry is from when we were on our way to the Isle of Skye. Ever since I discovered photographs of the island on the internet and mentions of it in books, I’ve wanted to visit and spend some time discovering all the wonderful delights it has to offer.Some people are beach lovers, and I do like the beach, but if I had to make a choice between the two I would choose a broody, misty island on the coast of Scotland to spend a nice holiday. I guess it’s just in my Scot/Irish blood to want to be where my ancestors raised their families, eventually emigrating to North America.After spending the night sleeping in fluffy beds in the little village of Sheildaig, we drove the Western Ross Coastal Road yesterday. It winds high up thru the highlands on a single lane road. There were several drop-offs that made us nervous, but we made it. The road was almost vertical at times as we climbed in Caroline’s tiny car. We made it to the top and found a stone bench cut into the mountainside with a sto…

Scotland Road Trip Memories

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I found some pages of the journal I took with me to Scotland in March 2016 wherein I documented our trip to the Isle of Skye. I tried to write down lots of details as we sat wrapped in warm blankets on the couch of our rented caravan each evening. I think I did a pretty good job of keeping the details straight while painting pictures with my words.I hope you enjoy the next few posts.Friday, March 18th, 2016 – Eilean Donan CastleSitting in our caravan the clouds outside hang low on the tops of the hills. They are high, but their tops are hidden by the mist that surrounds them. The weather can change in a second, like yesterday when we toured Eilean Donan castle. The clouds were there, but in five minutes, the sun came out and warmed us all so well. It lit up the loch, making the water sparkle and shine like diamonds.The castle stands tall and proud on its throne that is nestled in the water, connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. What a dream come true it would be to get married …

Paradiddles

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I received a thank you note in the mail yesterday from one of my former drum students for a gift I gave him at his graduation ceremony. Asa was one of the first boys I ever taught to play drums, when
I was still figuring out exactly how to teach.


The book I chose as a gift was Os Guinness’ (yes, I love Dr. Guinness’ work a lot) book, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life. Along with the book I wrote a letter to Asa, offering him the wisdom I feel I have gleaned over the years as a young person. Wisdom is something that should be passed down, and I feel it is important for us to make it a point to actually write a letter to those younger than ourselves. Especially if you’ve been in some kind of leadership role in that person’s life.


Asa is a special kid. His siblings are all special but I’ve spent the most time with Asa during our drum lessons so I see him a little differently. I watched him learn how to hold his drumsticks correctly, stopping every so …

Trump's Warsaw Speech and Why It Matters

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I love to analyze speeches (I guess I did learn something in college), so I thought I’d do a small one for President Trump’s defining speech in Warsaw last week. The first one I did was for Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of congress a few years ago. You know, the one Obama didn’t want or didn’t care about hearing?It is mostly me fleshing out my thoughts on his remarks, but writing them out helps me to think and consider the concepts more in-depth.On June 6th, President Trump gave a stirring speech to international leaders and a massive crowd gathered in the city of Warsaw, Poland. Most significantly, the speech was delivered in front of the Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Uprising, a magnificent statue that looms over Krasinski Square.President Trump paid tribute to the people it represents, stating “It is a profound honor to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a P…