December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

't Is the day before Christmas!  
Although I never dream of a white Christmas, we got one anyway.
The first snow came with a vengeance on December 20.  It shut down most of our state and the roads stayed treacherous till Saturday.  The weather has stayed very cold, so that we are assured to have a white Christmas.  

I wish all who follow me in my ramblings:
a very blessed Christmas!  

May the Joy of the Christmas Child fill your hearts, 
May His Light fill the darkness of winter, 
and may His Hope brighten your Future.

December 12, 2012


Our trip to Jerusalem on October 5, started in the port of Ashdod.  From there we bussed through the Judean countryside to Jerusalem.  On the way we stopped for an “overlook.”  The weather was very clear and warm.  When we got to Gethsemane, we realized that we would have to deal with large crowds all day.  

It was very busy!  We did visit the “Church of the Nations” at the garden and reflected on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our tour guide had us read some appropriate scripture at selected sights, which enhanced the visits to these historic places. 
We had opted for the tour of the “old city,”  rather than some other, more familiar sites.  This tour, however; included a visit to the “Church of the Sepulcher,” where we again encountered an oppressive crowd.  That it was on a Friday and toward the end of the Feast of Tabernacles obviously added to the crowding. 

The old city was impressive to me.  Just to be in the close quarters of the old passageways gives you a sense of antiquity.  We visited David’s tomb and encountered a Arminian funeral procession on the way.  

When we finally arrived at the Wailing Wall, it was nearly sundown, which is the start of the Jewish Sabbath.  Again there was a great crowd. This time there were many Hasidic Jews getting ready to worship at this holy site.  I did get a chance to make it all the way to the wall and touch it before sundown. (I am the small orange spot in the picture.)  By the time my spouse tried to reach the wall in the women’s section it was getting too late.  She did get close, but many women with bay carriages were blocking the way.  I was politely reminded that I was no longer allowed to take any pictures, because the Holy Day had started.  We left the old city through the Dung Gate and headed back to our ship in Ashdod.

November 23, 2012


Egypt was a total surprise.  We were there on October 3 & 4.  We knew we would be in northern Africa, but most consider Egypt more a part of the middle East and some even thought is was East Asia. We boarded our bus in Alexandria to go on the three hour ride to Cairo, where we would visit the pyramids and the sphinx at Giza.  The first surprise was the chaotic traffic.  Neither of the two metropoli had any traffic lights we could see.  We saw no stop-signs, yield signs, or even stripes on the roadEven if there were stripes for traffic lanes, they were considered decorative.

As we traveled the desert road we saw many bridges to nowhere, partially completed. Upon arrival at the pyramids we had another surprise:  the souvenir vendors were very aggressive, not to say that we were accosted by them.  There was no way to even look at any souvenir without being pressured.  The picture where I am wearing the keffiyeh the vendor standing next to me wanted $20,00 for the picture which he "allowed" Corrie to take.  I had not asked for this pose or exposure.  Then 'he would take $5.00' he said. I gave him a dollar for his effort and walked off.  (The picture did turn out cute, though.)  The city of Cairo comes very close to the site of the pyramids which was disturbing to our tour-guide.  

After we visited the sphinx and the nearby necropolis we went for lunch on the Nile: "the Nile in Style" it was called.  Lunch was a traditional Egyptian meal.  The next surprise was the belly dancer during our lunch.  By the way, the sodas tasted just like back home.

The trip back to Alexandria was essentially uneventful and we had a nice late dinner on board ship. 

The next day we docked in Port Said at the entrance to the Suez canal.  We noticed the base of the statue of Ferdinand De-Lesseps,  but his statue is gone.  (I believe it succumbed during the six-day war.) We spend the day exploring this quiet city and relaxed from the hectic day we had before.


November 12, 2012


Veterans Day, Veteran’s Day...
I was thanked by many of our acquaintances for “my” service.  24 years of active Army duty.  Including a year (only one) in the combat zone known as Viet Nam.  I think about our veterans today, who have had multiple combat tours, but it seems are treated with more apathy than I was all those years ago.  Granted, the attention we got was often very negative; but at least there was awareness.  

Today’s war on terror seems to be taken for granted to those who do not serve.  After all, “they” volunteered for the service (!)   More of our soldiers survive the horrors of war only to be plagued by flashbacks, inability to reconcile the inconsistencies, and failing to reintegrate in a   society, which has mostly forgotten their sacrifice which provides for our security...

President Reagan said in his Veteran’s Day address in 1985:

“It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives -- the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember... ...And (we) the living have a responsibility to remember the conditions that led to the wars in which our heroes died. Perhaps we can start by remembering this: that all of those who died for us and our country were, in one way or another, victims of a peace process that failed; victims of a decision to forget certain things; to forget, for instance, that the surest way to keep a peace going is to stay strong... ...We're surrounded today by the dead of our wars. We owe them a debt we can never repay. All we can do is remember them and what they did and why they had to be brave for us. All we can do is try to see that other young men never have to join them. Today, as never before, we must pledge to remember the things that will continue the peace. Today, as never before, we must pray for God's help in broadening and deepening the peace we enjoy. Let us pray for freedom and justice and a more stable world. ”  

He shared many other words of wisdom and encouragement for us as people of the greatest nation on earth.  We would do well to remember our source of peace.

November 1, 2012


Two weeks after getting back form our fabulous Middle East cruise we are back in Colorado Springs working at Glen Eyrie.  We arrived at our daughter’s house last Friday afternoon and spend the weekend continuing to recover from our visit through the memorable sights of the middle east and para mediterranean harbors of call.  As we visit here, we saw the devastating results of the Waldo Canyon fire.  Yet, on the Glen it seems like nothing has changed.  The evergreen trees are still green, the deciduous trees are losing their leaves as in any other autumn.  Yet there is a restlessness, worries about flooding in the spring because of “hydrophobic” soil after the fire.  Continued discussion about the indiscriminate nature of this fire also are often points of discussion.  

The indeterminate closure of one of the favorite hikes on the property, the hike to Dorothy Falls and the Punch Bowls adds to this sense of change.  I would refer you to some of my earlier blogs about Glen Eyrie to see some of the pictures of this gorgeous hike.  Fortunately the other hikes are open to be enjoyed by any visitor to the Glen.

While recuperating I did a lot of picture work; shuffling, deleting, enhancing and the like. In my previous blog I promised a picture of the pyramids, so here it is!  

Our trip started in Athens, Greece and we had a two day sail to Alexandria, Egypt.  This allowed us to get adjusted to the time change.  The bus trip in Athens to the harbor from our downtown hotel took a detour to visit the Acropolis and see many sight in between.  A picturesque stop at the (modern) Olympic stadium; an inspiring stop at the tomb of the unknown soldier, where guards parade ritualistically in traditional old Greek uniforms. Driving by Hadrian’s Arch and the temple of Zeus, which were able to see magnificently from the top of the Acropolis. Many other historic places could be seen as well from the top of the mountain where the ruins of the temple of Athena stand.  There are just too many memories to share in just a short blog.  I’ll do another blog or two, to share some of our experiences in Egypt and Israel and report some of our exiting events in Turkey, Greece, Croatia, and Italy.

   I’ll do another blog or two, to share some of our experiences in Egypt and Israel and report some of our exiting events in Turkey, Greece, Croatia, and Italy.

October 24, 2012

FALL (-ing on the job)

September came and went.  We enjoyed our home and rested some.

Between visiting the spam  museum with our grandchildren 

and building a porch in Missouri, we were kept busy with preparing for our upcoming cruise to the eastern Mediterranean sea.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few thousand words!


Labor day weekend we again volunteered packaging meals for hunger relief.  Over 5 Million meals were packaged by many volunteers.  

 I plan to post another update soon, with pictures of the pyramids...

September 2, 2012

As usual, we did an extended motorbike ride recently. (See last September’s blog and previous year’s August (2010) also.  This year we decided to go South-East.  
 One a warm August day, the 22nd to be exact, we left our home to ride to Bloomfield, Iowa.  We had booked a B&B there.  Although we took a scenic route, it did not take us as long as we had anticipated.  So, we went on to visit a couple tourist spots (traps?) just east of Bloomfield.  We bought some squeaky cheese curds at the Milton Creamery.  Unfortunately there were no wineries close by, so we had to resort to buying a bottle at a local grocery store.  The Bed & Breakfast was in “The Weaver House,” a rustic heritage home in Bloomfield.  Our host was very responsive to our need for regular coffee in the evening. My bride and  I shared a pot of coffee, while our host entertained us with stories of his life, his wife, who was coming home in two days; and other interesting trivia.

The next day we toured to Fort Madison, on the Mississippi river.  It was a hot humid day, and we stopped at the welcome center and museum for a spell.  
We were entertained by the volunteers who work there and gave us tips about the area.  Because of the heat, we did not visit many of the tourist spots there, but decided to cross the Mississippi and take the scenic river road in Illinois.  After a few stops in shady places (literally!); we also stopped in Nouvoo.  This is a place known for it’s Mormon connections.  We saw local temple as well as a bigger than life memorial to Joseph Smith. 

Onward to re-cross the big river at Keokuk we proceeded to Keosauqua, where we had booked a room in the Manning Hotel.  This is an old river-boat stop and it operates a B&B, so we would enjoy another scrumptious breakfast in the morning.  On the way we stopped in a small town called Franklin, where we spend an hour or so in a small local winery.  This was totally off the beaten track and utterly delightful

Both our overnight stops had no TV or other entertainment so we were forced to talk and enjoy the scenery, not a bad way to go.  On Friday we made the trek back to our home in Johnston, without undue hardship. 

August 10, 2012

A new memorial in our home town of Johnston, Iowa

Summer has been very hot, so we have not done many motorcycle trips. It is just to warm to wear all the protective gear and it would be foolish to not wear it. 

I would like to share just a few pictures of our summer time activities.   We visited the largest rocking chair in Missouri 
on the way to Onondaga Caverns and I tried my hand at a very small bike. 

I like the bigger one better.

July 12, 2012

This is IOWA in summer


Ride your motor cycle through the shallow fords and go slow, otherwise your rider will complain about wet feet.  Stop and go for small hikes.  Not like the hikes of Colorado Springs, but beautiful rewarding sights anyway.  
This hilly and rocky areas are great for getaways on the motor cycle, but tends to cramp your style when you want to go on a pedal pusher bicycle.  Then it is nice that there are many relatively flat spaces as well. 

 Many old railroad tracks have been converted to bicycle trails around Iowa. As a whole this is a very bike friendly state, pedal powered or otherwise.  Motorized bikes are never allowed on any of the “bike” trails, so that families can ride without worries about their kids getting over-run by mopeds.   But many of the secondary roads and farm roads are paved and well maintained, so the motorized two wheelers can go exiting places as well, without having to worry about heavy traffic. Enjoying the summer. 

June 30, 2012

WALDO Canyon fire (2)

Just to share a few awesome pictures. As you can see the Eagle Lake Campsite has been spared from destruction; by faithful and resilient firefighters and the hand of God.  That does not imply that the devastation seen in the other views is out side of the hand of God.  
We cannot fathom these seeming contradictions.  Just read the book of Job.  Yet, God provides for His people, always.  
Just not always in means we can understand.  35.000 people displaced 340 home destroyed  and only 2 (so far) fatalities, found in the same home...

June 27, 2012

Waldo Canyon Fire

Just three weeks ago we hiked the Waldo Trail, overlooking this area which is now burning.  The pictures of the fire are from our kids in Colorado springs, taken on June 26, 2012.  

The map is from the morning of June 27 and shows the previous day in the yellow demarcations. 

So far Glen Eyrie has been spared, as like it seems, is Eagle Lake.  

The Flying W Ranch is gone however.

I had some personal struggles with natural law and the power of the Creator, but upon reflection I am again reassured that God remains on the throne and in control of all that happens in this world, including political wrangling.   We may not always like the result, but who are we to question the Almighty?  

Isa 45:9  But doom to you who fight your Maker—you’re a pot at odds with the potter! Does clay talk back to the potter: ‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’  (the Message)

May 30, 2012

Our time at the Glen is coming to a close.  We celebrated Memorial Day here on the grounds and took a hike to the top of the "Lady Bug" overlook, where we had lunch. We watched the traffic going around in the Garden of the gods. The view from this overlook is spectacular in any direction, just look at the pictures.  

A previous week we had hiked to the Big Horn memorial, beyond the Echo Rock overlook on The Scar. 

It never tires us to go on hikes in this beautiful part of Colorado.  Tomorrow we will be replaced as hosts at the Pink House and we plan to travel back to Des Moines on Monday.

May 18, 2012


Time surely flies when you're having fun.  Mother's Day has come and gone and Memorial Day beckons.  We have hosted at the Pink House over two weeks already and are on the downhill side of our time here.  We were invited to attend a Mother's Day tea at the Glen and we enjoyed the Victorian style Music Room in the beautiful Glen Eyrie castle.

During our time off, we do some local sight seeing and enjoy gorgeous Colorado, while we can. 

We were able to spend some fun times with our kids who moved here about a month ago.  Rick celebrated his birthday and we were part of that celebration as well.  

I have done many educational tours for the local school children and conducted public tours as well.  
As before, I dress up in period clothes.  The kids, at least for a while, think I actually may be General Palmer.

Glen Eyrie is beautiful as ever and we have enjoyed our stay here very much. 

The turkeys still roost in the trees overnight.