Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This week boy Scout Troop 221 in Beaumont has been in the Christmas Spirit and Celebrating by Giving back to the community. December 14, the boys loaded up over 200 donated books that they had collected with the Beaumont Association of Retired Teacher.Our first stop was to unload boxes of books for Family Services shelter in Beaumont. We had discussed the residents' need for confidentiality, so did not meet any of the children living in the shelter. However one of the boys said that two kids from his school got off his school bus here.
What a great opportunity for a discussion on being thankful.

The Scouts presented the books to the shelter manager who will give them to children for Christmas.

Leaving Family Services, the Scouts went to Boys' Haven with more books, hamburgers and drinks for an impromto party.
Initial shyness was soon forgotten as the two groups of boys ate and played silly games.

These older boys were delighted to receive age appropriate young adult books. One young man carried an arm load to his room, promising to share as soon as he'd finished reading each one.

Friday, December 18, the Scouts put on plastic aprons, rubber gloves and big smiles to help at the 19th Annual Feast of Sharing Holiday Dinner, held at Ford Park.

Our volunteer assignment was to bus tables and help with clean up. 4,000 meals had been served from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The hall was decorated with balloons and Christmas greenery. Inflatable bouncy things and games entertained the children. Many of the dinner guests had ridden city buses from downtown.

The boys made the messy work of bagging trash into fun as they tried to pull packed plastic bags from the trash cans.

Even the heavy labor of taking down tables and stacking chairs gave the Scouts an opportunity for fun.

Thanks to HEB's spirit of sharing the season with the community, our boys were able to share in giving.
Christmas is the Season and Jesus is the Reason, for God gave His Son to save us from sin.
Let us all remeber to give back.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A time of sharing

The Beaumont Association of Retired Teachers and Boy Scout Troup 221 collected over 200 children's books to be donated to needy children during the Christmas season.

These are just a few of the books collected by the teachers.

In addition to a large box of books, the Women's Missionary Union of West End Baptist Church, Beaumont, collected much needed cleaning supplies for Shepherd's Inn.

Christian Life Crisis Intervention churches of the Golden Triangle and other churches provide services and temporary housing for families who are visiting inmates in the prison system. All the services are free, depending on donations from churches, individuals, and guests. Many families travel from out of state to visit their loved ones.

Tabitha, a homeschooler, joined the women to help carry books and supplies to the center.
Some of the women who helped take supplies to Shepherd's Inn are helping the residential manager sort books and arrange children's toys.

During this Christmas Season let us remember that
God sent us a Savior.

If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been tehnology,
God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.
Bur our greatest need was forgiveness,

(author unknown)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Volunteer at the prison

This is as close as I ever want to get to a prison. The sky was clear and cold, Thurdsay, Ded. 3. I was on the shadowed side of the razor wire. Unfortunately the wire doesn't sparkle in the photo as it did in the sun. that morning. Fortunately, I don't have to look at it 24/7.

About 50 volunteers worked Wednesday night at the grills and Thursday to provide free meals for the employees and staff of the state prison units between Beaumont and Port Author.

This ministry of love was in conjunction with Bill Glass, an NFL football player-turned-evengelist, and his Champions for Life Ministry.

Rodney Barnett, an evangelist with Urban Harvest Ministries, is one of the event coordinatior. He and his volunteers decided to repay the community by providing the free meals, over 5,600 boxed lunches, to the prison guards and employees. While Bill Glass and his team spoke to groups of prisoners.

These three grills and several others were kept smoking all night and day by volunteers, preparing the endless trays of giant hotdogs.

We organized styrofoam camshells and filled them with hot dogs, buns, potato salad and ranch beans.

Two meals were then stacked and bagged with eating utinsels and condiments. The first shift of employees, who got off work at 5 a.m., received their meals as they drove toward the gates.
Others received their meals as they left at the end of their shifts through out the day.
Where do you put 5,600 "to-go" boxes? On top of one another, three bags high. The weather was very cool, even out of the wind in the tent. but soon busy volunteers began to shed jackets as they warmed up to the job.

It isn't often that I photograph a celeb.
The man with the camera is Ken Fountain a reported with the Beaumont Enterprise.
Ken wrote a nice article that was featured in the paper on Friday.
Thank you Ken and Enterprise.

This volunteer oportunity was a new experience for me. Volunteering makes a difference.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Being Thankful

I found a short article in yesterday's paper quoting an unknown author. I'm not taking credit for the ideas, but adapting for myself.

I'm thankful that I don't have everything I want, for what would I look forward to?
I'm thankful I don't know everything. I can learn.
I'm thankful for my limitations, because they give me opportunities for improvement.
I'm thankful for difficult times because they help me grow.
I'm thankful for my mistakes, they teach me valuable lessons.
I'm thankful when I'm tired. Hopefully I've made a difference.

I'm most thankful for family and friends, they keep me humble.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Confession. I didn't double check the spelling of this fascinating rock sculpture. When reading You are Here, I discovered my mistake. Who knows how the Inuit culture, native to the extreme Northwest, would have spelled it if they had a written language.
These stone sculptures were built to resemble humans and were usually placed on high ground with their arms pointing toward shelter.
Some strings of Inukshuks were built so that peering through a hole in one would lead to the sighting of another.
Sometimes they were used as icons to represent departed family members.
They may have even acted as a kind of scarecrow to influence the movement of caribou herds.
In addition to navigation aids, they go beyond being simple landmarks as they are imbedded in story telling.

When you see this symbol for the winter Olympics. You will be well informed and fascinated as I am.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Scouts and Sutherlands


Saturday, Nov. 14, was a busy day for Boy Scout Troop 221 and Webelo Pack 221.
Sutherlands Lumber Yard and Hardware Store on College in Beaumont hosted a tremendous Fund Raiser for the the boys. Sutherlands provided hotdogs, drinks for the boys to sell, and balloons and American flags to give away.

The boys worked in three to four hour shifts, with Bryan working eight hours. At 8:30 pm he was still going strong. I was not at the sale for the entire 13 hour sale so my photos are limited.

They are having fun, feeding the masses and earned money for camping.

The last photo is an Inookshook. The rock construction is native to Canada and was a means for Natives to communicate directions. I made this one from Alaskan rocks (and super glue).

Watch for Inookshook. It is the symbol for the Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia. Don't you wish you could go? I do.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

signings and such

I have a new book in the works. "Loon's Necklace" is a children's story that I illustrated. The manuscript is with Publication Consultants in Anchorage. When I have a publication date, I'll post it.

The pictures below are two that are being considered for the back cover of "Loon's Necklace". I'm so glad I didn't try to read to more than two wiggly girls. This is my youngest granddaughter, Gianna, and her best friend, Bianca. We call them Gigi and Bebe.

Laurie Kolp arranged for us to be interviewed on Fox 4, KBTV, Friday morning. Quite an experience and something I'd like to do again. The staff was so easy to work with.

Friday night Laurie and her kids joined me with a booth at First Friday in Groves. The night was cool and pleasant. We each sold a few books.
Saturday we joined another autthor at Barnes and Nobles for a book signing.
It is time to start shopping for Christmas. Books are the perfect gift.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No rest and prayer request

Last night was the final night of the Golden Triangle Writer's Conference held at the Elegante Hotel in Beaumont. My friend Debra Harris Johnson, center, won First Place with her short story, First in Non-fiction, and First with the Writing Jar. Way to go girl!
With us is teacher, Jessica Ferguson

I presented two seminars, The Writing Process, and Journaling and Memoirs. Both were well received. Attending authors held a signing party with our books available to the public.

I will be signing my new book, A Venture in Faith, Texas to Alaska, at Barnes and Noble on Dowlen, Nov. 7, 2009, from 1-3 PM. Hope to see all of you.

On Sunday, Oct. 18, I had an informational table at the Golden Triange Baptist Association Missions Fair, held at First Baptist Church, Nederland. Many visitors have an interest in Alaska.

Author and friend, Laurie Kolp, has a story in a newly released anthology, Christmas Miracles. Here Laurie is holding her book at Barnes and Noble. She will be joining me signing on Nov. 7.
Laurie wrote a glowing interview with me on her blog, conversationswithacardinal.blogspot.com. Thank you, Laurie!

What I get myself into. I was Assistant Scout Master with Chris's troop in Houston. Now I'm home and available to "volunteer" to sleep on the hard ground, in a tent, and eat kid friendly, high colestrol, calorie laden camp cooking. I joined my boys, Ryan and Kyle and several other Scouts, to spend the week-end at a camporee at Camp Urland. The weather was chilly, the sky ultramarine blue, and the exercise welcome.
Don't the boys look like they are having fun?

Yes, that's a lizard earring on Jimmy.

Darrell, my adopted son is now 27 years old. He is blind and profoundly retarded due to child abuse, shaken baby syndrome.
Darrell has had a series of grande mal seisures. He aspirated fluid and a lung collapsed. He is also fighting an infection. He now struggles with a trach and ventelator.
Darrell spent a couple of weeks in the hospital and is now in a long-term acute treatment facility where he is being weaned off the ventlator and receiving therapy. His very limited mental ability makes all this very confusing for him.

Several years ago after receiving Darrell's medical and children's protective service records, I wrote his story.
I know that God's purpose for Darrell's life is that his story be told to help parents understand the devastation of shaken baby syndrome, how to handle the stress of parenting and to offer encouragement to families of special needs children and adults.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Photo Fans, Blogger's fixed!

My youngest daughter, Cora, fixed blogger! So now I have a couple of weeks of catching up to do. On our last day at Camp Baldwin while we were preparing the waterlines for minus 50 degrees this winter, our young bull moose came to visit and eat the seeded yard. Because of their short necks they get on their knees. I think he's praying that hunters don't make moose-meat out of him.
Leaving Alaska, we drove the AlCan Highway through the Yukon, spending the night at Whitehorse Wal-mart, and then drove on to Watson Lake, famous for the sign post forest. Although this is my fourth trip to Alaska I had not added my sign to the 65,000 plus signs.
I hope I can find it again! It's above Sassie and directly behind the Martin's sign.

We left the AlCan and turned south on the Cassiar Highway, a narrow, mostly gravel road, much like the AlCan on my first trip in 2002. The fall colors, golds of aspen, birch and cottonwood, contrasted with the reds of ground plants and the black/green of the spruce. Magnificent.
We stopped at Jade City, British Columbia, (in the rain). This area of mountains produces the largest quantity of jade in the world. Jade is not only green, but white, pink and black, too.
The figure below is made of stacked raw jade rock. It is called an inookshook. The figures were made by the Canadian First Nation people as trail markers. You still see them today. The inookshook is the symbol of the winter Olympics which will be held in Vancouver.
Near Stewart, BC, we made a short trip back into southeast Alaska at Hyder, population 80, (unless residents have flown out for the winter). We drove an old gold mining road to see the Salmon Glacier, and fish creek. There were no bears at fish creek because the salmon had already run for the season. Last year a bear killed a camper in his tent.

Dale obligated the photographers by ducking under an overhang of a small glacier.

This is one of the many waterfalls exiting the high valley glaciers.

Proceeding south we left the Cassiar Highway for the Yellowhead Highway and continued through the Fraser Gorge. The scenic highway is cut along a canyon wall. Between the river and the highway, the light ribbon is one of two railway lines. Tracks on each side of the river proved for trains to travel in opposite directions.

In Bellingham, the Martins and I shared a farewell lunch and a (almost) tearful good-by as we wnnt our separate ways. They contined south to Seattle, while I turned east.
It's difficult to sift through pictures of Bellinghan, and Seattle, but I chose this one from the Honey Creek campground in Washington.

The cypress trees were so large that I couldn't reach even half way around the smaller ones. Ferns grew out of the tree trunks, with fronds three feet long. Fallen trees had new growth growing straight up out of the horizontal trunks.

Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho were harvesting apples, pears, apricots and other fruits. Vinyards surrounded the highway.
And then what a contrast. Salt Lake City. I drove onto Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake by crossing a causeway from Salt Lake City. The water level in the lake was very low due to summer evaporation. The salts and minerals thickened the water. The island itself is rugged and dry.
To reach the lake and walk in the extremely salty water, I passed through this picnic shelter and walked on the mineral encrusted sand that you see through it. At the horizon is a narrow tan line of dead vegetation, and then the shallow water. Quite a long hike in the brilliant hot sun.

Here are some of the antelope the island is named for. There are also free roaming herds of bison, and many migrating birds.
I was fascinated by the clarity of the sky and the colors of sunset.
The air was so clear that sounds carried for quite a distance.

Then on the visit Arches National Park.

Here is one of the many balanced rocks, left from volcanic extrusions.
Some of the formations look like groups of people.
There are many natural stone arches caused by wind and rain washing away softer rock.

Leaving Utah I drove through southern Colorado and into northern New Mexico.

This metal sculpture of Native Americans is at the visitor's center in Durango.

I've wanted to visit the Georgia O'Keefee museum in Santa Fe, since I visited Ghost Ranceh several years ago. In the city, I quickly learned that even with a GPS, it's impossible to drive a motor home through the narrow streets lined with adobe building.
I spent a wonderfully cool night at Glorieta conference center, and two night in Glen Rose for Camper's on Mission Texas rally, then on to HOT, HUMID Beaumont.