Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Walking Miracle!

 As you probably already know, John and I had a pretty amazing adventure/nightmare last week. Our friend that feels like family, Jerry Thomas went missing a week ago last Wednesday while picking huckleberries with a friend. He was camping up by Parish Lake on the west side of the top of the Cascade Mountains in Linn County.

For the next three days there were search and rescue teams from 10 counties, sheriff's department officials, a heat-seeking helicopter from the Oregon National Guard, horses, Linn County Posse, scent dogs and their handlers, ATV teams, and the best tracker in the United States, combing the area and searching daylight hours.
Every day we would get up and rendevoux with team leaders and they would depart on their duties. Most of these people were volunteers, trained in search and rescue techniques. There was also a wonderful chaplain, again a volunteer, attached to the Linn County sherrif's office. 
The forest is not like on our eastern side of the mountains, but thick, brushy and filled with old growth timber and lots of fallen logs. It made for very difficult searching.

Jerry and Mary were camping for a few days with friends Don & Linda Wright, and Don and Jerry were huckleberry picking when Jerry wandered off in search of the best berries. It wouldn't and didn't take long to get turned around in the heavy terrain of the area. This is a photo of the Wrights trailer and ours, with the insurance man, Linda Wright, Mary and her sister Judy. The first 2 days the forest service would not let us search on foot, but only in vehicles on all the roads and logging spurs we could find. On Friday most of our gang decided they had enough of that, and set off on foot searching. (They were careful to stay together).
Saturday morning, after 3 days and 3 nights in the forest, Jerry walked out here. He had slept by or under logs, had collected thunder storm water in his hat, and eaten berries that he had or found. He is one tough cookie! When he woke up that day he just knew he would find a road, and he did...a logging spur. He walked it down here to a trail head at Daly Lake.
Looks pretty peaceful doesn't it? But it wasn't peaceful for all of us looking and searching for him. He found a guy with his camper there and Jerry asked him to take him to his campsite. 
What a stir it made when they pulled up together in the midst of about 100 searchers! The guy driving said he felt like he set foot in the middle of a hornets nest. Jerry just kind of looked around and wondered why all the people were out there in the middle of the forest. 
When I took this photo he looked up and said don't take it, I haven't combed my hair!! We all had a very tearful, joyous, riotous reunion.
Later he sat and told us about his adventure. He refused the ambulance and no one saw a need for it. He was not injured in any way, not even any scratches. His glasses were broken, his hearing aids dead as well as his cell phone, but he is the old time kind of rancher, hunter, cowboy who knows how to survive in the forest. And he has a great protector in his Heavenly Father.
Here are some of the friends and family that were there to welcome Jerry back and celebrate together this walking miracle.
 I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life! Even a little thinner, a little weaker, and a little grayer. So glad he's home.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Now a Story of Forgiveness, Peace, Blessing and Comfort!

On September 11, 2015 I put a story on the blog about the people in the photo above. It told a story of friendship, jealousy, rage and finally violent murder. (If you would like to re-read this story put 'Brak' into the search box on the right side of this blog and it will take you right to it.)

'Braskell, the one murdered, is the man with a guitar on the far right in the photo. Much to my shock, two days ago I was contacted by the murderer's granddaughter Laura. She explained that she found my name on my blog and then messaged me on Facebook. She was discouraged from contacting me by her family, who did not want to see her hurt. But she felt the need to let me know how her Grandpa Oscar's life turned out. We messaged back and forth on the computer that day, both of us in tears.

After receiving a life sentence for the murder, Oscar served eight years and was released for good behavior. Laura then told me that he came home from prison and lived a solid, hard working life. He came home to his wife and daughter, and eventually Laura. The crime was never discussed and Laura grew up not knowing anything about it. She said she grew up with an amazing Grandpa who worked until he was 75 providing for his family. She told me he was humble and simple and lived as though he deserved nothing. His manners and actions were kind and apologetic. 

Three years ago Oscar was in the hospital, and told Laura about Braskell and the murder. She said that finding out her Grandpa took a man's life was unbearable. After she found my blog, she read him the story I wrote and it continually brought him to tears. She wrote me that the story I wrote down, and Ruel Teague told, was verified as accurate by Oscar. His life had never been easy, with both he and his wife carrying the guilt with them every day, and carrying Braskell in his soul. He frequently commented that he deserved nothing. Oscar passed away in August of 2015. 

Laura thanked me for writing down the story and sharing the post. She said that her mom had been told that Oscar's sister Ophie influenced Oscar and encouraged him to be violent. But our story verified that for her. She also said that her mom would find closure from this event, after I told her that our family had forgiven Oscar, finding Ophie to be the mainly guilty party. Her mom needed that forgiveness and closure because she had been only two years old and in the back seat of that car the evening of the murder, and she witnessed the whole thing. (We never knew that horrible truth) 

We both told each other how good God is, to bring forgiveness,  closure and peace to this story 64 years after it happened, for both families, when that seemed impossible.  

Laura's main point for writing was to let us know that her family has not forgotten. That Braskell's life mattered to them and that losing him was tragic. She wanted to give some comfort to our family and I wanted to give some comfort to her family. She sent us her condolences and we both blessed each other. Only God can do that. Turn a story of friendship, jealousy, rage, and murder into one of forgiveness, peace, blessing and comfort. I am so very happy to be able to write this postscript to the original story. Wow!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

After a Cold Wet Winter

 After a cold wet winter, with lots of snow for insulation, my garden has been in great shape this spring and summer. I have so enjoyed getting out and enjoying all my thriving plants.
 This is a honeysuckle bush and some pretty petite iris's that I got from my mother-in-law's yard before she sold her home.
 These iris are called 'Stepping Out' and I got them from a wonderful lady who gardened in Burns and shared them with me probably 40 years ago. I have been dragging them with me to each yard I have gardened in since. The insurance man and our grandson Ben dug them up last fall and divided them, so that I had enough to share with daughter Joy.
 Various plants blooming among the lava rocks.

 This is another plant I moved from Burns to Bend, and they are the prettiest deep red peonies. Love this bush Mom!
 Results of the peonies...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Long Time Coming

My, oh my, has it been a long time since I posted here. Life has been hard for me to catch a tail and hang on. But now, in mid-summer, I think I may have a bit more focus back to the important things of life. I have a a quote that I love, that I will share today.

"With pomp, power & glory 
the world beckons vainly.
In chase of such vanities
why should I roam?
While peace and content bless
my little thatched cottage,
and warm my own hearth 
with the treasures of home."

My feeling exactly said by Beatrix Potter.

I'll come back soon, and post a longer post about what's been going on.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ben, this one is for you!

Last week-end we had a wonderful blessing. We made a trip to the Oregon Coast with some of the last remaining members of  my family. We rented a house in south Lincoln City for four couples. This was the beautiful view from the deck of the house. 
We rested, we visited, we remembered (a lot!), we worked on a jigsaw puzzle, we read, we ate (a lot!), we took pictures, we played a crazy funny game, and we loved each other.
Left is brother Joe and wife Cathy, right is cousin Beckie and husband Tim,
cousin Bill and wife Sandy (Beckie's brother) 

and us of course!
We all brought food, and teams were in the kitchen fixing up some great meals.
We had a great long table that accommodated all of us with a beautiful view besides.
Some watched the Daytona 500 on TV...
While others had political conversations.
We watched the ocean almost non-stop. Big waves this time of year, but no whale watching yet. Still in Mexican waters I hear. Lots of fishing boats out, and even some paddle boarders in wet suits. It was sunny mostly, but very chilly. We did wrap up in coats and blankets and sat in these chairs in the bit of weak sun we got. We also climbed down the cliff (95 steps) and a rusted metal ladder at the bottom to walk on the beach and revel in it.It was great!!

My brother and I, and our cousins Bill and Beckie grew up together like siblings almost. But as life does, we got busy in work and families and have not had extended time like this together in our adult lives. I can't say enough what a blessing it was to me. We talked about our parents (now gone) and their large family now almost all gone. What a great family we had to grow up in, and our family get-together's were wonderful. Lots of Aunts, Uncles, and cousins to enjoy. Our memories are sweet for the most part, and very precious as we enter the senior phase of our own lives. 
We were blessed with a full rainbow ending in the ocean right in front of us. WOW! God's pleasure and promise to those who walk with Him. 
I only hope we will get the chance to do this again sometime soon!

** As my grandchildren grow up and leave home I hope they will remember to get together to share their own memories of growing up and family!