One of the reasons we wanted to go to Brussels was to see our dear friend, Hugues, one of our first Rotary exchange students that lived with us years ago.  It was exciting to meet him in the square, and to spend a few hours with him.

And clown around with him.

So now we had our own private tour guide and he showed us all around.

Of course, he took us right away to “Manneken Pis,” the peeing boy, which oddly I had never heard about before.  He’s quite famous; you can buy statues with clothes for him; what a riot.

Hugues also showed us where to find the best Belgium chocolate, explained all the important government and international buildings and showed us some beautiful places.

Next time we go we’ll need to see his family and the area where he lives and works, but it was great to see him again.



I took dozens of photos of statues and sculptures in Amsterdam.  This is just a small sampling of the ones we saw there.  I love this kind of artwork, and it is quite varied, as you will see.


This first quote was read at our wedding and is very special to me.  Perhaps this is part of the reason why our marriage has lasted over 40 years and is still strong today.  However, this scripture goes far beyond marriage to relationships with all others.  It’s wonderful to see it as translated in the J.B. Phillips version of the Bible.  I love the thought of “harmony” in relationships–not pushy or proud; forgiving, understanding, waiting when necessary; kind, peaceful, putting others first.  We don’t succeed at this, of course, but that’s where the first sentence comes into play — “purified and beloved of God Himself” — God is the one that purifies us (see the first quote on my next post).

As, therefore, God’s picked representatives of the new humanity, purified and beloved of God himself, be merciful in action, kindly in heart, humble in mind.  Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone.  Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you.  And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, remembering that as members of the one body you are called to live in harmony, and never forget to be thankful for what God has done for you.  Let Christ’s teaching live in your hearts, making you rich in the true wisdom.  Teach and help one another along the right road with your psalms and hymns and Christian songs, singing God’s praises with joyful hearts.  And whatever work you may have to do, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, thanking God the Father through him.  Wives, adapt yourselves to your husbands, that your marriage may be a Christian unity.  Husbands, be sure you give your wives much love and sympathy; don’t let bitterness or resentment spoil your marriage.  As for you children, your duty is to obey your parents, for at your age this is one of the best things you can do to show your love for the Lord.  Fathers, don’t over-correct your children, or they will grow up feeling inferior and frustrated.  Slaves (or workers), your job is to obey your masters (employers) not with the idea of currying favor, but as a sincere expression of your devotion to the Lord.  Whatever you do, put your whole heart and soul into it, as unto work done for the Lord, and not merely for men–knowing that your real reward, a heavenly one, will come from the Lord, since you are actually employed by the Lord Christ, and not just by your earthly master.  –Colossians 3:12-17

I just heard recently in a sermon that at the time these words were written, slavery was nothing like we understand it today.  Roman slavery was a choice; one third of the population voluntarily connected with a master, giving up freedom in order to obey another.  Sadly, I would assume this was the poorest of society, so whether it was closer to slavery as we know it, or to a worker/employer relationship, I don’t know.  I do know that Christ rightfully expresses the value and equality of all–slave and free, master and servant, male and female, all races and nations (see Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11, Psalm 67:1-4).



The Symphony cruise ship from Crystal Cruises is beautiful.  I like the fact that it’s smaller than most cruise ships, elegant, has several different restaurants, has a great crew and provides lots of activities.  On the days we were cruising we had plenty to keep us busy.

This is one of the evening shows.  We had the option of going to movies, too, or dancing to live jazz music.

Once again, here are some pics from mealtimes.

We were cruising in November of 2015 (three months after our 40th anniversary), so it wasn’t surprising that some Christmas characters started showing up, mysteriously, from day to day.  It was fun to watch the transformation of the entire ship.



We travelled to Oviedo, Spain to see our friend, Lizzie.  It’s truly a beautiful town, in between the mountains and the ocean in northern Spain.  The area is known as “Asturias,” and we truly fell in love with it.





Oviedo is on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage that goes from France across northern Spain to the the Cathedral where St. James is believed to be buried.  A beautiful movie called “The Way” has been produced about this pilgrimage.  Seashells on the pavement show the way through town, and unique passport stamps can be obtained all along the journey.  We saw several pilgrims as we walked around.


We also noticed a lot of interesting statues throughout the town.








This statue is of Woody Allen — a favorite celebrity of the town that has spent a lot of time in Asturias.


We went up on the hillside to take a look at the city with the mountains beyond.


There was another beautiful statue up here.


We loved Oviedo and were eager to do more exploring the next day.



Crashing Through Walls

On a recent trip to Denver I went through Laramie, WY, on the return, so I could see D. Michael Thomas’ latest sculpture.  It’s truly magnificent.

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You have to be standing right next to the horse to get a sense of its size.

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Significantly, it was decided to portray a cowgirl rather than a cowboy on the horse.  She’s riding the horse her brother could not ride.  Look at the explanation from sculptor D. Michael Thomas below:

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The sculpture is installed on the University of Wyoming campus at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center.  Here is more explanation about women in Wyoming, which is appropriately known as the Equality State.  Rugged women in the West have been breaking down and crashing through walls for years.

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I visited Mike’s workshop while he was working on this sculpture, more than a year ago.  As usual, it was amazing to watch him at work — every detail of the saddle, figures and clothing were taken into account to make it as authentic as possible.

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Below you can see some of the details before and after it was bronzed.

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Once the sculpture was completed, it had to be broken up into 83 different pieces by the Caleco Foundary in Cody in order to be bronzed.  It’s very heavy — the hat alone weighs 200 pounds, though it appears to have blown off her head as she crashed through the wall.

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I’m proud of Mike’s work, and of all he has done for this great state of Wyoming.  Take a look at Mike’s website and you’ll see many of the other sculptures he has installed in various places, including one for his late friend, Chris LeDoux, in Kaycee, WY.  On his website, click on the “Sculptures” and “Photos” tabs to see just how creative he can be.  Great work, Mike — congratulations on another completed (and beautifully successful) project!

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The Old West

The first morning in Jackson Hole my dad took us to the Historical Society and Museum.  Here, he is explaining something to my friend Cathy.  He has been a volunteer for the Historical Society for many years and knows more about the original homesteaders than anyone else in town.  He has given many talks at this museum, and has given many historical tours in various places of the valley.  It’s always fun to hear his stories of “old timers” in the old west.

2015-08-12 10.15.44_500The museum has a wonderful display of articles from the past.

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Here are some items from the dude ranches.

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There are displays pertaining to early hunting and mountaineering.

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Ranch life is well represented as well.

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I love this sculpture by our local friend, D. Michael Thomas called “The Coats of Winter.”  In addition to the coats of the horses and cowboy, you can see a small dog on top of the hay on the sled.

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I also enjoy looking at the old musical instruments that were used at various dude ranches in the early years of the 1900’s, including this beautiful upright piano.  It makes me wonder how many stories this piano could tell if it could speak.

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