Awesome Staff

The staff members on Crystal Cruises are truly wonderful.  I loved meeting them and learning where they came from.  One special event that I attended was the “Mozart Tea.”  It was really special–the music, food and costumes.

I had seen the man on the right previously–he’s from Peru, where I have been to visit sponsored children.

This man at the piano was dressed like Mozart and played beautifully.

The snacks were incredible.

Here are many of the other staff members we met–all were so nice and special in various ways.  This man kept the decks clean and is from the Philippines, another country I’ve visited.

Our personal maid is also from Peru and she was great.

We just couldn’t thank them enough for the wonderful service they offered!



This video from Compassion is interesting because it’s not told from the viewpoint of the child; it’s told from the mother’s viewpoint. It’s very moving to see the difference Compassion made in her family’s life!


One of the stops on our drive through Peru was Chincheros.  Jorge stopped at this doorway and invited us in, where local women showed us their wares.

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First, we ran into our first Peruvian llamas, which were hilarious.

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The women offered us coca tea, and it was very good.  Then they demonstrated how wool is spun, dyed, and woven into beautiful tablerunners.

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Of course we had the option to buy some of the beautiful handwork, too, and we did.

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We really loved meeting these special women and learning more about their culture.



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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Mountain Women

On our bike ride through Grand Teton National Park, Cathy and I stopped to see the Geraldine Lucas homestead.  It has the most amazing view you can imagine.

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In the early 1900’s Geraldine divorced her husband, returned to college as a single mother, and then eventually headed West to retire, building this cabin in 1913.  At age 58, she became the second woman to make the summit of the Grand Teton, which, incidentally, was the highest peak right outside her window.

Click here to read more about Geraldine and to see the famous photo of her on the summit.

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We tried to imagine what it must have been like to live here in the winter.  This is the very toboggan she used to go back and forth to town.

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These carriages were near Menor’s Ferry, which will be featured in my next post.  This is one of the Robert and Grace Miller wagons that was used to cross the pass into Jackson Hole in 1888 — imagine that!

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The Miller home is on the National Elk Refuge.  I have shared a post about it previously.  Here is a photo of the home.


Grace Miller became famous in 1920 as a member of the nation’s first all-woman city council — she was elected Mayor — and the five of them were known as the “petticoat rulers.”

Other carriages here (near Menor’s ferry)  include ones from the Bar B C Dude Ranch and the JY Ranch.

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Cathy and I were thinking that any of these wagons would’ve been a pretty rough way to travel, especially in those days.  These were truly rugged pioneer women!

Great Stories

Here are some great stories from Compassion International for your summer reading:

The Changing Face of Africa

Water of Life in Thailand

A Mother’s Story

Building a Better Haiti

Cast Away No Longer



The Journey Continues

I have seen many uses of my Word of the Year so far.  I’m always amazed to see how quickly my notebook fills up each year.  It just happened that I had begun to turn a new direction in my quilt making, and had purchased some new books.  Strangely enough, they nearly all had the word “Journey” in the title:

Fabric Journey — by Ruth B. McDowell

Journey to Inspired Art Quilting — by Jean Wells

Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts — A Stress-Free Journey to Original Design — by Rayna Gillman

There were quotes within the books too, of course:

“Almost three years ago, I began a new journey with my quilting…I now see line in everything and immediately think about how I might piece something…sewing small pieces of fabric together as I build an idea is very exciting to me.”  — Jean Wells

“[Jean’s] passion for sewing and teaching has taken her on the journey that so many of us have viewed with awe and inspiration…I have had the incredible good fortune to accompany Jean on this new journey…”  — Betsy Rickles

“The most cherished friendship is not only one in which you enjoy time spent together — talking, sharing, and laughing — but also one in which you inspire each other, challenge each other, and find that you are taking creative journeys within yourself thanks to the influence of the other.  — Jean Wells

And so my mind has been on a journey of creativity and inspiration.  I have not started putting together an art quilt yet, but it is definitely starting to form in my mind.