Not sure why, but the other day I had the idea to go back through my digital photos and pick a favorite from each year. The first photo is of our new hot air balloon in 1988.The remaining photos are from 2001-2018 (1 from each year in order).

It was fun looking through the old files and remembering places, people and fun that was happening at the time. I hope you enjoy.

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Andersonville National Cemetery

This past weekend Kathy & I, along with her cousins from Nebraska, took a day trip to the Andersonville National Cemetery and POW camp in southern Georgia. What a humbling experience! Kathy discovered, while doing family history research, that she has family members who were held in the POW camp at Andersonville during the Civil War. The two family  members were part of the fortunate minority that survived incarceration and returned home after the war.

Our first stop was the  National Prisoner of War Museum. This facility pays tribute to all POWs from all United States wars. This facility is located adjacent to the Andersonville POW camp and National Cemetery.

Life in the POW camp was horrible. Overcrowding. Shortages of food & water. Unsanitary. Limited medical care.

Standing among the markers of the almost 13,000 soldiers that are buried in this cemetery was a moving experience. So many are buried here and this is only one of many national military cemeteries around the country. Being there brings a small amount of understanding the sacrifices these soldiers made to ensure the security and safety of this country. May we never forget their sacrifices.

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Callaway Gardens

I’m glad I’m retired so I have time for photography and posting on my “sometimes-blog”! I thought I had long to-do lists before, but now the lists grows faster than I can complete items. I am living proof that “multitasking” is not a good way to accomplish projects.

Anyway, a few weeks ago Kathy and I took a day trip to Callaway Gardens in Georgia.

Callaway Gardens is a 6,500-acre (2,600 ha) resort complex located in Pine MountainGeorgia, just outside Columbus, Georgia. The destination draws over 750,000 visitors annually.

Callaway Gardens was founded in 1952 by Cason J. and Virginia Hand Callaway to promote and protect native azalea species. His son, Bo Callaway, helped develop and run the garden. Today, Callaway Gardens features a wide variety of recreational attractions including a large enclosed butterfly habitat, the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. The native palm Sabal minor maintains one of its northernmost populations in the area.

It was a beautiful day and we really enjoyed all the beautiful flowers and the Birds of Prey demonstration. Three birds were on display. During the presentation the birds flew from the front of the Amphitheater to the back, flying at or below eye level of the audience. We were advised not to stand up or raise our hands during the program.

Here are a few pictures from our trip. The birds are a Harris’s Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, a Barred Owl, and a Great Blue Heron.

The butterflies were in the Butterfly Center. I haven’t chased butterflies since 5th grade.

I hope this post finds y’all well and happy. God Bless and Stay Happy!!



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Flower Power

Max just finished licking the salt off my fingers (Sun Chips – They’re the best) and reminded me that it has been a long time since I have posted anything on line. (Good Boy, Max). I used to tease My Mom and Kathy’s Mom & Dad about how busy their schedules were even though they were retired. I was not sure I would have the stamina to keep up in retirement. Little did I know then how true that would prove to be. Thank goodness for nap times. (I still think we should go into retirement out of college until we are 60, and then go to work to pay back the retirement 😀)

I’m retired why do I have so much to do? Just asking… 😀

Anyway, enough about that. On the many trips out in our back yard with Max – he loves to be outside, but only if one or both of us are out there with him (who’s training whom?) – I took the following pictures of the flowers/trees in our yard. I am always amazed at the beauty around us. Thank goodness Max slows me down enough to take notice and snap a few pictures. I hope you enjoy these…



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Our Trip to Israel – Day 3 (Sunday)

OK, no more excuses (at least no more new ones). Here is a brief summary of our 3rd day in Israel. After breakfast at the hotel, we met our Tour guide – Shooki – and were off to visit the sites in and around Jerusalem.


It is amazing the requirements that must be satisfied, and the tests – both oral and written – that must be passed to become a registered tour guide in Israel. A college degree sounds easier to do.

Our first stop this day was at the Mount of Olives. It provided a fabulous view overlooking the Old & New City of Jerusalem. One of the stops we made was at a Jewish cemetery on the hillside. There is much symbolism to the way the graves and their markers are done. The dead are here waiting to be resurrected and to enter through the Golden Gate into the Old City.


As I mentioned in a previous installment the stones on the graves are an indication that, “I was here to visit.” It’s a good thing Shooki told us this before my OCD kicked in and I started “straightening up the mess on the graves.”


The photo above is a view from the Mount of Olives looking down on one side of the wall around the Old City. Under the double arches you can see the Closed off Golden Gate. This is the gate that will be opened when Jesus returns to earth. The graves in front of the gate are Muslim deceased. They have been purposely placed there to keep Jews from entering through the Golden Gate because only the “pure” can enter and if you travel through a cemetery you are not “pure.”


This is the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu. It is a Roman Catholic Church located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion. There were just a couple of churches/chapels/ synagogues/temples in Jerusalem (tongue-in-cheek).

Our next stop was at the Garden of Gethsemane with its “very old” Olive trees, and the Church of All Nations.

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Here is another look at the wall around the Old City from in front of the Church of All Nations.oldcity-11

Shooki drove us to an entrance into the Old City, and while we waited for him to park his car and walk back to meet us, we relaxed in one of the “Oh so many” cafes.

According to Wikipedia, “The Old City (Hebrew: העיר העתיקה‎‎, Ha’Ir Ha’Atiqah, Arabic: البلدة القديمة‎‎, al-Balda al-Qadimah, Turkish: Kudüs, Armenian: Երուսաղեմի հին քաղաք, Yerusaghemi hin k’aghak’ ) is a 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 sq mi) walled area[2] within the modern city of Jerusalem.” There are four sections of the Old City – Jewish, Christian, Armenian, & Muslim.

oldcity-1 oldcity-2 oldcity-3 Lots of shopping opportunities throughout. Although we did not (could not) go into the Muslim Quarter.

Kathy wanted to shop for some spices so Shooki took us to his favorite vendor (Shooki knew everyone and everyone knew him)oldcity-13

Here are your choices. Pick what you want and how much. All out in the open for your shopping pleasure.oldcity-14 oldcity-15

After a little souvenir shopping at Shooki’s favorite vendor, we walked around the corner to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. So awesomely beautiful, ornate and yet very humbling.oldcity-16 oldcity-17

As we continued walking through more narrow “streets” (more like crowded aisles at Walmart but much darker and the floor was very uneven.) Shooki stopped us and said, “Wait here,” and he walked off down the street you see in the photo below. oldcity-18

In a few moments he returned and said, “It’s OK for us to go down to the end of this street.” Curious!! He had talked with 3 armed (automatic weapons armed) Israeli policemen to get permission for us to come down. We were now as close to the Temple Mount – one of the most important religious sites in the world – as a non-Muslim can get. It is in the Muslim Quarter. No non-Muslim is allowed in the Muslim Quarter. Those figures in the shadows? They are armed Muslim guards there to keep out those who do not belong.

From here we walked to the Western Wall (The Wailing Wall) in the Jewish Quarter. This is where those of the Jewish faith come to pray. No photos or recordings were allowed so there are none to include here.shooki

Thus endeth Day 3. If you ever have the opportunity to visit and tour Israel, we highly recommend Shooki Makovky as your tour guide. He was/is awesome and very knowledgable.

Until the Day 4 report, God Bless and have a great day. Thanks for stopping by.

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Our Trip to Israel – Day 2 (Saturday)

Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath so almost everything is closed. The Sabbath is observed from just before sunset on Friday to just after dark on Saturday. As such there is very little activity on the streets. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conducts our services on Saturday in Israel too. Kathy & I arranged for a limo to take us up to The Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies for the service. This beautiful facility is located on the Mt. of Olives in Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem.


There are beautiful gardens in front of the Center which overlook the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the modern Jerusalem skyline. The photo below is a panorama of the skyline from the overlook.


The next two photos show a closer look at the wall around the old city. The Gold-domed building that is half cutoff on the right side of the first photo is the very controversial Temple Mount (the Temple Mount is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians). The mosque to the left with the smaller black dome is the al aqsa mosque. I’ll share more details about the mosques, the wall, and the Old City when we get to Day 3.

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As we drove back to the hotel, our driver told us we were on the “green highway” or highway 1 – the main highway in Israel. He said before the 1967 war, Israel was on the West side of the road and Jordan was on the East side, with a large concrete wall standing between the two countries where a grass median exists today. The photo below shows the Jerusalem City Hall. Look closely and you can see the bullet holes from the 1967 war.

israel-12There were lots of outdoor restaurants throughout the city (not all of them McDonald’s) and many had some form of decorations up along side or above the seating areas.

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Saturday afternoon we walked through the neighborhood/business district near the hotel. There was very little activity so it was nice to have no pressure while taking in a few of the local sights. Even a Pizza Hut!

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Notice the signs were all displayed with Hebrew, Arabic, and English text (Thank goodness). We had a quiet dinner in a restaurant across from our hotel and retired early to prepare for our first big day of guided touring. Sunday would consist of walking through all four sectors of the Old City and up to the Mount of Olives. It would be a very full day!!!

Day 3 coming up.

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Our Trip to Israel – Day 1 (Friday)

I just looked at the date on the first pictures I took on our trip to Israel. It is hard to believe that was over a month ago. If you will indulge me I will share a few of the highlights and pictures from our trip over the next few posts.

Kathy & I left Bulgaria on El Al Airlines enroute to Tel Aviv. We were told that getting through Israeli security would be a long and painful process. It was not. The customer service people were very nice, friendly, professional and VERY thorough. No rummaging through bags or pat downs – just “friendly discussion and questions.” The flight went well and we were met at the arrival gate by an escort. Kathy had prearranged all the details of our trip through the travel agent we had used for many years while in Minnesota.

Anyway, our escort took us out a “No Entry” door, down a few steps and out onto the flight line – yes, he was attending to our bags – into an awaiting van (with no bars on the windows). The van driver dropped us (and our escort) off at a door that led directly to customs entry. We were escorted through the “Flight Crew Only” line, out to an awaiting limo which would drive us from the airport in Tel Aviv to our hotel in Jerusalem.israel-1

On israel-2our way we made a side trip to Horeshim to visit the gravesite of Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt. Kathy & I studied with, worked with, and were tutored by Eli for many years. He was a very good friend. It was a special stop we had to make.




israel-2aAs we would learn later, the stones/rocks on the grave markers are a traditional way of saying to the deceased “I was here to visit.” I’m glad my OCD didn’t kick in to where I would have tried to straighten up and remove the rocks!!


Everywhere we went we saw barbed wire fences and concrete walls. israel-2b


As we approached our hotel near the old city in Jerusalem, we saw a familiar sight. McDonald’s is everywhere. The blue background on the sign indicates it is a Kosher McDonald’s – no cheeseburgers there.



The street outside our hotel was a pedestrian only street with shops and restaurants. Lots of lighted globes were strung above the street. Very peaceful and beautiful.

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We checked in to the hotel, went to our room, and slept for most of the rest of the day.



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Changing of the Guard

I visited the Arlington National Cemetery just outside of Washington, D.C., yesterday. Wow! I have been trying to find words to adequately convey my feelings while there and afterwards. My words and pictures will not do justice to the solemnity and vastness of the cemetery grounds, nor to the incredible sacrifice the individuals who are buried there gave to keep this country free.

Our country is so blessed to have men and women who are willing to give the full measure of service to the United States of America. We own them so much, the least we can do is give them our full measure of respect and gratitude.

On my way to the Tomb of the Unknowns I walked along paths that were surrounded by over 400,000 heros. I wanted to witness the Changing of the Guard. Incredible. These few pictures attempt to record the solemnity, the perfection, and the dedication of the members of the Sentinels who are members of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment.

At the appointed time, the Sergeant posts in front of the crowd that had gathered to witness this ceremony. He briefly described what was about to happen and then “ordered” (he really didn’t, but from his voice you knew you must) all present to stand. We did! While the Sergeant inspects the oncoming guard, the soldier on duty continues to guard the tomb. Once the inspection is complete, the guard is changed and the Sergeant and relieved soldier depart.

It was a beautiful day, filled with great emotion. I have great respect for those who served and for those who are serving – wherever they may be stationed. May God Bless each and everyone of them and their families. We, as a country, owe so much to these great Americans.

God Bless you,

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