Mike's Cross

This is the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  I’ve been reflecting on the many blessings I have in my life; all the things I have to be thankful for.  This blog post would be pages long if I tried to put all of them to words, so I have decided to sum them up with a picture blog.

First, I am thankful for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who created all that is, and ever will be.  I am thankful for Jesus who died on the cross for my sins that I might have eternal life.


Second, I am thankful for my country, the land of the free, because of the brave.  I am thankful I was able to be raised in a country with freedoms, and values, and privileges so many are not fortunate enough to know.

Mom Dad Sherry & Pat in Bruneau, Idaho 1955 (2)

Third, I am thankful for the family I was lucky enough to be born into.  I could not have hoped for better parents.  They were both so kind, loving, nurturing, and encouraging.  My sister was my friend, and still is.  She is always in my heart and mind.  They gave me the foundation I built my own family on.

Fourth, I am thankful for my husband, the lifestyle we have been able to live, and the family that we created.  My husband is my best friend, my soul mate, and partner on this walk we call life.  Our children have filled my heart and life with more joy and blessings than any woman deserves.

And lastly, I am thankful for the families my three beautiful children have created.  I have been blessed with one more daughter, and two more sons that I have learned to love as my own.  And those grandbabies…..oh how I love them all!  My heart is so full.  God is so good. I am so blessed.

These are the things that I am grateful for.  These are my blessings and treasures.  These are the things for which I give God thanks.


Happy Birthday Mindy

My daughter Mindy, with her beautiful family

How can it be that my baby is 39 years old today?  I was looking for a more recent picture of you by yourself for this blog post.   But I saw this one taken a few years back, and it felt right.

This is who you are, a loving wife, and mother.  They are the center of your life, and you, theirs.

When I look at you, your marriage, and the family you’ve created, my heart overflows.  Mindy, you have so many good qualities.  You are kind, caring, honest, and compassionate.  You also have strong beliefs about what is right and wrong, and stand up for those beliefs when you feel it is needed.  You are an encourager.  You are patriotic.  You love Jesus and follow Him.  You have given your children a great example to follow.

You have many talents.  You are a great photographer, cake baker, and cook.  You are a gifted writer (which I hope you will start doing more of).  You have many artistic talents and hobbies.  You make a pretty good ranch hand.  You are a great auction clerk, and much appreciated computer “assistant.”  Thank you for that last one!

But to me, you will always be my baby.  Yes, I see all you’ve become, and I am so proud of you.  But when I look at you I see the little bundle Doc Moren placed in my arms.  That sweet little girl, who would forever change and bless my life.  I see a little toddler with so much personality.  I see her marching across the floor like a soldier, chanting, ” Hup, one two, three!”  I see her singing “Chubby Old Groundhog” ( better known to many as Alabama’s, Dixie Land Delight) with such enthusiasm and facial expressions.  I see her very sensitive soul come out when her family giggled at something cute she said.  She thought we were laughing at her and burst into tears, telling us “It is not nice to laugh at little kids!”

I also see a little girl face her fears of darkness with the help of a lifelong friend.  His name was Jopeka.  Jopeka, that huge, stuffed dog, was a present from your Granddad Jim one Christmas when you were three years old.  It was love at first sight.  He was your watch dog.  He sat at the foot of your bed and faithfully protected you from all things scary in the dark.  Faithfully , through those toddler years and childhood years, there he sat.  Then we moved to Montana and you had to share a small room with your sister.  No room for Jopeka.  In spite of passionate protests, he took his place inside an old toy chest, and was lovingly placed in the storage shed.  There he remained until one day that little girl, (now in high school) went to the shed to find him.  She did find him, and came running into the house, crying hysterically, “Why did you put him in there?  The mice ate him!  The mice ate him!”  Jopeka was laid to rest….but never forgotten.

Thank you for so many wonderful memories.  Thank you for those loving little arms wrapped around my neck and the “Zerbets.”   Thank you for growing into a wonderful woman who still possesses all those little girl qualities.  I loved you then…I love you now….I’ll love you forever!   Happy birthday Mindy!

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Mindy and Jopeka….RIP!

Best of Friends!

Karl Duffield, Jerry Colyer, Marilyn Colyer Tipton

Other than my parents and my sister, cousins were probably my first and closest friends.  I grew up close to many of them.  Some that lived far away I did not know as well.  The three above hold a very special place in my heart.

The oldest, Karl, actually lived with me and my parents for one school year.  He was…and still is kind, polite, and fun to be around.  He served our country in the Viet Nam war and was wounded there.  He later made the military his career.  I am very proud of him.  He has always been someone I admired and looked up to.

Jerry, in the middle, was such fun.  He always had a smile on his face.  He could be a little mischievous at times, but he was the sweetest, person you could ever know.  Like his Dad, he was a cowboy at heart.  He died in a tragic motorcycle accident when I was a senior in high school.  I think he was in the eighth grade.  His death tore me up.  I still can’t hear his name without those feelings of grief coming back, and those questions of “why Jerry”, haunting me.  I always wonder what he would have been like when he grew up, and what he would have done in his life.  But I think I know.  He would have been a cowboy.  And he would have been the kind of friend and neighbor who was the first to reach out and help in time of trouble or need.  I don’t believe time could have changed those qualities in him.  I miss him.

Marilyn, his sister, and I, have always been very close.  She is a lot like Jerry.  She always has a smile and warm heart.  Marilyn and Jerry were always best buddies.  I remember at his funeral, how I kinda fell apart.  She showed so much strength and courage, and  carried herself with grace and dignity.  Marilyn is one of the strongest women I’ve ever known.  She is hard-working and fun too.  I wish we still lived close enough that we could visit and share holidays like we used to.

Time and distance has physically separated my cousins and me. ( I have many, these are just three. )  But time can not erase memories.  It can not take away childhood games, and shenanigans.  It can not take away family times spent fishing, riding, and boating.  Time and distance can’t erase memories of family picnics and holidays filled with good times and good food.  It can not erase the warmth, the laughter, or the feelings of love I have for them all.

I think we need another family reunion!!

My Uncle Bob

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Bob Craig, Bruneau, ID

Today is my Uncle Bob’s 81st birthday.  This picture was taken in his rodeo days.  I am not sure how old he was in this photo, but he started to rodeo in his teens.  I am not positive, but I think he is wearing one the many rodeo buckles he won.  I also believe he is wearing a belt that his dad, my grandfather, made him.

I love this picture of Uncle Bob.  He looks like the classic cowboy doesn’t he?  He’s got his dress white shirt tucked into his going to town blue jeans and those jeans tucked into his fancy top boots!

My uncle not only looks like the classic rodeo cowboy, he is.  He rode bulls, saddle broncs and bareback.   A few years back he was inducted into the Legends of Rodeo Hall of Fame.

But to me he was always just a fun-loving prankster.  He hasn’t changed one bit, he still is.  My girls appear to have inherited some of his shenanigans.  They have an ongoing challenge to outdo him.  I think he might have met his match with them.

A lot of people look up to Bob Craig for his rodeo achievements.

I’m not saying  that I am not impressed by his achievements in the Rodeo circle,  but that is not the reason I look up to him.  I look up to him because he has always been a kid at heart.  He has never forgotten how to laugh, love, and live life in the moment.  He doesn’t expect anything special from me.  He just loves me as I am.  And that spirit of his is why I love him back!  Happy birthday Uncle Bob!

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Bob on Tootsie (My sister’s pony)  Always the kid!

Always The Cowboy

Jim Craig and Nick

That is my Dad, Jim Craig, and his pony Nick.  I’ve always loved this picture.

When I was visiting with Dad this fall, he told me a little story about Nick that I never heard before.  My Granddad Ed won him in a contest and he was shipped to Bruneau, ID to my Dad’s home.  How cool is that?

My Dad is in his nineties now, and you still see a warm smile on his face and sparkle in his eyes, when he talks about Nick.

Memories are such a great thing, aren’t they?  You can be in your nineties and still go back and revisit a moment from your childhood and be flooded with the same feelings of love you had when you were just 3 or 4 years old!

I love the way my Dad sits in that saddle and the way he holds his reins.  He was a cowboy even then.  I love his hat, his neck scarf, and his chaps.  If I’m not mistaken, my Granddad made them for Dad…and it wouldn’t be the first pair he made for him.

Dad grew up living the cowboy life.  He was raised on the family ranch at Bruneau, ID.  Dad, along with his father, and brother, built the first rodeo grounds in Bruneau.  He worked ranches in Idaho, Montana, California, and Nevada.  He worked on cattle ranches as well as horse ranches.  He trained polo horses for a time, and trained, and showed Quarter horses for several years as well.

That is my Dad, Jim Craig…..always the cowboy!

Jim Craig on Dorado Pledge in California…wearing one of the last pair of chaps my Granddad would make him!


Sweet 16

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Lillie Belle Wells age 16

I absolutely love this picture of my Grandma Lillie.  I love finding old pictures that show a side of the people I love, that I never knew.  I love her hair.  I love her “big” hat.  I love her slender figure, her feminine outfit, and her bracelet.

This is my Grandma at age 16.  When she was showing me this picture, Granddad said, “Sweet sixteen, and never been kissed!”  He smiled and winked at her, and she blushed.  I loved it.  They were probably in their eighties at the time.

But this is not the Grandma I knew.  When I knew Grandma, she was heavy-set and wore her hair in a bun.  She wore “old lady” dresses, and “old lady” shoes.  They were always black shoes that laced up to her ankles. I don’t ever remember her wearing any jewelry, other than a watch.  And I can’t even imagine her wearing a hat like in this picture!  I just love this!

Grandma was one of the sweetest, most loving and genuine ladies I have ever known.  She was a very hard worker and great cook.  She raised eight children, four boys, and four girls, one of which was my mother.  I love and miss you Grandma Lillie!





The first picture above is of me, and the second is of my sister “Patsy”, as she was known back then.

I love these pictures of us.  They filled me with such warm memories that they brought tears to my eyes.  We were kinda cute weren’t we?  Both dressed alike, our hair in curls, and both with big smiles.

I’ve been sitting here for a while just staring at these pictures trying to figure out why they moved me so.   I know now why.  It is because I can see and feel the love in them.  Maybe you can’t, but I can.

I know a small boy who is going through some very hard times right now.  He is from a broken home, and his current family situation is filled with more pain and stress than any child should have to endure.  He is not in any physical danger, but he is feeling alone, abandoned, and not loved the way a child should be.  It breaks my heart for him.

When I look at these photos of us, I see the unconditional love of parents who were always there for us.  I know how lucky and blessed we were.  I see my Dad holding us and making us giggle.  I see my Mom holding us and comforting us when we didn’t feel good.  I see them both taking us with them to rodeos, dances, shopping, and Sunday rides in the car.

Mom always loved to “dress up” her little girls.  We often were dressed in matching outfits.  I can remember little black patten- leather shoes, with socks that had turn down lacy cuffs and flowers on them.

She always took time to brush our hair with love.  We both had thick, curly hair; Pat’s much more curly than mine.  It tangled easy and wasn’t that easy to work with, but she was always gentle.  She made us feel special, like we were getting our hair done by a hair dresser.  Lots of times we were given braids, or pony tails, which were easier and quicker.  Even then she would add decorative pony-tail fasteners, barretts, or ribbons, that made us feel pretty.  Her favorite way to make us feel pretty was to give us ringlets.  That is what we have in these pictures.  You don’t see ringlets much on little girls these days.  Mom would separate our hair in pieces and brush them around her finger to form long curls.  Then she would usually use ribbons or barretts to pull them off our faces.

We had big smiles because we were happy children.  We were loved very much.  That is what I see when I look at those curls.  Those ringlets…..they represent my Momma’s love.