Days of Thanksgiving…Day 11

Jim Craig


My Dad Jim Craig served in the Navy during WWII.  Three of my mother’s brothers also served in that war.

I have several cousins that were in the service, one wounded in Viet Nam. My husband had two uncles in WWII also, both Purple Heart recipients. He also had several cousins who have served our nation, one badly wounded in Viet Nam.

My husband and I both have family that are currently serving in our military.

So as you can see, loving our military and its veterans is a personal thing to me.

My husband and I went to breakfast at Perkins this morning after church.  A banner honoring all branches of our military stretched across their counter. There was a group of veterans sitting across from us.  Perkins paid for all their meals.  I thought that was very cool.

Our country enjoys freedom most countries can only dream of. But our freedom is not free. If you see a person in our country’s uniform today, thank them for their service.

Today I am thankful for our veterans.



Days of Thanksgiving…Day10


I used to live in California near the Santa Rosa area where last year wild fires devastated entire communities.  It destroyed the Christian school where I attended for two years.

Now fires are raging through California again. The news is reporting that 20 plus people have lost their lives, many in cars trying to flee.

We lived through the Derby fire in Montana a few years ago, which burned a small portion of our ranch.  We were lucky.  Several lost homes.  I know of the fear they are going through.

When I see the pictures of the destruction and devastation, I ask myself, “what can I possibly give thanks for today?” My heart grieves with them all for what they are going through.

My husband, daughter, and two sons-in-law plus other family members have all fought on wildfires through the years. They risk their lives running into the fires that others are running from.  They are well-trained and knowledgable in fire management and safety.  I can tell you first hand that helps very little when you are the one sitting at home praying they will return in one piece.

Firefighters. They are what I am thankful for today.  May God protect and keep them and those they risk their lives to protect.

Days of Thanksgiving…Day 9

Oh how time does fly! This first picture is of my youngest child when she was three years old.  It was Christmas and she is snuggling with Jopeka who just came into her life.  He ended up being one of her biggest, and most loyal friends!

Mindy had a fear of the dark from before she could walk or talk.  The day Jopeka came to live with her as her guard dog, she had a companion to help conquer that fear.  He sat at the foot of her bed and protected her from things that go bump in the night.

Today is that sweet little girl’s 40th birthday! She has grown into a beautiful, confident, and multi-talented woman. Though she will always be my “baby”, she is a loving wife and mother of her own three children.

Mindy has many talents.  Not only does she work alongside her husband and his parents helping them with their auction business, but she is a fantastic photographer.  I keep hounding her to open her own photography business.  I know she would do great.  She also makes amazing birthday cakes…

Mindy and Logan cake

like this one for her youngest son’s birthday just a few days ago.  Who doesn’t love The Dukes of Hazard?

Mindy, you have filled my heart and mind with so many wonderful memories of the little girl you used to be, and the woman you are now. You had such a sweet and loving heart, and such determination!

You still have that sweet, loving heart and the determination to do anything you set your mind to.  The world is a better place because of you.

Today I am thankful to God for making you my daughter.

P.S.  That determination to do anything …better put it to good use quick.  I remember on my “40th” birthday you kids made me an OVER THE HILL cake!  Ha, ha.  Pay back stinks, huh?




Days of Thaksgiving..Day 8

Camas County court-house, Fairfield, ID

Mid Term Elections 2018 are in the books! I have to admit I am glad they are over.  I am tired of campaign ads, speeches, and junk mail.  I am tired of political bickering.

That being said, I am so thankful we live in a country where anyone can run for office. Every citizen has the right to vote and express their concerns, and should do so.

I am so thankful for all the different places in this country that I have at one time been privileged to call home.  One of those very special places was on a ranch just a little outside of this little country town called Fairfield, Idaho.

Of all my childhood memories, this place probably holds most of my sweetest ones.  We only lived here for about three years, from my second grade through the fourth. That is hard to believe because I have memories of so much life lived there!

Our neighbors were the ranch owner’s family and the families of other ranch hands. It is  a type of lifestyle that is very unique. Dad did not go off to work in the morning and not come back into the front door until evening.  He lived at his job. The great thing about that was that we often got to go to work with him.  If he was feeding cows in the winter, our sleds were tied behind the feed wagon.  If he was irrigating in the summer, we were floating little boats in the ditches along side him.  If he was moving cows horseback, we got to ride with him.  It was such a family bonding time.  I believe our life style is one of the main reasons as a family we have always had such close bonds, even though we now  have many states between us.

Rural America is in my heart and soul.  I love the rural lifestyle and the little country towns like Fairfield, where the county court-house still proudly flies our flag, and the people there still take pride in it!

These things I was blessed with and will forever be thankful for.


Days of Thanksgiving…Day 7


Some call it Autumn.  I have always called it Fall.  Whatever you call it I think it is a glorious time of the year.

The air has a fresh crispness to it, both in the smell of the air, and its feel. Yet it is still warm enough most of the time to require nothing more than a light jacket.

There are many aspects to fall that fill me with wonder.  Yes the air is crisp, but the colors are so vibrant and rich they can’t help but to warm my soul!

Then there are the smells of fall.  When most people think of the smells of fall, aromas of apple and pumpkin pies and hot apple cider come to mind.  That holds true for me as well.  I also love the kitchen aromas coming from canning, especially chokecherry syrup.  Love it.  There is something I  love that a lot of people may not. I love the smell of fallen leaves; that musty, husky smell of decaying leaves! I know that may  be strange, but I like to kick them with my foot, stir them up and breathe deep their fragrance!

The sounds of fall. Nothing but the sight and sound of water running over river rocks brings me more of a sense of peace than the rustling  of the Quaken Asp trees.  Those golden round little leaves actually do “quake” with the slightest breeze and make the most beautiful soul music.

This season is the season of harvest.  It takes me back to the time of my childhood in California. I remember riding horseback through the orchard and sampling fresh ripe plums and prunes. Out in the middle of that orchard was a hidden peach tree. I would stretch in the saddle to reach that perfect one.  I loved the feel of those fuzzy, soft, balls of delectable flavor!  There is nothing sweeter than a fresh-picked peach straight from the tree!

We had a huge, huge garden. We grew everything. We had the standard garden fare; green beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, and onions.  We also grew cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, strawberries, watermelons, and cantaloupe. Although we enjoyed the garden all summer, a lot was garnered in the fall.

We  had a huge thicket of blackberries.  I loved everything about those blackberries!   I loved picking them.  I loved helping Mom bake them in pies and make blackberry jam and jelly.  Still my favorite jelly!  We  froze a lot of blackberries and would eat a bowl of them with a little cream, or scattered over the top of ice cream. However, nothing was better than eating them while you were picking them.  They were so, so sweet and full of flavor…and juice! My hands were purple from picking them, and my face always had tell-tale signs of my sampling!

Fall. It seems to awaken my senses. The sense of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste all intensify, just as the colors intensify and leave me with a deep feeling of awe and reverence for my Creator. I am thankful for Fall.




Days of Thanksgiving


I decided to steal an idea from my cousin.  He is posting everyday this month about something he is thankful for.

As you may have noticed I’ve taken a little break from my blog the last couple of months.  That is because after 8 years of living in a small apartment we finally bought a house!

Seeing that I am already 6 days into the month I will give 6 reasons I am so thankful for this house.

  1. I am thankful that this is not just a house….it is a home.  That is something we have not really had for the last 8 years.  We felt more like we were camping in the apartment.  It never felt like us. This does!  Thank you Lord Jesus for helping us wait on your timing!
  2. I am thankful that we now have room for our kids, grandkids, and family to come visit once in a while.
  3. I am thankful we finally were able to unpack boxes and boxes of belongings we had in storage units.
  4. I am thankful for all the little treasures that were in those boxes that we forgot we even had.
  5. I am glad we are finally done with all those boxes!! Now just to get every thing sorted and organized.
  6. I am thankful we no longer live next to the railroad tracks and those screeching, whistle blowing trains!

These are a few of the things about this house that I am thankful for. But mostly I am thankful for the man God gave me to share it with, and the God who listens to our prayers!

The Appy And The Cowboy!

My Dad, Jim Craig

My Dad, Jim Craig is one classy cowboy!  This picture was taken in his younger years when he was training and showing horses in California. I loved to watch him show.

Those days were some of the best of my life, and I bet he would say they were some of the best of his as well.

Today this first class cowboy is 92!  I love, admire, and look up to him now more than ever.

This poem is for you Dad, hope you like it.

The Appy and the Cowboy!

Rawhide reins, Garcia bit,

Capriola on his back;

That old Appy and the Cowboy,

Man….they had a knack!

The Appy learned to trust

The Cowboy’s gentle hand.

When they worked together,

In admiration, did I stand.

They looked pretty classy

In the middle of the ring;

The Cowboy in his hat and chaps,

Both sportin’ their best bling.

They worked the figure eight

With smooth and graceful ease,

With whirlwind spins and sliding stops,

Their aim; the crowd to please!

The Appy, he was handsome,

Sure was a special horse.

And the Cowboy that rode him,

I’m sure feels no remorse.

The Appy, he’s gone now,

Those years, can’t get ’em back!

But that old Appy and the Cowboy,

Man…they had a knack!

Sheryl Craig Russell


Old Glory


The United States of America.  Land of the free, home of the brave.  This is where I am blessed to live. I was born and raised on cattle and horse ranches.  I lived a simple country life.  It was a life learning to admire the beauty, grandeur, and awesome peacefulness of God’s creative hand.

We didn’t grow up admiring beautiful skyscrapers built by the hand of man.  We grew up admiring majestic mountains created by the hand of God himself.  We weren’t privileged to visit neighborhood museums where we could be awed by paintings of world renown artists.  We were awed by the beauty of creeks, and rivers rushing over rocks, soothing us with stress relieving sounds more beautiful than any orchestra.  We didn’t admire paintings of flowers, we were awed by wildflowers growing on a mountainside or prairie. We had the real thing.  God said of flowers in the field, ” Even Solomon in all his glory, was not dressed like one of these!”

I was raised to love nature.  I was raised to love the country, and the nation in which I lived.  I was taught to admire our flag.  It is not the physical flag itself that I honor, but what it stands for.

Old Glory, our flag; what does it stand for?

Old Glory

Thirteen stripes unfurl before me,

thirteen colonies for which they stand,

fought to give us independence

and thus founded this great land.

Red is for her valor,

white for hope and purity,

blue is for God’s heaven

justice, truth, sincerity.

The star, for aspirations,

one for each and every state,

join together  as a union,

yet can govern their own fate.

Men have died to give me freedom.

Let me hold their memory high.

Let me feel their pride and honor

every time Old Glory flies!

Sheryl Craig Russell





Today is our son’s birthday.  He is 45.  I don’t know how that happened so quickly.  He is a grown man with a family of his own.  Two of his children are grown and on their own. The other two will be a freshman and junior in high school this coming fall.

I have watched them all grow. It seemed to be a gradual sort of thing at the time.  But now….our son is 45!  And it seems that happened overnight!

In the picture above he was about a year old.  He was such a blessing to us!  He made my husband and I a family.  His name is Dustin, but back then we called him Dusty.  What a bubbly, mischievous little guy he was!  Come to think of it…he still is!

Today I am looking back on your journey of youth, Dusty.  I am looking back to your first day of school, and how torn I was to turn you over to “the world” where I could not watch over you every second. Your toothless little smile was filled with excitement.  Mine was filled with pride, hope, and fear.


I am remembering your first bike, your first pony, and your first 4-H year.  Blacky (your ewe) was with you almost through high school.  She moved with us from Nevada to Montana.


4-H was a big part of your youth and one of the highlights was winning Reserve Champion with your steer! The Elko County 4-H Fair….what wonderful memories were made there!

IMG_1330 (2)

High school days flew by so fast.  I remember all the basketball, football, FFA activities, and band concerts.


Your life was filled with so many activities, and ours was filled with you and your sisters.


Your graduation day was even more emotional for me than your first day of school.  I woke up to tears and they flowed all day long.  The thought of you leaving home and not being part of my day-to-day life panicked me.  But I survived…your Dad survived.

High school passed, college passed, youth passed.

Now you have a family of your own.  And what a wonderful family it is!

I hope today brings you laughter and love, and is full of warm memories.  I hope your new family adventure brings lots of sunny days, happiness, and dreams that come true for you all.  Happy birthday son!!