Beautiful Day

Thursday, January 21, 2016

13th Birthday Celebration

Though every birthday is special, in our household turning 13 is one of the milestone ones.  Young Warrior's birthday is one of those precious ones that fall right in the midst of the Christmas season.  We all know that means it is a challenge to make sure it doesn't get overlooked or just swept into Christmas altogether.

So I went for it and opted to celebrate very close to his birthday, which meant it was a bit crazy getting ready for both "holidays" at the same time.  I briefly thought about postponing until January because then, I reasoned, people would be less busy.  But, I knew WE wouldn't be less busy, so it was best to just do it!

 I mentioned in my previous post that this book sparked the theme for his birthday.  I had previously read of a clever and honoring birthday idea for a young man turning 13, but I knew I would need to adapt and find my own. We want our young man to grow into a COURAGEOUS man, walking in the LIGHT of God's truth and grace.  And it just so happened that our pastor had recently joined these two themes together in a sermon on John 1, stating that, "The light gives us courage!"  Perfect!

I wanted to tie it into a physical activity that would be fun and engaging for Young Warrior and his friends.  Because, well, we all know that boys thrive on that!!  The local climbing center at the university was just the right choice!  It represented climbing on, developing character and strength as a young man.  The fathers and sons enjoyed it immensely!

Post-climbing, all the party guests reconvened at our house for refreshment and a time to honor our Young Warrior.  Let's just say that many boys in your house makes for a lot of noise!  (I laughed to myself and with my daughters, as I served dinner.  I mistakenly thought that food would mean a quiet lull in the activity level that would occupy at least 30 minutes.  Silly me!  It was more like 10 minutes, and then back to playing and noise!  I forget that food is a refueling station for boys, not an event to linger over surrounded by conversation and laughter!)

The luminaries were so fun to highlight the theme of light, and letting your light shine.  I accented a bit of an outdoor woodland theme as well. 

And this was PERFECT cake for the event!  SO. VERY. EASY.  and just plain FUN!

 I captured quotes and Bible verses artistically illustrated to display in a banner.

We concluded the evening with a time to honor Young Warrior by sharing 13 things we love about him.  Then enjoyed a slideshow of his first 13 years.  Always a joy to recount the memories, and to see all that God is doing in our young man's life!  

So very GRATEFUL for my son!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Books of 2015

2015 was a slower, more intentional reading year for me.  And that has really been a good thing.  For one,, I've spent a lot more time in the Bible, including reaching my goal of reading through it all chronologically this year.  Besides that, it's been a year that I am very glad to see fading out.  It means a new year with a new slate to write on is just around the corner!

These are the books that stand out of the approximately 28 that I read (next to the Bible, which I just mentioned).

"Snow Treasure" by Marie McSwigan -- In the winter, the children and I did a little "Frozen" unit study, which included learning about Norway.  This was a great tale based on real events and it drew us all in.  A very fun adventure story.

"She is Mine" by Stephanie Fast -- My friend handed me this title early in the year.  I could hardly put it down.  It was shocking, sad, compelling, and amazing all wrapped up in one.  I cried my way through it.  It is the author's story of her childhood as a Korean war orphan, and how the love of God met her through adoption.  Read my friend's review here and check it out for

"Teaching from Rest" by Sarah Mackenzie -- This is a title I had seen floating around for quite some time, but I wanted to wait until it was available in print (me and books on computer screens don't get along well).  Though I'll admit that I struggled with reading a book written by a mom of very young children yet (meaning there is a lot to be said for life experience and wisdom that grows with age), I do really like this little book for its reminders to me in my own homeschool journey, which frankly needs a shot-in-the-arm from time to time.  And perhaps a younger mom helps a veteran one find some of that idealism, enthusiasm, and focus with which she began her own home education journey!  She comes from a classical teaching bent, which I don't mind, so just be aware that some of her resources and encouragement lean in that direction.  I found some practical wisdom and encouragement here that I plan to return to.

"Own Your Life" by Sally Clarkson -- I started out the year ready to dive into this book.  But life happened, and I didn't get into it until the fall.  But it was the right time, and I loved this message from Sally.  There is usually a Sally Clarkson title in my annual list, and this is a great one.  I look forward to returning to it as well in my quest to live a life of intention, beauty, purpose, and joy!

"Of Knights and Fair Maidens" by Jeff and Danielle Myers -- I have a great deal of respect for the teaching of Dr. Jeff Myers, so when this edition of their original courtship story was reprinted and on sale, I  knew I wanted to read it.  I have read several books on dating and courtship (including some not-so-great ones).  I think this one presents a balanced view of striving for honor and purity in how young adults treat one another, without tipping the scales toward a fear-based model that never trusts young people who sincerely desire to honor Christ in their relationships.  Jeff Myers is big on mentoring in all the messages I have heard him speak, and so it is not a surprise to find that he is a big advocate of having godly accountability and wise mentors in your life at every stage, including courtship.  I am eager for my daughters to read this title when I can get them to agree that their own stacks aren't too big to add to it!

"A Path Through Suffering" by Elisabeth Elliot -- If you read my post from yesterday, you saw many Elisabeth Elliot quotes, and all of them came from this book.  This one ministered to me tremendously this year and though I haven't read a lot of books on suffering, I'd have to say this is a top one I would recommend!

"What Did You Expect?" by Paul David Tripp -- One of the best marriage books out there!  I'm not sure how well it ministers to young married couples as I have not read many reviews of it written by that demographic.  I often wonder how a young-married person would read it.  I wish I would have read it long ago.  Though as in any book I am sure there are points I don't quite agree on, overall the emphasis on facing just how much our own sin blocks us from loving our spouse well is a necessary reminder.  Marriage is for God's glory, not ours!

"Stepping Up:  A Call to Courageous Manhood" by Dennis Rainey -- I picked up this title when I found it on sale and with the thought that I was going to pass it on to my just-turned-13 son.  But of course I wanted to read it first!  It actually seemed to be most appropriate for seasoned men and for those starting out in marriage and family life.  This book is full of exhortation, great stories of courage, and all throughout I felt Dennis Rainey's passion for this subject.  It is largely a call for men to live their life well and to pass it on to others through mentoring.  I HIGHLY recommend it!  Will I pass it on to my son?  Certainly.  But I think I'll let him mature a bit first and probably wait until he's on the older side of a teenager.  One of the best parts of this book was that it sparked the theme for my son's birthday celebration...COURAGE.

"I Love You, Ronnie" by Ronald and Nancy Reagan -- This past summer, Warrior and I were privileged to take a trip to the Reagan Presidential Library and I wrote about how inspiring that was here.  I picked up this title to bring home because I was taken in by the letters on display in the museum, and by President Reagan's love for his wife.  Everyone knows he is "The Great Communicator" and I loved that this book shined light into his communication with his wife.  Being a words person, I'll admit this book made me kind of swoony.  There was so much to love about it--his wit and humor, how he always found time, even in the midst of White House duties, to bless his wife with words, how they never got used to the times they had to be apart, how she seemed to shine in her role of helping him, and most of all the integrity they maintained in their marriage that seems to be nearly non-existent among the leaders of today.

"Shepherds Abiding" by Jan Karon -- This was my final read of the year, which I read aloud to the children.  I am including it here because it was mostly just a calm, breath of fresh air in the Christmas season.  It was funny and sweet and we all enjoyed it.

These books I personally enjoyed the most, but I did also read numerous titles to my children and spent the majority of read-aloud time between the Little Britches series and "The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place" this year, with some "Ballet Shoes" for good measure for my ballerina girls!  Looking forward to a new year of reading, learning, and growing!  And to reading what others have found inspiring in their own readings of 2015!  Please share!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Favorite Quotes from 2015

In recollecting the year, I wanted to record some of the quotes that have spoken to me.  These are, of course, aside from the Bible.  The majority of my recordings have come from the Psalms this year.  And you can read them on your own.  The Psalms came alive for me this year in a profound way and I am so grateful.  

I hear the words everywhere, whether music, movies, or books.  These are some of my words in 2015.

"This is the unmaking
The beauty in the breaking
Had to lose myself
To find out who you are..."
~Nichole Nordeman

"I pass through a vale of tears but bless thee for the opening gate of glory at its end."
~"The Valley of Vision"

"I would rather have a man chasing Jesus than a house full of stuff"
~The movie, "War Room" by Alex and Stephen Kendrick

"And I fall on my knees and I fight like a warrior,
I am a warrior on my knees."
~Steven Curtis Chapman

"I know of no answer to give anyone except the answer given to all the world in the cross.  It was there that the great Grain of Wheat died--not that death should be the end of the story, but that it should be the beginning of the story, as it is in all the cycles of nature.  The grain dies.  The harvest results."
~Elisabeth Elliot

"What you practice, you become."
~Sally Clarkson

"Have courage and be kind."
~"Cinderella" movie
Have Courage and Be Kind printable
Image from

"Sing about His mercies and greatness.  The enemy would like to destroy your family and your joy--all you have invested and all your hopes for the future."
~Elisabeth Elliot

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important."
~Ambrose Redmoon

"Real courage is doing your duty under fire."
~Dennis Rainey

"There comes into the life of every man a task for which he and he alone is uniquely suited.  What a shame if that moment finds him either unwilling or unprepared for that which would become his finest hour."
~Winston Churchill

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."
~C.S. Lewis
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. - C.S. Lewis | Tiffany made this with

"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."
~Neil Postman

"God uses crooked sticks to draw straight lines."
~Dr. Carl Wenger

"Quarry me deep, dear LORD, and then fill me to overflowing with living water."
~"Valley of Vision"

"And thanksgiving in the midst of darkness, clears a way for grace."
~Elisabeth Elliot

"Then I ask myself:  but why do I need the word of anyone but God Himself?  He has told me again and again and again that He is with me and will always be with me, in the deep river, the hot fire, the Valley of the Shadow.  Yet I sometimes doubt Him.  So, in His mercy, He brings along witness after witness, people who have learned dimensions of transforming grace impossible for them to have learned anywhere but where they were."
~Elisabeth Elliot

Thursday, December 24, 2015

On Christmas, Ruth, and Happy Endings

I think I finally get it!  Why I am drawn to "happily ever after" stories and fairy tale endings.  Why beauty is a very real attraction to my heart.  I suspect...I know I am not alone.  I witness it in my own children's love for the same fairytales, whether of the "Cinderella," "Frozen," or "Tangled" variety, or the epic stories of faith, bravery, and courage existent in Narnia or "The Lord of the Rings."  I see it all around me, in both its broken, and its redeemed forms.

And isn't Christmas the embodiment of hopes, dreams, and beauty?  It seems to draw out and make apparent all that we seem to long for.  Which also means it is often a very difficult and dark time of year for many in facing their own disappointments, hurts, and shattered dreams.  It just didn't turn out like I expected.

"But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."
~Hebrews 11:10, NKJV

Last night I said to my Warrior that Christmas just seemed to breeze by faster than ever this year.  That always makes me sad, because it means it's coming to an end.  And I didn't get to enjoy it nearly as much as I wanted to!  I had so many hopes to just rest in it and enjoy it and soak it all in.  But they didn't come to fruition so well.

I've been reading through these devotionals this year, and I have loved them!  It's been a brief survey through the Bible of how Jesus is the fulfillment of all stories we know and love in His Word.  And there is one in particular that ministered deeply to me.  "Jesus is the True and Better Boaz."

Perhaps it is partially due to my study of Ruth this year, which is one of the best I've ever undertaken.  And I'm sure a large part of its appeal has also been the life experiences of this year.  Whatever the reason, I find it so compelling!  I think here is the ultimate "happily ever after story" of the Old Testament.

Ruth lived in a world of brokenness.  She was a foreigner, even of the despised country of Moab.  And she was alone after the death of her husband.  She chose to forsake her own country's idols and her extended family to follow God and to care for Naomi, as they returned to Bethlehem.  In the midst of walking a faithful, yet certainly lonely, life, Boaz finds her.  He gave her a home and a place to belong.  He brought her intimacy and companionship.  He brought relief and help to her task of caring for her mother-in-law and just plain putting food on the table.  He served out his role as a kinsman-redeemer.  In short, you could very well say that Ruth's wedding to Boaz was the stuff of dreams and fairytale endings for her.

Jesus is the True and Better Boaz--the One who gives us a home and a place.  The One who brings us into the most intimate relationship we can ever know.  The One who brings relief to our weary hearts.  The Kinsman-Redeemer for us all.  All of this world's disappointments, difficulties, loneliness, and celebrations that didn't turn out the way we hoped or expected are leading to the Great Feast--the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels' voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine

Today I am hoping to dwell on these thoughts.  Christmas may not be all I hoped or dreamed for this year.  But it will be good!  I am surrounded by those I love.  I have much to be thankful for.  And above all, I have the gift of a Redeemer to celebrate!

And I am quite certain there will come a day when dreams come true.

Here's a little Christmas gift from me to you......a song that I've really appreciated this year.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September in Pictures

Fall still remains my favorite time of the year, and this year is no exception.  So many memories, such beautiful weather to enjoy them in!


First up, back to school of course!  Warrior and I went on an evening shopping date and when we saw these the night before starting school, our soft spots caved and we decided we surely must surprise the children with these on the breakfast table!  Oh, were they DELIGHTED!  Not pictured are the Honey Grahams we also bought with Star Wars shaped graham crackers!  A great deal of fun, even if a consumer racket. 


The base puts this on every other year.  It was fun, though hot that day.  A true field day for the boys who got to "drive" the big trucks!  They really seek to bless the families and children of service members here.  We enjoyed a barbeque, fun activities for the children, static displays, watching some privileged people who "won" the highest bids get pies in their faces, and sipping on yummy Dutch Bros. mocha freezes (for us big people)!


In honor of the next special occasion, a bunch of our extended family congregated together to celebrate!  It has been a VERY LONG time since both sides of our family met in one place.  It was such a blessing and so much fun!  We celebrated an evening at a fabulous German restaurant with such lovely decor, complete with accordions and yodelers (and we must not forget.....Apple Strudel!)


We were all gathered in honor of closing out Warrior's military career.  Which really has been OUR military career together.  Even from the very days of ROTC in college.  It was certainly a day of tears for us.  It's been full of joys, adventures, and sorrows mixed together.  It has been my honor to serve beside my husband in this way.  I am proud of his accomplishments and service.  I am proud of him for closing his speech by giving testimony of Christ before family, friends, and fellow soldiers, as his "One True Hero."  It is not easy to close this chapter of our lives, but we do look forward to what God has in store.....not to mention the extra weekends together! 

I had fun planning food and decorations for the reception.  So grateful to have daughters who help me so!

Since I was quite busy, I didn't get all the photos I would have liked since that was delegated.  Therefore, the picture without the food on the counters :)  But this is where we served refreshments at our reception.


This has been a new endeavor for Adventure Girl, and it has been a great experience.  It makes my life a bit more busy in the transportation department, but it is such fun to cheer on our girl and her teammates, and to enjoy some beautiful fall weather.  Brings back such memories.  And I even get some running in myself on occasion!


Littlest Warrior keeps right on a-growin'!  He is just a little "Cars" crazy, so it was fun to incorporate Mater and McQueen and friends!  And to celebrate it all with wonderful friends.


We gathered with about 15 couples at a wonderful retreat for military marriages called "Strong Bonds."  We are amazed that we have never heard of it until an email came across Warrior's desk!  This was a treat!  A lovely room and meals were provided (such a gift!)  Time spent with other military couples in all sorts of different career fields and all different stages of marriage.  We went here not quite knowing what to expect, but having open hearts to what God might do with it.  Well....I think we were stunned.  In fact, I have to say that for us, it was a rather miraculous weekend.  TRULY.

Introductions,,,,with a bit of humor.

The curriculum is called "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage."  It was adapted to a military audience, as the DVD was taped before a live audience of military members in Nashville.  The teacher/pastor/presenter in the DVD most certainly has a gift for taking real life things and making you laugh about them.  I tell you I haven't laughed this much in quite a long time.....

And though this was good in itself, it wasn't the end point.  Really it was his vehicle for communicating real truth on marriage topics that most, even in the church, will not talk about.  That was truly refreshing, necessary, and helpful all at the same time. 

Lots of laughter AND lots of tears.  In a very good way. 

(Strong Bonds photos courtesy of 142nd FW)

Oh, and did I mention that we had a full day of nearly PERFECT weather??!!  That was awesome, indeed.  And that same day we were granted a significant amount of "date time" to talk over what we were learning and to enjoy time spent together.  Needless to say, we spent a good chunk of time sitting on the beach talking while watching the waves and soaking up some sunshine. 

We met a couple at the retreat that lives less than a mile away, too!  We are hopeful for a growing friendship with them.

God surprised us in so many, MANY ways during that weekend.  There are no words, except to say PRAISE HIM!  And that I am so. incredibly. grateful!

Yes, it has been a good month, indeed!  More memories to associate with fall, and more reasons to count it my favorite time of year!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Learning to Be a Warrior


Recently, Warrior and I had a date night to see "War Room," the latest movie by Alex and Stephen Kendrick.  I think we were both significantly ministered to by it.  And I might have even cried a small popcorn bucket full of tears.  Or maybe a peanut M&M box.  For a few minutes I think I also wanted to go home and get a jump rope, grab a couple of my children, and put on a TobyMac song to go with it.  (Maybe I should write a book called, "If You Take Me to the Movies," instead of the mouse.  I realize I'm starting to sound like that book...)

If you are a regular guest to my blog, it is no secret that I refer to the men and boys in my household as "warriors."  Tender warriors has been my hope and prayer for them.  To have, on the one side, a firm resolve to stand strong for truth in God's Word, to be mighty in faith, persevering, co-laboring with like-minded brothers to hold one another up when the battlefield fires rage, and when it comes down to it....sheer grit and determination to choose honor, integrity, and obedience to Christ.  Temper this with a tender heart that listens to the Spirit of God, cultivates that relationship with Him, and lovingly cares for and disciples his family, and shows mercy and compassion to those weaker than him.  I's a tough job, and a high calling.  Very high calling.  Our men live in the face of REAL battles. EVERY. DAY.  Perhaps my "take-home" from this film is that I, too, live among the battle.  And if my men are to be Tender Warriors, well, maybe that requires me to be a Warrior Princess of sorts.
Courageously Feminine.

Knowing I am Beautifully the King of the Universe,
and figuring out what that's supposed to look like when faith meets the frontlines.

Certainly it means employing prayer as one of my primary strategies.

And every warrior needs discipline....including me.  Both self-discipline to become better at my role, and corrective discipline for all my failures and the sin still resident and at work in and around me.

So, imagine my delight, at the end of the movie, to see the credits roll and hear a song.  It takes a few seconds, and my Tender Warrior and I look at each other and simultaneously say, "Steven Curtis Chapman."  (He has been our musical companion our whole adult and married lives--my perennial favorite for his ability to put real life beauty, joys, and struggles and genuine hope together lyrically in a way few artists can)! 

 So, of course we were the LAST people out of the movie theater because we stayed and listened to the entire song.  Because, well, I just have to do that.  And even better?  His song is called, "Warrior!"  LOVE THAT!

Here's to more fully embracing that call, and standing tall in the battle with my head bowed to My King.  Join me?

I can taste the fear but I choose courage
As I raise my shield and lift my sword
And I fall on my knees and I fight like a warrior
I am a warrior on my knees
I call on the name of the one who is Conquerer
I’m more than a conquerer when I believe
The enemy trembles every time
He knows the battle is no longer mine
When I fall on my knees and fight like a warrior

Like a warrior
~Steven Curtis Chapman

Friday, August 14, 2015

Reagan Presidential Library

So I mentioned that during our California Getaway , that we took an afternoon excursion to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  I think we both knew that it would be inspiring (and we could use some of that!), but I don't think we knew just how much so it would be!  Warning---LOTS of pictures in this post! :)

We entered here and were on our way.

I would just like to say, that I appreciated the professionalism of this place.  I have never been to any presidential libraries in the country (and I don't think there are many I would even want to visit), so I would imagine they do this in every one.  But from the professional attire of the docents, to the helpful enthusiasm expressed at different points in the museum, I just thought it so respectful and appropriate.

We started with a short film overview of President Reagan's terms in office.  It was only about 3 minutes long, and already the tears were welling up in my eyes.

There is a lot to see and take in here.  And many rooms that depict different aspects of Ronald Reagan's life as well as his presidency.  What strikes us here is how much of a work ethic he developed as a young man.  He did not live a silver-spoon life in his growing-up years.  Yes, he became a "movie star."  But that was one of his goals in life that he determined to work toward, and achieved.  He had a great capacity for communicating, which as you may know, earned him the title The Great Communicator.
I came away with a much deeper understanding of how this was both his gift, and a discipline that he cultivated.  It reminds me that I have a stewardship to develop the gifts that God has uniquely given me.

At this podium/photo prop, each one can take their turn "giving" a Presidential speech!  In the company of other VIP's :) 

One of the highlights for me, personally, was to dwell on this little island that shows Reagan's collection of quotes in his own handwriting.  I do so love the written word, and this display, among others, captures something precious to me----the (quickly-becoming) lost art of handwriting by pen-and-ink.  I often wonder what will become of some aspects of history when all we have is typewritten emails and text messages, and even tele-prompted speeches.  This display alone made me want to write, write, and write some more!

The base of the above display has some of his quotes emblazoned on all four sides.  They were all great, and characteristic of what he believed.

Speaking of letters.....His legacy in letters is astounding.  But the most touching are his love letters to his wife, Nancy.  Oh, they are BEAUTIFUL!

President Reagan certainly had a great wit and sense of humor.  It was even displayed in the moments he entered the hospital after he was shot.  I think this sense of humor is something he and his wife both shared, and it had to have made the heavy responsibilities just a little lighter each day.

There were a few of these cute little telegrams he sent her.  

I am surprised that I did not take more photos in the Nancy Reagan portion of the gallery.  This was a place that really captured my heart (and hence more tears followed).  Mostly because what I saw here was a woman who exuded grace, charm and beauty in that she served her husband well.  She seemed to grow into her public role very well, though I am sure it was very challenging.  I miss the public examples of women who bring finesse and beauty to the things they put their hands to in their capacity as a helpmeet to their husband.  She was event-coordinator-extraordinnaire.  She did raise life above mere existence, not only for her husband, but for others.  And her husband certainly "praised her in the gates," as Proverbs 31 says.  His appreciation for her shines in so many of his public, and private, words. 

On a side note about letters, I noticed a letter written to Nancy from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher upon the death of President Reagan.  I loved how personal it felt between these two women, sharing in a grief.  And Margaret Thatcher was so encouraging of Nancy as a woman walking through grief.  She praised her for how she had witnessed her strength in bearing the sorrow, especially in a public funeral.  It brought such a sense of real.  And a sense of friendship.

Replica of the Oval Office during Reagan's administration--to the exact dimensions!

Of course, there are MANY displays of gifts from leaders around the world, given during the Reagan's travels.  I took this picture primarily for my children.  We had just finished an old "Mickey Mouse Club" movie on "The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Applegate Treasure."  It was all about Spanish doubloons and pieces of eight and there was a catchy song at the beginning of every episode.  So I HAD to show them real Pieces of Eight!

One of the primary attractions here is Air Force One.  This one served 7 presidents, if I remember correctly.  It is quite amazing to have one on display in a Presidential Museum!  Cool plane to travel in, for sure!  And Warrior says this one is smaller than its successors.  No pictures allowed inside of it.  But for a price, you too can have your picture taken at the entrance to the plane with your lovely Presidential and First Lady wave!

And Marine One--the presidential helicopter.  Not as posh as Air Force One, but certainly comfy seating for a helicopter!

At this point we were only about halfway through the museum!  So we paused for some lunch at a little sandwich shoppe made in the replica of an Irish pub that the President visited (he has Irish roots).  It was a most excellent sandwich! :)

This doesn't do justice to the view.  It is quite a lovely view from atop the hill where the museum is.  Since our family are Roy Rogers fans, I couldn't help but think of Roy Rogers movie sets everywhere I looked.  (The names of towns were certainly reminders as well!)

My girls would find this the fun part of the museum, since it is primarily about his ranch life....and horses!  Here is a saddle collection (and some belt buckles).

Quote which my girls very much believe.  We have a cup that attributes a similar quote to Winston Churchill.  So maybe this is one he borrowed?

Just a ride with the President.

My moment to capture the gorgeous Southern California flowers!

A piece of the Berlin Wall.  WOW!  So appropriate that they would display one here.

With all these photos, you might think I spoiled it and showed you the whole museum.  But I promise I didn't!  There is a lot to see here, and different aspects will stand out to different people.  There are galleries full of exploring his role in the fall of Communism in Russia, his boyhood, the assassination attempt on his life, the Iran-Contra affair, and more, all the way up to his death and funeral.  In all, a very honoring tribute to an honorable President.  His life represents one of character, integrity, and humility (when is the last time you heard a President publicly apologize for something that happened under his watch, even if he was not directly involved?). 

They've done a fine job of paying tribute to President Ronald Reagan.

If you visit here, I do recommend giving yourself a minimum of 4 hours.  At least if you are a history afficionado.  I suppose you might breeze through it faster if you don't care to read much.  But you might be surprised!  At many museums I have a hard time reading through what's written, even though I really love American history in particular.  But this one had my attention from start to finish.  Except for maybe small portions on the economy.

Of course, almost every museum tour, lands you in the gift shop at the end.  I wanted to be careful here, but I chose two primary books that captured my attention.

I'm looking forward to spending time with these in the coming weeks.

If you are ever in Southern California and have yet to venture to this museum, I highly recommend it!  I think I left with, on one hand, a sadness for where our country has gone since his era of leadership, and on the other hand, a renewed and profound respect for great leaders and for history, a deep gratitude for true, loyal love stories such as theirs, and the desire to try my best to preserve a legacy in letters to my loved ones--to keep at that discipline of writing!


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