Sunday, August 28, 2016

Up on Cripple Creek - or in this case, Flat Creek

Last week we had the opportunity to enjoy 4 hours on the Flat Creek together. A nice float in the kayaks with some technical portions, which made for some nice challenges, and unfortunately many sections that forced us out of the kayaks altogether in order to walk to deeper water. We packed our picnic lunch and plenty of water and Gatorade to drink.  We had a very nice time together, I always enjoy my time with Cherilyn, pretty much no matter what we are doing. We are not perfect but we do try do do things to nurture us and these dates are good for us. :-)
Growing up, I remember reading and listening to talks or having class lessons in church that talked about how dating did not need to be expensive in order to be enjoyable. It would seem that this date might meet that criteria with a picnic lunch we packed ourselves from the food we had in the house, the fact that there was no fee to float down the river........ However, the kayaks were not free, we purchased them this year and while one of the kayaks was a used one, it was more expensive than the new one by about $150. The PDF's, Personal Flotation Devices, were around $60 a piece, the water proof boxes for the phones were around $5 each, the kayak dolly was $25 (used), paddles were $27 each and of course the truck to haul everything was more expensive than my grandparents last house. So, all tolled, this was an expensive date. Most people complain about dinner and a movie being expensive. LOL All this being said, the experience was priceless!! Not to mention, there are many other rivers in the area where we can do this again making for a new adventure.

We had a great adventure and even ran into some company on the river -
Yes, that is a copperhead - we did NOT stop by to say hello

And of course some of Missouri's finest cattle were out bathing in the cool river

Floating along the river we had to navigate to one side or the other or between obstacles and sometimes the best course was to get right in close to the obstacle without crashing or getting stuck in order to float on to the next section of the river. This challenged what little skill either of had amassed at this point in our kayak learning. Other times saw us approach sections of the river where it split and we had to choose which way to go without seeing all the way around.  Sometimes these sections looked as if one side might be a more clear shot but shallow, meaning we might have to get out and walk a ways while the other choice looked deeper but unknown to be completely passable. One such choice turned out to be more work to get around obstacles and duck under fallen tress than it would have been to just float the other way until we needed to get out and walk.

I had to put my lack of maneuvering skills to the test​. While both of us had a couple of close calls on the float, neither of us had our kayaks flip over.

Deep thought -  As we travel through life, we often have to make choices about our direction and sometimes we make incorrect choices that cause more work for ourselves. Other times we must make choices based on very little information and just put our faith to the test and hope that it will work out. That does not mean we won't hit some rocks or rapids along the way but it does mean that we will be afforded the opportunity to work at making things go the way we would like. That work will strengthen us and the next time we find ourselves in a situation that seems difficult, we can remember that we have made it through before and we can do it again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Over Hill Over Dale

Memory is a wonderful thing, most of the time. Women often say that if men had to give birth, nobody would have more than one child. Somehow women can allow the pain of child birth to be overridden by the joy of the child and think, perhaps it would be nice to have another. The memory of the wonderful feelings of joy that come from raising a child seem to dampen or even remove the memory of the pain of child birth. This weekend I had the opportunity to experience this phenomenon.

The Camp and Ride!

A few of us enjoy mountain bike riding on the trails. We also happen to enjoy camping, so we combine the two for a fun weekend experience. Unfortunately, we do not do this often enough but nonetheless, it is still fun. We first began this adventure two years ago and once again we put together this trip to Table Rock State Park and the White River Trail System. (scroll down on the page for info) MAPS 

None of us are in the shape we want to be in and most of us have not ridden much this year so we were a little out of practice. I would classify myself as in the worst shape of all of us - I was the anchor.

The ride was great as we had near perfect weather.

The trails are fun and have just enough technical points for me as I am not an advanced technical rider. 

The biggest obstacle on these trails are the elevation changes. The change can be as mush as 900 feet. The downhill portion of that change can be very fun, however, we all know that if one goes down, one must go back up! This is where that whole memory thing comes into play. As I struggled with some of the uphill portions of the trails, my body told me this was suddenly not the fun experience I had remembered it to be. My mind only remembered how much fun I had the last time we all took this trip and rode the trails. I remembered the comradery of the last trip, it's fun to hang out with friends, have a good meal and watch movies and ride bikes. Yes, the last time we did this I also had a difficult time on the uphill portions and experienced pain like I did this time but somehow I had forgotten that. I believe that once again, in time, I will again be free from the memory of pain and be left with the joy of the good time we all had. I look forward to that!

Friday, June 26, 2015

What God giveth, He can also take away or how blessings can be disguised

Remember all the work that went into restoring the 5th wheel? All that effort was thwarted!

Click HERE for the full pictorial of the project.

Well, the above picture is just the attention getter, our 5th Wheel did not burn up. I just parked ours by this one at the salvage yard. Question: Which one would you buy at the salvage auction?

Our trailer was, however, totaled in a hail storm we had in the beginning of April.

Graveyard drop off
 While it doesn't look like there is anything wrong in the picture, EVERY piece of siding has dents. This means that the entire trailer would need to be resided. Additionally, the roof was severely dented meaning it too would need to be replaced. This all adds up to costing more to repair than to replace. In the end, we were given the option to keep the trailer and take a check for salvage value or turn it in as a total loss. So, we followed the advice to Billy Joe and Bobbi Sue - we took the money and ran. (Bonus points if you comment with the name of the song and artist)

It was sad to give up what we had worked so hard on but the decision came after a family council where we learned some interesting things about the young ones. We have explained before about insurance and how it works and why we need it so the girls had a basic understanding of what was going on. We let them know our options and asked for input.

Option One: Keep the trailer and have the repairs done which would put the trailer out of commission for the entire camping season and cost us a large amount of money which would take away from some things we might want to do throughout the year.

Option Two: Take the insurance money and give up trailer camping all together and go back to tent camping and use the money toward a better truck. (We do not have four regular doors that the girls can open and the back bench seat area is small and cramped on long drives)

Option Three: Take the insurance money and find another 5th wheel and keep the truck we have.

Option Four: Take the insurance money and do some remodeling to the house so each girl could have their own room.

What we found out from the girls as they weighed out the options:
  • Neither girl wanted to go back to tent camping! I refer you to the Camping 2011 experience. :-) Click HERE
  • Brittney said she would be OK being a little cramped in the truck because we might only drive somewhere for about 3 hours but we might be camping for 3 days. So the little amount of time being cramped was more than made up for in her mind by the amount of time spent camping.
  • Both girls said they would rather have a camper than have their own room. This was the most surprising thing they came up with.
  • Everyone agreed we should find a new camper
Craigslist and beyond.........

Not wanting less than what we had and thinking we did not want another project, Cherilyn set out to find another great camper at a good deal. She searched a radius of hundreds of miles scouring multiple websites until she found what she thought was a good design at a good price. We had been to local dealers and looked at new and used and found that it was tough to find what we wanted and even tougher to consider financing in order to get into a new 5th wheel. Finally on a Friday morning, Cherilyn found what she thought was something worth looking at. Only problem - it was 4 hours away outside of Little Rock. We made the decision by the time the girls got home from school at 1pm (Fridays are half days) We decided we could drive down and if we purchased the camper we would just find a place to camp and sleep in it that night and come back the next day. We decided to just make it a fun family trip as much as we could. The girls had some movies and their dvd player and we had time to just talk and enjoy the drive. We even grabbed a pizza in one of the towns we traveled through. We arrived after 8pm and we able to look at the camper and after about 40 minutes, decided it wouldn't do. We both had the feeling that it just wasn't right. So we took the girls for an ice cream and got a hotel room for the night.

Days later, Cherilyn found a model that seemed to be better than the one we drove to see and she began looking for a used version. At 10pm on a Thursday evening Cherilyn found a 5th wheel that had only been listed for 3 days and in Missouri, although it was 3 hours away. She called first thing in the morning and found out that someone who looked at it the day before was going to be bringing a check by that day. We missed out. (you really have to be on top of these things because the good ones go quickly) Later that morning another good deal was found only it was even further away, 8 hours away in KY. As we were contemplating whether it would be worth the trip, I decided to look for stock at the dealers in Tulsa, only 2 1/2 hours away. Low and behold, I found the same model that was in KY. The website had a price listed that was good but said to call for best pricing. I called and spoke to someone who gave me the information I was looking for and I gave him an offer. He said he needed to check with his manager and would call me back. Less than an hour later, we had a new 5th wheel. We arranged to pick it up the next week.

What we have ended up with a 2004 Wildcat bunkhouse model - aluminum framing and fiberglass skin

Click HERE for more pics

So, out of the tragedy of losing the 5th wheel we worked so hard on, we have ended up with a better designed model that we are all really happy with. A real blessing for our family.

Sometimes in life we need a paradigm shift. Not all things that seem bad at the moment are actually bad. How we look at things and how we control our attitude make a huge difference in how we deal with our lives. Steven Covey give the following example of having a paradigm shift from his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

   I remember a mini-paradigm shift I experienced one morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly - some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene.
    Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway.  The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.
    The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people's papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.
    It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, "Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn't control them a little more?"
    The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, "Oh, you're right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don't know what to think, and I guess they don't know how to handle it either."
    Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn't have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man's pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. "Your wife just died? Oh, I'm so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?" Everything changed in an instant.

(Quote found HERE)

Our totaled 5th wheel experience helped teach the girls that sometimes bad things do happen but we often can find blessings beyond those things that are bad just by looking at things differently or by gaining more information before making a judgement call.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


The personal dynamic and function of the family has been on my mind the past several months.  This video describes some ways to apply what goes on in business to the family in order to create a better functioning family unit.  Like all advice on how to create a happier, better functioning family, we should always consider the uniqueness of our own family in order to best fit and implement the ideas.  I found the advice in the video to be edifying and uplifting and I am trying to apply some of the principles to my family.  I have found that I am not perfect but then, none of us are.  So the point is to continue to try and improve and if there are times when things aren't being done as they should be, start doing them again, don't just give up.

Take some time to view this video, it's only 18 minutes.  :-)

Outside the daily function of the family unit, I have had events of late that have caused reflection; the untimely death of my step-mother and the passing of my maternal grandmother.

First, the lighter side - the afore mentioned events remind me of a great tune by the Godfathers -

Birth, School, Work, Death

On a more serious note, Why are we here? Life surely must be more than Birth, School, Work and Death.

Thoughts in 28 minutes :-)

A plan for why we are here

Are we to just live from day to day without a purpose? No. Each one of us has great potential and we should be seeking to develop it each day. Our personal potential leads to family and our family potential and this should help give us directive in our life. More than anything, our families are where our greatest accomplishments should be on this earth because of all the "stuff" we can acquire while here, only our knowledge and our families carry on with us beyond this life.

Pause for another 28 minutes :-)

the eternal perspective of life

Blockades to family happiness -
I think that sometimes we need to get over ourselves. I know my stubborn streaks can get in the way of a good time, good conversation and sometimes make it harder to work at relationships.  We all have those moments or things about us that sometimes get in the way and I know I want to try a little harder and do a little better at being better in all my roles.

Reflections on Family -

Family should be important at any point in life. If you grew up not liking your siblings or cousins or anyone in your family, get over it and enjoy a relationship that could change your life. If you have always enjoyed your family, enjoy them more. If you were just not around much growing up, make time to foster new relationships. If you are raising a family, take time to reflect and reevaluate family priorities. If you do not yet have a family of your own, focus your personal development to be in line with what you want to be in a father or mother and spouse.

In the end, life is much much more than Birth, School, Work and Death!

It's about family!

(3 Minutes)

It's about what we make of the small and simple moments of our life!

(3 Minutes)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Simple things

Sometimes in life we are frustrated with the results we are achieving.  We begin with good intentions and even push through to a point where things seem to be going in the direction we want and everything is working. We have a plan and our execution is seemingly flawless.  We have done and are doing what needs to be done at the moment and we can see all that needs to happen in the future in order for our plan to be successful.  As we move forward, however, because we are receiving results, we may not notice that we have forgotten something. Kind of like using salt in your cookies instead of sugar, the cookies still look like cookies, however, they do not taste like cookies. The simple ingredient change caused a result the was not desirable.

Sometimes it's the small or simple things that get in the way of big success or the complete results we are aiming for. We have a refrigerator/freezer not unlike any other with an ice and water dispenser which we use quite heavily. As time has gone on, it seemed as though the ice maker was beginning to fail.  At first, it seemed to not make enough ice fast enough but not to the point of being a real issue. Gradually though, the ice maker fell further and further behind in its ability to keep up with demand and the ice began to be thinner and not as solid, this became a source of much frustration. As the ice makers production declined the desire to replace the refrigerator grew exponentially along with the frustration.

In the midst of the frustration and desperation and the sickening feeling that came with looking at the price of new models, we began to investigate. After looking at a few things and determining the mechanics seemed to be in working order we checked the water line to ensure it was flowing properly. Feeling confident the water flow into the refrigerator was good, we bought a new filter. Guess what the result was?  We got perfect ice!  A simple $40 fix instead of an $1800 new refrigerator.


When our lives seem to be producing insufficient results, we should not be so quick to toss our life and start over. We just need to reevaluate and see what we missed to gain the results we desire.  In most cases it will be something small that we overlooked.  All might be going well enough, still making ice, just not enough or quite the quality we hoped for; however we notice that things could be better.  The family seems to be functioning but not everyone seems as happy as they could be or willing to do their part in proportion to the rest of the family.  You might begin to ask yourself what is different, or what could I be doing that I am not? It may turn out that family prayer might have gone from 7 nights a week to 3. Personal prayer might have gone from daily to weekly. Telling your spouse or kids how much you love them might not be a daily thing any more.  These are all simple things, like changing the filter, that can make a big difference.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

In the beginning 2014

With summer well under way and our second batch of company visiting, I thought about all the things done and good times had so far this year. I know it's cliche but life is about the journey and not just about the destination. So here are a few of our good times along our life's journey for the segment that is 2014.

In the beginning - IT WAS COLD!

So we needed a lot of wood in order to keep warm.  I took part in 3 ward wood cutting parties and purchased a lot of bundles of slab wood.  We burned through a lot of wood this winter.

Carissa's school had a winter festival to go along with the opening of the Winter Olympics.  Lots of fun games and food and exhibits by teachers who had visited Russia before.

Then Krystene came for a visit  and there was fort building.....

 and a trip to the bowling alley


I think the next time Krystene comes it should be in warmer weather - snow and cold really limit what you can do around here.

February came and it was still COLD, very cold. This must have been a sign of things to come because Cherilyn's birthday turned out to be not such a warm and fuzzy day.  It was not the fun memory of a day that birthdays should be, the world failed to be bright. Well, when you own your own business you just don't get to put in for a day off on your birthday and sometimes it's just more overwhelming because it's your birthday and you just wanted a day off.

On the brighter side....... Chocolate ALWAYS makes things better! :-)

ingredients for my ganache

ganache filled strawberries
 Valentine's Day was good with chocolate!

Because the month was cold, we needed some indoor fun so off to the Jump Mania we went :-)

Lunch time at Jump Mania

Fun Slides

Carissa wondering who will bounce off the slide and into her

 With the cold came the wind.  It blew so hard the swing set nearly blew over. The biggest reason for the play set failure was indeed human error. We forgot one bolt which evidently keeps it from doing this.
Another trailer load of heat
The cold led to MORE snow so good thing we had all this wood.

To most people in areas where snow is more abundant, I know this does not look like much but around here it's 2 days of NO SCHOOL! 

Goodbye February, welcome to March!

So, what makes the snow go away?  Warm air right?  Well what happens when warm and cold collide? WIND! LOTS of wind! The thing about wind is that it doesn't just stop because something gets in its path, it tries to move what is in its way, which is exactly what happened.

The horse hut thought it wanted to be a rocket ready to launch.

Besides wind bringing in the warmer weather in March, Silver Dollar City opens and once again we decided to go for opening weekend.

The change to spring also means we can do more outdoor cooking :-)

The new grill getting broken in
All in all, the beginning of the new year was a good one!  Many new memories were made that have brought much joy to our lives.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


With the passing of time comes the fading of memories and try as we might to hold on to them, we tend to lose parts and sometimes all of the precious memories we create. The enjoyment of the good ones gives us pleasure and peace in our chaotic world while the bad ones can sometimes serve as motivation, not just a reminder of pain and suffering.  Here's to more good times and good memories and the ability to take control and choose to remember more of the good times and less of the bad times.

The year 2013 was a good one. The beginning of the year brought with it the usual hopes of a fresh start and of doing better with the things we did not do so well in the previous year and a new list of projects to be completed. All-in-all, I think we ended in a better place than we began, and that is a good thing. Here is a look back at the Slangsfamily fun 2013

The project - RV 101 2.0
This was a project that taught me to not be so afraid of things I might not know much about.  With a lot of coaxing and prodding, Cherilyn helped me through my fear and I even learned a thing or two. Major props to Cherilyn, I think I wore her out some days just with my lack of desire to face the elements and continue tackling the project. A year later, the project is still not complete but we are entering the "fun" stage.  I say fun in that we are doing things to "pretty" it up as opposed to the rebuilding.  Some of this work is still hard though. HERE is the story of this project and sometime in a future post, the story of the completion will be told :-)

Scary Project

Field trip, Gravel and Snow
February brought the usual spring tease with several very nice days as well as the reminder that winter is far from over. We just have to take advantage of whatever comes our way.

On a few of the nicer days, we were able to do some grounds improvement.  We had gravel brought in for a nice pad to park the 5th wheel on near the barn.

Unfortunately the day of Brittney's class field trip to Fantastic Caverns was not such a great day, we knew it was still winter. In spite of the cold and clouds and some snow on the ground we had a good time. (follow the link to learn more about Fantastic Caverns)

With snow came winter fun

Krystene, a proud UNCC Alum

With the RV project still incomplete, we were unable to travel to North Carolina with it for Krystene's graduation. So we packed up the van and drove the 15 hours to Charlotte at the beginning of May. This trip had it's ups and downs. (that's what traveling through the Appalachians will do for you. LOL)

Seeing your daughter graduate college brings a mix of emotions.  Being immensely well pleased is the greatest of these emotions, after that however, come the thoughts of worry - have a done a good enough job as a parent? will she be able to get a good job? holy cow I'm old! etc.

Our trip had the fun of the graduation and all the festivities that go along with that as well as the opportunity to see and visit with good friends.  I must say it was good to be able to see everyone I was able to.  I miss my good friends in NC. Along with the visitations with good friends, we were able to spend time in the local ER - Thanks go out to the ER Staff @ North East Medical Center for taking care of Carissa.  Remember what I said about memories? Well, memories of appendicitis caused a concern in Cherilyn when Carissa described feeling pain in her abdomen and began running a fever. Turns out, Carissa just needed a little more fiber and exercise, nothing major.  :-)
(For full details and more pics, click the GRADUATION link)

Spring Invasion
The springtime in southwest Missouri brings beautiful days, much greenery and good times in the great outdoors. Along with all of that good stuff, comes a few unwelcome guests to the land. Now these guests are great for doing what they do but I do not like to see them at all, especially near the house. Indiana Jones and I enjoy the same expression of displeasure - "snakes! why did it have to be snakes!" Fortunately, I have never heard - "Scott, the floor, it moves!"

Parental Visitation:
The end of May brought Cherilyn's parents for their annual visit. No major activities planned this year, we had been too busy all spring working on the 5th wheel, which still was not ready for use, though it was close. Just before Cherilyn's parents were to leave, the 5th wheel was ready for a trial run and just like the year before with the last 5th wheel, they got to be a part of the first use.

Ready to fly to Utah

When Cherilyn's parents flew back to SLC, Brittney and Carissa went along too. 

Couple Retreat
While the girls were off having fun in Utah, we thought we should have some fun as well and not just work ourselves to death, after all, we had worked all spring on rebuilding the 5th wheel.  We decided we could take a couple of days and enjoy the fruits of our labors.  We found another State Park not too far from us to explore, Bennett Spring State Park 

what a proper campsite view should be
Preparing the treat for the dutch oven
(Thanks to my grandmother for the hand beater) :-]

the treat!

tinfoil dinner

NC Proud
The saddest part of the trip was drinking my LAST Cheerwine soda! :-(

Check out the size and amount of Trout!

One of the many hiking trails

 The trip was REALLY enjoyable. So glad we went.  We were able to enjoy some quality time together hiking and exploring the area and sitting by the campfire. It was a refreshing trip. Amazing what just a couple of days away can do.

Meanwhile in Grandma and Cousin Land (otherwise known as Utah)
The girls enjoyed plenty of good times during their 3 weeks with cousins and Grandma. Thanks to their Aunt Julie, Rebecca and of course Grandma big plans and big activities abounded daily including, Avairy, mountains, lazer tag, miniature golfing, fun centers and multiple trips to the water park where Carissa finally overcame her fear of going down the slide and dropping into the water. :-)


Krystene Lands a Job! and an apartment!
Krystene was able to officially enter the "real world" by becoming employed in the field in which she studied. She was fortunate to have graduated in May and by June she had a job that would have her begin her teaching career in July. That employment also meant a big move a few hours away.  Krystene began teaching the 5th grade at a year round school in July. So VERY proud of her! :-) Good luck "Miss Lang"

July brought everyone home and good times during the 4th of July fireworks and of course Carissa's birthday.

We enjoyed the annual fireworks in our little town of Marionville on what was actually a pretty cool evening.

Blankets in July

Marionville Fireworks
For Carissa's birthday, we decided to go camping in Branson and spend one day at Silver Dollar City. We had a good time despite the intense heat.  The week before it was cool but for our trip the temps went higher than normal. Good thing we planned to only do water rides on our day at SDC.  It was very fun.
Being at the campsite was like being in a furnace because it was sooooooo hot. We were thankful for the RV with A/C when we could not be in the pool. However, we survived and had an enjoyable time during our stay at the Branson KOA

the pool was the big hit of the park

Marshmallow toasting on the grill
Carissa requested a candy cake

"Candy Land" cake

Presents are great for your birthday!

Free pancakes at the KOA
The girls rode their bikes to breakfast at the hall not too far from our campsite

Jumping pillow

KOA RV park camping
Boys Weekend
The end of July brought a boys weekend of camping and mountain biking. I rounded up some friends from church and we set up camp at Table Rock Lake State Park and enjoyed the White River Valley Trail system.

Safety first in my new helmet.

View from close to the top of the trails

Burgers for lunch
All the riding was fun but with several hundred feet of elevation change multiple times on the trails, I realized how out of shape I was/am LOL

Water Project
In August we began our quest for water. The drillers finally showed up out of the blue one day 6 months after we began the process of trying to get our new well drilled.

600 feet down
That was the last day we saw and or heard from them. They never even sent a bill.  Maybe by the end of summer 2014 we will have the water running.

Puppy Love
Earlier in the year Brittney picked a pup from one of our litters. She named her pup Chloe

A girl and her dog!

School Bell Rings
August also brought the start of another school year.  Brittney entered the 3rd grade and Carissa entered the 1st grade. In our school system, this means they are now attending two different school buildings which means we have to leave earlier in the morning in order to get both girls dropped off on time. That is a real chore! :-)

Don't get too close to the fire, you might get burned!
Burn piles happen several times a year at our place and the girls really enjoy them. Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows is always fun. The issue with the burn pile is that it sometimes gets really big and that means it's also really hot. This makes it difficult to roast because you cannot stand close to the fire. Well, Cherilyn came up with a solution.  She had a local welder make her the ultimate roasting stick. It's a two prong, six foot long marshmallow stick.

During this particular burn pile, we had an interesting experience that turned into a gospel lesson.  Right after we lit the fire, a turtle was spotted on the edge of the burn and was headed right into the fire. Evidently we had not noticed him earlier or we would have removed him from the danger zone long before we lit the fire. When we pushed him away from the fire he headed right back in again. He didn't know that the fire would kill him.  He assumed safety was in his "home" the burn pile. We were able to catch him and save him from what would have been an awful experience had he continued into the fire.

The lesson learned begins with understanding what we have been taught - John 13:34 tells us to love one another.  We should love our fellow man. John 8:1-11 tells us of the story of the adulteress which shows us a few things about how we need to live our lives. First, we should realize that we all have issues, sins etc. that none of us are immune. Second, Christ himself showed that we, like him should love the individual no matter what. Luke 10:27 also lets us know to love our neighbor.  With all this in mind, we should be prepared to help those in need whenever we possibly can.  Often in our lives we run across individuals, friends, family or perfect strangers who, perhaps unbeknown to themselves, are creeping too close to danger, the fire.  We have an opportunity, even an obligation to help when and where we can. Just like the turtle who was crawling toward the fire which we knew would harm or even kill him, many people are on the same path.  We were able to help the turtle to safety and in life we may be able to help others to safety as well.

Muddy Waters
Brittney and Carissa LOVE to play in the mud.  We were so busy this spring working on the RV then it rained and rained so we never got our garden put in.  The kids begged for dirt to play in so I tilled up a plot in the garden area so they could have a mud bath.

Brittney wanted to attend nationals for her birthday trip, so we loaded up and headed to Tulsa, OK to see all the miniature horses compete.

Brittney and Chloe
Hay Bales for Fun
Each year we have the fields cut in the Spring and sometimes the fall. Here, the bales were dropped in the orchard waiting for them to be picked up and hauled away. Two little girls found hours of entertainment on top of them.

Dallas and DM
September brought the Depeche Mode tour to Dallas and Cherilyn and I enjoyed another retreat together. The greatness of going to a DM show is somehow overshadowed at the end by wanting to attend another and not knowing when that chance will come. I am so glad we were able to go to the show and I am thankful to Cherilyn for going with me and making it possible. DM is simply the most awesome group of all time and they put on one AWESOME show!!

Dave, Martin and Fletch
AWESOME couple attending DM concert
While in Dallas, we were also able to visit with some good friends by attending the Dallas Temple (number 12 together) and going out to lunch.  It is always good to catch up with old friends. :-)

October brought a 90th birthday in CA, hiking in MO and of course Halloween fun.

We were able to fly to CA for the 90th birthday of Cherilyn's grandfather and meet up with many of her relatives as well.  We had a lot of fun exploring the Bay area.


San Fransisco skyline

We were able to go to the temple with Cherilyn's Grandpa who has been going once a week for over 20 years!

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Birthday Cake
I was tasked with the making of the birthday cake.

Happy Birthday Grandpa Black
Even @ 90, still king of the BBQ

Family photo time

Day hike in MO @ Roaring River

exploring the cave

are you coming or what?

out on a ledge

Pumpkin Patch
What would fall be without a trip to the pumpkin patch? Fortunately for us, we live very close to one.  The girls invited a couple of friends to come along and enjoy the fun.


a witch and Alec from the Black Stallion
Fall Fun

December brought wood hunting
the stack of logs in back was gone in less than 8 weeks. That stack should have lasted 10 weeks. It was that cold!

December then brought snow and 5 days of missed school
So glad I had just been able to get all that wood! This snow was just days after the wood cutting.

Face Plant!

We had the opportunity to enjoy the Nativity display and musical production at one of our churches in Springfield.  This was a wonderful experience that included a live nativity as well as some wonderful holiday performances by some of the great groups who perform on the Branson Strip.

the group SIX performs
for more about SIX, click HERE

live nativity

December also brought Christmas, which was wonderful as usual.  Lots of love and presents too.

Our year ended with a trip to San Antonio.  We were able to do some business as well as meet up with Cherilyn's college room mate Jolene. We were thankful to Jolene and her husband Mike for being wonderful hosts and feeding us the best home grilled BBQ food!  We took in the Alamo and the Riverwalk as well as some of historic Gruene. We saw the Gruene dance hall and had a great meal at the Grist Mill. We topped off our trip with a visit to the San Antonio temple (number 14 for us together)

The Alamo
The Alamo was great but from what understand from the locals it is usually not as busy as it was the day we went, even considering it was a Saturday. Our mistimed adventure coincided with major road construction in the downtown area and the weekend of the Alamo Bowl, which was the weekend just after Christmas as well! So, not only were there several hundred thousand visitors in town for the bowl game, all those who were visiting relatives for Christmas also wanted to see The Alamo and evidently we all showed up at the same time. Remember the road construction mentioned earlier? That, on top of the extra traffic, made what should have been a 5 minute trip out of downtown into a 35 minute trip back to the freeway. At those moments, I'm glad to live in the country where I can remember the immortal words of the late Cole Porter - "Don't Fence Me In!"

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old friends

San Antonio Temple

That was Slangsfamily 2013.  Good Times, Good friends and Great memories. 

(Don't forget to click the links to see more of some of the fun places we were able to see, you too may want to visit them one day!)