Ready for football?

Do you have a favorite NFL or college football team? It’s time to cheer them on, if that’s your thing. I’m excited about college football beginning this weekend and the National Football League (NFL) regular season kicks off after next week.

I like the pre-game activities that allow young people to interact and enjoy the environment. Here are a couple of photos I took last year before a home NFL game. Can you guess my favorite team?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Cheyenne’s Frontier Days

Frontier Days
Bull-riding statue at The Frontier, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Since 1897 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the “daddy” of the rodeo has been “kicking up dust” with the “world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration,” states https://www.cfdrodeo.com/about-us/.

According to the website, Frederick W. Angier, traveling passenger agent of the Union Pacific Railroad, suggested to the editor of the Cheyenne Daily Sun-Leader, a festival similar to Greeley, Colorado’s “Potato Day.”  As a result of that suggestion, plans for the first “Frontier Day”, were formulated in the Tivoli Saloon at the corner of 16th Street and Carey.

It’s amazing the influence of the railroad in developing the western frontier.  I’ll have more on that in a separate post. 

Frontier Days events included pony races, bronco busting, steer roping and other activities.  At the time, the events were seen as a test of a cowboy’s skill.  YeeHaw!

The inaugural event was so successful it was extended the next year to include two days.  A parade was added.  The rodeo expanded as the years went on and more affiliated events were added. Its reputation increased as well. And today it is one of the most authentic and largest rodeo events in the world.

We rode around the event area and it was rather quiet in June.  Can you imagine the excitement and activities come July 11-18, 2019, when the cowboys, cowgirls, livestock, vendors and all associated people start converging on the site?  I’m sure it is a wild ride. 

Have you attended the frontier days? How about a rodeo?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Reach en pointe

Ballet en pointe demonstrates dedication, hard work, strength and grace to achieve to the highest point. (Ballet Cinderella and Fairy Godmother)

Dance recitals are upon us,

Behold the beauty, grace and flow

Of the rhythm, steady movement,

Labor of love, satisfaction, persistence that only family may know.

Reach above – focus, draw strength from the one who loves.

En pointe desired by one

Who yearns, grows, prepares to reach,

Upward toward the highest,

Rise up, reach for the dream, achieve – I beseech. 

(Images from 2019 “Cinderella” production by Heather Loveland Dance Academy portraying “Cinderella” and the “Fairy Godmother.”)

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

I Remember

Memorial Day in the United States is Monday.  Many are enjoying friends and family during the long weekend.  Merchants have sales going on.  I saw some fireworks for sale in a grocery store a couple of days ago.  I heard two sports radio talents talking about going to the beach, relaxing, cooking out and other activities.  At least they did mention to remember those serving in the military.   So, what is Memorial Day and how should we celebrate, or should we?

Memorial Day is not Veterans Day.  It’s not the Fourth of July.  It’s not Labor Day and other typical holidays. 

Photo of Civil War image

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring those who died while serving in the U.S. military.  It was originally known as Decoration Day, originating years after the Civil War, which ended in 1865 and claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history.  Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.  https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to the countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

St. Augustine National Cemetery

During World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict. The time of remembrance was then changed to remember American military personnel who died in all wars. 

Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30 for decades until Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, creating Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, which established Memorial Day as a federal holiday that enabled a three-day weekend for federal employees. 

Service members, veterans and their families know there is a big difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a day set aside to celebrate all veterans, Memorial Day is a somber holiday dedicated to honor military fallen, with a special focus on those killed during military service or through enemy contact. https://www.military.com/memorial-day

Both holidays often include parades, ceremonies and celebrations. But although Memorial Day also traditionally marks the beginning of summer with picnics and parties, many in the military community believe that at least a portion of it should be set aside to mourn and honor the fallen.

I want to go a litter further though.  Yes, Memorial Day was established for those who bore the weight of battle to the last degree, but what about those who came back changed to the degree they felt there was no reason for them to continue living?

Don’t these military members experience a certain death, whether physical injury like loss of limb, traumatic brain injury and mental health challenges?  While they may be here physically, mentally some may be elsewhere, or think there is no need to continue living – but yes, there is a need and a reason. 

We owe our support and gratitude to those who served – going when and where the nation needed them.

I know the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) is doing a great work and is constantly working on behalf of our veterans.  One of their studies can be found at https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/2016suicidedatareport.pdf.  And, I realize the national suicide rate continues to climb with our general population.  Let’s continue getting to the root cause though and never abandon our pursuit to not loose one life. 

Each life is precious, deserving the best care and support possible.  I recall a personal situation where one Soldier returned from combat.  His mother noticed a change in behavior, how he was more quiet and secluded, as well as not sleeping well.  This behavior had changed from the son she knew before deployment. 

The mother notified the unit the Soldier deployed with.  The unit made an appointment with the VA and he received medication.  The mother called weeks later.  She mentioned her son had stopped taking his medication and was missing for over a week.  He was later found by law enforcement. Full military funeral honors were given to honor this fallen Solder. 

There are so many factors related to the mental health of those serving in stressful situations, and encountering things the human brain has difficulty comprehending.  Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common term we’ve head for years now.  Stress can lead to deep mental health concerns if not managed.  

I personally think the “disorder” terminology should be discarded.  Let’s deal with the post-traumatic stress, or even depression – helping the person with his or her individual behavior, concerns and providing all that can be provided within our medical achievements.

With proper recognition of symptoms, showing care, effective individual treatment and being a caring community, we can curtail the loss of life. 

Still, may we continue remembering those who have passed from our presence – giving their all in the line-of-duty. 

How do other countries remember those who died fighting for their freedoms, or who have experienced the burden of conflict?  Is freedom even important that one would die trying to gain it, or keep it? 

Let’s never forget those who sacrificed so much, and their families who long to celebrate with their loved one if he or she was here.

I have had the solemn honor of meeting with family members when they first learned of their military member’s death.  I still see the pain and the sorrow.  I tried to comfort and help families the best I could during some of their darkest moments. 

I’ve had the solemn honor of rendering military honors with firing salutes, folding the U.S. flag for presentation, and presenting the flag of the United States of America to the closest next-of-kin, softly speaking these words:  “On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army (or Air Force) and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.

I will always remember these special moments.  I have a special affection for these Families who remain to carry on the remembrance of their Soldiers. 

So, Memorial Day 20l9, let’s take a few minutes to at least remember and show respect. 

We can still celebrate because that is one of the reasons our brothers and sisters fought so valiantly, to their last breath, to gain and maintain these freedoms we enjoy.  Let’s also include those who are still with us today, and not let them become a statistic too. 

I will remember!

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Racer and Concours

Imagine back in the day – racing with these beauties.  That’s what I thought while walking in the Jacksonville International Airport, Friday, and took this photo. 

The annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida helps with your imagination as you tour the racers, sports and luxury cars.  You can also participate in a silent auction.  I had forgotten about the event but plan on attending one of these days – and of course take some photos. 

Concours is French and means a public display or competition. It typically displays precision restoration of historic and rare automobiles and is an event held worldwide at various times.

Take a look at the website to see more of these amazing creations, and gather more information.  https://www.ameliaconcours.org/

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190307/thousands-expected-at-this-weekends-amelia-island-concours-and-many-other-car-events

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Race Traffic – Safe Drive

“Ready, set, go”, or “drivers, start your engines.”

For those traveling Interstate 95 in the U.S, particularly in northeast Florida, you will encounter an extra amount of traffic.  Daytona 500’s speed weeks are this week and the big race – Daytona 500 in Daytona, Florida  – is Sunday. 

Front view of Daytona National Speedway stadium

You’ll notice not only extra traffic but people driving like they are in the race itself, going excessively over the speed limit and darting between other vehicles with drivers trying to drive safely. 

I appreciate our law enforcement doing what they can, but they can’t be everywhere.  SO!  Please drive with extra caution and please don’t let the less responsible ruin your travel plans, nor prevent you from “arriving alive.”  https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/arrivealive/.

Florida Highway Patrol website image to highlight “Arrive Alive.”

Most people don’t realize they can call *FHP or *347 while in Florida to help with an emergency on the Interstate, or to report a hazardous condition.

Also, for those traveling in the Daytona area please be aware of an increase in pedestrians and bicyclists as thousands of people walk, bike and drive the area.  Florida Department of Transportation’s “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” emphasis overall and specific traffic safety at https://www.alerttodayflorida.com/

For more information on the Daytona 500 races, the website is https://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/Responsive-Event-Calendar.aspx.  (“Drivers, start your engines” is a common phrase used at NASCAR races by a special guest to tell drivers they may start their engines for the race.)

A good source for free traffic information is https//FL511.com

Drive, walk and bike responsibly.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Ice capade

Slide in an ice sculpture display in Florida

I hope the frigid cold has subsided in the northern U.S. and Canada. I was thinking about those impacted by the extreme weather.

It makes one wonder when the cold becomes a serious detriment, and when people embrace it for enjoyment. We never want conditions that threaten life or present hazards though.

Polar vortex from the north,

Moves throughout the land;

Sweeping away the warmth,

Creating fears within.

The rain, the ice stop our tracks.

What else can we do?

In the north where the cold winds blow,

The people huddle, around the warm glow.

But what about those who brave the cold,

Slipping and sliding on the ice?

When is it a burden for us all,

Compared to the fun of sliding, skating and other things nice?

Let’s have some of it begs the south,

But don’t stay too long.

We look for the snow and the wintry path.

We’ll bundle and risk the fall,

Riding, walking, sliding on the colorful ice. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Holiday special – replica train depots and life

Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot , Utah

One of the unique items I found at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. was a varied display of train depot replicas made with natural materials. Combined with these depots were trains running throughout the display area.

I really liked the festive, natural environment around the displays – with all the holiday color and excitement. Take a look.

Don’t you enjoy the hometown feeling as you look at this artwork and seeing the trains move about the tracks? There seems to be something magical about trains. They tend to let us escape from our stress a little – maybe giving us a sense of taking a trip.

Here is a little video clip of the various trains in the U.S. Botanical Garden and Conservatory.

Replica of Union Station in Washington D.C., made of natural materials

Also, while walking through the Union Station in Washington, D.C. we liked their decorations in the central hall. Travelers were scurrying about to reach their destinations. They appeared to like the festive displays, which provided a little brightness in their day.

So, let’s take a ride and escape the pressures – enjoy the beauty, enjoy the season – remembering the efforts God made to bring peace to this world, allowing us to cast our cares upon Him.

Yes, life gets busy, especially during occasions like Christmas and various holiday celebrations. But, let’s not forget to pause some, enjoy the ride, the sights, the sounds of life all around.

Each of us has our own spiritual thoughts and beliefs as we all have freedom of choice. I choose to believe in and trust in the one born to give us abundant and eternal life – Jesus Christ. We can have peace and love, even in the midst of the traveling and the stress of life.

Where is your train depot and which journey do you want to take?

Blessings and Love along the way!

Ron

Botanic Garden – gem in D.C.

Model of Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. made from natural resources.

Watch closely or you’ll miss it. 

Nestled among the federal buildings, traffic, hustle and bustle, along with trying to drive to keep from crashing while checking for special sites – is a wonderful botanic garden – practically on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

Botanic Garden and Conservatory entrance area with U.S. Capitol in background

I guess it is befitting so those who work in Washington, D.C. to be able to have a garden to provide a little stress relief.  It’s good for guests too!


U.S. Capitol display with natural resources.

U.S. Botanic Garden in D.C. has special displays for Christmas and holidays
Real U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I was pleasantly surprised during our visit in late November to see the special displays mixed with the unique garden and conservatory. 

The White House display with natural resources in the Botanic Garden and Observatory
The real White House in Washington, D.C.

Wow, it is amazing to see some of the monuments and special structures build with natural resources.

The displays fit right in with the Christmas and holiday decorations. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Watch out for Rex!

 

Another unique concept we see while traveling through Canon City, Colorado is ———wait for it!

Canon City dino-1

Public art of dinosaurs?

Yep, and a long-horn sheep.  Colorful at that.

Canon City ram

Canon City even has a Dino Daze Instagram Contest to find the 11 sculptures around town. Details are at http://www.canoncity.org/residents/public_art.php.

Canon City dino-2

Canon City dino-3I wondered why the sculptures are placed around – particularly dinos?  As I researched a little further, I noticed the Colorado area is known for dinosaur fossils.

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, fossils of well-known species of large dinosaurs have been discovered in this area over the last 120 years. Many of the dinosaur fossils discovered at Garden Park area are on exhibit at museums around the country, including the Denver Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Fossils of two-legged, plant-eating dinosaurs, dinosaur eggs, and dinosaur tracks have also been discovered in the Garden Park Fossil Area. In addition to dinosaur bones, Garden Park contains 2 significant, rare plant species, Brandegee wild buckwheat and inch milkweed.

Garden Park is a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Area of Critical Environmental Concern, a Colorado Research Natural Area, and a National Natural Landmark. More information is available at https://www.blm.gov/visit/garden-park-fossil-area.

Glad you are with me as we experience this together.

Blessings along the way!

Ron