I was busy listening to the Cubs’ ill-fated attempt at postseason redemption this evening, so I missed the Okie Blogger Roundup over at Hideaway Pizza on Cherry Street … where, as it turns out, I apparently fared much better than Chicago’s boys in blue.

I got online a minute ago to see whether Yet Another Small Town Moment had won an Okie Blogger Award (it hadn’t, but go read it anyway, because it’s one of my favorites), and lo and behold, I discovered that Red Fork Hippie Chick had won the Best Inspirational Blog category.

In retrospect, I probably should have ditched the Cubs, grabbed my laptop, and grabbed a slice or two with the bloggers. I’m sure no one would have minded if I kept one eye on the MLB Web site while I celebrated my own victory and drowned my sorrows over the Cubs’ loss with a giant chocolate-chip cookie.

Ah, well. Just wait ’til Maybe next year.

In the meantime, if I were going to make an insufferable little acceptance speech, I would have to thank everybody who voted for me; Ron, who helped me start this blog; the late Jim Jung, whose Waterman and Hill-Traveller’s Companion was my initial inspiration; Mary Baker Eddy, whose writings underpin most of my riffs on faith; my Primary class teacher, who doesn’t seem to mind the fact that he is doomed to spend the rest of his earthly existence answering my incessant questions about Christian Science; and, of course, the source of all right ideas: God.

But really, y’all … thanks to those of you who voted for me, and to those of you who weren’t eligible to vote for me but would have if you could, and to those of you who didn’t vote for me but are kind enough to read me even if I’m not your favorite. (“Tree people out there, God bless you. I’m singing for you, too.”*)

It means a lot to hear that my small effort to put something positive into the blogosphere and uplift others’ thoughts a little bit is having the desired effect. Thanks for the recognition. 🙂

Congratulations to all the winners and all the nominees … and a big thanks to all the great bloggers — in Oklahoma and beyond — who keep me informed, enlightened, and entertained every day. Speaking as a busybody, I appreciate your willingness to open your hearts and lives to a complete stranger every day just to give me something to read. When you think about it, that’s a pretty amazing gift.


* First person to identify the source of that quote wins a fabulous prize.

UPDATE: On a totally unrelated note, I have been playing around with the idea of making some changes to the look of my blog, so I may be test-driving different templates and header images over the next few days to see how they work before I settle on something permanent. Please bear with me….

Christmas in October

Ron bought me an early Christmas present this afternoon: A fancy new bounce strobe for my trusty Canon EOS Digital Rebel.

I have a bounce strobe for my ancient 35mm Nikon F2, but it lacks the necessary whiz-bang-electronic-techno-magic bits that would allow it to communicate with the Rebel’s internal computer … so every time I tried putting the Nikon’s strobe on the Rebel’s hot shoe, the Rebel would override my carefully selected manual settings and default to a ridiculously slow shutter speed that resulted in nothing but blurry, unusable images.

The way the guy at the camera store explained it to me, the old strobe could give off light, but it lacked the necessary technology to express it to the Rebel in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, the computer inside the Rebel sensed something on the hot shoe, but it couldn’t recognize what it was, so it basically got confused, panicked, and — in a desperate attempt to let in the light — did something that didn’t make any sense at all.

Although we were talking about cameras, not metaphysics, my experience at the camera store illuminated more than just the subjects of my photographs.

First, I found it interesting that while the old strobe’s light may have been bright enough to produce clear images, the light wasn’t usable, because its method of expression was inappropriate, outdated, and inconsistent with the more advanced technology I’ve adopted in recent years. Substitute “love” for “light” and “understanding” for “technology,” and you’ve got a pretty good metaphysical lesson.

Second, I find I have some things in common with my aptly-named Rebel.

The apostle Paul talks in I Thessalonians about praying that our “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless.”

If I understand Paul correctly, he is saying that when we find ourselves in a confusing or uncomfortable situation, the right response is not to rely on material sense (which is notoriously unreliable) to tell us what’s going on, but to preserve ourselves “blameless” by calming down and relying on God — divine Principle — to adjust the situation, let in the light, and reveal the true picture.

Like my camera, I’ve sometimes found myself in the position of struggling to communicate with someone who was trying to shed a little light on something for me. Unfortunately, I haven’t always heeded Paul’s advice. Sometimes — like my Rebel — I’ve panicked in the midst of perceived darkness, made assumptions based on incomplete information, and reacted in counterproductive ways. Predictably, my reaction only added to the confusion instead of bringing the peace and clarity that come when we remain calm and wait on Principle to show us the light.



Well, lookie here: One of my other sites got a little free publicity today, courtesy of the Arizona Republic, which did a story about historic motels on Route 66.

Hat tip to Ron for noticing the story had finally run. The reporter e-mailed me almost two months ago to ask about motels after finding my e-mail address on I’d almost forgotten about it until Ron posted the link to the story today on Route 66 News.

Hopefully the article will generate some more interest in mom-and-pop motels on Route 66 and points beyond. I can’t say enough good things about indie businesses. They’re wonderful.




One of the most striking things we saw during our trip to New Mexico this weekend was an old Hispanic cemetery on Route 66 near Montoya. Juxtaposed between Route 66 to the north and I-40 to the south, with a clear blue New Mexico sky above them, the graves were adorned with plastic flowers, jar candles emblazoned with pictures of saints, small fences, smooth stones, statues, shrines, and handmade headstones crafted by anonymous artists.

The eclectic assortment of tributes to the departed gave the entire place the feel of a giant retablo.

I’m not generally given to wandering around in cemeteries, but this one was so different from anything I’d ever seen, I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera and letting it find the details for me.

To see what I got, click here.


Two miles in the high desert

On the way home from Tucumcari on Monday, we took the old gravel alignment of 66 from San Jon to Glenrio. Somewhere around Endee, I asked Ron to stop the car so I could jog a little bit. I ran just a couple of miles (I’m not acclimated to the arid climate or the altitude, so I was ready to stop and get something to drink after two miles), but it was a nice run.

I still need to Photoshop the images from my trip. I sorted them last night, but we went to the fair this evening, so I didn’t have time to finish editing them tonight. Maybe I can get to it tomorrow.  The picture above is one Ron shot with his little point-and-shoot camera while I was running between Endee and Glenrio.

The fair was great. We watched the stock dog trials, as usual, and waited out a rain in the birthing center, where they have all kinds of baby animals and all kinds of mama animals that are about to have babies. They had a petting zoo set up, which was pretty cool. We also saw a lot of show animals, including goats and pigs, and I got to pet some Percherons. We tried this year’s new fair food, which was deep-fried mashed potatoes. They were OK but not as good as fried cheese or lemon shake-ups.


Back in Oklahoma

It will take me a day or two to Photoshop all the images I shot on our trip to New Mexico. Here’s an almost entirely unrelated video to keep you occupied in the meantime:

I say “almost entirely unrelated” because it has a sort of indirect connection to our trip: My sister sang this song for our wedding, and I was thinking of that this evening, partly because I was listening to folk music while working up these pictures, and partly because traveling with Ron always reminds me of why I love him.

Just for giggles, here’s the rest of our wedding music:

Ron, ever the Springsteen fan, requested this:

Ever the folkie, I had to have the one Peter, Paul and Mary song that all folkies have to have at their weddings:

Ron hates Andrew Lloyd Webber, but he indulged me when he found out that my fondest wish for our wedding involved having my sister and my friend Rick sing the theme song from Aspects of Love together:

If I can get our wedding video converted to DVD, I’ll try to figure out how to put that part up on YouTube, because it’s just stunning.