Celebration of Life

Moving beyond my pain and celebrating life.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

95 Birthdays and counting....

Yesterday afternoon, Gary, his sister Anita and I drove over to Green River and helped Aunt Claris celebrate her 95th birthday. Aunt Claris was married to Gary's Uncle Bill, (Gary's dad's brother) in the 1950's. Uncle Bill died many years ago.

When Gary was 5 years old, his mother came down with polio so Gary and his brother Robert lived with Aunt Claris and Uncle Bill for several years while their mother and father lived in California while she was getting treatment for polio.

Claris has been like a second mother to Gary and he adores her as she does him. Of course, I have adopted her as my Aunt also. Aunt Claris' mind is still sharp and except that she wants to sleep all the time, she is in pretty good health. Claris' son, Bruce and his family came up from AZ and FL to help her celebrate so I got to visit with lots of family. I love the family connection and it made me miss my own mother.

I will be in Jackson all week so will blog when I get back!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Almost like a water torture....

Wyoming Board of Parole
This morning I left my house at 5:55 and drove 112 miles east to Rawlins. I had an 8:30 appointment with the BOP. It has been almost 18 years since Beckie's murder and I finally felt strong enough to go and present my concerns to the Parole Board about Beckie's killer.
First I stopped at a Quik Mart and bought myself a giant cup of coffee with yummy creamer and managed to dump it down the front of my new red sweater. Then I went to the court house and found my long time friend, Loretta who is also a victim's advocate and then we walked three blocks to the BOP office.
I had been told that the only appointment that I could have was the 8:30 slot because they had to be out at the Pen by 9:00. I waited until 9:30 before I was ushered into the board room.
I was greeted by three friendly faces, two of which were familiar to me. I have been in the work of victim services for 14 years and have met many wonderful people along the way, two of which sat at the table in front of me.
I was treated with courtesy and respect. The Board asked me what my concerns were and I told them everything my family and I have been going through for the last couple of years. I took documents which the killer produced and distributed statewide about the slayings. The Board was appalled and surprised but grateful that I gave them copies.
To make a long story short, Beckie's killer will not be considered for commutation in the near future. After the meeting was over, I walked out of there feeling like a load of bricks had been lifted from my shoulders.
Even though it has been almost 18 years, going through the pain and process does not get any easier. I used to receive the Parole Hearing Notifications on my birthday until I requested that they send them a day or two later so they didn't arrive then. It seems the killer keeps attempting to have his name in the media looking for notoriety and just won't quit. It is my duty as Beckie's sister to give her and her three boys who were also murdered, a voice.
I liken it to a slow drip that keeps plopping in the middle of my forehead and doesn't stop, just like a water torture. As long as I am alive, I will continue to endure.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


My life path has taken me many places...
I have trod down many bumpy and rocky roads...
I have walked the straight and narrow...
I have recklessly jogged on splintery swinging bridges...
At times, I have had to crawl in order to keep going...

I have had doors shut in my face...
I have windows of opportunity opened for me...
Now, I am standing at the garden gate...
Do I enter for a time of respite in the refreshing garden...
Or do I continue to the unknown?

Friday, September 12, 2008


As I sit here at my computer this morning, I am fully aware that the seasons are changing. It is only 42 degrees outside and it has been raining. Soon the leaves will be changing colors and then soon after that, the trees will be bare. Winter will be here shortly.

My work and travel schedule is full for the next two months. Next week I will be in Seattle for a conference on Battered Women and the Effects on their Children. Shortly after I get back, I will be teaching in three different places around Wyoming on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Silent Witness State Initiative will be in Jackson Hole, this year. I have attended one National Initiative in Washington D.C. and almost all of the State Initiatives since 1999. It is a hard ceremony to attend because it seems like going to a funeral every year. There is a silhouette for every woman murdered in Wyoming in a domestic violence homicide. Many of you are aware that our sister Beckie and her three sons were murdered in November of 1990 by her 15 year old stepson. This is the reason I got into the field of Victim Services and have continued it as my life's work.

The project started in 1990 as an awareness campaign to help reduce the rate of domestic violence homicides nationwide. I am not sure if it has actually helped reduce DV homicides but, I do know since its inception it has helped get more people and more disciplines involved in the work.

As long as there are people who think they have the right to have power and control over other people and that they are entitled, there will be domestic violence.

The seasons change, the cycle of life continues and there is nothing we can do to change what is out of our own personal control; we can change our own perspective on violence and choose not to tolerate violence in any form in our own life.

Celebrating life,


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who me, worry?

I have been under a lot of stress lately but when I took the time to calm myself down, I remembered this poem. I am not sure who wrote it and I could not find a source so if you know the author please let me know and I will site it.


Worry never climbed a hill,

Worry never paid a bill,

Worry never dried a tear,

Worry never calmed a fear.

Worry never fixed a heel,

Worry never cooked a meal,

Worry never composed a song to sing,

Actually, worry never did a worthwhile thing.


It is amazing how much I worry, even though I know it doesn't accomplish a thing.

The word worry is derived from the German word wurgen, which means to strangle. Then to worry is to strangle one's self. Yikes!

The modern definition for worry reads this way, "to afflict with mental distress and agitation, to make anxious." It goes on to say that worry implies an incessant goading or attacking that drives one to desperation. Most of us can identify with that particular definition.

There are always things to worry about but, for today, I have resolved not to worry about worry and just keep celebrating my life!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's Wyoming...

Today, while I was driving home from hunting camp, the clear blue day and the beauty of Wyoming overwhelmed me. I couldn't help but think of the song we sang while we were growing up: It's Wyoming by R.S. Hamilton and Marvin Rainwater. It goes like this:

There's a place I love the best
It is still the old, old west.
It's a land that is beautiful and free.

I can smell the sage and pine, over on the far skyline.

It's Wyoming and it's home sweet home to me.

Rolling plains, rolling plains, it's Wyoming and it's home sweet home to me.

When the twilight's shadows fall, there there comes a distant call
of a coyote as he still across the plains.
While the night winds whisper near, there are antelope and deer
slowly grazing way out there upon the range.
Rolling plains, rolling plains, they are grazing way out there upon the range.

There the mountains rise so high, to touch a clear blue western sky
As the trout streams tumble from their mighty crest.

There are valleys rich and green
where the cattle can be seen

It's Wyoming where the sage hen builds her nest. Rolling plains, rolling plains, it's Wyoming where the sage hen builds her nest.

And the old sheepherder too, comes a riding into view, as he beds his woolly flock upon a hill. There are hoof prints in the sand of a roaming mustang band.

I love Wyoming and I guess I always will.

Rolling plains, rolling plains, I love Wyoming and I guess I always will.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dancing in the Kitchen....

This is the before remodeling picture... You can't see it very good in this picture but the counter top was old, cracked, broken, bowed and stained. The flooring was an ugly old carpet. The ceiling had florescent lights and because of the huge apartment complex being built next door, the light lenses kept falling down and breaking. (You can see there is only one lens left!)

Here is Bryan and Laura replacing the lighting and redoing the ceiling.

It looks so much better now!

Laura replaced the door and drawer pulls and polished the wood. It's so nice to have GREAT Children who love their Mom!

Here is the finished kitchen.

In this picture you can see the new flooring.

It looks like ceramic tile but it is linoleum.

Come celebrate with me and dance with me in my kitchen!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Weekend....

Friday at noon, I received an email from my boss that we could have the rest of the day off so I headed for hunting camp. Archery hunting season opened this morning but I went up to help Gary get ready. After we satup the styrofoam targets, we practiced. I had fun learning how to shoot with the bow that Gary built and was delighted when I actually hit the target!

It was 80 degrees and clear blue sky when I left Friday; Saturday it was in the high 70s and a little windy; yesterday it was cloudy and in the 60s and it rained last night. This morning we had 6 inches of snow on the ground, foggy and windy. I left hunting camp at noon today and arrived back in Rock Springs at 2:45. I could only go about 25 mph on the 48 miles of snowy muddy graveled road but it was quite enjoyable in my Jeep Cherokee. By the time I got to Kemmerer, the closest town, I had to stop and wash all my windows so I could see. It will take lots and lots of quarters to get my jeep back to its original color!

After I got back to Rock Springs, I went over to see my daughter and grand daughters who were over at their other grandmother's house. I visited and played until they left for home at 4:00.

I had a wonderful weekend but will be happy to sleep in my own bed tonight! It's back to work tomorrow!

Hope you all had a great time!