Feeling the Gratitude! Memorial Weekend at Bigfork Montana

Feeling the Gratitude! Memorial Weekend at Bigfork Montana

May in Montana brought a wide variety of weather, but Memorial weekend was all sunshine!

I’ve been in Kalispell with my son, daughter, and son-in-law, but moved to Bigfork in time for the “Wild Mile” – an annual event where kayakers from far and wide test their skills against a rush of whitewater. The Swan River drops quickly from Swan Lake, through Bigfork, and makes its way into Flathead Lake.

Looking at the serene picture above, one might miss the danger and uncertainty these kayakers braved. I feel a kinship (although I have no desire to try my hand at this particular sport). Life has been a wild ride for most of us, and we’re ready for it to slow down and mellow out.

This trip has allowed me to work on a project that is dear to my heart. I call it, “Share a Cup of Gratitude.” You can read more about it under that heading on my web page. It’s a tool to reconnect us, lighten our conversations that have taken a dark turn, and hopefully bring back some humor as we collectively focus on gratitude.

“Thanks is what multiplies the joy and makes any life large, and I hunger for it.” Ann Voskamp

I hope you’ll imbibe! It’s not ready to release yet, but soon I hope you’ll choose to Share a Cup of Gratitude with those you love!

Awe-inspiring, enchanting, captivating – no one word can capture the essence of this area.

Awe-inspiring, enchanting, captivating – no one word can capture the essence of this area.

As often as possible, our travels take us to Joseph, Oregon at the base of the Wallawa Mountains, one of my favorite spots in the world. Joseph is a charming historical town filled with art and culture. Thanks to the bronze foundries that opened in 1982, you’ll find gorgeous bronzes on most of its downtown corners. Brick sidewalks and hanging flower baskets lead past fun restaurants, breweries, and fine art galleries.

Embers Brewhouse downtown Joseph with views of Wallawa Mountains

It’s quite a drive from southern Oregon to the northeast corner of the state, but even though it’s an out-of-the-way spot, it’s definitely been discovered. Crowds overflow during the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo in July; the Bronze, Blues, and Brews festival in August; and Alpenfest in September. A constant draw is the beautiful Wallowa Lake, where our family has enjoyed camping, swimming, and boating for years.

The most irresistible thing for me, however, is to drive through the rolling farms by myself and find a place to stop and gaze at the Wallowa mountains, dubbed the Oregon Alps. Each time, a powerful, creative force makes my heart swell with longing. It’s like nothing I’ve experienced anywhere else.

Awe-inspiring, enchanting, captivating – no one word can capture the essence of this area.

Have you visited Joseph? Is there a place that creates a similar sensation for you?  If you are a writer, is there someplace you count on for inspiration?

Bigfork, Montana

Bigfork, Montana

While visiting our daughter in Kalispell, Montana, we ventured east and found this charming town that sits on the north shore of Flathead Lake. Full of galleries, shops, and great places to eat, it proved a delightful excursion. I’m especially fond of kitchen shops, so while John hung out at the ice cream shop, I found a perfect sized copper colander for our RV.

The town of Bigfork under the blue Montana skies

Situated where the Flathead River and Swan River flow into Flathead Lake, this idyllic place is surrounded by beauty. We found a great Italian restaurant that overlooked the river. They weren’t open for dinner yet but rustled up a delightful meal for us anyway. And brought a bowl of water for our dog, Sangi.

The Swan River flows through the town and into the Flathead Lake.

If you look closely, you can see a FOR SALE sign at the river’s edge. My imagination went on high alert as I tried to figure out what we could build there. My out-of-the-box ideas have become a running joke, prompting John to adopt the saying, “That’s an idea,” to preserve his sanity.

Everything can’t be a mystery

Everything can’t be a mystery

I spent three more spectacular days in Astoria, Oregon on a fact-finding mission for my Get Eaven suspense series. Street 14 Cafe not only provided a great cup of Stumptown coffee but also a variety of savory quiches for breakfast, two days in a row. For a couple of hours each day, I sat in comfort and finished some chapters while the details were fresh in my mind.

Outside the walls of windows, Astoria bustled. My eyes feasted on this town I have come to enjoy immensely. Like my character, Eaven Alexander, I’m saddened whenever I leave it. I bought this cup and drink from it most mornings to anchor myself within the story. I hope my novel will whet your appetite to visit this amazing city. If you do, let me know. And send some pics.

“I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

“I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

My husband, a passionate bike rider, decided to ride from Astoria, Oregon to the Atlantic coast. The trip took over two months and gave him a wonderful adventure and great new friends.

I flew out and joined him at Niagara Falls for a couple of days. The bike group left and I rented a car to loosely follow them.

I say loosely because I am forever taken over by my curiosity. That is how I ended up at this cemetery in Bennington, Vermont.

And that is how I came upon the grave of the famous author, Robert Lee Frost.

It’s a beautiful gravestone and includes his other family members. I especially love the sentiment under his wife’s name, “Together wing to wing and oar to oar.”

Many people travel there on purpose. I consider my visit a happy accident.