Looking Back, Looking Forward–Always a Good Choice

Posted by on December 29, 2017 in Shirley's Blog | 0 comments

Journey. Photo by Ruth Sullivan




I’m looking forward to a new year. I don’t know what’s in front of me, but I know what’s behind me.


Hope for the future.


As you may know, Jim and I are facilitators for GriefShare and often the grieving one will say, “I can’t wait for this year to be over. Next year has got to be better!” They’re looking at it from the perspective of getting past the pain of grief and loss, ¬†but also hope for the future.



Ninety-five hundred miles and barely scratching the surface of our great nation.


Today, I’m looking back over the year 2017. We did a lot of traveling, but what stands out the most, was our road trip through our United States. We had a marvelous opportunity to see our beautiful and varied country close up. Even though we traveled 9500 miles, we barely scratched the surface. I look forward to seeing more sometime.


Our country is beautiful.


Our country is beautiful. We gazed at the beautiful Badlands, the unending cornfields of the mid-west, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes–that are like the ocean, the farms of Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana–I could go on. We were awed by the mighty Niagara Falls, the steep contours of Vermont and Maine, the Atlantic Ocean. We drove on roads near New York City and saw the Freedom Tower in the distance, we gazed at the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Plymouth Rock. We wandered through a cemetery where Paul Revere was buried, gazed up at statues of the freedom fighters for our nation’s independence. Heading west, we enjoyed the rolling hills of Missouri, the craggy Rockies in Colorado beckoning us from the plains. And then. The wonder of Arches and Cayonlands in Utah. Heading homeward, we returned through more familiar territory in Idaho, Oregon and finally our home state, Washington. Feast your eyes on some of the sights we saw not in any particular order:

Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Lake in Many Glaciers National Park










Bison in the Badlands, North Dakota.










Lake Michigan

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Niagara Falls from the United States side.

Beautiful Portland, Maine

Maine Lobster–see those eyes?

Harbourside Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Cemetery where Paul Revere was buried. Many leaning headstones. Boston.

Oil Wells in the Prairie Skies, in the Dakotas.


Statue of Paul Revere

Western Montana Ranch




Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Good morning Colorado.














Dixie Stampede, Branson, Missouri

Tomb of President Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln and three of their sons are also entombed there. Springfield, Illinois.

Replica of Noah’s Ark, made in proportion to measurements in the Bible. Kentucky.

Liberty Bell, Philadelphia





Arches National Park, Utah.




















































I probably left something out from our journey, but I must say, what impacted both of us the most, were the people we met. We visited cousins in Montana, reacquainted ourselves with a former pastor, and worshipped with them in their church in North Dakota.

Shirley’s former pastor, Brian and wife, Dayna Martin

Graybill Family









Aunt Ruth–also a writer so we have lots to talk about.

Captain Tom and Cousin Linda, New York State.












It was the people I remember the most.


We visited my last surviving aunt and cousins in Nebraska, visited family in Illinois–and worshipped with them where my stepson, Greg, pastors. We headed north to territory we’d never been, and visited more family in New York state. We still think about the conversations we had there. On to Vermont to visit an old friend. Now it was time to meet new people who’ve become our friends. In Maine, we were treated to wonderful hospitality. Lovedy made sure we tasted ice cream only made in Maine, hot dogs, lobster–Maine lobster–mind you. She took us to Portland and Kennebunkport, we enjoyed good food and conversation. We traveled down into New England where we met more new friends and stayed in charming Connecticut where more hospitality was shown to us. We met family in Branson, and though we live in the same town, we look back on that time as a wonderful reunion. Then on to Colorado where more people shared their homes with us. Yes, it was the people I remember the most, though the sights were unforgettable!

New friends in Maine.

Shirley and Ibby, deep in conversation. Connecticut.

Speaking at Women’s Connection in Woodstock, CT.

Don and Nancy Rudberg. Family on earth. Family through faith.














This morning I read the words of a wise man.


In their hearts humans plan their course,

but the LORD establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9



I’m looking forward to a new year


I don’t think I need to add to those words. I’m looking forward to a new year. To new experiences, yet I know I can trust the One who establishes my steps. Happy New Year!

Journey. Photo by Ruth Sullivan

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