Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum

Over our spring break, we were able to visit the Chilsholm Trail Museum in Duncan, Oklahoma. It was the nicest little museum I’ve been to in a very long time. Maybe ever. It was only about a forty minute drive, reasonably priced and very entertaining. My favorite part was the film presentation. Most museums have these type of presentations. The one at Mt. Vernon, Virginia, was a dramatic reenactment about (obviously) Washington. It didn’t hold a candle to the one in Duncan, Oklahoma! I hate to give away the fun, but I just have to tell you about it! It was shown in 4-D. That means you can not only watch the movie on a screen which sort of circled around you, but you can smell the grass, the dirt, and yes, even the cattle! You can feel the wind and the heat from the fire. And…wait for it…you can feel the water when the cowboys splash through the rolling river with their herd. It was excellent. I can’t wait to take our family the next time they visit us!

They have a small area where kids can dress up in hats and vests, and practice cattle-roping. They have a mock-up general store and a wagon, loaded and ready for the trail. They also have an animatronics presentation featuring Jesse Chisholm and a cowboy out on the trail. These robots were designed by the folks at Disney, and they are top-notch. They also have a small art museum featuring local artists and their renderings of the wild west.  Outside the museum, they have a scale-model of the renowned trail that you can walk, noting the most famous landmarks.

Anyway, I’ll quit jawing about it and let you see some photos of it! Hmm…I feel so western all of a sudden.

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We had already been to Geronimo’s grave, so it was fitting to see what he looked like.

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Laci liked this statue of an Indian woman and her papoose.

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The little ones enjoyed practicing their cattle-roping skills. Yeehaw!

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I’m not sure if you can tell in this photo, but this faux food looked incredibly real.

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For Oklahoma’s centennial celebration in 2007, some men decided to go on a round up on the Chisholm Trail. They did everything just as the cowboys did it. This cow, Blackie, led the herd.

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The man after whom the trail was named, and who reportedly *hated* beef, Jesse Chisholm.

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They have stamps with which you can design your own brand. This is Terry’s attempt to make “TBII” for Terry Basham, II.

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Our final stop was the gift shop. Mitchell bought this scorpion sucker. Yes! It’s actually edible! *shudder*

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I stayed away from the extreme items in the gift shop and came away with some cute cookie cutters in the shapes of the state of Oklahoma, a boot, a Texas Longhorn, and a cowboy hat. I want to do some Oklahoma state history over the summer and, of course, cookies would be a good place to start.

Happy trails,

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A Day at the Capitol

On February 10, we were able to join other homeschoolers from around the state for “Homeschool Day at the Capitol”. It was an opportunity to meet with our state legislators and let them know we appreciate their work, as well as give our opinions on any legislation that might affect homeschooling in the state of Oklahoma. There were over 3,000 homeschoolers present that day, and I know there were thousands more that could not attend.

Our first stop was the House of Representatives. Homeschoolers were recognized from the floor by their respective representatives and a special citation was awarded to one of our state homeschool group leaders.

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A selfie in the House of Representatives gallery.

Because we are involved in our county Republican party, we already knew some of our local representatives. Our state representative, John Michael Montgomery (not the singer), greeted us in the gallery and invited us for a photo op in his office. I took a few pictures while we waited for him.

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It was a busy day for everyone, so I only got these photos with my phone.

The highlight of the day, and the main reason we left the house at 6:30 that morning, was hearing Dr. Ben Carson speak at the big rally. I was really thankful for my handy-dandy zoom lens, because we were not that close to the podium. I had to stand on tiptoe and hold my breath to capture the following images:

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I was especially enthralled with hearing Dr. Carson in person. He has been a hero of mine since I read his autobiography when I was fifteen years old. He inspired me to do my best, set goals and work toward them, and to keep reading. If you have not read his book, Gifted Hands, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen the movie. The book is better.

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Yes, Matt fell asleep on my coat during the rally! Laci and Leslie were wishing they could go to sleep.

We had to stand for two hours to hear Dr. Carson. By the time it was over, my kids were ready to go. They had been so good while we toured the building and waited for the rally, I just couldn’t ask them to wait even longer while I got Dr. Carson’s autograph. We also still had to make the 1.5 hour drive home in time for piano lessons. It was still wonderful to be so close to someone I admired. Maybe one day I can get him to sign my tattered copy of his book.

Here are some random photos from the Capitol itself. It’s a beautiful building!

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It was a blustery day, so I only managed to get a few outdoor photos. We hope to go back and take a more leisurely stroll through the building and soak up more history. It was a great opportunity to expose our children to how our state government works, and to encourage them to make a difference. The men and women who make our laws are not special. They are hard-working and driven, but they are just regular Americans who took an interest in politics and decided to get involved. So should we all, in some way or another. It isn’t hard to give a few dollars toward a campaign, to make some phone calls or to stuff some envelopes. It certainly isn’t hard to vote, which we should all do. We are so blessed to live in a free country! I want to do all I can to make it even better for the next generation.

Thanks for tagging along with us to the “City”.

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I Love Oklahoma

It’s never easy to leave home. Even though I’m so thankful that I am now part of such an amazing church family, I must admit that I sometimes feel homesick. I miss the trees, the fall colors, the honeysuckle, and most of all, the warm ambiance of one very special brown brick house – the place where I left my heart. I miss seeing my mother frequently, and the memories that welcome me each time I crossed the threshold of my childhood home. One thing that helps me adjust to the changes is knowing that no matter where we are, there is always something to miss. No matter where I am, I miss my Dad, my partner. I long for Heaven where I will  be together forever with all of my close family and friends. Also, no matter where you are, there is always something to good. If we look long enough, we can always, always find the good! I didn’t have to look long to see there are many things about Oklahoma – not just my wonderful friends – which I love.

Last July while my mom visited us, Terry and I had the opportunity to explore a little bit of Oklahoma City. We live far enough away that making the drive often with several children in tow is unappealing. What a blessing that my mom would babysit so we could go off on our own! Here are some photos of our day in the Bricktown area of OKC. We started our date off by eating lunch at Toby Keith’s restaurant. It was very good! After that, we rode a water taxi on the river walk. We finished the day off with some shopping. This was our second excursion to the capital city, and I still have many more things on my list to see and do there.

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Mickey Mantle is from Oklahoma!

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This group was performing live in the hundred degree heat!

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Bricktown has…wait for it…bricks!

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While we wait for our water taxi.

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Part of a mural on the river walk.

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The Sonic headquarters! That’s right, my fellow slush addicts, Sonic began in OKC.

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A view from the water taxi.

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Lovely.

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This only part of a huge monument to the Boomers and the Sooners – the historical ones, not the football team. Our tour guide knew a lot of Oklahoma history. I hope to bring the kids over sometime so they can all enjoy a water taxi ride.

The more I learn about Oklahoma, and her people, the more I love it. I don’t feel like Oklahoma is “my home” yet, but I think I will someday. I’m off to a good start, anyway.

With love,

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Oklahoma City

Last week, my girls had to say goodbye to a friend who is moving with her family to a new Army post. It was a sad night.

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Because we were a little sad, and because we all lost an hour of sleep last weekend,  we decided that our little homeschool would begin our spring break this week! (The nice weather forecast helped a little, too!) We were blessed this year with only one sick day, so we’ve been right on track with our work. That meant we could take a week off and enjoy the sunshine! We begin our last nine weeks when we start up again, so the end is in sight. To start off our week, we visited Oklahoma City! I’ve been through there many times, but I’ve never stopped to do anything. Of course, we couldn’t do everything in a day, but we made a good start! We are going to plan another trip there for the summer!

We visited the zoo, which, like every zoo trip, was a bit of a disappointment. I either pick days when the weather is horrible, our allergies go nuts, or the animals are out of sight. Yesterday, the weather was great, but many animals were hidden away. The worst part was that suddenly, Mitchell’s allergies went crazy! He broke out in hives, his eyes started itching and watering and he couldn’t quit sneezing. We had almost seen everything in the two hours we were there, but as soon as we saw how miserable he was, we decided to leave. We missed the stingrays and a few other exhibits. We immediately bought some Benadryl for him and stopped for lunch. I didn’t want to bring my Nikon camera through the zoo, so I snapped some photos with my phone.

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Here are the kids right after we went inside.

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For three dollars a person, you could feed the giraffe. We enjoyed watching for free as this lady did it.

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These are some doves resting.

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Ducks!

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I guess the Okapi was camera shy.

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Matt liked watching the toads!

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This photo is right after Mitch started getting sick. We quickly looked at the monkeys and the elephants before leaving.

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I caught this ape yawning! Haha!

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These grizzlies were behind glass.

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The black bears started moving around just as we walked up.

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He was big! Glad there was glass there!

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This is all we saw of the elephants. We left after this stop not only because of Mitch, but the kids were growing tired of walking.

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Eagles

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One last photo with Mitch on our way out. Poor guy! He was really feeling badly. As a fellow allergy sufferer, I feel his pain. I stay indoors most of the spring time because of asthma, hives, sneezing and watery eyes. Now that I look back at these photos, we saw several animals after all! Aside from these, we saw an alligator, a panther, some other birds and reptiles, and short glimpse of a lion. Not bad for two hours! 😉

Mitch was feeling a little better after lunch, so we stopped by the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the site of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Had I known we were going to make this stop, I would have brought my Nikon! I missed getting some great shots at the memorial. I’ll just have to go back! 🙂 Here are the photos I captured with my phone.

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The 9:03 gate and the reflection pool.

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The rows of chairs to honor those who died.

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The reflection pool, which is about an inch deep.

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This is the only surviving wall of the Murrah building. On the tablets are listed the names of the survivors.

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This is the “survivor tree”. It was damaged in the explosion, but has managed to thrive. A great symbol of hope in Christ!

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The tree was just starting to bud.

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A view of the chairs from the survivor tree. The chairs are where the building once stood.

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 Here’s Matt against the blue sky beside the survivor tree.

I was 17 years old in 1995. I remember the pain in my chest as I watched the tragedy unfold on TV. Right as we crossed the street to the memorial, a speeding ambulance went by with siren blaring. I imagined how that sound was multiplied by 100 on  that horrific day. As we stepped through the gates of the memorial and I tried to explain the tragedy to my kids in hushed tones, I could feel the sadness of that place press in around me. The ground has been hallowed by the suffering of the wounded, the bravery of the rescuers and the tears of those missing loved ones. I felt a lump in my throat as I saw the tiny empty chairs, in honor of the children who died. As I stood with my own sweet children around me,  I thought of the parents who lost a child all too soon on that day. I was shocked to read that sixteen buildings had to be torn down due to the damage of the explosion! The hardest part of being there was trying to answer my innocent children’s question of why. “Why would he do this, Mom?” The only answer is sin. A depraved man lashing out in violence. A man lost, without God! Standing on that hallowed ground renewed a vision of a lost world in my mind. Oklahoma is part of the “Bible belt”. It was the only state in the last election in which every single county voted Republican! But conservative politics and a church on every corner doesn’t guarantee healthy, thriving families or protection from evil. There are many in our state who are still seeking an answer, and Christ is that answer.  HE must do a work in hearts, and we must introduce them to Him.

After we left the memorial, we drove past a church that Terry and I had heard about all our lives. In fact, when I graduated high school, my parents asked me if I had considered the Bible college at this church. Since it was in Oklahoma, I sort of wrinkled my nose at the idea and it ended there. (I had plans of going farther away from home than the state next door. Ironically, I ended up staying right where I was!)  I was a little shocked at how small the buildings around this church were! My home church has a larger facility! It was very interesting.

Before heading home, we stopped by Mardel Bookstore (MY FAVORITE!!) and picked up some things for home and school.

Today, we have done some cleaning around the house and the kids are enjoying playing outside some. It’s nice to have a change of pace to our routine. [read: rut!] I hope to do some blogging this week, since last week I didn’t do much due to our busy schedules.

This much I know: you don’t have to go far from home to be moved; to be reminded that we have just one life to live. Let’s live it intentionally for Christ!

With love,

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