Happy Fall!

Happy fall!

Although, here in Indiana it’s still in the 90s.

I felt so bad for all the men working to replace our roof for the last three days! We noticed all the neighbors were getting their roofs replaced, so we had ours checked as well.

Yep, that’s what happens when you get some pretty large hail.

All the banging and mess made me think of all those in Texas and Florida, Puerto Rico, everywhere it seems…are having to totally gut their homes and rebuild; it is so sad to see everything people are going through.

And then there’s all the fires as well. (My dad used to help fight the fires in California when he was a young Marine.)

We keep praying for everyone affected by these tragedies; it must be so devastating to have to start all over. I can’t even imagine!

If anyone is looking for a place to donate, we feel confident with Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Blessing or Convoy of Hope https://www.convoyofhope.org/donate/.

I have personally worked alongside the founders of Convoy of Hope; they are good people and 100% goes to relief efforts. Many times they are first on the scene with the other organizations I just mentioned above.

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The Great Wall


The Great Wall of China. 🈸

One of my first pictures with my new Pentax (my first “fancy” camera 🙂). I really didn’t even know how to use it yet. 

But I had just traveled to China to teach English for a year at Zhengzhou University at the ripe ol’ age of 23. It was 1986, and I had to say goodbye to my new fiancé for an entire year!😭

Great Wall
Great Wall
#adventuretime #casettetapecommunication

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Dad, the Original CHIP

My Dad was an original CHIP.

Does anyone out there remember the TV show, CHIPS? (Now I REALLY “date myself” I’m never going to have young bloggers following me.)😜

It was the 70s and the show featured two handsome cops who were part of the California Highway Patrol… AKA CHIPS.

Funny thing is we were watching that show all while living with our very own CHIP.

Dad was a patrolman on the Anaheim Police Department. (Orange County, CA)

He initially was a young patrolman and even trained in hopes of joining the first helicopter division.

Then came the Harley.

Master Patrolman.

Master Patrolman, Anaheim Police Dept

My Dad was COOL!😎

He looked handsome in his neatly pressed uniform, shiny helmet, and tall, black boots.

I eventually came to hate those dreaded boots.

After dad’s long work shift, he’d grab an apple or carrot, a book, or the latest Reader’s Digest, then he would proceed to ask me to pull off those big boots of his.

First, it was hard for a skinny, little girl to manage this task.

Secondly, I knew what was about to transpire.

Those feet had seen a long, hard day of policing, and once I struggled to get them off, nothing but “FRITO feet” smell encapsulated the room.

Me and dad as an Anaheim patrolman in the 70s.

It was BAD folks! Really bad!

But oh how I LOVED those occasions when he picked me up from school, and we pulled away fast on that thunderous machine…it was thrilling I tell ya!

Everyone turned their heads to hear where that sound was coming from, and with me on the back, boy did my chest swell.

Like, my dad was cooler than theirs kinda cool. 😉

As we’d lean into a curve, I thought we I would surely fall off!

He could possibly put a knee down if he had to.

On one occasion he didn’t put a knee down but went flying through the air with just his handlebars. Later, the fellow patrolman relayed it looked like something out of a cartoon.

As part of the patrol drill team, they had been practicing for the Anaheim Parade and just as we were heading out to go see our dad, we got a call he had been in a wreck. Not on the highway, but during the drill team practice.

I guess the other officer said go left and dad thought he said right.

OOPS. (Was I supposed to tell that story, Dad?)

Speaking of Disney parades,

I absolutely loved when he got us into Disneyland for free. (I was obsessed with everything Disney!) It’s what I thought heaven would be like.

At times, Dad worked undercover like when they were trying to break up drug rings.


Yes, that’s him on the end (right) in my mom’s wig and scarf as a headband. I remember asking dad what that was in his mouth… what was a roach clip?

I distinctly remember him dressed up like this. And I was so interested in seeing how the other guys had dressed on this particular occasion. 😂
Dad worked many a graveyard shift, too.
The other side of the job made me aware of the sadness and dangers associated with it.

It was the hippy era, and with that came the drug culture and a lot of shattered lives.

Sadly, dad had to take the life of one of those individuals who had robbed a store.  I will never forget it. I would ask him from time to time, what he was feeling at the time of the shooting.

What he said that day.

What exactly happened that day.

What it felt like to take a life.

Then later, came to realize, wow, I could’ve lost my dad that day!

I remember seeing 8 mm footage of Dad and his fellow officers making busts. Stoned out kids were part of a large mob trying to climb the Angel stadium walls. The were trying to get into a Jefferson Starship concert after being told tickets were sold out.

Anaheim Police Dept, Angel Stadium

While intently watching the film, I inquired about a nicely dressed couple (a standout in THAT crowd). He relayed that they were looking for their missing daughter and showing her picture around.

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I also remember thinking, how sad it must have been for those parents. And dad telling me about runaways coming to California and all the trouble they’d find themselves in.

Then, there was the Charles Manson saga, and police stops as well as escorts for dignitaries like then Governor Reagan, famous actors and comedians all while checking in on the elderly and less fortunate, like Jake.

Dad met Jake while riding around the county.

Jake, was a kind, gentle soul; his skin all leathery brown and wrinkled from working in the sun.

He lived in an old shack with a worn out floor, part dirt. I still remember looking around his home with all its unusual contents.

One time, he gave us some old marbles. (I still have them today.)


I can recall the aroma of his home and the surrounding eucalyptus trees mixed with orange scent from the nearby orange groves.

(Isn’t that something how the mind remembers smells from so long ago?)

Jake would come out to greet us and as soon as he opened the worn, screen door many a dog, all shapes and sizes, would come barreling out.

I loved the sight of it!

I loved dogs or any animal for that matter. I always wanted to be a vet, but sadly, I was the most allergic person in my family. So trips to Jake’s ranked right up there with a visit to Disneyland.

One particular day Dad took us to Jake’s, and he let us have two dachshunds. I couldn’t believe it! I was in heaven!

PicMonkey Photo

Oh, Mom wasn’t too happy about dad going against the doctor’s orders, (ie severe asthma and eczema) but his reply to her was, “She’s so miserable without a dog she couldn’t be any worse with a dog.”

(Secretly, I’m kind of glad dad did a no-no.) To finally own an animal, some of my best memories.

There were some other tragic memories forever etched in my mind, too. Like the day I vividly remember dad coming home on lunch break to wash his hands and they were covered in blood. (Mind you, this was before the awareness of self-protection from communicable pathogens.)

He had just come from down our street. A little boy had run out in front of a car while chasing a ball and was killed. I remember passing his home, as I had every day, on my walk to and from school. I remember looking at the pavement and then thinking how sad that family must now feel.

And, my Dad had been there to try and help.

Yes, dad saw a lot.

AND, that is kind of where the story ends because he was sick of the rat race he said and decided to leave California and head back to his boyhood home, a small town in Indiana.

img_3987-1

I’m hoping to have Dad either guest write or share his many stories with me, so I can share them with you here. Many are pretty adventurous and hilarious.

(Some, while he was on the police force and others just getting into mischief like only he could do.😊😁)
Yep, the cool CHIP…he was my Dad.

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Do you have wild stories with your dad?

PS Encourage my dad (in the comments below) to share more of his stories!!

Saddened by the Disrespect Shown to Another, Young Soldier

uncle-terry-recent

After recently visiting my Uncle’s grave, I was upset to hear, once again, about another young man who lost his precious life.

Another son had died.

In a foreign, far away place.

He fell as a soldier wearing the United States uniform, and now, his parents were bringing him home.

And the reactions of the plane’s passengers made me sick.

VERY SICK and VERY ANGRY!

The article describing the incident here.  

I wanted to cry. I felt horrified to think other human beings could be so calloused. Americans, at that!

I couldn’t even fathom this lack of respect, nor comprehend such a show of self-centeredness or whatever they thought they were trying to achieve.

What causes a person/people to treat a grieving family with such disdain?

What has happened to our America?

I tried to place myself in that family’s shoes; that frozen moment in time they will NEVER forget…

My heart was heavy for them.

But how can my heart be SO different from those that were on that plane?


My family is also familiar with this pain. They could tell you of profound grief.

We, too, lost a young soldier in Vietnam many years ago.

vietnam-wall

He was escorted home, finally.

It just happened to be decades after being listed as Missing in Action. (MIA)


It was the 60s and the Vietnam War was raging. My Uncle Terry had volunteered just as his two older brothers had.

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

He was part of a helicopter crew, rescuing the wounded when his helicopter was shot down.

Some of the men were thrown from the fiery crash, but Terry was never found.

We always wondered what the full story was.

terry

Then, in 1993, some Vietnamese farmers came forth with items from a crash. And the story began to unfold.

Forensics were then confirmed in Honolulu, and my brother–then a young Marine himself– escorted Terry’s remains home.

Terry could’ve been buried at Arlington. However,  the family thought it best to teach a community (and the younger generations) a valuable lesson.

A lesson we feared was being lost, not really taught in schools much anymore.

Teach about the cost of freedom flag poster.

Not just one lesson, but many:

That war was cruel.

Kids were still dying to this day.

That we should be there to support families, help where needed, invite a military family over for the holidays.

(You know, just be a good human.)

That this could have been anyone’s son or daughter.

And there were other countries losing their people, DAILY, due to lack of freedom.  Many picking up rifles to enter war as children.

Most importantly,

that freedom had a price. Always has, always will.

A HUGE price.


So, on that hot and humid July 4th, Terry’s high school gym was packed out.

He was remembered for his talented football skills, and his kind, gentle ways.

terry-in-high-school

His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

Our family, once again, was left with distant memories.  Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.

hoffman-kids

People lined the streets, kids waved flags, and many a biker rode in from the surrounding states to finally return their MIA bracelets.

It was a memorable sight to see them piled high, on the floor, near my grandparents’ feet. It had to be so hard for them.

The news crews were there to capture it all.

The flag-draped coffin.

The thunderous flyover that moved you to your core.

The caisson; a solemn reminder as it passed through town to the beat of a sole drum.

COMPLETE RESPECT was shown that day.

Tragically, for this other family on the plane…

that didn’t happen.

There wasn’t much, if any, shown.


My Uncle Terry didn’t get to finish college.

hoffman-kids-older

And I sometimes wonder what his life might have looked like.

What would’ve been his hobby to tinker with?

Who would he have married? How many kids would he have?

He wasn’t able to marry, have kids or enjoy a weekend with family.

(Just to have another day to show his own thankfulness.)

No, he CHOSE to leave a comfortable life to help in a far away land.

He wanted to show his loyalty.

He wanted to make sure we were ALL afforded continued freedom.

Simply put…HIS MOTIVES were PURE.

USMC, Marine soldier's gravestone


If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…

I could NOT have sat there silently!

I KNOW that I would’ve stood to speak for that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve cried with that family.

I KNOW I would’ve tried to apologize to that family.

AND, I would’ve thanked them and made it clear that this is not the totality of America, that my Uncle, nor their son, gave their lives for!!


Find a military family to reach out to.

Reach out to a grieving widow, a cop, a neighbor…your community.

Invite someone over for the holidays. Say a prayer for others.

Show some thankfulness.

Bridge the gap(s).

Teach your kids.

Show honor and respect.

I know my Uncle Terry would have,

if he could.

Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 on Feb. 4th.

Show some thankfulness this Thanksgiving poster.



For Terry’s military documented story:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68081999KIA.HTM

The United States Marine Corps