Sunday, March 31, 2024

Happy Easter 2024

Easter Blessings...

Sunrise Service, search for the Easter Basket, the ever-enchanting Egg Hunt, and a decadent family dinner. 

So many blessings; so much to be thankful for. Today we remember why we journey toward the Mark, and why we live a Victorious Life. From the Cradle to the Cross, we continually thank God for His Salvation, Provision, and Promise.

May the year ahead be filled with God’s love, peace, prosperity, and victories.

Peace and Blessings,
Gina & Family

Friday, March 29, 2024

Sherry's Quarter Notes Women's History Month: Watch Free Films That Celebrate Women in Music


Film has played an important role in my relationship with music history, both as a viewer and as an historian and preservationist. The medium provides an unparalleled opportunity to reach broader, more diverse audiences.

Documentaries, biopics and concert films help convert casual viewers into dedicated fans who want to take action on behalf of their favorite music. They’re vital resources for preservation and advocacy efforts as consumers, volunteers, donors and patrons.

Since March is Womens History Month, I thought I’d select two films, both free and readily available, that highlight women in music history. I hope they inspire you!


Women Composers (2018)

The documentary, Women Composers, follows German pianist Kyra Steckeweh on her journey to discover more about the lives and careers of four pioneering women from France and Germany: Mel Bonis, Lili Boulanger, Fanny Hensel and Emilie Mayer.

Prominent in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, these women were fluent in multiple instruments and composed music in various classical formats including symphonies, concertos and sonatas. The most recognized is Fanny Hensel, sister of composer Felix Mendelssohn, who himself admitted she was the more gifted pianist. She authored over 450 compositions.

The film discusses their biographies in context, offering glimpses of their music and an honest look at the injustices still facing their performance and publication. While suppression during their lifetimes was unprecedented, it continues to happen enough today to prevent these women, and others, from gaining the visibility and recognition they deserve. 

Primary obstacles are systemic. The classical music industry staunchly promotes a dominating cannon of male composers (ie. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach). Women are also virtually non-existent in music education curricula. They’re communicated as “optional” or “other” while it’s instilled in us from an early age that their male counterparts are “essential listening.”

All of this results in a lack of interest, resources and investment in music written by women. Women Composers makes the case for their inclusion based on merit, but also as a social commentary on the contemporary issue of deconstructing patriarchy.

My Darling Vivian (2020)


When I think of women in music history, I dont think only of composers and musicians. Theres a subgroup far more forgotten and underrepresented. They havent written or performed any music themselves, but in their silence, they have a unique voice and soundtrack all their own.

My Darling Vivian is a work of recognition and vindication for Johnny Cashs first wife, Vivian Liberto. She was all but erased by Nashville and Hollywood to suit the more popular narrative of The Man in Black” and second wife, June Carter. This film is one of those rare gems I discovered at the height of the pandemic.

In 2020, the SXSW Festival was held virtually and they gave audiences free limited access to featured films via a partnership with Amazon Prime Video. I watched My Darling Vivian and enjoyed it so much that I decided to reach out to the creative team for a brief Q&A to include with my review (this content is available via subscription on my website).

Producer Dustin Tittle responded to my inquiry with enthusiasm. I didnt realize initially that he was Johnny and Vivians grandson! Its the family connection between the filmmaking and subject that adds another dimension to My Darling Vivian, making it a truly great film. Johnny and Vivians four daughters, including Dustins mother and three aunts, gave their blessing for the project and participated as interviewees.  

We all enjoy the Oscar award-winning performances in Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, but as with any biopic, its necessary that we look beyond the script to find truth in the lives that appear on screen. In most cases, I’ve found that the fact is far more fascinating than the fiction!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

This Week @ Monday Creek: History and Cosmos


The Ides of March came and went without much ado. Falling on the 15th of March, it was a significant date in ancient Rome. It gained notoriety due to a pivotal event that occurred in 44 BCE. It marks the assassination of Julius Caesar. A group of senators, led by Brutus, believed that Caesar's growing power threatened the Roman Republic. The assassination took place in the Theatre of Pompey in Rome, forever altering the course of history. As the daggers struck Caesar, he reportedly uttered the famous phrase,“Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). My high school Latin teacher retold this event like a fairytale-bedtime story. Even bad players have so-called friends. The betrayal by Caesar’s close friend Brutus added a tragic and dramatic element. 

Since this is Holy week, I hesitate giving Julius Caesar a place on my blog, but characters like Caesar had an impact on the Easter story. Palm Sunday (last Sunday) is the celebration of Jesus' ride into Jerusalem. Palm branches are symbolic of God's temporary shelters or "tabernacles" that God provided the Israelites in the wilderness. We will embrace Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, and Sunday Sunrise Service early Easter morning to celebrate our Risen Savior.
Looking further ahead comes the solar eclipse, the rare astronomical phenomenon, a total solar eclipse on April 8th. This year’s eclipse will persist for nearly four-plus minutes. The moon will completely block out the sun, casting darkness over the Earth. The sun will be near solar maximum, the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. Expect bright, petal-like streamers of plasma extending from the sun. Scientists anticipate a potential coronal mass ejection, a massive puff of hot gas ejected from the sun’s surface. Approximately thirty-two million people will find themselves within the path of totality, stretching across North America. The eclipse will begin at 12:10 p.m. Mountain Time, cross the United States, and exit through southeastern Canada around 5:15 p.m. Most libraries carry viewing glasses; however, experts warn that glasses must be of a certain thickness or you could damage your eyes.
As we reflect on the Ides of March, Easter, and anticipate the solar eclipse, let’s marvel at the intersection of history and the cosmos. How are they linked? My viewpoint: Friends do not need a historical date to drive a knife (sadly), my Lord and Savior is in control, and the unstoppable eclipse reminds us of how fragile we really are.
Remember to mark your calendars for April 8, 2024, and step outside to witness the moon’s dance with the sun—a spectacle that transcends time and connects us to the vast universe. In the meantime, I will celebrate with you the love and faithfulness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. Luke 24: 6-7 KJV

May your friends be true, and your sense of awe boundless.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Milliron Monday: Letters Home Oct 20 1960

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"Pete has to wear a white shirt and tie to class every day and to clinic on Saturday morning, so you know what that means"
― Jody Smith

Jody's letter home to Mansfield, Ohio. 

Route 1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Thursday, October 20, 1960

Dear Mom, Dad, and Jessie,
    Thanks very much for the recent letters and clippings. No, Mom, I hadn't realized from the phone call (way back when) nor letters that you were coming too, since it was always described as a hunting trip. Jess, I hope you'll be feeling well enough to come along too and take a peek at your great-grandchild and namesake.
    Mom, I informed Jessica yesterday that you were coming to visit her and she gave me an extra big smile - probably looking forward to all that extra holding and rocking. She really is an awfully good baby, she never cries more than 15 minutes a day and never at night, so guess we can't complain much! Sometimes she even gets sidetracked into smiling or laughing and doesn't get in her 15 minutes of crying!
    We have a rollaway bed here which is about halfway between a single and a double-bed size. You're quite welcome to use it and stay here, although we'd probably have to put it in the living room since Pete will be studying in the back room every minute he can get; however, there's plenty of room in the living room.
    In regard to your question as to whether there's anything I would like brought out to us, if that old vacuum cleaner is still around and not in use I could sure use it. If it just needs minor repairs, Pete could probably fix it Christmas vacation. 
    I never seem to be able to find too much time to ride (about an hour a day, if I'm lucky, in 15 minute stretches during Jessica's afternoon nap, sure nice to have a crib I know she can't fall out of!) and by the time I get Starboy cleaned up, it's impossible to brush the fine dust out and bathing him is rather risky since Colorado temperatures can drop from 60 degrees above to 20 degrees below in no time this time of year.
    Concerning deer hunting, the out-of-state license is $40 but Dad may be able to get a deer on an instate license which Pete could buy and then Pete could take the deer through the check station if need be. Actually, what happened last year was that the deer never left the ranch where they were shot. Pete and Les hung them in the shed, then cut them up and Hope and I wrapped the meat and put it in their freezer and then brought some meat in to us whenever they came to town.
    I'm sure Dad could hunt with Les from the pickup and it wouldn't be too tiring, but he can decide that when he gets here. Of course, Pete wouldn't be able to go except on a Saturday or Sunday, and he would have to make some kind of arrangements with Mr. Birky concerning his work hours.
    It'll certainly be nice to have you here for Jessica's baptism (Sunday, 11:00 a.m. service, October 30). 
    I'm sorry to hear that Aggie, Gary Franklin, Tina, and Gary are having new problems. I hope they'll be able to work them all out on their own.
    Speaking of thumb-suckers, your young granddaughter, Jessica is a professional! Must have inherited the ability from her Mom!
    Guess I'd best quit now and catch up on some of my white shirt ironing. Pete has to wear a white shirt and tie to class every day and to clinic on Saturday morning, so you know what that means. It's sure a help, Mom, to have enough white shirts and I'm glad I don't have to wash one out by hand every evening.
    Jessica certainly enjoys the drapes you made us. I park her stroller near them and she just looks and looks at the colors or patterns or whatever it is that fascinates her so (of course, I like to think it's the horses, ha!).
    Still forgot to write about Arlo and Virginia's visit and Pete's Dad's visit, guess I'll have to tell you about them instead.
    Bye for now.
Love to you all, 
Previous Letters Home: 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Ernest John, Navajo Artist - My Journal: Taking Notes


From Ernest John
My Journal: Taking Notes
A creative place just for you!

Read Ernest John's Interview Here!

Available From Amazon

100 Pages
$5.99 Paperback

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Life of Harley: A Short Story by Gary Flory


Hi, my name is Hardly, yes you’re reading it right, Hardly. You probably looked up at the title and wondered why it says Harley, well this is my story. You won’t see any fancy quote marks, and it may be lacking some proper punctuation, but after all, I didn’t have the luxury of being schooled for 12 years. In fact, I would be a little gray by the time I graduated. You see, I’m a dog, but I have the ability to think like a person, which gives me a huge advantage over those other mutts. Set back and relax as I tell you my story.

I was born on a farm in Ohio, and I have three brothers and three sisters. They told me that one of us had to be the runt of the litter and they picked me. Ya, I was smaller than they were, but I was the smartest one of the bunch. There was a lotta kicking and shoving going on in that wooden box we slept in, especially in the morning when everyone started stretching. It was nothing to get a toenail up your nose. Mom would lay close to the box and everyone tried to scramble out of the box to grab one of those pointy things that contained milk. I always had a hard time getting over the edge of the box because my legs were so short, making me the last one to the dairy bar. Mom had plenty of milk, so none of us went away hungry. The part I didn’t enjoy was mom licking the milk off our face so we would look presentable.
All my brothers and sisters seemed to grow twice as fast as I did. I could hardly keep up when we went for a run, and I could hardly get up the steps to the porch. I guess the humans noticed that too because that’s what they started calling me, Hardly.
One sunny afternoon, a car pulled up in the drive, and we all ran out barking because we didn’t know who it was. They got out and had big smiles on their faces and knelt down and started petting all of us. I kept getting pushed back as my siblings wanted more attention. Mom just sat on the porch and watched. I could sense she seemed a little sad. The people picked up one of my brothers and some money exchanged hands. In the car he went, but he never came back out. They drove off and I never saw him again. This happened over and over until I was the only one left, except for Mom.
It was really quiet around the farm, Mom rarely barked anymore. I heard the humans talking about how no one wants Hardly, what are we going to do with him? I went behind the barn and cried. Mom must have heard me, she came around and cheered me up. We chased two squirrels up the tree.
Then one day a jeep pulled into the drive. The humans stepped out and talked to Mom for a few minutes, then they looked over at me and called my name. My ears perked up, and my tail started to wag. I jumped off the porch and fell flat on my face, didn’t hurt though. Shook it off and ran over to them. I guess Debbie had been talking with the humans, and they told her about me. Debbie was so friendly and just loved on me. I heard her tell the humans that she would love to have me. It was the best feeling in the world. She picked me up, and I looked over at Mom. Her tail was waging, so I knew she was happy for me. 
When we arrived at Debbie’s house, she said, “This is your new home, Harley.” I looked up at her and thought, what did you call me? My name is Hardly. She must have misunderstood the humans and thought my name was Harley. Oh well, Harley it is. I kinda like it better anyway. When she sat me down, I saw movement in the other room and started barking to warn her. “It’s ok boy, that’s Lucky the cat.” She didn’t tell me I had to share her with a cat! Just as long as Lucky understands I don’t take any crap from cats, we will get along just fine.
That evening, Debbie and I watched TV together, and she knew where all the good places were to scratch me. Lucky looked on from the other room but didn’t come in. That was fine with me.
Debbie didn’t have a bed for me yet, so she let me sleep with her after she gave me a bath. A bath is ok, but I wouldn’t want to do it every day. To my surprise, the next morning she let me out the back to do my business and it was full of new smells. I had so much fun smelling things, I almost forgot to go. She had my food waiting for me when I came in, and I was hungry. 
“Slow down boy, you’re going to make yourself sick.” 
When you have brothers and sisters, you learn to eat fast, or you don’t get any. I finished up and let out a big burp. Debbie said that wasn’t nice. I knew that, but it felt good. That’s when she said, “Are you ready boy?” Ready for what? “I’m taking you to work with me, and we need to head out now.” 
Debbie sat me in the Jeep and off we went. I never knew things looked different at 80 mph. So blurry. 
We pulled up to the feed mill where she weighs the trucks as they come in, and then again when they are empty. The office wasn’t real big, but it was air-conditioned and 75 felt pretty good on a 90-degree day. If I wanted out, I would just stand at the door and look back at the humans, and someone would open the door. I had to be very alert when I was outside as there were trucks moving everywhere. I saw a couple of cats seated on a ledge watching me. I’m not saying I was afraid of them, but you could tell by the scars, they weren’t afraid of me either.
Debbie always had Sunday and Monday off, so after church, sometimes she would take me places. When we went to the dog park, I felt like I was in heaven, with so many things to smell.
Lucky and I get along pretty good, now that she figured it out. I’m the boss and she isn’t. She wanted me to play Guess What’s in the Hairball, but I said No. We were doing just fine, Debbie and I, but one day she brought home a big tank and set it up in the room. I smelled it, but had no idea what it was for, and then he came, Ernie. Why on earth she thought she needed another animal is beyond me.
”Harley, this is Ernie, your new friend.”
 I thought to myself, how do you play with a turtle? I had to laugh to myself when she put him in the water. He sank to the bottom upside down...haha. I thought I was going to have to somehow save him, but he finally flipped himself over. No way was I going to give him mouth-to-snout. After I got to know him better, he’s not a half bad guy, or should I say turtle. He has some good stories of his own.
Well, that’s pretty much my story so far. I did hear Debbie talking with her sister about going to the ocean for a week. I can’t imagine an endless beach to pee on. Maybe Ernie can fill me in on what to watch out for. Hardly signing off for now.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32



Monday, March 18, 2024

Milliron Monday: Letters Home Oct 10 1960


Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"Pete is studying and working hard as per usual plus spending all his "free" time including Saturday morning in the vet clinic, barns, laboratories, etc. "
― Jody Smith

Jody's letter home to Mansfield, Ohio. 

Route 1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Monday, October 10, 1960

Dear Mom, Dad, and Jessie,
    Sorry I've been so negligent in my writing.
    We're all just fine, hope you're the same. Jess, I hope your cold is better. Jessica is her sweet little self as per usual, she's really a good little baby now - rarely a peep out of her except for her laughs and coos. Pete is studying and working hard as per usual plus spending all his "free" time including Saturday morning in the vet clinic, barns, laboratories, etc. Saturday afternoons, Sundays, and occasionally after school on weekdays he has to work for Birky's, so, needless to say, it's rather difficult for him to find enough time to get all his studies done - but so far so good.
    Daddy - we're still waiting anxiously to hear from you - what days will you be here? Where can we meet you? etc. We've already gotten permission from Mr. Curry for you to hunt deer on his ranch so don't forget to bring your gun or, if need be, perhaps Pete can borrow a gun for you somewhere. I think deer season in this area is from Oct. 22 to Nov. 6, but I can check for sure. Les and Pete both say they'll guarantee you a deer so the prospects sound pretty good.
    Thank you very much, Mom, for the nightgowns and robes. They surely feel wonderful, soft and warm when I get up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. every morning. No matter what time I feed Jessica she's hungry by 6 a.m. She'll sleep straight through from 9 in the evening to 6 in the morning, or if I get her up at 10 or 11 or so in the night and feed her, she still wakes up at 6 a.m. Actually this is quite convenient since I have to have Pete's breakfast ready by 7:15 a.m.
    Pete's Dad was here this weekend, Saturday evening and part of Sunday. Simmy and one of her friends, Sally Giggy, also stopped in so we had a houseful yesterday.
    Thanks also, Mom, for the envelope of clippings, magazines, etc., which arrived awhile ago, also am enjoying the sink spray very much.
    Thank you again for the money in the account - our little house is quite well set up now. We bought Field's stove, our refrigerator is the one from the apartment and then we bought an older model for the apartment. We bought a washer from Don Wall (guy you went to see, Mom). Less and Hope lent us a nice knotty-pine end table, bookcase, and two matching chairs which really look nice in the living room. Sally Giggy commented on how nice the kitchen curtains matched the room and said she thought you had "excellent taste", Mom. So that's quite a compliment coming from a home economist!
    Can't remember if I told you that I canned about 7 quarts of bread and butter pickles. They turned out real well - luckily. Mrs. Birky was canning them and ran out of time so she gave me a whole bunch of cucumbers and most of the spices I needed, it certainly was nice of her.
    We've been dragging out of bed in the wee hours of the morning chasing loose horses rather frequently. Three of the times these darn little kids have left the pasture gates wide open. Needles to say, after the last 5:30 a.m. jaunt, we told the youngsters to either shut the gates or stay home!
    The last two Sundays we've started leaving Jessica in the church nursery while we attend services. Both times she's just laid in the crib and watched all the confusion around her.
    Guess I'd best quit for now, will make a valiant attempt to write a little oftener.
    Hope we'll be seeing you soon, Dad.
Love to you all, 
Previous Letters Home: 

Milliron Monday: The Recordings 4

  Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:   June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - Ma...