Monday, May 28, 2007

Words of Farewell

There are so many things we can learn in this life, from textbook lessons to matters of the heart. We cannot experience the journey without picking something up along the way, nor can we walk away without leaving something behind.

May some of these lessons go with you as you begin this new chapter of your life, and may you learn new things that will enhance and enrich the lovely person that you are.

1. No work is beneath you. Whether you're the president of a company or behind a fast-food counter, do your job with grace, a smile and the conviction that no matter what it is, it's worth doing.

2. Watch your words. The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me", is a great falsehood. Remember the Indian proverb: "Before you speak, think: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? Does it improve on the silence?" And ponder that before you speak. Never underestimate the power that words hold. They can be used for goodness or hurt, but either way, once said they are out there forever.

3. Forgive others, including yourself. Life is too short to harbor grudges, and resentment is like a poison. Forgiving someone doesn't necessarily let them 'off the hook' for a wrongdoing, but it allows each person to find peace and move on. Don't beat yourself up too much for making a mistake. We are human. When we falter it teaches us humility and allows us to seek guidance from above.

4. Don't judge others too harshly. We don't always know what's going on behind the scenes and often we are wrong in our assessments. Open up your hearts and leave the judging to God.

5. Be yourself and stay true to that. What you claim to be, be really. No matter where you go in life, you will always take "you" with you. Don't spend your time trying to be someone that others expect or want you to be. Simply be the best "you". You're not one in a million. You are the only 'you' there is at all.

6. Follow the Golden Rule...and beyond. Don't just treat people the way you want to be treated. Some people are more tolerant to bad behavior and expect no more for themselves. As I've always told my own kids: "You won't like everyone in this world and I don't expect you to befriend everyone. But I do expect you to be kind to them."

7. Be a true friend. Don't repeat hurtful gossip. Listen. Help. Laugh. Be trusting and trustworthy. Be kind, faithful and true. One of the best definitions I've heard for friendship is this: "A true friend is he who comes in when the rest of the world goes out."

8. Money isn't wealth. Family, friends, health, values, love and faith are. Keep material things in perspective and don't allow them to define who you are. The amount of money you have in your bank account has nothing to do with your riches.

9. Grow up, but don't grow old. At 80 years of age, my mother is the youngest person I know. Though she is responsible, level-headed and kind she is also light-hearted, fun-loving and adventurous. You can be child-like without being childish.

10. Learn how to say, "I'm sorry", for you will need those words often in life. You are never above an apology and it shows that you have both grace and wisdom. They are as important to say - and hear - as the words, "I Love You", and can be the bridge that rebuilds a broken heart.

Good Luck and God's Blessings to you! May the path we shared come together again one day.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Sometimes it's hard to know which direction to look. For a long time I kept looking back, wondering if decisions I'd made were right and pondering lost 'what ifs'. There is a verse which says that oftentimes we gaze so longingly into the past that we fail to see the door that opens before us. How very true...

I am at a place in my life where I no longer look back. Beautiful memories are recalled of moments cherished, and I smile at the blessings I have been graced with. But I don't live there anymore. I am ready for time to stand still just a bit so I can relish each precious day and store them forever in my photo album.

This day is my gift. No more looking over my shoulder nor scanning the horizon for tomorrow. Today is the key note of my symphony...and how beautiful is the music!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Baa Baa White Sheep

All around us new life is springing up; the wildflowers in the ditches along the roadside, baby calves in tall pasture grasses and new litters of kittens.

The latest additions to our family arrived in a trailer and were delivered to their new home in our backyard. My daughter's days will be filled with romps down dusty roads and making sure they are well-cared for before they make their appearance at the county fair in August.

They're smaller than the sheep she had last spring; each with his own identifying marks. Right now they are shy and skittish, skirting inside their hut each time we visit. But soon they'll equate her quiet appearance with daily sustenance and look forward to her gentle voice and manner. Once again she'll fall a little in love with their soft, woolly coats and unique personalities.

The sheep have arrived. Time to get on with the business of summer...

Friday, May 18, 2007


I was talking with a friend the other day about wealth. We tend to conjure up material objects when speaking of someone who is wealthy. And yet to be truly rich is to not to have, but to

This Mother's Day was not about receiving gifts so I could have more to hold, but in enjoying what is already mine. It was a day to rejoice, celebrate, dance...knowing that true wealth is not found in the pocketbook, but simply and more fittingly, in the heart.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Renaissance Man

Last night my son asked if he could use my sewing machine. He was wanting to repair his book bag that has torn in a couple of places from the heavy load it carries every day.

"Do you need some help?" I asked as he headed for the basement.

"No. I took Home Ec, remember?" he called back on his way downstairs.

A few minutes later he came back up. "Well, maybe I need a refresher!" he admitted sheepishly.

I joined him at the sewing machine and proceeded to demonstrate all the switches and levers, then left him alone at the helm.

Earlier that evening I had come home to the smell of peanut butter cookies filling the kitchen, baked by my son and his friend while I was still at the school. Later on, he stood at the sink and washed the bowl and cookie sheet without giving it a second thought, regardless of the fact that his friend had told him that washing dishes was "women's work."

In our house there is no gender delegated work. My son does dishes and laundry; my daughter works outside with sheep. I mow the yard and dig in the dirt and my husband cooks a meal. We cross all kinds of lines to help each other and make our home work and that is a lesson I want my children to take with them when they're grown and on their own.

Though I've joked that my son is a 'husband in the making', I know that he will be a better - and happier - man if he is willing to step outside of what is expected of him and step up to embrace a new approach.

He bounces around the house, his 6'1" frame stretching up to touch an invisible rim in each door jam he passes. His appetite is insatiable, his energy, unmatched. Yet though he is definitely all 'boy' on the outside, I know that within him resides a gentle spirit that will serve him well in becoming not just a great man....but a wonderful person.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

When I think of my mother, I think of flowers. From the moment we were very small she had our hands in dirt, teaching us how things grew and showing us appreciation for all living things. I see iris and daffodils, hollyhocks and marigolds...and always her beautiful rose garden; a symbol of the peaceful spirit that resides within her.

When I think of Mother, I think of selflessness. Though she took time for the things she loved to do - her painting, sewing, gardening - it was always done without sacrificing her time with us. We always knew that with Mother, we came first and with that reassurance came the confidence that we were valued and important.

When I think of Mother, I think of Love. Unconditional, all-encompassing, never-ending. With six children, her heart must have ached numerous times, but her love and devotion never wavered. She guided our footsteps, encouraged our dreams, and when it came time to walk an independent path, gave us the freedom to make a life of our own choosing. I am so fortunate, so blessed to have this woman in my life. I can't imagine who I would have become without her and know that when I was born, it was I who was given an incredible gift.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I Love You so much....

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Building Hope

I've always loved clouds. Their ever-changing shapes have fascinated me since I was a child lying on my back on the front yard of our farm. The puffy tops that rise up like a carnival cotton candy are beautiful from a distance; their threatening rampages miles away and disguised behind an elegant facade.
Someone, too, views these angry clouds from afar, admiring their splendor ...oblivious to their rumbling protests. It is all in the perspective: an observer in a plush balconied audience....or a participant on a live stage.

Last week 10 people lost their lives and hundreds lost their homes as a tornado ripped through our state. Ninety-five percent of Greensburg, Kansas is gone; a small town upon the prairie horizon that has been re
duced to rubble and tears.
Their lives were ever-changed by a powerful, whirling tantrum that left both their town and hearts in total devastation.

I've seen firsthand the damage a tornado can do. My husband's job involves helping the people in our county and I have been with him before as we talked with those left homeless from such a storm. My heart was in my throat as I saw the shock on their faces and looked around at their former homes now in shambles. I like to think that I'm not a material person, yet I cannot imagine losing every physical possession that I own: photographs, family heirlooms, books.

There is a poem called, "It takes a Heap of Livin' in
a House to Make a Home." So much living and so many memories go into a house and one day after all the sweat, tears, laughter and joy you turn around and find you've made a home. To suddenly lose all of that in a matter of minutes is incomprehensible to me.

And yet, the people of Greensburg have hope. After additional storms stomped through their town and county they were picking up possessions, clearing out debris and straightening their backbones. Li
ke their pioneer ancestors, they are proud and resilient and will rebuild their town. Piece by piece they will begin anew and face the hard days ahead with faith and strength.They will take the high road, see the beauty in the clouds once more and choose to see life from the perspective of perseverance and hope. May we learn from their struggles, pray for their futures and glean much from their courage.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Saturday posies

Wishing you all a safe, happy and sun-filled weekend!