Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bobo Geico

Meet Bobo Geico (pronounced like the insurance company).  According to Tanner, he is a North American Alligator Lizard.  He has quite the life...a condo for lizards you might say.

When we first met Bobo he was about 2 inches long and very thin.  Tanner caught him on a family camping trip in 2007.  Well, he caught him, he got away, Tanner was very upset and he caught him again several hours later.  He held, played with, sligtly squeezed and took care of this lizard for the duration of the camping trip as any 7 year old boy would do.  A temporary home was set up for Bobo and he joined us around the campfire every evening.  When the trip came to an end we all thought the "you need to let him go, back in to his own surroundings, you took good care of him while you were here" speech would prompt Tanner to let him go.  Not a chance...he was taking him home.

Imagine our surprise when we visited a year later and Bobo Geico was still alive and thriving.  At this time he was in a small aquarium.  He had obvioulsy grown a little and seemed well adapted to his new surroundings.  The next visit was in 2010...Bobo was huge and had moved into a lizard condo.  Seriously, his aquarium is very nice...all a lizard could ask for.

The picture you see was taken this week after Bobo Geico has lived with Tanner for 4 years.  He is about 6 inches long and very fat.  He eats well.  Tanner is very proud of his lizard and can tell you anything you want to know about this lizard and any other variety.  He has "Googled" everything a person could want to know about lizards.  Really, it is pretty neat watching the boy and the lizard grow up.  Tanner will forever have memories of the family camping trip and acquiring his new pet.  (Not too sure how mom felt about it at first, but she seems just fine now.) 

The one thing I forgot to ask Tanner is, "how long do lizards live?"  Tanner, could yo get back to  me on that?

"Boys Will Be Boys!"

Friday, April 29, 2011

What Day is It Anyway?

A Calendar from my Aunt....

This is timely...this picture is of a calendar my aunt gave me several years ago.  I love it, it is so cute.  Notice the dates...this is how it hangs on my wall today! I know, it's not June yet, but when it is, I will be ready.  I will have to shift the days and fill a few in, but I am ready for June!

This is a family joke when people come to visit.  When someone comes into our kitchen, they don't know what day or what  time it is (my clock doesn't work.)  I have just come to the point where I think it's funny. I used to get so wrapped up in time and schedule that I couldn't relax.  It was always... have to be here at this time, have to do this at that time, have to have lunch at noon and dinner at 6:00....Why?  Why do we always have to eat lunch at noon?  Habit.

When we go camping in the summer, the first thing I do is take my watch off.  I don't want to know what time it is.  There is plenty of food in the trailer, the family can help themselves when they are hungry.  I want just a few days in my life when the date or time doesn't matter.  Camping is that time.

When we had our business, my life revolved and was completely dictated by the calendar and clock.  Certain paydates, tax due dates, quarterly due dates, opening times, closing times.....that is one of the biggest reliefs of no longer being a business owner.  My day is now a little more flexible.

I know that it is not possible to throw my calendar and clock away, although sometimes it would be nice.  Of course we wouldn't want to forget our birthdays, would we?  What I do want to try to do is have a few times in a month where I can just "wing" it, look at my "June" calendar and broken clock and not care.  That is what we have been doing the last couple of days, no real plan, just hanging out with family. It has been great!  Sadly, it must come to and daughter has to be at work at 8:00 am tomorrow! Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

No matter what day or what time it is or what you have to do or not do...remember...this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Life is short...enjoy the moment you are in."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

Last night we completed the trip once again, the long and windy road from Redding, California to Eureka, California.  I always wonder, "why couldn't they make that road straight?" I never look forward to traveling that road, but always look forward to what is on the other end.

I grew up around all of my extended family.  Eventually everyone started to move to their own part of the state.  So, we began to travel more to family gatherings.  After I was first married, my aunt and uncle, cousins and grandparents moved to the northcoast. 

Our first trip there was with our toddler and baby in a new minivan.  Interesting doesn't even begin to describe the trip! Our baby wasn't happy and we found out she got car sick...really bad.  Five times to be exact in the new car.  Lots of cleanup and lots of crying (by the baby AND mom about the new car.)  Once we finally arrived, of course the toddler is looking forward to the ocean.  Well, you can't see the ocean so he is quite upset.  Everyone is hungry and we can't find a place to eat.  The toddler breaks down..."There's no ocean, there's no food, if I don't get something to eat I'm gonna DIE!!!!"  Dad now turns into Chevy Chase from the Vacation movie.  He proceeds to pull over and let the kids know that they either stop complaining or he will turn this car around and we will go home!  A funny prospect, considering it took us 5 hours to get there, the car wasn't new smelling anymore and if we turned around, I wouldn't be accompanying them. The trip turned out great.  We had a lot of fun and were more prepared for the trip home.

Since that time, we have taken numerous trips to the coast to visit family.  Over the course of 20 years, we have had a few different cars and have found out which ones "corner" better.  The kids have outgrown the car sick stage and usually just sleep through the corners.  It was actually a great prerequisite for high school sports.  They got to travel that same road to many sporting event and get of the bus and perform athletically!

Although the trip isn't a lot of fun as far as the drive, we are always so happy to arrive.  Our time on the coast with family never comes up short.  I guess sometimes the longest, windiest roads lead to the best experiences and memories!  It our path was always straight and quick, think of all of the experinces we would lose along the way...

"Though our memories of today will soon be yesterdays, they will forever live in our tomorrows." ---Isabel Urbano

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Ball

I had never thought about it before, but this particular day sitting and watching my daughter in the dugout getting ready for the coming game, I had this overwhelming feeling of respect for her.  She sat there by herself with her glove on and "the ball" in the other hand.  I really focused on her hand holding that ball.  She doesn't have a big hand, but she looked confident and in control.

This is the girl that wouldn't even consider t-ball or coach pitch because she was afraid to stand in the batter's box, because she was too embarrassed.  Then in the 5th grade, a coach talked her into playing...and she WANTED to learn to pitch.  So, since the 6th grade, she has been taking pitching lessons.  She has gone from trying to throw a pitch over the plate to being in control of the plate.  It amazes me what she has to to hold the ball, where to step in order to throw one of her six pitches hitting one of five locations...whew!  All of this while holding a tough mental perspective...more than I could ever do!

I am proud of her and I have so much respect for her and how she handles pressure.  This has made me think about my kids and the many other kids in our community and other communities that get involved in a variety of activities.  Whether it be sports, clubs, music and arts or any other activity, these young people step out of their comfort zone to try new things.  They work hard and practice to become better.  They learn the value of teamwork and committment.  Without always knowing it, they are developing life skills.  They take "the ball" and run with it. They experience the ups and downs of winning and losing...all of this a big part of preparing for the real world.

The next time you have the opportunity really take a look at what your child or another child you know is doing.  Recognize the work they put in, the responsibilities and committments they have shouldered and the way they have taken and managed "the ball" that has been put in their court.  You will find a new respect for these young people, as I did that day in the dugout.

"You can never reach second by keeping your foot on first."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This "Sun's" For You!

What is that a picture of? I know, not a great picture, but a glorious site to the eyes this morning.  It's the SUN!  A good friend of mine asked me last night, "Could you add a little sun to those blue skies?"  Here you go my dear friend.  The sun is shining today in northeastern California.  After a very wet month, we are forcasted for several days of sun.

It has been a little gloomy, the sun has peaked out from time to time, just enough to tease us a little.  I have managed to mow my lawn 4 weeks in a row, between storms, and start on some flower beds.  Luckily I haven't planted anything yet, it was 29 degrees this morning.

Here are a few thoughts to bring some sunshine into your life, even on the days the clouds are covering the sun in the sky... I can alway find a little sunshine in...

  • Watching a new calf run circles as fast as he can with his tail sticking straight out
  • Having that first cup of coffee in the morning with my husband
  • Watching the robins on the front lawn searching for breakfast after the night's rain
  • Waving to the neighbor on the way to town, just like we do everyday
  • Watching the slideshow of pictures roll across the computer screen as I sit down to relax for the night
  • Texting my son EVERY day to say good morning and chuckling at the response I get back
  • Time with friends to giggle over memories past, like "cardboard burgers and washed apple pies"...
  • Getting a picture of a friend's new baby
  • Talking to my grandparent's on the phone
  • Going to the bank and having the ladies there tell me I need to call my mom
  • Watching the dogs head off on their daily adventure each morning, never knowing what they will bring back and listening to my husband provide their dialog
I can go on and on, but I guess what I am saying is the simple things in life bring me sunshine when the days are gray. I am getting better as I get older in taking the time to appreciate these things.  For now, I am off to enjoy the real sunshine outside, it is a beautiful day!

My backyard.... Mt. Shasta

                                    "A good laugh is sunshine in the house."  - William Thackeray

Monday, April 25, 2011

No More Ears!

It was the day after Easter, lots of eggs left to be found, even the smashed ones still on the ground.

We ate lots of ham and freshly baked bread, only making the scale a place I will dread.

Lots of egg salad and protein packed treats, will be what my family for the next week will eat.

Brightly colored pieces of foil cluttered the table,  even some sugar coated Peeps to eat?  No, I don't think I'm able. 

Cadbury eggs for breakfast instead of scrambled, how these kids eat like this, I can't get a handle.

Too much sugar and not enough sleep, It's just Monday, I'm in for a long week. 

I follow the smell of fresh coffee that fills the air, ready to start my day without a care.  But what did I see when I sat down to write, a chocolate covered bunny with no ears left to bite.  He looked at me so sad with those fake sugar eyes, asking me questions filled with "whys"!  "Why did they eat my long chocolate ear? I look rather funny with stumps that can't hear."

Another Easter has come and gone, memories made and some sugar to live on.  I'm thankful for family and friends together yet another year...but what I ponder now is the poor bunny with no ears!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Times Change..Traditions Remain

One of my children drew this picture for me years ago.  It hangs inside of my computer desk door along with a few other pictures and some notes the kids have written me.  It is my way of being able to go back to the day of their sweet little voices and laughter, the times they always wanted to be hugged and when they were around the house more than gone.  Times have changed...traditions have not.  Our traditions become modified to be age appropriate, but our family remains at the center of it all.

I often wish I could go back to the "little kid" days.  Today in church, I watched the most adorable little girl in her Easter dress on her mommy's lap...hugging her tight with her little hands, touching her hair, and giving her kisses on the cheek.  I immediately thought back to the days when my daughter was that age...buying an adorable Easter dress, her wanting to sit on my lap and seeing the excitement in her eyes.  That part may have changed, but what has remained the same is my daughter was still there with our family in church on Easter Sunday, as she is every Easter.  Even more important, she sits next to me at church as a teenage girl, most every Sunday.   We didn't buy an Easter dress, but she looked beautiful just the same. 

Our traditions are based on our family and our faith.  On Easter, I still make baskets of candy and the younger kids in the family hunt eggs.  At the center of that fun, though, is the reminder of what the holiday is truly about.  We always gather as a family, enjoy a wonderful meal and spend time sharing stories and memories together.

As much as I sometimes wish I could go back in time, I truly enjoy the point we are at now.  We have established a strong foundation of family traditions and values that we are passing on to our children.
I guess I could say we don't have family tradtions...our tradition is our family.  God Bless you all on this Easter Day.

"He is Risen.  He is Risen Indeed!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Second Day

Yesterday was Good Friday, tomorrow is is the "Second Day".  I have been doing a lot of thinking about this particular day and am pretty much just going with my thoughts here.

I posted this picture yesterday in honor of Earth Day, but it has a pretty significant meaning to me.  I was reading the book, "The Shack" a year or so back.  I had just read a part about the Trinity... the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I had stopped and was really thinking about this and what it means.  About that time my husband called me and told me to look outside at the sunset.  This is what I saw.  The sky was amazing and if you look close the power pole in the picture looks like a cross.  The timing of that moment gave me chills.  My faith was all summed up in that picture in the sky.

In the beginning on the "second day" God made the sky, a space to seperate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.  That sky and it's beauty at that moment in time gave me a peace like I have never felt.

The "Second Day" I have been thinking about is such an important day for me.  I can't image how the people of Jesus' day felt on that second day after the crucification.  Feelings of no hope, sadness and loss and confusion about where to put their faith.  Resurrection day cleared that all up for them.  Today, on this second day, we have the blessing of knowing that we have hope, we have salvation and we know where to put our faith.  We have something HUGE to look forward to.

In a society where we tend to put a lot more focus on the commercialism of holidays, it is important to remember what we are really celebrating. Three days in history, that changed history.  My faith is strengthened by the promises I have because of these days.  This "Second Day" is exciting to me and more than just another day, because I know what the third day brought to mankind.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son...."

Friday, April 22, 2011

...and it was good!

God saw all that He had made and it was good. - Genesis 1:31

Today is Earth Day....A day set aside to recognize the beauty of our world and it's resources.  Not too hard living where I do.  Everyday I drive past some of the most beautiful sites the eye could imagine.  I drive past, often in such a big hurry, I take for granted these many things that I have the pleasure of seeing everyday...
I would like to share a few of those things...

Pit River Bridge with Fall Colors...Photo by Joe Blackwell

The Fall River

Sunset on the Fall River

Might Oak

Snow in December

Burney Falls

Mt. Shasta

Take some time today to stop and look around at the beauty wherever you live.  On my walk this morning, the birds were chirping, the deer were in the orchard eating the green grass, there were duck pairs on the river and the sun was shining!  It is truly a beautiful day!

Some Earth Day Facts:

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch a TV for three hours - it's equivalent to half a gallon of gasoline.

  • Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22 in 1970. More than 20 million Americans participated in this first Earth Day celebration

  • Never underestimate the importance of recycling: if every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year. Unfortunately only 27% of all American newspapers are recycled.

  • More than 20,000,000 Hershey's Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.

  • Only 11% of the earth's surface is used to grow food.

  • The world's first national park was started in 1872 at Yellowstone National Park in the US.

  • "If God took time to create beauty, how can we be too busy to appreciate it." - Randall B. Corbin

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    One Year Ago Today....

    April 21, 2010 was a big day for me....I had neck surgery.  To say I wasn't nervous would not be the truth.  To say I was ready to eliminate the pain is absolutely the truth.  It was a scary prospect thinking about the neurosurgeon going through the front of my neck to do a disc replacement.  After many years of off and on pain, a few months of unbearable pain and trying every other conventional treatment, surgery was the next option.

    Today, one year later, I am so happy to be pain free and and so blessed and thankful that I had a successful surgery and recovery.

    The details of the surgery don't really remain...what I do have are great memories of all of the support I received from my amazing, small community. 

    I cannot even begin to express the gratitude I have for the MANY people that helped me through my 6 week recovery.  I wasn't allowed to do anything.  Having been in pain for so long, I was committed to following doctor's orders to the tee.  The people of our community are the most giving, caring people.  I have seen it over and over with other people after surgeries, emergencies and other family situations.  It wasn't until I was on the receiving end that I realized just how much caring goes on in this place.

    The ladies at church and many of our friends provided meals.  There was a meal schedule and they were delivered on time each day.  We had meals on the table and extras in the freezer.  My family didn't have to cook for at least 4 weeks.  We even got some great recipes out of the experience.  People helped with housework, employees picked up the slack at our business, cards and flowers were sent...but most importantly, the outpouring of genuine love and concern really became evident.

    A few things I learned while husband can operate the vacuum cleaner, Food Network is on ALL day, there are a lot of repeats of CSI and when in need, people really step up to the challenge.

    Through this experience, I have been motivated to really be aware of other's situations and try to help them and share my love and care when they are in need...

    We can do no great things, only small things with great love.  ~Mother Teresa

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    It's a Dog's Life

    Before our Peer Mentoring session the other day, some of the students were talking about what animal they would like to be.  There was an alligator, a bird, a hippo and several other original choices.  When they asked me, my choice wasn't so original...a dog, but only if I could be a ranch dog.

    Our family doesn't only consist of our children, our dogs fit right into that family tree.  We don't have the kind of dogs that are allowed in the house, they are ranch dogs and they smell!  Our dogs do, however, life a very good life.  Meet our family....

    There was Dottie, the Border Collie cow dog that we got when our son was about 4 years old.  Dottie was a "princess" as my husband called her.  She loved my husband and lived for the minute she got to work cattle or ride on the 4-wheeler.  Dottie's toughest time in life was when she broke her leg and had to have surgery, then stay in the kennel for 6 weeks.  She could do the work of 4 men when it came to gathering cattle.  She was a little bossy, didn't like visiting dogs and did kill a few chickens in her day.  Dottie died the year our son left for college.
    Then there is Blazer, who my husband and daughter brought home from the fair.  Mom said no, but they waited until I left and came home with this adorable cow dog cross puppy.  Funny how that happened, husband and daughter came home with a lot of animals....she knew how to work her daddy!  Blazer has to be made of steel.  He is not a great cow dog, but he sure tries.  He has been kicked in the head so many times, but still insists he is a "heeler". He also had a hand in the end of the chicken operation on our ranch. Since my dad moved to the ranch several years ago, Blazer has decided he much prefers the low-key life of grandpa and has set up his homestead there.  Grandpa provides way more milkbones than we did.

    Blue is the different dog...he is a bird dog, not a cow dog. Although he tries to herd cattle, he is much more efficient at retrieving waterfowl.  Blue is a Yellow Lab and he is amazing.  He is definitely "his own dog". Blue actually belongs to our son and really misses the time when he is away at college.  "Himma" as Blue is nicknamed around here  (Himma wants a treat, does Himma want to go for a ride...) has it made.  The dog pretty much runs the ranch.  All he can eat, a huge bean bag bed (from our college days) to sleep on, a big ranch to run around on and plenty of hunting to be done in the fall. He can usually be found relaxing on the front lawn...we are often wondering what he is dreaming about...or sitting in the driver's seat just waiting to go for another ride in the mule.

    Our latest member of the family is Callie.  She belongs to our daughter.  We searched long and hard to find a new female cow dog after Dottie died.  We were able to surprise our daughter with this adorable Border Collie cross.  She is not even two years old yet and has defied all odds.  She was hit by a big Dodge pickup when she was only 6 months old.  We really thought she was gone when we brought her in.  What I believe is that our daughter's crocodile tears are what brought her back.  She had a head injury and had swelling around her brain.  She couldn't walk or get up for two weeks.  We nursed her back to health and she recovered. It was truly a miracle.  It did earn her the name of "Crazy Callie" though.  She has a tendency to bark at the ripples in her water bowl, circle to tractors when they are started and she really thinks she is a bird dog.  She is pretty good with cows and can run forever.  She had another near death experience with an illness, again, she she is just the precious little "baby girl" on the ranch also waiting for our daughter to get home from school.

    These four legged members of our family are very special and they really do live a great life.  I think they actually believe the ranch is theirs and they are sharing it with us!  The great thing has been to really learn their personalities...In our family a dog's life is a pretty good life!

    Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  ~Roger Caras

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    1800 Miles...Just a Text Away

    When our son decided to accept a football scholarship offer in Nebraska, I just looked at the map and thought about how far away it was.  He had a few other closer options, but was really set on Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.  Wow!  That is a long way from Fall River Mills, California.  A three hour drive to the airport to get on the plane for the 4 hour flight to Omaha.  It's been almost two years now, and it really isn't so bad.  In fact, it is really good....

    We have been to visit him many times and I see why he likes it so much.  When we took the initial visit in the middle of a Nebraska winter, I knew this was a great place for our son.  If he was going to be that far away, I wanted to be confident that there were people there to take care of him.  I was confident then and even more now.  Midwestern people are some of the nicest, most sincere people I have ever met.  The town that he lives in is just plain FRIENDLY.  Never before have I experienced that kind of hospitality.  I would move there. (And yes, I have been there in the summer and winter..two very extreme "extremes"!)

    We have become friends with many of the other football parents from that area.  When we visit, it feels like home. Our son has several moms that look out for him...even the coach's wife.  In fact, she was a great recruiting person.  The head coach and his wife took us out to dinner when we were there for the first visit and it was like sitting down with old friends.  I knew then that there would be someone out there to take care of our son.  When he made his final decision about moving 1800 miles away, we all felt comfortable with it.

    Times are different, when I went to college I was only a couple of hours away.  My parents were lucky if they could catch me on my old fashioned wall phone.  They couldn't leave a message because I had no answering machine.  They couldn't call or text me on my cell phone...there was no such thing.  They couldn't even send me an email...I had a typewriter, not a computer!

    In today's world, the distance gap is bridged by technology.  In the two years our son has been at college, we have texted everyday.  We talk on Facebook, send emails and talk on Skype.  I miss him a lot, but it really doesn't feel like he is 1800 miles away.   His birthday was this month.  I texted one of the other moms who has become a great friend.  She made him his favorite cookies and I emailed a birthday note for her to print.  She took the cookies to his spring football scrimmage.  That little touch of home meant a lot to him, but I think it meant even more to me, knowing that there is someone out there to step in for the mom things.  I know without a doubt that there are people that would help him through anything out there.

    Letting go and letting our son step out into the world seemed like it was going to be a hard thing...but really those 1800 miles are just a text away!

    What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? - Jean Jaques Rousseau

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Where will All My Children go?

    Okay, I admit it....I watch All My Children (AMC)and have for a very long time.  I don't watch everyday and don't set the DVR (since we don't have one...a whole other story!)  I can pretty much keep up by watching an episode every week or two, so missing a day is not a problem. AMC is almost as old as I am. A defining part of my generation and the network is cancelling the show in September.

    I can remember watching it when I was pretty small, all through high school and college and through my married life.  My mom set the VCR everyday while she was at work. I can remember Jenny and Greg, Tom and Erica, Tad and Dixie, Cliff and Nina and the list goes on. 

    If some of you are honest, you might admit to watching too.  In fact, in our small town, I know a lot of farmers and ranchers that come in for lunch and do their share of catching up on the program. 

    Why do I watch it?  Well,  the answer is simple, it is so far from reality it is entertaining.  Have you ever noticed that even when a character is broke and out of a job, they still have really nice clothes?  Have you ever seen a female character without make-up, even in a hospital bed?  How many times can the same character get married or be in the hospital near death?  Hospitals...another key ingredient...most soap operas revolve around a hospital.  Do you ever really see anyone work? 

    What I would really like to see is Erica Cane in jeans, t-shirt and tennies with no make-up and a ball cap...the way I often look.  Wouldn't it be great to see a character actually doing the dishes or folding laundry.  You know, real life stuff.

    I am a little disappointed.  I really can't believe there will be no more Tad Martin and the Martin clan.  No more eccentric Opal or Jessie and Angie Hubbard.  I guess we can all use our imagination to determine the end of each story. 

    No more lunch time dates with All My Children....making room for me to do fold the clothes of All My Real Children!

    "Embrace Change, Every Change is good" - Walter Breuning

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Small Town Wonders

    When I was going into high school, my family decided it was time to get out of the growing San Joaquin Valley of California and move north.  Very devasting news for a 13 year old girl who had grown up with the same friends her whole life.  I was from a town that at the time had 7 grammar schools and 2 high schools.  I graduated 8th grade and left that all behind, having no choice in the matter.

    We moved to a TINY town in northeastern California to a ranch about 30 times as big as the one I had spent my entrie life on.  The new high school had 106 students, my class had 23 (7 girls and 16 boys).  At that point, I wasn't exactly happy......flash forward......It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  At that small high school, I made some of the best friends ever.  We were more like a family.  I had opportunities that would have never arisen in a large school.  If I would have gone to the big high school where I was from, I would have been in band (which would have been great), but I would have probably never played sports.  At my new school, I played 3 sports, was active in student government, speech contests, FFA and the list goes on.  I am so thankful for my small town experience. After college, I came back to a small town, got married and raised a family.

    I feel very lucky that my children have been given the same opportunity.  They have become well-rounded individuals that know how to get things done AND they have twenty sets of parents looking out for them at all times.  My son left last year for college 1800 miles away, my daughter plans to go away to college too.  It is reassuring to me that they both have had so many different experiences to help them deal with life and people.

    We have so much to be proud of in our small town.  The youth is a big part of that.  Just this weekend our novice FFA Parli-Pro Team won the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!  Small town, school of 153 students, competing against every other chapter big or small, and we won.  A few years back, our advanced FFA Parli-Pro team won state and was 2nd in the nation.  Not too bad for a small school. 

    I could go on and on, from the athletic championships, athletic scholarships, national individual academic recognition, distinguished school status, and to the professionals that have come out of our small town. My point is that great things can happen in a small town.  Opportunity presents itself everyday.  Our youth is given the chance to experience a multitude of activities and experiences and they are blessed with the support network of a small community.

    Sure we don't have a mall around the corner or a movie theatre with ten choices each day. (We have one movie, each weekend, playing Friday - Sunday at 7 pm).  What we do have are opportunities to take a hold of, people to help and cheer us on and a family that could never fit around our dining table.

    Are you from a small town?  Look around at the many small town wonders...

    The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. - William James

    Saturday, April 16, 2011


    Finally! I am doing what I have wanted to do for so long. Writing a blog is something I have always thought about doing, but never made the time.  I have decided there is no time like the present.  Part of my problem has been that I have always thought I had to have everything layed out and organized. That is the news and feature writer in me.  I have so many ideas floating around, ideas I think others might enjoy. 

    We have made a lot of changes in the last few months, some of which allow me to have more time.  I have come to the conclusion life is too short to not do the things we like to do.  Writing is something I like to do, so here it is!  This post may seem unorganized but I have to start somewhere...

    I think this is a great place to start, a place that reminds me to look for the Blue Skies in my life.

    We had the pleasure of hearing about a young man's spring break experience last night.  The stories he told made the things I already know somewhere inside, even more clear.  He went to a third world country on his college spring break for a mission trip to work with children at an orphanage and school.  A completely unselfish thing.  When a majority of kids are looking for where to go to have fun, this young man put others before himself and ended up having the time of his life.  So much, that he plans to continue this minstry.  Pretty impressive for a college freshman. 

    What I took from his experience is that I have it REALLY good.  If you are like me, sometimes I want for things I don't really need.  I need things to make me happy.  The children he had the privelege of working with didn't have many things.  In fact, they usually only have one meal a day.  These children are fortunate enough to be in a school funded by a non-profit ministry.  The words that ring in my mind from our conversation last night are, "they don't have anything, but they are happy, they are smiling all of the time."

    Putting it all in perspective...I am really going to remind myself each day of what I have, not what I don't have.  I am going to smile and be thankful for the many blessings around me.  What makes you happy?  Take a look around and really recognize what you have....

    "The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, the way to be happy is to make others so."

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