Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am a Good Cook???

Aunt Marce is the cook of the family.  This is my husband's aunt and she is known by everyone for her great food and organization in the kitchen.  She loves to feed people.  She is very good at it!  I have always been so impressed with everything Aunt Marce makes.

When we branded the other day, Aunt Marce was in town and we asked her to come up when we had lunch.  I had prepared part of the meal the evening before so it was ready to put in the oven.  I left the easier stuff for that day.  I always try to make something that will serve a lot of people and will fill them up.  It's a lot of hard work out there, so we want to feed them right.  

I decided to go with lasagna.  This is a recipe that my mom and grandma make.  It is what my sister and I make. It usually goes over pretty well.  In fact, my daughter has friends that want to come over for dinner when we have lasagna. I like it, but it is the same lasagna I have had my whole life, so I don't have a lot to compare it to. 

Lunch came and went, the lasagna was consumed in large portions by the hungry branders. Everyone went back to work stuffed and I started on the dishes.  Aunt Marce wasn't able to finish her dessert, hmmm, it the family favorite dessert...She had eaten too much lasagna she said. "Honey, that is the best lasagna!

That compliment meant more to me that anyone understands...the family's best cook basically told me that I am a good cook.  That was a great day!  

P.S. I will share the recipe :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memory...

Today being Memorial Day, I woke up and had one thing on my mind.  This is what I am going to write about today.  We have many local heroes, young and old.  I have family that have served in the military.  There is no respect deserved more, than to these brave men and women.   I have many freedoms because of their great sacrifice and I do't take it lightly.  Being able to sit down and write is a freedom.

So what is Memorial Day…Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. It was first enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War,  it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.  Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.   It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.

I want to dedicate my blog today to one of our local heroes...Lance Corporal Tyler A. Roads.  Tyler was a proud Marine.  He was born 7-12-89 and sacrificed his life in Afghanistan on 7-10-10.  Tyler was an amazing young man.  I didn't get to know him like my husband and son did, but his character stood on it's own.  My husband was his coach and I can remember always hearing about what an amazing young man he was. It was evident how much he is loved by our community, his memorial service was beyond words. 

To his mom and his family...thank you for this wonderful young man...he is a hero by every definition. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Smart Cows? I'm Convinced!

We are branding today.  We had a big master plan to outsmart the cattle.  I think they may be smarter than us...Getting the whole herd in to the corral is the biggest challenge of the day.  We decided to feed them in the corral all week so they could come in at their leisure, thinking it is their idea.  They go back out to the pasture during the day.  Each morning they have all been standing in the corral waiting for us to feed them.

This morning...we were having coffee, I looked out and asked why are there no cattle in the corral?  My husband said he was wondering the same thing.  "One of them figured it out," he laughed, "when we were fixing the chute and alley yesterday they must have realized what is going on!"  Whatever the reason, there are no cattle in the corral.  They have come in every other day.  Of course not the day we want them too!  So, are cattle smart?  I think they might be.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

50 Posts....Thank You!

I am amazed!  I have actually written posts for over 50 days in a row and have had over 1300 reads.  I have worked to stay disciplined and it has really been good for me.  I enjoy writing so much and this has been my excuse to sit down and write everyday.  I never really expected a lot of people to read, I was hoping.

I have been writing about a lot of random things and have lists of other ideas.  I am getting my ideas at the strangest times.  I see or hear something and it gives me an idea. This process is teaching me a lot.  Sometimes we put off the things we really love to do.  I decided it was time to allow myself the privelege of writing each day.  It brings so much to my day being able to sit down and express myself.

My advice (if you are interested) is to sit back and evaluate what you are doing in your life.  What extra things are you doing just because?  What things do you have a passion for?  What are you not doing that you would like to be?  Once you figure it out...get going!  There is no better way than to take the plunge right now.  Don't say "I will start next week."  Do it now!  I have wanted to write a blog for years, just never allowed myself the time to do it.

I sincerely hope you get something out of my blogs.  If you are a reader, Thank You!  If you like what you read, maybe you would want to share the link with a friend.  http://www.vlakeyblueskies.blogspot.com/
I even have some people having the blog emailed directly to them each day.  I would also very much appreciate your comments. My wish is that the things I write will bring a little Blue Skies to you day!  Thanks for reading :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Doing What You Need to Do

The picture says it all....sometimes you just have to do what you need to do.  Doesn't matter that you are a male lab and the puppy is a female cowdog.  It's either help take care of her or listen to her whine all night.  By now if you read my blogs, you know Blue and what an amazing dog he is. He proved it yet again when we got the puppy last year.

How many lesson exactly am I going to learn from this dog?  A lot more I hope!  Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do.

So many times when I ask one of my kids to do something, they don't want to do it.  I reply, "do you think I really want to do laundry?"  It has to be done.  I read something once about finding joy in mundane tasks.  When picking up your son's dirty socks, say a prayer for him.  When cleaning your daughter's sink, thank God for the blessing that she is.  When picking up the trail your husband left in the house, be thankful for him and the family you share.

There are things in life we have to do.  Given the choice, I am sure there are things we would rather do, but that is not how it works.  We do what we need to do to keep life running and to keep a balance.  We do things to keep the people around us comfortable and happy. It may not always be our job or what we expect, but we get it done.

"Love Turns work into rest."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Running on Empty

Have you ever had one of those days that it seems you are running from one thing to another? I seem to have a lot of them.  My sister and I usually text everyday.  On Monday our text is usually, "What does your week look like?" We both usually list off each day with something in it.  As full as my days are, my sister still has three kids at home and her week is crazy!  I really don't know how she does it, unless she is hiding a clone somewhere. 

The last couple of weeks have left my gas tank drained.  It hasn't been a lot of hard work, just a lot of running around.  I got in my car yesterday to go to Bible Study and my car knew how I felt..."Low Fuel".  Good thing I was on my way to Bible Study.  My day yesterday was a "fill me up day".  It was time to refuel. I had a couple of interviews to do after meeting with all of the wonderful ladies at the church.  Then I got ot drive over to see my sister and family.  It was a great day!

I thought it was pretty funny how the dashboard of my car reminded me how I felt. Life gets so full sometimes, we forget to fuel back up. Don't wait for your tank to drain...fill up often...It's not costing us $4/gallon to fill up our hearts!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's How We See It

What do you see in this picture?  My sister-in-law sent this to me yesterday.  I immediately asked her if I could use it in my blog. At first glance it is an old barn, missing some boards...When I look at it I see the image of the cross from the boards missing from the building.  That brought the obvious point to mind.  If something is missing...look to the cross.

Sometimes things are right in front of me and I don't recognize the message. Sometimes I get the wrong message because of the way I choose to see things.  I realize that if I look at things the way God wants me to the message is clear. In everyting I do, I should be looking to God and my faith for guidance and direction.  This picture reminded me of that.  When situations are not what they should be, there are empty and missing parts in my life, I need to look to the cross.  I need to see things as God wants me to see them.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Zereda....

Today would be Nana's birthday.  Zereda Fine Jensen was born in 1902 and passed away in 1996 at the age of 93.  Her life was an example we can all live by.

I had the privelege of marrying into Nana's family.  Although I only had 13 years with her in my life, I learned so much.  She was smart, she was funny, she knew what she believed, she stood firm on what she believed, she was stubborn and she knew everything that was going on around her.  She earned the nickname "Radar" from my father-in-law, nothing could get by Nana.

She grew up in our small valley, attended college and became a teacher of one room schoolhouses. She loved to cut wood, garden, be involved in community activities, stay involved with the ranch and be with her family.  She was highly respected in our community.  She stayed up on politics and important community issues.  Everyone may not have agreed with her opinion, but they truly respected it.  My husband has endless memories of his time with Nana.

I thank Nana for teaching me so much.  Her example of standing for what you believe in provides a lot of motivation in my life. She would never complain about something she wasn't willing to get involved in. Things were very black and white to her and she knew how to work hard to get things done. 

Happy Birthday Nana!  We love you and miss you and thank you for the influence you have been in our lives!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do You Know the Way Home?

For years our cattle would go out on the range and when it was time to come home, they knew the way.  Now we move the cattle back and forth from one ranch to the other, about a 8 mile distance.  This time of year they know it is time to go.  They stay close to the gate and watch for the day we have extra people and horses on the ranch...they know they are headed for the trees!  They know way, they only reason we go along is to hold back the front group of younger cows from going too fast and leaving their calves behind.   Otherwise, they could make this trip back and forth all summer on their own.

Our son is heading home for the summer today.  He goes to college in Nebraska...1700 miles away.  I am a mom, so of course I will be worried until he gets home.  I am worried about things like where he will stop, him driving too far the first day and does he have enough money.  My husband said "does he know his way home?" He said it half-heartedly, but really it is a large concept to take in.  Your child is that far away, they get in their vehicle and drive home...and they know the way.

There's a song out that says, "If you don't know where you're going, you might end up some where else."  I guess when you know where home is, you can get there one way or the other. It's like there is a navigation system built into your heart. When you know where you want to end up, you will get there.

The cows are going to be leaving soon, but they know will their way back home when it's time. Our son will be home sometime tomorrow...home is calling his name and he definitely knows how to get here!

Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Winning Attitude

This is a picture from several years ago.  They won a championship and it was great.  They were winners.  That was in the past.  Now in the present, they are still winners by every definition.  These three girls, along with many others that I know, have worked very hard at the things they love to do.  They have winning attitudes and that will take them far in life.

A lot of focus is put on winning a game.  I am a coach and I like to win...but I will tell you, I would rather develop winning attitudes that will carry over into other parts of life... than win a lot of games and never learn to deal with challenges that come with losing a few. The final numbers on a scoreboard don't mean a lot if the character and attitude isn't there. 

Over the years I have had winning teams and losing teams.  Reflecting back I don't really recall the exact scores of games, what years we won the championship or what our records were.  I do remember the girls.  I remember their hard work ethic, their desire to get better, the way they set personal and individual goals and the way they treated each other.  I am in contact with many of those athletes still and to see the quality individuals they have become and the winning attitude they display in their lives is such a reward.

I watched a team this spring that did great things.  The roster was freshman to seniors, but that didn't matter.  They were a team of girls with no drama, a lot of support and love for each other and a team that made tremedous growth through the season.  Their record wasn't perfect, they won and lost...but at the end of the season the winning attitude towards each other was perfect.  They built character traits that will carry over outside of sports.  They are just another example that winning isn't just reflected on the scoreboard!

Winning is important....a winning attitude!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It Matters

It matters, it really does...how you treat others and how you act. A smile, laugh or little silliness goes a long way. I genuinely try to live by the "Golden Rule".  When the kids were growing up, that's what we always tried to teach them  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  In other words, treat others the way you want to be treated.

The kids have a lifetime friend that heard me say that a lot.  He would say, "Val, you are making that up."  I would tell him, "No, I'm not making it up, they are some great words to live by and actually it is in the Bible, Matthew 7:12." He heard it referenced one day and finally believed I wasn't making it up.

These words mean a lot to me.  It really does matter how we treat people and how we portray ourselves.  How many times do we have the opportunity to give a smile or kind word to someone and we just don't. In our small town we wave at everyone that drives by.  In fact, we know if someone is from out of town if they don't wave back. We say hi in the grocery store and tell jokes at the bank.

I tell my kids that what they do and how they act can have an effect on someone's else's situation.  The thing is, we don't know what point someone else is at in their life.  We don't know what their situation is. Our smile or kind word can make a big difference in their day, just as harsh words or actions can make their situation worse.

I challenge us all to smile a little more often at people we don't know, share kind words and take some extra time with the people around us, do something nice - just because...It Matters.

"Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day."

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Friends Live in a Cookie Jar

I have always admired my son for being friends with everyone.  He has a true gift of seeing the good in everyone.  He wrote this poem years ago.  It is one of my favorites!

If you want to know my friends,
Just take a look in the cookie jar.
There are many kinds of friends and others,
From Oatmeal to Peanut Butter.
If you know one, you’ll certainly want to know the other.

Chocolate Chip is warm and gooey,
Like a friend who’s there always truly.
Peanut Butter is kind of nutty,
Just like some of my best buddies.
Oatmeal Raisin not everyone likes,
But just be nice and try a bite.

As they crumble to the bottom of the jar,
All mixed together, my friends they are.
Some are constant like chocolate chip,
Others keep me laughing-they are the cutters,
They are yours truly, the peanut butters.

"The best way to keep friendships from breaking is not to drop them."

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Years ago I was asked to speak about pride...In thinking about pride, I had a lot of different thoughts.  Pride can be good and pride can be bad.

When talking to the group of students, the obvious angle was school pride. There is also pride for our country and where we live. There are the times when our pride is hurt. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride to make a situation better.

There is often a thin line between pride being positive or negative.  We can often be too proud.

The kind of pride I am talking about now is individual pride and some of the keys necessary to achieve the very best for yourself.  

Everyone is unique, there is no one else like you.  You are not equal in your talents in any  part of your life.  You might say, “I’m not good at anything or I’m not unique.”  But if you really take the time to think and listen to yourself…you will find that there is something unique about you..  The key is to make the most of what you have been given and continue to build on that.

Look at pride this way...with regard to each individual and the keys to achieving personal happiness in your life.

PURPOSE – We all have a purpose.  Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out that purpose.  We have many roads to travel and many doors will open and close…but there is a purpose in life.  Our purpose may be different later in life than it is now.  It is our responsibility as you grow is to determine what our purpose is.  We should use the talents we have been given to pursue our dreams and help others.  When we come against something that we are not so good at…we can't let that stop us.  As the great basketball coach John Wooden said, “Do not permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.”

RESPECT – Respect is right in line with pride.  It is very important to respect ourself and those around us.  Respect our friends, family, teachers and others we deal with every day.  It is easy to respect someone, when we remember that we are all unique.  The same expectations cannot be set for two people. .  Look at how people are different from you.  Instead of saying, “they are not like me”, say, “I respect them for how they are different from me.”  Most importantly,  Respect who you are, what you can do and the talents you have been given. 

INDIVIDUAL – As I already mentioned…everyone is unique, we are an individuals with our own skills, goals and purpose.  We are ultimately responsible for ourself.  We hold the key that unlocks the doors to the future.  Remember to pursue dreams. What is good for others, may not be right for you.  We can't try to press ourself into a mold that doesn't fit. 

DISCIPLINE – Wooden also said, “Discipline yourself so others won’t need to.”  When we discipline ourself to always reach for our goals and decide that each day is going to be our best.  I can also use the word DETERMINATION here.  When we pursue goals, whether they be academics, athletics or life, with determination we have won half of the battle.

ENTHUSIASM   A positive approach to anything, makes it easier.  Instead of seeing the glass half empty, see it as half full. Enthusiasm for life, for your dreams, for learning, that what makes it fun!

            Have a PURPOSE
            RESPECT others and most importantly YOURSELF
            Remember that You are an INDIVIDUAL…
            DISCIPLINE yourself so others won’t have to
            And do it all with great ENTHUSIASM

With these keys, the PRIDE in yourself and for you will follow. Mostly, don't let pride just to the negative side, by keeping allowing it to get in the way of the many great things in life and relationships with others.  

                                  "Pride and Grace cannot dwell in the same place"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I was going through some files the other day and found this on the computer.  This is something one of the kids wrote when they were younger.  I enjoyed the perspective so much, I wanted to share.

My shoes are made of leather.
The rubber soles are soft,
But at the same time can be hard to protect my feet.
They are a dull color,
But they are full of style.
My shoes are useful because they take me where I need to go.

My shoes symbolize me, they are smelly.
I, too, am sometimes smelly.
This shows that I am active.
My shoes are on my feet,
which are very active.

Over the years my shoes and me change in size and style.
We are not quite sure of where we are going.
My shoes need to guide me, because I need guidance in my life.
I am my shoes, getting bigger and sometimes lost.
Shoes please show me my way,
Help me get through another day.

I so enjoyed reading this simple poem about shoes!  If shoes could only talk, they could tell so much about the person!

                          If the shoe fits, you’re not allowing for growth. - Robert N Coons

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In God's Time

I look at this beautiful oak tree on our ranch and think about how old it might be.  How long has it taken to reach this stature and size.  What started as something so small grew into a mighty oak.  There is no one around that can recollect the growth process of this tree.  It took a lot of time.  In God's eyes, it was a speck of time.

Patience is something I have had to learn to get better at over the years.  So many times when I want something, I want it now.  I want situations to be taken care of in my time....I have learned it doesn't work that way.  A day, week, month, or year can seem like such a long time, too long to wait for something.  I heard a song the other day that reminded me that life doesn't revolve on my clock...things happen in God's time.

In God's time
A million years might only be a single day
And everything He does gets done His own way
In God's time

It might be tomorrow or it might never be
but don't lose faith
Put it in His hands
'Cause it might be that He might have a bigger plan
Than you had in mind
Miracles happen
In God's time

(In God's Time by Randy Houser)

I really listened to those words and thought back on specific situations when things didn't happen on my time table or even happen at all.  Turns out, it was for the best. I often think I know what is best for me and I forget to have faith.  When I push to make something happen instead of waiting for it to happen, 99% of the time it doesn't work out.  Patience. I simply need to have faith and patience and trust that in God's time, things will happen.

Keep praying, but be thankful that God's answers are wiser than your prayers !
William Culbertson

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prom Memories

Photo by Kathi Corder Photography
The memories all came rolling back….oh, the glorious days of prom!  Spending three days straight decorating, chaperoning and cleaning up for my daughter’s prom caused me to reminisce a little about proms past…
Here’s what I remember….
-Getting my hair done because everyone else did and not really liking it…
-Looking for the fullest dress I could find.  Hoops were very popular, the bigger the skirt the better…the problem…how to get in the car!
-My date one year in a very nice suit, but forgot his dress socks.  When he sat, the colored striped athletic tube sock showed!
-Going to the Prom with the guy I just beat in the Student Council President election…hmmm
-My senior prom, my dad let my date drive the corvette my parents just bought the day before.  (Not a chance that would happen in this household  J)
-Always having to drive at least an hour to dinner, because we had no dinner places in our town.
-My date feeding the fish in the waterway next to our table with his steak…
 Here’s what I don’t remember….
-Who the band or DJ was…it was just a lot of fun dancing!
-What the decorations looked like…I really don’t remember…I know we were at the Vet’s Hall.
-My pictures, I can’t find them…but I do know one of our teacher’s took the pictures one year.
It was so much fun watching all of the kids having a great time last night.  Everyone looked fabulous!  The opportunity to dress up, go have a nice dinner and have a formal evening is something that high school students look forward to.  Even though I don’t remember all of the details, I do remember how much I enjoyed the proms I attended.  It was such a good time getting to dress up and spend time with my close friends.
To me, the preparation, dressing up, going and enjoying the special night and getting home safe are the most important things of Prom night.  It was a pleasure to take part in Prom 2011.  Thanks to those students, I sat back and thought a little about proms in the 80’s…

                                           The memories of prom last a lifetime...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Be Your Own Dog!

We can all take a lesson from Blue today and everyday.  I know, he is a dog, but he is "his own dog".  He is the sweetest, funniest dog ever, but he is absolutely who he wants to be.  He enjoys every minute of everyday.  If I could get into his mind, I am sure his only stress comes from deciding which area of the ranch he is going to explore next.  So, here are the things we can learn from Blue about "being your own dog".....

1. Life is meant to be lived. Who cares if the weather is bad, you are having a bad hair day or you are in a less that perfect mood.  Figure it out!  Change the direction of your day.  Find your fun and don't waste a minute of the precious day you have been given.  I know there are days that Blue is less than excited about playing with the other dogs, but he does it anyway and soon enough he is the one having the most fun!

2. Take time for yourself. Everyone needs a little down time.  You only have so much to give before you need to be refueled. If you need to say no, say it.  If you need a nap, take it.  You aren't going to be as productive is you don't take care of yourself.  Blue takes several naps everyday!  It is funny to watch him pretend he can't move or "play dead" so that Callie will leave him alone to take his nap.  He has it all figured out.

3. Pick your battles.  Simply figure out what matters and what doesn't.  At the end of the day what is important. We sometimes get ourselves worked up for things that really don't matter. Try to let some of those situations slide.  Blue does.  Instead of fighting with the other dogs over the most recent bone brought to the yard, he wonders off digs up an old one and everyone is happy. Sometimes you just have to give up the bone of contention.

4. Be Happy.  Life is too short to be in a bad mood.  Really, what does that accomplish.  Wake up each day and thank God for the blessings you have.  Worry less, pray more.  Be thankful.  Take a look at what you have and derive your happiness from that.  Blue does that everyday!  He is the happiest dog on earth.  I wish he could talk. I know he would say how happy is to have a ranch to run around on, friends to play with, a 4-wheeler to ride on, mice to dig up in the fields.  Nothing too exciting, very simple things, but things that make him happy.

5. Be Your Own Dog.  Finally, it is important to be who you are.  Not who your best friend is, who your spouse wants you to be, who you think you need to be to fit in. Be yourself, stand solid on your beliefs and morals and let your light shine.  Blue does, and he brings so much joy into our day, everyday!  Be your own dog!

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. 
~Judy Garland

Friday, May 13, 2011

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

I thought we were going to Nebraska?  Traveling across the country through a lot of unpopulated areas, the last thing I was thinking of was Beverly Hills!  I didn't see any celebrities, mansions or high dollar stores...in fact I didn't see anything.  I really don't even remember what state we were in. Utah, I think.  There was a lot of land between Nebraska and California.  I actually would have enjoyed seeing what this Beverly Hills was like.  I am confident it is nothing like the California Beverly Hills!

Things are not always what they seem.  We have expectations about people, places and things.  We sometimes have an image or predetermined idea in our mind.  How many times have you been wrong?  "You can't judge a book by it's cover."  We often do.  I can remember going to the National FFA Convention when I was in high school.  On the back of my FFA jacket, it said "CALIFORNIA" in large letters.  Every  person I met automatically thought I lived by the beach, knew how to surf and saw famous people on a daily basis.  Little did they know, I lived in the far northeastern corner of California, in the mountains were it snowed, went to a school of 100 students in a town with no fast food or stop lights and rarely saw the ocean.  There was a famous person who owned a ranch over the hill though!  I was not the prototype Californian.

Everyday we make judgements based on what we think we know or how things might seem to be.  Seeing that road sign helped me recognize that things can fool us sometimes, it really made me laugh.  As I thought about how different this Beverly Hills was from the other one, I realized I need to look a little more closely at things in life.  I can't be caught up in how I think things are or what something is going to be like, or what someone else says.  I need to find out for myself.  I could miss out on a lot if I take things and people at face value...things aren't always as they seem.  I think the next road trip to Nebraska, we will take Exit 348, Beverly Hills...just to see.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Forget the whole logic of young girls in red sports cars are the ones who drive crazy and speed.  I have proof to the contrary!  Be on the watchout for old(er) women driving neutral color mid sized sedans!  I will define old by saying my age or older as to not offend anyone.  Seriously, though, I had quite a day watching this "type" of driver.

I had to take my daughter down the hill for a doctor appointment today.  Generally it is a pretty uneventful drive.  Although, I do caution my kids to always watch out for the other driver.  Some people get in a pretty big hurry and pass in bad spots.  The speed limit through these mountain roads is 55 mph.  I was traveling along at about 60 mph, following a pickup.  My daughter was asleep in the passenger seat.  We were climbing the big side of the mountain, just coming out of a corner. There is a wide spot on the one side.  I happened to look in my rear view mirror and saw a silver sedan coming up VERY fast.  It wasn't clear to pass, so I was just starting to move over thinkng the driver wasn't going to slow down and was trying to pass.  Suddenly, this car passed me on the right going about 65 mph.  My daughter woke up, as you could hear the car zip by. I said, "Did you see that?"  My daughter said "It must be crazy old lady driver day!"

Whoa! I couldn't believe that just happened.  Then shortly after that, she passed the pickup in front of me in a bad spot.  Funny thing is, this was the second experience like that today.  The first wasn't so bad, but it too was an older lady in a mid-sized car...with a child in the passenger seat!

So where's the "Blue Skies" in this blog...well, I guess it will be a bit of advice.  SLOW DOWN and be sensible when you are driving.  You can cause and accident that may not just involve you.  Maybe slow down a bit, take in the day and give yourself a little extra time.  I don't know what this lady's big hurry was...but it couldn't have been that important, I saw her car at the post office further down the road.

As for the law enforcement patrolling the road...maybe a little focus on mid sized sedans driven by "older" women!  It's not just the young ones in the sports cars.

There is more to life than increasing its speed." Gandhi 


My husband called me yesterday and asked me whose phone number is".........?" I actually thought about it before telling him, "I don't know, why?"  He explained that they had called his cell phone a few times and didn't leave a message.  "I just thought my 'rolodex' wife would know whose number it was."

I had to laugh to myself. I am a numbers person...not math...but remembering numbers.  For about 10 years I worked at the same job and could remember pretty much every business phone number in the valley.  I was the phone book in my family. I still remember my phone number from when I was a kid 823-2006!

It got me thinking about all of the numbers and passwords we have to remember these days.  There are so many numbers floating around in our mind.  Birthdays, meeting dates, phone numbers, addresses, bank card pin numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, cell phone numbers, and on and on and on! What happens when we register at a hotel, we have to remember our car license plate number! When we log on to an account...another number.  Ughh! 

As it turns out, I remembered who the number belonged to that was calling my husband.  I texted him on his cell phone number, gave him the information.  I proceeded to go to the bank, used the ATM and my pin number, got gas and used my gas card with ID number and remembered the phone number of the hamburger place, called them and ordered lunch for 3, went to the post office and remembered my 2 different P.O. Box numbers and proceeded home to log into this account with another password number.

I may be forgetting the number of years I am old...but I still remember lots of other numbers. My family tells me knowing the dates of birthdays is most important.  I say recalling my own phone number is most important!  All of those numbers are in there floating around, waiting to be called upon...I guess it's good activity for the brain!

P.S. When I was thinking about numbers, I found this interesting website that told about specific numbers.  My favorite number is "4".  I'm not sure why...this is what I found out about "4"

A quartet, a foursome... The word four has four letters. In the English language there is no other number whose number of letters is equal to its value. The number four on a calculator is made up of four light bars. Many things are arranged in fours. There are four suits in a deck of cards, four points of the compass, and four phases of the moon. There are four wings on a bee and four leaves on a clover, if you are lucky. The four seasons are spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Learn about your favorite number on this website...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Forever Friends!

"A Friend Loveth at All Times..."  Proverbs 17:17

Think back to the first friend you ever had...When I think back, there are so many memories.  Friends come in all different shapes and sizes. Friends come and go in our lives. Friends hold a special place in our heart always.  I aways remember the song we sang as kids, "Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other's gold."

When I was in elementary school I had the best group of friends.  We did everything together. My mom used to wonder how I could spend all day at school with my friends and then come home and want to talk on the phone with them. Sleepovers, birthday slumber parties, friendly spats and sharing secrets describes our unique group.  Imagine how disappointed I was when had to move away from my friends. I had gone through elementary school with these girls and my family was moving after 8th grade graduation.  I was devasted to not get to go to high school with these friends.  They gave me a great send off party and we promised to keep in touch.  Which we did, for a while... 

High School brought about busy schedules, new activities and new friends. Another set of very special friends who captured another part of my heart.  We experienced another part of life together, shared heartaches, college dreams and buying prom dresses together.  Four years went very fast and once again we were all going different ways...

College friends came from everywhere.  Different cities, different backgrounds, different people brought together to share a new life experience.

Adult friends seemed to revolve around what is going on in your life at the time...your kids, sports, community activities and work...

The best part about all of these special people is they each hold a special memory in my heart.  Over the past few years I have been blessed to reconnect with many of my friends from the past. It is so amazing to hear about my elementary school friends and their families. I get the chance to watch children of my high school friends play sports against my kids. I get to share many uniques things with my full circle of friends.

The thing about true friends is you don't have to see them all of the time.  You can go years and still rekindle that special friendship.  When a friendship is built on something true and strong, you always feel the love for that friend.   There are so many of you out there that I haven't seen in a very long time.  Please know that I will always treasure your friendship and have a special place in my heart for you!

"Friendship is the golden thread that ties two hearts together"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Give a Hug Today!

A hug is beautiful, it’s a wonder what it can do,
A hug can make you smile when you are feeling lost and blue.
A hug can say so many things, sending out love, friendship and comfort,
A hug can offer with unspoken words, so much strength and support.
A hug can say welcome home,
I‘ve missed, I’ve been so alone.
A hug can ease the pain of a little scrape or bruise,
A hug is something each day all of us should use.
Hugs are great for family, mom, dad, brother and sis.
Hugs are something that we need regularly, without miss.
A hug delights, loves and warms,
It has to be why God saw the need to give us arms!
Don’t try to store them up, give them away each day,
The more you give, the more that will come your way.
A hug is contagious, they multiple real fast,
Share one today and give that special someone some joy that will last.

"He took them up in His arms...and blessed them." Mark 10:16

Sunday, May 8, 2011


My great-grandmother, mom and grandmother on my wedding day...3 wonderful mothers!

Mom! I’m thirsty! Mom, where did you put my shoes? Mom, I need gas in my car. Mom, I don’t want to do that…Mom, mom, mom! How many moms out there have ever wanted to change their name from mom?  Just about the time I want to be called by something else and pretend like I am not the mom, that’s when I hear “thanks mom, I love you.”
            The dictionary simply defines a mother as a female parent, a woman who has given birth.  I guess the dictionary has to keep it simple or it would take up several pages.  A more appropriate description would read something like this: Mom: cook, tailor, gardener, housekeeper, bookkeeper, daycare provider, nurse, taxi cab driver, referee, coach and able to perform any other duty that comes along.
            I never realized the extent of the job description until I became a mom.  My children are near grown.  Even with one away at college, I still have certain things I do for him.  As hard as it is to sometimes be a mom, it’s hard to quit being a mom.
            Mothers are remarkable people.  I look back on my childhood and remember all of the things my mom did for me everyday.  I took a lot of it for granted. Everything I needed, she seemed to make happen. There were meals on the table, my clothes were clean and she taxied me wherever I needed to go. She never missed my games, speech contests or FFA activities.  She was always there.
            By being the mother she was, she taught me how to be a good mother. I was taught the meaning of respect and courtesy and the importance of family.
            When you look back at all of the things your mother was responsible for in molding your life, it is amazing.  How can a simple “female parent” accomplish all of that? A mother is so many things. She is there to care for the needs of her children.  She is there through the good and bad, the joys and the heartaches.  She is the one who understands.
            Being a mom is a lifetime job, even though there comes a time that the apron strings have to be cut. There is no true job description, it comes from within. My children are the greatest gift I have ever received and I thank my mother for passing on the traits of a mother that aren’t explained in a dictionary. 
Happy Mother’s Day.

“A mother holds her children’s hands for a while, but holds their hearts forever.” 

Saturday, May 7, 2011


As a mom we get to experience some things that are beyond explanation.  We learn from our children, teach our children and even hurt for our children...

There was a night a few years back that I would have done anything to take the hurt away from my son.  I had never heard a sound like that before, as he lay on the football field after taking a hard hit to the knee.  I was filming and didn't realize at first it was him.  I only heard a deep cry of agony and pain.  I didn't rush on to the field, I was told to never do that.  I waited. As they got him off the field and to the sidelines, I knew his knee was hurt pretty bad.  He refused to leave the field and sat there on the bench, ice on his knee, pain in his eyes in the cold October night...he wouldn't leave his team.

Turns out he had a torn ACL, MCL, meniscus and broken leg.  His season was ended.  Surgery followed along with a long 6 month rehab. I'm not really writing this to talk about his injury as much as I am writing to talk about what I learned from my 17 year old son. Perseverance.

He had his bad days, like the day his crutches flew across the room.  Overall, I have never seen an individual as focused on getting better and ultimately being stronger both physically and mentally.  He had a goal to play college football.  This injury was at the end of his junior year football season.  He had to miss basketball and track. He worked diligently to come back from this injury with a focus that wasn't going to be compromised.

Days of pain and not being able to do as much as he wanted were followed by days of success and going a little further.  Not only did he do his prescribed therapy, he changed his diet telling us that if he wanted his body to heal, he needed to feed it right.  How many kids have a fruit platter for their birthday! He got a bike and rode it seven miles to school because bike riding was good therapy.  The thing I learned from him is that no matter how bad it is, it can get better.  He pretty much had all the damage possible in his knee, but instead of giving up and throwing away his dreams, he knew he was going to be better.  This was a big bump in the road. 

His perseverance paid off...six months after his injury, he took college workout visits, and he attended football camp with his high school team and played his senior season.  He has gone on to play at the college level and will start his junior year and season in the fall.

If I could have taken that hurt from him that night, I would have in an instant.  The experience proved to him he can get through anything and taught me a lot about him.  Perseverance can get you where you want to be.

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."

Friday, May 6, 2011


Who doesn't like pizza?  Each time I have pizza, it brings back some fun memories...

One of the jobs I had while in college was a pizza delivery driver for Rico's Pizza.  It ended up being a good job, but my first day I wasn't so sure. I arrived to work and was ready to go.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  This was a very busy pizza place that made a lot of deliveries.  Keep in mind this was 30 years ago.  No cell phones, no GPS...I was on my own in a big college town. 

Rico's delivered large party pizzas.  I was able to drive my own car, which was a Honda CRX 2-seater.  A party pizza barely fit in the back, that is how big the pizza was, I think 3' x 3'.  Wouldn't you know, my first delivery was one of those large pizzas and a couple of others.  I was waiting for the last pizzas, when the boss walked in and said, "who put this pizza on it's side?" I looked over, he was talking about the large party pizza inside of the insulated case, stood up on it's side leaning against the table.  Oops.....I was the one that did that...I guess I never thought about the pizza sliding! Wow, I thought I was going to lose my job on the first night.  I was pretty disappointed in myself, afterall how hard could pizza delivery be?

Quickly one of the other drivers said he did it...I really didn't know what to do, it was my first night!  The boss left, I thanked the other employee, he said "no big deal, we get to eat that pizza now.  It happens all of the time." I never did that again.

The time came to figure out where I was going.  This was accomplished by looking at a large city map on the wall.  I had to find the address and basically remember how to get there before the pizza got cold.  If I got lost, I didn't have the luxury of using a cell phone to call someone.  I got so nervous every time I had to deliver a pizza.  I did get lost several times. Eventually I learned my way around. 

I did get paid pretty well.  I made minimum wage, plus $2 for every pizza I took out to cover gas, plus tips.  Some nights I would come home with $40 cash in gas money and tips. Fortunately, I delivered to a lot of families which actually tipped, unlike to college kids.  There was one time I had to deliver seven party pizzas to a fraternity house... you guessed, no tip!

I wouldn't say I would want to do that job again.  At least I didn't have to put a sign on top of my car. I made money to pay my bills and ate a lot of pizza. It worked out well since my roommate worked at Taco Bell, we survived on Italian and Mexican food in college! My days as a pizza delivery girl are some of those fun memories to refelect on and chalk up to life's learning experiences.  Not a time goes by when I am eating a slice of pizza that I don't think about that job...especially wondering why I thought it was okay to set a pizza of it's side!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Tale of the Bale

Photo By Kathi Corder Photography

I started as a seed so firmly planted in the ground.  Drilled, harrowed and rolled...round and round and round. I sat in the soil for what seemed to be ages, through cold, frost, snow and rain...all the winter's stages.

None too soon, springtime came and with it buckets and buckets of never ending rain.  With a glimpse of sunshine, a little here and little there...I finally began to sprout, oh the fresh air!

Deep in the soil, hadn't proven to be too much fun, what I had dreamt of all winter was just a little sun. When up I sprouted and finally began to grow, I worked very quickly filling each levee and row.

Days went by and the warmer it was, the farmers started to spray me...just because?  There was a reason, so I'm told, the final goal was to get me sold.  In order to achieve that premium hay, I guess spraying for weeds was the only way.

Sprinkled and flooded, harrowed and sprayed, my young life was well on it's way.  As I grew and matured to a tall grass so fine, I knew my days were numbered so I better watch my behind!

As my brilliant green stems began to head out, I knew the time had come without a doubt. Swathers, rakes, balers and more, they all sent a reminder of what was in store. 

I heard the tales of long ago, of my ancestors demise - long and slow.  A full season of tender loving care, only to become a bale for some filly's lair.

First came the swather all bright yellow and red, it chopped me down to lie on my final resting bed.  In a few days I was dry enough for the rake, it turned me over, ready for the baler to take. Early the next morning from out of the blue, here came the baler - for it was the perfect dew. 

After what seemed like what would never end, I was a bale - not alone - but with 3000 friends.   Into a block we then were stacked. Ready to be squeezed and load, right on track.  Looking back I would have to say, though my life was short it was worth every day.

After all, I went from a seed...to $200 a ton hay!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Don't Look Back

We have a cattle and hay ranch.  Cutting hay is a big part of the farming season.  My husband is a hay cutting perfectionist.  His rows are arrow straight.  Mine, not always..

When I first started cutting hay, I thought "How hard can this be? Drive the swather straight, turn at the end, go back and forth...no big deal!" I was wrong.  One of my first experiences, left the evidence of my handy work right along the driveway where everyone could see.  Why couldn't my first assignment been a field at the back of the, hidden from the eye? I didn't go straight.  Not even close.  Husband's instructions were to start the row and look clear to the other end and pick out a focus point.  Keep your eye on that focus point and drive.  For my first row, I picked out a tree.  Problem is there was more than one tree at the other end! Once you mess up your first row, it's hard to get straight.  What's the big deal...nothing really until you get to the levee and end up crossing it on an angle.

I learned that the steering on a swather (hay cutting machine) is nothing like a car.  The small back wheels turn and direct the machine.  The steering is very touchy.  You cant't cough, sneeze or get a drink of water and slightly move the steeriing wheel without making snake row.  When you get to the end of the row you have to lift up the header, turn, then put it back down.  That first hay cutting exposition, I kept lifting the header too soon and leaving little strips at the end.  Husband hadn't seen that yet, so I went to the house, got the weedeater and was preparing to cut those strips down. I got caught..."Why are you doing that?" He asked." I think he realized I was trying to leave perfect rows like his, but it was going to take more than a weedeater.

After a few more fields, I eventually got better.  I have a crooked row every now and then.  We really should have taken a picture of that first field.  What made it get better?  Well, practice of course.  Really, what helped the most was what husband told me...

"When you are cutting, Don't Look Back!  The more you turn around and look back, the more you mess up and the more crooked your row gets.  Keep focused on what is ahead and work to get straightened out.  What is behind you will be raked and baled up in a few days and it will be hauled off of the field forever.  You can't change what is behind you."  Hmmm....seems like that lesson applies everywhere in life.

                   The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.  ~L. Thomas Holdcroft

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Live Life!

Notice the picture...it doesn't look like these girls were actually planning on going swimming.  Fully clothed, they decided it looked like fun and jumped on in!  There was no plan, but it turned into a fun plan.  Just livin' life to the fullest.

I woke up yesterday with a plan in mind for my day.  I usually try to "pencil" out my week.  There are certain things I "have" to do, certain things I "want" to do and other things that make the list "just in case".  I completely strayed from my plan and didn't get one thing accomplished on my Monday list.  It was a great day!

Live Life...seize the moment.  I ended up taking a ride with my husband to go pick up some parts for the equipment. When he first asked if I wanted to go, I thought, "no, I have a lot of things I want to get done today."  On second thought, "Sure, let me go get ready."  We were soon on the road. Days like this need to come more often.

We were able to spend the day catching up, talking about anything that came to mind and most importantly just spending time together.  This trip happened to be to Klamath Falls, Oregon.  What made our conversations even more fun was reliving the many trips we took with the kids to Klamath Falls. That is when our spontaneous road trips actually began.  Things would come to a halt on the ranch for various reasons, we would load up the kids and go to Klamath.  Usually we would stay at a hotel with a pool and just hang out and have fun.  Country kids go to the city!  These trips were never planned, reservations weren't made, we just went.  Those were the most memorable trips...that is a whole different story.

The road trip today was completely spontaneous.  There were no real exciting plans, just a drive.  It went too fast, and was a very successful day.  We made plans, talked about schedules, kids, solved the worlds problems and much more!  When I got home, I thought about how my day would have gone had I chosen to stay home.  My husband would have had a lonely trip by himself and I would have missed out on some good quality time.

Today wasn't a planned day...sometimes you just need to jump in the water with your clothes on. My day was a pure definition of how to Live Life

                               “You may delay, but time will not.” -Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hidden Beauty

I was preparing to burn a large pile of sticks and branches that had accumulated over the fall and winter.  I really wanted to get it done before burn permits were required.  I drug my hose over, had my rakes and matches and was just about to light this large pile on fire....

From somewhere within the middle of the pile, out flew a female mallard.  I better check this out...just as I thought...burrowed within the sticks and garden debris was a nest with seven eggs. My plans for burning that pile changed.

I was frustrated at first, I had my list of things I wanted to get done in the yard, this pile is not very attractive and it really needs to be dealt with.  I wouldn't be burning this pile for a while. So, rake and matches in hand, I moved on to another area.  As I worked, I kept thinking about this other pile and the nest of eggs. How many times do I just plow through my tasks and neglect to see the beauty of life in different situations.  If something doesn't look good to me, I want to fix it right now.  How much do I miss?

The other day a photographer wanted to come over to take some pictures of a young lady and use some spots on the ranch as background.  We agreed, but I was thinking...it is kind of a mess around here, I haven't got my winter clean up done, etc. etc.  The photographer saw things from a different perspective.  I saw the pictures she took and they were beautiful...she had a way of taking something that looked old and junky and broken in my eyes and brought it to life with her eyes. She found hidden beauty in things that weren't very attractive to many on the surface.

The same with the pile of sticks and brush.  It may not look attractive at first glance, but hidden within that pile, something beautiful is happening...new life.  Out of that pile will come little ducklings...perfect little creations.  I think I can deal with the pile for a while!

"For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mushroom Mug

This isn't just any mug...It's a priceless, beautiful, very old mushroom mug! I don't even use it anymore.  It has a special place on a shelf in my kitchen.  My nana Alice gave this to me.  It was my favorite mug as a child to drink hot chocolate out of when I was at her house.  So really it is a mug of memories....

Memories of going to Nana Alice and Bopa Bill's house after church every Sunday, having hamburgers and ice cream sandwiches.

Memories of putting on nana's high heel shoes after church every Sunday! 

Memories of sitting in my nana's spare bedroom looking through her jewelry drawer every time I was there. 

Memories of smelling nana's homemade cinnamon bread and getting to have the first warm slice.

Memories of her really cool bottle brush tree in the back yard.

Memories of nana letting me move her blue rotary phone out of the bedroom into the tv room so I could call my cousin while watching cartoons.

Memories of my grandpa giving me a quarter to change the channel from my show so he could watch the 49ers play.

Memories of  my grandpa playing endless games of "Go Fish" with me and teaching me how to play solitaire.

Memories of sitting on the front porch eating peanut butter and crackers and having my own full glass bottle of coca-cola.

Memories of nana decorating our choice of cake for our birthdays.  I had some really cool doll cakes.

Memories of the NBC Peacock and that NBC sound...that was the channel they watched every night.

Memories of my grandpa bringing me home colored telephone wire so I could make bracelets.

So you see, my mushroom mug wasn't only to drink hot chocolate or coffee with LOTS of sugar...I look at that mug and a flood of simple childhood memories with my grandparents come back.  My grandpa passed away when I was 16, I am blessed to have my nana in my life still.  I will forever cherish these memories, nana will never know how much it meant that she gave me that mushroom mug!

               Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.  ~Oscar Wilde


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