Thursday, June 30, 2011

Diary of a City Mom - Part 5 - "Does This Sum Things Up?"

This picture summarizes more than I can possibly say!  Imagine if my girls feel that way...I am NOT tired, I am NOT tired, I am NOT tired.  I work hard to convince myself.

Things are getting pretty exciting at California Girls State.  City and County governments are elected and the race for governor is on.  Potential candidates filed papers, got signatures and began the campaign process.  Elections are today! 

I have heard some amazing speeches and better platforms than our real government...unfortunately, I have to go.  It is time for another session. (We don't much down time or sleep!)  I will get back to regular posts soon :)  And I do plan on giving you a little history of this amazing program,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Diary of a City Mom - Part 4 - "Hollywood?"

Am in Hollywood?  No.... but I am the "City Mom" for the Marshall Movie Stars! We are the City of Marshall in the County of Bidwell in the California Girls State of California.

We have 31 citizens, two counselors and a "City Mom". We are Marshall!  This is our city...our city of stars!

Yesterday was a fun day as the citizens continued to build their state.  We now have city government, and just voted for county government after a day of filing, campaigning and speeches.  There are parties established, Whig and Tory, and platforms and legislation is being discussed.

Today is the big day...filing for state office.

This process at Girls State takes the delegates through the process of true government.  They come with their own legislation and are ready to fight passionately for what they believe.  It is an amazing process to watch.  My city of Marshall has elected some great officials and more are ready to campaign.

As for me, what do I do...just be a mom.  I have 31 girls calling me Mama Val.  I provide snacks, encouragement and bed checks.  I listen to speeches, learn about these great young ladies and where they are from and don't get much sleep.  

Am I glad I am here? Definitely...I will catch up on my sleep later :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Diary of a City Mom - Part 3 - "Do You Like My Hat?"

High fashion in Hollywood? No, just fashion at Girls State in Claremont!  As a "City Mom"  I was presented with this lovely oversized version of my girl's hats.  It is tradition that all of the city moms get their hats presented at dinner in front of  all 500 girls...there were some things I definitely didn't know before coming here :)

On a serious note, it is great!  Aside from being very tired, I am holding up well. The days are packed FULL!  This is an amazing program for young ladies to develop leadership, learn about government and make a lot of friends.

I love my "city" girls.  They are diverse and unique and a lot of fun with endless energy.  My daughter is here, but in a different "city"  I don't even see here and since they are strict with cell phone rules, I don't really get to talk to her.  I hear from her "city mom" Jane, she is doing just fine.

So, off to another session...I wonder what surprise I will get tonight?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Diary of a "City Mom" Day 2....Is Sleep on the Schedule?

Sleep? What is that?  I feel like I am in college again!  This is my dorm room where I am staying for the next week.  As a city mom it sis my job to stay up until everyone goes to sleep...then be up again at 6:00 am...Kind of like college, staying up late, but it doesn't include the sleeping in part.

The actual first day of the conference was great...very busy.  They don't give us a minute to spare.  Today's schedule is even fuller!  

In my city group I found out what a small world it is  I have two girls from small towns that Fall River sometimes plays in sports.  They knew where Fall River is!  One girl is from Maxwell and is their catcher on their softball team and knows my daughter! 

Speaking of my daughter, I don't see her here at all!  I am imagining she is having a great time.  This is a very interesting experience and I wish I could share more...but I have to get the girls to breakfast now :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Diary of a City Mom - Day 1

Day One was travel day on my way to be a "City Mom"  So far I haven't got that city thing going.  A few interesting thoughts and experiences from the day deserve mention!

-First of all, what is wrong with people?  Can't they tell you are trying to move over if they would just give you a chance. When they slink by you on the right and snake back it before you even have a chance to pull over..Patience!

-Cindy, if you are reading...I used cruise control...I know I became a conformist, but I had to, otherwise I would have been going 80 mph like the rest of the traffic and I would have been the one to get a ticket!  I called and told my husband, I think he was at a loss for words...I don't like cruise control.  I like to be in control!

-I found out just how much stuff you can fit in the trunk of a Chevy Malibu.  Four females bring a lot of stuff, four suitcases, and more! If there would have been one more pair of shoes, it would not have closed!

-I stopped along the way and bought a California road map.  I have OnStar and the Garmin, but I really wanted to look at a real map.  My daughter was fascinated. She had the map open and couldn't believe how far it is from Fall River Mills to Los Angeles.  I think the map kept her occupied for at least 15 minutes!  I tried to explain how we used to always have to go by a map, we had no navigation systems!

-How many bikes can you strap on a Ford Explorer?...try six and a ladder.   The guy didn't use cruise control he passed and re-passed me for hours!

-Did you know there is a town in California called "Buttonwillow?"  There is, we stayed the night there...probably won't again!  We did get a good night's sleep though despite the room with a broken air conditioner!

We have already made memories! Today is the big day, the start of the conference. I will keep you posted!
This country mom is now a city mom, at least for the next week!

Why not go out on a limb?  Isn't that where the fruit is?  ~Frank Scully

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Could Use a Prayer...

I am leaving this morning for a long drive....I get the privilege of driving delegates to Girls State in Claremont, California...almost an 11 hour drive from home.  It is a long trip and I am not much for traffic.

I would appreciate your prayers while I travel....While I am there I plan on continuing my blog with the "Diary of a City Mom."

That is what I will be when I am there, a "City Mom".  I will be watching over the 24-36 girls in my city.  I am a newbie, so I really don't know exactly what I will be doing.  I am sure it will be fun and a great experience.  The name "City Mom"  kind of makes me laugh, since I am actually a "Country Mom!"

So my posts will tell about my adventures...the travel to the Los Angeles area, the Girls State event and the stories along the way....If you will pray for me, I would appreciate it... I will keep you posted! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Living on the Edge!

It almost happened…my dad drove in the driveway, came around the corner and parked. Did you smash it? What? Did you SMASH it?  He didn’t even see it, and thankfully he didn’t smash it.

Little Miss Killdeer decided to build her nest and lay her eggs right in our driveway, right where my husband parks.  Mind you, this is a BUSY place.  We are ranchers.  There are tractors, pickups, hay equipment and cattle dogs running all though this front driveway every day.  She is “Pushing the Envelope!” I have no idea WHY our dogs have decided to leave her alone.  She also seems to being going it alone.  The usual male faking an injury is nowhere to be found.

I have to wonder why these cute little birds choose to put their nest in a terrible spot.  Every year we are trying our best to avoid these nests.  I even made my husband go out and put a flag by her so no one would run her over.  She really blends in and is hard to see!

This little bird is up against all odds and she sits there brave as can be.  She didn’t look real happy when I was taking here picture, but she stood her ground and protected her eggs as I inched forward for a photo.  She knows her job and will not be intimidated by big tractors, dogs or the people that walk by her many times in a day.

I hope she makes it.  I can’t wait to see her babies.  She has provided a great lesson…sometimes we can “Push the Envelope” and live on the edge a bit, but we have to remain brave and strong and stay dedicated to the task at hand, no matter the circumstances!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Appreciating Where We Are From!

If you ever think you don't like living in a small town...go to the city for a day or two. The traffic alone makes me want to get back home.

I had to go to Redding the other day and it was very crowded!  I paid attention to how much time I spent at stoplights and how busy the traffic was.  I am taking a trip in a few days...driving to Los Angeles...I am nervous! I am not much of a traffic person.

We are very lucky here to live in a place where it is quiet, not crowded and we have no stop lights! I can remember when the stop lights were being put in!  That was a huge change. 

I appreciate driving to town and seeing the surrounding beauty, being able to wave at everyone going down the road and getting to town and being able to find a parking place.  The big towns have their perks...but I  wouldn't trade my small town for it any day!  

If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area...enjoy!  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When I Works....Lessons from Grandpa

This is me lately...too much thinking is making me tired.  Does our brain get the summer off? Oh how I wish! 

My grandpa has had this plaque in his office as far back as I can remember.  I have always thought it was funny!  The ironic part is that my grandpa has never done anything without 100% effort and seldom does he fall asleep unless the task is done!

I saw this plaque still hanging in his small home office.  It brought back some pretty great memories!

As a child my grandpa would let me pretend to be a secretary in his office.  He was an electrical contractor and had a big office.  (At least when I was small it looked pretty big to me then!) I would get to answer the phone occasionally (when I was older), "Good afternoon, Modern Electric!"  I felt so important.  I would usually sit at my nana's desk and type on the old manual typewriter.  I would type anything, copy papers that were on the desk, memos to grandpa, anything to "look" busy.  Occasionally I got to sit at grandpa's BIG desk!

I think back on those times and I am full of great memories.  My grandpa let me do things and feel important. I truly believe that has helped me my whole life through. Because of grandpa...I believe "I Works" pretty hard!

         Always give a hundred percent, and you'll never have to second-guess yourself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Precious Time

Each day revolves around time...time to get up, time to be to work, time to be at an appointment.  It always seems we are chasing time....and it gets away from us!

I don't know where the time goes.  We are almost to the end of June and it was just the other day the kids were getting out of school.  My daughter will be a senior and just the other day she was going to school for the first time.

So much of life revolves around the clock, it almost seems like that is why it goes too fast. We fill each minute of the day and then the days seem to run together. Time seems to get filled.

I really enjoy a day when I don't have to worry about being anywhere at any certain time.  I love our summer camping trip when I take off my watch and it doesn't matter what time it is.  We go with the day, enjoy the things as they come.  It is those days that seem to last and be filled with things to remember. 

Try to take a day or two every once in a while to just let things happen as they will.  Don't worry about the time...just enjoy the day!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Can You Live Without Your Phone?

Completely accessible all of the time.  Phones with us every minute of the day.  How did we ever get by any other way? Sometimes I would like to go back to those days...

Remember when the only phone in the house was the one hanging on the kitchen wall.  It wasn't cordless.  It had a long stretchy cord, but you were still limited on how far you could get from everyone's range of hearing.  That's how it was when I was in high school.  My whole family could listen to every conversation I was having. When I went to college, we still didn't have cordless phones and had no answering machine either.  It was just luck if my parents could get a hold of me at my apartment.

Now, we have several phones in our house, all cordless and an answering machine with caller ID.  Now we can even see who is calling before we answer!  Beyond this, we have cell phones!  Everyone has cell phones!  My kids got theirs in junior high. 

I got my first cell phone at 35 years old. In those 9 years, my cell phone has changed immensely. We shared our first phone and it was rather large.  We thought of it as "just for emergencies".  Soon, my husband and I both had phones.    My phone has progressed from a simple analog phone with "Baby Elephant Walk" for my ring tone to my current I Phone.

I always said I didn't need an I Phone, I thought they were kind of over the top, but I must admit now that I have one, I really do like it.  My calendar is in there, I can check my email and I have some great Apps.  I have my Bible reading App, a walking App, a recipe App, and many more "productivity" Apps.  It is hard to be without my phone.  

I will say though, that we managed for all of those years and we probably could today.  I am not sure that being accessible all of the time is such a good thing.  I do like being ale to get a hold of my kids. Maybe we should have a national "Put Your Cell Phone Away" day?  Just a thought!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Super Dad!

How do I even begin to say what a dad means?  I am blessed with a loving dad who has been very supportive of me my whole life.  My dad has taught me many things.  I know how to work because of my dad.  When we were young, he had us do things that I know would have been just as easy for him to do himself.  he wanted us to learn how to be responsible and work.

I am very thankful for the relationship I have with my dad.  That has shown me how important it is for our children to have a good relationship with their dad.  My husband is an amazing dad.  He is there for the kids in every way.  He coaches their teams, attends their events, communicates with them everyday and a day doesn't go by that he doesn't hug them and tell them he loves them.

The Super Dad is many things...he's a coach, a judge, a counselor, a boss, a teacher, a provider a shoulder to cry on and the one who leads the family.  He is also a plumber, an electrician, a bug squasher, a gardener, a BBQer, a fishing pole baiter, a handyman and more. He is the one that can fix ANYTHING!

Dad is ...

D   oing 
A   nything 
D   iligently

He does it all simply because he is dad and he loves his family.  Happy Father's Day to all of you wonderful dads out there!  

A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,scolds you when you break the rules,shines with pride when you                succeed,and has faith in you even when you fail... 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Simply Beautiful

How many times have I drive by the Pit One Vista point?  Too many to count.  The other day I was on my way by and for some reason decided to stop.  It was Simply Beautiful.  I have talked about this before in my blogs...recognizing the beauty around us.  I am not very good at taking my own advice.

So that day, I decided to take in the surroundings.  The camera was in the car, so I took pictures along the way.

This sunset view of Mt. Shasta as I turned on to Island Rd. was Simply Beautiful!  The sky seemed to glow behind the mountain. 

This was a place I had never been too before, the Lions Park at Pit One...Simply Beautiful.

Another view I pass up all of the time...the view off of Big Valley Mountain...Simply Beautiful.

I even took the time to recognize the Simple Beauty of the clouds...

We are so lucky to live in this beautiful place! Enjoy your summer and the beauty around you...wherever you live.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It has Eggs, Milk and Flour...

Do any of you remember the Bill Cosby "Dad is great, gives us the chocolate cake...?" Every time I eat a piece of chocolate cake that jingle comes to mind.  In his comic routine, Cosby talks about how he gives the kids chocolate cake for breakfast.  He justifies it by saying it has eggs, milk and flour in it!  He proceeds to sing the "Dad is Great" song. This is one of my all time favorites from Bill Cosby.  If you haven't seen it, I am attaching a link below.  Here's a piece (not of cake!) to get your curiosity up...In tribute to dads as Father's Day approaches, how about a piece of Chocolate Cake (for breakfast!)

 "Can I have the chocolate cake?" And I said, "Chocolate cake, where?" She said, "Chocolate cake behind you." And I looked... and there was chocolate cake! The child wanted chocolate cake for breakfast! How ridiculous! And I said... and someone in my brain looked under chocolate cake and saw the ingredients: eggs! Eggs are in chocolate cake! And milk! Oh goody! And wheat! That's nutrition! "What do you want?" "Can I have some chocolate cake?" "Chocolate cake coming up."

"Now, you need something to drink with the chocolate cake, something breakfast... grapefruit juice!"  So I give the child a glass of grapefruit juice and chocolate cake --- nutrition. Eggs, milk, and wheat in the chocolate cake. And... I didn't have to cook. 

Then the other four came downstairs. And when they came downstairs...They saw the four-year-old eating chocolate cake. And they said, "Dad! Where did she get the chocolate cake?" And they went to the child and said, "How did you get chocolate cake?" She said, "Dad give me chocolate cake!" And they looked at me and said, "Father... could we have chocolate cake?" And their father said, "Chocolate cake coming up!!"  

Five children sat at breakfast and the morning music was playing  and they were eating chocolate cake and singing songs to me: "Dad is great! Give us the chocolate cake!" And we had a ball until... she came down... When she saw what the children were eating... 

I've always heard about people having a conniption, but I've never seen one. You don't want to see 'em! My wife's face... split! The skin and hair split and came off of her face so that there was nothing except the skull! And orange light came out of her hair and it lit all around! And fire shot from her eye sockets and began to burn my stomach! And she said, "Where did they get chocolate cake from?!?" And I said, "They asked for it!!" And the children, who had been singing praises to me, lied on me, and said, "Uh-uhh!! We asked for eggs and milk, and Dad made us eat this!!!" 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Can You Learn in One Day?

I am no longer a student in school.  I don't have homework or tests.  I do continue to learn though.  Everyday I learn more.  Yesterday I had a very full day.  When I got home last night I reflected on my day and thought about all of the things I learned in the day.

First thing in the morning, I tackled my morning routine of writing, laundry, dishes and breakfast. I learned and realized I am very blessed to have such a wonderful family to take care of. Looking back on those routine tasks, I thought, too often I don't recognize my blessings and look at these things from a positive perspective.

Next, I went to town to do an interview for a newspaper article.  I learned and realized how many volunteers we have in our community.  I knew this, but was reminded how fortunate we are to have so many people that give their time. 

I followed this interview with taking some photos for a story.  I learned and realized we have exceptional beauty in our community.  I went to a place I had never been and I have lived here since I was a teenager. I was reminded that I need to take the time to look around and appreciate the things around me every day. 

I had I to go pick up some things at the local hardware store.  There, I learned and realized we have a business community that cares.  They do their best to provide the services and items we need.  They contribute endlessly and we are lucky to have them. 

A lunchtime meeting showed me the value of people working together to help a common cause.  At the meeting I really did learn.  I learned about investments and financial strategies.  I also saw a committed group of people working hard to raise funds for our local school district. 

An evening meeting examined how we work to protect our resources.  I learned that we have valuable natural resources in our community.  We need to work to protect those.  

My day was capped off with a final meeting.  I learned we have dedicated individuals working with our students.  I learned a second chance is a good thing.  I learned we need to be willing to get involved. I learned I am very lucky to live in the community I live.

Take a look around, examine your day.  What did you learn today?

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I just looked at this little plaque the other day.  It has been hanging in our laundry room for years.  A good friend gave it to me as a joke.  You see, my husband doesn't like Wal-Mart, but I shop there sometimes.

When Wal-Mart first went into Redding, we were there one day with our friends Denny and Tammy.  One of the lights was out on the "W" and the store seemed to be named "Val-Mart".  Everyone in the car thought that was pretty funny, since at the time, I was excited that the store was going in.

I have spent too much time in Wal-Marts and honestly I don't really enjoy the chaos in the store either.  When we go to Redding, my husband usually gets a magazine and sits in the car to wait for me. There are just a few things I am in the habit of getting there.

I have figured it out, before I go in, I take a deep breath and make sure my attitude is very positive.  I am friendly to everyone and it is amazing how much easier it makes it.  I have a list and know what I need.  

The thing that is too's not Val-Mart...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Finished!

You are invited!  I have always wanted to build a website and I am finally done! Blue Skies 4 You is meant to be a site to visit to bring some sunshine to you day.  I wanted to take the time to invite all of you who have been so nice to read my blog to take a peek.  It is up and viewable, but still under construction. I am hoping for ideas and suggestions and a little proof-reading!

What you will find:
    -Links to my blog
    -Link to my Good Blogs posts
    -Links to local organizations, photographers and more
    -Links to food, recipes, crafts, gardening tips, school help, and more
    -Back at the Ranch
    -All Good News
    -Crafts, Food, Garden
    -Much more!
    -Submit photos, artwork, articles
    -Nominate student/athlete for recognition

The site's beginning is about my community, but will be expanded as I receive information, pictures, etc. from others all over.  I encourage contact from people who have moved away, relatives, and anyone who visits my site.

I am very excited and hope you enjoy Blue Skies 4 You.  You can easily read this blog from the website as well as my other postings on Good Blogs. I look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No...A Bigger Yes

How many times have you really wanted something.  You have your plans all laid out.  You know every detail and you are planning all of your next moves based on things turning out according to your plan. You wait patiently and.....nothing goes the way you planned.  You just received a big NO, instead of the YES you wanted. How could this happen?  The thing is, sometimes a NO can be because there is a bigger YES somewhere down the line.

So often, we believe we have everything all figured out.  We experience great disappointment when we don't get what we want.  Think about a time when something didn't happen the way you planned.  Think a little further ahead.  Was there something better down the road? It has happened to me, many times. Looking back I can see it, but in the moment I thought I was really being cheated out of something.

There was the song years ago about unanswered prayers.  Those prayers were not really unanswered, in a sense they were answered by not getting what we asked for, because there was a better answer.  The NO was because there was a bigger YES.

The next time you are disappointed because things don't go your way, try to take a step back and realize maybe it just wasn't meant to be.  Then keep your eyes open for what is planned for you.

Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Catchin' Some Zzzzzz's

Sleepy!  The only word I can think of to describe how I feel right now.  A long couple of weeks and a lot of activities going on have left me feeling pretty tired.  As tired as I am, I have no room to complain, I didn't stay up all night for the Sober Grad Night parties this last weekend.

So how do they do it?  How can a teeanager stay up all night, get a few hours of sleep and start all over again?  If I don't get my 8-10 hours of sleep, I admit, I can be a little grouchy.  Teenagers on the other hand can go on very little sleep, especially if there is fun involved.

This got me thinking about the changes in sleep cycles...

When we first have our children, things in the sleep department change a lot.  We may have been used to getting plenty of sleep.  We would wake up when we chose to and were able to choose our bedtime.  Then along comes the baby and our sleep schedule is no longer ours.  Babies don't tend to sleep a lot, at least not at night when we want them to.  They sleep a lot during the day, when we are busy doing other things. Babies wake up during the night and very early in the morning.  One of my children hardly slept for her first 2 years.

The kids got a little older and were able to establish bedtimes, that wasn't always an easy thing.  There were the many trips back and forth to the bedroom ans they needed a drink of water, got scared or wanted another story.  At least now, adult bedtime could be more regular and we could sleep through the night.  An early wake up time was still a part of the equation.

Teenagers...another story completely.  We go to bed before them and wake up before them.  We now have to wake them up in the morning and drag them out of bed. Christmas morning we know find ourselves making as much noise as possible to get them to wake up.  Wasn't it just yesterday they were jumping on our bed and waking us up at 5:00 am on Christmas morning.

I am guessing we will never have our sleep schedules in sync with our for now, I am thinking I will pretend to be a toddler and go take a nap!

"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one." -Leo J. Burke

Saturday, June 11, 2011


The weather is getting warm, it's time for bugs and bees. I don't think I know one person that doesn't run from a bee.  Such a small little thing can cause such great fear in us.  Let me give you a couple of examples why...

One afternoon we were working cattle and I was helping put the cattle into the corral.  They were all moving pretty good until my husband jumped out of the gate and let them by. "What is he doing?" I thought?  "He is letting them all get by."  I ran over, jumped in the gate opening and soon knew why he moved.  There was a large hornets nest in the dirt by the gatepost.  It took only a few seconds for me to feel like Winnie the Pooh with a hive of hornets swarming my head.  I ran, hoping to find a water trough to jump in.  They were tangled in my hair.  By this time the cattle were scattered and my husband ran over to help me.  The only way he could get th hornets out of my hair wa to swat the bees with his hat.

To say this was a trauma was an understatement.  I ended up having to go to the emergency room to get a shot.  Luckily I was only stung on my head and a few on my neck...about 40 times.  I can laugh about it now, thinking I must have looked like a cartoon with bees swarming my head!

Another time my husband was riding down the road on his four-wheeler, singing as usual.  Don't drive down the road with your mouth open...a bee flew in his mouth and stung him on the tongue.  Another trip to the emergency room because his tongue started to swell. 

I think we are all justified in respecting those little creatures.  I appreciate the work they do in the yard and the honey they make.  I just know to "bee" very careful around them and have learned to keep my mouth closed when riding down the road and if my husband decides to let the cattle go by, so will I!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ode to Axee

I will probably get in trouble for this one...but I can't resist...

I very clearly remember the day my 10 pound nephew was born. I get to be an aunt!  My son would have a cousin to play with!  I could only imagine all of the fun to come. Fun doesn't begin to describe what my nephew and my son had as youngsters...more like mischief! They were adorable, that's for sure.  We soon learned we needed to keep a pretty close eye on them.

"Axee", as he called himself when he was little, thought it was pretty fun to do whatever big cousin told him to do.  Axee was no slacker himself and came up wit a lot of "fun" ideas.  Between the two of them there was never a dull moment. Like the time we were in Lodi visiting great-grandparents and the boys decided to have an "Orange Sale".  They walked the block shouting, "Oranges, oranges for sale!"  Problem was they took all the oranges off of the neighbors tree.  Or the time they thought my house needed to be painted, with a can of fluorescent paint!  There were ninja battles, tree fort meetings, camping trips and weekend visits.  The one thing we were all trained for...when it got quiet, we better find the boys!  They also had this very distinctive laugh that we only heard when "something" was up.

I was sad the day my sister told me they were moving.  I wouldn't get to see them near as often.  Turns out, it may have been a good thing, the boys weren't in high school together!  (I really would have rather them stayed!)

Well, those days are gone, but the memories are there.  They have grown into wonderful young men.  Axee, Alex, is graduating from high school tonight.  I don't know where the time has gone.  I just wanted to say, "I am very proud of you Alex, you are an amazing person.  You have worked hard and you are being rewarded with a great opportunity. We know you will succeed in whatever you do.  We love you very much and look forward to watching you in your future! We will always cherish the memories of you all growing up.  Congratulations!"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Congrats Class of 2011

I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.  ~Author Unknown

Where does the time go?  It seems that is was just a few months ago that we were watching the Class of 2010...It is a blessing and at the same time a hard thing to live in a small town and watch these students grow up.  In our community we know most kids before they even begin school.  We have the privilege of watching them grow up.  We get to be involved in their lives, support their activities, serve as an extra set of parents and be a part of their successes and failures.

I am proud to say I live in a community that has this closeness.  I often joke that graduation time has a budget as big as Christmas because we know some many graduates.  We have a lot to be proud of in this community.  We have great students.  We have kids that go on to do great things.  The foundation they receive in our community is an important stepping stone in that process.

Growing up in a small town, sometimes kids wish they were in a bigger environment.   I know from talking to a lot of these students, they grow to appreciate what they have in a small town.  The joke is often that kids have many sets of parents watching out for them.  There are so many people that care.

Opportunity is a big part of our student’s successes.  We may not offer all of the things a large school does, but what is offered to our students is the chance to participate in many things.  We produce well-rounded students.  We don’t have one sport athletes; we have two or three sport athletes.  We have student’s participating in band, musical theatre, FFA, 4-H, Peer Mentoring, MESA, student government and more.  In addition, we are teaching our kids to give back.  Our students can be found volunteering at local fundraisers throughout the year.

Our students learn how to communicate and relate to adults through continuous community interaction.  Our students receive support from a large part of the community, as school events are a big part of the area’s social calendar.  Our students receive encouragement from people outside of their family.  Our students also learn what it means to come from a place where caring is essential.

We have seen students leave our community and do great things.  We see many of our students come back and become a part of our community again.  This is where they choose to raise their families. I can attest to these things.  I am a graduate of Big Valley High School, my husband of Fall River High School.  I thought I wanted to leave and never come back.  I appreciated my small school education and opportunities, but was ready to move on.  I was wrong.  It didn't take long to realize how great it was at home.  There is no other place I would have wanted to raise our children.

Class of 2011...we are proud of you!  You will do great things...follow your heart, chase your dreams and build on the great foundation you have!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where is My Notebook When I Need It?

I had someone ask me the other day how I come up with things to write about everyday.  Sometimes it's hard, but not for a lack of ideas.  There are days I sit down to write and my mind goes blank.  Yesterday I had a million ideas, where did they go?  Writing a blog everyday is a good discipline for me.  It is something I like to do and I have made it a part of my routine.

Where do my ideas come from?  Everywhere!  I was mowing the lawn today and thought of at least 20 new ideas.  When I got to the house, I could only remember about five.  Where is my notebook when I need it? I have a notebook on my desk, I guess I need one in my pocket!  The other night I woke up, bright eyed, with several ideas.  I stumbled around my room and found a pencil and scribbled the ideas on a piece of scratch paper.  Now, I have a notebook on my bed stand.

Ideas come from seeing things, hearing things and doing things.  One thing that has come from my writing is an improved sense of awareness.  I am always looking at things in a new and different way.  My blogs are helping me to be more aware of things that had gone unnoticed before. 

So if you wonder why I am writing about something, just realize I could have came up with the idea while pulling weeds or washing dishes. Nothing is safe from being listed in my notebook as an idea!  

I would encourage you all to start doing something you enjoy...whatever that thing is that you don't allow yourself time to do.  Carve out a little time, the rewards will bless you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Life's A Load of Wash....

I sat on the living room floor and stared a the beast.  It must have been six feet tall and ten feet wide!  This beast wasn't was unfolded!  Ughh...the never ending cycle of laundry.  Does it just surface from under the house?  I have come to the simple conclusion...Life's a load of wash and I'm stuck on spin cycle!

Now that our son is home from college, the beast is getting bigger.  Two or three loads a day, are you serious?  Towels, towels and more many showers are we taking in one day? Jeans...really dirty jeans..."ranch" type dirty! 

I am sure most of you can relate.  It's not just laundry, sometimes it just feels like we are spinning out of control.  Being pulled in a variety of different directions with a lot of responsibilities.You know when your washer gets off balance and it makes that awful noise? I think that happens to us too.  When I get things out of balance in my life...I know I can make some pretty awful noises!

Keeping a balance is the key to keep our lives from spinning out of control. We shouldn't put all of our whites, colors and jeans in the washer at the same don't try to throw everything into our days at the same time.  Sort things out and don't overload.  I know, easier said than done...but it's worth a try. 

P.S.  If you didn't read yesterday's blog, take a peek...I am working on a project I could use help with.  Thanks!  

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Need A Favor...

I am hoping to call in a few favors right now from those of you that follow my blog.  I am trying to start a fund to help students of our community...those that don't get to participate in activities, sports and other events because they can't come up with the funds.  I have bounced the idea off of a few people and we think we have a plan.  Along with funding, we want to collect cleats, athletic shoes and equipment.  We have found a couple other similar funds in other small communities to determine how to approach this project.

I am writing Blogs on a site called Good Blogs.  Blogs that are voted to the "Top Page" are paid $20.  I want to put that money toward this fund...if I ever get voted to the page.  I am posting a blog everyday, different from the one on this page.  It takes 20 votes to get to the page.

This is where you come in...  If you like reading my blogs, you can sign up on Good Blogs.  It is really easy, no fee, just your email address and a password. You only have to sign up once.  By doing this you can vote for blogs.  You can even write if you want. I am asking that if you can...make a routine each day :)

                        1. Go to and sign up
                        2. Sign in daily (please) and look for my Blogs under the "Upcoming" tab
                        3. If you like it, vote for it.
                        4. You get 10 votes per day and can only vote for each blog once.
                        5. Repeat daily to check out my newest blog

You can click on my name on the site and go back a review my previous blogs and vote for them too if you like them. My most recent Blog is "What I Would Do With My $20", you can use the search tab to find it.  This is the first blog that is close to 20 votes.  There are lots more, so search back and use your votes if you want.  You get to use 5 votes in the morning and 5 votes after noon.

I am sincerely hoping that you have the time and interest to do this.  If you get on the site and enjoy it, you can even start writing...maybe we can get a few people contributing to our fund :)

Thank you for your support!

P.S. The other thing we are thinking about is a place to store donated items...ideas are welcome too :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Who Are You...And What Did you Do With My Husband?

What did you say? You want to do what? Hmmmm...who are you?  What did you do with my husband?

We have been married 21 years and that has been something I have always wanted to do, but never have.  I didn't dare ask, I knew he would have zero interest in it. I guess we should always leave room for surprise!

Yesterday, husband asked me if I wanted to go to the McCloud Flea Market and Craft Fair...."I just thought we could drive up there, I heard it's pretty neat.  It would be a fun day." I think I had a strange look on my face and I didn't answer very fast.  Oops, I better get that "Yes" out quickly before my real husband resurfaces!  "Yes!  I'd love to."  So it's a date!

We talked about it a little more last night, I told him I have always wanted to go up there and it has never worked out.  I told him I never asked him because I didn't really think it was his "cup of tea".  He told me it's probably not, but it sounded like a fun thing to do.

So this morning we are off to do something I have wanted to do for 21 years...I think this is a good start to those hobbies we have decided we need to develop.  We have one more year of a child in the house, it's going to be time for us to start some new adventures...why not start in McCloud!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

They Think They're Just Fishin'

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’.....

Trace Atkins sings these words talking about a little girl.  I heard the song yesterday and couldn't help but think about the boys and the fishing day they were having.

Our great family friend invited my husband, son and father-in-law (grandpa) for a day of fishing at Eagle Lake.  Everyone was very excited about the trip.  Grandpa hadn't been fishing in a long time and seemed to be looking forward to the day.  My husband sent up one prayer..."I don't care if I never catch another fish, I just really want my dad to catch a great fish and have a fun day!"  Everyone was in grandpa's corner and hoping he would be the fisherman of the day.

The boys left at 4:00 am to make the 2 hour drive. I am told grandpa had his first fish on before I was probably even out of bed!  The day was a big success, everyone got their limit and in terms of fishing it ranked right at the top.

From another perspective, it was a lot more than fishing.  It's been a while since grandpa, son and grandson have done something like this together.  Everyone is busy with work and school. The stories they were telling summed it up, the memories that were made will be tucked away in their hearts and minds forever...and they thought they were just fishin'...

I guarantee the memory is a big one...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Things to Come

Awwwww...the sun is shining this morning, the birds are chirping, the sky is clear (mostly).  It is a beautiful day!  I woke up this morning thinking about a lot of my sister and many of my friends who have a senior graduating soon.  The freshness and newness of life outside this morning brought so many thoughts to mind in relation to those special people.

There are so many things to come...Just like the blossoms on the trees outside that will produce fruit later this year.  These kids are in full blossom and ready to take off and grow into who they are.  It is an exciting time. I know how it feels as a parent, I have been through it and will again next year.  It is hard to let go, but it is such a blessing to see your child ready to chase their dreams.

We don't raise our kids to want to forgo college and stay at home with us forever...we raise them to have a dream and to follow it.  To blossom, to grow where they are planted, to be excited about things to come

To my friends that will watch that senior assembly at our high school today...cherish this special time.  You have amazing children who have blossomed into truly amazing young adults.  Be proud and look forward to the many things to come! 

To my have raised an amazing young man!  I am so proud of him and so happy he is getting this opportunity to chase his dreams.  As hard as it will cherish each step as you have for the last 18 will be amazed and thrilled at the awesome things to come!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, June 2, 2011

This is Emmanuel

This picture is on my desk and I see it every morning. This is Emmanuel. He will be 10 years old in December. He is our boy from the Dominican Republic that we sponsor through Compassion International.

Several years ago the Compassion program was presented at church.  It wasn't my decision to sponsor, it was made by my children.  They really wanted to sponsor a child.  They even offered to give something up in order to pay for it.  How could I possibly say no.  After the service we went over and my children looked at all of the children's pictures.  They wanted to be the one to pick out our child.  It was an easy pick...Emmanuel.  They were taken by his eyes and the way he was dressed up for the picture.  

We signed up and got the information on our child.  When we got home, the first thing my children did was put out a jar to put our spare change in.  This was designated as Emmanuel's jar.  I was pretty taken by my children that day.  They realized the opportunities they have and wanted to share.  They realized the money that gets wasted on everyday things like candy and soda that could be spent in a worthwhile way.  They realized that they were very fortunate and they wanted to help another child.

We receive letters and pictures from Emmanuel and we write back.  We have been blessed by this program.  Compassion International is a great organization doing their part to help. We pay a very small price  and receive so much back.  This is a true blessing.

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