Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Tribute to My Bopa

Today I am sharing a post with your that I wrote on my other blogging site...My family lost a very important part...We will miss you Bopa and we love you so much!

To you Nana, Dad, Aunt Bee, Chrissy, Angie, Ryan, Mark, Nick, Mandy, ALex, Seth, Hayley, Karly, Korina, Tanner, Josie and all of the rest of the family...we are blessed to have so many memories!  Love and hugs to you all!

Please click on the link below for a story about our grandpa...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Do You Have Bats in Your Belfry?

It was hot but the garden need to be weeded and watered.  The passerby on the river could see the colorful background of the garden…and the gardener!  Bright orange polyester pants, a floral blouse and a BIG straw garden hat. This was nana and this was her garden.

Nana spent the morning working in her garden with her hat on the entire time to shield her face from the sun.  As noon approached she headed inside for some lunch with her daughter and grandson.  Lunch was good and the iced tea was refreshing, but nothing could top the entertainment.

As nana and her grandson were just about finished with lunch the excitement began.  “Nana, do you have bats in your belfry?” He asked. “Why, what are you talking about?” She replied.  On the counter next to the lunch table was nana’s garden hat, the one she had on her petite head all morning…crawling out from inside was a BAT!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Almost Doesn't Count in Horseshoes!

How many times do we say "Almost?"  I almost got it, I'm almost ready, I'm almost there....It makes me think about the reward we have when we MAKE it!

Almost means very nearly, but not exactly or entirely.  I think of it as "not quite."  When we play horseshoes, a shoe thrown close, but not close enough, doesn't get the point.  So practice, perseverance and determination is needed to overcome the "almost" point.  You can't win the game with "almost" points.

The game is fun whether or not you win or lose, but the challenge of earning those points is what keeps us going. It is the same with most things we do in life. 

With school, careers, family, projects and activities I know I don't want to just "almost" succeed in everything.  I want want to do my best and try to get entirely, exactly where I want and need to be.  That doesn't mean I always have to be the best or win, it just means I have to do my best and put forth the extra effort. 

Here's to you and giving it your best shot and getting past those "Almost" moments in life.  We want to be able to say we lived life...not we "Almost" lived life!  Score those points!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Bugs You?

Everyone has them...You probably have more than one thing that really bugs you. Pet Peeves, defined a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it. Pet Peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.These behaviors may involve disrespect, manners, personal hygiene, relationships, and family issues.

I was thinking about my list and wondering why certain things bug me so much. Does it really matter and why do I waste the energy worrying about it?

I found a long list of samples, some of which may be a Pet Peeve of yours...

-Drivers who don't use a turn signal.
-People who drink directly out of the milk/orange juice containter.
-People that don't use coasters.
-Noisy eaters.
-Whenever anyone says "Ya, know what I'm sayin"...
-When a person makes a sucking noise with a straw when the cup becomes almost empty.
-Drivers who won't turn right on red.
-When drivers bring their car to the wrong side of the gas pump.
-Not washing hands after using the bathroom.
-When your spouse/roommate uses the butter to put on their toast, and leaves crumbs in the container.
-Guys who leave the toilet seat up. 

When it comes to me, my list isn't too long, but there are a few.

-When people don't wipe up the sink area when they are done, I don't like all the splashes and water spots.
-Hats laying around everywhere
-Dishes on the counter when the dishwasher is less than a foot away.
-Inside out socks in the laundry
-Rugs that are rumpled and out of place
-An overflowing trash that no one seems to see

What are your Pet Peeves?

I have decided that I am going to try to ignore some of these things that bother me.  After all, in the big picture it doesn't really matter if my family has to turn their own socks right side out does it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another Baby in the House...

I wasn't quite ready for this...I thought my children were grown....No, not a human baby!  A feline baby! Yep, we have a kitten.  It is supposed to be my daughter's kitten.  The problem is my daughter is rarely home, therefore I take care of the kitten. I was not prepared for is like having a baby around!

Lilly is her name, and crying is her game....she loves to meow...over everything.  She is cute, but cute only goes so far.

She is spoiled, just like most babies.  She is picky about her food, she wants a lot of attention and she doesn't sleep during our sleep hours.  She doesn't walk anywhere, she runs.  She is into everything and nothing in the house is safe.  She DOES know how to use a litterbox though, so we have had no accidents.  I am just waiting for the day she becomes like every other cat we have owned and "goes" outside and doesn't need a litterbox.

I think the thing I am having the hardest time with is her claws.  She doesn't know how to keep them in. I can be sitting here at my computer and out of no where she will jump with four sets of claws extended onto my back...ouch!  

She loves it outside, the trouble is we are still getting the "cat chasing" dogs used to her.  So far, she doesn't seem afraid of them, so we figure if she doesn't run from them, maybe they won't chase her. 

I love Lilly, she is adorable, but I really can't wait for her to get out of the kitten stage and turn into a  LAZY cat!

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Summer Office

I can't complain one bit!  This is what I got to look at all day from my tractor office that is!  I think I have the best view around.

Yep, you got it, I spent the day baling hay.  I had a different tractor today and a different baler, which I wasn't very excited about.  The air conditioner wasn't working....but I must be spoiled because it got fixed before I started my day.  It took a while to get settled in, but once I did, I  got to relax and enjoy the view.

I even take calls in my office.  I try to listen really hard for my phone to ring in case I am getting instructions about baling.  It rang this afternoon and I hurried to answer it.  It was a number I didn't recognize.  The party on the other end sounded a little confused when they could barely hear me over the sound of the tractor and the motor on the baler.

The lady told me she was returning the call regarding her doing some windows.  I had to think...well, my dad washed the windows on my tractor this morning.  I rarely worry about my house windows...hmmm. "Is this Freezer Head Frozen Yogurt?" she said. "You must have the wrong number," I replied.  If she only knew who she really called and what I was doing!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Little Peanut

My Little Peanut is growing up!  My niece, Hayley is 13 and in junior high now.  I still remember the little girl I would sing to all of the time.  She would always ask me, "Aunt Val, sing that peanut song to me again!"  Of course I always would.

Today my peanut is taking a big step and I am so proud of her!  She is declaring your faith publicly and is being baptized. She understands what it means to be a young lady of God and to demonstrate her belief and Christian faith in  front of others. 

This is such a joyful day!

I think back to the little girl that survived on candy alone, woke up at 5:00 am every time she came to visit and loved to inform me of things her brothers had done. It  seems like yesterday.

She is now clearly on a path that God has planned for her.  My prayer to you my that God will keep your eyes and heart open to the many things He has planned for you.  I pray that through the paths you take in life, you will build a strong foundation for your future.  I pray that even though mistakes will be made, you know that God will never turn His back on you, you are His child.

I love you Peanut!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Story of the Queen

There was a special group of young ladies all vying to be the queen.

It was to be a difficult choice as each had so many qualities unseen.

They all possess great beauty on the inside and out,

How could the royal selection committee ever select without a doubt?

The ladies would express their talents of speaking and their poise,

Talking with the panel about all of their fears and joys.

Overcoming nerves and getting up on stage,

Just one little part of the long judging page.

When all is said and done, and the time comes for the crown,

Each of these young ladies will have knocked some major fears down.

They took some big chances and decided to give it a try,

Making deeper friendships and never wondering why.

They will all learn they are special... a crown with our without,

Anyone could be the queen; all are deeply beautiful young ladies...without a single doubt.

Good luck to all of you special, beautiful young ladies in the Inter-Mountain Fair Queen Scholarship Program!  You are all amazing!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Getting Involved

I have gotten back into the meeting loop lately because of writing for the newspaper.  This is a good thing.  There is so much going on in a community that it is hard to keep up.  The one thing I see is that most meetings are not very well attended.

I know how hard it is to get out after a long day and attend a "boring" meeting.  Most of the time, the meetings I attend only have board members, some staff and maybe one or two other audience members.  There are a lot of standard, routine items on the agendas, but there are also items that can be of interest to many.

In a small community, like where I live, many people serve on several boards and take the brunt of the load.  They are to be commended.  It is a lot of work.

Then  you have the people in the community that are quick to complain but don't want to get involved.  The other group would be those that only come out when there is a controversial item to be discussed or an item that  they are personally passionate about.  This is all fine, but we need to remember that it takes a whole community to have a strong community. 

I would offer this suggestion...pick an area of your community in which you have, fire, youth, etc. and try to attend one of their meetings every other month or so.  Don't just show up when there is a be proactive in preventing problems.

Remember it is your a part of it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Now That's a Burger!

It was about eight years ago, but seems like yesterday...the day we paid a five star tab at a frosty! The bill was huge, but the memories are priceless.  Four young teenage boys and four Billy Burgers! This is how we got there....

It was Major Boys Little League and our son was finally getting into baseball.  We made it past the dadelion picking days and became pretty serious.  At that point he was a big boy, bigger than most in his class.  We knew he was here was the carrot...hit a homerun this season out of the park and you can have a Billy Burger.

The Billy Burger was a big incentive, he had always wanted one...they were huge and expensive.  So the bet was on. Once dad made that bet, I knew we would be buying a Billy Burger.

Well, not only did he hit one out of the park, he hit at least in his logic, that should equal four Billy Burgers.  One for him and one for his three best friends! So we loaded the four boys up in the van after a game and went to the frosty...We weren't thinking very well, we ordered the burgers ALONG WITH fries and drinks...eating the burger was going to be a challenge in itself!

If they could eat the whole burger, they got a hat... challenge on!  We were there a long time and the looks on the boy's faces went from I'm starving to Ughhhh....I'm sick.  They all finished though!

The funniest part was that the boy in the picture is usually very talkative, he didn't say a word all the way home...he just rubbed his belly.

Did we make any bets like that in the future?  No...but this one was worth it...the day still comes up in conversation eight years later!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Aljo

Ready, set, go!  It was a race, neck and neck until the end…then the young long legged girl pulled ahead and WON! The crowd went wild! What a victory!

Championship track meet?  No, just a friendly father-daughter race around the campground loop.  That was me, the campground race champion from 1976!  Thinking back, my dad probably let me win. The crowd consisted of my mom and sister, but the victory was still sweet…and the race happened every year…just a different place and a different loop.  Eventually I think I  won fair and square.

Over the weekend on our family camping trip, I had time to reminisce about how my love for camping began.  It began with a 1960’s model Aljo trailer and red Ford pickup and our family of four.  That was what we did for vacation. We camped.  These weren’t weekend trips, they were weeklong minimum.

We would sit during the weeks prior and look at US Forest Service maps to plan our trip.  I always wanted to be involved.  I wanted campgrounds with a “flush” toilet…seldom did I get my way. We went everywhere…Oregon, Idaho, California, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona.  I didn’t realize then what a world traveler I had become.

“Back in the day” there was no club cab pickups or SUV’s, so the four of us traveled these long distances in the front of the Ford pickup. I’m not sure how that worked.  My sister and I would sit with a magazine between our legs because we didn’t want to “touch”. 

In those days it was also acceptable to ride in the back of a pickup.  We did that on occasion. We would lie down on the chair cushions and take a nap. I remember one time, we must have been traveling through Arizona…it was HOT!  My sister and I woke up and were READY to get in the air-conditioned front.  We could NOT get our parents attention.

Memories flood my mind as I write this.  The nature walks we took turns leading, hitting our heads on the low ceiling above our tiny bunk in the trailer, my dad’s “Cowpuncher Stew”, bats flying around at night that we were very scared of….the list goes on.

Those were some amazing times that instilled a love of tradition, family and togetherness in me.  Carrying on those traditions with my family has been so fun.  I hope the next generation will want to carry on the same!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Then There Were Four....

Another camping trip has come and gone...whew!  So much fun and now loads of laundry to do!  We took our annual "cousin" picture...but it was different this year...we were missing one...Nick was already back in Nebraska. Alex will be leaving for college this summer and Mandy the next.  Seth and Hayley will be soon to follow.  I am very thankful for the years we have had with the cousins together!

Don't think that the four of them can't find fun...they had plenty.  I lost count on the number of marshmallows roasted.  We even tried a new delicacy...roasted Starbursts...not too bad I would add.

There was more than enough food, plenty of laughter and a lot of stories.  It is funny how the simple things can be so fun.

It is my wish that these cousins will look back on these years of camping and cherish the times they had together.  I hope they will want to continue this with their families.  What a blessing family is...I am forever thankful for my wonderful family! 

"The smell of pine trees, the campfire glowing, the marshmallows cooking, and the breath of crisp cool air are some great things I like about camping but my favorite one of all is camping underneath the stars with lights so brilliant it brightens up the deep blue sky making you feel a sense of peace and tranquility amid the great outdoors."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Here Fishy, Fishy!

Fishing is fun.  Fishing is relaxing. Fishing is a great summertime hobby.  Fishing is not easy at Lake Almanor! In all of the years we have camped at Lake Almanor, I think I have seen one fish brought back to camp.  I am guessing the fish are smarter than the fishermen!

We hear of people all of the time saying how easy it is to fish the lake...we have tried it all and nothing seems to work.

So we take the approach that fishing is a time to relax...who cares if we catch any fish!  We make sure we bring plenty of food for the BBQ so we are not dependent on the catch for our dinner.

I think word has it the guys may try another lake this year while us girls just sit and relax at Almanor.  Sounds fine to me!  I hope they have better luck...but if not at least they had fun trying!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Through the Years at Almanor

It is really hard to believe how fast the time goes.  We started camping at Lake Almanor when the kids were small.  We always tried to take pictures of the kids on the beach each year. It is amazing how they have grown up from summer to summer.

Each year there are some new friends and cousins, but always are the "five".  Nick, Alex, Mandy, Seth and Hayley. This year will be different, as Nick is on his way back to Nebraska and had to miss the annual trip.

We will be sure to roast a few marshmallows for him and take a few tube rides...but the picture just won't be the same!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camping Here I Come!

Lawn mowed...check. Laundry done...check. Trailer clean...check. House basically in order, trash out...check. Ingredients for S'Mores in trailer...check!

I am beyond is time to camp!  First cutting is done and we get to take our one small break in the summer.  It has become tradition to go to Lake Almanor with my sister an her family each summer.  It is one of my favorite things to do!

We get a chance to relax, catch up with each other and leave our worries behind.  I wear no watch and don't operate on a schedule. 

Over the years things have changed, as the kids have grown up.  There is less watching to make sure the kids aren't falling in the campfire and more of spending time chatting around the campfire.  It is a much needed break and chance to catch up and see how everyone is doing.

We don't get to take a lot of time in the summer, so these few days are precious.  It is a big reminder that no matter how busy things get, it is important to take time for relaxing and family.

My posts, if any, will be short.  I will only have the use of my IPhone....but know I am thinking about you all!

Hopefully there will be some good camping stories to come out of this trip...until then, I'll roast a marshmallow for you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On the Count of 3...

As a kid I could never jump out of a swing...all of my friends could.  I was too scared.  I would tell myself, "okay, on the count of 3, I will jump." One, two, three...I am still still in the swing!  Would that make me a "scaredy-cat?"

I don't think it makes me scared...just unsure and comfortable with what I already know. 

There are a lot of things in life we are not sure of.  We may be nervous and scared or just plain don't want to do it.  Granted there are things, in my opinion,  that are dangerous as well as scary  Like the "drop swing thing" at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.  I won't do that...not a chance.  I would be up there and never pull the cord.  I would get really good at counting to three though. 

Are there any things that you can't get past the count of three on?  I have decided that some things are worth taking a risk.  Even though I may not think something is for me, maybe I should try, you never know.  Instead of getting stuck in my routine, I need to try "counting" into some new things. 

So here we, two, three...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peas in a Pod

Do you see any resemblance here? These are my husband and my son.  The picture shows each of them in their freshman year of college football...the main difference I see is my husband had a mustache and my son is a little bigger with shorter hair.  

Let me tell you...they are "peas in a pod!"  I can't even begin to tell  you how many times Nick has been called Tim. They both graduated from the same high school and by chance had a few of the same teachers and coaches throughout school.

Their similarities don't end with their looks, they have very similar personalities too.  Both have a sense of humor that never ends.  It makes life very fun around our house!

It is so fun to see this in our family.  My son couldn't ask for a better father and my husband couldn't ask for a better son.  So as life goes on...I continue to see the similarities and differences also emerge.  Bottom line is that they are "peas in a pod" and I am very lucky to have them!

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  
~Clarence Budington Kelland

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hope You Had A Great Day!

Today was a long day...I didn't want it to get by without saying I hope everyone had a blessed day...I will have an extra special post tomorrow!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stoplights & Fast Food...Not here!

No waiting at red lights for me.  No happy meal or iced mocha either.  In fact, I have to drive 25 miles to encounter a stop light, McDonald’s and Subway and 75 miles to find a Starbucks or Dutch Bros.  Where I come from, life is simple.   

We have no shopping mall, no WalMart, no fast food and no stoplights.  We have a few local stores, a home town Frosty and plain old stop signs!  I drive seven miles to get to town and we haven’t always had a street number for our address. 

When we give directions, it goes something like this… turn left right at the museum, go about five miles ‘til you reach a T in the road by the green house that used to be yellow.  Turn right and go a little ways and turn left at the old white church.  Go about two miles and when the road curves turn right, before you cross the river turn left going toward the house with the red roof.”  

Not too long ago, we had to go out and actually write down the names of the county roads to turn on…they are names and number.  My husband was born and raised here and didn’t know!

When we go to town, it is necessary to plan extra time.  You will always run into someone you know and spend a little extra time visiting. It is wise to be careful what you say, most people are related! The kids can’t get away with anything for very long…someone has seen or heard and they will tell.  We have some friends who received a phone call when their daughter was exceeding the speed limit…before she even got home!

We may not have all of the things we need here as far as material items, but we plan for those things and take the trip down the mountain to the Big City every once in a while. I don’t think anyone is too upset about no stop lights or traffic.  We are reminded of that on our trips to the city.  Life here in our small community is nice.  We know most everyone and it is a beautiful place.

I do get a craving for fries and a white chocolate mocha on occasion!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I Have a Daughter Too!

Yesterday I wrote about my amazing son...Today is time to write about my amazing daughter.  I am definitely blessed in the "mom department."  My children are my biggest blessings!

My "baby girl" is going to be a her brother, she is growing up way too fast.  I asked her if she could please just "slow it down a little".  I have this feeling her senior year is going to zip by.  As it is, we hardly see her.  

She stays very busy.  During school she also plays three sports and is involved in everything else you can imagine.  This summer she has a job which fills up most of her time.

I am so proud of her.  She is in the process of looking into college choices and planning for her future.  She seems to have it all together.  When she leaves it will definitely be different around here.  Hopefully she doesn't go as far away as her brother.  Dad says he is going to "home school" her for college!

I love this picture because it exemplifies who she is...she is a beautiful girl, but she is a country girl at heart.  She is smart, funny, hard-working and very conscience of the things around her.  She is truly a blessing and I love her so much!  I am just hoping this next year decides to go by VERY SLOW!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Where Does the Time Go?

I was going through an old folder yesterday and this picture fell out.  Still bright with color, the paper in good shape...but drawn almost 15 years ago.  I'm not sure where all of that time went. The picture made me smile and almost cry all at the same time.

I reminisced a little thinking back to the day my son was young and he really needed his mom!  Sometimes I wish I could get those days back.  The sweet little voice and innocent laughter, the hugs I received without asking, the bedtime stories, the funny little jokes and all of the action figures on the floor!  Each stage has been a lot of fun and has provided a lot of cherished memories.

I tell him he will "always be my baby"...not so sure how he feels about that.   He is getting ready to go back to college here soon.  The time he is home in the summer goes way too fast.  I think this summer is hitting me harder because it may be the last summer he is home. I tell him it is bittersweet...I want him home, I miss him when he is gone.  On the other hand I am so comforted knowing how happy he is.  He loves where he lives, his school, his friends and he is achieving his goals.  Nothing could make a mother prouder.

I received another picture from him at Christmas.  He took a painting class in college and I was the recipient of one of his paintings. I think I will hang the two of them together!

The trick is growing up without growing old. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's Not Hot!

Repeat after me..."It's Not Hot!  It's Not Hot! It's Not Hot!"  There, did that help?  Remember just a few short months ago we were all wishing for warm weather...we wanted the summer sun to arrive. It is here!   

Now what am I hearing?  "It is so hot!"  Tis the season...and we are never happy. I had to walk in  from the hay field yesterday after baling and I honestly felt like I was in one of those movies where the people are walking through the desert.  I was so hot and so thirsty and it seemed like the house was so far away! I felt like I should have at least melted off five pounds from that long, hot, sweaty walk! 

So instead of complaining, I thought back to the winter months and started looking at some snow pictures. I thought it might help to visualize a little...

You wake up in the morning and have to put on your robe and slippers because it is cold. The hot cup of morning coffee is what makes you warm up.  Upon leaving you go out into the 15 degree weather and have to scrape the ice and snow off of the window of your car. The snow is everywhere, crisp and white and cold!

Nice try, I know...maybe print the picture and put it on the fridge.  

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.  
~Anthony J. D'Angelo

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dirty Dogs!

Blue!  Blazer!  What have you been doing?  "Nothing, why?  Do we look like we have been up to no good?  Does the look on my face say I have been into mischief?"

This is how the dogs came home the other day...Only if we could read their minds.  They get into some pretty big adventures and only they know what really went on.  Blue's (the yellow lab) face was kind of saying "yuck", while at the same time, "quit making me take a picture so I can get back to the fun."

They had mud caked from head to toe, which is expected on a ranch, but I had never seen them quite this dirty.  So this is what we think happened....

Down by the river was a cow that has a little bit of a temper.  While moving the yearlings out of the field that the cow was with, she got left behind and the dogs decided they were going to help.  Blue is a bird dog, not a cow dog.  This particular day, he thought he'd see if he could cross-over.  We think they were down where the soupy mud was and were trying to run the cow out.  I would have loved to see that!

They didn't succeed, but they did seem to have a little fun and proudly wore that mud around for the next day or two.

I just got a big chuckle out of looking at them...and oh how I wished I could read the minds of these two dirty dogs!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Take A Look...

If you haven't already, I hope you will take the time to look at my website, "Blue Skies 4 You."  I have been posting updates weekly and have been making changes and modifications along the way.  Parts are still under construction, but it is getting there.

There are links for gardening, weed control, recipes, menus, crafts, learning, local groups, photography and more.  I have also been featuring a picture of the week, Students of the Week and news articles.  There is a link to this blog and my Good Blog posts. 

What I need is a fun assignment....please send me your pictures, events, "Blue Sky" (happy) tid-bits and nominations for students/ athletes.  These thing don't have to come from just the Inter-Mountain area.  I want to reach everyone :)  Previously Jonny Fourney and Zach Brown have been Students of the Week.  I have also featured Quincy High School and a group from California Girls State.

Emails can be sent to:

I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Life Can Be a Fairy Tale

A Fairy tale...a real life fairy tale!  We all have dreams that we wish would come true.  As children our dreams seem so real and not so far out of reach...we want life to read like a fairy-tale.

As a young girl I can remember watching Cinderella and thinking she was the most beautiful girl in the world.  She was real to me.  The beautiful dress the tiny glass slipper and the dream of meeting her prince charming.  Cinderella's fairy tale came true.  Will yours?

Life is not a fairy tale, but it can have the same happy ending.  I have been thinking a lot about young people and their dreams.  Having dreams and setting goals is the first step to achieving your real life fairy tale.  Reach for the stars and don't set limits...if you dream it, you can achieve it!

Often times, people sell themselves short or listen to those nay-sayers...there is no better way to ruin your fairy tale than that.  Believe in yourself, take some risks and follow your dreams. You are in control.

As so many people I know are getting ready to step into the next part of their lives, I want to encourage you to take a look at what you want your real life fairy tale to be.  Lay out a plan, set goals and work hard.  It is important to realize that there will be obstacles along the way...keep your eye on the dream and reach for your happy ending!  You can have that real life fairy tale...just remember it comes with all of the things they never show in the animation.  Those are the things that make you strong and make you appreciate your happy ending even more!     

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I promise I will get back on track!  I am home now and very happy to be here.  I spent the last week keeping you updated on my "City Mom" experience.  It was a very worthwhile and amazing week!  Before I get back to my topical blogs, I just wanted to use this space to say some thank yous...they are well deserved!

The American Legion Auxiliary does a great service to our young ladies by planning and hosting California Girls State. I admit, I only knew that the delegates were selected and went and "learned about government." To some, it could have sounded boring.  It was an honor to be selected, as the criteria is tough.  All of the almost 500 girls there were exceptional students, good citizens in their communities, active in their schools...they were on a level playing field.  

There were girls of all makes, shapes, backgrounds, cultures and representing towns large and small.  The neat thing is that they came together as one.

What is Girls State?  I don't think you can truly understand the dynamics unless you see it for yourself.  It was AMAZING!  My daughter was nervous about it and wasn't sure...she had the best time and hasn't stopped talking about it. 

To explain a little, across the nation over 20,000 girls attend Girls State each year.  It provides training in the governmental process.  City, County and State governments are formed and issues are discussed.  The program is structured to develop leadership and pride, to educate about our democratic system of government, to instill and understanding of American traditions and to stimulate a desire to maintain our democratic government process. Beyond all of that, friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime are built.

Attendees soon realize that by "stepping out of their box" great rewards can be achieved. I saw many quiet, reserved young ladies come out of their shell and grow leaps and bounds in one week.

A HUGE thank you to the dedicated members of the California American Legion Auxiliary and staff for this wonderful experience.  Thank you to all of the ladies that made my time as a "City Mom" so enjoyable.  Thank you to my girls in the City of Marshall...I love you all and miss you already!   Thank you to our local unit for providing my daughter with an experience she will never forget!

I will leave you with this...if you are eligible to become a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, I would check into it.  They are a part of some amazing programs that would be rewarding to be involved in.  I know I am going to see where I can help!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Diary of a City Mom - Part 6 - "Leaving is Hard!"

These are just some of my 31 girls...I have been their "city mom" for a week now. I am coming home today.  I have only had about 20 hours of sleep in five days, my feet hurt and my dorm bed isn't the most comfortable I have ever slept on....I am excited to be home, but it is hard to leave.

In this short time I have become so connected with these amazing young women. They are from all over...  They have varied personalities, skills, interests, looks, backgrounds and dreams...but they are all so genuine and special!  I will miss them!

It's been fun having 31 girls call me "Mama Val".  I have been able to truly take care of them as their moms would.  Some really miss home, I got to be there for them.

I watched my city group form, girls find and accept their roles, friendships being formed and the group supporting one another through the difficult Girls State schedule.

So now I go home, back to a "Country Mom", but will forever cherish my experience ans a "City Mom!"

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