Photos of Brady

Friday, April 29, 2005


Yesterday I was to run my first 5K race in a nearby town, but my running partner chose not to go. I had a choice to make. I could go ahead and run by myself, or not go either. I wrestled with the decision all afternoon, and finally decided not to go. When I got home, I found myself getting ready to leave for the race. There was only one way to find out if I had it in me to accomplish this thing. I was to go work out with mom and Rocky, but I went down and told her I was leaving for the race instead.

I suppose it wasn’t too smart running a race I hadn’t trained for, and I had never done very much road work. Most of my running has been on the tread mill. That I can do. Actually it was relatively easy to register, get my Fun Run T-shirt, and my race number. I was 117. The atmosphere was festive, but I didn’t know anyone there, so I waited the hour and fifteen minutes until race time by myself. It was plain to see that most of the other participants had done this before. I decided that my best course of action was to hang at the back of the pack and just run at my pace if I wanted to finish.

I have heard John say many times that races are a battle of endurance. Physically I knew I could make the distance, but it is a mental battle. When I began running last October I could hardly run one minute out of two. Matt helped me learn to find my pace and that by running in that zone I could be successful. I have been running ever since. Entering a 5K race was quite a jump for me. When I walked to the starting line, I knew that if I finished I would be running a personal best in distance, so just finishing was my only goal. Well that, and not fainting from exertion on the course. The air horn went off, and everyone surged forward. I started running, and as we left sight of the starting line and turned the corner to the course, I hoped for the best.
After half a mile, I could see everyone else going over the first hill. I would have to run the whole race by myself. Although there were people behind me, I just focused on finding my rhythm and staying on pace. After I passed the first mile marker I knew I could do it, but it seemed like five miles before I passed the second mile marker. The kids that were ahead of me were beginning to tire, and I was gratified to run around them. As I made the turn to the last half mile I could see the finish line. I have never been so happy to see anything in my whole life. There is nothing better than achieving a goal, even a small one. I could see that I would finish under 40 minutes, which had been my goal. As I passed the finish line, my time was 39:32. I scanned the crowd, but didn’t see anyone I knew. The volunteer staff handed me some water, and I worked on drinking that and walking to cool down. I was overheated, and I heard someone say that the winner came in at 17 minutes. I was happy for him.

I stayed for the awards ceremony, mainly because I found the sister of the girl I was supposed to have run with. She had run with her husband, so I stood with them. They each one a medal in their age division. I was so happy for them. While I was waiting for my age division to be announced I saw a lady from Smalltown I had worked with and she waved at me. When my group was announced everything began to move in slow motion. I heard them call my name for a second place medal. My mouth dropped open. I could hear the crowd clapping, and I moved forward where they placed the medal around my neck. Then you are ushered over to an area where the pictures are taken for the newspaper. It was all so surreal. The lady who won first place stood with me and we had our picture taken together.

All in all, it was a good day. When I got home I went by mom and Rocky’s to show them my medal, and I called John. He was gracious and encouraging, and asked me when the next race was. Ha. Although I am planning to run one in June, I will get a little more training time on the pavement before trying it again.

Today is a good day….here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, April 28, 2005


The big woods have taken on the undeniable cloak of bright green spring leaves. When they first unfurl they are so bright it almost hurts your eyes, but since we have just had a week of rain, they are now dark leafy green. The songbirds are having a wonderful time flitting about the newly dressed tree branches, and their hearts are so happy they sing all the time.

The azalea bushes are in full bloom, and the tulips are just beginning to flower. Spring is such a joyous time of year. I suppose that is why I am so happy all the time. I was born in the early spring, and I always feel a kinship with the season. New growth and new birth are everywhere. It is a new beginning after the long dreary winter months, and as the first signs of spring begin to show themselves my spirit soars.

Today we are to be the warmest we have been all spring thus far. Thunderstorms woke me this morning, but will pass on through midday and the sun should break through the clouds. I was to run the first of two 5K races this afternoon, but we are to have more thunderstorms around that time. I will have to find out if the race has a rain date or they will go ahead and run it. It may be an omen that the first time I am to run a road race the weather goes south. John may be the family’s only running phenom. I set the goal, and will attempt it. Wish me luck.

I can hear the little titmice singing their distinctive little songs. In spite of the rain they are happy. I like to call them Johnny two notes, as much of the time that is all they whistle. Every now and again they will give you three short toots.

Paddy is playing with the little mouse that came in Davey’s happy meal two weeks ago. He forgot it here when he went with me to the greenhouse, and she has almost worn the whiskers off of it bopping it around the house.

The old clock on the wall indicates that I need to get ready for work, so I will leave you with this thought. It was my mantra last year and I love it so much that I kept it this year as well. I found it on Dorothy’s blog before she closed it.

“I would rather have a moment of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

I have already had several moments of wonderful already and the day is just getting started. Wonderful is all around you if you just noticed.

Have a wonderful day,


Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Thank goodness the news is good from my country road this morning.

I set both alarm clocks, and both of them went off. I may have solved this problem at long last. I am also able to report that after a week of covering my newly planted flowers, we have sunshine this morning and the forecast is for warmer temperatures over the next few days. It is not unusual to see bed sheets in the yards of people who cherish their summer flowers. Hopefully they will survive the experience and bloom well over the next several months.

I have only one worker to go with me today instead of three. One is ill and one is off to training in Jefferson City. This presents a challenge before I ever leave the house, but what is life without challenges? Actually these little setbacks are quite enlightening. Instead of being a problem it usually turns out to be a blessing in disguise. The one worker I do have is a joy, and we work together very well. It will be a good day.

I have heard from several of you who regularly read my blog and you are in the throes of redecorating at your homes as well. Good for you! Mary Lou gave me an idea for my floors. I had been toying with the idea of painting the hallway, office and bedroom floors with porch paint until I could afford to lay new flooring. Since she is contemplating the same thing, it must be a good solution. Now if I can only find white, I am in business. If not, I am back to looking at peel and stick tiles. I used that in my kitchen and it has worked very well.

Well, I need to get outside and uncover my pretty blooms. The sunshine will be a welcome gift for them today after a week of strong wind, cold temperatures, hail, and rain. Have a wonderful day, and wherever you are I wish you sunshine.

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I give up. My backup alarm failed to go off this morning. Had the cat not jumped on top of me I would still be snoozing. Now I am almost two hours behind schedule. You can bet that I will be purchasing yet another alarm clock today. Is there a conspiracy afoot to make me late for work? I think that all those people who are tired of my usually perky personality have put a curse on my clocks. It doesn’t work though. When you are perky to the bone, it is too late to change.

I am still fighting cold temperatures here on my country road. My flowers are hanging tough, and I think that this may be the last night I have to cover them to keep late frost from getting to them. We are getting some much needed rain at least.

I am loving that my office is finally all white. It is a dark room to begin with, but now that it is all white, it is much lighter in here. Now I love sitting in here, and I hope that my editing will go much faster with things taking shape. There is the problem of floor covering, but I think for now I will let that ride and focus on some outside things that need to be done. One can always buy an area rug for a temporary fix.

We have sunshine this morning, then thunderstorms reenter the picture and cold air moves in from the northwest. These are the times that try men’s souls. Oh well, life would be mighty dull if there were no challenges. Today my main challenge will be getting to work on time. Have a great day, and I hope that your alarm clocks all went off this morning.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, April 25, 2005


I took a break this weekend in order to get caught up with my ‘to do’ list. When you reach several pages in length it is time to actually do something on it. I did the worst first, as I am more likely to keep working down the list if I do that. I had to finish painting my office, and the two walls remaining were the two directly behind the computer desk. Yes, you know what that means. It took me most of the day Saturday to move everything out enough to paint, and then move all of the equipment, wires and cables back again. By the time I painted two coats, a shelf, and cleaned up all of the rollers and brushes, I was worn out. That called for a late lunch and a nap.

My allergies have been kicking up, and I finally gave in and took some medication, but it makes me sleepy. When I woke up from the nap, I tackled some paperwork in the office, did some filing, the dishes, laundry, and watched some of the shows I love on TV. Saturday is a great day to catch up on What Not To Wear, Clean Sweep, While You Were Out, In A Fix, and Trading Spaces. All in all, it was a great day. In the evening I chose several older flannel sheets and went outside to cover my container gardens. We were in a frost and freeze warning, and since I spent a lot of money, time, and effort planting them to begin with, I don’t want them to freeze now. The wind was blowing pretty hard, so I had to locate safety pins to secure the sheets so they didn’t blow off during the night.

Sunday morning I slept in. I got up at 6:30am, took more allergy medication, ate breakfast and had a cup of green tea. I had several things yet to accomplish, and wanted to get an early start. I had four people to make long distance calls to, so talked to my dad, my friend in Kansas City, my daughter, and my brother George. Two hours and two cups of tea later, I got cleaned up to go to Springfield. I had some shopping to do, but by the time I got gas and headed out onto the highway, I had talked myself out of going. I went instead to WalMart and got groceries and came back home. After putting those away, cooking some food for the week, and washing the sheets on the bed, I went down to mom’s house to check her porch containers. I am going to be out of town on Mother’s Day, and wanted to plant her porch containers for her gift. After taking stock of what I needed, I went back out to the greenhouse and spent half an hour picking out two flats of flowers that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the deck. Mixing the soil, filling and planting the pots and watering them down took longer than I figured on, but they are beautiful.

I went to the neighbors to visit Davey, and played basketball with him for quite a while. He is just learning how to shoot baskets, so I spent all of my time chasing the ball and encouraging him. For a five year old he does pretty well. By the time I finished there, went back home and dried my sheets and remade the bed it was time to go to mom and Rocky’s for dinner. We watched an old Doris Day movie while we ate baked potatoes and grilled chopped steaks. As the sun began to make it’s way to sunset, I walked back home and covered my container gardens for the night. Satisfied that everything was done that I could get done, I went inside and locked the door for the night.

After a good hot bath, a quick manicure, and a little bit of writing, I took my meds and went to bed. All in all, I made great headway on my list, and feel good about all I got done. Today is kick butt Monday, but since I did that all weekend, I think I’ll watch everyone else do it. Breakfast calls, and I have to go out and take the sheets off of the flowers before work.

Have a great day!
Until tomorrow,


Friday, April 22, 2005


Yesterday was a harrowing one for me. I went to work like always and the day was as normal as usual until we were coming home. It is a two hour drive across the back roads of the Ozark scenic river ways. The road is an old two lane highway with no shoulders and is cut through the deep woods. We had been driving for about half an hour when we came around a sharp corner and came face to face with a scene right out of a disaster movie.

Two ambulances were blocking the road, and emergency workers were attempting to stabilize a man who had been thrown out of what was left of a car. It had landed on its side, but was flattened. One other man who was fatally wounded had already been loaded in the ambulance. While the technicians were trying to get the second man on a body board, we could hear the screams and moaning.

We were stopped there for a very long time, and I was struck by how quickly the accident must have happened. We drive that road every week, and you never know what will come around the next corner. We missed this car by mere minutes. I had been occupied going over all of the things I needed to do when I got home, and mom had called from Ohio and wanted me to go out to the vet to get their dog and my brother George’s dog before the office closed for the day. That would be an impossibility now.

The other uncertainty was severe weather that was due to move through our area. We had wanted to get home before that happened. Once the ambulance finally left for the hospital and traffic began to move again, the rain began to fall. By the time we got to the main highway fifteen minutes later, the rain was falling so hard we could only crawl along. I ended up getting home forty-five minutes later than normal.

Mom, Rocky, and George got home an hour later. They looked like ten miles of bad road. They were all coughing and hacking, from what they deemed to be allergies. Not so. Whatever it was, I didn’t want it. They told me all about their trip, the marathon, and the day they spent with my daughter and her husband. It sounded wonderful. I had asked for a T-shirt from the marathon, and I got that.

All in all it was quite a day. I am grateful for God’s grace and watchcare, and pray for the two men who most likely didn’t survive their ordeal. It is a lesson in just how quickly things can happen and how fragile life is.

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, April 21, 2005


This past week I had company who wanted to take a tour of Smalltown. One morning we got in my car and drove to the baby shoe factory I worked at over thirty years ago, the spot where the old Rawlings plant had once stood, and many of the little rent houses I had lived in over the years. It was the first time I had been to any of those places for many years, kind of like a ‘this is your life’ tour.

Seeing Smalltown like someone who has never been here before might see it was interesting. It still appears to be a quaint country town, but it is nothing like it once was. Many of the main street buildings are empty and beginning to crumble. Local WalMart stores have greatly affected the shopping district. The only stores that remain are the Rexall Drug, and a local clothing store. There are several restaurants, beauty shops, the police station and City Hall. To me it almost looks like a ghost town compared to the thriving little town I remember when I first came here. I knew all of the shop owners by name, and the townsfolk always took time to chat when they saw you on the sidewalk.

Several years ago there was a plan afoot to restore the two block downtown shopping district to its former glory. The turn of the century buildings were slowly and meticulously repainted to their original colors and the old faded advertisements were repainted on the sides of the large buildings. That phase of the renovation has been completed, but the shops are still empty.

It is sad that all of the shop owners are dead now. The shoe store, dress shop, card and gift shop, Sears catalog store, Ben Franklin, Western Auto, Padgett’s Hardware store, and the furniture emporium are gone. The bank moved off of main street years ago and has changed names four times. The old restaurants that featured blue plate lunch specials and home cooked food now sit empty.

Although Smalltown is struggling now because of the new highway, there is still hope. There are just not enough people who care enough to invest in the downtown area. Even the Community Betterment program failed here. Once the young people move off to attend college, they don’t return. In their place out of state people have moved in, but they don’t have the knowledge of what was in order to see the sad state of affairs that now exists.

It was an interesting tour for me. I was surprised to see all of the little houses I had once lived in still standing. It was also sad, as the quaint little homes I had once maintained are in need of some TLC.

It is hard for me to grasp that I have lived here in my grandparent’s home for almost twenty years now, but time marches on. While I can still feel them here, and see them everywhere I turn, our country road has also changed. Gone is the old fashioned crown style blacktop. The road is now flat, wider, and asphalt. There is no dead end now, but the road cuts through to the business route.

The only thing we can be assured of is change. It is not comfortable or welcome to most of us, and you need a healthy dose of grace to accept it. I hope that wherever you live you are familiar with the things around you. One day they won’t be the same. My grandmother used to say, “It will happen to you too if you live long enough.”

So true.

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, April 20, 2005


The birds are acclimating to the new time change, and are now singing at the right time. I am still having trouble however. It is hard for me to get sleepy at night and then I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. This morning I wanted to get up early so I could water my flowers before work. They are doing very well. The extra money I spent for the Miracle Gro potting soil was worth it. Already the plants are standing up great and blooming. It appears that we will have some nippy temperatures this weekend, but hopefully no frost.

The leaves on the trees are opening, as is evidenced by the elevated pollen count. There is a green powder covering everything, and people are grumpy, sneezing, and miserable. Actually I am getting along very well this year. (knock on wood). I have found that allergy sinus medications take care of the trouble I have and am able to work out every day with no problems.

Today John and Barb head home to Louisiana from Boston, and mom, Rocky, and my brother George will start the drive back to Smalltown. All is well here, although the forecast is for some storms tonight and tomorrow. Maybe they will have worked through by the time everyone arrives back home.

It doesn’t look as though we will have a sunrise this morning due to cloud cover. I love to watch the sunrise each morning, as it gives me a sense of renewal and hope. I love fresh starts, and each morning is a clean slate. As the day stretches out ahead of us the possibilities are endless. Take the time to notice the sunrise, the song of beautiful birds, the azure blue of the spring sky, and the new blooms of spring flowers.

Life is all about balance. Make time for the little things today.

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, April 19, 2005


While the rest of my family was in Boston for John's big marathon, I worked. However, on Mondays I have access to a computer in the courthouse library. I got great exercise going up and down the two flights of stairs to check on his progress. Technology is a wonderful thing. By the time mom called me to let me know she had seen him go by the finish line, I had already checked the Boston Marathon website and knew he had finished and what place he was in.

Today I will miss the family reunion in Boston. My daughter and her husband are meeting mom and Rocky, my brother George, and John and Barb for a day of sightseeing and celebrating. They will have a wonderful time.

Meanwhile, Smalltown life goes on. Our spring weather continues to be beautiful, and I see garden spots tilled and ready for planting everywhere I look. It is a rite of spring to see the locals who have tractors going from place to place to turn the garden spots. They are in no hurry, nor do they notice the mile of cars behind them as they make their way.

I have been faithfully checking on the cats at mom's house. So far they have done minimal damage. I only noticed a few things bopped onto the floor. By the time everyone gets back home on Friday they will be stir crazy.

I know that when John gets back to Louisiana he will post about his big adventure, but I know that many of you have been following his journey and wanted to know the race results. He has realized his dream, and today he begins the journey back to Boston next year. Congratulations, little brother!

Until tomorrow,


Monday, April 18, 2005


After five days off it is back to work for me today. I was fortunate that the weather was beautiful, and I got so much done.

Having company is always a treat, and I enjoyed both the getting ready and having a guest to spoil. I finally caught the greenhouse open, and bought the most beautiful flowers. All of the containers are packed full, and the weather is supposed to cooperate so that they can get a good start.

After my guest left, I got busy on my list of things to do around the house. I finally finished painting the bedroom ceiling, and the last two walls of my office. Before I got done in the office however, the paint can ran dry. So, I need to get some more before I can finish that project.
I heard from the travelers yesterday. They were in New York, and Rocky and my brother were waiting for Mom to come out of TJ Max. Ha. I think she was hoping to find some beautiful dishes. Anyway, they should be in Boston now, and today is John’s big race. Send good thoughts his way. I will be with him in spirit.

We are in for great weather this week, with only moderate chances for rain midweek. Thank goodness all my planting is done. Now I can just sit on my garden bench and enjoy the sunsets while I listen to the birds and look at the beautiful flowers….here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, April 14, 2005


Today spring has returned to the Ozarks. Although the temperatures this morning will be very cool, we are promised sunshine and high sixties this afternoon. The local greenhouse was closed yesterday, probably due to the strong winds, drizzle, and cold temperatures.

I have a few chores to do this morning before company arrives, and then I go and check the greenhouse out. Everything is in readiness. All I need is some plants and dirt. The birds are singing, the sun is just rising, and it is going to be a glorious day.

It is time for a cup of hot blackberry tea and a bowl of cereal. Have a great day!



Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Of course the day that I take off to garden we get a warning of frost for tonight. That won't keep me from going to the greenhouse however, or from getting dirt for the containers. I can stow my beautiful blooms in the garage until the threat passes.

I am holding my breath that the fridge doesn't quit on me, especially with company coming tomorrow. I have cooking and baking to do, and having no refrigerator would really throw a ringer in the festivities.

Today I have a wonderful day planned. Cleaning house, listening to CD's, fussing over bouquets and dusting furniture. Rocky came to the rescue with help for my bed. I needed slats for the frame, and he is on the way uptown to take care of that. Then I can get out the beautiful 420 thread count Egyptian sateen cotton sheets that my daughter sent me for Christmas and make up the bed. Piled high with down pillows, it should make a wonderful and welcoming picture.

I'll post in the morning and let you know what I find at the greenhouse. Hopefully tomorrow when the temperatures warm I can get my hands into the dirt. If not, there is always the weekend!

Welcome to the new visitors I have had, and to all of you who keep me company each and every day. Feel free to stop by anytime, the door is always open....here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


They say April showers bring May flowers. If this is the case, we are in for a bumper crop this year. Sunday night we had a thundershower that led to the mother of all rain events. Ponds are overflowing, streets were running full of water, and rivers of rainwater made shallow lakes in fields. The rain continued all day yesterday, becoming intermittent through the night. Today we are in for cooler temperatures, and yes, more rain.

The lawns, fields, and new leaves on the trees are a bright spring green. When the sun finally emerges, the dogwood trees will pop into bloom. I hope to be off tomorrow to go to the local greenhouse and pick out flowers for my container gardens. If the weather holds, I won’t be able to, but the meteorologist has promised clearing this afternoon into evening. With any luck my hands will be deep in potting soil and beautiful flowers. I have been itching to do some gardening.

Sunday I had to run the air conditioner to do housework as the temperatures were in the eighties. For the past two nights the furnace has kicked on. When I changed the bed linens Sunday I took off the down comforter because it was too hot. Last night I had to get out of bed to put it back on because I was tense from being cold. Ah, spring in the Ozark hills.

In spite of a late beginning yesterday, it was a good, if soggy day. I was gratified to see that Tiger won the Masters, saddened that Jack Nicholas has given up the game, and thankful I made it to work on time. In the ‘make it go away’ category, was coverage of the so called ‘Royal Wedding’. What a slap in the face. It was the highest form of bad taste, and even the Queen shunned photo ops with the couple, fresh from the prayer service where I guess they hoped to put a happy face on the past.

On a more positive note, today is trash day and I have to give crew evaluations. If I hurry I can be on time for work again today. At least the alarm went off this morning. That is a good sign.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, April 11, 2005


This morning I woke with a start, knowing something was terribly wrong. The pesky alarm clock has been acting up of late, but this morning it decided not to go off at all. So, I am getting a very late start. I have already lost two hours, so this will be short and sweet.

After two days of perfect spring weather, I have yet to find the flowers that I want for my container gardens. It is still early, but the big discount stores are behind on getting annuals in. So, my pots are still empty and now we have two days of rain.

I am hoping that by midweek when the rain stops I can take a day or two off and get my hands in the dirt. I want to go to the local greenhouse and get something really pretty. After all, I am going to have to look at whatever I choose all summer long, and I want something that will draw the hummingbirds and butterflies to the yard.

Whatever you do today, have a great Monday. First on my list is getting a new alarm clock.

Until tomorrow,


Friday, April 08, 2005


After a hard week I have arrived at the day I have the longest drive. I am tired, and right after work I have to attend to group school bus testing in that town. I won’t get home until around nine o’clock. Last night I went to bed to read until it was time for me to place a phone call to my friend Diane in KC. I had an hour to kill, so I settled among the feather bed and down comforter to read the new Shape. It is something I don’t get to do very often, and I was looking forward to it. I woke up this morning, never having heard the alarm clock either.

So. I didn’t call my friend, the magazine is crumpled where it slipped out of my hands and off the bed onto the floor where the cat laid on it all night. I am an hour behind schedule already. However, it is Friday! Whatever happens, it is Friday and I can deal with it until I get home this evening. Then the weekend will stretch out before me. No alarm clock, and two days to clean, do laundry, go to the gym, get groceries, catch a few decorating shows on TV, and place that belated call to my friend.

It may not sound like much fun to anyone else, but I adore the weekends. This one I get to stay home the entire weekend, so I can get caught up with chores and do a little writing. Right now the big woods is shrouded in a thick gray fog. Since I have a ninety minute drive through the country to get to work, I am hoping it will lift a bit.

Whatever your plans, I hope you have a wonderful day and an even better weekend.

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, April 07, 2005


With the Missouri Ozarks awash with spring color, the morning commute has been a joy. The stark bones of the woods on both sides of the road are relieved by wild plum and redbud blooms, and yards are full of daffodils, flowering quince, forsythia, and hyacinths. Yesterday I was working in a town half an hour east of Smalltown, and saw several bunches of tulips. Of course the early creeping phlox is also in bloom, and after the rain we have had for the past two days things will really come out when the sun reemerges today.

It will be nice to have warm temperatures again. We have been plunged down into the fifties while the storms passed through, but today we are headed back into the high sixties with tomorrow into the seventies. I love spring in the country. As I drive to work each day we pass old homesteads marked only by the flowers, flowering trees and bushes that still remain where loving hands had planted them years ago. Although it is sad that the people have long since moved or passed on and the houses are dilapidated or gone, it is a testament to tenacity to see the beautiful flowers that have endured over time.

When I was flower gardening, I fussed and pampered my flowers and bushes in an attempt to coax a beautiful walking garden out of the red clay in my front yard. I amended the soil with things that would give the struggling plants a chance, and tended them with care. It took several years, but I did achieve the walking garden I had envisioned. Knowing how hard I had to work to get the results I wanted, it was always amazing to me to see an old homeplace still adorned with beautiful blooms among the choking weeds of time.

It is always a lesson for me. You can’t see the result of beautiful blooms without a strong root base. It is the same for us. If our feet aren’t deeply rooted in a strong foundation of faith, hope, and character, growth is stunted and eventually choked out over time. If we don’t take the time to recharge, rest, feed our hearts and souls, and enjoy quiet times of reflection, meditation and prayer, weeds begin to choke our fragile root bases. If the weeds of busyness, neglect, weariness, and “have-to’s” aren’t routinely pulled up to allow growth and the roots to take firm hold, we slowly begin to wither.

“Take time to smell the roses” is still a good adage. It gives you all the magic you need to keeping yourself renewed and growing strong. When I was in grade school, we had a play in the spring each year. One year I was chosen as a flower, and loved my little costume. We wore green tights, had green leaves on our shirts, and a little headdress made in the shape of a flower. Our faces were the center of the flower, and surrounded by the beautiful color of a simple spring bloom, we must have looked adorable. It is a mental picture I have always remembered, and something I still aspire to. “Bloom where you are planted” is good advice. Remembering my struggling garden and the hardy blooms of old home places, it is a good reminder that in order to bloom where I am planted I have to have strong, deep roots.

Today, take time for yourself. Notice the beauty of spring around you, the sound of beautiful song birds, and the joy of warm spring sun on your face, the fragrance of spring blooms. I would rather be a beautiful bloom among weeds and tares than one of many in a beautifully tended garden. One of many goes unnoticed, but when you bloom where you are planted, it is usually among the ordinary places. Choose to be a spot of beauty wherever you are today. Although it will be a blessing for others, you will be the one who benefits the most.

Have a beautiful day.

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I was asked yesterday by a coworker why I am so happy all the time. Her question took me by surprise, as I hadn’t really given it much thought. I wrote a while back about choice. You have to choose each and every day to be positive, happy, and caring. I suppose that personality also has a great deal to do with the balance, but it mainly comes back to choice.

She also asked me about the enthusiasm in which I live life. That was easier for me to answer. I have always had a great deal of passion for life. I feel things deeply, I embrace life, and each day is an adventure. Give me an idea, and I can run with it. I love projects. Once I make up my mind to tackle something, I set my eyes on the goal and push forward.

This has also caused me a great deal of frustration in my life. Until a few years ago I thought everyone else felt the same way about things. Once I realized that I am different than a lot of people, it was easier for me. Instead of being irritated and stifled by the lack of passion and drive in other people, I have counted my lucky stars that I am the odd ball.

There have been many people in my life that don’t know what to do with me. I suppose it is more their problem than mine, but eventually it is something I have to contend with, as it affects the way I have to deal with these people. I have learned to stay in the little box they keep me in. I reserve the feelings, enthusiasm, passion, and joy for the times I can relax and be myself. Isn’t it funny that so many people in your life think that they really know you and have a handle on you, but they really just have you tamped down in a little box where they can deal with you in a way they are comfortable with?

Two people in my life have known me for the person I am outside the box and unleashed. It has been wonderful to be happy, excited, and passionate without fear of censure. I am grateful for their understanding and acceptance, and can relax and enjoy time in their company.

I had no great advice for this coworker, except to live life on her own terms, and to choose happiness. Sure life will get you down. There will be frustration, pain and hurt. You will get sick, and tired. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. That is natural, but don’t linger there. We have choices. You can either stay in the box, or you can break free and live life fully outside the box.

I made my choice when I got out of bed this morning. It is going to be a great day!

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, April 05, 2005


April began quietly enough, but a momentous occasion came and went without fanfare. My older brother George finished 30 years of service with the federal government, and began his 31st year yesterday. He began working in the U.S. Marine Corps building in Kansas City, Missouri when he was discharged from the Navy. I believe he began as a disbursement clerk, and mainly did payroll and travel reimbursements. I am sure he will let me know if this isn’t correct.

Over the years his job has changed with the times and technology. Each year the fear that he might not have a job has hovered at the time the government is working to get the budget passed for the next year. It has been hard, I am sure to work through, yet here we are, 30 years later and he is still on the payroll. Today he works as a PC technician and loves his job.

The problem with living so far apart is that no one in the office did anything for his big day. Of course he is only in the 15% category of people who have been there as long as he has. He works with all young Marines and newer civilian workers who were evidently clueless to the importance of his accomplishment. Most of them aren’t even 30 years old yet.

Since I wasn’t there to take in a cake and take him to lunch, I will give him his fifteen seconds of fame today. Congratulations, George! The Department of Defense is lucky to have you. In a world of corporate takeovers and job cuts you have survived to enjoy a long tenure. Although I know that retirement is in your future in the next few years, happy 31st year. I hope it is a good one for you.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, April 04, 2005


I hate fast time. This past weekend we advanced to Daylight Savings Time, thus losing an hour of sleep in the process. This is never a good thing, but I digress. People here in Smalltown and surrounding countryside call it fast time. Although this move was man’s way of prolonging the daylight hours in an effort to get more done in the day, it has in fact messed up more than it helps.

In the case of the farmers, this is doubly true. Unless they just have fields to plow or crops to harvest, everything is off schedule. Try telling the livestock that they will be fed an hour later than usual because the time has changed. I have written before about my life while married to Hank, and the hog business his folks had out in the country. Visiting them after the time change was a real experience. The hogs were used to being fed at four o’clock each day. When the time advanced in the spring, the feeding times had to be adjusted or the hogs would begin to make noise and bump their feeders with their snouts. About the time they got used to the different feeding times, the time changed in the fall, and they had to learn all over again.

The birds are also messed up. They normally begin singing around 5:15am. They usually wake me up in the morning just before my alarm goes off. Not now. I am up before they begin their serenade now.

When I was raising the kids, it was also an ordeal. They went to bed at the same time each evening. When the time changed, they were going to bed while it was still light outside. This was a problem as they grew older. It took them longer to fall asleep at night, and in the morning they didn’t want to get out of bed. I have the same problem. It will take me two or three weeks to adjust to the time change. Before the time moves forward, I know what time it is when I wake up by how much light there is in the house. I get up between 5 and 5:30am, and normally there is a pale light in the predawn. Now it is black. I woke up yesterday morning an hour after I normally would because the light wasn’t right. This results in me getting tired early in the day, getting a second wind in the evening and then not wanting to go to sleep at night.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t get any more done on fast time than usual. I like regular time. Cheating to get more out of the day doesn’t work for me. I like the time according to the rise and fall of the sun. It is a natural body rhythm. However, I’m stuck with fast time until October. It’s going to be a long summer…..here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Saturday, April 02, 2005


This has been a sad and difficult day. This morning, on a bright, sunny, spring day with a brilliant blue and cloudless sky, we laid Missy, my mom’s beloved cat and long time friend, in her final resting place.

At the edge of the big woods at the back of their property is our little pet cemetery. My brother John’s dog Jake, Dara, my beautiful little Westie, Tiny, my little outside kitty, and several of Rocky’s poodles from the farm are buried there. It is becoming a little memorial and meditation garden back there.

Missy had been so sick, had fought such a valiant battle for life, that it was difficult for Mom to make this decision. However, there does come a time when the mind convinces the heart that it is time. Missy died in my mother’s arms, with me holding mom, and under the watchful eye of our vet. She just slowly drifted off into an eternal sleep, and we carried her home for burial.

It was the right thing to do, but as is always the case the right thing isn’t always the easy road. I helped Rocky dig the grave in the hard rocky clay with the pick and shovel while mom held her precious burden. Mom laid her in, and we covered her with the native soil she loved to walk upon during her life. As you have to do in the country, we covered the dirt securely with field stone and native rocks that will glitter in the sunshine. This will ensure that varmints won’t disturb the grave.

On my Westie’s grave I had placed a little Avon bottle shaped like a Westie. When Missy got so sick, I gave mom a little black cat Avon bottle for Missy’s grave. Today we placed it there. Rocky had brought them from the farm when he moved here. We didn’t know at the time how important those little pieces of glass would be.

And so, a Saturday passed. The Pope also died today. Mom likes to think he carried Missy to heaven with him. It is a nice thought. I think, though that the family pets who have gone before: Jake, Mac, Dara, Tiny, and Hobo, were waiting to escort Missy on the final leg of her journey.

Today, on a bright, sunny spring day, with a brilliant blue and cloudless sky, we laid Missy, my mom’s beloved cat and long time friend, in her final resting place. Farewell.

Missy 1997-2005

Until next time,


Friday, April 01, 2005


This morning I am faced with two possibilities.

Today is Friday, and the end of my workweek. I am working with my boss today, which most would say is a bad thing. For me it is a joy. He was my training officer almost twenty years ago, and we have since become very good friends and have a great deal of fun together. It is a bittersweet thing, as he will be retiring this year. That will leave me as the last one of the group I began with. It is my hope that I will be promoting into his position, but with all things considered in today’s workplace, who knows what will happen? So at least for today, we will laugh and talk about the good old days the new kids on the block just roll their eyes about, catch up with family news, and talk about the future.

Secondly, it is the beginning of a new month. We have a clean slate on which anything could be written. How I live these thirty days of April and how I look at those events will either be a blessing or a trial. Since I am a child of Spring, it is my favorite time of year. The bleakness of the winter months gives way to the fresh green of new growth, beautiful spring flowers, and new birth. Baby calves dot the fields I drive by each day, birds are busy building nests to raise their families, and the farmers are tilling their fields in preparation of spring planting.

Although this is April Fool’s Day, not much is made of it anymore. This is a good thing. Playing practical jokes usually backfires, and I have always dreaded it. Today I have decided to look forward to the day and the new month as new possibilities for good things to happen. For one, it is payday. This is also the one day a week that I eat lunch out. It is the last day of the work week, and the beginning of the weekend.

I hope that in your neck of the woods you are looking forward to your day with joy and anticipation. Take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, a cup of coffee or a chat with a good friend, and think about the possibilities of both today, and the new month ahead.

Don’t wait for good things to come, expect them.

Until tomorrow,