Light

 

Burning Christmas candles
Seasonal background with an array of burning Christmas candles with festive twinkling flames on a black background with shallow dof

But what kind of Light?

Light that squeezes tightly through an old fashion key hole

Light that drips up over the edge of a mountain and fills a valley

Light that breaks through the heavily wooded Douglas fir trees down to the moist soil

Sticks crack and break under my feet

Light paints the sky and slowly fills the Grand Canyon glowing in pinks, oranges, and yellows

Light sparkles from a diamond when the sun hits it just right

Light I invite into my home as I pull the blinds every morning filling the house room by room

Light means something different to everyone.  It can be used in many sentences in many different ways. But for today.  Light is how my soul feels.

Need a Reboot?

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Everyone needs to get away. We need to take a break from the daily chores that start, stop, and repeat that life requires us to do, to be successful productive individuals in this world.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to escape or getaway. Although, I do not like leaving my family and I miss them so much when I am gone, I think everyone needs to get off the beating path of monotony of every day life.  My family is always tucked close to my heart, thinking of them in the time that I am away and quite often thoughts of them consume conversations when I am not with them.

As I have gotten older, my kids have gotten older and so much of them are a part of my conversations everyday that I wonder what I used to talk about before I had kids.  It’s this all consuming love and fulfillment everyday that it’s impossible to think about what my life would be like without them in it.

So, when I get the opportunity to check out for a few hours, a day, two days…it’s actually hard for me to make the decision to leave but it fills a place in me that is full of wonderment and laughter about the world in the the time that I am away. I think it is the change of scenery that refreshes and in a way, reboots us all that is important.

Sedona, AZ.

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We spent a week in Sedona in a single wide trailer, slightly reminiscent of an old folks trailer park with a rustic Spanish feel.  Inside the gated area was everything we needed.  The walk way through the entirety of the trailer was one person wide. It was a cool place to stay.  Pool, a breakfast cafe on site, and daily art classes.

We were lucky enough to get signed up for an art classes at a nominal fee.  We were thrilled to do a water color painting class.  Now, for my sister this was second nature for her.  She is an amazing artist.  Everything that one needs to be, to be called an artist: creative, thoughtful, and paints as if each brush stroke is preplanned for the the next one as if she sees the finished piece of art in her mind.  It is actually a beautiful thing to watch someone be with their art, in the moment… creating it.

I have a friend who is an architect.  I have seen her drawings on paper, on a computer screen, and even more impressive the buildings she has designed. She is an artist also.  She gets that same look my sister has when she paints and the same ease and grace when she speaks about her designs.

The first full day we had, we were both nursing our way down the hill to a little building.  Putting one step in front of the other-a bit too much fun the night before and our inability to stop talking is often difficult on our trips. Conversations go on and on, unconsciously fighting over the last word, the last laugh, and soon 2am rolls around.

We signed in with a skinny man wearing a beret, small build, no hair with a gentle voice and the sheer sight of this man gave us a little chuckle.  I am not sure if it was his demeanor, the way he spoke and looked perfectly like someone in an 80’s comedy about a painter…a complete stereotype on my part, but he was fun to be with for a few hours. The icing on the cake, his name. Art Gecko.  I think that his name was the kicker to our whispering giggles. Still to this day, I wonder if that was his real name??

I had a surprise for the next day but turns out, not actually a surprise because I told her. I am so bad at keeping surprises. We were headed for a Jeep Adventure.  Alone, she and I would go off road with a penciled paper map in a brand new Cherry Red Rubicon.  This still is one of my favorite adventures.

I started driving through town as we made it to the dirt roads and I remember us looking at each other like we were entering a wonderland of excitment.  The red rocks towered around us, brush and tumble weeds wiped the sides of this awesome toy.  A rather expensive toy but it was SO SWEET! We drove for what seemed like a few miles before our surroundings started to change, the roads narrowed, we began to drive over  uneven ground and rock. My stomach seemed to flutter with nerves or it could have just been sore from all the laughter from the day before and laughter that was happening inside that open-topped jeep of joy.

The terrain again changed drastically after a few S curves and the dirt underneath us started to disappear, we were driving and climbing rocks. At this point, I knew it wasn’t sore stomach muscles, it was fluttering nerves. Another jeep approaches as we sweep by each other nearly hitting mirrors, they warn us of what is ahead.  We climbed the large hill and came around the left bend in the path. About 20 feet in front of us, was solid rock on a 45-degree incline and it sharpened off about ½ way up probably to a 75-degree incline.  After some discussion, about putting the Rubicon in 4-wheel drive manually, my sister says, “now once you start driving you have to make it to the top, there is no stopping half way.” The incline didn’t seem that scary from the flat path we addressed in front of us. I decisively decide… I got this.

I start to accelerate slowly and my sister urges more gas, more gas, and I know my facial expression right then, and my laugh turned to a terrified nervous giggle.  My sister is holding on for dear life, leaned forward as if that would help move us forward faster. Her urgency for me to give it more gas grew quickly and my weightless numb foot couldn’t push any harder.

I started babbling, “oh shit, oh shit. I can’t, I can’t.” I use both feet to slam the break into the floor board and in that exact position, at that angle my entire upper body felt as though I couldn’t lean forward even if it was life or death.  My sister yells, “what the hell,” and looks like she is going to punch me in the face. We both looked forward and all we saw was the sky.  In a split second, I decided I was done driving, at that moment, at that angle, and I was done. I absolutely pictured that if I went up any further the Jeep would somehow tip over backwards and flip end over end down the hill.

I needed my sister to drive.  She decided we were not exactly in the right place to do a Chinese fire drill and switch drivers. I slowly let off the brake which allowed us to roll backwards to where the incline began. Emergency brake engaged, we switch places by me sliding in the passenger seat inside the Jeep and her passing in front of the Jeep to get in the driver’s side.

She took over and charged the climb.  Up slowly we went and once that incline hit 75 degrees I swear those tires had suction cups on them to keep us attached to the rock.  We drove a bit further, another climb or two and we finally reached the top. Red rock towered on one side of us. We stopped in the center of the rock.  Our laughter echoed for miles, I’m sure of it.  We replayed my abort mission mid rock climb and couldn’t catch our breath. We explored a bit, tried to take selfies in the middle of nowhere, yelled to see if voices would echo, talked and relished in the hot humid afternoon drinking water and celebrating with trail mix.

Our journey in the Rubicon was not over.  We had to find our way back and together we decided we were loosing too much daylight. We headed forward off the grid where the map just ended and figured we would make it back just fine.

 

 

 

Dream Big!!

At 3am on a Tuesday, I woke up suddenly, got out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and came to the living room.  I tore sheets of blank paper out of a notebook I had and started writing about the DREAM I had just had.  Simply put, that dream is my first book, “Grandpa’s Orchard.”

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Dreams are important!  Dreams challenge you and force you to face your inner most insecurities. For me, with my writing I never thought I would be sitting where I am today.  I dreamt about being published and have openly spoken about it for years.  I wanted to write not just for me but for my family, my children, to share myself with the world and to leave something behind that could make a difference.

Having this dream for me, or anyone having a dream for themselves is about having faith that what will be, will be.  Taking a blind leap knowing you have prepared the best way possible and once you leap you believe and have faith you will land where you are meant to be.  In my experience, when we (my husband and I) have taken that leap we have always landed in a far better place than we thought we ever would. But for my writing, this was all on me.  Leaping on my own was scary.

In my inner circle it became something I just said and about a year ago I took a hard look at my dreams.  I knew that if I spent my whole life worrying about how to take care of everyone else’s needs and dreams (which I willing did), where would I be in another five years. Who would I be? Would I like that person?  I knew I would regret not taking a leap!! I would have always wondered. These questions alone made me start writing again.

This  

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I knew at the least that if I wrote I would feel more self-accomplishment, more fulfilled in my life, and more alive! And when I first started writing again it was not a children’s book, a children’s book wasn’t even on my list of things to write.

I still remember the day. I sat down in my writing nook, with a pen and paper and started writing from a writing prompt that was given to me years ago in high school.

“Now is Still Unknown.”

I have had numerous people in my life encourage me to keep writing, they would encourage me to write a book, poetry or short stories…just keep writing even if it’s just for you, they would say.  Deep down I always knew I was a writer, it started the day I entered my creative writing class in high school. I was given a chance with pen, paper, and I felt it running through my veins – like someone punching me in the gut.

For years, I wrote about everything in my life.  The intensity of my writing grew when I had great tragedies in life…I still write my way through some of these.  Someday, I want to publish these pieces of me that are raw, secret, locked inside – unknown to many but I want to publish them and share them because my gut tells me my words will help people.  I believe in writing what hurts, for me its about letting go of the past and if there is a lesson learned I can share to help even one person. I feel drawn to do so.  There is great power in this and great healing.

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On Thursday, I opened the mail box and found two very thin boxes inside.  I noticed the return address from “authorscript” which really meant nothing to me but as I pulled back the card board in disbelief my book revealed itself to me.  One hard cover and one soft cover in my hands. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. I tore out the the front door running across the farm to my husband, partially in tears I tried to speak and thrust the books forward in my hands.  I know I babbled something but I have no idea what.  In that moment, I had done it. I had fulfilled my dream!!!

My dream wasn’t a dream anymore; it was a reality!  This feeling I have had for the last 2 and half days is indescribable! I am relishing in these moments, taking it all in, I don’t want to miss a thing, I want to celebrate and shout from the rooftop. Now more than ever, I am driven to finish the next two books. And I can proudly say, I am an author.

Back to the pen and paper, friends. Dream big!!

 

 

The Great Wall

My Sister by Reba

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She and I weren’t always close.  We fought all the time.  Our room was divided down the middle with masking tape.  I was the tag-along to her, always sneaking her clothes and shoes after she left for school, borrowing her eye shadow, stealing a quick spritz of her Colors perfume.  I was the typical envious younger sister who wanted so much to be like her big sister.

Sharing a room was difficult for her more than me. The masking tape served as a barrier like the Great Wall, for if anything of mine crossed that line it was thrown in frustration on top of my bed or hurled into my closet. This was a frequent occurrence in our red, black, and white themed room. A table separated our twin beds with a boom box that we turned on every night at bedtime, the music ran all night, so low that we strained to hear it and drifted to sleep. My sister used to hum and sometimes whisper the lyrics. I loved sharing a room with her. Although there was always a point of contention in our room usually because of messy me, I think that I loved being on her heels because it was attention she was forced to give me because I was annoying the hell out of her.

I wanted to be where she was, I wanted to be like her, and I longed to be included in her daily life.  Even if that meant being tied up knee socks and tights by her at the ankles, knees, wrists and arms while she and a friend laughed at me as I struggled to move or fell on my face when I did actually get to my feet. I do remember feeling upset but I don’t remember if I actually cried. I suppose I deserved the friendly torture after all the little sister pestering she had to put up with. It’s funny how now, when I write about it, I remember it fondly.

She had the perfect hair, the prettiest dresses when she went to school dances, she had the coolest clothes and this amazing leather jacket that I took from her closet numerous times she wasn’t wearing it, I would pack it in my backpack and put it on when I got to school then pack it home and quickly hang it back in her closet.

She was beautiful, had everything I didn’t because she was older, and she did everything first. She was the best role model a little sister could have. What an impression our shared room has left on my heart and mind. This box shaped space she shared first selflessly with me and it became so much more than just a room we shared that I annoyed her in daily.  This room where she and I shared our childhood gave me great understanding of how simple acts of love, torture, companionship, frustration, and laughter would propel our relationship to break down the Great Wall. I love my sister for everything that she is, strives to be, and the relationship we have is like none other.

I am often told by people that they are so envious of the relationship I have with my sister, the way I talk about her as if I see her everyday, sharing simple details as if we lived next door to each other. We lift one another up every day, every step, one foot in front of the other as the time passes between our visits.

Quiet Introspection

My Wish by Rascal Flatts

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Waking my children in the morning is my favorite part of my day. Maybe it’s because I can watch them in stillness like I used when they where infants.  They once shared a crib, swaddled together. Now they have their own rooms, full size beds, and their own interests cover the walls in photographs and décor, and shows in what they choose to wear everyday. In the quietness before I touch them to wake, I smile knowing they will always be the best thing I did this life.

One sleeps in the fetal position completely covered by one blanket and hates having a top sheet on his bed. He has wires, batteries, motors, duck tape, and nuts and bolts scattered about his night stand.  The night stand mirrors how organized he is in his bedroom, with his belongings, his locker at school, and his clear interested in engineering. His room is a beautiful mess.

The other rests in a queen bed, covered in Seattle Seahawks sheets, blankets, wearing matching pj’s, 5 pillows, and a light dusting of décor around the room for anything that has to do with cars, engines, and the Dodge Helcat. His arms and legs are spread reaching for the sides of the bed. I see his face and I see me. On his night stand there is a glass of water, a book, IPad, and a lamp his great grandfather made from an antique candlestick.

I still remember the crib. I remember what they wore home from the hospital and how it felt watch them sleep at night back then. They used to wake me.

Maybe this chance I am gifted with every morning is because of the opportunity for introspection before I take hold of another day just to help them get closer to who they will become.

Yes! Agriculture!!!

Happy by Pharrell

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Today, I went back to a place that I haven’t been in awhile. Rather, I went back to an activity that I haven’t done in awhile. I found myself in three different classes in Turner, Oregon.  Each class was about 30 students and I found a passion ignite in me that I thought I didn’t have anymore or at least, I forgot that I had.

Side note #1: Back November 2015, after many years at the same job I painfully came to the decision that I needed to leave.  Not because I wanted too but because my children were struggling with school and had just moved to the middle school. It was a difficult transition and I knew if I didn’t leave my job I couldn’t give the amount of time and energy to what was my #1 job…being a mom. I remember the day, crying and saying, “I have to resign.”

I left something I loved doing and something I believed was important for students to know about (agriculture) because I knew I could never get this time back with my children. Years pass by so quickly with children and every day that passes, they change, and with the difficulties they were having I couldn’t possibly not leave my job.  Today, I know I made the right choice.

Yesterday, I went to the middle school and found that both of my boys were chosen by two different teachers’ for a “Teacher’s Choice” award.  They both were recognized for their smiles, positive attitudes, their drive, and they never quit when it gets tough – this made me very proud.  The assembly went on and without really paying attention I heard one of my son’s names called for Honor Roll.  I was shocked, fumbled for my camera and got one picture. This showed me I made the right choice.  Both of my sons are thriving!!

The job I left was with Oregon Agriculture in the the Classroom. I worked there for quite a few year’s and I loved it!  Still to date, my favorite job! I loved the people I worked with. I believed in the message of the program to share agriculture with students in the state of Oregon and to educate students about what agriculture means to all of us.

There all things about every job that we like more than others but for this job, it was simple. For me, it was teaching students about agriculture. I could be having a rough morning; the kind you really don’t want to get out of bed but when I walk through the door of almost every classroom I have been in I thrive! The curiosity in their eyes when they look at me gives me such a rush, I know that I will be able to teach them something they didn’t know before they arrived that morning and I know each one of them will take a piece of that information with them!! It’s a challenge. I walked in those rooms today, I knew how to present, how to grab their attention, what to talk about, and I knew they would listen.  It was awesome!!!

Side note #2: During my job interview, I couldn’t define the word “agriculture”, like at all! I couldn’t say farm, dirt, truck, tractor….and I actually requested that we come back to that question.  (Oh, the embarrassment!)

I have always had a goal to make sure I get an “ohh” and an “ahhh” out of a teacher during my presentations.  When I run out of those, I need to educate myself more. (Or at least that is what I think.) I research and I find something else, sometimes it takes a lot of digging.  Politely, I love having a teacher ask me a question I know the answer to and seeing the surprise in their faces.  This was always something I did in my job.  I wanted teachers to know without them noticing that I was one step a head. I took so much pride…. real pride, in teaching about agriculture and the importance of it when I was working!

I am confident that I am able to teach students something new but when I can teach the teacher something…that is what I want to do!! That is the good stuff – the sweet spot! I love love teaching students but when I can stump the teacher…that, is the sweet spot!

The students are amazing (not all of the time) but I know how to command the attention in the room…I’d like to say I inherited that from my father (a teacher for over 30 years).  He was an awesome teacher not because he was my dad but because now at 39, I still have people on the street ask me about my dad and what he is doing and they always, always share something about how my dad impacted their lives. Now, that is a good teacher! Who wouldn’t want to be remembered that way. I only wish that as I get older and when I perhaps pass that people talk about me the way they talk about my dad.

So, today after teacher three classes. I am honored to do it again. Monday, in fact I am lucky enough, I get to teach again. Not because it’s my job any more but because I truly love it.  I am passionate about it and it makes me see the world differently.  Seeing something through the eyes of a student or young person can change your life. I know when I am teaching about agriculture, I make an impact and I know I am good at it!

Today, I made a difference.  I taught about 90 students, three teachers, and someone peaking threw the door.

A New Day

Great song to get your morning going! Light Years by Pearl Jam

 

I sit here early Saturday morning listening to Halo, our family dog bark outside the window. The sun creeps threw the half opened shades casting a shadow across the dining room table.  The laundry is tumbling in the dryer and the house is quiet.

Grandpa and Grandma have the twins for the weekend and it is so very quiet, so quiet one can hear the dripping from the bathroom sink.

I am paused in this moment and feel so grateful for all of the things in my life.  I am so lucky to have my family and my husband’s family, to have such a wonderful husband and my sister as my best friend.

The smell of fresh cut grass flows in from the cracked window, flowers bloom, and Spring time brings new growth on our farm.

The orchard is beautiful out my window, endless bounty if she is taken care of…fresh new growth, bright green leaves, and this year’s crop on its way.DSC_2620

A Shout out to Teachers!!

I have been thinking a lot lately about teachers. I just signed up and am now enrolled for a week long writing workshop with my high school creative writing teacher…for me learning should never end.  Granted, you have a number of years to  be taught in a school setting.

It’s an empowering feeling that comes when you complete the task at hand, the report, the project, and for me at 39-I will never stop learning-Wether it be how to be a better writer, mom, wife, bookkeeper, photographer, I will never quit learning. I believe learning is important to all people at all ages.

I think about the things that people say about my father as a teacher.  He has been retired for a few years now but I still run into people who ask about him and share with me the wonderful stories of how he impacted their lives.  I actually had my dad as a teacher, years ago and I remember loving watching him (he always looked like he was so happy-elated really, to be a teacher) but I also remember him being very strict with me.  I understand why now because he wouldn’t show any special treatment with his own daughter but I remember thinking he was a great teacher!

Fast forward to today, I have two 12 yr old boys who each struggle in their own subjects and with different social situations. I lean on their teacher’s to tell me what is going on, to help me help them with homework, to let me know when they are having a bad day or a good day.  I expect them to move mountains for my children and they do!

I also believe some teachers see me walk down the hall and want to run like hell to their classrooms and lock the doors.  🙂 I can often become emotional about my children (after all, they are my kids and they deserve the best). Their growth in school is something I feel I need to be actively involved in because I have no control about what it is happening when they are in school.  Again, I rely on the teachers.  So, for any of you who have known me as a parent and you have had my child in your class, I am not crazy however, I am fighter for their education, I am also a fighter for you (teachers), if any teacher came to me about something they needed in their class, I would go out of my way to help them personally get it.  If they needed a voice, I would give mine.

Teachers, I need you to do your best and have the supplies you need to be the best teachers you can be! Down to my core, I believe that the teacher/parent relationship is so important.  So, to some of you, I am sorry if you ever had to pass me the box of Kleenex in your classroom. I am passionate about my children’s education and you deliver that to them!

We have been blessed to have some amazing teachers for our boys.  Teachers that go above and beyond, they embrace their roll as their educators, they do not give them the answers they work to help show them the way, these educators deserve more-every year we pack their classrooms with more and more students, less supplies, and less time for hands-on learning…..there is so much testing and standards that MUST be met.

I wonder, if we gave teachers the standards to meet for a year and didn’t have to worry about specific standardized tests–what would happen in those classrooms.  I believe those teachers would guide their students to fly….if they met the requirements set by the state but they were not limited by how they fulfilled those requirements.  Just think…what that would do for the teachers and most of all, for our students and children!? The entire classroom would light on fire with learning and ideas….minds asking questions and exploring new and different subjects that just don’t fit in to today’s curriculum.

Teachers are an incredible resource, they are a special kind of person. These people are rare! When you find a good one, try to figure out how you can keep them in your child’s life, so they develop a bond and the student will always know they can go there (to that teacher).  They will know and feel that that specific teacher will always have their back. They give and give without expecting anything in return.  We need them, more of the them, and it seems every year the number of actual teachers, we have, drops.

So, if you get the chance and see a teacher-your childhood teacher, or teacher’s you  have now, make sure to thank them and let me know how important they are to you and your world. I know I need to thank the teacher’s that help my boys’ every day. Without teachers, what would our children and future look like?

 

A Silk Tank and Cowboy Boots

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I spent the day getting ready.  Primping, finding just the right clothes, and imagining his eyes when they met mine.  Tight denim clung to my hips, cowboys that amused him, and a silk tank sunk low in a V to just above my breasts. I knew he would peak at any moment. He wanted me and I wanted him with the same urgency.

I checked myself one last time in the rearview mirror…nerves fluttered from my throat to my toes and I could hardly swallow.  All I had to do was get out of the car, my hand trembled as I reached for the handle……swallow…..deep breath…. and finally the warm summer air swirled around me. Engulfed in the evening sunset, I grabbed my cooler from the back of the car and came around the cabin and there he was.

Our eyes met but he did not come over to me.  I talked to everyone before it seemed that we made our way together by force. I hugged him, I was shaking, he trembled and I could feel his soft sweaty palms through my silk shirt. We both wanted to hold on but even then it may have seemed a second to long.

He gave me a cold one and moved back around to the other side of the fire pit.  He kept his distance but every time I looked at him, he was looking at me. The same smile and spark in those blue eyes.

It had been years. So long since we looked at each other, saw each other’s eyes, and how it felt when just the two of us looked at each other.  So long……. since we talked and spent years talking, and not enough time showing each other how much we loved each other.

In an all consuming way, where nothing seemed to fit without the other.  Somehow, we carried on along side each other…watching and waiting for the other to take the first step.  There was never a first step.  Maybe a few seconds of hands touching, a mere kiss on the cheek, but later much later things changed.  Things evolved and it became clear to me.

The moment I knew, I came back from a run.  There was a  wet mist in the air.  I was feeling defeated by my week, all alone, and my mind found him waiting in the dark corners. I stretched, and rested after my shoes pounded pavement and it started to rain.  The kind of rain that washes away  your soul…my hair matted wet on my shoulders, my clothes stuck to every curve in my body like glue and just like that, I knew.

I wanted him and I needed him.

Forever.