Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Provider

The woman inserted her quarter and the grocery cart was released from it's line of inmates. 



So we meet again she thought as she walked through the Aldi entrance. There was a sale on butter so her objective was to buy an entire case, as well as other things discovered in the Sunday flyer. 



She waited behind a couple to get a gallon of milk. They were deliberate in their choices, marking each with discussion as they crossed items off of their list. The woman couldn't help but notice that they didn't appear to have much; by the way they were kept and dressed. It was far too cold this March to leave the house wearing thin t-shirts and no coats. 

They were polite and apologized for standing in her way; the woman didn't mind. This was her day off the farm

Fifteen minutes later the woman made her way to the check out line and found herself once again behind the same couple. The man had his wallet out and was reviewing the groceries they had placed on the belt. 

In a deflated, quiet voice he whispered to his wife, "I don't think I have enough money." He continued to leaf through the folds in his wallet, and then his jean pockets. The wife watched with worried eyes. "Do you have any money on you?" he asked.

The wife searched through her purse and pulled out a couple dollar bills. They paired their money and both looked at the food they hoped to buy.

The woman behind them suddenly felt a bit of anxiety on behalf of the couple. 

The cashier scanned the items quickly, dropping them into the cart at the end of the belt. He read them the total and the man handed him the bills. "We're short."

The cashier counted the money. "You're short $1.40," he let them know, quietly. The couple reviewed their cart and quickly discussed what item they could do without that week. 

"How much are you short?" the woman behind them asked. The cashier repeated: $1.40. 

"Well, I've got that, I'm certain of it," said the woman. She dug into her purse and handed the cashier the exact amount. Both the man and his wife were incredibly grateful and thanked the stranger multiple times. They left with their cart full.

The woman visited - briefly - with the cashier as he rang total. He and she both agreed that we've all been there. 
"Like butter?" he asked. 
"You have no idea....," the woman replied. 

She packed her bags, returned her cart and retrieved her quarter. Then she loaded her car and settled in to drive to the bank. "This car is such a mess!" the woman said aloud as she tried to get things organized on the seat and console so she could even operate the Ford. She lifted a tablet, her calving notes  from the farm that morning, and stopped. Instantly. 

Under the stack of records:

$1.40 sitting on her console. 







Across town, my phone rang.

"Hi Momma."
"BLOG!" she said enthusiastically across the phone lines. 
"Oh boy, what happened?" I asked, then listened to her tell the "His Mysterious Ways" story. Like Momma, I got chills. 

By the way, the His Mysterious Ways books are 
some of the greatest gifts I've ever received. 
They're strongly recommended; you can buy directly: 




Anyway, I hung up and thought to the Bible verse about God providing, always
I'll admit, I had to look it up:


2 Corinthians 9:8
Plenty left over to share with others. 
Momma got her $1.40 back, somehow. 

Later, I was outside with Cody when he asked what I was going to blog about this week. I retold him the story of Momma's experience and revealed to him the verse I was going to use to tie it all together. Immediately, he began walking away from me. 
Bothered, I said, "Hey, I'm still talking to you..."
"Follow me," he replied walking from the barn, up to the house. 

Without taking off his boots (not that it annoyed me to the point that I'm still thinking about it......), Cody walked to the the table where he reads his daily devotions. He opened the the devotional to the bookmark: Today's date.

He, too, was lead to 2 Corinthians 9:8. 



I don't have a witty way to wrap this up, other than reassuring you that God will always provide us with the things we need. 
Always
Enough so that we can share with others. 



Oh! 
And, I've developed Aldi's new tagline:
Aldi - Where Miracles Happen.


Have you read the other His Mysterious Ways story?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rural Neighbors

Rural neighbors. Not everyone has them, but everyone can appreciate them. 
Their friendship. 
Their patience. 
The way that they always seem to have the extra 1/2 cup of sugar that you're lacking. 

Rural neighbors are the first person called when your husband is out of town and you find a set of twins, one with a broken leg. Rural neighbors try like heck to console you through tears, emotion and panic. The rural neighbor does one heck of a job in role he's not prepared for. 



Rural neighbors lend their sons to your manure-hauling efforts and kindly ask you to buy candles to support their daughters' cheerleading fundraiser. 

Rural neighbors are the first ones you call when your dog goes on an extended journey and is no where to be found. They're also the first ones you call when your dog has pups sixty-three days later...

Rural neighbors show up for no reason, stick around for no reason and don't leave - because they have no reason to do so. 

Rural neighbors are tried and true hay help when a storm is brewing. 



Rural neighbors seem to have just the right tool or piece of machinery - you know, the one that you don't own - to get the job done. 

Rural neighbors are on call. 24/7. No questions asked. Without pay. 

Rural neighbors make burning Flint Hills pastures a team effort. Countless sprayer trucks, eyes and evaluations. 






Rural neighbors Leave The Light On

Rural neighbors are the ones you contact first, even before the power company, when the electricity goes out to see if they’re in the same situation.

Rural neighbors don't pass judgement when they drive by and see a serious argument taking place in the barnyard. Rural neighbors know that every farm has a trash pile. 

Rural neighbors watch the neighbor boy turn into a basketball star using only discipline and a plywood backboard connected to a 150-year-old barn. 



Rural neighbors have sons that drive too fast, sons  that have a truck that's too loud and sons that never sleep. Rural neighbors have sons that have been 17 for, what seems like, five years. 

Rural neighbors see your children off to Vacation Bible School, the Junior Prom and finally...their honeymoon. 

Rural neighbors spend evenings around the kitchen table with the coffee pot brewing, pondering this simple question: What went wrong?

Rural neighbors are the first to organize frozen meals for mothers-to-be, the first to begin funeral food preparation and the first to share a favorite recipe. Rural neighbors know that love is in breaking bread. 

Rural neighbors know the value in a flashlight with good batteries or a bright moon on a clear night.

Rural neighbors keep the congregation updated on your progress when you haven't been able to sit in a pew for weeks. 

Rural neighbors know these lines all too well:
 You didn't hear this from me...
Between you and I...
If I was him...
Bless her heart...

Rural neighbors know the value in hand-me-down clothes, kid's boots barely worn and one-night prom dresses. Rural neighbors take full advantage of these resources before ever considering a mall. 

Rural neighbors aren't shy. They'll ask why the vet truck was in your barn lot for two hours, who drives the BMW that sat in the driveway last week, and why they didn't see your daughter's minivan around during Christmas. 

Rural neighbors will - without a doubt - judge you based on what hangs on your clothesline and also how you react when the clothesline snaps. 




Rural neighbors ensure you'll never sit alone at the Rural Urban Banquet. 

Rural neighbors know when your calves are calving. They're always sure to report the masses of afterbirth their dogs drag onto their back porch. 

Rural neighbors always answer the call. Even the one when the Sheriff calls to tell you there are cattle in the road and you're 600 miles from home. Rural neighbors get those cattle in. 

Rural neighbors may assess the future of your relationship based on your answer to this single question: How passionately do you feel about good fences?

Rural neighbors act as an insta-taxi for your kids when the flu hits your homestead. Football practice, 4-H, livestock judging, dance class...Sure. Your rural neighbor can handle that. She thinks?

Rural neighbors are the first to pull your tractor out of the situation. And, also the first to tell the entire township. 


Rural neighbors give you what is left of their Sunday coupon section after they've clipped through what they may need. 


Rural neighbors agree to - without asking a single question - watching your stock during your son's wedding, your Daddy's funeral or the one weekend in twenty-seven years your groom decides to take you on a real vacation. 

Rural neighbors get you out of situations that you're certain you could not handle alone. I'm so thankful for rural neighbors like Tim at Schaeffer Show Cattle. Good. People.  


Rural neighbors. Not everyone has them, but everyone can appreciate them. 

This spring, take the time to thank your rural neighbor for the support they bring to your life when you need it most. 

Their friendship. 
Their loyalty. 
And perhaps most important: their neutered dog. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fifty Years Apart

Today is a very special Wednesday.
Two of the most important people in my life
celebrate another year of influence.  

This beautiful blonde, The Original Jean,  turns 85 


And this courageous cowboy, my husband,  turns 35


On March 11, fifty years apart, 
my destiny was shaped in a special way. 

Checking cows last night I wondered about the greatest lesson The Original Jean and Cody have taught me. 
Put grandkids with solid lung capacity in the trunk to avoid admission costs at the Preble County Fair? 
Nope.
Hold on to things for ten years, then see if they really matter?
Nope. 

When I was young - I'm talking like six years ago - Grandma's kitchen table was the safest place. It was only there that I felt comfortable enough to tell her about the changes, disappointments and searching I faced in life. Though she married young, she didn't seem to judge, she just listened. Her advice was never gushy or deep or even Biblical. Her advice always referenced patience and was typically this:

"You don't have to marry the man. 
Just let him take you to dinner."

Yeah, thanks Grandma. Because of that advice I went through about 403 first dates and started a few fires that nearly burned me to the ground. I also ate a lot of really good meals. Hence the fat jeans/skinny jeans drawer in my dresser. 

I also sifted, because of The Original's advice. 
What I believed was real. 
What I selfishly prayed for. 
What I expected. 
All totally wrong, but silently I kept The Original Jean's advice in my back pocket. 

I don't have to marry him, 
just enjoy the company without expectations. 

Really shoddy long-term advice for a gal who grew up playing M.A.S.H.

Anyway, on March 11, 1980 there was a new kid on the block in Kansas. He looked like his Papa Laflin and had a restless spirit like his dad, Chris


Papa Laflin and Cody

And despite giving him the wrong phone number, he still treated me to the dinner that The Original Jean encouraged.
For the record, it was the Worst. Food. Ever. 
But the company sure made up for it. 


He is a passionate man. Made of grit and contemplation. 
He generally doesn't say much, asks plenty questions and his mind never shuts off. 
He constantly evaluates, processes and projects. 
I just typically repeat my question because he takes too long to answer. 
Patience


If these March 11 babies have taught me anything, it is patience. 
They've taught me that worrying does nothing. 
They've taught me to let go of expectations and see where life fearlessly leads. 
They've taught me that life happens when you put down the map
They've taught me to be careful what you pray for. 
They've taught me that yelling louder doesn't make someone understand what you just tried to explain. 
They've taught me that just because they think they did, doesn't necessarily mean someone remembered to latch the gate. 
They've taught me that sometimes it doesn't pay to to buy the cheap stuff
They've taught me that "expectations" is "get a life" spelled backwards. 
Just kidding. 
They've also taught me this:

The best things happen when you're not looking. 

So put away the grand plan and let life go where it will. 
I trust you'll learn that 
the best surprises are the ones 
that had nothing to do with all of your worry.

 

Happy Birthday, Grandma & Cody!




Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Long Road Home

I hurried out to start my car yesterday morning. It needed to run several minutes before making the twenty-five minute trek into the office. Not exactly July in Indiana, you know. 
Same routine, same idea, same old predictable same.
But on this particular morning I arose early to get to the office for some added responsibility due to a meeting. 

Then, I lost my footing on the sidewalk and was forced to slow down. 
Whoa, I had forgotten it was going to freeze over night. Weather gal wasn't joking. What an inconvenient day for an icy ride down Highway 35.
Immediately, I thought about everything I had yet to do before noon: 
Make the rural trek in. 
Sort copies. 
Data sort customers. 
Update spreadsheet. 
Print all files for appropriate members. 
Print labels. 
Box documents. 
And at some point, address overnight emails and voicemails. 

Time was of an essence - and if I could make it back to the house without breaking my tailbone - I was going to capitalize on every passing minute. 
I did. 
I rushed to change my boots. 
I hurried the lunch packing. 
I started the coffee, then got frustrated that it percolated slowly. 
For just a few minutes, I patiently listened as Cody said our PS Prayers...day savers. 
I grabbed my bags, lunch and water and rushed back down the sidewalk. 
Slipped again.
Only worse. 
I was again annoyingly forced to slow down. 
I reached the end of the lane only to get behind a car, behind a truck, behind a semi. 
"Really don't have time for this," I said to myself. If I hadn't started Cody's coffee, I'd be in front of that semi. 

Our caravan made it five miles before the leader of the pack - the semi - slowed down abruptly. I thought for a minute maybe a deer or an officer had slowed his pace. But the semi continued at the twenty-under pace for several miles. What did he see that I couldn't?

Miles later we - the pack of job-bound cars and trucks behind the semi - reached the small town of Williamsburg where our route was redirected by a Sheriff. Accident ahead. We rerouted through the rural town and ended up coming out just 100 yards from the scene of the route-changing head on collision with entrapment. The IU Health helicopter was there, awaiting passengers.


(Photo by Matt Monnig....continue reading to learn more about that)

I was sick, enough to roll down my window in need of fresh air. 

As slow as a funeral procession, our caravan climbed the hill parallel to the accident scene. I made it to work just fine, not thirty minutes early, but rather seven minutes after eight.  
Seven glorious minutes. 
I don't know how women can't keep mascara in their car console.

The PS Prayers were good to us. The meeting went well, the day was brief but a good one. I had a dentist appointment at 4:15 and that's a blog for another Wednesday morning. No cavities, but enough content to suffice. 

The long road home was different.
I cautiously made my way back to the homestead after work, eyes forever scanning side ditches and cross roads. A heavy fog had set in and familiar landmarks were getting more and more less visible, let alone the vehicle directly in front of me. I remembered the morning commute and took my heel off the gas. I had all the time in the world. 


I made it home without trouble just in time to help Cody feed the cattle and meet the new kid on the block (a heifer). And also give a pep talk to some young mothers about their role once they were allowed past the gate.



But then, as generally done when given a few minutes to stop and reflect, I began thinking back on the day and how it completely parallels so much we experience in life:

Fiercely rushing through a morning - or day? Week? Month?
Darn near busting my ability to ever do a back handspring again. 
(Just kidding - that happened in 8th grade when I never actually could physically do a back handspring. Ever.)
Annoyed by a row of three (only 3!) vehicles slowing my progress. 
Curious about Someone (in this case, a semi driver) who might know better than I. 
Then, on the return trip home, uncomfortably watching for familiar signs that weren't there. 
White knuckled with anticipation of an unknown outcome. 
A heavy fog nearly able to erase any familiar comfort or knowledge of a place we thought we knew. 

Do you get it?

The Long Road Home is not one for the faint of heart. And as I type that, I'm not referring to anything that has to do with asphalt or passing lanes. 

The Long Road Home is about 
realizing that the living is not in the rush
The Long Road Home is about learning that 
patience is one trait that will be used more often than it will sit on the shelf.
The Long Road Home is about 
understanding that it is okay to learn from those in front of you. Take notes. Heed their warnings, disregarding pride. 
The Long Road Home is about 
learning patience as you wait for signs that you think are to come. Or should come. Or will come. Or, may never come at all. 
The Long Road Home is about patience. 
The Long Road Home is about
letting go of what you thought was to be, and accepting what is. 

Sometimes, the path - that one that we might deem dreadful and discombobulated - is the long road Home. 

It's life. 
Perhaps not the one planned, but rather the one designed specifically for us. 

Either way, you're going to need sunglasses to deflect the snow and maybe a double shot of patience to get through the upcoming years. Trust me. 



On a oh-so-ironic side note, the IU Health helicopter that began the entry of this blog, ended up landing in my cousin's yard in Ohio later yesterday, due to ice. You can read more - including little Cora's perfect, brief media response - here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Penny Pincher

I don't always pinch pennies with the likeness of vice grips, 
but when I do it's on necessities and comforts 
such as food and toilet paper. 

At one point last weekend, I set out to pick up a few things. 

Besides the extreme pressure and anxiety I feel during check out, I love shopping at Aldi. They carry almost everything I need, their selection has more than doubled in the last two years, they have unbeatable prices and the store is small and easy to navigate. Avoid that place on the first day of the month and it's an even better experience. I can reorganize stock in search of empty boxes with the the very best of them in order to get $1.79/gallon milk and Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc at $6.99.
However, without fail I get so nervous during check out. 
Is there a cart at the end of the belt?
Should I push my cart around? 
Will I get my quarter back?
Is the cashier in a good mood?
Is there space for me at the packing counter?
Who is behind me?
Why are they buying so much beef jerky?
Why didn't he put a divider between our food? I am not buying his beef jerky...

"How are you today? $34.28. Cash back? Have a good evening."

Wait. 
What? 
Where am I?
Did I already pay? 
Before I know it, the cashier is pushing my cart out of the way and asking the Jerky Hoarder how his day is going. It always happens so fast. It's like the Soup Nazi experience of grocery shopping.



After my blood pressure lowered from my Aldi experience, I stopped at the Amish Dollar General to pick up other things I had on an imaginary list somewhat stored in my cray-cray head. The Amish discount store has a reputation for great prices on all items, if you can get past the cosmetic shortcomings...

Last summer I bought two coral Maybelline lipsticks, one each for Momma and I. They were only $.80 and looked great if you could get past how bad they made your lips burn. I also bought Cody a 50-count One-A-Day men's vitamin that was only a couple months expired. Fifty vitamins for $1.50, regularly $8.00! He has yet to break the seal on the vitamins, but I'm optimistic that 2015 is the year. He mentioned something about sterilization. I don't really remember. 

Anyway, while I roamed the aisles aimlessly like a lost child, I was thrilled to find Italian seasoning by the case, two pounds of butterscotch chips and bananas - none of which I had even thought of prior to entering the store. I came in to look around and went out with $.03 change from a twenty dollar bill. 

Minutes later (the real problem with each of these places: convenience) I reached the homestead and began to make trips into the house with my newfound treasures. 

I walked back outside after trip number one to see Cody staring blankly into the back hatch of my vehicle.

"Please let me you did not buy food at either of those places. Tell me you only bought cleaning supplies."
"Food and toilet paper," I responded, holding up my 18-double-roll-super-pillow-plush toilet paper purchase. 

"Linds," Cody said while studying the purchase, "that has tire tracks on it. It's been run over by something."

(UGH! He's such a details guy, I thought to myself.)

"I saw that, but I just need to reshape it then store it somewhere where with won't regress. It only cost like eighteen cents per roll. You can't put a price on that!"
"Yeah, I can. It's eighteen cents....on roadkill toilet paper."
"Oh, there are worse things," I continued as we carried the groceries in. I was trying to think of worse things, but the more I looked at our little flattened rolls of roadkill, I couldn't think of much. Between you and I, I'll never tell Cody that. How was I supposed to get those on the spool? 

"Uhhh, are these bananas?" he asked once we reached the kitchen.
"Uhhh, what else would they be?"
"Did you really buy midget bananas? They're already starting to brown. Why would you buy bananas with cheetah spots already?"
"Because they were thirty-cents per pound compared to sixty-six cents. You do the math." 
And then Cody said something under his breath that had absolutely nothing to do with math. 

That night we had had some good friends over for dinner. I opened the freezer and my two-pound bag of butterscotch chips hit the kitchen floor, busting open and scattering like hundreds of ants scurrying across the linoleum.
OH, THE HORROR!
I - along with six others - dropped to my knees and started scrambling to snatch up the tiny pieces, one by one. 
"Do you want to save these?" Timmy asked as his long arms extended to corral the rogue candies.
Before I could even open my mouth, Cody yelled, "No! We're tossing them." I didn't even have a chance to ask everyone to put them in a bowl so I could rinse them off for a refreeze! Darn that Cody, always looking out for my reputation. The next few minutes were a haze. With every chip I heard ping into the trash, I simultaneously heard a dollar cha-ching!
Ping.
$$$Cha-Ching!$$$
Ping.
$$$Cha-Ching!$$$
Something like $3.00 down the drain. 

Days later and I've found that my pinching pennies did nothing for patience. Being run over by a Peterbilt should have been the least of our concerns when it comes to the toilet paper. These roles are somehow triple-layered, mismatched, uneven and basically a really big pain in the the....neck. One minute we're trying to get a few squares, the next it's like the entire bathroom floor is covered in shreds of paper and half the "value" roll is gone.



Oh, and - the 18-pack value pack only had 16 rolls in it. 
Darn those Amish, always doing things their way. 


The way I see it, I'll continue using my vice-grip-money-saving-practices, like buying a case of knock-off Windex with twelve broken spouts, until one of two things starts happening:
1. Some discount salad dressing that was a victim of an I-70 fender bender causes our hair to fall out or
2. Cody starts doing the grocery shopping. 

See you Saturday at the 
Amish Dollar General, Bertha Yoder. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

If The Boot Fits

If I ever go missing I'm certain my disappearance will first be noticed when I miss a Wednesday blog. 
Thank you for the texts, calls and emails checking on my well-being. Read assured, I was overwhelmed with responsibilities last week, not tucked in a dumpster at a truck stop along I-80. 

Back to 7:00 am Wednesdays...

It's been another frigid few days in Indiana as below zero temperatures and snow coated the area. Per the usual poor timing, Cody was out of town judging the San Antonio Stock Show and really missing out on all the fun back home. Someone hand me a towel, that last sentence is dripping with sarcasm. 

Frozen valves on electric water tanks, calving cows and heifers, frozen pipes in the house and wind so strong we lost siding. Oh, and I watched our 16-month nephew for the weekend, which ended up being the absolute highlight. And in all of my free time I went to work at my real, full time job. 


 

On Monday evening I went in the house to change into my barn clothes. I suited up, complete with insulated everything, and traveled back out to the barn. I couldn't help but notice the stark differences in my tracks into the old homestead and my tracks out. One reflected the wedge boots paired with slacks and a blouse worn to business meetings throughout the day. The returning tracks represented a pair of Muck boots full of already-cold feet and three pairs of socks.

Such different roles one person can - and must - play throughout the course of a day. If the boot fits, I thought to myself. 




How many different boots do you wear throughout the day?

The teacher turned housekeeper?
The lawyer turned peacekeeper?
The nurse turned one in need of attention?
The banker turned rancher?
The politician turned introvert?
The geneticist turned cook?
The shining star turned coward?
The thought leader turned dreamer?
The designer turned addict?
The addict turned father?
The pastor turned event planner?
The optimist turned pessimist? 
The wife turned actress?
The stockman turned salesman?
The trainer turned glutton?
The stay-at-home mom turned financial analyst?
The assistant turned boss?
Or better yet: The boss turned assistant?
Or do you wear so many different boots that you can't keep track?

And why do those boots change?
Well, for me: I just don't think our CEO would appreciate me tracking calf placenta from one end of the office to the other. 

But other than the obvious - why do we change the boots we wear in a day?
We want to. 
We need to. 
We're made. 
We're asked. 
We're demanded. 
It pays the bills. 
You're too afraid not to. 
It's expected of you. 
You've never questioned it. 
You know no other way. 

A person will wear a lot of different boots in a day, let alone a lifetime. My challenge to you is recognizing those boots and the relevance they provide in your life. The rhyme, the reason. 
What boots can you put in the toss pile?
Which ones should you put on more often?

I returned home from work convinced there was no need to change out of my manager heels and into my work boots. Cody was home from Texas and he would likely spend hours well into the dark outside catching up on things around the farm. 

Wrong. 

He gave me a beautiful Charlie Favour cuff and and undebatable invitation to slip into something....- warmer -....and come back outside to help him thaw the ears of the newest baby, born at -6ยบ. 

"Don't forget your hair dryer!" he called across the barn lot. I made the familiar trek up the sidewalk.



At some point in the last twenty four hours I've taken off the manager boots and slipped into assistant - finally and thank goodness. 

I was getting half concerned that I'd have to learn to tag calves in heels to improve efficiencies. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ten Years Later

“It’s amazing what a man 
thought was important enough 
to keep ten years ago.”

Cody made this statement last Saturday as he threw a toolbox down in the yard in an effort to clean out his office. You would think – after moving from Kansas to Oklahoma to Michigan to Indiana – he would have sorted through the contents in his office over the last ten years, several times. 


I guess sometimes, amidst the spirit of a move, emotion allows us to easily overlook the tossing, and encourages us transport everything to the next “home”.

Beautiful Economy, Indiana is the last place the pieces of CS' life stopped, and we aligned our calendars to find a day that we were both actually home - on the same day - and decided to sort. 
Oh boy, did we sort.

Kansas City Chiefs art from the early 1990’s
A Viking helment


Puppy collars for dogs no longer around
Bovine lubricant by the gallon
File after file of things studied at Oklahoma State University


Angus Journals from 1999
A party cone hat - identical to the one below


First pay stubs
Registration papers from cows that first calved in 1994
Letters from gals I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting…

All things important enough to keep ten years ago.

The next day, during the Super Bowl I mentioned to Momma how we had spent our Saturday.
“Oh, was it tough?” she asked, thinking of all the memories being tossed.

By the way:
(I know with confidence (I texted her yesterday to confirm details) that Momma still has Laura’s baby teeth wrapped in tissue paper inside a ceramic jar , a splinter that was plucked from Luke’s little body after a furniture incident and my baby book. Granted, my book is still wrapped in plastic and hasn't been tainted with a dot of ink in thirty years, but she kept it, nonetheless. Tossing doesn't come easy for Momma.)

I responded:
“No, it was mostly Cody’s stuff so I had no problem tossing it,” said the helpful wife. “I did find a box of my birthday cards in the file cabinet I had forgotten about. I put them in plastic and moved them to the storage barn. I have no idea where they’ll go when we decide to clean out the storage barn….” 
My focus drifted to guacamole.

Some things are pertinent to have around in order to get through particular stages in our life. I'm certain Cody couldn't have made it though undergrad or graduate school without a viking hat. But just as time changes paths, it changes priorities,  too. 

Ten years later, I’m not just speaking of “stuff” that may be kept around.
What about the other things we had ten years ago that we’re still in possession of?

Ease.
Devotion.
Scars.
Ideas.
Goals.
Fear.
Resentment.
Love.
Beliefs.
Jealousy.
Faith.
Worry.
Excitement.
Bitterness.
Remorse.
Ten years ago, which of these things 
were you desperately keeping within you? 
Which ones are you still carrying, today? 
Why?

Some things are important enough to keep.
To store.
To preserve.
To still find among – or within – us ten years later, soliciting a memory.
And others are better left in the past. 
Or the burn barrel. 
Sort wisely. 




Anyone have a burning desire to learn more about Prairie Chicken Management in Oklahoma?