Murdo Girl…SOW syndrome

This blog post is dedicated to my friends and family who live in one of the state’s that has been hit with insurmountable snow and below zero temperatures for month after month.

This is in no way meant to minimize the devastation that has and will continue to affect all of you. I will continue to send prayers your way…

This following teaching moment is for those who can use a few minutes of relief from tension.

As you know, I always like to be of help, so I have developed a little presentation to aid in getting you out of the white funk syndrome I call SOW, (Sick of Winter). Follow these steps and you’ll be smiling again in no time.

# 1, Stop eating all that comfort food or I’ll have to develop another kind of SOW presentation.

#2, Stand in front of a mirror and clap your hands 3 times while at the same time saying, “Ha, Ha, Ha.”

#3, Repeat #2 three times.

#4, Now, clap 5 times while chanting, “Ha, Ha, Hahaha.) Are you still with me? Okay, let me do a demo.

As you have just learned, you do the same thing with Hohoho…if you wish to advance to a higher level, use Hehehe and repeat 10 times.

Now for the cool down…or should I say SOW down?

The tune comes from a song by the pacemakers…no pun intended.

Don’t let the snow catch you cryin.

In July your friend in Texas will be fryin.

Don’t blame yourself if you’ve got sow.

You have a way to fight it now.

Hahaha and hohoho…

Until you’ve seen the last of snow.

No don’t let the snow catch you cryin….

The cat loves SOW downs

I have to get the clothes out of the dryer now!

Murdo Girl…You won’t want to miss this!

By the time you get to my age, you have probably found what brings you joy and what doesn’t. If you’re not that old yet, or haven’t found those things, (just things not people), that make life special, I’m about to give you a gift…Below are a few items I cherish.

Extra durable Mr Clean Magic Erasers.

I couldn’t live without one of these in every room. Mom used to clean her floor by dragging a wet rag around with her foot. I do that in the shower with one of these. I can get the soap scum off the floor and at the same time, I magically erase the callouses from the bottoms of my feet.

Another eraser thing. Revlon Root Eraser. Sorry girls, I can’t afford to spend a hundred dollars at the beauty shop once a month and if I don’t keep my roots touched up, I start to look like Whistler’s Mother.

See how her hair is brown in front and gray in the back? Mine is gray in front and brown in the back. Not very attractive. I could have fixed her right up. This new root eraser comes in a nifty canister, and can be used three times. Now that right there is a money saver! You can thank me later.

I love this rechargeable battery operated fake fire. I suppose it looks like a flickering candle, but it’s much more dramatic looking when you put it inside a frosted glass holder, or a more rustic one like this. It even comes with a remote, and I charge it with it’s own little charger, which also works on my Samsung phone.

Rodan and Fields anything! I love the Redefine Regimen. It works for me. I also use the Active Hydration Serums. One for my neck and one for around my eyes.

An absolute must have for me is Lash Boost. I didn’t use mascara for years because I really didn’t have any lashes. I tried to get some good shots of them, now.

My favorite hat. I found it at a quaint little thrift shop in Cashiers, NC.

My favorite books are both Jesus Calling. The pink one was a gift from my daughter-in-law, Amy, and the brown one was a gift from Gus. I read one every morning. I keep one book in the house and one in the RV.

I won’t get into my favorite Beasterhops, water towers, crowns, or Queen E pictures. I know you’ll appreciate that.

You can thank me twice, later!

I received these beautiful flowers, yesterday, from my cousin Greg Miller and his wife, Carma. They’re so uplifting! I love fresh flowers and appreciate the thoughtfulness that came with these.

I’ll thank them three times!

What things bring you joy?

Murdo Girl…Little c or big C

We’re off to Dallas this morning. I have a doctor’s appointment that could have been avoided.

Remember my cute little poem that started with, “testing, testing, one, two, three, I’m prepping for a colonoscopy?” It had been ten years since I’d had one, which would have been okay, if my previous tests hadn’t revealed several polyps that had to be removed. The lab report called them precancerous. The doc considered my Francis family history of digestive tract issues, and recommended I come back in 3-5 years.

Ten years later, a total of twenty polyps were removed during an hour and a half long colonoscopy that normally takes twenty minutes.

A week later, I was driving home from a friend’s house, when my doctor called to tell me I had colon cancer. A couple of weeks later, I had nine inches of my large intestine, fifteen lymph nodes, ten more polyps, and my appendix removed.

The surgeon is positive the tumor had not spread outside the submucous of the large intestine in which case no further treatment is usually recommended. He decided to refer me to an oncologist for a second opinion. We’re headed that way now. I will let you know how it goes.

My reason, of course, for telling you all of this is to convince you not to delay having all of the preventive tests available to you. They save lives.

In my case, I have suffered some consequences of blowing them off, but if I hadn’t tired of my doctor and husband hounding me and finally had the dreaded colonoscopy, the big C would have progressed.

Beautiful glass sculpture in the lobby of the Harold Simmons Cancer Center

Stage I cancers have a survival rate of 80-95 percent. Stage II tumors have survival rates ranging from 55 to 80 percent. A stage III colon cancer has about a 40 percent chance of cure and a patient with a stage IV tumor has only a 10 percent chance of a cure.

I don’t like drinking that yucky stuff either, but now I have to do it every year, and I’ll enjoy every swallow.

Are you convinced?

Murdo Girl…What to do, What to do?

I’m excited about the JC Coyotes going to the State B basketball tournament this week. They’re scheduled to play their first game, today!

At the end of the blog, I have a couple of pictures of two guys I was around a lot growing up. I believe both went to the State B as participants when they were Seniors (wink).

I graduated in 1970. Our team made it to the regionals.

Now…Here is the blog I wrote for today…

In the last week, I have read three novels and a children’s storybook. I had read two of the novels and the children’s book before, but that was over a year ago. Yesterday, I was invited to the Cedar Creek Literary Club brunch. The speaker was an author who has had a novel published and is writing a second one. I was fascinated by her accounting of the challenges a writer faces once the book is completed. It was clear that I had approached it all wrong.

She said two “must haves” are an editor and a cover creator. She gave us a lot of other information as well, but I’ve been organizing my thoughts around these two.

The first book I read was written by a bestselling author. It was a little “dark” but pretty good. The second was written by me. Since I hadn’t read it for over a year, I got a knew perspective.

I realized I needed a professional editor. They are costly, ($3500.00 to $4000.00). I had help identifying punctuation and grammar errors, but since I was the only one to actually work on the manuscript, I missed correcting a few…several…a lot of them.

As I reread the book, the storyline kept me interested, but there were parts that were too repetitive. It was if I was afraid the reader had fallen asleep and maybe missed something. A few other things also need finessing.

As far as the cover goes, I think it looks great, but then I could be attached to my own creation. It happened when I had children, too. Thankfully, a higher power was involved.

I put a lot of time into this book. I think it’s time I make a decision. Do I scrap it or make it something I can be proud of?

Now all I need is four thousand buckaroos.

The third book I read needs some minor changes, but I think the story is riveting. I, again, was slightly repetitive with information. It was like I was doing a twenty thousand word story and I only had fifteen thousand words.

The photographs in this story are the work of a good friend who specializes in outdoor scenes. They’re fabulous.

Taken near Nemo in the Black Hills of South Dakota…

The story in the children’s book, is from a childhood memory of mine. We Shall See what We Shall See, is what it is! It’s about a favorite character I made up while my dad and I were telling each other tales.

I have neglected my blog. I’ve been recovering from surgery. I will write more on that later…I believe all is well.

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Have a great day! Prayers for all of my South Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming family and friends who have been hit hard with yet another awful blizzard.

On the good news side, the Jones County Coyotes made it to the State B tournament for the first time in thirty years!

Go Coyotes!!!!

William Francis, Sr. Is 2nd to the left in front.

Billy Francis, big Bill’s son is the guy without the cover-up.

Val and I are Sandersons. We’re trained not to look in the direction of the camera.

Murdo Girl…What is an educated woman?

June 8, 2016

The following is an excerpt from an exclusive interview with retiring Jones County High School teacher, Margie Peters.

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Mrs. Peters

This exclusive interview did in fact take place. Even if it didn’t, it’s all true.

Yram Sicnarf: Good morning Margie. May I call you Mrs. Peters?

Mrs. Peters: Whatever floats your boat.

Yram Sicnarf: Let me introduce myself. My name is Yram Sicnarf and I’m an award-winning reporter out of Gun Barrel City, Texas. Please call me Yram.

Mrs. Peters: Gun Barrel City?

Yram: Yes, it’s a little town, South of Riffle Butt, and East of Slingshot, but that’s all you need to know… Mrs. Peters, out of the thousands of students who have excelled under your tutelage, is there any ONE particular student, who because of your influence, has risen to greater heights than those less fortunate?

Mrs. Peters: Oh, my goodness Miss Sicnarf from Gun Barrel, that’s really a loaded question. (No pun intended.) I hate to single out any ONE student, but I will say the whole town is extremely proud of Senator Thune. I’m sure you must have heard of him.

Yram: Yes, yes, I’ve seen the sign. Maybe it would help if we narrowed it down a little. Let’s say the class of 1970. To tunnel down even further, think female!

Mrs. Peters: Well yes, that certainly narrows it down doesn’t it? Hmm, let me think…

The sound of crickets

Yram: I recently interviewed a stunningly talented young lady who was very complimentary of your influence. She goes by …Murdo Girl.

More crickets…

Yram: Yes, Murdo Girl idolized you. She told me she credits you with the success of every one of her careers.

Mrs. Peters: Careers? You mean she’s had more than one? Are we talking jobs or careers?

Yram: Mrs. Peters, we’re here to talk about you. As an aside, Murdo Girl told me that she has never forgotten you…well there was that one time she used your name as a password prompt. The question was, “Who was your favorite teacher?” She had a momentary brain freeze and forgot. It all came back to her when she remembered how you had tricked her in speech class.

Mrs. Peters: Excuse me?

Yram: Yes the topic for the impromptu speech was, “What is an educated woman?”

Mrs. Peters: Ah yes, it’s all coming back to me. I was trying to get my students to think on their feet and be more creative. I recall a young woman who was struggling. She talked about school and college, blah, blah, blah.

Yram: So you admit to setting her up?

Mrs Peters: On the contrary Miss Sicnarf. I hope it was a valuable learning experience for her. An educated woman is a great deal more than…

Yram: I hate to interrupt Mrs. Peters, but I have an interview in a few minutes with the Senator’s father. He taught me, I mean Murdo Girl, algebra, and hired her to work at the Frosty Freeze one summer. Let’s wrap it up with this question. Do you really feel it’s important to know how to diagram sentences? I mean, how many times is an employer going to ask you to diagram a sentence?

Mrs. Peters: Are you sure this Murdo Girl was in my class? If so, she would realize the importance of using correct grammar. Knowing how to write and speak properly is part of being an educated woman. Knowing how a sentence is structured teaches the correct usage of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Some are unable to snag a good job because they don’t know a conjugated verb when they see one. I’ve noticed you always use first person.

Yram: I see…Does it help to use a lot of pictures? Never mind. I’m off to see Mr. Thune. Miss Murdo Girl has never had to use Algebra either, although she can make a mean malt.

Mrs. Peters: It’s very nice to have met you Miss Sicnarf. Don’t you want to take a picture before you go? I would suggest you take several.

I don’t see the sign. Do you see the sign?

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Is this the high school? I can’t find a parking spot. I even have a sticker. Does Murdo Girl have a sign?

Murdo Girl…Snapping back

I’m beginning a new exercise class tomorrow. Remember when I signed up for yoga last year? Here’s the story…

Like almost everyone in the free world, I woke up New Years Day with a resolve to get into shape. I didn’t set the bar too high because I think that’s the reason why others who might be lacking in self-discipline, fail. I decided my plan would be to exercise a few days a week and stop eating anything white. I couldn’t start right away because of our New Year’s trip to Galveston. Under those circumstances, I have no control over what other people feed me right? Don’t be saying that it’s not what, but how much I eat that counts. I don’t like to hear that nonsense because if the truth hurts, I wear it!

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Lav and I participating in a vigorous and challenging class with Gus. Lav and I are the ones with the crowns on 

For years, I was so committed to running, I didn’t have to worry about a fitness resolution. I could catch up easily if I got waylaid for a month or two. Unfortunately, all that ended a few years ago. Actually it’s now been double digits ago. Anyway, shortly after that, I came to the end of the elastic in my skin. I hadn’t realized that when elastic has been around a while, it doesn’t snap back. Old elastic begins to resemble cottage cheese. All that kind of bothers me, but there is one thing that I’m having an even more difficult time accepting. I experienced it yesterday in the midst of a yoga class. All my flexibility is gone and rigor mortis has set in.

I struggled from the git-go.

I was already humiliated enough when I discovered if I tried to stand straight with one foot against my calf, I would fall over. Then the instructor said to move the foot upward toward my knee while still balancing on the other foot, and continuing to pay attention to my breathing. She said we could use a block that she had placed beside us if we felt “unsteady”. I was hoping she didn’t notice that my eyes were crossed and I was very close to hyperventilating. With very little oxygen going to the brain, I couldn’t feel my arms, let alone remember if I was supposed to hold them out like airplane wings, or above my head. I cannot breathe right when I am trying to look at the sky through my right arm while I make sure my fingers are spread wide and my eyes are actually closed. By this time, my friend, Barbara and the instructor had stopped making eye contact with me, anyway.

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When I was supposed to have my eyes closed, I caught a glimpse of my feet. I looked at my right foot. Not bad, I thought. My nails were clipped and filed and I had painted them with a couple of coats of orange-ish colored polish. I was pleased since I hadn’t realized you did yoga without your shoes on. It really does pay to be prepared for anything. I couldn’t see my left foot yet because it was still trying to get to my knee.

When we were again seated on our mats, I saw my left foot. How in the world could I have forgotten to manicure the toenails on my left foot? Did the phone ring? Did the doorbell ring? Did I run out of time before I had to shower and dress? I don’t know!! Now what? If I stopped to put my shoes and socks back on, that might draw more attention to my dilemma, and later people would ask me why I decided to put my shoes on in the middle of the class? I guess I could have told them I got cold feet, which would have been true. Instead, I did my best to put it aside and continued to struggle through the remainder of the class. Even though I was sitting, I still felt like I was falling. During the drive home, I made a Thursday resolution to never let that happen again… starting Thursday. Now for the remainder of my life my left foot will be on a different schedule than my right foot.

I remember a time when my Grandpa Sanderson was showing me something, and I noticed that his fingernails were flat. I didn’t make the connection between flat nails and aging. I just noticed. I don’t know when it happened to me, but I have flat fingernails, too. Are you looking at yours? There is nothing you can do about it.

The bottom line is, you cannot outrun mother nature. Even if you have everything lifted, tightened, tugged and sandpapered, you will not look young forever. Your knees will still sag and so will your bottom. It will be more difficult to stand on one foot, and getting up from the floor hurts. Your smile really will look like a frown turned upside down and you cannot live in dark shadows forever. You can whiten your teeth now unless you have a mouth full of crowned teeth like I do. Crowns don’t whiten, which is the only thing I have found negative about a crown.

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My mother said, “Mary, you will get to a certain age when you have to decide if you are going to be plump with a good face, or be slim with a lined and sunken face.” She said to stay plump and sit down a lot. Thanks my forever beautiful Mother. I’ll do my best, but I will go back to that yoga class…as soon as I can find the time for a mani-pedi. How much do they cost now anyway? I think I’ll have someone else do it.

From now on, I will try any excercise that doesn’t begin with a Y, and I won’t drink anything white…except milk.

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Murdo Girl…Cooking and cleaning with RC

Yesterday…

I’m watching my little great granddaughter, Ryan Constance, today. She’s two and a half and has already outsmarted me several times. Do you think four mandarin oranges is too many for a child that small? She can peel them herself and pull all of the little sections apart. The downside is it makes a juicy mess and I had to change her clothes and wipe up her sticky trail. (I hated to make her sit at the table, so I didn’t.)

She had a cheese stick and peanut butter crackers for lunch. (That’s what she asked for.) Now she’s eating pretzels with Nutella for dessert. I didn’t think about putting her hair in a ponytail until she looked like she had been dipped in chocolate fondue. Visions of Mrs. E who consumed a whole jar of Nutella on my watch came to mind in time to distract Ryan from suffering the same fate. It went right through the poor lady.

Once Ryan got full, I could tell she was ready for a nap. I’m still recovering from surgery and can’t lift anything over 20 lbs which makes it difficult to coax a child to sleep. She was not happy about going to bed, but I managed to get the rail down and she climbed into her crib with the use of a small step stool.

I sang to her and patted her back while she sniffled and tried her hardest not to go to sleep. Finally, she reached for a bedtime toy and turned it on. There is nothing like soft lullabies and the sound of waves to induce sleep. I woke up a little later and found Ryan was also sleeping. I was lying on the floor, so I crawled to the door, but just as I reached it, I heard the sniffles again, so I crawled back to the side of the bed and stayed there until I was sure she was fast asleep. (I was relieved that she never actually cried.)

As soon as she gets off work, Nikki will be here to pick up Ryan and sister, Skyler, who will be home from school, and take them with her to a hair appointment. I hope she’s not in a hurry because Ryan is still all sticky and her shirt needs changed again. The floor is also sticky thanks to a bubble maker that Ryan loves. I made my kids go outside with their little bottles of soap and wands. (Ryan was having so much fun, I let her play in the bubbles as much as she wanted to.) I remember how Mom used to clean the floor so before I leave, I’ll take a damp rag and push it around with my foot.

I think the day went quite well.

I was really pleased when Ryan was born, and Nikki gave her my middle name. I’m still honored by that, but it has dawned on me why we’ve all been given a middle name. It’s so our parents can drive home the fact that we’re in big trouble. When Mom yelled, “Mary Constance,” I knew I was in for it! The other day, I heard Nikki say, “Ryan Constance!” I felt like I had heard my name and my Grandmother’s name in vain. At least when Harry Truman’s mother yelled, “Harry S,” the S didn’t do any damage because his parents only used S as his middle name because they couldn’t think of anyone they wanted to name him after.

Live and learn is what I always say and grandkids are great teachers.

Murdo Girl…Listening up

Today I heard a voice. It was one I’d heard before.

It was just a whisper, but not easy to ignore.

I stood there quietly, not knowing what to do.

I saw no one there to speak, and no one to speak to.

The words were softly spoken, I could barely hear.

If the voice was going to whisper, it should whisper in my ear.

Today I heard a voice. It was one I’d heard before.

I said, “You must come closer if you want to tell me more.”

“I’ll raise my voice,” it said. “And come as close as you’ll allow.”

“Is this about the past?” I asked. “Or about the here and now?”

“There is something you should know,” I heard. “And it has to come from me.”

“Who are you?” I said loudly. ” In this darkness I can’t see.”

Today I heard a voice. It was one I’d heard before.

It made me squirm a little. I couldn’t listen anymore.

“You don’t have to see to hear. You don’t need your sense of smell.

Don’t you recognize my voice? It’s one you know quite well.”

“Whatever do you want from me?” I asked impatiently.

“Ask that question of yourself and answer honestly.”

I want to live in gratitude, for all that I’ve been given.

I want to be responsible for this body that I live in.

I want to think of others who have challenges to face.

I want to see the light in the very darkest place.

I heard a voice today. It was one I’d heard before.

It said I must begin…by pushing down so I can soar.

Poem was inspired by the above “crown quote” that my friend, Karen Lindquist sent to me today…

Karen and me a few years ago.

Inspirational photographs by my friend, Dianna Diehm…(Used without her permission.)

Murdo Girl…Small town fun

(Rerun of a “Little Murdo Girl” story)

I know the little Murdo Girl  means well. Some of her ideas work out, and some don’t. I guess she’s learning about how life works. I know she’s taught me a few things.

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There’s a new motel in town named The Graham Motor Lodge. It’s across the street from us. The owners have three boys. Their names are Kim, Terry, and Kit. My cousin Andrea is in love with Terry. She comes to our Motel all the time and looks out the window of #1, so she can see him if he comes outside. Stephanie and I both like Kit. I don’t think he knows which one of us he likes best. It doesn’t really matter, because we both have fun with him.

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(Not so clear photo of Stephanie and me with my horse, Governor).

I guess part of the reason we like to play with him is because The Graham Motor Lodge has the only swimming pool in town. All of the kids have been trying to be friends with Kit, so he’ll invite them to go swimming. It hasn’t worked out too well, because his parents don’t want every kid in town always in their pool. It’s for tourists to swim in. About a month ago, they hired a guy to give swimming lessons, and invited us all to sign up. A lot of kids took the lessons, but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. We had to be there at 7:00 in the morning, and the water was freezing. My lips had to be as blue as poor Mrs. Thiesen’s. We had to tread water for about 15 minutes to pass, and that’s a long time. We were all glad when the lessons were over. I noticed Kit didn’t have near as many friends. Stephanie and I stuck with him though, and we even get to swim once in awhile.

I hate to talk about sad stuff, but the whole town is feeling bad. Kitty Reynold’s husband, Kelly died. I didn’t go to the funeral, because my funeral days are still over for awhile. The ladies in the bridge club, and all the people Kitty sewed for are upset, because her daughter from Utah came and snatched Kitty up and moved her away. No more long, red, formals, and crusty southern cornbread for me.

Mrs. Reynolds sewed for a lot of people, and she made lots of clothes for Mom and me. Once she made us matching skirts. I’m going to show you a picture of them, but it was taken a long time ago.

Uncle Wayne, Mom, Aunt Ella, Aunt Helen, Uncle Jeff, and Aunt Elna… Andrea and I (The twin skirt).

A new family moved to Murdo, which doesn’t happen very often. They live in a little house South of 16. One of the kids, (Sandra), is my age and we’re friends now. I noticed that her Mom didn’t have a lot of nice clothes. Sometimes I like to do something nice for people, so I went home and looked in Mom’s closet. I saw the skirt that matched mine. My skirt is too small now, so we couldn’t be twins anyway. That’s why I gave Mom’s skirt to Sandra’s Mom. I told her the skirt was too little for my Mom now. It might be the truth, I don’t know. Well, Sandra’s Mom really liked it.

A few days later, Mom saw Sandra’s whole family walking uptown, and she recognized her skirt. I got called Mary Content that day instead of Mary Constance. I know Mom is really mad when she calls me Mary Content. I will explain the difference.

My Grandma Francis was named Content Abbie Bottum. She later changed her first name to Constance. I really can’t blame her, because who would like to have a name like Content Bottum? When Grandma got married to my Grandpa, her name became Connie Francis. Yes…like the singer, Connie Francis who sang “Where the Boys Are.”  Grandma Connie didn’t like the name Content. I think that’s why when she’s really mad, Mom calls me Mary Content. My first name, Mary, is after my Grandma Sanderson.

Grandma Sanderson holding my cousin, Greg Miller and Grandma Francis holding, my brother, Billy Francis

I guess I can’t blame Mom for being mad. The skirt was one of kind. I gave Sandra’s Mom a few other things, but so far, Mom hasn’t seen them. Next time I give something of hers away, I’ll ask first. Mom said several times, that’s the real reason she got so mad.

Billy is going to have a party in our basement. It should be fun, because he has a lot of good 45’s. The songs I like best are: Sugar in the morning, Sugar in the Evening, Sugar at Super Time, and Wake up Little Susie, Wake up. I know I won’t be invited to go downstairs, so I’ll sit on the landing and listen.

Billy Francis 

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There’s another thing that’s going to be fun. A carnival is coming to Murdo next week. It’s going to be in a vacant spot on our street, but South of Hwy 16. My cousin Mark and I are going to try to think of a way to make extra money for it. Last time we took cardboard boxes and tied a rope on two sides, so we could hang the boxes around our neck. Then, we asked our Moms to give us things they didn’t want anymore, like hair brushes, makeup, and jewelry. We filled the boxes and went door to door selling stuff. We made quite a bit of money. We mostly went to houses close to the Grade School. Mrs. Peck, and Mrs. Sorenson bought the most things.

Billy heard about it and told us there’s a sign outside of town that says, ” NO PEDDLERS,” which means we could get arrested. We’ll think of something else to do this year, but it will have to be legal.

Mary and Mark – Wanted Peddlers

Well, I have to quit for now. I’ll let you know how Billy’s party turns out.

Murdo Girl…All is well

A very special group of amazing musicians and singers performed this song for me today.

Thank you Jubilation 5. This song has been on my mind for days and it has brought me peacefully through a bump in the road of life. To hear you sing it, was the greatest gift.

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(I wrote this story about a time when life was less complicated)

The corner window

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I remember sitting in this old schoolhouse. I could look out the corner window in the back and see the changes in the seasons. Since it doubled as our country church, I spent six days a week here.

In this little building out in the middle of someone’s pasture, I learned about life here and everywhere else. I learned how to count as high as I would ever need to, and I learned to count my blessings.

I learned how people survived hardship and how some did not survive success. I learned the happiest people are those who truly care about others. I learned how to pray for strength, courage, and wisdom. I learned how to be humble, grateful, and compassionate.

I learned that nothing is forever, and life would be better if I learned to embrace change. I figured out that we all come from a long line of hardworking people, and we should be proud of our heritage.

This old building shaped my life. I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t come here when it was too cold, or too hot. I learned everything from how to tie my shoes by watching my classmates, to what love is and isn’t from reading 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

I also know that learning and living are two different things. I can learn the lesson, but not live it. I can justify, argue, and spin my mistakes, but it doesn’t change the truth. Anyone who doesn’t hold me accountable does me no favors.

I’m an imperfect human being who was lucky enough to cross the threshold of this old building where I gazed out the corner window and saw a beautiful world, because that’s what I chose to see.

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