Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Plan

Tonight was evident that God really does have a sense of humor. This was my first solo outing with my second and new little sis Kathleen, and when I picked her up, her mom said, "Make sure she does her homework and make sure you're home by 7:30." Well, I had big plans for us, and homework was not among those plans! So, "Kat" as she said I could call her, and it would be her very first nick-name and I ventured off to Mudders and Potters, one of my favorite places to go in the winter. Here, you get to pick your own pre-made pottery, paint it with their fun paint colors and then they glaze and fire it, and in a few weeks you have a fun creation.

So, Kat and I each painted a travel coffee mug. Not being super "artsy" I knew I wanted to write the first line from one of my favorite scriptures on my mug from Jeremiah 29, "I know the plans I have for you." And this line fit perfect wrapped around my new blue mug. Kat painted a pink mug and wrote, "I love the USA" on her mug. And we were both equally slow, but had plenty of time to chat and listen to the songs on the radio. But, little did I know the "plans" that were in store for me after we left Mudders & Potters.

This is where God's sense of humor comes into play. Once we got to McDonalds and ate our chicken nuggets (yes, I know what goes into them), Kat opened up her red folder to MATH homework. This wasn't part of my plan. And, it gets even better! She was doing word problems and LONG DIVISION. . .yes, tonight I taught at 10-year-old how to do long division the "old fashioned" way. This is when I thought to myself, "Are these the plans God has for me?" Anyone who knows me knows I majored in journalism because balancing my checkbook is a major feat for me! But, I showed her how to do the long division, then checked it with the calculator on my phone, and it all came out! Even though, I got a chuckle out of it, I know this is just one small piece of "the plan."

Although I've only taken Kathleen home twice, I tear up each time I leave her. I know how fortunate I had it growing up. And how fortunate my many little nieces and nephews have it. Kat has a sad story, as many do that are involved in BB/BS, but I know that God put me in her life for a reason, and He put her in my life likewise to learn not to take things for granted. So, though He has a greater plan for you and me, once in a while, he has to throw a little joke in the mix, like making this math-flunkie teach long-division to a fourth grader! It was good for a chuckle, and after all, if we can't laugh at ourselves, what can we laugh at!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hi, my name is Shelia and I'm addicted to social networking. Yes, I feel almost like I need to find a support group in Saint Joseph for this challenge. I rely on my computer and iPhone so much for news, weather and information, I can hardly remember the last time I picked up a newspaper, and if it weren't for ESPN I would seriously consider cancelling my cable--SAD!

It's crazy what the social networking craze has done to folks or to me, anyway, but I've tried to find positives to it as well. I've rekindled long ago friendships that might have gone by the wayside without tools like Facebook and e-mail. And, some friendships have even blossomed because of these resources. I use my Facebook status to post positive and uplifting scripture each morning. And, I've subscribed to several inspirational apps on my iPhone to keep me going "on the go."

I can also get the weather for my travels and where my loved ones live at my fingertips, and have my favorite teams' sports scores in an instant when I'm setting in meetings. Technology is great, but am I controlling it or is it controlling me?

Although I'm not a fan of professional football, I could tell how the playoffs were going just by my friends' post on Facebook. Same for baseball. And, I don't play Farmville, Aquarium or any other Facebook game. But I know who does! This blog has even taken over as a form of journaling for me, though I still make a concerted effort to write in one of my journals a couple times a week, because when I'm old and grayer, I won't want to read these random thoughts from a laptop in the nursing home, will I??

I guess I'm just a people person. I like to be connected. I like to read what others are doing, and know what is happening in the world. I saw that some of my friends gave up Facebook for Lent. And I say good for them! However, I will stay connected. Facebook. Blog. Twitter. iPhone. They're here to stay and I'm here to use them. If you are reading this thanks for being connected with me!

Monday, February 15, 2010

You never know until you try

I always say I will try anything except sky diving once. Well, last night I tried something new--ice skating! You see BB/BS had a match party at Bode Ice Arena and about 30 minutes previously I was matched with my new "little" Kathleen. She's a hoot, and there will be more about her in future blogs. I thought, to myself as other "bigs" stood around and watched I am never going to try ice skating at any younger age than right now. So, I asked for my size 10s, strapped in and the first thing that I said when I stepped on the ice--"Wow, it's slick!" Thank you, Captain Obvious!

It took me about 20 minutes to get around the rink the first lap, during which I used this walker looking appuratus, which was pretty worthless for tall people! Then, this little hot shot kid who looked about 6 came up to me and said, "Watch me do a 180!" I wasn't impressed! After the first lap, I decided I might do better solo, and I did cut my time in half!

Although, I doubt I'll be called for the next Winter Olympic skating team, I had fun, and participated. I could have watched Kathleen, Robin and Alexys and the rest of the world pass me by from the comfort of my flat soled shoes, but I got out of my comfort zone, and jumped in feet first. And, after all. . .isn't that what life is all about?

So, next time you are in a situation you are not sure about, just take a leap of faith! Say a prayer and go for it! You never know until you try, and you know, now that I've tried skating, I think Kathleen and I will do it again sometime!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friends for a reason, season, lifetime. . .

"Make new friends, but keep the old;
one is silver and the other gold."

These are lines from a song that I learned nearly three decades ago at 4-H camp and we sang them in a round with the flames of a campfire glowing in the faces of our newfound friends. I still think of these lines from time to time, and as Valentine's Day approaches, I want to dedicate this blog to all my friends--those from my elementary and 4-H days to those of you that I haven't know that long.

Friendship is a funny thing. I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I believe that with all my heart. Take for instance my BFFAEM, Cory Jo--she is definitely my lifetime friend. We met when I was in 4th grade at Cottonwood Creek #70, a one-room rural school. She is a year younger and her family moved to the "country" from Chadron. When there are 10 kids in your school, you befriend whoever is closest to your age, I suppose, but Cory and I have kept in touch across the miles, my family's moves and our life's progressions. I was able to go to her wedding several years ago, and with the advent of e-mail and now Facebook, am able to watch her two kids grow up in pictures. We still exchange birthday and Christmas cards, and I always know that I could call on Cory for about anything though we don't talk on the phone and rarely see each other.

Then, I have a closet full (at my parents house) of what I like to call some of the ugliest bridesmaid dresses in America--a reminder of friendships that were for a season of my lifetime. I don't mean to be rude, but I am just stating the facts. And though, I was extremely close to a lot of girls during and right out of college, and honored to stand up for them, I don't think any of these girls would be in my wedding today. As a matter of fact. Some of my closest friends didn't ask me to be in their weddings, because they had a lot of relatives or were having small weddings, and you know I was ok with that too!

Then there are the rest of you! I definitely have formed friendships due to various reasons. I have maintained great friendships from college (yes, all three of them!), livestock judging, advising the junior board for nine years, working at the American Angus Association, and networking through other friends. And with social media, now I'm forming friendships online with people that I haven't necesarily met in person, but we have common interests--writing, belief systems, agriculture.

The toughest part about frienships is that sometimes they fade away. Like the 4-H campfire, the flames of friendship burn down over time. People get busy; lives change; people change. I've really had to come to this realization in the past six months as some of my closest friendships have slipped through my fingers. I've fought long and hard, and if these people ever needed, me I would be there for them, but I don't feel the feelings reciprocated any longer. Aaaahhh...growing pains never end. And then I remember, ". . .one is silver and the other gold. . ."

Happy Valentine's Day, to all my friends!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness. . .

Today I was on both the giving and receiving end of a random act of kindness. . .and it definitely feels better to give than receive. You see, Saint Joseph is home to Grace House, a local not-for-profit agency that accepts used clothing, dishes, furniture, etc... and then gives these items to the needy in the community. For years I have donated to Goodwill, the DAV, Salvation Army and others, then my friend Sara Snider turned me onto the Grace House, and today was my second Saturday taking items down to them. The lady that runs GH seems truly grateful for the donations, wants to know what church I attend, and smiles at me, unlike the other places I have donated. When I told her I had drinking glasses and other kitchen items, a huge smile crossed her face and she said,"God Bless You." I asked her if I could bring her my loveseat and chairs when my new living room furniture arrived, and she started tearing up. That's when I knew I made a difference.

Later in the day, I stopped by one of my favorite St. Joe establishments, BWW, for lunch and a beer while watching the K-State basketball game and taking a break from the office. My second beer didn't show up on my tab, but Samantha, my waitress informed me that it had been bought for me. Now, this rare Saturday at home is what I call a "natural day of beauty"--shower, brush my teeth and put hair in in a ponytail--no makeup; no hairspray; no way! Who would want to buy me a beer?? Turned out to be Mike, a workaholic, who was preparing perhaps his final work document, as he is expected to be bought out by his company on Monday. No, he wasn't hitting on me--he's happily married, and told me about his kids and growing up on his family's dairy in Northern Minnesota. He just thought I looked lonely. He's right. But, it felt odd to have someone do something nice for me.

So, today I challenge you, commit random acts of kindness. Buy the coffee for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru; buy someone a beer because they look lonely--they probably are; or donate items that you get no use out of to a good cause. It is amazing how good being kind will make you feel!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

State Fair Tourist

I really don't know too many people who attend more cattle shows and fairs than I do on annual basis, and no that is not something I'm boasting about. I'm merely stating a fact. I don't have a hard "show road" life; up in the wee hours--washing, rinsing, brushing, blowing, feeding, clipping, poop scooping, making tie outs and repeating it all again tomorrow. But, I wouldn't say I have a cush job either--tattoo checking, rule enforcing, class breaking, people pleasing, lining up, ring working, picture taking, and show reporting, and doing it all again the next week. It really does break my heart when I have to disqualify an entry for a wrong tattoo or no tattoo or anything--I do have a heart contrary to what you've heard or seen.

But, today, and the next two days, I'm at a new show for me, and that doesn't happen often. I'm at the Florida State Fair. We checked in nearly 80 in the youth show and more than 100 in the open show today, and I soaked up every ray of 60 degree sun I could. But when check-in was over, I became a tourist. That's right, friends:

You see, I had seen the Brahmans unloading when we arrived this morning, and I LOVE THEM! I have loved them ever since my first trip to V8 Ranch for the big judging work out on the way to Houston. Setting all practically aside, I adore their beautiful eyes, their long ears and even their humps. So, Rachel and Catherine, if you are reading this post, please don't laugh at me too hard. . .I've always been a little envious of you and your locale--and I would have gone through zillions of rolls of film shooting pictures of these beautiful creatures had I grown up where you did!

This bull was a natural poser for me, and this pair, the mama with the V8 brand on her hip just looked like they totally adored each other.

Now, onto my real NEW adventure. . .Miniature Zebus. I never had heard of this breed until today, and I think they are cute. Probably not real practical for most beef producers, but according to the information I compiled from numerous Web sites after I Googled them, they are a disease resistant breed that loves hot weather matures later in life. They get to be 300-500 pounds and ideally no more than 30-40 inches tall when measured right behind their hump. They are great for small acreages, young families, kids rodeo and pets. And the gentleman from Louisiana tried to sell me this multi-colored one today!! Bet my new neighbors would love that!!!

This little baby is only 5 months old--I thought it would be ideal for any of the nieces or nephews, but you know what they say about paybacks!! Some of the animals in the stalls were 5-7 years old! And they weren't cow-calf pairs.

So, these were my photos opps today. I also got to see Angus breeders Leroy Baldwin and William Graham's videos in the Florida Ag Hall of Fame exhibit, which was cool. All this excitement, and the fair doesn't officially kick off until tomorrow! I wonder what fun I'll have then!?!?!