Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are YOU ready for The End?

So, I’ve been living in my own little world lately—the past two weeks have revolved around planning American Angus Association events for summer, fall and winter and welcoming my two summer intern roommates to the house. I haven’t had much time for news. But just today I picked up a paper and read that the world could potentially be coming to an end, according to some man’s prediction—and the end will start this Saturday! WHAT?!?! Either I’m wasting my time planning for these events or I should be out playing living my life to the fullest the rest of the week!

So I got to thinking. . .Imagine that!?!?! And I did a little further research. I guess this same guy predicted the apocalypse in 1994—didn’t happen then either—but supposedly he thinks a worldwide earthquake will rumble the earth, and the those worthy will go to Heaven to meet our Maker, and those not so worthy…well, they will eventually die here on Earth. Nice. Now, as a Christian, I know that my judgment day will come—we all will have one—we just don’t know when that will be, but we have to be prepared. So, I decided to see what my favorite radio station, K-LOVE, would have on its news page to say about Mr. Prediction. Well, they didn’t have much on the subject, but they did have a headline link, “CDC Warns to Prepare for Zombie Apocalypse” so I clicked on the link, and it went to FOX News—another favorite of mine. Well, this article mentioned how zombies might be an effect of the radiation after such disasters like the tsunami and quake in Japan. We can plan with an emergency preparedness plan and an emergency kit—I can’t make this up—here’s the link:

Ok, I think the original CDC discussion stemmed with hurricane preparedness, but this link has got many more hits due to its content. Where was I, oh yeah…the world is coming to an end in less than 48 hours! Well, if I follow CDC recommendations, I should be fine. I have bottled water, cheese crackers and pop tarts in my car. I have no one to meet, and if the entire world is coming to an end, there will be no one to worry about settling the estate or figuring out my binder system for my next event.

But then I got to thinking, “Am I ready for the world to end?” Spiritually, yes. I am good with the LORD and ready to go whenever He comes. But, physically and emotionally, I still have a lot I want to accomplish. I mean, I still want to go to the Kentucky Derby, Australia and ride in a Hot Air Balloon. I want to go to Africa and take pictures of giraffes and elephants in the wild. I want to go on a Mission Trip, and I want to have the three little letters “Mrs.” In front of my name. And, I want to go to Maryland next week and see some of my friends! The world can NOT end Saturday! I have a Southwest flight Sunday morning!

But if it does, I’m ready. I know I’ve lived a full life. I have family and friends who I love and love me. I have been successful in my career. I have cared for others, and I have tried to make a difference in the lives of others. Isn’t that really all we can expect to do while on this tiny place we call Earth?

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Walk Down Memory Lane

The past 24 hours I took a long ride down memory lane to a place that I called home for two years. I place that molded me and shaped me into the person I am today and the place where I met and made some of my dearest and closest friends. And, a place I left 17 years ago. Yesterday I took a journey down the memory lane or Hwy 36 across Kansas back to my first college. The place where I first lived on my own and the place where I first experienced life: Colby Community College. And today I learned just one more lesson at this alma mater of mine. Today I learned that to say good-bye to a mentor it is so nice to be surrounded by people who share so many memories with you.

Those of you who know me well know that I’m a planner, and well, my plans for this week didn’t include going to Colby. Not until my I got the e-mail from my JuCo livestock coach Nick on Tuesday and found out that one of my all-time favorite teachers, “Pick” had passed away. Then, my best bud Christy and I started burning up the phone lines between W. KS and Joe Town trying to figure out our action plan—funeral attendance; rallying our judging team; getting a memorial together; and where was all of our team? And at that first moment I talked to Christy I knew I would be driving to Colby.

You see Pick didn’t just teach chemistry. He taught students. He cared about the individuals. He wasn’t just herding kids through a classroom to assign grades and get a paycheck like so many instructors I’ve had at the three colleges I’ve attended. He was there and he wanted you to learn. The first day of class, he would give out his home phone number and his “woman’s” phone number and invited students to call—up to a certain time. But if you needed individual help, he was there for you too. I remember more than one occasion, he would stick around or come back to the chem lab and teach me in the evenings after I’d put the weekly newspaper to bed or finished working out with the judging team. He wanted us to learn. And that never stopped. Today, on the back of the funeral program, was the periodic table of elements—only Pick.

And he knew his students too. He called everyone by name, or Brother John or Sister Susie. But, I worked at Burger King during college, and he came in there on weekends for coffee. So eventually, I became Sister Whopper, a name only Pick could get away with calling me!

I can tell you because of Pick, a lot of students over 3 plus decades learned more than just chemistry at CCC. They learned how to listen, how to care and how to give back to others. And, some of them like my friend Christy even were inspired enough to become a science teacher too.

So, no I didn’t plan on driving over 700 miles this week to say good bye to a friend and mentor, but I’m glad I did. Saying good bye is never easy, but I had two of my judging team mates, my coach and a whole community gathered there with me. And I saw other teachers and class mates I hadn’t seen for 17 years. It was journey filled with mixed emotions. Some of my best memories in life happened right there at CCC; some of my saddest memories too. But all scenarios share a common thread--the friends that I have made and still have. Friends that are like family to me and friends that are always there. It was great to see those friends today as we said good bye to one great friend, Max Pickerill.