Saturday, December 27, 2008

Family Fun and Forever Memories


The Christmas I got the Tippy Toes doll...the Christmas my sister made me some awesome outfits for my Chrissy doll...the first Christmas I spent with Chuck...the second Christmas with Austin (he was just too young his first Christmas). Those were all very memorable for me. But THIS Christmas has been THE BEST EVER (to date)!

My family joined us, and on Christmas morning we all opened our gifts, watched Torsten open and play with his, then had a big ol' Christmas morning breakfast. It was GREAT!

I love Christmas and I love being able to spend the holidays with the people I love. We had a fantastic time, but we did all miss Meghan and wished she could have been here with us (why does South Carolina have to be so danged far away?!).


Hope your holidays are shaping up to be full of "forever memories," little ones!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just Gotta Love It


I love, love, love this time of year! The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's is my very favoritest!!! I already have the house all decked out (got that done 2 weeks ago), and the outside of the house (and yard) is all lit up like the Griswolds. I have a mountain of gifts to wrap (yes, I went overboard again this year...as usual). I've been baking a lot (feels like every day). Out of town family members will be joining us next week to celebrate this first "Torsten" Christmas. And, speaking of my sweet little Torsten, he is really loving the decorations all over my house, and the lights all over the houses in town.


You can see my holiday photos here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In this season of Thanksgiving

what I am most thankful for is....

My grandson Torsten's laugh, his smile, his hugs and kisses, his curiousity and discovery, the unconditional love he gives....


My son and daughter-in-law's journey into their life together, their joy in each other and Torsten, their curiosity and desire to continue their educations and work toward a successful future together, their unconditional love....

My husband's pride in his family, pride in his work, and his unconditional love....

The joys I see and experience around me every moment of every day. The journey of this life has been one of of unexpected things...that all fill my heart with love, joy, and gratitude.

It is my wish for you, little ones, that you have as much in your lives to be thankful for - every single day - as I do in mine.

*Happy Thanksgiving, Little Ones!*

Mirrors....

A week or so ago, I stopped by my son and daughter-in-law's home, and my son answered the door. He was wearing his glasses (something he does not always do), a long sleeved t-shirt, and comfy pants...and I immediately saw his father, in the same get-up, in my mind's eye. I was taken with his dress, his stance...everything about him that afternoon mirrored his father. It was a heartwarming moment for me...to see the son who has become a father mirror so closely the father he loves.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Change...is hard...but Change has come to America

The citizens of the United States of America exercised the right to vote today in record numbers. I am so proud of you, little ones, for getting off your butts and getting to the polls today. We have spoken today of a deep desire for change...either candidate would bring us change, but we voted as a majority for CHANGE. I feel confident in our future...the road will be rocky and perilous at times, but it WILL take us in new and exciting directions. Change...it does a Country good.

YES WE CAN (and we did, and we will)!!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

My husband scored major points this morning with his birthday gift for me: The new Prince / Randee St. Nicholas photo book "21 Nights." I've been a Prince fan since 1980...have always loved the musicial journey that is Prince...so this is the perfect birthday gift!

"I just want your extra time and your . . . . . kiss." In honor of my 51st, little ones, spend at least part of today groovin' to some Prince tunes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Good Idea Gone Bad

I live in Nebraska, that state that keeps popping up in the news lately because of our "safe haven" law. Seems the Unicameral (yep, we're that state with just one house of government...so there's no House v. Senate to allow for back-and-forth discussion and compromise to refine ideas and to keep the stupid ideas at bay) decided we needed a "safe haven" law last year (we were, apparently, one of the last states to enact such legislation....that's one of our many claims to fame: being near the bottom of the list on many things). When the legislators drafted the "safe haven" act they chose not to define "minor child," thus leaving the age at which a child could be legally abandoned open to interpretation.

Well, little ones, as any of you that follow the news know Nebraska has become the "abandon your child" doorstep for the nation. From infants to 17-year-olds, so far 24 children have been abandoned (mostly at hospitals) in Nebraska. And folks are actually driving from as far away as Michigan and Georgia to abandon their children here! Good god, what are parents thinking?!? Yes, some kids are trying and troubled, and yes, we all reach the end of our rope from time to time, but come on! Driving all the way from Georgia to abandon your child?!? I cannot even imagine the conversation you'd have to have on such a trip:

"Well, Johnny, we are going on a trip to, um, visit some relatives you didn't know we had in Nebraska."

"Nebraska?! Nebraska?! You've got to be kidding me, Mom. We don't have any relatives in Nebraska. Heck, all that's in Nebraska is cornfields and a once-great college football team! .... Oh no, wait, you're not thinking of leaving me there, are you?! I've heard the news, I know what's happening to kids in Nebraska."

Well, you get the idea. At any rate, it's got to be one tense drive, don'tcha think?! And then they get here, leave the child, and go home thinking all will be well...except for the rip they've created in their heart and the heart of their child, and the fact that those rips will likely never heal, and a legal mess that will entwine the parent and child in a messed-up cross-state morass for years to come.

I know the misguided legislators here had the best of intentions, but it sure isn't playing out that way. Now they are talking about calling a Special Session and revising the law to better define the age of a child that can be safely abandoned. And, get this, they are going from "minor child" to "3 days old" .... talk about swinging the pendulum the total opposite way! Three days old?! That's a bit of a short window, don'tcha think? What's wrong with 6 months old....that would be a much more realistic choice (and one that many states in this nation already have in place).

Come on you Unicameral mavericks, use a brain! If there is a Special Session, please please please have a hearing on this and let the public have a say. While "minor child" is a bit too open to interpretation, 3 days is not...but it sure as hell is too short a time period. Six months would be more balanced and smarter. Since you screwed it up so bad the first time, don't turn around and do the same screw-up job again....be smart this time, please.

The saddest part of this mess is that so many people seem to be unaware of the resources available to them (in Nebraska and in their home states) to help them with child care issues. Most of the children abandoned in Nebraska so far come from situations where the existing resources (Health & Human Services, counseling, schools, etc....heck, even family members) were never even explored or utilized. Apparently we need a lot more public education on what resources are available and how to use them. No one is ever alone in a challenging parent-child situation...there is help available all around you. But you have to pull your head outa your @ss and ask for it. And perhaps there's the rub....our innate aversion to asking for help.....

There are no easy answers in this...I don't envy the Unicameral the task of redefining the "save haven" law, but I do hope they are able to get it a little closer to right this time. And I hope that public education increases A LOT to help make our state's parental citizens aware of the resources available to them in times of need.

Hug your kids/parents today, little ones, and be glad you have 'em.

UPDATE: There will be a Special Session of the Nebraska Unicameral to "fix" the safe-haven law; the session will begin Nov. 14; time limits of 3 days to 1 month have been discussed.

11/10/08 UPDATE: The total of abandoned kids is now 30...and very few of those abandoned under the current "safe haven" law are actual infants (most are teenagers).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Give A Damn, Dammit!


If there was ever a time in the history of our country to give a damn, that time is NOW. We are sitting on the precipice, little ones, and the next major step we take will be a BIG one. Do we start climbing up that mountain, or do we fall into the crevice? We, as US citizens, have the opportunity to set the direction for the next four years, to guide the direction of that next major step.

Get up off your lazy butts and get involved! Become a force in directing our steps into the future. Register to vote (if you haven't yet), read all about BOTH major presidential candidates and their chosen running mates and make an informed decision for yourself, maybe even volunteer for the campaign of your chosen candidate. Do NOT just listen to the ramblings and ravings of talk radio, TV newsheads, or your friends, co-workers, family, etc. Take the time to learn about the candidates and their views, their plans for OUR future, yourself...I guarantee you will be amazed at the misinformation you have been given by media/family/friends and you will be in a much better position to make an informed choice come November 4.

So damn it all, little ones, GIVE A DAMN! It's OUR future....don't blow it!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Time to Climb on My Soapbox for a Bit....


Memo to Republicans and Their Presidential Candidate, Senator McCain:

I don't want any more tax cuts. Don'tcha think it's rather stupid that the US had to borrow money from China for last one? And that really stimulated the economy, didn't it?! We all paid off a bill or two with it so we could eat, or keep the electricity on, or keep our house and/or our car another month. Y'all have already managed to create the biggest damn deficit this country has ever experienced and I don't want that to continue. I have absolutely no problem with increasing taxes on capital gains and dividends (and yes, such an increase would impact me personally), and even a moderate increase in income tax if all that will help get the damn deficit down and get us back to where things were when Bill Clinton left office (before the spend-it-all-now Republicans took over).

I want the economy issues - the jobless rate, the recession (yes we ARE in one, thank you very much), the out-of-control government spending - to be addressed in a positive way ASAP. At the rate things are going, our country will be bankrupt long before my little grandson can even vote.

I want the war in Iraq to end. Admit it was one damn big mistake and do whateverthehell you can to set things right. Our standing in this world, thanks to the stellar foreign policies of the current administration, is completely in the toilet. We need to do whatever it takes to at least TRY to get back into the good graces of the rest of this planet.

Admit global warming exists (duh!) and begin to address the issue. Encourage car makers to manufacture cleaner burning cars, stop making vehicles the size of a damn house, and expand the manufacture of hybrids and electric cars. Encourage the development and implementation of alternative fuels, build a few more refineries (since they all seem to have disappeared since the 1980s) to process the oil we have in this country. Encourage the development and use of domestic oil reserves; and that does NOT mean drill in the ANWR or offshore....it means allow and encourage increased production in the oilfields we already have all over the continental US.

Start looking at the future now...are the policies and practices that have been in place for the past 8 years actually moving us forward? I think not.

This presidential race isn't about "celebrity" or "race" or "experience." It's about the future...and at the rate the Republicans are going, we aren't gonna have much of one.

What it all comes down to, dear Republicans, is WE NEED A CHANGE IN THE DIRECTION THIS COUNTRY IS GOING, and I sincerely don't believe you are capable of such change.

I don't know about you, little ones, but for me it's time to get involved and become an agent of change...cuz heaven knows keepin' things the same sure isn't gonna do us much good....

Whatever your proclivities, I encourage ALL of you to get off your butts and get involved. If you like the status quo, by all means get out there and campaign for the Republican party. And if you, like me, want CHANGE to happen, get off your butts and MAKE it happen. And whatever you do, VOTE come November 4...cuz if you don't vote, you can't bitch...and we all know how much I love to bitch. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Which Direction Are You Going?

Seems like a simple question, doesn't it? If only it were....

Are you moving forward, ready to face the challenges and opportunities awaiting you ahead? Are you taking a side road, meandering off the path to explore what wonders may be hiding on the paths less traveled? Or are you headed backward, to revisit something in your past that is a warm memory, or perhaps some unfinished business?

At all times in this life we are traveling in some direction. If we are doing things right, we are always moving forward, but allowing a side trip now and again. Moving backward should never be an option...what's past is past, what's done is done. It is our task to keep moving forward to see what's waiting for us around the next bend.

What direction ARE you going, little ones? Me, I'm moving forward, with an occasional side trip tossed in to keep things interesting!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Gifts We Get

This weekend we celebrated the marriage of our son to a wonderful young woman. The weather was perfect; we were honored to share the day with lots of our friends and family; and a good time was had by all.

I have written before about the gifts the universe gives to us every day if we are just paying attention. This wedding weekend was one of those gifts...and it is one that will be treasured forever. If it is true that you get what you give, then I must be livin' right and givin' good, cuz this weekend I got some of the best the universe has ever offered up to me.

The celebration of true love and the journey of a lifetime for a new couple is one of the most joyous occasions we humans share.


May you have the opportunity to share in such a celebration and journey, little ones, and may you be open to the gifts you get.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

The past 12 months have been beyond eventful, and I have learned so very much about love, patience, and acceptance. The most important thing I've learned is to roll with the punches....to take whateverthehell life throws at you and, in the words of Tim Gunn, "make it work!"

Our young son and his girlfriend had a baby in February, and next Sunday (June 22) they will be married. It has been a joy to watch this young couple as they grow into their roles as partners-in-life and parents...they are both rising to the challenge resoundingly well. They make me proud every single day. On this Father's Day, I am blessed with the knowledge that our son is becoming a *great* father and husband.


Things, of course, don't always go the way you think they should. But if you are able to adapt to the sometimes abrupt twists and turns in the road of life, you will be rewarded a thousandfold. I am living with the joyous rewards of my ability to take the journey as it comes every day.

Whether you are new to the role or have been at it for decades, may this Father's Day be Happy, and may you remember to always find joy in the journey!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Just let it all drop away....



My husband and I are on vacation this week in Estes Park, CO. We come here nearly every year around this time to give ourselves a break after the long college year before the busy-ness of summer really settles is. I have no doubt this area was created by the gods...breathtaking vistas, soul-renewing serenity...I *love* it here!

Visit my Estes Park - May 2008 Picasa album to see my pics.

Take the time, little ones, to let the world just drop away for a while and revel in the beauty of the gods....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In Celebration of Mothers


Mother's Day...a day to celebrate the woman who nurtured and loved you as you became the person you are today...a day to say "Thanks!" to all such women in your life.

So, little ones, give your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, stepmothers...all the really important women in your lives...a big ol' hug and a huge, heartfelt "Thank you!"

Monday, April 28, 2008

Well-Deserved

This year's Chadron State College Teaching Excellence Award winner is Dr. Chuck Butterfield, Associate Professor of Range Management, Department Chair of Applied Sciences, and loving husband of yours truly. This is truly a well-deserved honor and I am incredibly proud of him!

Chuck works 24/7 almost year-round for his students and for CSC. There are way too many meetings and way too much administrative crap that fill his time. But no matter how busy he gets with all that, teaching and his students always come first. He always has time to help a student, write a letter of recommendation, or lend an ear when it's needed. Every one of his students that wants a job will have one when he/she graduates because Chuck has one heck of a knack for finding the right job for the right student. He's a tough, but fair, teacher. He expects the best from, and brings out the best in, his students. And while most of them will tell you he's a very hard teacher, they will also tell you he's one of the best teachers they've ever had.

Way to go, hon!!!!! No one deserves this honor more than you!!!

The Eagle Has Become a Jet!

To say folks around these parts are proud of Danny Woodhead is a HUGE understatement. The soft-spoken, incredibly polite, superbly talented running back from North Platte that graced the Chadron State College Eagles football team for the past four years - and that holds the NCAA all-Division career rushing record - signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets immediately following the 2008 NFL draft yesterday. Kudos to Jets coach Eric Mangini for giving our Eagle the opportunity to soar with the big boys in New York.

Congratulations, Danny! No one deserves this chance more than you. Give it your best shot; I know you'll make us proud!

See, little ones, you CAN make your dreams come true if you just believe in yourself!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Unconditionally....

To truly live an authentic live you must live unconditionally...love, laugh, cry, give with all your heart and soul without expectation of receiving anything in return. As soon as you put a condition on it...I'll love you IF, I'll give you this IF, I'll spend time with you IF...it ceases being love and becomes something different altogether.

If you can live unconditionally, you will be able to love unconditionally. But to do it well, you must learn to drop every expectation you have and be willing to live, love, laugh, cry, and give without expecting anything in return. If you can do that, you will be on the path to living an authentic life.

So, little ones, drop the expectations and start living, and loving, unconditionally...on the path to your authentic life.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Love and Respect

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary. I deliberately picked a date that could not be easily forgotten...and provided myself, my husband, and all our family and friends with the ultimate April Fool's Day joke.

Twenty-four years of marriage...over 28 years together all told...creates one hell of a history. We have had many adventures - both good and bad, been poor, been not-poor, climbed mountains, walked prairies, suffered through yucky humid climates and dry, drought-ridden climates, survived a terrifying wildfire, raised a great son, welcomed our wonderful daughter-in-law and joyous grandson into the family, fought, been happy together, been sad together, been mad together (and mad at one another now and again), and through it all loved and respected one another.

That's the key, little ones, love and respect. Love without respect is hollow...empty. If you cannot respect the person you are journeying with, then it's all for naught. The vows we exchanged on that wonderful Sunday those many years ago reflected our respect and love for one another then, as they do now...they are from a poem written by Susan Polis Schutz, and they hold very true to this day:

I Promise That I Will Love You
~by Susan Polis Schutz

I cannot promise you that I will not change
I cannot promise you that I will not have many different moods
I cannot promise you that I will not hurt your feelings sometimes
I cannot promise you that I will not be erratic
I cannot promise you that I will always be strong
I cannot promise you that my faults will not show
But -
I do promise you that I will always be supportive of you
I do promise you that I will share all my thoughts and feelings with you
I do promise you that I will give you freedom to be yourself
I do promise you that I will understand everything that you do
I do promise you that I will be completely honest with you
I do promise you that I will laugh and cry with you
I do promise you that I will help you achieve all your goals
But -
Most of all I do promise you that I love you

The secret to a successful, happy, and long marriage is love AND respect. Take this lesson to heart, little ones....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Be Thankful Every Day

It's been one heck of a month so far, little ones. I have, of course, been consumed with my new little grandson. He is such a joy in my life. But two weeks ago he started having some problems and one week ago he had to have surgery for pyloric stenosis. *Here's a little hint for you: when the baby isn't keeping ANYTHING down and everything is comes back at you like Linda Blair showering the room with pea soup in "The Exorcist," take the baby to a good pediatrician, cuz that's most definitely NOT the average baby spitup.*

When someone you love more than the air you breathe is sick, you quickly realize how unimportant things like paying the bills, keeping up with the news, cleaning house...the everyday things of life...are. All that matters is your loved one getting healthy again. You pray, you worry, you toss out positive energy and white light to the cosmos...and you wait. Luckily, my little Torsten came through the surgery just fine and is doing well and gaining weight again. And I am thankful to every god, every force, every spirit there is.

And I am, more than ever, aware that cleaning, doing the dishes, reading the newspapers and all the other things of daily living can wait. In this moment, I just want to cuddle my grandson.

What's important to you in the moment is sometimes all that matters, little ones.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What IS it?!?

We introduced Torsten to Sprocket this weekend. Sprocket was intrigued, but a little befuddled.

Having a grandbaby in my life is such a wonderful gift. It gives me a whole new perspective, and at 50 that's a welcome thing. Sprocket taught me to live in the moment and to never take the gifts of nature for granted. Torsten has made me refocus on that "living in the moment" thing and realize that there is NOTHING more important at any given moment than watching my little grandson just BE. Babies are amazing gifts to all who are privileged enough to share them....

So, little ones, while you are pondering the complexities of "what IS it?!", take some time to just let it BE and to just BE yourselves. BEING is believing, don'tcha think?

Friday, February 08, 2008

And the gods smiled....


Today is one of those "best days ever," little ones. Today my grandson was born! Torsten Lee Blunt Butterfield, 9 lbs. 13 oz., 21 inches (his momma Allison is a trooper!) was born to Austin and Allison at around 2pm on Feb. 8, 2008. And if course he is the most magnificent little boy in the universe! :)


Yep, the gods are smilin' today....

Friday, February 01, 2008

Primary Season Primer #101


This is, IMHO, the BEST guide to voting in this early political season that I have come across. The Moose is BRILLIANT! Click and learn, little ones!

The Gilded Moose Primary Voting Guide

Whenever your state's primary is, little ones, VOTE! If you want a good choice come November (instead of the usual "which one will screw us up the least"), make a good choice in the primary! VOTE!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baby Babble

My grandson is due almost any day now...to say I'm excited is a vast understatement. We had a baby shower last week, and in getting things ready I did a search for some "baby" quotes. Here's the top ten I found...all are spot on, each in their own way:

  1. Every baby born into the world is finer than the last. – Charles Dickens
  2. People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. - Leo J. Burke
  3. It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. –Deepak Chopra
  4. A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. - Eda J. Le Shan
  5. A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for. - Unknown
  6. Babies are always more trouble than you thought - and more wonderful. - Charles Osgood
  7. A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men. – Martin Fraquhar Tupper
  8. A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. – Carl Sandburg
  9. Babies are such a nice way to start people. – Don Herald
  10. A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother. – Mark Twain

All valid and wonderful thoughts about babies, little ones. Stay tuned for more baby babble and tales from the crib....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Story Is Yet To Be Written....

Ah, I love the new year...twelve months stretching out before us, full of promise and possibilities. Another chapter of our lives just waiting to unfold....

This year has many truly wondrous stories in store for me...a grandbaby, a wedding, family visits, and who-knows-what-else (well, there's that national election thing - but that's for another blog entry or twenty)! As I look forward to this year of 2008, I see oh so very many joys awaiting me!

Some may already feel that 2008 is not going to be a good year for them. To those lost souls I say: Just stop! Stop seeing only negatives, problems, and uncertainty, and open your hearts and minds to the wondrous possibilities that await you in the coming year.

I've been reading a lot of daily motivational and meditational works lately, and all of them seem to have a similar message for the first days of January: open your heart to happiness...stop blocking it with negative thoughts...allow happiness to enter your heart, and it will enter your life. Yea, I know it sounds trite, but give it a try anyway...you might be surprised, little ones.

Let the story unfold....