Summer’s Sunset

Crickets chirp and cows bellow in the distance. The evening is still, as the sun slowly slides towards the hills, just a faint cool breeze barely a whisper against my cheek. Yellow and gold spot the trees signaling fall although the temperature during the day is still summer warm and the grass is still green from consistent rains.

Tall corn stalks sway, tassels dropping small golden grains on the long green leaves below.  The setting sun shining gold, illuminating the sentinels of the garden and casting long shadows on the plants that they tower over. Pumpkin and squash vines wind through the tall stalks, orange and cream colored globes peeking through the broad leaves.

Tomato plants heavy with slowly changing fruit form a hedge on the opposite side, an array of oranges, reds, and greens. Bush beans create a long row of low plants their slender pods blending in with the stems and almost invisible now in the shadows.

Cucumbers vine lazily over a dull metal panel, yellow flowers closed for the night and lacking the buzzing bees of full daylight. A soft cushion of weeds line the aisles between the plants, growing faster than they can be plucked from the ground.

Once majestic sunflowers hang their heads with the weight of their seed, no longer bright with color. Onion tops lay brown at their feet, soil swelled around the pungent bulbs as they dry white, gold, and maroon.

The sun sinks lower and the sky is washed with pinks and laced with light purple clouds, the colors fading to the dull blue of night as I turn away from the garden. The cool air feels light despite the moisture it contains that is starting to collect on the grass at my feet. A slight wind carries the sweet scent of alfalfa and the heavier muskiness of the slowly decaying foliage.

Before closing the door on the darkening night I inhale deeply the dying summer days turning before my eyes to fall.

Summer’s Sunset


Getting home from farmers market on Saturday I was greeted with the sound of air compressors, nail guns, and cursing. The sound washed over me as I walked up the steep incline of my driveway and zigzagged through the tangle of cords and discarded shingles. The sound that got to me the most was the swearing that was directed at old joints, missed nails, heat, and nothing at all.

This sound was the sound of my childhood. Don’t take this the wrong way I had a great childhood and most of the men on my roof and walking around my house contributed to that, they just did it with some colorful language. I could tell, even after 15 years of not working with them, which swear belonged to which man, and this was oddly calming amongst the chaos. Something I was not able to catch amid the cursing in my youth was the odd intelligence that it tends to cover. Listening with slightly older ears I heard wisdom and confidence that I wasn’t able to pick up before.

My daughter asked why all those “old guys” were up on the roof instead of someone younger. My answer had to be thought out a bit. I’ve noticed that my husband and I are at an age that is lacking in beer drinking buddies that are willing to show up on short notice to roof a house. These guys that would have been able to do this 5-10 years ago are now busy with their own families and houses and we’ve lost touch. This is not a complaint, we have entered a time where the people that surround us are true friends and while I still like to talk to those from the past it’s not quite as important to stay in touch.  Also those “old folks” know what they are doing and without them I’m not sure that the roof would have gotten done. Scratch that, the roof wouldn’t have gotten done.

I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful, knowledgeable, opinionated men in my life. Without them my life would have turned out very different. Being called Beffers and arguing with my dad was great. My fear of heights kept me from being very helpful but I still feel that I took away a lot more from the experience then I did when I was younger and less afraid of heights. Hopefully some day I can return the favor in some way that doesn’t require a ladder or lift, and the knowledge gained will allow my husband to boss around our kids when their roofs need to be reshingled. It was a great weekend and I’m very thankful to all those that were able to help us out. Again, not having a large family to help and be helped by is something that I can’t imagine and hope to never take for granted.





Keep Learning

“My Soul Looks Back in Wonder” by Juan Williams is one of those books that leaves you mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. It was a great feeling that was felt with every page and I was totally spent by the time I closed the covers for the last time. It’s a collection of stories about the civil rights experience and tells the story from every perspective. Definitely on my must read book list.

I took away from this book that the groundwork for real and powerful change for all American’s has been laid and the torch has been passed to our generation to continue. The struggle for equal opportunity is present for every person from every background, and presents itself in a multitude of ways. We can easily carry on where they left off or destroy  the advantages that they fought hard to give us.

Discrimination comes in many forms and is lead by ignorant intolerance. Something that is learned and taught. Can you take an infant of any color, race, nationality, economic status, or sex and spit on it, telling it that it will be nothing, can be nothing? If that child was laid in your lap, and you didn’t know the background of it’s parents, could you do this?

We set our children up for success or failure in just this way. When they are constantly told that this is their lot in life and nothing can change that. It happens on every economic level and with every race. If a child from an affluent family is told that everything should be done for them it has the same effect as a child from an impoverished family hearing the same thing. These children do not learn to live, think, and dream for themselves. They are left with the idea that their positions will never change. When opportunities for these children come around they are left unable to handle the situation because they are unable to see outside of their current position. They are left in denial or do not even realize that an opportunity is in front of them. Poor or rich, they have no way to make something of themselves by themselves.

Through this book I was introduced to events and people from every walk of life that worked to overcome their challenges peacefully. They worked hard for change and the chance to allow every child to succeed in life. It has me taking a hard look at my views on people with different backgrounds, making me want to learn more about the struggles of people from the past and those living today.

I don’t want my children to carry my successes or failures into their futures. I don’t want them held back or moved forward by the assumption that how their parents did was how they will do. I want them to see that everyone has a unique situation and a persons response to their situation is the important thing. I want them to realize that their positions can change quickly and they are not entitled to anything, that there is a difference between asking for help and taking advantage, and that when help is given they need to pay it back or pay it forward.

List of things that I want my children to learn while under my influence:

  • I love you no matter what. I might hate your attitude or decisions, but I love you.
  • Everyone has struggles to overcome. Yours matter and so do theirs. Learn to deal with it.
  • Work and money have a correlation.
  • Value your education and never stop learning, question everything.
  • “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time” Zig Ziggler Have dreams and go after them.
  • It’s okay to fail. Keep learning.
  • Just listen. Even if you don’t agree keep listening. You might learn something.
  • Never expect anyone to do something that you wouldn’t do for yourself. You’ll never be “to good” to take out the garbage.
  • If you’re in a position to help, help. Remember there is a difference between helping and enabling.

I’m not sure how to go about instilling great value into my children. I don’t have the slightest clue other than to continue to have conversations with them about a wide variety of topics and to genuinely listen to their views. I’ll continue to expand my knowledge and try to pass it on. It’s up to me to use this knowledge as I see fit and up to them to do the same.

If you take away anything from this, I want it to be to keep learning. Read, listen, and have conversations. If you fear something or want change or are just curious, take the time to learn. I still love a good cheesy romance but I didn’t realize how much I was missing by not reading nonfiction until I made it a goal, thanks to Dave Ramsey, to read one nonfiction book a month. Again I have nothing against romance, fantasy, murder mystery, or any other type of book and still read them, but biographies, travel, self help, finance, gardening, and history have opened my mind and eyes to a lot of things. Just keep learning.


Keep Learning