Ramblings

Life, family, business


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…just a kid from a small town….

I actually grew up on a farm.  But now I live in a small town.  How small?  223 residents at the time of the last census.

The thing I like best about living in a small town is the sense of community.

When someone get sick or has an accident, or a baby born with a something that needs to be fixed, someone throws a benefit for them, and community shows up and gives large amounts of money to make sure they can pay their medical bills.

When someone’s house burns down, the community comes together and has the benefit, or at least someone collects donations to help them get back on their feet.

I’ll guess that at least half to 75% of the people in our community volunteer their time or money or resources to help others, or donate to their church or the Lions groups and they help others using that money.  The number might even be closer to 100% than I even realize.

There’s at least one person who can do anything you need done, in a small community, from welders and mechanics, EMT’s and paramedics, to firemen and computer programmers, and even that one guy who will climb down in the sewer and snake your septic line if it gets plugged.  There are painters and artists, writers and cooks, organizers and planners, and builders and demolition people.  The funny thing is, once you become a member of that community, you realize that community is just another name for  family.  Sometimes in a community, just like in a family, people fight, and get angry and say bad things about each other.  As long as we forgive each other and learn to forget the sins of those who trespass against us, we will also be forgiven when we mess up.  Because we all do, I have never met one single perfect person, other than perhaps a newborn baby.

Most of the people who live in our small community grew up here, and half of them are related to the other half.  I’m an outsider, as is my husband.  When we first moved here, we weren’t part of the community, we didn’t know many people, and we kept to ourselves, as many others do.  But as time went on, we met neighbors, made friends, and joined a church, and I took some training and joined our volunteer ambulance squad.  We felt like part of the community, but yet we weren’t fully engaged in it.  But once we bought the one little convenience store, the “general store” if you will, we truly became full members of the community.  We know everyone, and everyone knows us.

In a small community like this, the customers soon become your friends.  I know what beer they drink, what pizza they like, and their brand of tobacco if they partake.  I know their car when they pull in the lot, and I usually know if anyone in their family is sick, getting married, having a baby, or dying.  I know their kids, and their kids know me. And they know if I see anything “funny” going on, I’ll let their parents know.  But I hope their kids also know that if they ever needed someone to talk to or to protect them, I’m always available.

Sometimes it makes me think of Mayberry.  Maybe we don’t have Sherriff Andy or Deputy Barney Fife, but we have our own Andys, and our own Barneys, and our own Aunt Bee, maybe even a few Aunt Bees.  Every little town has their own unique personalities, and their celebrities, and their fallen.

I love to listen to the older gentlemen, who come in for coffee in the afternoons, talk about “the good old days” and what they did when they were young and how time flies.  It reminds me of the stories my grandfather used to tell me about when he was a boy playing baseball in Ocheyedan, Iowa.  And the stories my husband’s grandfather, who grew up in that same town in Iowa, would tell about his boyhood, riding trains and playing his guitar and singing for money.  And I realize that not that much has truly changed.  Technology, sure, but that same sense of community existed then, and it still exists today.

We band together, and we help each other.  We criticize each other, gossip about each other, and yet, we feed each other, we protect each other, and we all know that there’s always someone who has our back.  And someday, we’ll be the ones talking about the “good old days” over a cup of coffee at the table, wondering where time went.

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

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You've Got A Friend In Me

Sometimes its the little things that mean the most. This picture was made by my friend Amanda, two years ago in May, right in front of the door to my store. I believe she had just turned seven. I was sad when the rain washed it away, but happy that I had taken this picture when it was fresh.

One of the things I feel is so important is to encourage our children and the children we have in our lives, to use their imagination and their creativity. So many times the arts are brushed aside for things like sports, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I think its important for all of us to have a well-rounded education, in school and in life. Trying different activities is fun, and that’s a great way to see how many talents you truly have. Maybe its painting or drawing, sculpture or carving. Maybe its music, maybe its an eye for design, maybe its a thing with texture. There are many careers where having a bit of an artist in you is very beneficial. (Think architecture, construction and engineering, just to name a few.) There’s nothing wrong with being an artist, its in your heart, and its there for a reason. You can play sports, be a good student, and be an artist all at the same time. And when you grow up, you’ll be a team player, a smart person, and you’ll be able to line your walls with your own art.

Life goes fast, don’t waste it!


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Finding My Purpose in Life

How many times have you wondered about your life’s purpose?  Have you figured it out yet?

It amazes me that we expect every 18 year old to know what it is that they want to do for the rest of their lives. How often does a college student change their major, or question their choice, or quit.  One of my friends has always known she was destined to be a doctor, and she’s a great doctor.  Another friend told me she’s always wanted to be a mother, and she’s a great mother.  Yet others, like me, work a bunch of different jobs, always trying to figure out what we were meant to do, what we were meant to be.  I love being a mother, and I love my kids more than I ever thought possible.  But I still have that nagging thought:  If I ever figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  I have thought that thought so many times over my life.  (I did figure out what I want to do, just not how to do it.)

When you see your life’s purpose, do see goals?  Or do you see purpose?  Do you see a mountain of stuff you’re going to buy with your piles of money, or do you see how you’ll feel, and who you’ve become?  Do you see how many people you have helped?

Everyone wants money, it makes life easier when there’s enough to pay all the bills and still have some left over. But money is a material thing that buys material things.  Once you’ve traded it for something, its no longer money, its stuff.  And I know you’ve heard the phrase, “You can’t take it with you.”  Its true, you can’t.  But what then, can you take with you?  Is there anything you can take with you?

I know the older I get , the wiser I get.  I realize that there’s so much more to life than just things.  I could have a millions dollars worth of things, and it might make me feel happy for a short time, but no things can actually keep you happy.  I believe that in order for us to be happy, we need a heart full of love.  And that’s something you can’t buy.  There’s no drug you can take that will fill your heart with love and keep it full.  And surprisingly, there is no person that can make you feel this way except yourself.  If you are miserable and depressed, knowing the people around you love you doesn’t fill your own heart with love.  You can have the best family, and the best spouse, and the best kids, but they can’t fill your heart with love.  You have to be willing to open your heart to love in order to make that happen.

And once you have done that, your heart will slowly fill.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t make you feel like a different person right away.  But it does happen, and eventually one day, you’ll realize that instead of being miserable, you’re full of love!  You’re happy!  You’re glad!  You have a smile on your face that no one can take away.  It’s a love and joy that permeates your soul.

And that is something you’ll be able to take with you; your soul.  In fact, that’s who you are.

Once you are happy in your soul, perhaps you will see that your purpose in life isn’t necessarily a job, or a career path.  Perhaps, your purpose is to use your talent, your gifts,to give what you have to others.  Perhaps all of our life’s purposes are to give ourselves away to those around us.  My doctor friend uses her talent to bring healing to others.  Mothers use their talents to lovingly raise children into responsible adults.  So many of us have talents that we use everyday to help others, and we may not even realize it.  Maybe its not a paying position, but its a very important job.  Maybe it is a paying position, and we are able to make a living using our talents to help others.  I feel that as long as we are using our God-given talents to help others, and we use those talents in love, we truly are fulfilling our life’s purpose.

What talents do you have?  How do they play into your life’s purpose?

If you haven’t figured out your purpose yet, what things are you good at?  What things do you enjoy doing?