Tuesday, February 9, 2010

25 years ago or so...

...I went to 4-H camp, alone.

At that time NW PA summer 4-H camp was held at a Boy Scout camp near Cochranton. Custaloga Town, was this beautiful place with big pines and a stream you had to cross to enter into the camp. I loved it. But the sleeping arrangements left a lot to be desired....canvas tents that held two cots. It was ideal that you came to camp with a friend that you could tent with for the three or four days. But that year, I went alone. I was nervous, but looking forward to the fun that camp had to offer. As we got to the campsite I wondered who the counselors would 'tent' me with.

I'm so glad that I chose to go to camp alone that year. Why, because if I hadn't, I may never have had the great friendship I have had with the girl the counselors teamed me up with that year. I don't remember much from that year. I can't even tell you really, what year it was. All I know is that, in that one week, a bond was formed that has carried us through almost 25 years.

We camped together several years after that. Not always as roommates, but we were never far away from each other. As we grew into older teens we even had the pleasure of counseling together at that very same camp. That friendship has seen us go through 4-H; boyfriends; break-ups; college at Penn State, sorta...KUDOS to her for being the one that graduated (of course I was there to witness that occasion at the Bryce Jordan Center!); career paths that took me south and her to the mid-west and back again; boyfriends, again; break-ups, again; to her original, but OMG, hot (as in weather hot, it was the hottest, muggiest day EVER!) beautiful wedding to one of the last great guys out there, and has been one of the greatest friendships of my life.

Every once in awhile (not near as often as I wish) I head to her house and spend the day...and I do mean day, we couldn't possibly visit in anything less than that...I have dinner with her family and we discuss life as we know it. So many moments that her and I have spent together. We've helped each other through so much. I'm so blessed that she is also a christian and her insight is so amazing. We may go months without sharing anything but the quickest of emails, but the minute I need her wisdom, she's right there with it.

I write all this because Sunday was her birthday. We chatted for what seemed like hours that day. She's been on my mind a lot and so I thought I would write about how great of a friend and mom she is versus the many moms out there who aren't. She is this amazing woman who is raising her two sons (OK, her husband :) gets credit too! ) to be productive, responsible citizens. They are still little boys, but you just know that they have such greatness inside of them. They are not swayed by all the things in this society that takes away the innocence of little children. They are playing in the country-side around their home, growing and selling pumpkins, doing craft projects, raising money for their church and non-profit organizations and being just genuinely great kids. KUDOS to her for being the mom so many others should be. Unfortunately, she's not the norm. If this world had a few more moms like her, wow, what a different place we'd be living in.

Instead, we have moms...and dads, who let their children be raised by others, whether it's by well meaning relatives, teachers or heaven forbid, the neighbor kids. When did parents stop being responsible for their own children? When did they stop taking the responsibility. It's not someone else's job to help their kids with their homework. It's the parents'! It's not someone else's job to fix them their meals. It's the parents'! It's not someone else's job to teach them morals. It's the parents'! And if everyone that was a parent would take the responsibility for their own children, this world would be a whole new place. At least, in my opinion. I know that there are so many that do, but they are becoming fewer and fewer and I hope that I have not offended some of you, but I bet everyone of us could name a couple of people who could stand to learn this lesson.

Well, this post definitely turned into something completely different than what I first intended. But apparently those are my thoughts today.

I'm so blessed to have this friend. I hope you are blessed with one just like her!

Be blessed!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


To make ends meet I've started selling Thirty-One.  A super cute line of purses, bags and organizers with so many possibilities.  Want to learn more, visit  www.mythirtyone.com/15128.  I'd love to come to your house and have a 'Girls Night Out' with some of your best friends!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


...was the third anniversary of the passing on of a great man, Dave Rynd. His daughter posted on her Facebook yesterday a status, asking for memories of him, that she could share with her daughters and her niece and nephew. I could only post a small portion of the story there, so decided that I could post the whole story here.

I was in my mid-20's and helping at the records table in the show arena at the Northwest Pennsylvania 4-H District Dairy Show with all the other record keepers, announcers, volunteers and staff. One of the parents came to the table and was complaining about one of the rules at the State 4-H Show that would take place three weeks later. There are a lot of rules, mostly made up by well-meaning adults, to keep the competition as fair as possible... (I could write a whole other post about this...maybe I will one of these days). This particular parent was complaining about the rule that if a substitute showman is needed for any reason, it must be pre-approved and the substitute must be the same age or younger than the 4-H'er.

I had never given it much thought, you find a younger sibling or 4-H'er and you get them to show the animal. For my family it had always been easy to find a younger person, apparently for this family it was not as easy. This led to a very intense, but respectful, discussion around the table. I don't remember who said it, but someone said a sentence to the extent of if the 4-H'er can't go to states then maybe the animal should stay home too. I didn't agree and stated that if the 4-H'er had worked with the animal all year and the animal qualified for the State Show then it should have the opportunity to be shown even if the 4-H'er had a college class clear across the state.

It was at that point that Dave Rynd looked at me and asked 'Which is more important the 4-H'er or the project animal?' Our conversation got interrupted at that point and I never had the chance to finish it with Dave. I would have loved to have heard even more of his opinion on that topic. That one small statement has stayed with me since.

While it's great to see a 4-H'er who truly puts THEIR heart and soul into a project (and thats a whole post of its own as well) come out a winner, the real lesson is what the 4-H'er learns from the project, not the ribbons and trophies that come with it. I am ashamed to admit that it took me as long as it did to figure that out. All thanks to Dave and that brief encounter we had one Labor Day weekend.

Dave passed away from cancer. A disease that takes so much. He is one of the MANY people I Relay for. I Relay to Celebrate the lives of those who have or have passed on from cancer. To Remember them. And to Fight Back against a disease that has taken too much from too many. You can visit my Relay For Life event page at www.relayforlife.org/patitusville to learn more about Relay For Life and why I participate.

Dave Rynd was a legend and I held a deep respect for such a great man. This year I will light a Luminaria in his memory and remember the man who taught me a great lesson with one simple question.