Farewell to the class of 2014

I find inspiration in working with young people; exciting lives ahead of them using the gifts they have been blessed with. Best wishes to the class of 2014 and thanks for the memories…



Dance on the prairie…sing to the skies.

Winter has finally succumbed to the ever persistent nudges of spring.  Dance on the prairie… sing to the skies.


Prairie Dancer (Gary, SD Cemetary View)

Prairie Dancer (Gary, SD Cemetery View)

Canon 5D Mark 2 ~ ISO 200 ~ F 8.0 ~ 1/200 ~ 70-200 IS Canon L lens zoomed to 200

Someone is watching…



… more than just a game.

We think of school and extra curricular activities as being all about the kids and the lessons they learn.  Not always…  We recently witnessed a true lesson for all from a group of high school kids who are the epitome of class.

StateBBcollagedesat_2Earning a trip to the state tournament was not an easy task as they come from a section filled with tough competition. Nail biting, last-minute wins, illness requiring surgery thus ending the season of a player, all added up to a season filled with drama.   On top of that, a season dedicated to a memory…


Their first round game of the 2014 Minnesota State A Tournament was not meant to be easy and they knew it.  The opposing team had averaged 92 points per game this season and were an offensive powerhouse.  The moments seemed like hours as the plays unfolded and they found themselves down by 17.   They had become known as the “Come Back Kids” so the spectators were not surprised when they erased their opponents lead and inched ahead.  The scoreboard adjusted back and forth until time ran out.  Tied game.

One overtime….

Two overtimes…

Three overtimes…

Cheers of elation and anguish mixed amongst the fans as we watched these young men play their hearts out with tremendous sportsmanship. Nervous tension filled the air as the players and coaches accepted their fate.  They win as a team and lose as a team.  The sad thing about first round tournament play is that one of the teams has to lose and that means you are done for this year.  If you are a senior, it’s the end of the road for you.


The Tribune link above missed the real story here.  Dignity and the true meaning of sportsmanship was demonstrated as the coach walked with his team over to the  stands and the exhausted, disappointed and emotionally drained team gave their fans and community a standing ovation before going back to the locker room.  They sure did us proud.  The players on the bench also deserve a standing “O” for making the players on the court what they are today.  The second string players have the thankless job of showing up at practice, ready to go full throttle to make the team a stronger unit.

It has been a life lesson to all of the family, friends and fans of this team: Life is fickle and you never know what’s in the cards at any point in your life.  Work hard, never give up, it’s not over ’til it’s over, perseverance, patience and faith that it will be O.K.  Hats off to the parents, coaches and teachers for instilling these values so that they could be demonstrated out on the court.

Upon reflection of the season, my husband turned to me and said, “If this is a glimpse of who will be running our world… it’s going to be O.K.”  I think he’s right.


Swoosh… the sweetest sound.

End of February brings March Madness as high school basketball tournament games ultimately determine the state champion.  It truly screams, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  Every team loses, at some point, except for one.

A loss ceases the opportunity for advancement and thus ends the season for some and an era for others.  Juniors on down have next year to look forward to and work towards.

Seniors, on the other hand… well, this is the end of the road for most of you.  I have a tender spot in my heart for those hard working seniors that would love  these moments in life to just keep on going.  It’s tough to be done…

As a spectator, the excitement of a close game is nerve wracking, at best, but always adds a deeper layer of empathy, encouragement and community pride.  You love ’em when they’re up and you love ’em when they’re down.  This is the beauty of a small town high school…

Click on collages for a larger viewing window

Album template

Album templateCanon 5D Mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens ~ Collage in Photoshop/Albums DS


The Frugal Grandma

I have a weakness for Christmas items on clearance, so the adrenaline rush hit when I discovered a mid-January 90% price reduction sale recently.  Whoa… a gingerbread tree kit for less than $2.  This would be fun to do with my two-year old granddaughter! Oh, no…Christmas is 11 months away.
So what.  She is two and we can call it a winter tree. 


Rachel2-8865plCurious fingers open the box and pull out the contents.

Rachel2-8887hfm20plHmmm…pretty, but what do I do with them?

Rachel2-8903It wasn’t too hard to stack the cookies, but the kit frosting wasn’t quite as plentiful as the box portrayed.  Cream cheese frosting would have been easier.

Rachel2-8900dmvOops!  Someone took a bite…

Rachel2-8914Add the pretty candy balls.

Rachel2-8923hfm20dmvEven winter trees need a (broken) star.

Considering that a two-year old tends to have the attention span of a gnat, I’d say lasting one full hour on a project is impressive. On top of that, it held MY full attention for an hour. I did rush the decorative frosting part and pretty much globbed it on. Martha Stewart would have rolled her eyes and tisked

Rachel2-8944Even though the results weren’t as perfect as pictured on the box, it looked just fine to me.  In this case, I declared the process  more important than the results.  I doubt that I will be asked to be a contestant on any of the cake decorating reality shows, anyway.  That’s O.K., I have enough to do already!

“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”

~Criss Jami


A small town bride on the ride of her life.

Thank God if you’re smart enough to live in a small town.


I saw the above quote the other day and it started the wheels turning in my mind as to the charm of living in a small, rural community.  Into the photo archives I go to dig up some images that show a piece of life in a small town.  We do know how to entertain ourselves and have some good ol’ fun!

Haas-3973hp20dmvThis carnival ride at the Yellow Medicine County Fair, in Canby, Minnesota, seems to lend itself as a metaphor to the wild ride this young couple have chosen in life. Since their wedding in July of 2010, this small town couple have added two young children (1 1/2 years and 6 months) to their family, hold down full-time jobs, the bride completed a master’s degree, and both serve our country in the United States National Guard. In fact, the wedding was planned while the engaged couple were both deployed overseas in the Middle East.


Yes, you are on the ride of your small town life.  The twists and turns of a carnival ride can become predictable after you get use to patterns of movement.  Life is not like that.  Bumps and turns can appear out of nowhere and you may even careen completely off of the path.

A small town has a secret weapon that helps us bounce back when the road of life gets rough ~  the people.   When the chips are down and we face a struggle, the community members are there to help pull us through.  During a crisis the small town rallies its troops to bring out the safety nets to help in whatever way is appropriate to the situation. We may not always agree on our politics, religion or philosophies of life, ( some may not even like each other) but we are there for each other.

Haas-3966HawpunchhpcrJust because we don’t rank at the top of the population charts doesn’t mean we aren’t resilient and destined to make a mark in the world.  In spite of the twists and turns…

Just sayin’.

Photo info:  Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 70-200 L lens, Kubota Actions