Archive for the ‘Family’ Category


Red roads lead to home

July 30, 2017

With family and deep family roots in North Dakota, I spent much of my life in central and western North Dakota. My paternal grandparents farmed in a small western ND town, Golva, just a few miles from the Montana state line.

Golva is less than 200 miles from the state capital of Bismarck. Across those miles, the geography transforms. The same is true when you head east toward the Minnesota line. The artistry of the glaciers is quite amazing, if you stop to think about it.

This website explains in easy-to-understand terms how glaciation did what it did to the Northern Plains. My most favorite part of the state is “The Little Missouri Badlands.” Since I’ve not yet seen the Grand Canyon (can you say, “bucket list?”), I describe The Badlands as a small Grand Canyon.

So, when this weekend my husband’s sister-in-law posted a picture from Montana where their little family attended a wedding, I returned to my past.

Her photo comment about scoria roads took me back to the drive to my grandparents’ farm. The drive was always for my siblings and me, both torturous and thrilling. It seemed to take forever with many, “Are we there yet?” moments.

Yet, when we hit the red rock road, a.k.a., scoria, our excitement heightened because we knew we were close. I always loved the scoria roads and the scoria all around in the rock wall formations of the glaciers.

Funny how you can forget, and then in an instant, memories pop to the surface. Several years ago, the county (I believe) paved the road to Grandma’s. For ND winter maintenance, I’m sure it was a wise decision. Easier to plow and easier to drive.

Yet, it covers an element of western ND charm – scoria. I understand it’s still there and is west of there. In the southeast, where I live now, some areas have red clay. Still, it’s not the same as the red rock and doesn’t have the sentimental value for me that scoria has. Silly, I guess, that red rock can make me smile.

Schmeling Farm Yard-2 5-2002


Happy Mother’s Day 2017

May 14, 2017

Today I wish a lovely Mother’s Day to everyone. Not all are mothers, yet we all have mothers. Some biological, some maybe not. This is a day to celebrate being a woman and girl.

We nurture others in so many ways, whether as mother or not. I became a mother 34 years ago and now, I would say I’m a better mother than daughter. I’m not a very good daughter but I try to be better.

As my mother ages, it is easier to be better … most of the time. I remind myself that the world’s fast pace is difficult for her and she doesn’t like it. She wants to have the world in which she grew up. That’s not wrong or bad. Impossible, but not wrong. Who am I to judge or try to sell her today’s crazy?100_3562

I know that she did not ask for the aging that her body has experienced. Of course, she’d still like to be agile and spry, and especially pain-free. That’s out of her control at this point.

As daughter – and as mother who must model the way for my daughter and in time her children – I must be patient and tolerant. Those are not always my best traits. From this life lesson, I can increase both and be the daughter I should be.

In many ways, it would be a Mother’s Day gift to myself, as well as my mom, my daughter.
Time is precious and limited and I have no excuse to make it anything less than happy for these dear women in my life.


Luv like a goose

April 29, 2015

Poppa Goose, Momma Goose and goslings on a Tuesday afternoon stroll.

While they’re mean as all get-out and uber-territorial, I sort of admire the Canadian Geese that overtake our city each spring. As I understand geese, they mate for life. There’s a novel idea for people to consider.

Geese return each year to the same location – home. They remind me how important home is to family life. Each spring, which starts in February in north Florida, they show up to reclaim their nesting space. They settle in for two or three months to give momma goose a place to lay her eggs and nurture them.

Poppa waddles around to protect her and his family-to-be. Heaven help the pedestrian who wanders too close. Poppa sqwaks and hisses, and if necessary, makes physical contact to assure his family stays safe. Many of us know that not all dads show that kind of attention … or love.

Today I smiled when I saw Mr. & Mrs. Goose and family strolling in my neighborhood. I’m not foolish so I didn’t try to get close. Yet, in that instant, the geese and goslings represented the best of family that we seem to be losing in American human families.

Maybe these best practices of geese, can help humans ‘do’ family better. Perhaps we just need to keep it simple and turn to geese as a model for family life.


Hope of Advent

December 17, 2012

I hope they can. I pray then can. I am not sure I could have.

Gone on.

I remember when my now approaching-30-year-old daughter was growing up, trying to imagine how I might feel if something happened to her. She was sick a lot so that fueled my worry. Child abductions seemed to be the biggest external worry, and while we, too, lived in a safe community that could never imagine something evil happening there, other moms and I did not take that for granted.

School was a safe place for her and especially in elementary school, it was mostly a fun place. She was in high school when the shootings at Columbine in Colorado happened. Even then, it was so beyond belief I never believed it would become repetitive.

Now, in the 2012 holiday season, evil polluted an innocent town and took the lives of 26 innocent people, including young children. It is unfathomable and I can only pretend to imagine how their parents and families feel right now.

It is time for us all to stand together to identify the root cause of these shootings. To date, committed by young men. It is not in my opinion, with all due respect to actor Morgan Freeman, because of the media coverage. That seems the easy answer to me.

I think it is much deeper than that and it is time to leave no stone unturned and face the harsh reality that what we allow as a society is just not working. Those details are for another day. Today I want to somehow convey that I also feel anguish and heartbreak for every family in Newtown, Connecticut, who now faces this holiday season without a cherished loved one.

Faith is often difficult and for me, often riddled with questions. Why this happens is one of those? Yet, as I thought about Advent this weekend and the promise of Christ’s birth with the everlasting life he brings, I prayed that those families can find a whisper of comfort knowing that Jesus holds their babies and loved ones in his arms. They wait for the day they will see you again. For now, they are eternally safe in the embrace of our mighty God. He knows them by name, and we pray for them by name as well (see link).


Happy Independence Day!

June 19, 2011
Jacksonville, Florida 4th of July

Jacksonville loves fireworks!

Happy Independence Day!

With the prelude of cannons, like the bride and groom at their first wedding dance, we cheer the colorful embers dancing with the stars! Star-Spangled Banner, My Country ‘Tis of Thee mix with patriotic country ballads and Bruce Springsteen. Our bellies are full from burgers, hot dogs or fried chicken and Grandma’s potato salad, and our skin is sticky with dried sweat from a long day in the summer sun. Even though we’re just a little bit comatose from all that abundance, we stand to cheer and ahhhh at this deep-rooted tradition that is America.

This year of 2011, governments are damned if theydo, damned if they don’t. In tight budget times with high unemployment, there is a faction that will cry foul if cities go forward with their usual fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. And there are others, like me, who will decry the decision to cancel fireworks displays.

Modern America is not known for its philosophy of moderation. We are a nation of extremes, so we rarely consider the opportunity to find middle ground. In this instance, where our service men and women continue to help foreign countries fight to obtain and maintain independence, across America we owe it to them to honor and celebrate our 235 years of independence.

A lazy day of backyard cookouts with family and friends is the core of our July Fourth tradition, and as American as baseball, Mom and apple pie. A fireworks display at sunset is the enormous bow on the package of a life of freedom!

In Florida where I live it is so dry that we shouldn’t have fireworks for safety reasons. That makes me sad but I understand because safety comes first. But the budgetary excuses irritate me. Scale back, 10 percent, 15 percent or even 25 percent. Just do something that reminds your local residents to revel in the privilege of freedom we have in the USA.

Freedom is reason to celebrate!

(Photo Source:


Wake-up call

September 7, 2009

A recent New York Times article talked about starting our days online. I admit, I hit the computer within the first hour of being awake. Quick read of new e-mails, doing my online devotions, checking weather, clicking and all its tabs, and making sure the online banking is all in order. Pretty much routine for all of us today.

What struck me in the article was the dad who said he uses text messaging to wake up his kids so he doesn’t have to go upstairs to wake them? Huh????

Dad, you are missing out on some special moments with your kids. A text message versus a warm touch and smile from dad…what do you think creates the most special memories for your children?

My daughter is grown now but I made it a rule to be with her every morning unless I was traveling. I went to her room until she decided she didn’t need me doing that anymore (enter her own alarm clock), but we still had breakfast together. While she was in college, I e-mailed her each morning just to start her day with a hi from home.

Sure, cell phones are the new alarm clocks and there is nothing wrong with teaching a child the responsibility of setting and using an alarm. Texting a good morning message to your child if you are on the road or they are away at college is a great use of the available technology.

But using it to replace a few minutes of your time with your child sends a wrong message in my opinion.

“My child, you are not important enough for me to take time to walk up the stairs to be with you as you start your day.”

I never got any thanks from my daughter for the college morning e-mails or the breakfasts with mom. But I’m pretty sure when I’m gone, or heaven forbid, old and senile, she will remember those times and know that she was loved deeply.


What’s different?

April 18, 2009

Besides money, what is really the difference between “Octo-Mom” and Angelina Jolie? There’s a rumor that Jolie is pregnant for the 7th time, on top of all the adopted children.

Call me crazy, but I don’t see how either one of those women can really mother that many children. But since Jolie has money and presumably staff, i.e., hired mommies, nobody questions her sanity.

I’m not suggesting either Octo-Mom or Jolie are sane, but I think it’s unfair and a mistake that nobody investigates Jolie as mother.