Posts Tagged ‘Family’


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


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.


Lent Day 16

March 7, 2015

The God Pause devotion for March 5 screamed at me. Specifically:
“I am sure that if it were socially acceptable to do so, many of us would love to give our opinions to people we encounter on how we think they should live. But how can we really say what that is? Do we really even know what’s best for our own lives, let alone the lives of others?”
I am the oldest and I’m sure my brother and sister would quickly say I’m the older bossy sister. My husband and daughter might say the same.

As I get older I think I’ve learned to temper my bossiness … at least externally. I confess that in my mind I’m often ‘telling’ people what they should do.

How do I know what’s best for them? Mostly I’m guessing at my own life and what I need.

He who created us and who knows every hair on our heads, also knows what is best for us. The devotion goes on to remind us that God loves us no matter what.

That is the ongoing message of this Lenten season that gives me hope. Even when I’m at my worst and my bossiest. Even when my earthly family wants to throw me out the door. Even when I’m not happy with myself. God is with me. He loves me and “redeems and renews” me. Amen.


Fires kill, even in daycare centers

July 12, 2008

My daughter is 25 now, so it’s been a long while since I worried about daycare. I remember that stress: choosing quality daycare I could afford where I thought she would learn and grow mentally and socially. I needed to be sure the environment stimulated her developing brain and let her have fun. I entrusted her to “strangers” for an hourly pittance and expected they would care for her nearly as much as I did.

Of course I wanted a safe place for her as well. In my mind, safe mostly meant from abuse, sexual or otherwise. I have to admit that fire safety in her daycare never crossed my mind. Not once.

I did not ask – ever – if they:

  • tested their smoke alarms?
  • regularly changed batteries in the smoke alarm?
  • had regular fire drills?
  • had fire extinguishers and knew how to use them?
  • had a system to account for everyone?
  • promised they could get my Sarah out in an emergency?

I am probably not much different from most other parents. Today in Tallahassee, Florida, a family is mourning the death of their 4-year-old because of a fire at her daycare yesterday.

I believe as a mom I can imagine their anguish. I think about an E.R. doctor telling me, “I’m sorry, your baby is gone,” and my stomach clenches, my throat goes dry. My knees weaken and I know I would collapse if this was happening in my real world.

I am so very sorry for this family. The daycare’s staff surely is ill with guilt and grief…something you probably never really get over.

For other parents out there, ask those questions. And make sure your home environment is safe, too. Check your smoke detectors, practice your escape plan, teach your children, “Stop, Drop and Roll.” This Web site has good info for all stages of life: