The Beast of Rich Prairie

Minus 20 degrees is not a temperature, it is a presence. Going outside at 20 degrees below zero isn’t a simple endeavor, it requires one to prepare to fight the Beast without. The beast of that kind of cold will try to suck the warmth out of your body, it attacks your skin, tries to turn your feet and hands into wood and it will gladly kill you if you allow it.

Preparation to fight this Beast requires multiple layers, a comfortable set of long underwear will quickly become your friend. We all know we must break out the parka, chopper mittens and our best set of insulated boots. We denizens of Rich Prairie know to invest in good equipment, hardy perennials and warm clothing; all due to the Beast which comes in winter.

The visit of the Beast is not all bad however. There are a few good things coming with this kind of temperature. One is that it either kills or chases away a myriad of pests that plague warmer climates. Another benefit is that the communal suffering which we residents of Rich Prairie endure brings us closer in our misery. We don’t bother to discuss the weather during these cold outbreaks, we just give each other “the nod”. We know it is cold, we know it isn’t fun and we know it won’t last forever, we just endure.

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It’s Worth it.

Yesterday, my son, married his best friend. They are two individuals who spent part of their lives apart until they found each other. Love happened and now they are together. They like each other as they found each other and now they unconditionally love each other. Isn’t that neat?

If love were the driving motivating factor in the world today, what a different world in which we would live. Imagine a world in which our interactions with each other are guided by concern for one another; what would your day involve? What would you do differently today?

Lucas & Kelsey

Unfortunately, this type of unconditional love is hard. I don’t mean the bio-chemical reaction in the brain which causes two humans to be attracted to one another, I mean the love you have for another when there is absolutely nothing in it for you – unconditional love.

Love means one has to put someone else above your own self-interest – by your own choice. Love means someone else takes center stage in the drama of your life, someone else’s needs get put first.  However, the great thing about love is, if applied properly, it becomes reciprocal. It is very difficult for a human being to be the object of love without returning love back. It may take awhile for them to come around, but even the hardest heart can be changed with love.

Yes, love is hard – but worth it.

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10 %

What is your 10%?

I was 41 years old when I discovered the secret to living a happy, fulfilled life. What I found through study and instruction of others is that only 10 percent of what we do during our daily lives is truly important.

Since that day, the rest of my life has been a search for that 10 percent. I think I am close. How about you?

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Writing the Dash

If you have ever read or heard the famous poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis, you understand the importance of a life well lived. Having the awesome responsibility of attempting to relate someone else’s “dash” in the form of a eulogy can be hard and taxing work; when it is the life of your parents or sibling, it is emotionally draining also.
I’ve had that responsibility for two of my brothers just in the past 10 weeks. Even though we laid my last brother to rest about three weeks ago, I am just now starting to put the experience into perspective. I hope to not have to do that ever again – not soon anyway.

Writing someone else’s eulogy is not only an exercise in tracking down the important details of their lives, it is also important to relate how they made those around them satisfied with their own lives. It is the lessons that others learned from them and the joyful moments they shared that their loved ones will remember. Those memories of security and happiness are what end up really being their “dash”.

The one lesson I’ve from writing 7 (maybe more) eulogies in my life is to be very cognizant of how I am living my dash. How about you?

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In the Hands of God

The tumult and confusion of the political scene reaches us even here in Rich Prairie. Politics seems to be the default topic of discussion since our winter has been so mild. It is difficult to keep our minds on the important things in life when the news and social media seems determined to distract us with those matters over which we have no control. We can talk about them yes, but other than fulfill our civic duties by voting, what else would you do? Armed insurrection? Do you know how hard that makes it to grow a decent garden?

Faith is still one of the quaint, enduring values you will find out here on the Prairie. Good thing too, because at the beginning and end of the day, the only thing one can really do is put the country and the future into the Hands of God and let him deal with the whole thing.

Then, one can get back to ice fishing, walking in the beautiful winter weather and planning next summer’s garden; you know – the important things in life.

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Fog and Sun

Weather on the Prairie is a funny thing. Cold & snow in October, foggy New Year. One thing about the weather though, it can always surprise and bring joy. Of course, joy is fleeting, so we need to grab it when it comes; even when it comes in the form of a foggy day turned bright. A walk was called for…

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Because I co-host the daily call in show UpFront, I get stopped on the street by local citizens frequently. One of the most common questions I am asked is: “What is going on in the US today?”

It seems the craziness of politics has reached into everyone’s lives, even people who are normally not very political in their everyday lives. Many are concerned and worried due to events that seem to be spinning out of control and no one in authority seems to have any satisfactory answers. The only answer I can give that really makes sense to me comes from 1 John 5:19:

“We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one.”

Keep in mind that this world is the domain of sin and evil, run by mostly evil men fighting over power, money and prestige. When you choose to keep your focus on higher things than this world, it will make more sense and give you peace.

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Imagination without hard work is usually barren: and what is more, the brighter the imagination the greater the amount of work required to its full fruition. – Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1856 – 1943) Educator

The world is filled with brilliant people. One half of the world is above average. So why do so few truly reach their full potential?

The difference: effort, persistence, goal setting.

If you have unopened gifts from God, if you have talents unused or intelligence unrealized, that tragedy falls on no one else but you. There is no grand conspiracy against you, keeping you down or thwarting your success. There is only your motivation to make the best of what God has given you. Are you willing to do what is necessary?

The great thing about life is as long as we have breath in our body, it is never too late to go to work and pursue a goal.

Start small, start today.

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Filed under Facing Adversity, Goals, Professionalism

Dill Pickles

This is the time of the year for which they wrote the song lyric: “Summertime… and the living is easy.”

Days are warm, nights become cool enough to sleep and the gardens are producing food, flowers and look beautiful in the afternoon sun.

Pickling of various vegetables consume the diligent gardeners time (I like to include myself in that category). Now is the time to fill the cool, dark larders in the basement which pays dividends in the cold harsh days ahead.

Generations of humans have experienced this time of year and for the wise among us, the shortening days inspire the instincts to prepare for the future. This is one instinct which almost all of us share, no matter our race, our geography, our nationality. For the wise among us, we know that one must prepare in the good times for the hard times most certainly ahead.

A garden in the summer is the most basic of human rites. Did you plant yours?

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What Do You Believe?

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” I believe this would indicate that the driver of the car doesn’t have a high opinion of people of faith. In his belief system, science is the ultimate arbiter of truth.
Good Thing About Science it's True Whether You Believe or image 0

However, what science believers of his ilk fail to take into account (or willfully choose to ignore) is that science, no matter which discipline, is only as good as the data that go into the scientific conclusions. If a scientist chooses to manipulate the data from his experiment to support his hypothesis, no truth has been discovered. This happens all the time.

What people who express an unfailing belief in the results of scientific methods are really saying is that they have an unshakable faith in the integrity of the scientists. They are telling us that scientists are not subject to human failings such as pride, sloth, greed, envy or lust. That is a bridge too far for me.

I respect scientists and I understand that much of what we have in the modern world comes from the scientific method. However, I don’t put my faith in science. I study it, I marvel at it and I am happy to reap the benefits of the technology which comes from it. However, I don’t put my faith in it.

I put my faith in the revealed word of God who loves me and wants only what is good for me. The good thing about the Word is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

I choose to believe God.

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