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free! Summer 2014

A letter from the birth mother I never knew

Families create new lives in America

8

ways parents can help kids

cope with divorce

Nice ways to say no

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2 living • Summer 2014


Contents 4 Editorial 5 Community Connections 6 Paths of two immigrants 9 More than skin deep 10 Where does your milk come from? 12 Eight ways parents can help kids cope with divorce 14 What’s your money personality? 16 A letter to the birth mother I never knew 18 A faithful companion 20 Ice Cream Sandwich Cake 22 Words unspoken 24 The Tin Man 26 Five reasons to give your child the gift of summer camp 28 Nice ways to say no 30 I never promised you a rose garden 32 A surfer mom’s tale 35 Word Search

22

32

30

In Every Issue

Community Connections pg. 5

Family Forum pg. 9

Money Matters pg. 14

Cooking Corner pg. 20

Living can be found at these locations, and more, throughout the Valley: Harrisonburg Christian Light Bookstore DQ Grill & Chill, Carlton St. DQ Grill Harmony Square Friendly City Food Coop Fox’s Pizza Den Gift and Thrift Golden Corral Hardesty Higgins Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market Kate’s Natural Products

Massanutten Regional Library Mercy House Mr. J’s Harmony Square Red Front Supermarket RMH & RMH Health Clinic Rt. 11 North Exxon Salvation Army Store Sharp Shopper Shenandoah Heritage Farmers Market Styles Unlimited

Bridgewater/Dayton Dayton Farmer’s Market Bridgewater Foods Supermarket Broadway/Timberville Broadway Supermarket Crider’s Store Mac’s Superette Mayland Grocery Turner Ham

Cover photo: (from left) Rasheed Qambari and son Mateen.

Elkton/Shenandoah Countryside Market/Exxon 340 Market & Deli/Liberty Elkton Grocery Mamma Mia Restaurant Rte. 340 Flea Market & Antiques Mt. Crawford Joy Foodmart Exxon

Mt. Solon/Augusta Co. Zach’s Country Store North River Country Store New Market Randy’s Hardware 7-Eleven

Singer’s Glen Grandle’s Glenview Market Weyers Cave Weyers Cave Super Save

Penn Laird 7-Eleven On the run

PHOTO BY WAYNE GEHMAN

Summer 2014 • living 3


Interconnected

New dreams, new look, new website and a “so long” …

Melodie Davis, editor

4 living • Summer 2014

© BRADLEY STRIEBIG PHOTOGRAPHY

To be alive is to dream, to have hopes for the future. Spring leaning into summer is a typical time for those hopes to soar: hope for a better garden, nicer lawn, great vacation or holidays coming up, the dreams we have for our teens graduating from high school and young adults from a trade, college or grad school. It is also natural and part of the human condition to long for a better life for yourself and your family. The Shenandoah Valley families featured in this edition of Living have followed the universal desire to find a better life or a safer and more secure future. Viktor Sokolyuk came to the U.S. in 1990 from Ukraine. Rasheed Qambari came in 1991 from Iraq, and his wife Samira and children followed a year later—all as refugees with reasonable cause to fear for their safety in their home countries. Don’t miss their stories on p. 6, where Viktor and Rasheed’s paths crossed early on in Harrisonburg and continue to this day. You’ll learn how they strengthen our community and country by their commitment to work hard here making it a better place for all. A somewhat different dream propels Randy Inman and his wife Lynette, including their children and spouses. They seek to have a secure and stable farm income from the classic dream of raising their children on a family farm, and along the way, improve our whole valley’s opportunity to consume milk and milk products that are healthier and come from a local source. We trust you’ll enjoy the feature about the families who created the Shenandoah Family Farm Cooperative on p. 10. We hope you notice some other things about this issue of Living that represent the dreams we as a board, staff and advertisers have as we grow this 20+ year enterprise for the future. That dream continues to be publishing a local magazine—in print and online—dedicated to the interests of families and encouraging strong connections as a way to “light a candle” in our community, as founder Eugene Souder put it. Thanks to Estland Design, we have a new logo, along with a newly redesigned and developed website making our materials available online in more accessible ways. In the future, we plan to include local individuals or families on each cover of the magazine which we hope you will enjoy as a way of drawing even stronger associations to our valley base. I am grateful to Lauree Purcell who, while writing the cover stories for our last two issues, has also graciously volunteered much additional time to helping with details behind the scenes. We also said “so long” to Dorothy Hartman, office and production manager for 12 years with a farewell board reception and recognition. Dorothy kept us on track and held together many aspects of this operation, which isn’t easy with all part-time staff (and many volunteer hours from the Board and others). Gratefully we have welcomed Lindsey Shantz as our new production and finance manager replacing Dorothy. Lindsey had extensive experience working in a similar capacity earlier as an advertising adviser for The Breeze at JMU. More recently she had taken a break as she and her husband Tim began raising their two children, Clay and Hope, now ages 7 and 5. She says she is “happy to be back in the world of print and advertising—I don’t think it ever really left me.” She is glad to have part time work so she can continue spending as much time as possible with her family. We must also salute, and sincerely thank, the advertisers who support the mission of Living with their ad dollars. Finally, a hat tip to you loyal readers who are all part of what makes this small publication work. You help us as you support the advertisers with your patronage—and let them know. What a community! Many of us come from diverse backgrounds but our lives intersect in amazing and interesting ways. Understanding those histories can help us live in a strong and connected community.

Volume 23 No. 2

Valley Living inspires hope, encourages faith and builds positive relationships in the home, workplace and community. Media for Living, Publisher Melodie Davis, Editor Paul A Yoder, Sales Representative Raymond Ressler, Sales Representative Mary Jo Veurink, Layout & Design Lindsey Shantz, Production & Finance Manager

Advertising

To reserve space in future editions (540) 433-5351 or mediaforliving@gmail.com

Media for Living Board of Directors Trisha Blosser, President David Rohrer, Vice President William J. “Bill” Troyer, Treasurer Tracey Veney, Secretary Jonas Borntrager Ben Roth Shank Steven C. “Dusty” Rhodes Ramona Sanders Jessica Hostetler David Slykhuis Opinions expressed in Valley Living are not necessarily those of Media for Living. Published cooperatively with Media for Living, a non-profit corporation, 1251 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22802 (540) 433-5351 • mediaforliving@gmail.com www.valleyliving.org Printed in the USA by Engle Printing, Mount Joy, Pa. © 2014 by Media for Living


Community Connections Letters, local events, news “My husband and I get excited when we see the new Living in the racks. We immediately start reading the uplifting articles and working on the word search. Thanks so much for the uplifting stories. We identify somewhat with ‘Hiking Mt. Washington on our honeymoon,’ as we went to Vermont and camped and rode our new tandem bike on our honeymoon.” – Rich & Pat Armstrong, Harrisonburg “I enjoy doing these puzzles every season! All of the stories are very interesting! Thanks for telling us about the mixed-up puzzle in the last issue.” – Marie Marston, Grottoes “The only way I learn about radio stations that I like is to see their ad in the Living magazine. Thank you! I appreciate every page from the front to the back.” – C. Freeman, Bridgewater “All the stories were great and uplifting to read.” – Nancy Stultz, Harrisonburg “Love the word searches. This one was a little hard.” – Julie Dearing, Elkton

and children with Medicaid. From its modest beginnings in an 800 square foot building in Harrisonburg, the health center is now located in a 21,000 square foot building off Port Republic Road that was completed September, 2012. Since 2008, the health center has grown from seeing over 7,000 patients to over 20,000. In December 2012, the health center added affordable dental services along with

Word Search Notes

sites in Virginia that receives federal assistance to help meet the needs of low-income persons, and was recently certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient Centered Medical Home. For more information call 540-433-4913 or visit www.hburgchc.org. The Health Center is located at 1380 Little Sorrell Drive, Suite 100, Harrisonburg.

Bach Festival returns to Harrisonburg

If it’s June, it must be time for classical music available to the whole community through full fledged orchestra and choral concerts featuring the works of Bach, Handel and many more, Living readers submitted 256 completed Word the weekend of June 13-14 at Search puzzles from our Spring issue and indicated Eastern Mennonite University. their favorite articles as follows: “A scream in the For the entire week of June night” – 65; “Push through, never give up” – 55; 9, donation-only lunchtime “Spreading compliments around” – 43; and two tied, mini-concerts will also be held “The greatest miracle” and “Eggs for Easter” – 31 at First Presbyterian Church each. (The articles and Word Search puzzles also on Court Square at noon. A available online at valleyliving.org.) community worship service on the model of a Leipzig (similar to what Bach would have primary medical care services. It can be experienced) worship will be Sunday June used by all persons in the community 15, free and open to all. For more details regardless of their insurance status or see: www.emu.edu/bach/schedule/. income. It is one of over 100 health care

Responses from readers

“Thank you for a wonderful paper.” – Beatrice Horst, Dayton “Please keep up the good work.” – Edwin Wade, Bridgewater

Opportunity for affordable medical/dental care

The Harrisonburg Community Health Center (HCHC) opened its doors to patients in January 2008 in response to a local working group concerned about the lack of access to basic primary health care services for low-income children

Bach Festival 2013

PHOTO BY CATHERINE CREASY

Summer 2014 • living 5


Paths of two immigrants:

Families create new lives in America by LAUREE STROUD PURCELL

I

n February 1990 at age 24, Viktor Sokolyuk arrived in the U.S. alone as a Ukrainian refugee speaking almost no English. He had one suitcase and $200 in his pocket. In 1991, Rasheed Qambari was a physics professor in northern Iraq when the Gulf War began. Humanitarian agencies came to the aid of citizens there and a U.S. agency hired Rasheed as a translator. He helped with rebuilding efforts until Saddam Hussein invaded northern Iraq again in 1996 and ordered the execution of all translators. These two men, and eventually the women they married and their families, now call Harrisonburg home, each contributing to the rich cultural diversity the Shenandoah Valley enjoys. These are the stories of how two men from very different parts of the world ended up having their paths intertwine here.

Viktor’s story

In the ’80s the KGB (the Soviet Union’s “CIA”) threatened to imprison Viktor. As a member of the Pentecostal Church, he refused to join the Communist Party. Members of his family were already in prison and some had been killed. Denied the opportunity to attend college because of his convictions, Viktor was mistreated and brainwashed. He and his cousins paid fines equivalent to about $6000 before being given their exit visas in 1989. They waited in Italy several months before being accepted into the U.S. Refugee Program when Pine View Community Church in Albany, N. Y. agreed to sponsor them.

He arrived in Albany in 1990 and lived with a family. They took him to English and computer literacy classes. He soon volunteered as an interpreter and found a job in a filmdeveloping lab. After six months, he moved in with cousins and together they bought a car that needed work. After fixing it, they traded it for two more damaged cars they fixed for their own transportation needs. Separately, a woman whom Viktor knew in Ukraine, Valentina, was sponsored by a Harrisonburg church and settled here about the time Viktor went to Albany. They reconnected in Albany in 1991 and were married in Harrisonburg within three months. In the Valley, they worked separate shifts at a poultry processing plant, and by that fall, Viktor was working poultry by day and interpreting for the Church World Service (CWS) Refugee Resettlement Office at night and on weekends. After a year, that office hired him as a full-time caseworker and eventually he became Director of Virginia Immigration Services for CWS. But always used to keeping a second job, Viktor now paints vehicles in the evenings and on Saturdays for area mechanics. “If a dog wants to eat, a dog has to bark,” he explains. Viktor’s wife, Valentina, works for the Harrisonburg City Schools, and they have raised four children here. When Viktor arrived in the U.S., he felt fortunate to find people willing to show him where to go and how to get the information he needed. “So if we are able to help someone, to simplify or eliminate some of their struggles and help them avoid difficulties so that they can become self-sufficient earlier, that’s what we are here for,” said Viktor. For CWS, Viktor guides and assists low-income immigrants through the process of becoming U.S. citizens and helps them reunite with their families. He works closely with other community groups to secure funding for U.S. citizenship classes to help immigrants prepare for the citizenship test required by the federal government. With the help of local churches, CWS helps refugees find As Director of Virginia Immigration Services for Church World Service, Viktor Sokolyuk works hard each day to help many families throughout Virginia. © MEDIA FOR LIVING

6 living • Summer 2014


appropriate housing, jobs, classes to help them become informed about our health care system, schools, English proficiency classes and public safety services. Viktor and his family are members of Slavic Christian Church. His wife and daughters teach Russian classes there so the children can communicate with their grandparents. The church has sponsored several refugee families and supports two orphanages in Ukraine. Members participate in the Harrisonburg community helping the homeless and meeting with people downtown every Thursday. While working multiple jobs and raising their children, Viktor and Valentina have taken many classes at Blue Ridge Community College. Viktor focused on immigration law to become certified with the Board of Immigration Appeals. “God gives us time and will ask us how we invested that time. So we have always worked hard and have tried to teach our children to do the same,” explains Viktor. “God gave you health, arms and legs, therefore it is our responsibility to work and care for our families. Feed not only yourself, but others as much as possible.”

Rasheed’s story

One refugee that Viktor helped resettle in Harrisonburg was Rasheed Qambari. Back in 1996, Rasheed feared for his life in northern Iraq. With Saddam Hussein’s regime threatening to execute translators, Saddam’s military controlled the major roads. So Rasheed escaped on foot to the Turkish border. His wife, Samira, hid at her mother’s house with their two sons who were much too young to walk for 16 hours. Rasheed would not see his family again for well over a year. He worked on his English and volunteered as a translator while waiting in a refugee camp in Guam for four and a half months. After settling in Harrisonburg in March 1997, Rasheed worked in a poultry processing plant and helped other Kurds who came to the area. Within four months, the Refugee Resettlement Office hired Rasheed part-time and soon hired him full-time. Since 2003, Rasheed has worked his way up through many management positions in the poultry industry so he is now fully trained to run all aspects of the poultry processing business. Rasheed also started working for a Steam Master carpet

cleaning business in 2003 during the day while working poultry processing at night. He bought the business in 2006. His two oldest sons are fully trained to run the business, but he does 90 percent of the work himself. He hopes to expand to cover a larger area and have a small warehouse so he can sell and install flooring, too. “I’ve found that even when he’s under pressure to get many units done in a very short time span, Rasheed doesn’t show that he’s under pressure. He works harder and into the late evening hours to get the job done on time,” said Danielle Smith, regional director for Copper Beech Townhomes. “He’s friendly, careful, upbeat, and willing to come out and work even if it’s an emergency water extraction in the middle of the night!” Rasheed’s wife, Samira, prepares lunches at Keister Elementary School. They are raising five children and consider Harrisonburg their home. They are also active in the Kurdish community at the local mosque. They meet every Friday for a service in English that is open to visitors. Children receive religion and Arabic classes for two hours on Saturdays and Sundays. About 300 families from many cultures and

Rasheed Qambari enjoys talking with his son, Mateen, and his wife, Samira, in front of their home in Harrisonburg, Va. PHOTO BY WAYNE GEHMAN

backgrounds participate in mosque activities. “We use English for everybody because we have Kurdish, Arabic, Bosnian, African and American-born members,” said Rasheed. Rasheed and others from the mosque are quick to help with local needs. Marlin and Christine Burkholder, Mennonite

Refugee Status: For refugee status, a person must have a credible fear of persecution because of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, political beliefs or affiliation. Those affiliated with any armed group are not admissible to the U.S. Refugee status is not available for anyone involved in violence. Once the United Nations accepts that someone is a refugee, there are still over twenty different screenings and security checks that a refugee must go through before being admitted to the U.S. Eleven other countries also resettle refugees for third country resettlement. The great majority of refugees are able to return to their homes, communities and farms in their country of origin. Summer 2014 • living 7


owners of Glen Eco Farm, sell produce at the local farmer market. In 2007, when the Kurdish community heard the Burkholders’ home had burned to the ground, they took up a collection to help. And when Hurricane Katrina struck, the Kurdish community contributed to disaster relief. “This is our homeland and the motherland of our children. So we want to help,” said Rasheed. The mosque takes its turn feeding and housing the homeless community for several weeks each winter and members often clean up trash from streets around town. In Iraqi Kurdistan, Rasheed was an honor student, and his father stressed the importance of learning as many languages as possible so he could understand other people and cultures. Rasheed now supervises many employees who speak only Spanish, and he has learned enough to understand and help them when they come to him with problems.

A safe haven for both

Two former refugees with different backgrounds, speaking different languages, Viktor and Rasheed have found themselves working side-by-side serving those who found safe haven on U.S. soil. “Despite our differences, we worked very closely together and understood each other without many words. There was never a need to ask him anything twice,” explains Viktor. “Rasheed is the kind of person who will sacrifice his own time and resources for the sake of others. I often referred to him as my ‘little brother’.”

The Qambari Family: Mustafa, Alan, Rasheed, Samira, Meer, Areen, and Mateen. The Qambaris are the next door neighbors of Lauree Purcell, who wrote this article. PHOTO BY WAYNE GEHMAN

LAUREE PURCELL serves as an editorial consultant for Living. She and her husband Steve have two daughters.

Related links: blog.glenecofarm.com/search/label/Our Kurdish Friends blog.glenecofarm.com/search/label/The house fire and recovery

Viktor Sokolyuk keeps a family portrait in his office. He and his wife, Valentina, have four children: Catrina, Chris, Jessica, and Kevin. © MEDIA FOR LIVING

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8 living • Summer 2014


Family Forum

Strengthening family relationships

More than skin deep by HARVEY YODER

“H

© WIKIMEDIA.ORG

ow do I look?” Whether we actually ask that question or not, most of worry about our outward appearance, and spend time every day making sure we look as presentable as possible. In a study conducted some time ago by researcher Judith Langlois and a colleague at the University of Texas, she found that when it comes to faces, at least, the more “average” someone’s features, the more attractive they are judged to be. The down side of that is since no two of us look alike (so we can tell each other apart), few of us will look exactly “average” in the way her study defines it. Langlois used a computer to construct faces that were a blend of several dozen people’s, creating a composite of such features as nose length, chin prominence and the size and shape of the forehead and mouth. In so doing, the more pictures that went into the composite, the more the result represented the average face of the male or female college students from which they were drawn. When other students were then asked to judge the attractiveness of the composites and then of the individual faces—without being told which was which—they invariably found the composites to be more attractive than the ones of the individual faces that went into them. I found this interesting, leading me to think, Why can’t we

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just celebrate our differences and our unique features instead of trying to look like some arbitrary “ideal”? Why not teach our children there are as many ways of being special and beautiful as there are people? And then work at what makes us truly beautiful and special from the inside out? I once gave some high school students in a religion class the assignment of bringing me a picture of a face they thought might do for the face of Jesus if he were to appear as a human being today. I got quite an interesting assortment, ranging from pictures of handsome movie stars to those of average American males of various races. The one that really got my attention, though, was the wrinkled and aging face of Mother Teresa, taken from the cover of an old Time magazine. What better image to represent what a modern Jesus might look like? Beautiful way beyond average. HARVEY YODER is a family counselor and teaches parenting and marriage classes at the Family Life Resource Center. Questions relating to family concerns can be addressed to FLRC, 273 Newman Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22801 or to Harvey@flrc.org. His blog can be followed at harvyoder.blogspot.com.

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Where does your milk come from? Shenandoah Family Farms Cooperative provides locally sourced milk © MEDIA FOR LIVING

by MELODIE DAVIS

I

n late April, a large cab tractor rushes through a bright Shenandoah Valley field of spring rye grass leaving a swath of yellow-hued stubble—already harvesting good fresh grain that feeds the cows who nourish the children as the farmer in turn stewards the land. The wheel of life. On a dairy farm, all must pitch in, often in the wee hours of the night or early morning, to keep up with the relentless three-times-a-day milking schedule. Living finally caught up with farmer Randy Inman of Mt. Crawford after three tries in a busy week where impending rain (with turkey litter needing to be spread beforehand), preparing a Powerpoint for a farm cooperative meeting, and milking left Inman yawning—and apologizing—on a busy Friday morning. The Inmans first moved from the Catskills in New York to the Shenandoah Valley in 1995 and farmed here for four

but from a living creature. How those mammals are raised and their milk is handled matters in terms of the health of the milk your children drink just days later. How animals and waste are controlled matters in taking care of the land and the streams running through. Inman is one of many farmers who care greatly about such things. “Our primary goal is to preserve small family farms for generations to come,” notes Inman in talking about the relatively new Shenandoah Family Farms Cooperative a group of area farmers formed last August. Some of his own grandchildren are growing up on the farm. Along the way, they are improving milk production where anyone in the Shenandoah Valley can have the opportunity to meet the farmers and the cows that turn out the milk and milk products we drink and use. Currently there are 21 farmers in the cooperative with 14 more families in line to join, which will bring the total to 35.

Along the way, they are improving milk production where anyone in the Shenandoah Valley can have the opportunity to meet the farmers and the cows that turn out the milk and milk products we drink and use. years on MarBil Farms near Mt. Crawford, named for Randy’s parents, Mary and Bill Inman. Then Randy’s father’s health deteriorated, and Randy and his wife, Lynette, moved back to New York. After his father died in 2002, the Inmans moved back to the Valley where their daughter Karen and husband Jason Hewitt are now key management partners in their farm. Son Brian recently joined the farm upon his wife Emma’s graduation from vet school. He is assisting with herd management, and she is working at a local small animal clinic. Their oldest daughter Kendra and husband Matthew Lamb are dairying in western New York. Mary (mother) resides near the home farm in upstate New York surrounded by family. Milk in all its forms is a basic food for many. Pour it on a bowl of fresh granola. Enjoy an ice cream cone, a wedge of cheese, a container of yogurt. But milk of course doesn’t come from a bottle or factory 10 living • Summer 2014

Most of the farms are within a 10 mile radius of Harrisonburg. Five Valley dairy farmers were key organizers for the cooperative including David Eberly, Dennis Trissel, Lynwood Shank, Dennis Koogler and Randy Inman. The cooperative purchased a milk processing plant in Hagerstown, Md. (formerly owned by Unilever) in August of 2013 and opened just six months later for operations February 26, 2014. Before this opportunity, local farmers sent their milk for processing and distribution to a variety of different companies. Several of them dreamed of coming together to “take control of the product from farm to consumer,” according to Inman, president of the board for Valley Pride LLC, the official company behind the cooperative. “We want to be able to have that connection so people can meet and know the farmers and cows where their milk comes from,” he explained.


All of the farms in the cooperative operate as small family farms; the Inman farm is one of the larger with some 150 acres owned and another 300 rented to supply hay, corn and rye as feed for the dairy cows. So the farmers most often grow most of the food locally that feeds the cows which produce the milk. “This is a high quality product— people really seem to like the flavor, Randy Inman, left, with his grandson and son-in-law Jason Hewitt and son Brian Inman on their farm. whether it is white or flavored with © MEDIA FOR LIVING chocolate,” says Inman. stores like Food Lion and Wal-Mart because of needing to The milk tastes better, according to apply for vendor numbers, and chains have varying contract Inman because of the low temperature the processing plant renewal dates. Local larger grocery stores selling Shenandoah uses for pasteurization. “Higher temperatures can make a Family Farms brand milk are Red Front in Harrisonburg and chalky flavor,” he says. With low fat milk products, other Bridgewater Grocery. Since the Unliver plant was previously companies add powder to the milk for better flavor, which set up to produce ice cream, the cooperative first offered soft often turns the milk a bluish color. serve ice cream, and launched “hard serve” ice cream (boxed) In addition, P.I. (preliminary incubation count) and somatic in May. They are making the mix used by Kline’s Ice Cream cells (both are measures of bacteria) are very low for the milk for the popular Harrisonburg treat. A good place to keep up that comes to the cooperative, which is an indicator of the with new stores selling the products is on the company’s health of the animals. “Overall our standards are set higher Facebook page, “Shenandoah Family Farms Cooperative.” for our milk With the plant in Hagerstown, “we are strategically than other positioned to serve bigger population areas around northern companies or Virginia and D.C./Baltimore,” noted Inman. The close required by proximity will give customers assurance of fresh dairy law,” states products. The plant hopes to include novelty ice cream bars, Inman. When butter and cultured products along with a variety of fluid milk these counts (various percentages of fat content) and cream. are low, it also The cooperative wants to assure good farm management helps lengthen practices for environmental sustainability, and encourages the the life of the farmers to be involved in the community through church and milk. So not volunteer activities which makes for an even busier life. But only does the trade his home-based enterprise with spouses, children and milk taste grandchildren all helping out? Not likely. One of the Inman grandchildren enjoys getting up better, it lasts longer—often close with a calf. © MEDIA FOR LIVING a good seven MELODIE DAVIS, national editor of Living, is the mother of three days past “sell date,” according to the company. young adult daughters, and lives with her husband near Harrisonburg, The cooperative hopes to encourage farm visits and tours by Va. She also blogs at www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com school children and interested groups to “meet the farmers” and animals. Their milk or ice cream, as of this writing, is in 254 stores, restaurants or ice cream shops within a 150 mile radius We offer you of the Hagerstown processing plant—a number which is CHOICES for your home! growing every week. It takes time to get into larger chain

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Summer 2014 • living 11


T Eight ways parents can help kids cope with divorce © JUPITERIMAGES

by LAURA REAGAN-PORRAS, MS

ony was 8 years old when his parents separated and later divorced. When his dad moved out it was very traumatic for his mother. She cried and screamed. His dad didn’t say goodbye to him or explain what was going on. His mom later explained that Dad was going to live somewhere else and some weekends Tony could go to see Dad at his new place if he wanted to. But Tony’s mom told him with tears in her eyes when she told him about it. Tony loved his mom and didn’t want to see her in pain. At that moment Tony became what psychologists call an adulted child because he stuffed his own feelings of anger, confusion and sorrow in order to emotionally take care of his mother. He hugged her and warmed up her favorite soup for dinner that night. He even remembered to feed the dog without being reminded. Later that night Tony cried alone in bed. He was scared and angry all at the same time. He wondered why his dad left without saying goodbye. He felt abandoned but did not have the words to say it like that. Children cope with divorce in various ways. There is no one standard, nor progressive process. Caring adults can be helpful to children if they support the child’s own way through the loss involved with divorce. Adults must be careful not to push too hard for their children to talk. Kids may open up and discuss their feelings if they feel safe to do so and feel assured they will be heard non-judgmentally. When Denise was 10 years old, she moved to a new school because her parents separated. She began to act out and began to receive behavior reports from school. She did not move to a new town so she was able to register in the local after school

Re-establish family routines quickly. program where she had attended summer camp at the local Boys & Girls Club. They knew her well. When Denise walked in for the first time, her friends and the staff members yelled out her name. The unit director, Karen rushed over to give her a big hug. Denise felt special in the moment but everything was not totally right. Denise was getting in trouble at school and even at the club activities after school. Denise was shorttempered with others, fought more and didn’t care about doing her homework. Karen knew this wasn’t Denise’s usual behavior. Karen gave Denise a special assistant job, making copies and answering phones so that they could spend some extra time together. Karen shared the story of her own parents’ divorce and how she too felt frustrated and sometimes got angry without understanding why. She told Denise that it was okay to talk with her about it but that it wasn’t okay to get herself into trouble. The extra attention made a difference over time. Denise began to settle into her new routine and improve in school. Karen saw her return to the fun-loving, light-hearted girl she knew from summer camp. The examples with Tony and Denise give us a window into how school age children may cope with divorce by becoming overachieving or by acting out. These extremes occur because children need help understanding adult behavior. Children need their parents to assure them the divorce is not their fault. Children need to understand adult choices and behaviors, such Encourage children to talk about their feelings, and that whatever they are feeling probably won’t last forever.

12 living • Summer 2014


as divorce, are about adult problems and not about children. Divorce care groups or co-parenting education support groups can help parents discuss these issues with their children in an age appropriate way. The groups can help parents meet their child’s needs while working through their own adult grief of ending a relationship. Many churches and some non-profit agencies offer such groups and services. Or parents can find a therapist. Orissa Arend, a divorce recovery therapist, counsels that the sooner a regular routine for day to day living can be reestablished and a co-parenting visitation schedule begins, the sooner a sense of order can return to family life and the more secure children will feel. When children feel secure, they begin to resolve their feelings. Co-parenting educators and divorce recovery therapists share the following similar parent behaviors that can help children cope with divorce. 1. Re-establish family routines quickly. 2. Continue family traditions. 3. Spend extra time together. This creates opportunities for children to share their feelings naturally, allowing them to unfold over time. 4. When children talk about their feelings, assure them it is okay to feel what he is feeling but he will not feel badly forever. 5. Be sure to speak respectfully about the other co-parent around your child. Do not assassinate the character of the other co-parent. After all, they share the same DNA with your child. To criticize a co-parent is to criticize your child. 6. Encourage the other co-parent to spend time with the child and do things they used to do. This will serve as a clear message to your child the co-parent will remain in your child’s life. 7. Work through your own grief about ending the marriage with a therapist, clergy member or support group. While you can be honest with your child and acknowledge you are sad about the divorce too, do not burden your parent-child relationship with your own grief work. Your child needs you to remain the parent. 8. Above all assure your child she is loved by both her parents and the divorce is not her fault. LAURA REAGAN-PORRAS, MS is a freelance writer and sociologist from Edinburg, Texas, who facilitates co-parenting education groups. She is the mother of two daughters.

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Money Matters PHOTOS MORGUEFILE.COM

Guidance on family finances

What’s your money personality? by KEN AND KAREN GONYER

“D

ad, do you know what kind of animal you are? Are you a lion, an otter, a golden retriever or a beaver?” This unexpected question came from our daughter after school one day several years ago. Her class had been exploring their unique personality types and had taken a test to discover which of those four animals best matched their behavioral style. For her, the test had revealed that she was a beaver-lion. What did that mean?

Everyone has a “money personality” that influences how they think about and handle their financial resources. The test she’d taken was a version of the “DISC,” a popular assessment that groups people into four categories of personality traits. Authors Gary Smalley and John Trent used animals to make the test easy to understand for children. Here’s how it works: D is for Dominant or Driver; this was the Lion part of our daughter’s result indicating her bent toward leadership. I is for Inspiring or Influencing, represented by the fun-loving Otter. S stands for Steady or Stable, symbolized by the relaxed and reliable Golden Retriever. C is for Correct or Compliant, signified by our child’s other animal label, the precise and industrious Beaver.

 

  

 

 

14 living • Summer 2014

Our family has enjoyed using these descriptive terms to get to know ourselves and each other better. We’ve got lions, beavers and a bit of golden retriever at our house, but nobody is 100 percent otter. What “animals” live in your home? It’s fairly easy to categorize family members just by observation. Is one of you assertive, to the point and interested in the bottom line? She may be a Lion - forceful, direct and strongwilled. Maybe one of you is a great communicator, optimistic, talkative and friendly to everyone he meets. He’s probably an Otter. The Golden Retriever in your group is known for being patient, practical, even-keeled and very good at listening to and encouraging others. If one of you really enjoys gathering facts and details, is thorough in all activities and tends toward being analytical, that’s the Beaver. As we think back over our years of helping families with money, we recognize it would have been helpful back then to better understand how the four behavioral styles impacted relationships and family finances. Everyone has a “money personality” that influences how they think about and handle their financial resources. The DISC or the four animals would have given us another way to talk through money conflicts and gain mutual understanding. What’s your money personality? The four types handle many aspects of financial management in different ways. For example, when thinking about a car purchase, the decisive Lion tends to make a decision quickly after gathering the most pertinent information. Lions want to get it done; they aren’t as interested in doing the detailed research and comparisons that a Beaver would think necessary. When choosing what style of car to buy, Otters tend to think about fun and flash while Golden Retrievers would focus on practicality and comfort. With this broad spectrum of perspectives, there’s a good chance for conflict. On the other hand, as different personalities bring their strengths to the conversation, they can all contribute to a better shopping decision. The discipline of saving is another area in which people do things their own way. Some personalities are more apt to


save their money than others, and for different reasons. For a Beaver, systematic savings is motivated by the desire not to be caught off guard. Beavers feel good when they have an emergency fund that will be there for whatever disaster may come their way. Lions are often good savers as well, especially when the savings plan is connected to a desirable goal they can achieve. In contrast, live-in-the-moment Otters and easygoing Golden Retrievers aren’t as motivated to save for a rainy day. Charitable giving is handled differently among the various money personalities as well. Golden Retrievers and Otters, the more relationship-oriented types, often give generously and spontaneously as they become aware of needs – even if they can’t really afford it. It’s a decision of the heart. Lions and Beavers, the more task-focused types, would rather decide on giving ahead of time and write a check for the same affordable amount every month. For them, the decision is less likely to be affected by emotion. Tax season highlights big differences in money personality. Beavers are meticulous at record-keeping; some even enjoy doing taxes for themselves, although they would tend to be conservative with deductions and take care to follow the rules. They don’t like to get refunds – it means they made an error and overestimated their withholdings. Lions may hire a tax preparer to save time, but if they do their own taxes, they’re more aggressive with deductions and willing to take risks in order to “win.” They dislike refunds, too, because it means they’ve lost income as the government held their money at no interest. Some Golden Retrievers may patiently wade through self-preparation of tax forms, but they may put it off as long as possible. If they get a refund, part of it might be put to practical use to pay bills. Otters would definitely prefer to have someone else handle all the details of tax preparation. Their fun-loving social streak might tempt them to spend a tax refund on an enjoyable experience with family or friends. In these few examples of money personality, it’s important to see that each type or person’s way of doing things is not necessarily right or wrong; it’s just different. For couples, differences often complement each other and make life better for both. For example, an Otter married to a Beaver might

sound like trouble, but their partnership can be very valuable. In preparation for their summer vacation, the Beaver may be willing to invest a lot of energy into planning out all the details of a fabulous trip. That’s a service to the Otter for whom details are a drag. While on the vacation trip, the Otter’s optimism and excitement may serve to intensify the fun and magnify the enjoyment for the Beaver. Learning to respect the differences and to recognize the value of each style will lead not only to more harmonious relationships but also to a wellrounded and effective response to the financial challenges we all face. Vive la différence! KEN GONYER is Director of Member Care at Park View Federal Credit Union (www.pvfcu.org) in Harrisonburg, Va. KAREN GONYER is a real estate agent with KlineMay Realty in Harrisonburg, Va. Email questions to ken.gonyer@pvfcu.org.

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Summer 2014 • living 15


by BILL HOLLAND Setting the stage: entered the world on Oct. 13, 1948 at 2:10 p.m. Two days earlier the Cleveland Indians had defeated the Boston Braves to win the World Series four games to two. Millions of kids headed off to school, parents headed off to work, the sun shone (my fantasy), and I was put up for adoption. I would spend the next nine months in eight different foster homes. By the end of June 1949, I was undernourished, under-nurtured and blind when I was adopted by a loving couple. Two weeks after the adoption I gained my sight. The rest, as they say, is history. So here is a letter to the mother I never knew.

I

PROVIDED BY BILL HOLLAND

A letter to the birth mother I never knew

Dear Mother: I thought I would take a few minutes and tell you about the son you gave birth to. Since chances are great that you will never read this Bill Holland with his adoptive family. Bill is the small boy in the background by the window with a checkered shirt. I guess this letter is more for me than you, a cleansing of sorts to put things in perspective and bring some closure. I was adopted nine months after you gave birth, by Evelyn most parents will, and they made sure that I attended the best and Dale Holland of Tacoma, Wash. They were in their 20s schools that they could afford, often going without so that I when they adopted a blind child who had been bounced would have the tools and opportunities to succeed. around from one foster home to another, eight times in fact, They are both dead now; dad died of a heart attack when I was 20 and mom died of cancer in 2003. I miss them greatly. The lessons they taught me, and their words, still live today I would spend the next nine months in and I find myself recalling those words and lessons with a eight different foster homes. By the end smile. Like most kids I often turned a deaf ear when they tried to teach me something but in the end the lessons stuck and of June 1949, I was undernourished, unhave guided me throughout my life. der-nurtured and blind. I had a good childhood. I was small for my age but finally grew to a fairly normal size. I was a happy child with and they gave me a home and a loving environment in which good friends and a great neighborhood to explore—a safe to grow and thrive. environment that fostered learning and love. I was sickly Sure they had their problems; what young couple doesn’t? as a child, seemingly catching every flu and cold bug, but I There was never a moment, however, when I doubted their managed to avoid the horrible diseases that so many children love for me. They both worked hard and did everything in caught during the ’50s and ’60s. their power to provide a loving home. They pampered me, as Once I had traversed the landscape of childhood my body

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grew strong and impervious to any disease, so that today I look back and marvel at the body you gave me. I am 63 now and have been blessed with a body that seems to know no limits or restrictions. I have only been to the hospital once, for a back operation. I have made mistakes along the way, Mom. I have been divorced twice and tripped and stumbled often as I found my way through life. When times got tough and I ran out of answers I turned to alcohol and I fought that disease for decades. I am happy to report that I have now been sober for five years and I am the happiest that I have ever been. I have a 27-year-old son, Tyler, who is a great kid and I love him very much. I was a school teacher for 18 years. I have always loved children and it turned out I had a special talent in a classroom, a real passion to pass on knowledge to my students. Besides teaching I have had 20 other jobs to put bread on the table and each job taught me something about life and responsibility. Today I write full time and I have found the same passion for writing that I once had for teaching. I have never tried to find you, Mom, as so many adopted kids do. I decided a long time ago that you had your reasons for placing me with an adoption agency and that I respect those reasons, whatever they may be. It is not for me to judge you; you did what you thought was right at the time and I can never know why you made that decision because I wasn’t there and I am not you. There is no blame in this letter. I was adopted by two people who loved me and gave me the best upbringing a boy could ask for; to blame you, when I was given everything I needed by my adopted parents, would be silly of me.

I guess I wanted you to know that I love you and I wanted to thank you. You so easily could have opted for an abortion. It certainly was not unheard of back in 1948. There were ways to have it arranged and in many ways it would have been the easy solution for you. Instead, you carried me for nine months and then endured the physical pain of giving birth and the emotional and psychological pain of giving your son away, I know without any doubt that you must have suffered greatly in doing so. So I thank you, Mom. You gave me birth and in doing that you gave me a chance, and 63 years later that boy you gave life to is a happy and fulfilled man who is surrounded by love. That is an incredible gift, Mom, and I will forever love you for that gift. I hope you are alive and well; if not I hope you had a good life, a loving life, a life filled with wonder—in short—the same kind of life you gave me. Love always, Bill BILL HOLLAND is a freelance writer from Olympia, Wash., author of numerous books and blogger at www.artistrywithwords.wordpress.com.

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SHOP DONATE VOLUNTEER Summer 2014 • living 17


A faithful companion by SUSAN ESTEP remember clearly the day I read the “Pet Ads” wishing for a dog, and then there it was. The ad read, “Golden Retrievermix puppies, $25.00.” I had always wanted a Golden Retriever but couldn’t afford one. I immediately called the number listed and the person who answered gave me directions to a farm. The next day I drove to the farm. It was a beautiful sunny day in May. When I pulled into the driveway a woman came out of the twostory colonial house. Right behind her came a beautiful Golden Retriever, the mother of the puppies. She told me in a rather disappointed voice that her retriever had gotten out of the house one day, disappearing for a few hours. A few weeks later she had 10 brindle-colored puppies. A pencil drawing of Max, She wasn’t sure what kind of dog Susan Estep’s loving companion for many years. the father of the puppies was, only DRAWING BY SUSAN ESTEP that he was black. There were two males left. She had sold all the others. I followed the woman to a shed near the house, as did the Golden Retriever mom. She opened the door and out bounced two beautiful balls of fur that ran and played. The mother dog eyed and nuzzled them at times as if she knew they soon would be gone. I happily watched the pups play and wrestle. Then I picked one up and he immediately began to wriggle and nip at my nose. When I picked the second pup up he lowered his head shyly and wagged his tail a couple of times. I felt an instant bonding. I knew he was to be my dog. I paid the woman $25 and reassured her he would have a good home. I drove off with the little ball of fur that I named Max. Max cried all the way home, not unusual for a puppy. I’m sure he was grieving the loss of his mother and brother. Max was quite shy at first, hiding himself behind the couch or under the bed, coming out only to eat or be taken for a

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walk. He retreated like this for a week or so, then gradually began accepting love pats and hugs from his new mother—me. As Max adjusted to his new home, he became playful and tested out his new territory. One day he discovered how much fun it was to grab the end of the toilet paper roll and unravel it into the living room. He looked up at me with his chocolate eyes as though to say, “Look what I can do.” I laughed. Max would run around in circles and tumble, head over heels. He would bark at his reflection in the mirror as if he thought I had brought a new dog into the apartment. He was such a joy. However, I, on the other hand, went through severe bouts of depression that lasted for weeks at a time. Some days I would spend most of the day in bed, only getting up to take Max for a walk and feed him. I began to question myself, and whether I was being a good enough caretaker of Max. I loved him very much but I wanted the best for him and I did not feel I was giving him the best life. I finally placed an ad in the Daily News Record. It read, “6-monthold Golden Retriever-mix puppy, great temperament, playful and affectionate.” I decided to screen out all the people who answered the ad if I did not think they were the appropriate person(s) to raise Max. One day a woman called. She and her husband lived in the country and had several acres of land, lots of room for a big dog to run and play. She told me that she had a son in college and they had lost their German Shepherd a few months earlier. The dog’s death had saddened the whole family and they wanted another dog. This sounded like the perfect match. So I arranged a time with the woman and her husband to come and visit Max to see how they interacted. She told me when her husband got off work that evening, she would call for directions to my apartment and they would come by. A couple of hours later I began packing Max’s toys and food bowl, blankets, etc., because I was sure this family would want Max and I felt I would like them. Max started sniffing the packed box of items and whining. He knew something was wrong. In a few minutes a knock came at my neighbor’s door, and at this sound Max ran over by me pushing his body against me and whining loudly. I began to cry as I saw the love Max had for me. He didn’t want to leave me. I was his mom. It was in that moment that I decided that I would never give Max up. A Ministry of Peoples Baptist Church

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I loved him very much but I wanted the best for him and I did not feel I was giving him the best life. squirrels. He watched the snow fall and tried to catch snowflakes in his mouth. When he watched a flock of geese fly over he stared at them as if wondering why they were making such a fuss. Max would run to the door when I would tell him friends or family were coming. He knew everyone’s name and all of his friends brought him treats and loved on him. He especially liked Grandma and Grandpa’s visits. Dad always gave Max a back rub. Max loved this and if Dad forgot, Max would back up against him to remind him. My mom and I loved to give Max hugs but Max was still shy at times with female affection and would duck his head when we tried to give him a hug. Max and I enjoyed cuddling up on the couch to watch TV. His favorite show was anything with animals. Sometimes he would jump up off the couch barking and running to the TV,

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pushing his nose against the screen as if to say, “I’m here. Don’t you see me?” Max was a wonderful companion. I loved him and he gave me unconditional love without hesitation. Then one day in September 2004, Max couldn’t eat. He threw up blood. When I took Max to the vet, my parents went along, because I knew the news wasn’t going to be good. The vet did tests The author and Max. and x-rays that revealed the worst. Max had a large cancerous tumor on his adrenal gland. He was bleeding internally. There was nothing they could do. Max had normal signs of aging, but I did not know he was so sick. I was sad and angry. I wasn’t ready to give Max up yet, but I also didn’t want him to suffer. As the vet led Max back into the examining room, we were all in tears. Max sensed our sadness and came to comfort each of us, saying good-bye. He went over and looked out the window for the last time then turned back to the vet as if to say, “I’m ready now.” As the vet administered the drug, Max folded his paws, put his head down and closed his eyes. My dad gave him one last back rub and I whispered in his ear, “I love you, Max.” My mom, dad and I left that day with a sadness and loss that still lingers to this day. I had Max cremated and his remains were buried in a pet cemetery an hour from where I live now. My family and I have visited his grave occasionally. I still feel Max’s presence around me. He brought challenges and purpose to my life. He was no accident. I think God made sure I read the pet ad and picked the shy dog. Max was meant to be my dog for 12 and a half years. Max saved me from myself—my sadness and despair. He taught me how to live. SUSAN ESTEP is a resident of Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, Va.

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I called the woman and cried as I explained why I decided not to give my dog away. She said, “I kind of thought you might not be able to part with him. You talked about Max in such a loving way that I could tell you had bonded with him.” I had many more times of severe depression, but when I was sad and down, I looked at Max and he would put his head on my lap and look up at me as if to say, “It’s going to be okay. I’m here for you.” Max taught me to live in the moment as only a dog can do, and to enjoy every second of life as it comes. Over the next several years Max grew in stature and beauty, an 80-plus pound dog, mostly black with some golden streaks and the Golden Retriever body. His nose was a little longer than a typical Golden, but he had the full plume of a tail that he carried high. What a gorgeous dog he was! Max soaked up his world like a sponge. He learned many words—objects, names of animals and people. His hearing and senses were keen. He could hear me unwrap a slice of cheese and in a second be there to share it. Max loved to smell all kinds of scents—other animals, people and flowers. Yes, he loved to smell flowers. Max explored his world daily. He enjoyed looking out the window, watching cars and people go by. He liked being outdoors to play ball, Frisbee or to tree


Cooking Corner

Recipes and tips for cooking at home

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

© THY HAND HATH PROVIDED

T

his is a great summertime treat that is super easy to make. It’s also become our family’s top choice of birthday cake- no matter what the time of year.  Variations abound.  Slice bananas and strawberries between the layers and use chocolate sundae topping to make a Banana Split version (pictured) or change out the peanut butter cups (our family’s favorite) with your favorite candy. This recipe has also been the most pinned recipe on my blog at 985,000 pins (on Pinterest Internet social networking/hobby sharing boards) so far. This recipe serves 15-20 people. 24 ice cream sandwiches, unwrapping as you go 16 ounces of Cool Whip 1 jar caramel sundae topping 1 bag of your favorite candy, coarsely chopped (I used Reese’s peanut butter cups.) 1. In the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan, lay one layer of ice cream sandwiches (whole), trimming the last one to get it to fit. 2. Top with half of the Cool Whip, then half of the caramel sundae topping and half of the candy pieces. Repeat these exact steps again, cover and freeze. 3. About a half hour before you’re ready to serve it, take a sharp knife and insert it into the cake. If it glides in fairly easily, return the cake to the freezer and remove it just before serving. If the cake is very hard, pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw for 20 minutes before serving.

From the blog Thy Hand Hath Provided, written by “Jane”. This recipe and many others can be found in Jane’s cookbook by the same name. Find ordering information on her website at www. thyhandhathprovided.com/p/the-cookbook.html.

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Summer 2014 • living 21


Words unspoken by LINDA W. ROOKS © FUSE

Who needs your affirmation of love expressed— in words or with a hug?

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s soon as we passed Everett Street, I spied the tall Daddy’s fond wrap-around hugs would be there to send me pine rising majestically above the red tile roof of our off or welcome me home. I would see the twinkle in his eye, house—a welcome flag waving me home. I felt jittery the familiar grin, his arms reaching out to me and then feel the with excitement. strong, tender warmth of his fatherly embrace, which lasted a When the car pulled alongside our two-story Spanish house, moment or two, but held me securely for hours. I smiled at the familiar sight of French-door windows standing I was his little girl, his only daughter … the one he gave open in the living room with rose-colored drapes blowing in Eskimo kisses to at bedtime; the one who listened to him read the wind. Although I’d been away at college for only a few “Tom Sawyer” while snuggled in his lap; the one he loved to months, it was good to be home and see everything the same tease, who laughed at his corny jokes; and the one who smiled as I left it. back at him while listening to the song, “My Heart Belongs I was still collecting my belongings from the car when the to Daddy.” I was the daughter he proudly escorted to Dad and front door flew open. My parents hurried toward the gate, Daughter dances and the one he walked down the aisle to give smiling and away to a man we waving. On the both loved, but who front walkway, would take me to Whenever I left for college or returned home for a Daddy stood back the other side of the break, I knew one of Daddy’s fond wrap-around hugs to let my mother continent. greet me first, but After I married would be there to send me off or welcome me home. even then I saw a Florida native his smug grin and and moved 3,000 eyes teasing at miles away from me from behind dark-rimmed glasses. As I moved toward him, my California home, the same warm sentiment that encircled he extended his arms and drew me into that loving hug that me with hugs evolved into the faithful expression of three always told me I was his little girl no matter how old I got. treasured words on the telephone. At the end of every After a sweet moment between us, he patted me playfully on conversation Daddy’s voice grew husky and soft. “I love you,” the back, a gesture I lovingly returned. We laughed and headed he would say. I could always envision his solemn smile and for the front door together. the warmth in his eyes as he mouthed those words. Hellos and good-byes were Daddy’s specialties. Whenever And at my end of the telephone wires, I always responded, I left for college or returned home for a break, I knew one of “I love you too.”

22 living • Summer 2014


It was our ritual for many years. At the end of every conversation, he said, “I love you,” and I always responded, “I love you too” … except for one bewildering night … the last time we ever spoke. A week and a half before our family had arranged to fly to California for a vacation with my parents, my father called to talk to me on the phone about a Dodgers game we were planning to attend. He asked about our airplane arrival and a host of other things. But the conversation ended in a way I have spent years trying to understand. Why, on that particular occasion, did I neglect to do what I had always done before? Had I somehow decided that saying, “I love you,” to my father sounded childish or that it had become too repetitive of a ritual? Was I embarrassed to be heard saying those words from my end of the receiver? Or did I just decide to do something different—not to be so predictable? Why, the last time I talked to my father this side of eternity, did I make the rash, unprecedented decision not to respond as I had always responded every other time? Daddy ended the conversation as always by saying, “I love you.” And I? I said, “Uh huh.” That was all. For the first time in all those years, I did not answer by saying, “I love you too,” as was my usual custom. Four words that still tear at my heart every time I remember my odd reluctance to utter them. Because, a few nights later, a week before our trip to California, the angels came while my father slept peacefully in his bed and carried him away to Heaven. I know it was peaceful. His eyes told me so as I looked at him for the last time in the viewing room at the mortuary a couple of days later. His eyes, though closed, were creased in the corners with that unmistakable smile. I could almost see

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the glow that must have shone over him as he was wrapped in the arms of angels and lifted On High. I saw no regrets, no pain, nothing that would make me feel I disappointed him. He and I had a special bond. He knew I loved him although I had undoubtedly disappointed his love many times, particularly, I imagine, when I left his beloved California to take a part of his heart 3,000 miles away to the humidity of a Florida climate he never could appreciate. But I disappointed myself in my love for him during those few seconds the last time we spoke, seconds that I’ve spent hours wishing I could relive, the few seconds I neglected to say, “I love you.” But standing there, studying his peaceful face, I said it now. It was my final opportunity to do it right. “I love you too,” I whispered. One day we’ll meet again. When I picture Heaven, I picture my father coming toward me with that loving smirk and playful expression in his eyes. I know his arms will reach out to me. And even though it’s Heaven, I somehow think I’ll feel tears of joy streaming down my face as those unspoken words finally take form on my lips to my father’s listening ears. At last I’ll get to say, “I love you, Daddy.” And as he enfolds me in his arms, I know he’ll respond, “I love you too.” In the meantime, I try to stay sensitive to others in my life who may need to hear my words of affection and affirmation, particularly those who are lonely and hurting or advancing in years. Saying, “I love you,” is such a simple thing to do and I never again want to miss the opportunity and know the regret of those unspoken words. It is also comforting to know that actions often speak louder than words. We give love to others through our actions and choices made every day. LINDA W. ROOKS is a freelance writer from Florida.

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Summer 2014 • living 23


The Tin Man © DYNAMIC GRAPHICS

by ERIKA HOFFMAN “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18NIV

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ometimes my biggest obstacle is understanding women. And I’m a woman. I see women stream tears at times when they are talking about a mammogram which is worrisome, or a grown child who is experimenting with drugs, or a marriage that is sinking into oblivion. I want to emote. I watch other women do it. I note the sympathetic eyes and comforting hugs and soothing words of women toward other women in real life and on talk shows, and yet when I’m confronted with a situation that requires me to comfort someone, I morph into the proverbial deer in the headlights: I just stand, stunned, arms at my side, frozen. Yet, if my brain is functioning enough to recognize

I must do something—I must reach out—then, I do so like R2D2 in Star Wars—like a robot. I’m not autistic. I don’t suffer from Asperger’s. I feel deeply, but for whatever reason I sometimes have trouble showing it. I have sobbed at funerals. But other times, even when moved, I don’t display the right affect. I’ll smile inappropriately. Nevertheless, I wish to appear as a sympathetic human. I care, but I’m stiff. Do you feel this way? My daughter confided she didn’t think she was normal because she didn’t cry at movies other girls bawled at, and she didn’t get hurt by a boy’s rejection the way other girls do, and in general she didn’t react the way her friends did to misfortune. I sat there not knowing exactly what to say or how to assuage her fear of being inadequate in the emotional department. Finally, I awkwardly hugged her and said, “Honey, I’m sorry. It’s genetic. Blame me.” Not that I want to be a “drama queen” who makes life an utter Hades and her children tip-toe around her so as not to upset the emotional apple cart. But neither do I want to have the emotional IQ of the Terminator. I don’t have too much testosterone coursing through my veins. I like poetry, and I was an English major so I know how to intuit! Yet, yet, yet … I lack the ability to emote. When I am around women and men discussing some topic at a party, I understand the male’s point of view and often deem the women’s perspective self-absorbed. I hide this fact. I don’t want my sisters to realize I’m an alien species; or a traitor. In ways, my natural stoniness is helpful. A friend of mine said she felt so anxious after she’d submitted a story to an anthology, she felt like throwing up. Not me. I can get rejected a thousand times, and it doesn’t ding my ego. Nonetheless, I do feel sensitive toward others’ plights. Reading literature makes a person more keenly aware of the human condition, and I’ve studied the classics; however, I don’t exhibit empathy by my facial expressions, tone of voice or gestures. I’ve contemplated acting lessons so I can learn to gesticulate in a manner appropriate to the scene unfurling before me. I have friends. My weakness at not being huggy-feely hasn’t hurt my forming friendships. My problem is I sense I’m excluded from participating in a big part of human interaction—the mimicry of emotions. When I observe folks

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connecting to other women, I experience a twang of uncertainty and pity for myself. Consequently, I wish I could develop this intuitive sensitivity. So, my take-away message from trying to understand myself is this: I recognize my flaw and forgive myself for it. I try to show I care in ways other than streaming tears, a wrinkled forehead and a quivering lip. If it’s gauche and unnatural for me to massage someone’s hunched up shoulders, or pat someone on her bowed head, or take my hankie to wipe away tears, maybe I can express my empathy by keeping her company in a time of need, or sending notes and flowers and fruit, or accomplishing some task or chore she needs done. There’s a slew of ways a person can reveal she cares even if she lacks the sympathetic demeanor and the cuddly clasp. Perhaps by a considerate action she can show that she

ERIKA HOFFMAN, from North Carolina, writes inspirational essays and stories. Often her pieces appear in “The Chicken Soup for the Soul� series.

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The Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz� lacked a heart, or so he thought. I am The Tin Man.

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embrace in a genuine expression of love and happiness, I feel shortchanged by my genes and upbringing because I never learned how to do this growing up. My family didn’t hug much, didn’t express their love in kisses or Hallmark cards, and when they, on a rare occasion, did display an iota of affection toward each other, it was self-conscious. With my husband’s family the same holds true. Most folks might scoff at my dilemma and conclude my onus not a huge obstacle and even declare for certain professions it’s good to keep a distance. But when I see the tremendous humanity and caring some people show toward others, I feel I’m lacking a human characteristic I should have, one that would make me feel I belonged to the human race. These sweet interactions with others make life more tender and enjoyable. I look in the mirror and behold Judge Judy when I’d rather emulate my little Dachshund. Her adoring eyes, eager tail wagging and bounteous licks demonstrate sympathetic bonding. Is it an obstacle to overcome, this not knowing how to emote like Oprah? I only know when I see women emotionally

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Five reasons to give your child the gift of summer camp by GAYLA GRACE

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treasure the stories my children tell after arriving home from summer camp. The week-long adventures include experiences sure to build character and bond relationships. Every camp has a unique way of teaching kids their value while giving them opportunities to experience all kinds of fun they would never find at home. The spring months are the perfect time to begin exploring summer camps. To find one that fits your child’s needs, seek out opinions from friends and neighbors; ask teachers and church counselors what camps they recommend. Whether day camp or overnight camp, there’s sure to be one your child will love and gain valuable skills from while attending. Camp counselor Jamie Newman, who has worked the past two summers at a children’s camp for kids ages 5 to 16, expresses her enthusiasm for sending kids to camp. She says, “Camp encourages kids to try new things and teaches them confidence through new experiences. They learn valuable life lessons when encouraged to work through their fears and try something even if it doesn’t feel comfortable to them. Also, when kids are thrown together in a cabin for a week, they’re forced to learn how to get along with others and often build lasting relationships that can continue when they return home.” Our five kids © HIGHLAND RETREAT have attended summer camps ranging from athletic camps to church camps to choir and band camps. Each camp plays a unique role in building character qualities and creating lifelong memories through everyday activities and interactions with others. If you need 26 living • Summer 2014

some encouragement to give your child the gift of summer camp, here are a few thoughts to consider: 1. Camp encourages independence and allows children a chance to make decisions on their own in a safe, caring environment. Kids benefit from new relationships with camp counselors who care about them and want to help them with everyday struggles. 2. Camp forces kids to unplug from technology and enjoy the beauty and benefits of nature. Through outside activities,

Whether day camp or overnight camp, there’s sure to be one your child will love and gain valuable skills from while attending. kids find new hobbies they can’t experience at home, without academic pressure or expectations. Kids gain self-confidence through trying new things and discovering talents they didn’t know they had. 3. Camp teaches good sportsmanship by encouraging each child to be fair and kind, win or lose. Team activities teach kids how to cooperate with another and the value of getting along with others through working together and supporting one another. 4. Camp fosters new friendships with kids Camp gives kids new experiences, new friendships, and can give them new confidence in their ability to cope away from home.


who come from varying backgrounds—helping kids gain an understanding of how others live outside their community. In a relaxed atmosphere, kids easily make friends while they play, sing, work, eat and bunk together. 5. Camp creates life-long memories of new adventures in places they’ve never experienced before. Camp offers carefree days where kids can learn how to thrive outside the structure of over-scheduled days. Some children may not want to go to camp; they may worry about becoming homesick, or that they’ll have an accident or not like the food. If a child is reluctant, being able to go with a very good friend may help, but it doesn’t help to force the issue. Time may change their mind; on the other hand, kids Chad B. Nesselrodt 540-434-1792 800-289-2445 Cell 540-476-4342 bigltireco@aol.com

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can grow up perfectly well without ever going to an overnight camp. Camps are also very expensive for many families, but frequently churches help pay the cost for attending a faithrelated camp. So what are you waiting for? It may not be too late to sign up for camp even this year, or help your child plan and save for another year. Have you signed your child up for camp yet? There’s week-long adventure and character-building experiences waiting for your child! GAYLA GRACE is from Louisiana and sends her kids to camp every summer and always looks forward to hearing new stories when they return.

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© FUSE

Nice ways to say no

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onia, feeling stressed, frustrated and angry realized the source of her negative emotions came from the fact that she was saying yes when she really wanted to say no. Because she didn’t like how she felt, Sonia made a list of things she agreed to in one week: • Her boss asked her to attend a meeting after work hours at the regional office several miles away. • A friend called to ask if she could come over and provide childcare one evening because her regular babysitter was unavailable. • Her neighbor asked if Sonia could take her to the airport for a 7 a.m. flight, adding she needed to be at the airport by 5 a.m. • A co-worker asked her to help plan an office party. • Her friend from college days called saying she’d be in town for a conference and wondered if she could stay at Sonia’s house for the conference. Though Sonia said, “yes,” to all of those, she was resentful at the intrusions and additional energy all of those requests required of her. For most of us, saying no is very difficult. Like Sonia we won’t want to offend or disappoint people. With great frequency, family, friends, bosses, colleagues, civic and religious groups, call on us for our time or money or both. While most of those requests are legitimate and important, agreeing to them when we are not ready or ambivalent can result in considerable emotional hardship. “Half of the troubles in this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and no not soon enough,” noted the nineteenth century writer Josh Billings. Furthermore, “saying yes becomes wrong when you want to say no and it is in your best interest to say no,” says therapist

28 living • Summer 2014

by VICTOR M. PARACHIN

Herbert Fensterheim, PhD., author of “Don’t Say Yes When You Want To Say No.” Dr. Fensterheim says the inability to say no produces these harsh, negative consequences: • It leads you into activities you don’t respect yourself for doing. • It distracts you from what you really want to accomplish. • Because you allow other people to exploit you continually, the resentment builds up. • It produces a lack of communication between you and others. The truth is sometimes we just have to say no in order to prevent too great a toll on our own time and tranquility. It’s

She was resentful at the intrusions and additional energy all of those requests required of her. worth remembering that saying no is an option we all have. It is possible to decline a request in ways that do not seem harsh, rude or unkind. Here are some nice ways to say no. Pay a compliment as you say no. Delores is a popular east coast university professor. Along with a full teaching load, she serves as a director on the boards of several civic organizations. In spite of the fact she turns down many more invitations than she can accept, offers to serve on diverse boards continue coming her way. The reason Delores continues to be highly sought after is because she softens her refusals with a compliment. “When an individual calls asking me to serve on their board and I know that I just can’t do it,


happier for everyone, and we’ll want to see each other again sooner. We have lots of school and community activities which take up most of our evenings after work.” Buy some time. Seldom do you have to give a yes or no answer on the spot. Even if you feel strongly your answer will be no, buy yourself some time by responding in these ways: “Let me think about it,” “Let me talk it over with my [spouse, family, etc.],” “I’m right in the middle of something just now, but let me give this some thought over the next day or two.” These maneuvers will reap you three solid benefits. First, they buy you time to come up with an acceptable excuse. Secondly, they give you emotional space to honestly consider the request. Thirdly, you flatter the person asking you to do something by showing you are taking the request seriously. Keep your response short and to the point. Keep your answer simple. Never over explain and apologize profusely. Begin your statement with no. For instance, “No, I can’t serve on that committee.” Be short and to the point. Don’t go into a lengthy explanation of why you can’t or won’t agree because there are people who will eagerly try to counter your reasons. Consider the frustration Louise experienced because she offered a list of reasons why she could not serve on a committee of the pre-school which her 4-year-old son attended. To her amazement, the woman pressured her saying, “You won’t have to come every week, perhaps every other week.” The best possible first answer is a short, simple sentence: “No, I can’t serve on the committee.” Just say no. There are times when the best way to decline is to just say no. Remember, you have the right to just say no when a request is made of you. As you become comfortable with saying no, you will benefit by enjoying greater self-respect, reduction in anxiety, stronger self-esteem, less depression, more personal and professional focus as well as admiration from others. VICTOR M. PARACHIN is a freelance writer from Oklahoma.

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I often say, ‘I’m so glad you thought of me. I am a big fan of your organization but my schedule just won’t allow me to accept your invitation.’” A similar approach also works well in a social setting. If someone invites you for lunch, you can respond, “There’s no one I’d rather have lunch with than you but I’m swamped at work and just can’t get away.” Or, if invited to a party, try saying, “I always have such a delightful time at your home with your family and friends so I’m really sorry that I can’t make it this time.” Do what presidents do. They rehearse answers with aides prior to a press conference. These aides ask the president questions they expect news women and men to raise. From this dress rehearsal, the president shapes and practices his responses so he can deliver answers confidently and convincingly. The same principle applies to saying no. Practice your answers. Rehearse them in your mind and in the presence of a family member or friend. Be prepared. Decline in a positive way. “I appreciate your offer but I have to pass on it at this time,” is a gentle way to say no. Phrasing a negative response in a positive way allows you to maintain relationships, foster friendships and avoid hurt feelings. Other positive ways to decline include sentences such as these: “That’s an excellent offer, but we’re not in a position to take advantage of it just now.” “That’s a good idea,” or, “That’s a good product but it’s not something we can use at this time.” Offer a compromise. You may not be able to accommodate the entire request but consider responding positively to part of the proposal. In their book, “Your Perfect Right: A Guide To Assertive Living,” Robert E. Alberti, PhD., and Michael L. Emmons, PhD., offer this example: “Aunt Margaret, with whom you prefer not to spend much time, is on the telephone. She has just told you of her plans to spend three weeks visiting you, beginning next week.” The authors say you have three possible responses: 1) You think, “Oh, no!” but say, “We’d love to have you come and stay as long as you like.” 2) You play with the truth by declaring to Aunt Margaret the children have just come down with bad colds or you will be out of town when she is planning her visit. 3) Or, you can say no but with this compromise solution: “We’ll be glad to have you come for the weekend, but we simply can’t invite you for longer. A short visit is

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Most of us are uncomfortable with saying no, so here are five guidelines for deciding when to say no:

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Deciding when to say no 1) You need to say no if you feel uncomfortable with the task for whatever reason—lack of time, ill health, lack of motivation, weariness, lack of interest. 2) You need to say no if the task will greatly interfere with your family life. 3) You need to say no if the task will negatively impact your personal life in any way. 4) You need to say no if you are doing it out of guilt, obligation or duty and not out of a sincere desire to be helpful. 5) You need to say no if you do not feel it is right for you to say yes. Remember, you should feel pleasure in serving, not sentenced to it.

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Summer 2014 • living 29


I never promised you a rose garden by ANN BRANDT

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hen we moved into our first brand new house, I looked with dismay at the bare ground, scraped of all topsoil by the developer’s machinery. Built on what had been a vast area of dry-land wheat farms, the twostory house stood as if braced against the prairie wind. Late summer sun blazed high in the sky, and I felt like an ant standing on a giant frying pan. I tried to visualize a lush, green lawn, sheltering trees and flowers of all colors sending out waves of sweet perfume. But my senses only relayed a smell of dust and an unpromising scene devoid of any life. My husband must have harbored the same thoughts. He put his arm around me. “Give it a year.” “Remember how our yard looked in the old place—how we thought it would never look good enough for us?” In the old house, in a different climate, we had spent hours digging, watering and amending the soil in a yard that finally yielded to our efforts and produced vegetables for the table and flowers for our enjoyment. And then we had to move— again. I was tired of creating gardens for others to enjoy. And this time we faced another challenge: a semi-arid environment at a mile-high altitude. Nonetheless, we spent the following spring digging out and discarding worthless chunks of brown clay, ordering what seemed like tons of peat moss and topsoil, hauling wheelbarrow loads to the space we’d set aside across the front of the house for our rose garden. I dared to dream. At night, sinking exhausted into bed, I could see blossoms big as cabbages—roses with orange petals, bright red in the center; pure white roses standing beside tall blood-red blooms that reminded me somehow of A beautiful rose garden takes lipstick on diligence, but the rewards go movie stars beyond the flowers you’ll enjoy. of the 1940s, decorated for their parts in the play. It will all come to pass some day, I kept thinking. Not this year, my husband kept reminding me. Gardening takes patience, especially in a part of the country

not known for lush, landscapes. During one especially hot day with the sun burning a yellow hole in a bright blue sky, I looked across an expanse of black dirt at my husband. He turned peat moss light as dust under the good earthy compost to keep it from blowing away in the wind that seemed to come up every afternoon in summertime. Our eyes met. “It will be all right,” he said as if reading my hopeless thoughts. “You’ll have your rose garden.” Someday. We had learned the most important part of starting a rose garden was preparing the soil. One should use plenty of manure and it’s best to let the manure settle into the soil before planting anything—like marinating the soil. And so, the winter snows came, blanketing my little garden-to-be and I visualized the good nutrients soaking into the ground, making a comfortable bed for the rose bushes we would be installing in the spring. Timing is important when it comes to planting roses, the gardening books informed us. Compared to the drudgery of the previous year, shopping for the plants became an exercise of pure joy. We would prowl local nurseries and garden shops for days, lost in a vortex of color, shape and fragrance. At first we considered color and the effect we could achieve by placing contrasting colors side-by-side. The more we researched, the more we learned how many things one must consider. Some rose bushes bloom only once a season; others keep blooming all summer. Then there is the matter of petals—how many and how large the blossoms are. A big consideration is the height of the rose bush and how far the mature plant will spread. There are three main classifications of rose: hybrid tea roses, floribunda, and grandiflora, each with its own characteristics. Often we would return home emptyhanded but with a whole new set of ideas for the future © RIDOFRANZ

30 living • Summer 2014


purchased in an emergency trip to the garden store. The occupants of our rose bed. weather had been ideal except for one thunderstorm that If part of the joy of gardening lies in the planning, then we shook our fledgling bushes until some of the leaves fell to were living proof that planning a rose garden creates happiness the ground. We watched the sky as it darkened over the in abundance. Looking back, we call that spring the Time mountains, turning clouds into an ominous darkness that could of the Rose Shopping. No one shop offered everything we only forecast hail. We breathed a sigh of relief as we saw signs wanted or needed. We would purchase a plant at one location, that told us hail was falling in the valley below. another in a different section of the community, then take them Then we had our payoff. A beautiful mid summer day home and set them in various spots in front of the house. dawned clear and sunny. Warm but not hot. I poured my Sometimes, we would decide a certain plant would not do morning cup of coffee and stepped outside. A light, sweet well or we would not do well with it and back it would go, to odor and a plethora of color greeted me. There was the bright be replaced by what we considered a more suitable candidate. red of “Mister Lincoln” We wanted only the and standing in the front best. row was the “John F. We finally decided. If part of the joy of gardening lies in the planning, Kennedy,” the white In the end we chose rose we had hunted for three dozen good then we were living proof that planning a rose so long. I spotted the quality rose bushesgarden creates happiness in abundance. delicate orange reddeveloped to thrive in tipped petals of “Double our particular grumpy Delight.” It was like climate. We spent two seeing old friends in a glorious weeks that spring digging a hole for each rose bush, adding water and new environment. I laughed out loud. “George, come and see!” liquid plant vitamins, placing each bush in its prepared home My husband appeared on the porch. “See, I never promised and patting the dirt—for luck. Each evening we would gaze you a rose garden, but you got one anyway didn’t you?” at our creation. Buds appeared, swollen with promise of lush blossoms. ANN BRANDT is a freelance writer from Colorado. By the end of June, we had withstood a grasshopper invasion, fighting off the creatures with special spray

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© PLUSTWENTYSEVEN

A surfer mom’s tale by ANNE BATTY

Collect the different scenes and experiences of summer— and bring back memories that build your family’s connections and history.

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ost kids sleep in, especially in the summer time, if they have that luxury. Not so for surfers. When my three sons were growing up, they would be on the beach early. I spent many a morning’s sunrise, standing atop the pier, coffee cup in hand, watching them mount the waves below. While reveling in that quiet dawning, my mind was free to ponder the surfer’s endless quest to conquer nature; a clan-like quest, one with unwritten tenets and a lingo all its own. For my sons it was a pursuit begun each day in the dark before dawning. Waking sans alarms, they donned yesterday’s clothing. With a quick pause at the fridge to sip milk from the carton and mumble under-breath, “there’s never anything in this house to eat,” they were off. Scooping up wetsuits, boards and towels, grabbing skateboards or bikes, they disappeared in the blink of an eye. Joining their surfing brotherhood on the beach, they exchanged few words. Using hand-slaps, signs and nods to greet one another, they paused onshore, straining to read and interpret the water’s signs. And in unison with those bobbing astride their boards offshore, they gazed unflinchingly ocean-

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32 living • Summer 2014

ward, combining their wills and invoking the seas to belch forth the swells they so patiently awaited. My youngest son once remarked that we humans were a tribal people, gathering in groups to form tribal rituals and establish languages of our own. Observing this spectacle daily, I have come to understand what he meant. Like seems to attract like, creating principles to abide by along the way. Residing in a beach town I have sometimes heard disparaging remarks directed toward surfers and the surfing lifestyle. As a mother of surfers, I certainly don’t picture things that way. Although there may be good and bad in

I spent many a morning’s sunrise, standing atop the pier, coffee cup in hand, watching them mount the waves below. every situation, there is great danger in categorizing, and I am always astounded by the ignorance of such remarks. As for me … if I could turn back time, I would be that stayat-home mom once again, joining other beach-dwelling moms to watch our children perform their fascinating dance upon the waters. And as a beach bum at heart, (if I weren’t such a chicken, anticipating the dreaded wipeout), I probably would have joined those clansmen answering the call of the surf. Benjamin Franklin, founding father, inventor and author of “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” opined that one should be … “early to bed, early to rise.” Like Benjamin, it’s always been my nature to be an early riser. Now that they are grown, I continue rising early, lingering contentedly on the pier, coffee cup in hand, continuing to be touched by the wonder of it all. ANNE BATTY is a freelance editor/writer residing in California. Visit her blog at awriterrambles.com.


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Congratulations… Bergton Woody Brown Terry & Victoria Dove Dana Hartman Bridgewater Opal Alt Hensel Armentrout Sue Baylor Charlotte Fifer Joseph M. Fisher, Jr. Carolyn Freeman Anna Keller Brenda Lilly Judy Maclam Shirley Shull Mary Simmons Danielle Smith Janet Stepp Glen Thomas Edwin Wade Margaret Ann Wheelbarger Louise Witt Brightwood Virginia Coppedge Karen Lillard Broadway Helen Brunk Sharon Caplinger Joyce Cash Brookelyn Collins Jane Conley Carolyn Cubbage Pearl Keister Juanita Lantz Eldon & Bettie Layman Dessil May Karen Mongold Amy & Breanna Ours Aileen Pettit Eleanor Showman Kim, Paisley, Rilee & Sierra Showman Evelyn Shultz Faye Siever Autumn & Cathy Slifer Linda Spitzer Ed Wade Churchville Ethel Ernst Ralph Lam

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Famous women leaders in history by JEANETTE BAER SHOWALTER

Famous Women  Leaders  in  History

From ancient times to modern times, women have played an important by Jeanette  Baer  Showalter role in leadership. Even Japan had eight female empresses in its early history. Some of the names listed below may be unfamiliar, such as the legendary Queen Pupupu from early Nigeria. Others are well-known, such as Mary I (Bloody Mary) and Elizabeth I. From Ancient Egypt’s Hatshepsut to the most recent ruler on the list, Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, you will find the names of these women forward, backward, horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

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