Wyoming For Me

From the Farm:


Published in the Casper Journal June 25, 2011

I just made an executive decision ... I’m moving to San Diego. After two beautiful days of blue sky, warm weather, lovely beaches and indescribable flowers, I can’t resist. My husband and I traveled to San Diego for his business conference. While he was in meetings, I spent my time strolling paths by the bay, watching amazing ships, listening to the seagulls and drinking in the aroma of jasmine hedges lining the walks. While I’m not generally a fan of big, dirty cities, San Diego seemed clean and inviting. Friendly trolley car drivers explained points of interest as we drove through the streets. Smiling shopkeepers offered assistance as they sold everything from produce to Italian ice cream to tourist shirts. The Navy presence — everywhere in San Diego — was astounding and impressive.
Coronado Island was incredible. I visited it twice. The white, sandy beaches and the warm Pacific Ocean were tantalizing. Glittering flecks washed up with each wave (was it gold?) and the beach sparkled as far as I could see. The lovely island history — both Mexican and American — appealed to everyone. I didn’t bring home much in the way of souvenirs — just a few photos and a sunburn — but enough memories to draw me back someday. So lovely. So different from Wyoming. So impressive.
Various circumstances have taken us to many places in the past three months. Besides San Diego, we’ve also been to Denver, Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City and Omaha. Quite frankly, every city has impressive sites, and the people are friendly. America the Beautiful shines. On second thought, I could probably live anywhere in our great country and be happy.
But even with the beautiful places we saw, I was always glad to come home. Every city had its downfalls: gas prices, toll roads (who’s bright idea was that???), tornados, security checks and lots and lots of rain. When all is said and done, I’ll still take Wyoming. Nothing quite compares to our beautiful prairies, laid back communities and incredible wildlife, not to mention an affordable standard of living.
In just the past week, summer has come to our farm. Tiny corn, potato, onion, pea and bean shoots are poking through the ground. The irises are in full-bloom, and the aroma of lilacs wafts through the air. Hills all around are green, and our chickens are laying constantly. (We eat eggs every day!) We may not have hedges of jasmine or a deep blue bay to watch, but the overflowing North Platte River, just down the hill, is nearly as impressive! The ponds of Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park may not be the ocean, but my children still spend hours there, catching fish, swimming and playing on the sandy beaches. I also love the miles of open space and star-studded skies of Wyoming. Perhaps we aren’t moving to San Diego, after all.
It’s not quite July, but I’m already feeling patriotic. Poet Henry Van Dyke’s words (with my own, western twist) ring through my mind:
It’s home again, and home again, Wyoming for me!
My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars!

Moral Madness

From the Farm:


Published in the Casper Journal June 14, 2011

I’m sick of immorality. I don’t care if you’re rich, or famous, or even (especially!) if you’re a politician. Cheating on your spouse is dishonest and wrong, and it hurts others.
Recent newscasts (which I sometimes have to turn off if my children are listening) have shared stories of political leaders on each side of the aisle who act immorally and then spend money to cover it up. Incredible! How can we trust people to be true to their country if they can’t even be true to their spouse? If you’ve made a commitment, then keep it! No matter what your societal status is, if you can’t control yourself, you have no right to lead others. Did you never study Shakespeare? “This above all: to thine own self be true ...”
What is it about our society today that makes morality so old-fashioned? Why do we think we can break timeless laws without consequences? This nonchalant attitude, blatantly displayed by those in political power, is filtering down through the ranks until every part of our culture is affected. Henry David Thoreau said, “As if you could kill time without injury eternity.” I say, “As if you could kill chastity without injuring society.”
My husband and I have been married for 15 years. (I know, I know. That’s just the blink of an eye for some of you old-timers out there.) Despite the fact that our current lives allow less time alone then when we first courted (eight children constantly vie for our attention now), we’re happier today than when we were married. Somehow the passage of time deepens love, understanding and respect. I can only imagine that our next 15 years, and the 15 after that, and the 15 after that, will continue to improve our relationship.
A one-night fling can never afford the same satisfaction that long-term love brings. It’s the difference of opening packages on Christmas morning compared to the joy of giving a gift to one you love. It’s eating ice cream, compared to holding a newborn child. It’s the thrill of a Ferris wheel ride compared to an exhausting yet exhilarating mountain climb. Pleasure and joy are sisters, but one is much younger than the other.
As election rhetoric, debating and mud-slinging get underway, I care only about one thing: Are you a moral candidate? Really? Truly? Will your spouse second that? Can we trust you with your family, and with your most important relationships? Then no matter what side of the aisle you sit on, perhaps we can trust you with our country.
However, if you think immorality is in style then don’t even try to set a toenail on my ballot. You don’t deserve to be anywhere near the leadership of this nation. Despite worldly trends, we’re still “one nation under God,” and morality is at the top of His list. If you think double standards outside of marriage are “no big deal,” then go home to your private life and your dishonest ways. Stay out of the White House and off Capitol Hill. As a country that trusts in God, we need leaders we can trust. And that trust begins at home.