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Change…..It Happens!

For some time I have been considering changing to a  “wordpress.org” site because of the .org’s ability to upload “plugins” and “themes”.  If you think I know what I am talking about – think again!  I am clueless!

BUT here’s what I do know.   I wanted some “bells and whistles” on my website that I was told I could not get on the .com site.  Also, I have combined all of my blogs into ONE blog – with different categories.   So, if you subscribe to “Friday’s with the Farmer’s Wife” it will be a “category” under the “Seven Pillars of Success” blog.

If you would be so gracious to head on over to my NEW site….www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.net to subscribe  I will dance at your wedding!  (or your next anniversary if you are married – or your birthday if you never plan to marry!)  But I do need to warn you that I am not that coordinated and don’t really dance – so it might be more like a jig or something!

And what about you?  Do you have wordpress.com or wordpress.org for your blogsite?  And why are you happy – or unhappy – with what you have?

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B.E.A.C.H. Vacation – Doing What You Want to do!

This past week I was at the beach but I was in the water very little.  I was in a condo and outside there are waves crashing and lots and lots of sand.  But my “place” for this week was not on the seashore.

Oh, I dipped my toe into the salty solution a couple of times (here’s one)  But I didn’t go to the beach to swim or to sun.  I know, very weird and my children and grandchildren didn’t like it.  Not one bit.  They argued, complained, and tried everything possible to persuade me to do otherwise.   One of my daughters even bought me a new book and said that I “had” to sit outside and just read and relax.  But that’s not why I came.

I may not be the wisest of the bunch but I am the oldest and I thought I should be able to do whatever I wanted to do while I was on vacation.  And this past week – I did EXACTLY just that – did  what I wanted to do – here’s my “Life’s a B.E.A.C.H.”:

B – Bond with  Florida family members I have not seen in years and fellowship with them over a meal.  Two separate days, we had  Florida family members come to visit with us in our beach condo and that was great.

E – Engage with my Fairway Florida Family, my Florida team, and  visit with them about their business and their life.  It’s a long way to Panama City from Louisiana and I don’t visit my office nearly enough.  But it was only 120 very scenic miles from Orange Beach to my Florida office – so one day I set aside for this.

A -Agenda  – I came with one.  I can joyfully say that almost 90% of what I wanted to accomplish – I did!  I almost used the word  “adventure”..    One of the definitions of “adventure”  is  “…..an exciting or very unusual experience”.  Other than a trip to the ER with one of the grandsons everything was pretty “usual”.

Now I will say that several tried to talk me into some “unusual” experiences, but I will NOT parasail.  I just kept creating a made-for-TV movie in my mind about a family on vacation deciding to parasail and then something going wrong and the rope breaking and the family drifting over the water for days and ending up on a deserted island………you get the picture! So, at least for this week, I did NOT parasail so I won’t use the word “adventure”.  Maybe another day (or year) on that.

C – Complete a book project that has been on the back-burner for TOO long.  It is now DONE and hopefully this year the book will be out this year.  I took some early morning hours on the balcony overlooking the ocean, laptop keys clicking, focused on finishing – and I just got it done.  What a breath of salty air!

HHelp in any way I could on this family vacation with my children and grandchildren …..whether it be as a………

Mediator – 16 grandchildren, you know there are going to be some arguing ….or is that just my family?  and to be a …..

Spiritual counselor – I told them all the WORD for this week was GRACE and I had to remind them of the word several times! And to …..

Cook – which is doing what I love anyway!  So gumbo, jambalaya, spaghetti, pineapple upside down cake, apple pie, brownies, and more were on the menu.  And hey!  Much less expensive to cook for 24 people than to go out to eat! …..or to

Hang out with the grandkids….  Since the Farmer was stuck on the farm (I think he enjoyed his “vacation” of being by himself!), my mission was help whenever or wherever I could with my children and grandchildren.

So….for me this past week – life was a B.E.A.C.H.  It was grand and wish you could have been there!

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread…..

What in your life can you say:

“It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread”?

This week, in history,  the first loaf of “Kleen-Maid” Pre Sliced Bread went on sale in Chillicothe Missouri.  Otto Frederick Rohwedder was the   inventor of the “Loaf-at-a-time” Slicing machine.

At the time, “Presliced Bread” was advertised as the “Greatest Step  Forward” in baking since bread was wrapped, which formed the birth of  the  current cliché, “The greatest thing since sliced bread.’

So…..what is it in your corner of the world – that you can say “…it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread”?

Work?  Vacation?  Church?  Children?  Grandchildren?  Reading?  Writing?  Spouse? Let me hear from you!

Bittersweet Blackberries…..

A few weeks ago, the Farmer and I were riding over one of our pastures when we came upon a huge patch of blackberry bushes.  We jumped off the Ranger and began to gather a sweet afternoon snack of  plump and delicious blackberries.

The berries had just begun to ripen and the vines were laden with hundreds of red berries. I looked at the tangled berry vines, my mind begin to envision what these bushes would look like in a few days, the berries going from red to black.  I was thinking of blackberry cobbler, jam, and even blackberry pepper jelly!

As I began to dream outloud, the Farmer casually remarked, “….better get here quick, because a few more days these vines will be gone….”  I protested loudly – “WHY?”

And then he said something profound – something we could use in our every area of our life – family, faith, finances, field of expertise:  “This ground is meant for taking care of my cattle – not to grow berries.”   He went on to elaborate that this area should have been mowed weeks before but it had not been done, and the vines had “taken over”.  If managed properly, this area of ground, although a small section, would have been profitable pasture for feeding of his cows – instead it was just a sweet afternoon snack.

The berries were sweet on that hot afternoon – but after his comments,  I thought bittersweet.  One of the definitions of “bittersweet” is “……pleasure mingled with pain or regret….”  How many times do we make a choice that seems sweet and pleasurable for a moment – but that choice results in taking our focus, our time and and our energy away from our goals, our mission in life – our true vision of what we want our life to be.

We choose to sleep too late or too little, eat unwisely or too much,  work too much or too little, and our lives can become like these blackberries bushes and the TRUE intent and design of our lives gets strangled and choked out.

So….the vines were mowed.  I didn’t make blackberry jelly or jam or cobbler.  But those choices –  for us – for this time in our lives – were good choices.  He needed the ground for his cows.  I needed to focus on the goals I have set to accomplish before the end of July.

The Farmer is pretty wise.  I should listen to him more.  Just don’t tell him I said it!

Memorial Day – A Time to Remember

Remember the Alamo?  Most of us do!  But when the battle cry went out over 175 years ago, it wasn’t a question!  “Remember the Alamo”  was the shout that spurred the forces of Sam Houston and later won independence for Texas.

I talked about my recent visit to the Alamo in my SuitsInBoots blog earlier this week.  It was inspiring to see that there are people and organizations committed to ensuring that Americans actually DO remember and honor- not only the EVENT and the PLACE – but the men who gave their lives for a cause they believed in.

Recently I interviewed a soldier for the book I am writing “Seven Pillars of  Success Through Serving” about the Battle of Kamdesh which took place in Afghanistan, on October 3, 2009, when a force of 300 Taliban assaulted the American Combat Outpost (COP) Keating.  He was there when eight soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, 22 wounded, and dozens others left with the memory of what happened.  There is a book being written about the battle – but this soldier won’t need the book – he will REMEMBER.

In a few days, we will celebrate Memorial Day – a day to REMEMBER our fallen heroes.   Unfortunately, for many Americans, the holiday means little more than a day off from work or school, hot dogs and picnics.  But for those who have lost friends and family in combat, the day has a deeper meaning.  It is a day when we REMEMBER, pay tribute and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

The Farmer and I have 16 grandchildren.  Yes, 16!  Recently I purchased combat boots from the Boot Campaign for all of them.  But before I gave the boots to them, I wanted to explain WHAT the Boot Campaign was and WHY the Boot Campaign was important to me, both  personally and to my team, because for every pair of combat boots purchased, a contribution is made to wounded warrior projects.  I played the video for them and we talked about war and warriors.

I told them that at my mortgage office we “served those who serve”  by helping soldiers purchase a home.  I told them that many of the soldiers and/or their families had fought in battles where people were killed or hurt.  I wanted them to know that my involvement in the Boot Campaign was my way to GIVE BACK – my way to REMEMBER – to HONOR the fallen and the wounded of the United States Military.

The Boot Campaign REMINDS  us that many of our men and women who fight for our freedom pay the ultimate price – not only with the loss of their physical and emotional health – but some with their lives.   We must not forget.  We must REMEMBER.

And so, the grandchildren  “got their boots on” and we took pictures.

I asked them to recite back to me what the Boot Campaign was all about.  It was incredible.  They REMEMBERED.

May we honor the ones who have given all by remembering…….Freedom is not free.

Droughts, Floods and Green Pastures…..

It’s dry in our corner of the world and the Farmer is worried.  Everywhere I go, people are talking about the drought.  “I have never seen it this dry before….”  old-timers are saying.  The Farmer’s friends and family are all concerned about their cattle.  They need the rain for the pastures to grow the hay to feed the cattle.  And the rain hasn’t come.  It is season of drought.

But in other parts of the country, there are the floods.  You turn on the  news and there are cities and counties under water.  The ground is soaked and the rain continues to pour.  They just want the rain to stop.   It is a season of floods.

And other parts of the world have green pastures – and it’s all perfect….for now.

In my work (and my life) I have experienced all of these seasons.  In my business, I have had seasons of drought where I was concerned about the lack of home sales, rising interest rates, or possible declining home values.  I have had seasons of flood, where I worried my team could not properly handle the business as it poured in.  And then, I have  had seasons where everything moved in perfect harmony and all seemed right with the world – for a while.

King Solomon is considered the wisest man who ever lived.  He penned these words in  Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…..”  A time for drought ….a time for floods….a time for green pastures.

The rain will come again – in time.  The flood waters will recede – in time.  Green pastures will come – in time.

But here is the wisdom from the Farmer.  When it is dry, do the things you can only do with it is dry.  When it is wet, do the things you can only when it is wet.  When you have green pastures, enjoy and rejoice!  Whatever season you are in right now, flood or drought or green pastures  – know that this too shall pass – and make the most of the PRESENT.

Nothing stays the same because our lives are like a river  – ever flowing and always changing.  But when we live our lives in the PRESENT – we make the most of TODAY no matter what the circumstances are.  Remember, there is always hope.

Even in the drought, we can see the signs of life.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…..”

In what season are you?  Drought or flood or green pastures? 

A Mother’s Legacy

Sunday is Mother’s Day which prompted me to reflect on a Mother’s legacy – both the tangible and the intangible.  The legacies which we can touch and those we cannot.  The definition of “legacy” in part is “….something handed down or received from an ancestor….”.   What is the legacy which your mother is handing down to you or  you have received from her?  Or if you are  a mother, what will be YOUR legacy?

Jean Mothershed - Birds in the Snow - 1981

It’s a true blessing to be able point to something tangible which has been handed down to us by our mothers.  My mother, Jean Mothershed, was an incredibly talented artist.  When she died suddenly at the age of 62, her legacy included a wonderful collection of oil paintings, some of which now cover the walls of my home and serve as a reminder to me of her passion to paint.

The Farmer’s mother, Vernie Thaxton, was also an artist.  But her medium was fabrics and her art was hand-made quilts.  When she passed away several years ago, we were left with a variety of those quilts which she had so lovingly crafted for  our family.  The one pictured here was given to Beth, my youngest daughter, when she was only  two years old.

Vernie Thaxton Quilted for Beth Thaxton - November 1990

But a bigger blessing than the physical possessions passed down to us,  and much more important than any art, money, or property,  are the INTANGIBLE legacies our mothers leave behind.  That is what most of us will remember at this time each year.  We are reminded of those legacies which we are unable to touch:   the legacies of love,  family,  faith, sacrifice and service.

My mother and my mother-in-law both have such legacies.  Vernie remained faithful to God, her church and her family and attempted to serve others even during her last months and weeks on earth when she was in extreme physical pain.

My mother had a strong belief in family and lived that out by spending months caring for not only her own parents during their times of illnesses, but also helping to care for several of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She was a woman of faith and an excellent Bible teacher.  Even now, more than 15 years after her death, her former students speak of how they miss her insightful teaching of God’s Word.

A few things to ponder this Mother’s Day week-end:  What will be – or is – your mother’s legacy to you?  What did your mother hand down to you that is precious – the tangible (you can touch it) or the intangible (you can’t).  And if you are a mother – what will be your legacy to your children?  I would love to hear your stories and comments!


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