Tag Archives: college


Nine years ago this month I lost a very close friend to cancer.  Her name was FrAn. 

I met Fran when I was in jr. high.  She moved to my small town of 300 people with her husband, BoB, who was our K-12 school’s superintendent.  They immediately became a part of our community and school.  Fran LoVeD people, music and God.  Actually, Fran just loved LiFe.  I have never met someone who was more PoSiTiVe and UpBeAt than Fran.

Due to budget cuts my senior year of high school, our music program was cut.  Fran stepped in and VoLuNtEeReD to be our vocal teacher.  She took our vocal class to music contest where we won 1+’s –  the highest score possible, not because we were incredible singers, but because we worked hard and were motivated to perform to the best of our ability for Fran.  Her love for music had RuBbEd Off on us.

The year I graduated from high school in South Dakota, Fran and her husband retired to a little resort island called “HoLiDaY IsLaNd” right outside of Eureka Springs, AK.  I was thrilled as my college plans were to attend college in Tulsa, OK, just 3 hours from Fran’s new home.  Bob and Fran extended the invitation for me to come visit them and I did so regularly.  In the course of 10 years I also took many of my FriEnDs along who, after a weekend with Bob and Fran, said they felt like they had known them all their life.  That was just the way they made you FeeL. 

Fran (and Bob) treated us like her own daughters.  She bought us “SwEeT PillS” a.k.a. pastries, made us delicious meals, let us drive their golf cart to the pool (a block away), swam with us, rented and watched chic flicks with us, washed our clothes, and had good heart-to-heart “girl talks” with us.  Sleeping-in was the norm and when we finally rose out of our room we were greeted with Fran saying, “GoOd MoRniNg MeRrY SuNsHiNe!” a phrase I now use every morning when my girls come down the stairs.

Although Fran had been diagnosed with cancer, maybe before I was even in high school, she had always been so positive and proactive in treating her disease, I never worried about it.  She always seemed to be the picture of HeAlTh.   

However, in 2001, when Bob passed away from prostate cancer I begin to notice she wasn’t quite the same.

On Friday of Memorial Day Weekend 2002, I received a call from Fran saying, the doctor’s had told her there was nothing more they could do.  She knew that she was in her final days and was at PeAcE.  A few days later I went to visit her to say  “good-bye”.  Less than two months later, I went to say my final “Good-Bye”.

Fran was an InSpiRing WoMaN.  She touched the lives of those who knew her. 

I hope I can make an ImPaCt on others like Fran made on me.


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Filed under Inspiration, Inspire, People, Relationships

Never Say “Never”

Have you ever caught yourself sAyinG something like, “I would NEVER do that!  I would NEVER put myself in that situation or make a decision like that person!” Someone once told me that you have to be careful using the word “NEVER” because often life makes you fAce the things you don’t wish for.

Even though I grew up on a farm I always told my parents I “never” wanted to marry a farmer.  I thought I had my life Planned out and wanted to work in an office somewhere in a big city.  Sure enough, I married a farm boy but couldn’t be hAppier.

I had always maiNtained a healthy weight throughout college and marriage.  However, when I got pregnant with my daughter, I gained twice as much weight as I was supposed to.  So much for being PROUD of my weight control!

Life can be really huMbling and I’ve LeArNed to not be quick to judge or too sure of how life is going to turn out.  Having goals and expectations are gReat, but the next time you look at someone else and find yourself saying “I would NEVER…” be cAreful what you say.  Life has a way of ushering you down a particular pAth and we can’t always see the twists and turns that lie ahead.


(*Pictured above is my loving “farmer” and our sweet lab, Grace)

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Filed under Getting Real, Hard Reality, Life

One Unique Gift

One of my favorite things about the internet is YouTube.  (Have you noticed?!)  At different times I will check out a favorite song.  Maybe it’s a song from the 80’s or 90’s as I reminisce about those high school and college days, a sentimental/NoStaLgiC song, a favorite love song, an inspirational song, a song to pump me up, an oldie, or a new hit.  When it comes to music there is something for everyone.  It’s for that reason I have found a new GiFt to give my friends, family, and loved ones:  a music video via an email.

Are you wanting to do something special for someone, but don’t know what?  Why not send an email with a HeArTfeLt message and a YouTube link to a song that is significant to your relationship?  Maybe it’s a funny song that you enjoyed with a high school classmate or a love song that means something special between you and your spouse.  Whatever you may want to say, most likely there is a SoNg that says it perfectly.

Need ideas?  Here’s one to get you started.  I hope you enjoy!!


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Filed under Inspiration, Inspire, People, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Videos

“Broke” Was My Goal

After I graduated from college I had difficulty finding a job so I did what most college graduates do, I got a job in a completely unrelated field than my major.  In my case, it was waiting tables.  I remember my first day on the job thinking, “I got a college degree and now I am going to be a waitress for the rest of my life!”  This was a discouraging and disappointing time in my life.  To make matters worse I had three maxed credit cards, student loans that were coming due and was barely scraping by each month.  I remember having no money at all except maybe a little change in my apron from work.  When I needed to mail a bill I would have to go to the post office to BuY oNe StAmP for that bill because I could not afford the $5 or so to buy a book of stamps.   

Needless to say, I had tremendous financial pressure.  It felt like a belt was around my neck and cinched so tight I could hardly breathe.  Who would have thought that being broke could have been a GoaL?  At that point I would have been thrilled to have no money and no debt.  But instead I was thousands of dollars in debt.

Fast forward to a few years later when I landed my first teaching job.  It was at this point that I made the conscious effort to be a GoOd StEwArD of my money and get out of debt.  At first that belt around my neck was still cinched tight, but with every step I took towards financial freedom I found that belt loosening.  It took year after year of making wise financial decisions before I saw significant changes in my finances, but with my commitment and diligence I made continual progress.

How did I whittle down my debt?  Here’s what I did:

1.) I ReFuSeD tO qUiT regardless how small the changes were.

As a teacher, I received a paycheck once a month.  I would pay my bills at one sitting and whatever was left in my checking account was what I had to spend for the entire month.  This amount for me usually was around $75-$100.  Out of this money I had to buy food, gas, oil changes, toiletries, clothes, etc.  I remember once having two luxury items I really wanted but could not afford to buy immediately:  a $20 candle and a $20 garden hose holder.  Both of these items I had to wait to buy until I had money saved up.  I didn’t just live like this for a few months or a year or so.  It was a few years, but I refused to be discouraged and give up.

2.) I was a GeNeRoUs GiVeR. 

The Bible says that whatever you sow you reap and with the measure you give to others it will be given to you.  The first portion of my paycheck (tithe) I gave to my church.  I also gave money to good causes.  As a result I saw God blessed me richly.  Someone gave me a lawnmower. I bought a piano for $100. Good deals and bargains seemed to find me.  Speaking of this . . .    

3.) I became a BaRgAiN sHoPpEr. 

I shopped at stores such as Marshalls and T.J. Max’s where I would find brand name clothes at a fraction of the cost.

4.) I WoRkEd My TaiL Off!!!

My school district would give teachers opportunities to work on projects during the school year and during the summer which I would sign up for.   I also taught night school, gave up my planning period to teach at our alternative school, coached, wrote curriculum, and taught summer school.

5.) I began SaViNg for my ReTiRmEnT.

To be perfectly honest, the amount of money I was saving up was very insignificant, but it was the best I could do and so I did it. 

When I finally got married after six years of teaching I had for the most part paid off all three credit cards and my car!!  It was such a great sense of accomplishment.

Yes, those days were lean, but they also developed much character in me.  I learned a lot of lessons about life.  One lesson I learned was being content.  I learned that I could absolutely love my life and yet not have many material possessions.  I was truly happy and I felt blessed.

If you are where I was at in my days of financial chaos and have a belt cinched tight around your neck, take one step towards financial freedom.  I promise as you do, your belt will loosen and little by little you will move toward financial freedom as well. 


P.S.  Want to read more about Financial Peace?  Check out DaVe RaMsEy’S book “Total Money Make Over”.


Filed under Finances, Life