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Scheme of Things

Restore The Republic - The Home of the Freedom Movement!
Scheme of Things
The State of Limbo
When we built our house it was intended as an investment property. But our crystal ball didn't foresee unexpected family bumps, and we needed to move in ourselves. "It's temporary," we assured each other. But, by the time we'd caught our breath and decided to list it, the housing market was crumbling.
Apr 15, 2014 - 10:02:28 AM

Scheme of Things
The Things We Try
This is my 133rd "In the Scheme of Things" article for Montana Woman magazine, and it got me thinking about why I continue to write these monthly life reflections columns, and what it means to try to do something one thinks they want to do. Let me explain.
Mar 12, 2014 - 3:46:27 PM

Scheme of Things
The Choice
An early morning business trip put me and my husband on a 4:00 a.m. shuttle ride from a Portland, Oregon area hotel to the airport. I'm not a morning person so early chit-chat is typically not my norm, but the bus driver was a friendly guy and we were the only people on his bus, so talk of weather and the early hour prevailed.
Feb 11, 2014 - 3:11:42 PM

Scheme of Things
No Perfect Life
"None of us get a perfect life," she said at the end of describing years of despair after being widowed as a young military wife with two children under four. Years later, I still reflect on her words and that decades-later conclusion she'd evolved to proclaim.
Jan 20, 2014 - 6:45:20 PM

Scheme of Things
Christmas Stories
Its pages are tattered, its cover held together by masking tape, and its corner missing where our dog took a bite. Despite these shortcomings, it's a cherished Christmas treasure. Growing up, my mother would unpack that Christmas Ideals Magazine as soon as Thanksgiving was over, and only put it away after the decorations were safely returned to their boxes.
Dec 13, 2013 - 5:23:50 PM

Scheme of Things
The Question
Well before 6:30 a.m., our local paper in one hand, and a plate of scrambled eggs fresh from the skillet in the other, I sat down to my morning ritual before embarking on a heavily scheduled Monday. But, one bite changed my plans.
Nov 12, 2013 - 12:00:11 PM

Scheme of Things
What Is Real?
"Is that a real human?" our just-turned-four-year-old granddaughter asked on her fifth day at Disney World. The question popped out midway through an outdoor performance of Beauty and the Beast. It was a very good question.
Oct 10, 2013 - 11:41:02 AM

Scheme of Things
The Porcupine Dilemma
On the flowering grounds of a majestic international hotel, built nearly a century ago on the edge of Lake Louise, high in the Canadian Rockies, my husband and I escaped for a long weekend to celebrate me finishing the manuscript for my next book.
Sep 5, 2013 - 3:22:37 PM

Scheme of Things
Contribute Joy
Some people collect coins or books, kaleidoscopes or post cards. From flea market enthusiasts to junk-yard pickers, you name it and someone seems to collect it. While I can add my name to tangible collections through the years, what I really collect is quotations.
Jul 31, 2013 - 1:59:26 PM

Scheme of Things
Those Little Words
Being part of a book club, I'd volunteered to host an evening event for a group of smart, engaging, funny women I've had the pleasure of sharing ideas with a dozen times a year for a few years now. However, as the date approached, I was juggling more than my typical work priorities and decided to create a less-stressed approach. So, I'd arranged extra housecleaning and a specialty food arrival via FedEx. I figured with a few bottles of wine, I'd be set.
Jul 6, 2013 - 1:53:19 PM

Scheme of Things
Accelerating Time
Carpeting the forests, hills, and meadows in northwestern Montana, plants burst through the thick, muddy, spring snow-melt, as if determined to reach their full potential before the short growing season ends. Sometimes my life feels like those plants look - accelerating like a time-lapsed video.
Jun 4, 2013 - 6:13:13 PM

Scheme of Things
What Makes A Captain?
A favorite game with my granddaughters, ages 3 and 6, is an imaginary one they call, "Princess Pirates." In the early days of its evolution they labeled it "Pirate Ship," but this year it evolved to have a gender slant.
May 5, 2013 - 6:48:40 PM

Scheme of Things
What You Have
It was an early flight the next morning from Toronto back to Montana, necessitating a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. Before heading to an early dinner with my husband, I decided to expedite what packing I could. In the process, I don't know how I managed to miss the briefcase compartment and launch my PC into a dive to the floor, hitting the corner of a table on the way down. My PC didn't take it well. A cracked and inoperable screen awaited.
Apr 8, 2013 - 12:04:26 PM

Scheme of Things
Luck Isn't Chance
When I was twenty-something, I thought I was ready for what the world had to offer me. But, with an undergraduate degree from Stanford and a masters from the University of Michigan, I was fired from my first professional job. What I learned next has served me well all these years: luck isn't chance.
Mar 3, 2013 - 8:34:41 PM

Scheme of Things
Lessons from a Handbag
Shopping alone, I spied the handbag on a sale table. My closet was already packed with suitable options, so I didn't need a handbag. And I certainly didn't need a red one. At the time, the only handbag color I'd ever carried was black. But like a person possessed, I felt my spirit soar as I placed the soft leather strap over my shoulder and looked in the mirror. I was smiling. Not a big-grin-everyone-can-see smile, but an inner-knowing private kind.
Feb 13, 2013 - 4:58:21 PM

Scheme of Things
The Essence of Green Grapes
It started as curiosity. Using five-year-old fingers to press a large green grape against the side of her bowl, my oldest granddaughter managed to squeeze out a tiny bit of juice. Taking up a spoon for leveraged pressing, she extracted a bit more. Working the spoon and her fingers together she encountered even more success, adding a second grape to her labor-intensive juice-extraction experiment.
Jan 7, 2013 - 11:33:56 AM

Scheme of Things
The Morning's Best Gift
Similar to any new family, when our son was born thirty-six years ago, holidays, and especially Christmas, took on an intricate dance of inherited family traditions, blended customs, and grafted offshoots of differing styles.
Dec 6, 2012 - 2:05:34 PM

Scheme of Things
A Different Kind of Gratitude
As I reflect on it now, there were hints it was coming. Still when it happened, the vice-grip of embarrassment, the numbness of shock, and the adrenaline of fueled anger made being fired from my first professional job devastating.
Nov 10, 2012 - 11:42:05 PM

Scheme of Things
Small Pleasures
Only a few miles into Glacier National Park, a momma grizzly, followed diligently by three first-year cubs, briskly walked across the road a few yards ahead. Even in northwestern Montana this kind of sighting is a rare treat.
Oct 11, 2012 - 6:21:51 PM

Scheme of Things
The Art of Nature
The Grand Canyon. The Northern Lights. Glacier Park from Going to the Sun Road. It's easy to be awed by these natural wonders; to be amazed and inspired when we encounter speculator sights. These celebrity-level natural phenomenon are captured by our cameras and our hearts.
Sep 10, 2012 - 6:23:04 PM

Scheme of Things
Mileposts
I like to travel. I've been to forty-seven states, seven Canadian provinces or territories, and bits of Mexico. I've walked the hills of Scotland, explored England, studied in Austria, sailed fjords in Norway, been on safari in Botswana, seen wonders from Denmark to Portugal and Finland to Turkey, stayed in the shadow of the Matterhorn, been to the Arctic Circle, snorkeled in the Caribbean, walked on the Great Wall of China, and met kind and helpful people everywhere.
Aug 13, 2012 - 7:05:12 PM

Scheme of Things
Those Pitch-Black Mornings
I woke at 4:00 a.m. for a final practice before delivering a morning keynote at a professional conference. But my normal speaking preparations, including a mindset routine, changed abruptly when I found myself showering in total darkness as three bathroom lights suddenly went out. It wasn't just dark, it was pitch-black. Not even a light-sliver seeped under the doorway from the bedroom where my husband slept soundly.
Jul 1, 2012 - 9:38:15 PM

Scheme of Things
Growing Perspective
There are piles of rocks on the hillsides of Scotland. Cairns, they're called, created centuries ago by men leaving for battle. When passing the trailhead, each man put a rock on the pile, to be collected by him when he returned home. Thousands of rocks remain in piles, unclaimed, dotting the hillsides with a perspective on sacrifice not captured in the history books.
Jun 4, 2012 - 11:50:13 AM

Scheme of Things
Being a Writer
This month, a glossy white book with large, bold orange and blue lettering which reads, The Titleless Leader, will arrive in my mailbox, just like it will arrive at various booksellers across the country. While this is a third book for me, reflections I've been struggling to understand are emerging at its birth; not about the writing of it, but about the writer
May 7, 2012 - 6:41:48 PM

Scheme of Things
The Best Version
One hundred and twelve days and counting. That's my current record, overshadowing my previously tallied count by sixty-five days. Granted, I've only tracked my behavior for twelve months, but still, I'm making progress on my goal of cooling my temper and averting its eruption.
Apr 3, 2012 - 9:54:15 AM

Scheme of Things
Living in the Age-of-Me
Whether it's a restroom chatterer in the stall next door or a texting phenom in a darkened theater, we're regularly reminded that we're living in an age of me-ness. From personal YouTube channels to picture-posting Facebookers obsessed with documenting their day versus experiencing it, let's face it, we're enthralled with ourselves.
Mar 5, 2012 - 12:15:11 PM

Scheme of Things
Experiencing Magic
There was no particular reason why I thought five was the correct number. But, it  seemed an appropriate age to take my granddaughter to her first Nutcracker. So, right after her fifth birthday, she and I, and her mom, went to a matinee performance of the Colorado Ballet.
Feb 1, 2012 - 2:39:13 PM

Scheme of Things
Saying No to New Year's Resolutions
I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions. Sure, I've made dozens, all with good intentions and a bit of magical thinking, believing this time the resolution will stick, this time I'll lose the weight, balance my life, or achieve the goal. This time things will be different.
Jan 2, 2012 - 11:22:17 PM

Scheme of Things
Life Is Like A Buffet Table
Watching them piqued my curiosity. I started noticing each diner emerging from the buffet line, eyeing their tray for choices. There were similarities, but no two identical.
Oct 7, 2011 - 2:48:46 PM

Scheme of Things
Seeing the Mountains
Bits and pieces of the man's life story emerged as two strangers, seated directly behind me, visited during the flight. After overhearing the reason why he was traveling to Montana, I was surprised when we landed to notice that the robust middle age man behind me looked like everyone else.
Sep 2, 2011 - 9:51:29 AM

Scheme of Things
A Bit of Reflection
A carved sign on a wall in a country store caught my eye. "All because two people fell in love," it read. It got me thinking in this, our anniversary month, how that saying relates to our lives.
Aug 14, 2011 - 7:06:20 PM

Scheme of Things
Life's Doors
Promising value in excess of the price, my little girl imagination saw each wrapped box as a treasure waiting to be excavated. I picked up one, then another and another, pondering which grab bag was the one for me. With my mom's warning of potential disappointment unheeded, I seized the largest from the basket and pulled allowance savings from my pocket to pay for my prize.
Jul 1, 2011 - 9:57:30 PM

Scheme of Things
Dueling Frames
Like dueling pianos competing for attention at Jellyrolls, a fun piano bar on the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World, the digital frames in my office are competing as well.
Jun 2, 2011 - 10:10:57 AM

Scheme of Things
Natural Inspiration
The hints commenced with the changing landscape, traversed by dramatic colors and intriguing rock formulations. I should have expected it. Although the travel guide provided a glimpse of what was coming, I was still not prepared for the majestic beauty and expansive, as-far-as-you-could-see, dramatic terrain of Bryce Canyon National Park.
May 2, 2011 - 2:36:32 PM

Scheme of Things
Failed Expectations
It wasn't the weekend expected. Following a couple weeks of complicated travel to multiple cities for several speaking engagements, I was eager for much needed renewal time to write and relax in our off-the-grid wilderness cabin near Glacier National Park.
Mar 24, 2011 - 6:38:54 PM

Scheme of Things
Killing Time
It was our first day of our family's vacation in Disney World, and the morning of our granddaughter's fourth birthday. We were an extended family doing a bit of exploration at Epcot before the reservation for her big surprise: brunch with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Snow White, and other Disney princesses.
Feb 1, 2011 - 10:54:00 PM

Scheme of Things
A Different Friendship
Technical savvy is not among my best traits. So, when attempts at using a wireless printer continued to fail, I was gratified that I enticed the printer to finally print. Expectantly, I went to retrieve my queued pages, only to discover just one sheet in the tray. The error message on that page read: "Unsupported Personality."
Jan 4, 2011 - 9:58:55 AM

Scheme of Things
The Journal
Twenty-some years in the making, it wasn't a typical Christmas present. But it was, truly, a gift of a lifetime. Our son, the recipient, knew his father made periodic journal entries about the joys and challenges of raising him, about family events and world happenings, peppered with memories from his own life.
Dec 2, 2010 - 8:28:48 PM

Scheme of Things
Predicting Life's Weather
Where we live in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, more days than not, reading the day's weather forecast and experiencing the reality of that weather, makes me question how the prediction came to be. Today, for example, we're supposed to be "sunny with a few clouds and 68." Out my office window as I write this, rain has filled the day with a persistence and is not leaving anytime soon. Low hanging clouds have eliminated my view of a near-by lake, and the weather-bug gadget on my computer reads 49 degrees.
Nov 3, 2010 - 4:53:19 PM

Scheme of Things
Scary Voices
It was the year I first heard the kaleidoscope of voices. They harassed me for weeks over what I should be that night, providing ongoing commentary like: "Stupid idea;" "Boring;" "Not scary." Even the lure of Milk Duds, Good 'n Plenty, and Sugar Babies wasn't enough to make this shy seven-year-old decide it was fun to dress up, knock on doors, and speak to neighbors, let alone strangers. I hated Halloween.
Oct 2, 2010 - 6:30:23 PM

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