Several years ago, I tired of trying to hang every single one of the dozens of small red and gold twinkle bulbs on our Christmas tree. Rather than keeping them stored in boxes and bins I decided to display them in seasonal baskets. Much, much easier and provides splashes of holiday color and cheer throughout the house!

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Educating oneself is a lifelong process. Unfortunately, some of us don’t learn as quickly as others that circle within our orbits. Apart from formal coursework, done at the university or collegiate level, there is the learning that occurs as a consequence of having lived.

Hard lessons of life, often related to matters both of the heart and the wallet, are seldom sought after curriculums; they are, however, for better or worse, those that leave the most lasting impressions.

We late bloomers are often reluctant, resistant, fool-hardy, naïve or otherwise clueless to what life is trying to teach us and not every classroom environment yields results. So many wasted years. If I could go back in time (to ponder such a thing, I know, is a monumental waste of energy), I would put more passion and enthusiasm toward being a better mother and living a healthier life – and making better financial choices. The time, money and tears that I frittered away on toxic relationships drained what meager resources I did have at my disposal and only served to damage my own sense of self-worth. I suppose some of those lessons were ultimately learned at last – just not in a timely enough fashion.

Painful as it is to dwell on our own past mistakes and to harbor regrets over what might have been, it’s even more difficult to bear witness to those that we care about while they continue to struggle and fail to pay attention (as we once failed to do as well) in The Classroom of Life. How to respond? What to say? What CAN one do other than to just offer support and alternative paths if pressed for help or if asked for our opinion? The crucial point, is it not? If one’s advice is not sought, it’s difficult to sit still and say nothing, other than to perhaps describe lessons learned from our own pasts and hope that a connection might be made. Aside from inserting ourselves when we observe truly self-destructive behavior, all we can do is offer love and encouragement. Seeing someone suffering and grieving is heart-breaking especially when there is light at the end if only one would steer toward a different tunnel and detour from the path currently taken.

But then that is how the lesson is more stridently learned. To shield those that we care for from these lessons in life would be to deny them the opportunity to grow and develop in ways that only their own experiences and methods of coping can provide.

Life. You are one tough governess.

One last re-blog of one of my very first posts to celebrate six months of A Sawyer’s Daughter.

With apologies to Leslie Gore, it’s my party and I’ll post if I want to., post if I want to, post if I want to…

A Sawyer's Daughter

To describe something as ferocious conjures up a jungle image of a lion, doesn’t it?  Perhaps a tiger.  Maybe even a bear.  It’s a word you might use in discussing one’s appetite, sexual desire, ambition, a bad case of chiggers or the Santa Ana winds.

It’s often associated with the young.  As in those for whom youth is wasted.  Or a brave soldier in battle surviving against all odds.  Cancer that ravages a body is said to be ferocious in its assault.  It is lean.  It is strong.  It is determined.

Ferocity is a characteristic that’s hard to maintain but when its how I live my life in regard to the love I feel for my husband and my son (and truth be told the loving care that I should apply toward myself as well) it is these moments when I feel incredible, heady, alive.  To observe a robin angling for…

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Yet another re-blog to mark the 6-month anniversary of A Sawyer’s Daughter — just because…

A Sawyer's Daughter

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Road tripping, either done over the weekend or as a means of travel over the course of several days or even a week or two, brings to mind the old maxim about enjoying the journey and not just the destination. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, when it comes to travel (especially via our nation’s roadways): You never really know what you’re going to get (or where you’re going to end up). Those less brave and optimistic about life’s twists and turns might read this with a negative bent. I, on the other hand, prefer to consider all the wonder, mystery and beauty in this world including the charm, goodness and generosity of those we might encounter along the way.

To my way of thinking there are two necessary components for enjoying a fun and rewarding road trip excursion (aside from a reliable mode of transportation, a full tank of gas and…

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Six months ago today, A Sawyer’s Daughter was born. To commemorate this momentous occasion, I’m re-blogging one of my earlier posts.

Blogging has been satisfying on so many levels and it’s hard to believe I was reluctant to begin in the first place. In just six short months, I’ve become acquainted with a number of incredibly talented bloggers from all over the world. More than anything else, I greatly enjoy reading other’s works and I’m in awe of some of the fantastic photography out here in The Land of Blog.

Thanks to all of you who’ve been apart of this process and have cheered me on along the way!

A Sawyer's Daughter

There are six girls in our family of which I happen to be the eldest. (Cue the snare drum — I also like to joke that while I’m the shortest of the bunch I also happen to be the cutest, smartest and most modest but I digress).

To say that we’ve been close would be a bit of an stretch. Our familial ties have been strained over the years due to the usual sibling rivalries, petty fighting and misunderstandings. Add to the mix that each of us is so incredibly different from the others and it’s no wonder tension is sometimes in the air at holiday and other family gatherings. For many years I felt jealousy, resentment and not a little confusion whenever I observed sisters from other families who were close knit or who proclaimed to be ‘best friends’. What on earth was wrong with US I’ve often wondered.

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In third grade, I began wearing glasses. When it was determined that I needed them to see better (one eye is 20/200, the other 20/400), my mother drove me to Capitol Optical in Mason City, easily recognizable among the shops on the north end of town by their signage: a huge pair of cat glasses that could be seen two blocks away. My parents were frugal to a fault and I’m sure they made certain I had the most inexpensive (read: ugliest) pair of frames that were available.

Sure, I could now SEE but at an aesthetic price. In high school, I ‘accidentally’ lost my glasses over the side of a bridge so that I could walk the hallways at school (until I could get my replacement pair) and sit in class without those blasted contraptions taking up facial real estate. That I couldn’t tell where I was going or read the chalk board was secondary. It was a stupid stunt but indicative of how much I thought not having to wear glasses would improve my appearance. Whether it was successful or not, I can’t say. I just know that it made me feel that it did, however briefly.

In my latter 20’s, I finally was able to afford contact lenses and the impact was immediate and definitely welcome. I loved not having to wear glasses! Over the years, it’s simply been part of my morning and evening routine to rinse and insert my contacts to greet the new day and to cleanse, disinfect and store them before bedtime.

Now, thirty years later, I have (finally) decided to have Lasik surgery done. Even with the surgery date scheduled for several weeks now, it was not until yesterday that I settled in to an acceptance of which route I would ultimately take. I queried everyone I knew who had already had the procedure done and to a person each of them told me it was one of the best decisions they had ever made. I even posted a question to my Facebook friends and after a comical, albeit frustrating exercise of telling people again and AGAIN that yes, I already knew I would still need reading glasses, I was thankful for their input and inspired by their stories of how glad they all were to have had the surgery.

My hesitation was rooted in one basic concern: the cost of the procedure and the knowledge that some of the people I spoke with had to start wearing glasses again after a period of five to ten years, although none of them expressed regret for having it done. On further examination, I learned that while some folks now wear glasses again, it isn’t all the time and they can, in fact, function well without them. Incremental changes in their vision made it necessary to wear glasses again for longer distances such as while driving. Another consideration is that three of my sisters – all of whom wear glasses again now but as described above – had Lasik done when they were much younger. Over the years, as explained to me by the nurse at the clinic where I’ll have the procedure done, it is likely their eyes have been stabilizing over the years. Since I’m quite a bit older than they were when they had it done, it’s possible that could be a factor in my favor. While there are no guarantees, of course, this information made it easier for me to come to a final decision to go ahead with the surgery.

Yesterday I was in awe of the realization that when I took out my contacts last night before bed, this was the last time I would ever do so. As I prepare for the surgery one week from tomorrow, I must forego wearing contact lenses just as I did prior to the pre-examinations to determine whether I was a candidate for Lasik. The space in my make-up drawer where I keep the cases for both my glasses and contacts will now open up, to make room for additional make-up, no doubt. Never again will I need to rush to the store to get more saline or make my annual pilgrimage to Target Optical to order my next year’s supply of contact lenses.

I am looking forward to many of the benefits (large and small) of unfettered vision: seeing the alarm clock should I wake up during the night, being able to read the shampoo bottle that sits on the shelf in the shower, having clear views of the people and things underwater while swimming and the freedom of going about my business each day or climbing into bed at night without the hassle of dealing with contacts or glasses. Truly, anyone with 20/20 vision who has never had the need for an aid of any kind in order to see, cannot comprehend what these small ‘gifts’ will feel like to someone who’s worn glasses his or her entire life.

People have told me it will be life-changing. I’ve made my decision and I am ready.