Help!!!! I’m A Racist?


Yesterday was a busy day. As I often do, I had the TV on for white background noise. As I got my computer work done, I was feeling quite accomplished. As the day clicked away, I was due to be in Tri Cities to spend some time with my youngest grandson and I still had a couple errands. I grabbed my handbag and headed out the door. The TV still on in the back ground.  As I sat behind the wheel, I noted I had left my phone.. back into the house I ran…. as I climbed the stairs of our 70’s split level I could hear Sarah Gilbertson – THE TALK – saying that those who didn’t like Beyonce’s appearance on the CMA’s the night be fore were racist.  I stopped in my tracks.

Now, I normally like the Talk.. and while I certainly don’t agree with everything they say, I also do not put them into the column of The View- a show I stopped listening to years ago. SO I was a little taken a back. But, I grabbed my phone, rolled my eyes and headed out once again.

Her scathing verdict stayed with me. Like a bee sting, where after you spend the rest of the day trying to find the stinger in hope of some kind of relief. Relief never came.

Just the night before I had sat and enjoyed the CMA’s. Probably enjoying them for the first time in a long time. I don’t always like where Country Music has gone in the last few years.. being more pop then Country. And every year I comment. While I don’t often like collaborations – admittedly I loved Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake. Go figure.  Had I not liked Justin – would I also be a racist? I love Darius Rucker and Charlie Pride – so I wonder how that fits the narrative? I don’t like them just because they are black.. but because they are talented.

I thought of all the ways I knew her verdict of me was not true. Starting with the fact that being a minority as whites are something we feel here in the Yakima Valley. It isn’t as if we are not part of the diverse world on a daily basis, we are. And, we do it well.

I thought of all my friends… Black, Brown, Red, Yellow…. and took comfort in the fact that THEY would not say I was racist. I thought of our son 2.5 whose brown, and our youngest son’s girlfriend who is as well. I thought of how much we love them and they are as much part of this household as any of the rest of us.

My irritation was now hurt. I know for a fact that I do not live my life sorting out colors as if opening a package of m&m’s and only eating the blue ones. Even as a middle class white girl, I have enough going for me to know that no matter the color of the shell… those m&m’s all taste the same. Like my friends of color, we all cry, and hurt, and struggle and laugh and….. love.

Then, as my emotions simmered down, I felt sad. Oh, not for me. I was clear once again on who I was and am. Who I have always been. But sad for the world that Sarah must live in to see the world as racist. To take comments such as mine… “I don’t feel Beyonce added anything to the CMA’s” and make that about race.

My truth is that it is not. It is about cultures.There is a huge difference between the Hip Hop Culture and the Cowboy Culture.  The cowboy world I live in embraces diversity. Includes anyone who saddles up.We still believe in respecting our elders, and saluting the flag, and respecting police officers and loving God and our nation. Not attributes always shared by Miss Knowles. Add that to preforming with the Dixie Chicks and well it was a hot emotional mess.  As they too have not always embraced these  qualities, and the country world has let them know… and they are white.. So… does that make us racist too…? Im confused.

Here is the thing… those qualities, those attributes, those Country Cultures don’t come in only one color. And it is so narrow for Gilbert or anyone else to assume that they do.

This morning as I sit at my computer trying to purge this awful accusation from someone who doesn’t even know me.. or frankly know enough about the outside of Hollywood world… I began to wonder…. “when did we as a nation start allowing the ill-informed.. to inform us?” I think back to the great news orators of the day – like Walter Cronkite. I see the image of him reading from the paper just coming across the wire. He delivered news. They are gone now. In country singer Clint Black’s new song he brilliant asks, “and we still call this news?” I get that shows like The Talk are opinion pieces. And, in yesterdays show I think Sarah Gilbert showed exactly how little experience on the topic she really knew.

I found myself wondering too, if Miss Gilbert were at a LGBT event and for what ever the reason someone was there performing or giving out an award who she had heard didn’t necessarily share her LGBT views, and they were of color, and she commented about not really “feeling” them… would she then be a racist? or would she have some cultural differences with them?  I am guessing that she would claim the latter… however, not afford me the same verdict.

If truth be told, the whole performance felt like another verse of the Dixie Chicks singing, “I’m not ready to make nice.” and no it didn’t set well with me, and I still don’t think Beyonce added a darn thing to it. And I still don’t get why you would have them come do a Beyonce’s new album song the same time we are honoring the legends in the COUNTRY field.

I am not saying that I do not believe we as a nation do not have a race issue. Personally, I feel that there are racist huddled in every color group. You don’t have to be white to be racist. You can be Brown, yellow, White, Red and every color in between. But, if we are ever really going to work through that, we have to stop calling EVERYTHING racist. I am not a racist for simply holding different values than you, and I am certainly not racist because I don’t bow down to Queen Beyonce, or the things she sings about in her songs, of the way she conducts herself on the stage, or the messages she puts out there about police officers and the like. It is still a free world and I get to express my opinion just as much as you do Miss Gilbert.

And, oh Miss Gilbert, anytime you want to venture out into the real world let me know.. I’ll give you a tour.



Flower’s Child


I have recently started buying myself cut flowers.My husband has never been one to surprise me and bring them home, in his defense I didn’t think I was ever one that would appreciate them. It always seemed like such a waste to take them from the garden. I can see now that I was short-sighted as they are temporary whether we cut them and take them indoors or if we leave them in the field. I have seen the error of my ways.

Not that there isn’t a beauty of walking through fields of flowers, there certainly is as I was recently able to do. But, I have also recently discovered the joy they bring me sitting on my counter or family dinner table.

I am not sure why I didn’t allow myself the pleasure before, perhaps it is now that I am slowing down more, sitting more at the dining room table to write, or be with my grandson, learning to be still at home… that I can truly appreciate them.

While in the past I might have stated that my favorite flowers are daisies, I must say these days I am enjoying a variety of different ones, different colors and attributes. Much like my friends – I celebrate their diverseness, taking time to appreciate their individual nuances.

There is something so innocent about flowers and my new appreciation of them makes me a flower’s child.

Where In The SAM HILL……?????

IMG_5899.jpgMy Hubby and I traveled a couple of hours down the road to the Columbia River to meet up with friends at Peach Beach . . .  The weekend plans were simple. Friends, Music and Relaxation. After-all, getting my hubby out camping… or out for anything this time of the year is almost impossible. But, being our anniversary weekend… somehow it happened.

Saturday we slept in – – After a long hot summer, fall was finally in the air.. The crispness in the evening air was perfect and sleep came easy. After a lazy brunch at a nearby diner, we set off to tour the Historic Maryhill Museum. A beautiful castle on the hill that was built by Millionaire Sam Hill for his beloved Mary. Now converted into a Museum. As we walked through the hallowed halls I was struck by the heart of the man.

While the museum housed Native American History, photos and artifacts.. For the most part the Museum stands as a homage to Hill’s “artsy” friends.  Obviously running in a rather eclectic  – Sculptures, dancers, dressmakers, theater, as well as mover and shakers in the business and legal world. Hill, a world traveler, is exposed in the halls of his museum. While the museum was meant to showcase his friends and the brilliance that he so deeply saw and felt, to those willing to see, it also shows Hill’s heart.

Room after room he exposes his immense love and pride for the talents of his friends.  As I looked over some of the art – – I thought… “not my cup of tea,” or even… “I’ve seen better”, but had I just left it there, I think I would have been missing the point.

The Museum was build out of love… and filled with love. What a rare thing.. It isn’t just a bunch of things collected, but rather rooms full of art and stories and photos of those that captured his heart. What a tribute. Oh to be so loved that your very existence is attached for generations to someone who loved you, believed in your and held your dreams and passions and talents as closely as you held them yourself.

Someone might wonder where in the Sam Hill that kind of heart comes from… I am not 100% sure, but may we know friends like that… and more importantly may we be them.

A Little R&R



I’ve never really been good at relaxing. Ever. I am rapped fairly tight. I get bored easily and well, that isn’t always necessarily a good thing. When I am bored the unexpected happens. Every wall becomes a canvas, furniture finds a new location, and well… the men folk in my family take cover, hoping to be saved the grunt work that often comes with these excursions.

For years I have been warned, by friends, family and doctors that I need to make slowing down  a bigger priority. Who knew that, three hours of sleep a night was not the norm.

Well, let me  just say, from someone whose theory was, “I’ll sleep when I am dead.” The whole theory falls apart when you don’t actually die, you just feel so doggone tired.Burning the candle at both ends does catch up with you. Oh not right away, but turning 50 was sure a wake up call for rest.

This weekend, I answered the call. And guess what, It was nice. I literally did nothing… well as long as you don’t call ready, swatting a fly or two and taking not one but two naps -doing anything. It was sublime.  So much so, I am thinking about doing it again. No phones, no tv, so radio.. no noise but the sounds of nature…. the tweeting of a bird, the buzzing of a pesty fly….the rustle of the wind that came in sudden gusts every now and again and the distant ripple of the stream…. I was keenly aware of the rest I was getting not only physically, but mentally… as the deeper I drifted into the surrounding sounds, the harder it was for my mind to hold onto any thoughts.

There is a lot in the world… that keeps us busy. Good things. Good causes. Good activities and friends and….. But, I am a fan of this new found thing called R&R.

Upping My Game


I haven’t felt much like writing this summer. Matter of fact, I haven’t felt like doing much at all. I’ve enjoyed just being home, working on my trailer, hanging out with Rhett while his mommy and daddy are at work, sneaking in moments with Izzy when I can… hauling Matthew to Tri-Cities three times a week for driver’s ed, hanging out with girlfriends.. glamping…. making trips to the carrot fields with Tom… snapping a few photos here and their, and riding horses when the opportunity presents itself.You know.. Just being….Me.

I’ve had a heavy heart for some time. Saddened by politics and the seemingly rapid spread of hate and discontent. Police officers being assassinated, patriots being jailed and beaten in Federal Custody, friends on both sides of the isle of politics being hurtful and hateful and politicians being…. well politicians.

It has all made me look back to my own youth…. where those holding offices – were not only treated with respect – but were worthy of it. Where those wearing blue where valued for their sacrifices. Where the average person knew the difference between disagreeing over issues but not being disagreeable.

I worry about the world we are leaving for my kids and grand-kids. I mourn the days of old. I miss the age of innocence that we had that perhaps our grand-kids wont have… as common sense seems to not be so common anymore.

In my trips down memory lane, I found joy in the memory that my grandma Doris celebrated everything. Flag day, you’d find flags in everything. Easter – eggs were all over the house… her house was appropriately decorated for every Hallmark moment.

My grandma – Now 90 – set the bar high.  As a newly wed.. and later a new mom.. I tried to meet the standard, only to discover that my hubby or my little men, never really “appreciated” the attempts that I made to capture those moments. They just didn’t need them. So, they went away.

Fast forward to being a Mother-in-Law – and discovering that my daughter in law Kassie – is my Grandma Doris all over again. She loves to go all out for Hallmark…. No holiday is to little. I love watching the joy that her little Rhett get’s from seeing her efforts.. I adore watching Luke ( her hubby . .  My Son), support her desire….

This 4th of July as my hubby went to bed long before any fire works went off.. And I embedded on the sofa watching a movie… or fixer upper or…. was struck once again by the idea that I really need to up my game.. My girls need it… My grandkids need it.. and I think even I need it….. as a reminder that not all things are dark…. there are things in all of our lives that are worth taking the extra step to celebrate.. Time to up my game…. and find moments worth celebrating to that when Rhett and Izzy look back.. they see these days.. as the “good old days” too.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

20160515_002200-1If you happen to be around me and/or my home while I am in the garden, this is the “me” you are use to seeing.

There are two facets of my personality that seem to show up the most.. aside from my faith, they are the pillars of who I am . They have been the truest forms of me. They are of course the cowgirl and the “hippy dippy eco-gardener chick.” I know a lot of the conversations around Organic and shop local and bio-dynamic farming and permaculture.  I “get” the importance of biomes in both the soil and the body. I can talk grass-fed and mono-cropping and…..

So, my love-hate relationship to food is one that has been a struggle. With all the benefits of a healthy diet, and the million and one ways one can chose to eat and lose weight – those two I can quote and compare and outline and give lengthy discussions about the pros and cons of each….

But, in truth there is also a down side to food – of course that is when it has become your drug of choice. And, like with any other addition, one can use and abuse for all the available reasons, you eat when you are happy and celebrating life, when you are sad and loathing life… when you are bored or on the run…..

For years I took classes on Holistic Nutrition and have read nearly every book on the topic. Met many of the movers and shakers in that world and yet….. and yet like many other addicts who have seen their passions go down the drain when bumped up against the very idea of having to give up their additions – I have literally looked success in the eyeballs and chose a different path so that I could hang with my addiction just a little bit longer. Even my convictions on farming, and harvesting practices taking a back seat to it.

It isn’t an unconscious thing – boy that I wish it were. Rather I am fully aware of the choices I have made. I see the complexity of the issue when I look into the eyes of those who ask a food question and hear my rather well read opinion on such matters, as well as when I look in the mirror – So it isn’t always an issue of “when we know better – we do better.” Sometimes when we know better.. we just know better.

There are a million reasons why one stays in any relationship even when they know it isn’t in their best interest to do so.. It fills a need – even if the “need” is an immediate fix to a not so easy to fix situation. I’m always a little amused at some people who see my struggle with weight and assume that it is as simple as what I do not yet know…. Then of course, for me there is sport in watching their reaction when I can blow them away with what I do know…..  I have decided that as I work through my issues I just need a tee-shirt that simple states.. “Breaking Up Is hard To Do.”


If I Were Granted Just One Wish….

35408_10150203234585691_2683739_nI love those texts that come out of nowhere.

(Of course it is silly to say that they come from nowhere… as I don’t really believe that. But rather they come from friends who know you by heart. They know your very nature, your ins and your outs.. your habits, and personality).Continue reading “If I Were Granted Just One Wish….”

I See You.

My Grandson, Rhett and I started this little game when he was just becoming aware of the world around him. Anytime he and I would lock eyes or.. glance in one another’s direction, I would say, I SECeleste1-373x300E YOU.

Having heard Maya Angelou ask the question, “Do your eyes light up when your love walks into a room?” I always wanted to make sure that he could answer that question with a resounding, yes. He, now nearly two, can say it back to me, and the twinkle in his eyes completely melt me.



We, Rhett and I, have now began saying it to Isaiah ( or Baby Izzy as we like to call him in our family).

I heard a person say once that, ” we are all looking to find ourselves in the eyes of someone else”… I am sure there is truth to that. But, more importantly perhaps is that on some level  we all just have a simple desire to be seen.

I have surrounded myself with so many amazing people, and some time I take for granted the fact that I am loved and seen by those that matter the most to me. But , I would be less then honest if I said that often times , especially in my professional life, I have felt somewhat invisible. Not always, but times when I am feeling vulnerable for sure, or neglected or overlooked and under appreciated.

I’ve been in one of those lulls for some time now.  Unclear of what I am want to be doing and being…at one of those places that feels like another one of life’s cross road… one road leading to re-invention and the other staying on the same beaten path I have been on. Both feeling like to much of a clime, tempted to just sit a bit longer.

Last Saturday a friend asked if I would come and take photos of her families event. While not my favorite kind of photos to take, for this friend… anything. Afterwards, my hubby and I stopped at Chaps in Cheney Washington. Chaps is owned by a “local” celebrity named Celeste Shaw.  I got to know Celeste when I was working in the “farm-girl” world. You know all things organic, vintage and shabby Chic. Our professional friendship deep-end when I signed on with Sisters On The Fly – and camped during the Farm Chic show and was invited to these amazing parties she hosted during that event.

I’ve learned, over time, that not everyone you meet that is a celebrity, or thinks they are a celebrity, are worth knowing. Celeste is one that time has shown me is truly one worth knowing.

So there I was, sitting on the patio of her famed Chaps Restaurant. Having dinner with my brother and his wife and my hubby Tom. The day had been long. The funk that I had been in for sometime seemed to just hoover…. feeling raw, invisible, uncertain and not myself, I wondered if Celeste was here. And, even if she would know me if she were. Both questions answered as her thin bouncy frame came through the doors and to our table.

Our sweet banter went on for a little while and as she excused herself to check on other customers… friends…. I thought to my self…I love how her eyes just light when we are talking. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she walked back into the bakery, and felt a slap of wind on my face as a spring dust devil blew through…. as it all settled back down I thought I could hear her sweet voice in the distance  as the winds whispered….

“I See You.”

Thank you Celeste for always, always being a willing vessel of love and change….  and for always making me feel “seen”.

McClure Ranch


There are time in which I feel that I was born into the wrong era. And perhaps even longer chucks of time in which I am sure I was born into the wrong “story line.”

Perhaps it is that longing that  propels me to tell the stories of those that are not only products of the western lifestyle, but live their lives champion it. This rare breed lives their lives in a way that honors the past, embraces the present in such a way  that it  keep the dream alive for those of us who dream of it in the future.

I met Dave McClure at a Benton County Cattleman dinner, but I was a fan before that. I had heard Dave sharing his cowboy poetry some time before that. I adore his tales, his humor and the way that he celebrates the life he has inherited.

Today there are six generations of McClure’s on the ground his great grandfather homesteaded. And while that, in and of itself is a  story to tell… I am most charmed with the ways that they live their life in such a way that it makes others dream of a western life. Open and inviting and sharing of knowledge and tales.

My husband Tom and I recently went to their Nespelem ranch for branding, and came away feeling ken to this great family how so openly shared their stories.

Dave and his Dad have two books sharing their families stories and poems… For more details email me or get a hold of David on my face book page. You can also check out my photos from our visit… here…

IMG_0876(Don Signing his books for me)

The people I meet on these “dusty roads,” shape me.  I walked away from this trip feeling grateful for those who God puts in my path who share their lives in such a way, that feels like home.

Lady Liberty.

20160421_100552-1-1-1It was a dark and stormy night, on the eve that we met. ... Okay, okay, okay…. perhaps not. But, I have always wanted to write that. I have always loved those writers who seems to “slink” through there stories as if there is something just around the bend.

The truth is, that while it may not be true literally, figuratively it is so true. There I was, at home, minding my own business and out of nowhere….. Well some of that is true. Continue reading “Lady Liberty.”

Answering The Call

I have always been impressed by those who take up a calling and run with it. I know deep down it is the “thing” that separates those who dream, and those living the dream.  Reminding myself, it is one thing to think about living it and just sitting with it in the quiet of the night.Another thing altogether to hear the call….. and have the strength to answer it. We can all  think of something that has called us…. yet, many of us, don’t bother to answer. We look at the sacrifices it will require and deem them too costly.

This morning my friend Jamie posted a photo on her face book page.  There is was, an old wagon being pulled by a team of mules… Boldly proclaiming “the good news.” I had to go. It is what I do. I tell the stories of those living their lives on the back roads of life…  and certainly Randy Boehmer and his Jesus Wagon fit that bill.

Randy and his team of mules have visited 27 states since beginning their adventure in 2008, beginning in Illinois.. Today found them, off high way 14 in Roosevelt WA. Creeping their way across the Columbia from Oregon. While Randy is evasive about his future plans, he is rather open about sharing his message. “it isn’t a trip says Boehmer, “its a journey. A trip ends, a journey goes on forever.” But, for now, he plans to head west.

Donations can be made through his FB page.

I look forward in sharing his story in Agri Times.

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