My Mother's Garden




I took a walk through my mom's garden on Mother's Day. It seemed to be a walk through my family's history, as well. I saw roses from my Grandmother Monson's garden, and ones from my Uncle Chuck, too. The pink and white peonies reminded me of MaMa Ballew. Peonies were her favorite flowers.

My mother spends time tending her flower garden, but all those roses and irises and peonies are not her ultimate focus. My mother tends something much more important: her relationships. Mom is a people person. Now you know where I get it from. She passionately cares about others, like her family, her friends, her church and pretty much everyone else she meets. I love how she can simultaneously make you feel as if she's giving every drop of her energy to you, while at the same time she is taking nothing away from herself. Cool!

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There were three, count 'em, three high school concerts last week and yours truly was at every one of them! Due to the tornado in our backyard last Monday, the orchestra concert was postponed to Tuesday night and joined the jazz and concert bands on their night. Rebecca Tast directed the 6th-12th grade orchestras in up-tempo contemporary pieces, like the themes from "Jurassic Park," "Batman" and "Star Wars." Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" was awesome, with my favorite students, Alexis Coldwell on bass and Conner Coldwell on drums.

Next up, the Ark City High School's slamming Jazz Band brought four numbers to tap your toes to. I loved the Big Band feel of Hammerstein's "All the Things You Are," complete with girl singer (Mary Beth Byers). My favorite song was "The Woogie," which reminded me of all the times I sat on my mom's piano bench while she wailed on some boogie woogie tune. Chris Van Gilder led the Concert Band in five easy pieces that were chockful of sparkling solos and melodious musicianship. I loved the whimsy of P.D.Q. Bach's "Rondo Mucho Grando" complete with standard Silly String and Cameron Crabtree on thundering kettle drum.

The ACHS Vocal Music Department's Thursday concert was a tasty topper to this sumptuous musical feast. All the ensembles and choirs brought modern pop performances. My favorite solos were by juniors Joe Descartes, Tayler Gill and Mary Beth Byers. The Symphonic Choir did not one, but three show-stopping tunes. "Don't Stop Believin'" ala TV's "Glee," "Africa" by 80's pop group Toto and a senior student tribute, "You Raise Me Up."

A tender moment in this last song was when all the senior students presented a flower to their parents who gathered at the stage, except for one young man, whose parents were absent. He smiled and gave his flower to Tim Cassidy, the director. The mother in me wanted to rush the stage and hug his neck.

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The Cowley County Writers Guild and Ark City Public Library are hosting a book talk and signing by B.D. Tharp, Wichita author. Her book "Feisty Family Values" was released in February and is already in its second printing. Ms. Tharp is a funny, vibrant woman and an engaging speaker. The event is slated for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 20, 2010 at the Ark City Public Library. If you bring a friend, you will get a freshly-baked cookie. Who could turn that down?

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Female in Motion Exercise Update: I was a sloth last week and only did two sets of hand weight calisthenics. To avert a complete guilt trip, I cleaned the house like a mad woman on Friday and Saturday.

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Notable Quote:

"The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It's doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry souffle. I did that at least 28 times before I finally conquered it."--Julia Child
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