Downward Gritty Kitty

I don’t know about you, but this Season Of Busy is beginning to catch up with me. No matter how determined I start into late November planning not to get too busy, I seem always to end up in the same busy place. I think my inability to stick to my non-busy plan is stuff for another post, however!

The first thing that seems to go when the Season Of Busy descends is my (fairly) strong commitment to daily stretching. As one of the leading generation that has spent most of my professional life hunched over a computer, starting way before we knew about the ergonomic principles that are supposed to help us, I realized I needed a daily stretching routine if I was to be able to do all the other things I love to do that do not involve sitting at a computer. Continue reading

When I first began work on the 4-H Thriving Model I thought about the ways in which the 4-H Program stands alone in its approach to youth development, and how youth are attracted to the program. One way that 4-H stands out is through its emphasis on project-based learning, and providing opportunities that match a young person’s interest in a particular topic. Ah-ha, I thought, this is a really important and unique aspect of 4-H and I began to search the research literature to identify how this practice of building programs around youths’ interests can contribute to their positive development.

it didn’t take me long to come across the concept of youth Sparks, an idea Continue reading

As I write this blog post, a somber scene is playing out 3000 miles away in Washington DC as our country says goodbye to its 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush. Since his passing last Friday, the news has been filled with remembrances of this man who led our country, many of them reminding us of the great dignity, humor, and kindness he brought to the highest leadership post in the country.

One story, told last night on our local news was of a young woman who was part of a grade school class that traveled out to the Portland airport to say farewell to President Bush after a visit to Oregon. Now an adult, she showed the watch the president had taken off his wrist and given to her when she admired it. She also shared the story of a fellow classmate who was taken in awe by the fighter jets Continue reading

I took my first dressage lesson when I was 18 years old. This was eight years after buying my first pony “Stormy” for $35 when I was 10. There was a little issue with my parents when the pony arrived unexpected, but I will be forever grateful for my brother who helped me withdraw the money from my savings account to buy him. The unexpected arrival of the pony in our backyard is still something of family lore, but I do think it was the moment that my parents realized I was SERIOUS about this riding thing.

I took my latest dressage lesson a week ago Friday, wedged between two out of state trips. Part of me thought, “oh, why do you want to add this to everything you have on your plate right now?” But the bigger part of me said “you are making so much progress all of a sudden, it is worth the effort.” So I loaded up Little Scholar (yup that is really his name) on a Friday night and drove 47 miles Continue reading

I live in a neighborhood full of young families and children, which has come in handy whenever I have some chores that need to be done. I am getting so well known for my “chores” that more than one random kid has come by just to see if I had anything that he or she could do. Last summer I hired the neighbor boy to paint our fence. We agreed on the price, and that he would start work every morning at the same time and paint two sections each day. He was just barely in middle school, and had never worked, let alone painted before, so I knew I would have to work with him to teach him how to do a good job. He was excited about the money (which I paid him at the end of each week), but less excited to get up and start painting before 8 in the morning. Continue reading