Intrepid little daffodil in my front yard

This morning brought another round of snow to town. With it came that lovely quiet that happens when everything is still very white and fresh, before the neighborhood kids wake and realize it is a snow day. Soon, the streets and yards will be filled with children making the most of this late burst of winter, and I will have the pleasure of watching them play through the windows of my home office.

On our way back from our morning walk I couldn’t help but notice all the signs of spring – the small buds on the trees, winter Daphne all pink and ready to burst forth, the bunches of bright daffodils tucked up against the wall of my neighbor’s house where the sun reaches most of the day and warms the soil faster than anywhere else. And in my own yard, the little shoots of bulb flowers standing a few inches tall against the white snow. When I walked out to fill the bird feeders, I noticed how many signs of spring are emerging from the ground up.

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Thought Leader Thursday

By Shauna Tominey

Oregon State University

“We’re going to make it… right?”

These were the words I uttered to my daughter as we emerged back into the world after spending the night saying goodbye to our family dog. Cali had lived with us in four different states. She was part of our family through military deployments, career changes, school programs, and through our shift from a family of 2 with a dog to a family of 3. Continue reading

Thought Leader Thursday

By Guest Bloggers Megan McClelland, Alexis Tracy and Jasmine Karing

Oregon State University

One afternoon, Carlos and Olivia are playing basketball during PE. They have been playing for about 15 minutes and doing well taking turns with the ball. When Lucas asks to play, Carlos and Olivia welcome him but soon realize he is not taking turns or playing fair. Carlos and Olivia ask Lucas to play fair but he continues to hog the ball and not follow the rules of the game. The children begin to argue loudly over whose turn it is for the ball. Ms. Shauna steps in and calmly suggests they play a new game where they can all have a turn with the ball. Before she can finish talking, Lucas grabs the ball out of Carlos’ hands and throws it across the gym. Ms. Shauna pictures herself yelling at Lucas for doing that, but instead takes a deep breath and addresses the conflict between the children calmly. Continue reading

Arizona February

This week I hit the road (or the skies, really) to talk thriving with the Arizona 4-H team. It was a bit of a long journey as I woke Tuesday morning to snow and ice for my pre-dawn trip to the airport. The Willamette Valley of Oregon is so temperate that we don’t have very many mornings like these, so I gave myself plenty of time. The weather messed with many trips that day, resulting in sitting for some time on the tarmac in Seattle where a long line of planes was trying to navigate the snow delays. Once we finally left Seattle and made our way to Phoenix the day felt impossibly long, but it was worth it as I looked forward to a full day on Wednesday with the Arizona 4-H team.

Wednesday morning we headed out on an hour-long journey to the meeting site, stopping of course at Starbucks on the way (the Arizona 4-H program leader now understands the basic requirements of my day). Arriving at the Maricopa County Extension office, we were greeted with a Continue reading

Step by step

I have never paid much attention to professional tennis, that is until last weekend in a hotel room while waiting for my family to arrive. I also rarely watch TV, but this particular evening the TV was on, and scanning through the channels I landed on the Australian Open tennis tournament, where the 15th ranked woman in the world was taking on the top ranked woman. As I tuned in more closely I found I was captivated by the athleticism, strength, coordination, precision, and endurance these women put into their game. As number 15 slowly took command and ultimately beat number 1, I was even more intrigued. The next day, US tennis star Serena Williams took her place on the court and handily won her match – an important step in her quest to improve her world ranking after a series of injuries and starting a family. With my new found interest in women’s tennis I enjoyed cheering Serena on. Later, in the press conference, when asked about her somewhat unlikely victory, Serena said: “I set my goals, and I have worked toward achieving them step by step. I stayed focused on my goals and I never gave up.” And that, is the formula – for international professional tennis players, and for anyone reaching for a goal. Continue reading