Ya Gotta Watch out for Those Things

The new year is here! Can you believe it? I just do not know how the years fly by so fast, but it is hard to believe that 2009 is about gone. Enjoy the day, it is the last of the year!

In another week my husband and I will be celebrating our 5th anniversary. I told him I was married for almost 30 years to my late husband and want to make it another 30 with him. While it is easy to say that this is ONLY number 5, they way the years fly by it is ONLY 25 more to go!

As I reflect on the past year and look to the next one some things come to mind, much of which can be summed up in the title of this post.

Yesterday I had Scout outside for much of the morning. We have goats and one of them had a nasty cut and has been penned for about a month. I had an idea that the way she got cut was the cow fencing along the side. It is barbed wire and the goats try to slip through it. Yesterday I decided to check the fencing all around and then let them out for a bit. Scout and I made the rounds of the fencing and wired up any loose places and then let the goats out. Everything was fine for a bit, but then Almond’s two little ones slipped through the cattle gate to the side pasture. Almond tried calling them back, but like most little kids they would not listen to mama. She yelled, the kids kept going. Finally she panicked and tried getting through the wire. She succeeded, but I was upset as I did not want her opening up her cut again or getting another one.

I went in, grabbed a leash to walk Almond back and Scout and I went into the pasture to retrieve the kids and Almond. Scout had never been in the pasture before so I had to teach her a few things. First thing was what a cow pie was and what it looked like.  I pointed out one and told her it was a cow poopy and do not step in it. She looked at me like I was a bit crazy as nothing could poop that big.  Then she almost stepped in another and I pointed it out. She then began looking for them.

Lesson two was what prickly pear cactus were and that you must avoid them as they are even worse than stepping in cow poopy.  I showed her the spines and told her to be careful. Holding her hand and watching out for everything while reminding her, we went further into the pasture to get the goats.

She went to look around a scrub cedar while still holding my hand, but bumped a prickly pear. She screamed as I grabbed her and tried to get her pants up to pull out the spines. We got them out, she told me I fixed it since I got the out quick and we moved on and put Almond on the leash. As we were walking back, she saw a very small prickly pear plant and said “there is a small one. Ya gotta watch out for those things”.

Just like that spine stuck in Scout’s leg, those words stuck in my heart as I think about the last year and the coming one.  How many times have I not watched out and been caught off guard by even small thing that stuck big time?

Maybe a situation that could have been avoided? Or words that slipped out to my husband that should have not come out? Or something not done that should have been?

Sometimes even little things can have a big impact in our lives. We get stuck.  Anger. “small” lie. We all face “prickly pears” every day.  How will we handle them this year?

For me, I hope I can be as profound as my 3 yr old granddaughter in the pasture: “ya gotta watch out for those things!”


Today I went to a funeral. It was not someone I knew, but the mother of one of my husband’s closest friends.  When her son got up to speak he read a poem that is apparently popular, but not one I had heard.   Here it is, with the credit to the author who has a book out by the same name.

The Dash Poem
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came her date of  birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Lately I have been thinking about dying. I am not sure why, but I have been. I guess because I am getting up there in years, even though I do not want to admit it.

I have thought about my family and wonder. I wonder if they all know how much I love them. That I love them all equally, want the best for them all and pray blessings on their lives.  I wonder a lot about a lot of things.

When this poem was read I wondered some more. Wondered if my life has made the difference that God wanted me to make when He made me. The circumstances HE allowed in my life, did I respond as HE wanted? The students I taught ESL to, did I make a difference in their lives, not just with English.

How have I impacted my world for HIM?

If My dash ends tomorrow, will my family remember me as this family remembered their mom? Will my kids all get along and work out things together, or will they be at odds like some there today?

Will others remember me in a positive way?

It hit me today more than before since this has been on my mind lately. Will my “dash” be worthwhile to be on my tombstone? or should it just be left off?

Will yours?

We have one life to live, we have no idea how long or short it will be. As the old verse goes:

Only one life will soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Let’s make our dash count for HIM.