Wise advice to a receptive spirit can make all the difference! The bad news—teenagers think they know everything and rarely listen. My teenager, Larada, has a receptive spirit today and agrees to listen to the wisdom of the crone Larada. For the first time, I’m using the prompt suggested by the Ultimate Blog Challenge and feel it has lots of possibility.
First, my top advice
Be yourself! As a teenager, I got so consumed by the popular view of my friends. Our jeans had to be long enough to touch the ground in the back, and we had to wear Wranglers. Once Dad bought me Levis, and I hated them. I had to have long straight hair and wore it parted on the side. I had a little curl on one side, so mine never hung straight.
By being quiet and not being authentic, people never really knew the real me because I didn’t share her. It took years to find her, but the “me” I found is delightful, energetic and a strong leader. Trust yourself!
Second piece of advice
My social life isn’t everything! Almost every Saturday night found the Horner family at a local dance, so my normal was an active social life. Then, when a snowstorm hit and we had to stay home, I mourned the loss of not being out and about.
I continued this mindset for most of my adult life, but the coronavirus pandemic forced me to learn balance in that area. Balance provides time with others, then time alone to become acquainted with the most important person in the world, me!
Third nugget of advice
Not having a boyfriend is okay! AS a teenager, I obsessed about boys, boyfriends, not having one, having one but thought he was the wrong one!
After periods of being single, I realized the importance of being okay as a solo. Then when I remarried, I had lots to offer to the relationship. You are enough!
Fourth snippet of advice
Be proud of your heritage. I remember being ridiculed when we went to Trinidad, Colorado, to shop. The “towny” kids called us “Sh*t kickers” which embarrassed me. Over the last seven years, I have written six books and five of them celebrate my heritage and family. Embrace your history!
Fifth morsel of advice
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Younger Larada worried about everything, spending too much time focussing on the “what ifs?”
“Let go and let God” had become a mantra of mine today, a slogan from recovery.
Last bit of advice
Focus on your spiritual life! As a teenager, I believed in Jesus, but my faith took a backseat. Popularity and peer pressure ruled my life, causing me to make life choices not centered in my faith.
Today, I have a strong faith, seasoned over the years with lots of pain, disappointments, and struggles. As I processed all of this, I leaned in closer and closer to my God.
The teenage Larada did as well as she could with her limited knowledge. As a crone, I offer my advice, Larada, for your best!
Do you talk to the younger you? If so, what do you say?
Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com
Check out Cyber Week Specials at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, on select books! 40% off of select Individual books, 40% off of select bundles and 50% off of digital copies! These books make the perfect gift for your friends and family.
Easter eggs? Church attendance? A religious holiday? Chocolate eggs? Our secular world celebrates Easter in a variety of ways. How do you celebrate it?
As a child, I focused on the secular side of Easter—finding Easter eggs, my basket, and lots of chocolate. I attended church each year with a new dress, shoes and hat. Our family celebrated with a festive dinner and all the fun activities for children, but no focus on the religious significance. Here I am in 1960, all dressed up for Easter at seven years old.
In 1966, one memorable Easter, I ended up with a broken nose. Our county 4-H group had a roller skating party in Trinidad, Colorado, the night before Easter, bringing together country children from all over Las Animas County. The owners of the skating rink decided to wax the floor before our big event, so we skaters had a terrible time standing up, much less skating., and we skated often, so it wasn’t new to us.
After I finally got the hang of skating on this slick floor, I skated with my cousin and a friend from Hoehne, Colorado, holding hands, laughing and enjoying our night of fun. Suddenly he fell first, and she fell over him. I flipped over the two of them and landed flat-faced on the floor, nose gushing with blood everywhere.
I had been looking forward to this big day for months, so I cleaned myself up and continued skating, cautious and careful, ignoring the pain in my face.
Next morning, I woke up with two black eyes and a swollen, sore nose. The unofficial diagnosis: a broken nose! Even though I hurt and looked horrendous, I proudly dressed in my new yellow seersucker Easter dress, white shoes and white hat that cradled my head. Here I am in 1966 at thirteen years old, but you can’t the black eyes or the swollen nose.
Because I didn’t have children, I didn’t get into the egg hunts, baskets and such. I had a memorable time with my young niece, though, in 1974. At that time, my husband and I and my brother and his wife lived in Denver, Colorado as young married near each other. At nine months, my niece didn’t understand the whole egg dying business. Her mom and I prepared the multiple cups with the different dye in each one.
We wrapped a tea towel around the little one to protect her clothes from the dye and began our joyous adventure. We gently placed an egg in each cup of color and used a spoon to roll them around to deepen the color. The transformation from white to different colors captivated my niece: red, blue, green, yellow! She squealed with delight standing on the chair peering into the multi-colored cups.
Excited and before we could stop her, my nine-month-old niece grabbed an egg out of the cup with her hand—now her hand was red. We tried to stop her, but in her exuberance, we couldn’t. The red dye didn’t discolor her hand too much, or we didn’t notice it.
Then we moved on to the next cup and the blue dye had already darkened to a deep shade. Her mom held her back as I rolled it around a little to get a deeper blue, then my niece’s small pudgy hand darted past her mom and grabbed the blue egg!
Dripping blue dye from her fingers, I quickly snatched it from her chubby hand and giggled. I loved her enthusiasm! But now we had a problem: her hand with fresh blue dye with the red stain already present. We looked down at my niece’s hand and it had turned a horrible shade of murky blackish grey! My niece howled, shook her hand to no avail, and we laughed! She kept shaking it, but the color stayed!
Her mom and I laughed at this strange situation, scrubbed her hand with detergent. The unpleasant color stained her hand still. My niece would look at it and shake it repeatedly, whimpering. Finally, we returned to our task and finished the dying activity with the rest of the eggs dark and colorful. But my niece had lost interest in the whole thing and became a reluctant observer.
After my Dad died, I made it a point to celebrate Easter with Mom every year. One year, her Methodist church from Des Moines, New Mexico had a Sunrise Service at Capulin Mountain, which is a volcano. We drove to the Visitor’s Center, then rode up the mountain in a school bus. When we got to the top of the volcano, the group gathered in a sheltered area to keep warm, away from the wind. Deer grazed inside the volcano and peace filled the air. I remember little about the service or the sermon, but Fred Owensby had arrived early and walked down in the cone. At the end of the service, he played “Amazing Grace” on his trumpet, and I shivered with goosebumps, not the cold. It was glorious! Afterwards, we drove to Des Moines for a pancake breakfast and fellowship and fun—a memorable time for sure!
After that fateful experience with my young niece, I didn’t have another notable Easter with children until 2013. My brother’s family gathered with me and my husband for my mother’s memorial service on April 1. Easter that year was the March 31, the day before Mom’s service. My niece in the story above now had her children there with us. Her brother and sister’s families joined us, too. My nieces and nephew did a remarkable job under dire circumstance to celebrate Easter for their children. They colored eggs, had baskets and made it fun! And it was!
During my lifetime, I have continued attending church on Easter, celebrating our risen Lord. This year, I felt a deeper meaning in the whole Easter story from Good Friday to the celebration of Easter. Today, as I attended my church on Facebook Livestream, I marveled at the wonders and the blessings of this day so many years ago. The Resurrection story still brings a tear to my eyes.
I hope you had a meaningful holiday this year—beyond the trifles this world offers and delved into the deeper meaning of the holiday.
How do you celebrate Easter? Did you gather with family this year? Did you go to church? How was it different to celebrate it this year from the past? The same?
As a child, we went to the cemetery in Des Moines, New Mexico and met my Mom’s parents on Decoration Day many times. The adults decorated the graves of family members, and we raced around dodging headstones and graves playing with friends. Many families brought picnic lunches and this allowed more play time for the children and more visiting time for the adults. This trip to a familiar cemetery meant the beginning of summer because school was over, and we headed to Amarillo, Texas to spend a week with my grandparents.
Fast forward to my adult life. I watched my Mom and Dad religiously decorate family graves in Trinidad, Colorado and back to Des Moines. It was a family tradition, and their commitment to caring for deceased family members and their graves spoke deeply to me.
When my Mom died six years ago, my cousin said she’d take care of the graves in Des Moines and I would do the ones in Trinidad, so faithfully I followed my family’s tradition for the last five years. I decorated my parents’ grave, my grandparents’ grave, and my Aunt’s all in Trinidad. I also decorated my sister-in-law’s in the beautiful quaint cemetery outside of my hometown of Branson, Colorado.
This year I failed. I have been sick for the last three months and haven’t visited Colorado yet to decorate the graves. I will, but it will be late. This made me think about this tradition, its importance and the history behind it.
Memorial Day anyway?
Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.
Another Labor Day is almost over–I want to share my traditional Labor Day with you. Today my brother and I went to the Las Animas Country Rodeo in Trinidad, CO, like so many years before. Neither of us had attended the rodeo in years–we wondered how much it had changed since our last visit?
As a child, this was an every year event–coupled with the annual 4-H Fair. It was our only family vacation, starting on the Thursday before Labor Day. Our 4-H commitments lasted through Friday, then we enjoyed the daily rodeo Saturday, Sunday and Monday and a big country and western dance each night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All of the 4-Her’s in Las Animas County came to Trinidad for the duration of these events and was a big party for us all. Usually a carnival with rides filled the parking lot–the bright lights and noise were absent today.
Today, we were pleasantly surprised to see the attendance was good at this year’s rodeo–neither of us knew very many people in the grandstands. We enjoyed each event and watched a late summer storm come in over Fisher’s Peak. The sweet, fresh smell of rain wafted over us before the rain hit the arena. The cowboys and cowgirls continued the rodeo through the rain–no, the latter events were not canceled due to the rain.
The Westernaires, a high school riding group from Denver, entertained us with a variety of horse riding skills–it was good to see them again.
All in all, the ghosts of the past whirled around me–sitting on the edge of the Bloom Mansion yard as a child watching the parade, dances, the horse barn and all the fun there, friends from all over the county that congregated each year, carnival rides, and laughter–but I was able to enjoy the present day rodeo as it was, celebrating our Labor Day tradition once more.
What did you do for Labor Day? Do you have a tradition?