WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange Take 2

Orange is a favorite color of mine.  Fiery, bright, warm, brilliant and bold. So, I can’t think of a better representation than my sweet Ella Bell. Meet my granddaughter who wears her glistening orange crown with special flare. She is confident, strong, bold, flamboyant, creative and determined, as every woman should be.




WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

A Secret About “That Woman” in Your Life

20140321-090848.jpgi love this photo. this is my maternal grandmother driving a tractor on the family farm.

i don’t think i could drive a tractor to save my life. i have excuses like i’m so short that i can’t see important things around me and i have been known to run over things in a big vehicle, let alone a big tractor.

but, i’m not afraid to roll my sleeves up and get my hands dirty. i mean, really dirty! eww, some if the jobs I have agreed to do for the sake of my family and family business makes my head spin sometimes.

want to know a secret about women?

a woman will give you everything she’s got to give!

she will!

she will get up early, work her fingers to the bone, give every last ounce of strength she can muster in her day and collapse only after everyone else is fully looked after knowing within a few hours (if she gets a few hours of uninterrupted sleep) she will start all over again.

she does it because of the deep well of love that resides in her heart.

i have been reading so many posts, blogs, notes, and tweets from exhausted women all over the world. these women are assisting hard working men, growing children, people who are unable to help themselves, elderly family members, charities and friends.

they give and give…

what would your world be like without “that women” who keeps it flowing so seemlessly?

the secret is that women will give to you beyond what you can imagine -you don’t have to manipulate or extract it from her! in return, her heart needs your respect, love and appreciation.

respect, love and appreciation will fuel her in ways that not even she understands.

celebrate her!

cherish her!

hug her!

and today (if not everyday!)..,

thank her.

because she is aiding your success, one tiny, exhausting task at a time!

and believe me…it’s no small thing…until those tiny tasks land in your lap and you need to fill her shoes.

i give honor to my grandmothers, my aunts, my cousins and MY MOTHER (whose shoes i’ll never properly fill), my friends, and readers who give and have given so selflessly to make life more successful.

you are awesome!

Put your feet up…you deserve it (revisited by request)

deeclarknz.com“a little hard work never hurt anybody!” those words echo in my ears and have now for as long as i remember. the voices i hear in my heart as those words do their echoing belong to my papa (granddad) and my daddy.

by the time i was old enough to take notice, my granddad was retired. he spent a lot of time in his favourite chair, as many men do, or at least in those days did. we played a game with him. we waited for him to get out of his chair so that we could jump into it. i’m not sure why exactly but as i think back today i remember feeling important and safe as i sat there. i loved to grab the few seconds to sit in the warmth his body left behind. i felt love there, too. when he returned to find his seat occupied there was always a bit of a kerfuffle, followed by giggles and exits.

my granddad served in the military and worked the pipelines across the USA. both took their toll. the result was that he raised three men with a strong work ethic and an appreciation for a job well done.

i know that you have probably said this as well, BUT, my daddy is one of the hardest working men i have ever known in my life. he is now in retirement and i see an inner fight that anguishes at the thought of sitting down in his favourite chair to rest. while his body protests, he still strives to do what he he can (and more if it won’t lay him out for too long). anyone who knows him knows i am right. we jest with him over it, (and we are tired from watching it!) but we also admire him for it.

i have had some strong inspiration in my life from both of these examples…even when i didn’t want it or appreciate it at the time (due to the foolishness of youth).

equally as hard working is my mother. over the years, i have wondered where she got her energy and stamina. she was awake earlier than anyone else in the family so that she could get a few household chores out of the way before she headed off to her full time job. after work, she prepared meals and squeezed in a few more household chores on her way out the door to deliver one or all three of my siblings to piano lessons, work or other various activities. she spent countless hours sitting or sleeping in the car waiting to pick one of us up from some of those activities as well. she was always in constant motion…and i dare say, much like my dad, even today when her body begins to protest…she’s keeps on going…and with an impeccable attitude. in fact, i don’t ever recall either of my parents complaining about the tasks that were at hand. “you just do what you have to”, they would say with a smile.

my appreciation for hard work was a gift that my parents and grandparents gave to me.

so, yesterday, i am standing in the wind and the rain. i have the most hideous get-up on to shield me from the elements. i was sorting through a gold mine (from the pitch my husband gave me to get me there), covered in gold dust (yeah, right), i was wet, cold and exhausted. yet, i had a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. later, my husband said to me, “you did good out there. i’m proud of you. i don’t know too many women who would have agreed to do that job.”  i thought, “not a lot of women were raised as a Hartness”.

let’s face it…life can be hard work.

at the end of each task, we want to know that what we have invested has value. after all, the cost is not small.

there have been times in my life when the requirement for hard work resulted in a deep sense of accomplishment.

i remember attempting to learn new things as a child like how to ride a po-go stick. i am not very co-ordinated at the best of times, even less athletic. i crashed and burned so many times. I bled a lot, too. finally, i did it…i learned how to stay on the thing and gleefully jump up and down. it felt great.

motherhood was one of the most terrifying and difficult jobs i ever attempted. i remember days of severe exhaustion but the 2am (wait…it felt like continuous 24 hour) feedings, diaper changes, comforting, entertaining and household chores demanded every ounce of strength i could muster. I dreamed of just a few quiet moments when i didn’t hear, “moo-oom-maaa!” Then more sleepless nights, potty training, a biting toddler…not to mention attempting to encourage good manners, right behaviours and a strong value system. i felt like a miserable failure many days throughout the years. i would cry, dry the tears, pray for strength and hit the floor running day after day. however, i have many days now that i am able to stand back and look at the two beautiful people, i call my children, with a proud heart. they are amazing.

when i turned 40, i decided that i needed a challenge. my friend suggested that we do a triathlon. i laughed in terror (even before i realised how many gruelling hours would be required to prepare). when i crossed the finish line, i wanted to collapse to the ground…wait, maybe i did collapse to the ground…and i just kept saying, “i did it. i did it.” i felt exhilarated.

there are many noteworthy pursuits that warrant every last bit of strength within us to accomplish: parenting; parenting children with disabilities; adoption or blending families; battling serious health issues; recovering from abuse, ill treatment or loss; surviving economic hardships or debt; learning to forgive the unforgivable; loving the unloveable; building strong relationships; building or rebuilding a business and countless other maddening hardships.

everyday we put in the hard work…

in great and small ways…

i know that you know exactly what this quote means when it says, “the harder you work for something the greater you feel when you finally achieve it.”

you feel great because you have invested the best part of yourself…

you didn’t quit even when it was tough…

through blood, sweat and countless tears…

you held to a standard you can be proud of…

you’ve earned it…stand back…feel the satisfaction…you have achieved your goal.

be proud of a job well done! you deserve it.


(this post is written in response to a request from one of my readers. thank you for your inquiries, comments and feedback.

put your feet up…you’ve earned it

20140223-000700.jpgi love that moment when i can stand back and look at a job well done.

deep satisfaction

a sense of accomplishment

and even relief

struggles and tears behind

i give myself an “atta-boy” and sigh…

confirming that it was well worth the effort!

the price of success

20140216-175123.jpgthere are days when working toward a successful outcome is exhausting.

when i turned 40 i entered a triathlon with my best friend. we ran, swam and rode our bikes several miles a week in preparation.

there were training mornings that i wanted to cover my head with my blankets and go back to sleep. yet, I was dedicated to the goal I had set to do something beyond my abilities to mark this time in my life.

knowing that i am not a strong swimmer combined with my great fear of the water, i decided that i would swim the back stroke on the swimming leg of the triathlon. i had never witnessed anyone swim the back stroke in a triathlon. however, in order to reach my goal of a successful finish, i knew i had to take a different approach.

it was not going to make me the winner of my age bracket, but it was the stroke that i could make my best effort at swimming.

success for me was the goal of crossing the finish line having completed all three legs of the event.

this goal was aimed at pushing myself past my comfort zone, to work hard to accomplish a task that required great effort both mentally and physically and experience the satisfaction of finishing.

the price of success is hard work, dedication and determination. the reward of applying the best of ourselves to the task at hand makes the price a valuable exchange.

success isn’t handed to us. many times success proceeds from a string of failures. determination to keep giving the best we have to give as we learn from the failures, provokes us to keep going until the goal is attained.

is the price of success worth the reward?

most definately!

work hard, be dedicated, stay determined… succeed.


my funny valentine

20140214-183706.jpgthis is my Valentine…his name is Rodney.

funny thing happened today, Valentine’s Day 2014…

when i woke up this morning, he explained to me that he thought about getting me flowers but decided that it was the thought that counted and he reckoned that would make me feel special.

i hugged him and thanked him for the special thought.

i then told him that i had planned a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day.

“Oh, that will be a nice way to celebrate Valentine’s Day”, he said.

then i added,” but you’ve saved me all that work because after all it is the thought that counts. happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.”

he began laughing…”pretty good one!”

it’s 6:30pm and he just left the house to pick up dinner, chocolate and flowers!


i don’t think he enjoyed his special thought as much as i did mine.

first time in 10 years of marriage that i’m getting a Valentine pressie!

he’s such a funny Valentine!


running with time




is your year going by as quickly as mine?

it’s already the middle of February and i am amazed at how quickly time seems to be passing.

i’m checking several things off of my goal list for this year but there is much to do in the near future.

each step of the way, i’m picking up a little more momentum….it feels like i’m running through most of my days.

how about you? is your schedule requiring that you pick up your pace a little? or a lot?

February is a short month and i think if i blink twice it’s going to be March…which means that a quarter of this year is nearly over.

my life seems to move quicker the older i get.

why is that?

“yes, why is that?”, i asked myself.

do you do that? get a question that niggles at your brain?

i do all the time and i can’t seem to let it go until i get an answer.

so, i turned to my good ole faithful…google.

as it turns out, I am not the only person in the world who has asked this question.

what i was able to narrow it down to is anticipation.

we all seem to anticipate things that are important to us; vacations, family or friends who are planning to visit, the beginning of summer, a new project, the arrival of a new child or goals.

each new event seems to be so far in the distance. before we blink, it arrives and is over.

looking back, we ask ourselves, “has it really been that long ago since that event occurred?”

the adding and passing of milestones in our lives, seems to cause time to appear to be accelerating.

is there a cure for this phenomena?

not really. it’s one of those things in life that must be accept and lived with.

managing it, however, is easier if we live each day to the fullest, prioritise our goals and take life one step at a time.

so, my year appears to be running away on me…

however, i can see that many things are on track and i will pick up the pace a little so that i don’t get left behind.

happy running!





As Life Goes By


what seems to grow fairer to me

as life goes by is the love and grace and tenderness of it;

not it’s wit and cleverness and grandeur of knowledge

-grand as knowledge is-

but just the laughter of children

and the friendship of friends,

and the cozy talk by the fire,

and the sight of flowers,

and the sound of music.

-author unknown

The Journey of Friendship

there are many routes into a person’s heart

which makes you a treasured friend.

each act of kindness.

each moment shared.

each word of praise or comfort.

these are the ways-

the paths, which through time become highways, along which lie

the journey of friendship.
-Stuart and Linda McFarlane

high tea and me

20131020-222626.jpgtea parties…

i am an american…in america, we “play” tea party…little girls do it and as an adult, i was known to throw an adult-style tea party.

however, yesterday, i attended a high tea -my first. it was every bit as lovely as i imagined a real tea party would be when i would attempt one. i realized yesterday, that i was only ever “playing” at it though.

my husband pre-warned me that it was meant to be quite lady-like and i shouldn’t do any thing embarrassing (who me? Lol)

i felt out of my depth for sure!

that is a really good thing for me.

it challenges me.

new experiences drag us out of our comfort zone. they, also, open us up to some really great experiences.

beautiful ladies…

elegant china tea cups…

delicate danties…(ok, for my country friends…chow)…


sipping tea!

i think the English might just be onto a winner with this one!

it was great fun!

tea anyone? i think i need practice.