Will It Matter?


So, I posted a blog the other day about my Grandma Graham, and how, although she’s still alive, we’ve effectively lost her to Alzheimer’s. I wrote about how crushing that’s been for me and my family.

It’s made me think a lot about my family and close friends and how I don’t want to take those special relationships for granted. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who said her Mamacita (her grandma who has since passed away), gave her a sage piece of advice a long time ago. She told my friend that when something upsetting happens, ask yourself, “Will this matter in 10 years?”


My response was, “Hey, I always say that! I’ll ask myself, in six months, will this make a difference?” Sometimes the answer is, “Hell, yes!” But, more often, the answer is, “Nope.”

When you view problems through that prism, it brings into focus what’s important, what really matters and what is worth fighting for. Somebody dinged your car door in the parking lot, yeah, that’s frustrating, but, really, long-term, is it going to affect the quality of your life or your loved-ones? Absolutely not! So, why waste time on those emotions?

There are things I get plenty frustrated with, especially if they involve my girls! I want the best for them and I will always fight for them. That kind of stuff, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to make right, because, yeah, in six months or 10 years, that WILL matter to me, and it will matter to them!


So, a gentle suggestion to use the “Lorinda” or “Mamacita” yardstick in your life—when you’re faced with a maddening situation, ask yourself, “In X amount of time, will it matter?”

You’ll save yourself an inordinate amount of grief and, chances are, you’ll learn to separate the mountains from the molehills.

–Lorinda Van Newkirk

Time Won’t Stop

1From the time I get up—which is early, because I don’t require much sleep—until the time my head hits the pillow at night, my life is a frantic, non-stop race. That’s just how I’m wired! I have a ton of energy and I USE it! I give thanks to God for that, because I love to go, go, go.

The other day, I took a moment for reflection. It got me wondering, how often do you notice, with the everyday hustle and trying to keep up with whoever down the street, that hours pass, days pass, months pass and BAM!—you realize you haven’t been smelling the roses along the way?

My grandmother (my Dad’s mom) has Alzheimer’s—her body is still here, but her mind is gone. I think about her every day. I wish so badly that I could call her, go see her and talk to her.  It crushes me to know that one of the most important women in my life no longer knows who I am, or even who she is. I’m so mad at myself for not taking more time, when we first learned she was sick, to visit her, to let my kids know her more…now it’s too late, and my heart is broken.


This last summer, Jaylee took up sewing. So, of course, we now have a sewing machine and all the fun stuff to go with it. Grandma Graham taught me how to sew, and again, I found myself fervently wishing she could’ve taught Jaylee, too. She taught me so much in life. Two of the greatest things she taught me were to never give up and to just keep working. She would be so proud of me today—I took her words to heart, and I marvel at how far they’ve taken me.

As I write this blog about her, tears fill my eyes because I’ve been remembering all the wonderful memories she gave me.  I have asked myself, “What I was so busy with back then? Does all of that really matter now?” If I had taken a little more time with her, would the pain be so bad now? Would it have made it harder?


I have one grandmother left, Nana, my Mom’s mom. She is pretty amazing, too. So kind and loving. She lives in Alaska and visits my parents in California a few months out of each year. My girls love her and miss her every day. I love when they bring her up in stories and ask when are they going to see her! I am so lucky to have had so many amazingly strong great-grandmothers and grandmothers in my life.


With the sadness of not being able to talk to Grandma Graham, I have made it a point to call and check in with Nana often. I truly love visiting with her and she makes me laugh and smile just to hear her voice! I’m planning a trip to Alaska this summer to take the girls. They’ve never been. I don’t want to look back again and feel I made the same mistake twice. While time is free, it’s also priceless—spend it wisely.


Horse Power

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There’ve been so many times in my life when I’ve been accused of being pushy or aggressive or loud or wild —I prefer the term “ambitious” or “fearless.” I guess it’s hard to see yourself the way others do, but I definitely know a lot of women who are like me in this way. Some are born that way, some are made. Don’t know which I am, maybe a little of both.

But in the times I’ve reflected on this phenomenon, I think about my upbringing and I’ve come to a conclusion about why I’m the way I am. Yes, my parents, of course! But, aside from that, one of the largest guiding influences as a kid was my horses. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out because I discussed this with a friend of mine who also grew up around horses—and she’s the type you NEVER have to ask her opinion, she’ll just tell you.

Anyway, I’ve always been horse crazy. Lucky for me I grew up where I did. I think horses are romanticized a lot, and people who’ve never spent loads of time around them tend to think they’re these sweet, timid creatures, but also gorgeous and powerful and mysterious. Well, they can be that. They can also be holy terrors! And since I spent so much time around every variety of horse—paint, bay, palomino, roan, ugly, pretty, barn sour, temperamental, well-behaved—I learned quickly every horse is different. They can be loveable, or, when your back is turned, kick you or push you against a fence with their big butts. They’ll crow-hop, shy from the slightest sound, try to roll in a river with you on their back (ask Lorinda about that one), try to race to the barn, balk…you have to be ready for any possibility and adventure!

Oops got off subject there…back to my point about how I came to be who I am. When you spend decades around equine, you become confident and cautious at the same time —both mentally and physically. You have to be fearless and forceful to push around an animal that weighs 1,100 or 1,200 pounds, but be mindful of how you push. You have to be quick, think on your feet, be ready for anything. But the effect that had on me was that I’ve never held anything back, if I want something, I go for it. They taught me confidence.

A couple of the first horses I ever rode, oh my gosh, such memories. Sugar Foot—a dun—and Rocky—a bay—two old plugs who really took care of my sister and me—more than we ever could’ve taken care of them at such a young age! They were so gentle, so quiet. They taught me patience.


Then there was my sorrel Ten, who was the first horse I rode with any power. He was a little wild and hyper. He really honed my riding skills, challenged me, scared me, exhilarated me. He taught me fearlessness.


Then there’s Tex, a line-back dun. He’s been my main man for 20 years. He was even in my wedding! We’re two of a kind: both stubborn and strong-willed. I ride him like no other. He’s a free spirit, like me. He soothes my soul, brushes away my anxiety like nobody and nothing else can. When I’m bareback on him, tearing across the pasture at 90 miles an hour, wind in my hair, I don’t have a care in the world. He taught me about love and about peace and freedom. He is my heart.

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So, when I’m accused of being loud and proud, I smile. I walk proud because it’s a reminder of who I am, where I’ve been, and that long line of horses who made me the woman I am. Being any other way would mean turning my back on my upbringing, my deep love of horses and ranch life and my family.

And those who know me know I could never do that!  I have always been proud of the lifestyle I was fortunate to be born into!