Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On Citizenship...

I stole this from Lori Seymour's Facebook. Ain't it great!

On Citizenship

Sorry blog readers for being a sporadic poster. I told Monica that I have to wait for inspiration. Well, I finally found some here:  http://www.moberlymonitor.com/news/x639954360/Supreme-Court-Judge-addresses-Pachyderms 

This article started me thinking about what these men, and the many others who call our community home, had in common. A great upbringing, a solid education, work ethic and a belief in something greater than themselves was what I surmised. Mostly, though I think they are great citizens. They keenly feel the burden to GIVE of their talents, time and energy back in the same measure that they have received. What they have achieved is impressive, what they will give is more important.

Fitting to ponder on Memorial Day, I began to examine what it means to be a citizen in Atchison County. I became very thankful that opportunities for citizenship abound in my community.   No doubt your own schedules are full of volunteering at the library, teaching Bible School, driving your elderly neighbor to the doctor or attending the Kiwanis club meetings. I challenge you to continue these activities and not shy away from the next signup sheet. As this community and great country has afforded you the opportunity to have a healthy childhood, receive a great education, worship freely, raise your family as you wish and live well….give back, give back, give back. 

When my children run wild during the next Tarkio Renewal meeting or get “bored” as we organize the next church or baseball activity, I will remember that my purpose is two-fold…I will BE a good citizen and RAISE good citizens too.

Matthew 10:8 Freely you have received, freely give.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What a Great Mother's Day Gift-Graduation!

Graduation falls on Mother’s day more often than not here in Atchison County! For all the mothers (and fathers) who have a high school graduate….it’s bittersweet.

I am Marisa (Smith) Hedlund and this is my seventh year as the Fairfax K-12 counselor. I was born at the Community Hospital, grew up in Atchison County, graduated from Fairfax High School and from Missouri State, and then moved with my husband Chris to Charlotte, North Carolina. After 10 years in North Carolina, my husband and I decided that Fairfax was the place to be. Chris grew up in California, graduating with 300 compared to me graduating with 20! We wanted to get out of the city and raise our growing family in a rural area close to my parents and grandparents. Luckily, there was a position for a guidance counselor open at FHS, and a family farmhouse available. Sadly, I needed to go back to graduate school and the house needed a major renovation! Thank goodness for my family that could help us out!

That was eight years ago and we are now more settled in compared to our first year here in Atchison County! We have three children that never cease to amaze us and never give us a break in all their activities! Ian (9), Natalie (7) and Collin (5) have all the opportunities to be involved in basketball, baseball, soccer, dance and gymnastics, but get to grow up in a place where everyone knows their name and looks out for them! Am I worried about them having these opportunities when they get in high school? Nope! I know that they will be able to participate in almost everything our friends in Kansas City or Charlotte are doing. And, our kids in Atchison County will be able to be in multiple organizations, activities and sports. This helps to create well-rounded individuals that will be more likely to be successful. I know, because I consider myself one of those people who benefited from being in EVERY sport and EVERY organization I could in school.
Our students who are graduating this week have, just like me, been involved in everything. We have students who are in every sport, both FCCLA and FHA (wow, I didn’t even do that) and every other organization we offer. They also perform in band, swing choir and the school play, which they had to spend countless after school hours practicing!  Some even take several college dual credit classes online to get a head start on their college career. These kids are involved! Who says living in the country is boring?

My fellow counselors, Shauna and Tracy, and I are sending the graduates off to NWMSU, MU, MWSU, Peru, SECC and countless other colleges to continue to be involved and make their place in the world! We also have former students graduating from those colleges who will be our future radiologists, physical therapists, electricians and teachers. I am so proud of them and I wish them luck wherever they land. I know some of them never want to get too far away from home and some of them need a chance to see the world, leaving their friends and family in Atchison county behind. Someday, I hope they will come back to our county, like me!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baby Cows, Prayer & Family

I’ve been trying to narrow this post down to one thing that makes me happy about living in Atchison County this week, but a) my focus is not so…focused this week, and b) why should I have to limit myself to one thing, I ask you!?  So, in no particular order, today’s list of great things…

•    Getting to live amongst the action of springtime in a farming area.  I’m sure I romanticize farming because I’ve never been the person who has to pull a calf in brutal weather or spray fields for endless hours at a time, but I love being around it. Frisky baby cows, monster machines sharing the road on my drive to work, perfect rows of gorgeous green all around…I love it all.
•    National Day of Prayer.  This year I was able to participate in the service at the AC Memorial Building.  It is truly humbling to gather together for the dual purpose of acknowledging our immense blessings in this country and lifting up our nation, schools, churches, families, government and media.  It was overwhelming to consider that similar services were happening all over the country today.  At the same time, the service felt very personal and community-focused, particularly when Paul Tiemeyer shared how the power of prayer has worked in his life since he was severely burned in a combine fire last fall.  It was obvious from his story that this community and county supported him and his wife in an incredible way.  (Have I mentioned lately that this place is awesome?)
•    Impromptu family time.  The other day, Grammy showed up at my back door to take me to lunch.  I regularly get to go on drive-around lunches with Dad.  When I have time to kill before a meeting, I can stop by and see Mom and an endless variety of short people.  I never take these little blessings for granted.
•    I’m having a baby! Ok, so the significance of this isn’t wholly attributed to the fact that I live where I live, BUT let me just tell you how fantastic it is to be in a place where soooo many people are genuinely ecstatic over this news.  Fabulous Facebook feedback is overwhelming in its own right, but it’s the real life random bear hugs of joy thing that gets me: in the aisles and check-out line at Hy-Vee, at the Flower Mill, in the parking lot of Food Country, everywhere.  On the one hand, living here while trying to keep a pregnancy quiet means you have to do sneaky-feeling things like tell your Board and random community members that you have the flu 3 weeks in a row (yeah-they really bought that!).  But on the other hand, the bear hugs!  I am thankful every day to be able to live in this place that raised me while experiencing this particular wonder.
Enough of my rambling – tell me, fellow Atchison Countians, why are YOU happy to live here today?