Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh, the Places I've Been!

Remember that Dr. Seuss book that people like to give graduates?
It's full of nuggets of wisdom, like this:

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. 
You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

As you know, I've been very sentimental this week, due to it being the fifth anniversary of our move to Indiana.  Early this morning, as I loaded the dishwasher and tried to clean up my kitchen--which was a complete disaster due to three batches of homemade bread and a batch of bar cookies, yesterday, and don't even get me started on what happened with my oven--I was thinking deep thoughts.  About Dr. Seuss's words and my own life....and how I ended up in suburban Indiana, instead of a remote sheep ranch in Montana. 

I'm going to share, because I have a blog.

Sometime between the ages of 15 and 20, I came up with a life plan.  It went something like this:

1.  Go to college.  Graduate.  (The course of study and degree were always different, depending on my interests at any given moment, but usually it was something to do with music.  Or theater.  Or musical theater.)

2.  Travel the world.  Learn several languages.  (It was unclear whether I would be doing this as an opera singer, a missionary, or tourist.)

3.  Meet a wealthy rancher who shared my passion for music, theater, adventure, and travel.  Fall in love with him.  Marry him.  (I'm totally not kidding.  A rancher.  Where did this come from?  One childhood trip to Montana to visit my brother, who was working on a sheep ranch one summer during college, and quite possibly the very tame Harlequin novels my mother and grandmother loved reading about romance on New Zealand sheep ranches.  There, I admit it.)

4.  Move to the rancher's remote ranch, which was going to be in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, or....New Zealand.

5.  Become a really good cook, because I'd have to feed all the ranch hands.  And get really good at riding horses, because that's what rancher's wives do, right?  Ride a horse all over the ranch to rendezvous with her ruggedly handsome rancher husband......

6.  Have lots of babies, there on the ranch.  Approximately 6-8.  Homeschool all of them, because our ranch would be so remote.  (I had several handy lists of names.  One list was of names that all started with the letter B.  Another list was of names that were inspired by L.M. Montgomery's books; the twins were Matthew and Marilla.)

Have you heard of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman?  Call the police!  I think she stole my life!

I kid, I kid. (But's kind of suspicious, don't you think?)

Well, I got off to a good start with my list.  Thank goodness that the first thing on my list was "Go to college," right?  (And thank goodness my parents never took me to Disney World, because if I'd had any idea I could make money dressing up like Ariel or Tinkerbell, or singing and dancing in the streets, I might not have made it to college.  Whew, that was a close one!)

1.  I went to college.  I started out as a Music Therapy major.  I switched to Vocal Performance.  Then I switched to Musical Theater.  Then I changed my major to Interior Design.  At this point, something dawned on me: roughly 98% of the men I met in those majors were not interested in me.....or any other woman, for that matter.  While the plan was to graduate and see the world before I got married, I still wanted to have a social life.  So I changed majors again.  To instructional technology.  (Whaaaaat?)  That was short-lived.  Then there was a brief stint in elementary education.  By this time, I had spent more than two years in college and gone through six majors.  I decided to finish college as quickly as possible and move on to traveling the world and learning several languages.  So, I majored in English.  

Because writing long essays has never been a problem for me. 

Also because by that time I'd developed a strategy for fulfilling step #2 in my life plan, "Travel the World."  

I was going to become an English teacher and teach for the Department of Defense at overseas military bases.  Which would make it affordable to see the world.  Also, my wise father thought his flighty youngest daughter might be improved by some time as a missionary, so, with his encouragement, I was aiming for that, too.

Did I mention that I attended a university that was known for its agricultural school?  You would think I might have actually met a rancher, there.  Au contraire, my friends, au contraire.  (See?  I learned a little French.  About that much.)

I did meet two nice young men that grew up on a ranch, but they were majoring in business and physical education.  And, they were also the Bionic Man's roommates.

Bringing us--somewhat prematurely--to step number three:

3.  Meet a wealthy rancher an aerospace engineer who shared my passion for adventure and travel (paragliding, anyone?)--and tolerated my passion for music and theater.  Fall in love with him.  (No problem....somehow the lack of a ranch was not not a deterrant.)  Marry him.  I did!  
And, by the way, check out the length of that veil.....
By this time, I'd really got off track from my list.  I attempted to get back on track.

First, I graduated from college.  Part of #1.

1.  Go to college.  Graduate.
I'd like to take this opportunity to assure you that I was not fifteen when I graduated from college.  Despite the photographic evidence otherwise.....I was actually twenty-two. 

Then, I set off to see the world, with my new husband, the Bionic man.  This fulfilled step #2 and part of step #4:

2.  See the world and learn several languages German.
4.  Move to the rancher's remote ranch wherever the aerospace engineer could get a job.  Which ended up being the East Coast and Europe, for a few years.
As you can see, I was off to a good start with #6:

6.  Have lots of babies.  Even though none were born on a remote ranch, I did manage to have three prenatal appointments in Munich, Germany.  Impressive, eh?  And I did have three children in four years.  As I said, a good start!

Um....I'm still working on #5.

5.  Become a really good cook.  At this point, I'm willing to just let the Pioneer Woman handle all that.  Ranch hands on a remote ranch in Montana or Colorado should be very grateful that I fell in love with an aerospace engineer, instead of their boss.  Very grateful, indeed.

Somehow, I really never got past the list of baby names in my life plan.  And four babies to name has been enough.
Some of the places I've been definitely never got listed with my other youthful aspirations.  Because, when a seventeen-year-old girl makes a list of her life plans, she just can't imagine some of the places she'll go nor how she'll get there.  Case in point:  Indiana was not on my list.  Hospitals weren't on my list.  Neither were cemeteries. 

And....there’s a very good chance 
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. 
There are some, down the road between hither and yon, 
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. 
On you will go though your enemies prowl. 
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. 
Onward up many a frightening creek, 
though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. 
On and on you will hike. 
And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

So....where am I, now?  I'm glad, for one thing, that I don't have to cook for ranch hands or homeschool my kids or smell cows all day.  And I'm blessed to be the daughter of a Heavenly Father who knew that I could handle a different variety of experiences than the ones I aspired to as a naive teenager.  I'm grateful that He's sent me to places I never dreamed of, let me learn to love so many wonderful people that I met along the way, and given me so many opportunities to grow and stretch in ways I never imagined. 

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
 -Dr. Seuss

For this journey to great heights is not any ordinary journey....And how shall we scale this mountain? One faithful step at a time." - Elaine L. Jack


  1. Ruth,
    I always enjoy your posts but this one is one of my favorites. I giggled reading about all of your many "dreams" and how they actually turned out. It is funny to look back and think of all the dreams we had at that age.

    I think that God has the perfect plan for all of us and if we are patient enough He will get us there when the time is right. He knows what He is doing!

  2. Good for you.....and I too believe that Ree might have opened my Christmas presents.....smiles.

  3. Aunt Ruthie,
    Thanks so much for sharing that. Right now I find myself 18-almost-19, planning my own little life plan. Everything I've planned seems realistic to me- graduate from USU as soon as possible with an elementary ed degree and an ESL certificate, go on a mission to South America, become a dear sweet kindergarten teacher who some dark-haired handsome man will fall in love with, etc. But in the back of my mind I know plans change, especially when Heavenly Father has something else in mind. I hope I can have your faith when things don't go the way I expected! Thanks for sharing the wisdom you've gained from the places you went.

  4. Love your writing girl! Thanks for the awesome story of how God switched your life up... I concur... my life plan isn't exactly working out to how i planned! But I love it sooo much, so glad God took over :)


  5. So great. My life hasn't turned out as I planned at 17 either- but so much better thanks to the Heavenly Father we share! and I ran out of baby names at number 4 as well! *BLessings*
    hopped over from chatting at the sky

  6. Great post! Great story of how God has his own plans for us... some of which we plan for as well... some of which we never would have guessed! :)

  7. ACK! I love this!
    As my husband and I decide to try to sell our house and move to the beach, I think this post is just what I needed!
    You are hilarious by the way.
    Found you from Chatting at the Sky. I've been here before, but now I'm here to stay.