The Greatest Man I Never Knew

Growing up with an “absent” parent, the absence was a given and you learned to cherish the moments you were able to spend with them. As the years passed and Dad’s illnesses progressed, we developed a bond that helped us look beyond the past, focus on the present and not put too much thought into the future. Even as his doctors gave him 6 months, a future without him was unimaginable. He was a true anomaly and only after he’s been gone a year have I come to fully appreciate the lessons he taught us:
1. Live each day to the fullest.
His determination to continue to train horses, grow a berry orchard, create magnificent braided art, and master the art of jelly making was his way of showing appreciation for every day he was given after his heart attack in May of 2000.
2. Don’t complain.
A majority of his last 16 years were spent in pain. He was able to grit his teeth and accomplish many goals.
3. Focus on the positive.
Dad would say “I know I’m sick, I’m not in denial; I’m just not going to spend my time dwelling on what I can’t change”
4. Never stop learning.
He taught us the love of reading and read anything and everything. He would go through books as fast as he would go through a pack of cigarettes. He even wore out a Kindle!
5. Say “I Love You”.
The lasts words I would hear him say were the hardest for him to learn to tell us.
6. Be present.
As this year of mourning comes to an end, a peace seems to have washed over me; his absence has given me a sense of presence.

A sincere thank you to everyone who has held space for me this past year while I’ve learned these lessons and mourned the loss of the “greatest man I never knew”. ❤️

Elroy G. DuBray
“Cowboy Buffalo Man”
5/9/47 – 7/30/16
82nd Airborne, US Army
Brother, Father, Uncle, Friend




“A peaceful heart is the greatest gift we can give ourselves”

Happy Sunday, Sunshines!

In a world that favors instant gratification, the world literally at your fingertips, sometimes doing nothing at all is the key.

I attempted a short pause to quiet my mind, quiet the noise and fill my soul. My little town house with its cute built-in cubbies, creaky wood floors, absent of televisions and internet was the perfect spot.

Be good to yourself this week, take a pause and bask in some quiet, t may be where you receive the loudest message

Laura Benoist Rivers

Laura Benoist Rivers
Born January 4, 1893 – Died June 19, 1995

I didn’t want this day to pass without recognizing the 124th anniversary of my great-grandmother’s birth.

She lived an amazing life. A life full of struggle and success; heartbreak and joy; necessity and creativity. She managed it all with dignity and grace and left a lasting legacy of strength, love and hope.

She was one of the first women Tribal council representatives on Cheyenne River; raised her daughter’s children (my paternal grandmother, Elsie) after they lost her in an auto accident, and in her later years became a prize winning poet and SD state fair acclaim for her delicate works of crochet art.

Someone I loved dearly and looked up to all my life. Creativity, leadership, style and grace are my heritage – I live my life to honor her memory.

(She’s pictured on the right with a relative)

My One Word

Happy New Year, Sunshines!

If you’re like most people, each January goes something like this: You choose a problematic behavior that has plagued you for years and vow to reverse it. In fact, you can probably think of two or three undesirable habits—make that four or five.

“My One Word” Challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.

My word for 2017 is ENERGY. Gaining more physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

What is your word?

Celebrate the return of the light!

Yuletide Blessings, Sunshines!

The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year. It is a turning point, signifying the rebirth of the sun and the return of LIGHT.

It is from darkness, that inspiration, strength and life essentially emerge. It is in darkness that our inner light is lit.

Let go of what is not needed anymore. Celebrate the power of faith, that your dreams and affirmations will come into manifestation.

On this day, make a conscious effort to increase the amount of light, positive thoughts and love in and around you. ❤️

“I am with the force, and the force is with me”

Sorry. I am still on a Star Wars:Rogue One, high. The movie is a great analogy for 2016 with the “rebellion” growing to fight the dark side and all.

I think about the blessings, heartbreaks, laughs and pains that make up this crazy thing called LIFE and my heart wants to explode. Explode with love, fear, compassion and yes, a little heartbreak.

While our community has been wracked with grief; we try to concentrate on celebrating graduations, small victories, good health and genuine kindnesses.

While it seems our resistance has seen some relief, albeit temporary; another nation is experiencing gut wrenching horror. #Aleppo

While we are buckling down in bitter cold temps; politicians can pretend that climate change is a myth.

The contrast is a reminder to keep our feet grounded to the amazing beauty of it all. It’s putting a little perspective on our holiday celebrations; how it is important to concentrate on family, love and enough.

“We have hope. Rebellions are made on hope!” -Jyn Erso (Rogue One’s badass female main character)

This year, we made the decision to let Santa bring the only gifts under the tree this year for the grands; to make being together the greatest gift of all. We’ll share love, money, kindness and generosity in other ways – to send them in the ways that make us feel better, appreciative and all the more certain that love trumps hate.

In Star Wars, the force is “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”

I like that.

May the force be with you this holiday season.


Grace and Grief

Grace and Grief. It can mean so many things in every moment in life. Fog is such a metaphor for days like this.
I haven’t found the motivation to do my morning workouts the last few mornings so I had extra time to shower, straighten my hair and get out the door. I fought with super crabby grandson1 who decided to go to school with his papa. Optimus Prime, I mean grandson2, rode with me. As we were heading to the highway, I stopped and got out of the car to capture this beautiful foggy moment. Luckily the fog cleared enough to safely get on the highway, a cop was flying by with lights on and Louie casually said “I hope nobody died” Poor little 4-year old has experienced so many deaths in the past few months. As we proceeded down the highway the fog grew thicker and I wanted to make sure grandson1 and his papa were okay so I called them on the car phone and set my phone back down. They answered and suddenly in the fog, right in front of us, a freakin’ Payloader was lumbering down the highway transferring a portapotty from one job site to the next.
Thank goodness for car phones, damn good brakes and our loved ones looking out for us, I got stopped in the nick of time as a semi was coming down the highway in the other lane. After regaining my composure and mean mugging the oblivious driver as he pulled off on the approach, I asked my husband to please call the company and remind them to keep their machinery off the highway – especially in thick fog, especially before 8 when commuters are going to work, and especially when I carry precious cargo! I dropped Louie off at school, I got back in my car and the shaking started and I started the “what ifs”.
Arriving safely at work, I knew I wanted to share the story, to remind us all that Grace is really what gets us from moment to moment. Our community has been rocked by tragedy and loss these past few months – I hope we all can find the Grace (Sunshine) that helps us through the Grief (Fog).
Have a wonderful day, Sunshines – it’s Grey’t night! Love you all ❤