Posts Tagged ‘South Dakota’


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Sometimes there are words that have importance to all those who read them.  In a world gone crazy, we all need to find a more positive perspective on our life.  A place where we can comprehend those things that are truly important.  I hope you find a strength of spirit and life in these remarkable words.

Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery,
teach me how to trust
my heart,
my mind,
my intuition,
my inner knowing,
the senses of my body,
the blessings of my spirit.

Teach me to trust these things
so that I may enter my Sacred Space
and love beyond my fear,
and thus Walk in Balance
with the passing of each glorious Sun.


From the Lakota Perspective, the Sacred Space
is the space between exhalation and inhalation
(contentment). To Walk in Balance is to have Sky
(spirituality) and Earth (physicality) in harmony.

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Live each day with courage

Take pride in your work

Always finish what you start

Do what has to be done

Be tough, but fair

When you make a promise, keep it

Ride for the brand

Talk less and say more

Remember that some things aren’t for sale

Know where to draw the line.


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Some words of wisdom from the saddle….

Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.

Don’t squat with your spurs on.

Don’t judge people by their relatives.

Behind every successful rancher is a wife who works in town



Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Don’t interfere with something that ain’t botherin’ you none.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

If it don’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably ain’t.

Always drink upstream from the herd.


Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.


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In the past couple of months, my writing, or my attempted ramblings have been placed on the back burner. This in itself is obvious, to say the least. They say that to become a talented wordsmith, one must write everyday. If that was the case, I should have a best seller on the market by now. I do write everyday, but what I write does not make for good reading. Topics such as treatment needs, progress notes and sticky notes to remind me of what I need to present each day leaves much to be desired in the literary world. What lessons were discussed and whose behavior needed a few extra adjectives is not only tedious but mind-numbing to boot. The only talent here is to be obvious to those in group and to know 6 different ways to write the same subject matter so it does not look like copy and paste crap.


After spending half a day inserting this stuff into reports and spending the other half of the day conducting sessions, it becomes a blur. Yes, it sounds like I am a soon to be burnout, but this whining is just that…whining. The bottom line is that I, like many of those who work with youth, is that the one thing, the one motivational drive that keeps us writing those repetitive reports is that we have an opportunity, though a slight one, of making a difference between a youth falling through the cracks of life or taking something they heard us say and using it to make a positive change. One that might keep them from becoming junkies, alcoholics, convicts, abusers or victims. Just one thing they remember that turns something around in their young lives and gives them the hope, inspiration or motivation to find success.


Many of the youth I work with come from environments that most people could not imagine. Abuse in all forms, violence in all forms, abandonment, rape, parents who give their children the same poisons of chemical substances that they themselves are addicted to, gang mentality and criminal thinking are the only things many of these youth know of life. These are “normal” ways of life for them and they have nothing to compare them with. The second challenge is the youth themselves. At their age, with hormones running wild and brain matter that will not mature for another 10 years, it is difficult to get them motivated to make any changes in their thinking or living patterns. They are invincible, all the bad stuff happens to other people and they think they know all the answers to life. Their substance abuse only hurts them, no one else, and they have difficulty connecting the dots between their choices and their consequences.


In many other jobs that show such minimal successes, or successes that are rarely observed, one would probably walk away in frustration. But not here with this work. Hope can outweigh resignation. For now, these young men are caught in the system due only to bad choices, bad role models and bad environments. Some are eager to make the changes needed to succeed in their journey while others are not yet ready, and some never will be. But coming to know them personally, they are good people, once innocent, now learning the lessons of life the hard way.


Yesterday was one of those days that the stars themselves became aligned, the world was a better place to be and hope fired on all 8 cylinders. Words forged of iron were spoken on our last day by all those who had participated in this group and the dreams of success echoed in between those words. The final act of these young men, one that offered respect and received a blessing, was a prayer song shared by a young Lakota warrior. His prayer song seemed to awaken the spirit in those present and the drum beat made the heart stronger. It was a good ending, it was a good day and it is a good new beginning.




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I have lived in the Black Hills off and on since 2001, leaving to pursue my ambitions but always returning to replenish my spirit. In that time frame, I have observed herds of bison, herds of elk, white tail, mule deer, mountain goats and big horn sheep, but never once observed the reclusive mountain lion. My friends tell stories of seeing them outside the front door of their homes or barns. They have seen them while they were hiking, hunting or fishing. City people in Rapid City have seen them meandering through the parks and the surrounding outskirts of the city, but for myself….I had never run across one…until recently. It wasn’t in the comfort and safety of my old Dodge, nor was it looking out the window of the front door to my house. My first meeting was an impromptu encounter while hiking. As I ambled down and around a large ledge outcropping, Felix’s cousin had decided that it would ambled up and around the same large ledge cropping. We met half way. I stopped, it stopped and we just stared at each other, trying to size each other up and making our plans of flight or fight. After what seemed like an eternity, we both, thankfully, decided on the flight mode. I scrambled back up and around and it scrambled back down and around. As I reached the top of the ledge, I stood and watched the graceful, yet powerful strides this cat made as it disappeared over the tree line. I really did not know what to think, other than I finally met my first cat, it was a good meeting and we both left just a little shaken but not hurt. For this I was especially grateful for.


There is an estimated, according to some people, 300 mountain lions in these hills. They say if you hike 1 mile, you have been watched by a cat. If you have walked 5 miles, one has followed you. Yet, with the large number of summer tourists and the number of cats, there has not been a reported attack on a human. The problem though, is the growing population of mountain lions. Over population breeds disease, migration into towns and cities, a reduction on young wildlife and livestock, such as the deer, elk, cattle, sheep and horses for food and the increasing possibility of a human attack. The over lords of South Dakota has increased the hunting tags for these cats from around 33 to 100 given out this year. Simply, 100 mountain lions or 70 female cats can be taken. Personally, I have mixed feeling about this. Majestic animals but over population will take its toll on both cat and prey. Case in point, the over population of the human species and the effects this is having on our planet. The only difference, we humans are manipulating the natural “thinning of the herd” and the consequences will become much more of a problem than it is a present.


Anyway, for more information on these majestic animals, go to:  HERE






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I have always believed that things happen for a reason, irregardless of what our expectations are, these events, for the most part, turn out to be positive. Take for instance the following story. I live in a semi-remote (I do have neighbors within a few miles) and the road into the homestead is one of those red dirt roads you hear about in country songs. After several miles of these red dirt roads and the long trail of dust I leave behind the old Dodge, passing untold numbers of cattle and horses, I turn and make my way down from a ridge top to a lower valley. On this evening, as I crested the ridge line, I thought it looked a bit darker than usual. Then I noticed that there were unfamiliar vehicles sitting in front of the house. I then remembered that the electricians would be doing an upgrade to the panel box. Not an issue at this point. Until I was told that the house would be without electricity for the night. They were kind enough to hook the camper up to power so, again, no issue. After they had left, I ambled out to have my nightly coffee and cigar and realized just how dark places like these really are. No light pollution, no vehicle traffic and no moon. But then I noticed the stars. Billions upon billions of tiny, shimmering points of light. I sat mesmerized, looking at the different constellations, the occasional meteor falling through the atmosphere and was reminded of those nights I had spent in Greenland many years ago. During the winter above the Arctic Circle, we had long 24 hour darkness but with these nights came the some awesome light shows. The northern lights hung straight over head. Pale greens, reds, and mixed colored waves of dancing light. At times, it seemed to us that these lights were giving us a spectacular personal performance to enjoy and to remember.


Nature can be hard and callous but if one waits silently, and watches with open eyes, nature can give gifts that you can find nowhere else nor can any amount of money purchase them. They are free to anyone who wants to take the time to connect and experience the finer things in life. And like a delicious dessert that follows a fine meal comes the sun rise. Just a taste of light peaking over the hills, growing slowly in color and intensity, dripping languid splashes of color across the clouds like an artist’s brush and then dying into a blue sky. If it is a very good day, silhouettes of wildlife come into focus as they feed on what is left of autumn’s grasses, grazing and constantly observing for any movement around them, ready to bound into the air and into the trees. I have sat and watched herds of buffalo pass around me, close enough for me to reach out and touch and I have watched herds of elk cross the meadows and move up into the tree covered ridges. I have heard the songs of the hawk and the owl and I have watched the lone coyote, belly to the grass, move slowly across the homes of the prairie dog, hoping for a meal. For myself, it is as close to Nirvana as I have come to date and I give thanks for each day that lets me continue to make that connection. These are truly gifts.


Out the bedroom window

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