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The full circle — grin and bare it!

Al says to me, “Your readers are not all artists. Why do you always write about artists?“

I tell him, “Al, let me explaaaaain. I write to artists because the column is called the ‘The Artist’s Lane’ and it appears in the section of the newspaper that’s called ‘Arts and Entertainment.’”

Readers tell me they love Al’s comments. It’s because he is so real. No pretense with Al. He is not being funny; he’s dead serious. So, if I am writing, then I am expressing artistic ability even if I write about the weather, which old people talk about. This article is for Al.

If anyone remembers Phyllis Diller, her best material was about Fang, her husband who took her career to the top. Maybe I’ve overlooked my source of material. My Fang is sitting across the breakfast table each morning, thumbing through his Trapper Magazine, while I am giving him a Bible Study and explaining the deep things of God.

My daughter says, “I love that you give Daddy Bible studies, and he pretends he is not listening then deadpan says, “I think it’s getting warmer outside maybe I’ll go dig the car out of the blizzard.” And you say,” Good honey, do you think we could go to town; I have Bible study at one?”

I said to my daughter, “Can you believe your Dad and I have been married fifty years? She said, “No, I can’t, it’s like turning water into wine. It’s a miracle!”

Everyone who knows us wonders how we could possibly be celebrating our 50th anniversary this year. I think I am going to send two pictures to the newspaper; One, how we looked and why we were attracted to each other when we said “I Do.” And two, a picture of how we look after 50 years, weathering the storms of marriage. Yes, worn, but with some pretty incredible moments, memories, plus great kids, we are still saying, “I Do” in our hearts. Love is a funny thing.

Twenty years ago Al and I called a truce; we decided that it wasn’t necessary to change each other, probably because we realized that it was a futile task. We have had many seasons of life, some sunny, some fruitful, dreary and dark, but all in all we have come full circle. Yes, it is a miracle.

I received a birthday card from my daughter with a picture of a little boy with his pants split down the back with his rear showing and it reads “Another birthday? Grin and bare it!” She adds, “Well maybe not bare it all as Daddy would say. Ha Ha! I couldn’t resist the card.” Did I get a lovely card with flowery words and lots of fluff like most mothers get on their day? No, I didn’t.

Instead of taking offense, I’m taking a higher thought and thinking of the winter season when trees are showing bare and ugly limbs, standing stripped for the world to see. The tree is getting stronger and stronger as the roots go deeper and deeper. The trees are healthier than summer trees with lots of leaves when the sap is up.

Winter has come in full bloom or should I say in stark nakedness again. Weren’t we sitting in four feet of snow this time a year ago? We have to be reminded that snow is not for winter but for the promise of things to come.

Every marriage will go through difficult seasons. Yes, we have all shown our nakedness. But when things are breaking down and looking worn; take heed we are getting stronger, and we are stronger than we know. These seasons are when we are learning to dig deep and uncover seeds of family values and what is most important. We do not learn in the affluent times but when we struggle together through the tough times.

I remember in the late ’70s we moved to Colorado from hot, sunny Arizona. Without winter coats, snow boots or four wheel drive vehicles, we quickly became acquainted with Pagosa’s winters. We were not alone; most of the people of Pagosa were struggling. There was no shame, we all looked tattered and worst for wear. Our cars were held together with baling wire and duct tape, our wells were constantly freezing and most of us were broke. But those were the years our family values reached down into the soil of our makeup. We weathered Pagosa’s winter and summer came again.

Many of the things I write are deep, gut-wrenching lessons, which I learned during the hard times. And yes, maybe I’m baring it all. Truth reveals more than we are comfortable with at times. I always ask myself is this something I want Pagosa to know; I comfort myself that we all have winter seasons and we learn to grin and bare it.

Al and I both say, “What would we do without each other?” I am listening to Al on this article. It’s not about art, but the seasons of 50 years of living and loving. Come to think of it, Al would come under entertainment. Ha Ha!

Final brushstroke: Wrap up in a garment fitted to keep out those stiff frosty days, it gets better and better. You’ll be turning water into wine before you know it. The best is saved for last. Hallelujah!

Comments from readers

Please send your comments to

Dear Betty:

Your article, Time Marches On: Betty this is one of my favorites of yours. it helps keep things in perspective. (And you can quote me.)

CP, writer and poet

Cortez, Colo.


I really liked your column about Christmas. It’s funny, I never knew or would have thought any of that about you but I could relate to everything you said because we, too, have had years where we tried to be more back to basics or whatever and it’s like we’ve been through all these phases with Christmas. My thing is that I love to do stockings for everybody with simple food treats in them. Some years. I’ve had extra money and put really nice things in the stockings like watches or sunglasses - but I never get the gratitude I’m looking for — the “wow” factor. Apparently I get more pleasure out of “doing” it than anyone else gets out of receiving it. But I guess that’s OK. Your article was right on.



Dear Betty:

Your article Time Marches On! Two words to describe a year! What a great idea. I shall have to work on that. Thanks for the inspiration. Surely don’t want to hide mine under the bed. And I’ve already realized that my books are blessing people long term. Such a privilege to hear that from readers. This might be one of your best columns yet. Go Betty. 

Lauraine Snelling

Tehachapi, Calif.

Hi, Betty:

Your thoughts give me great encouragement and concur with recent experiences in my life. When I retired from teaching in public schools, I was positive God had called me to write for Him. As you probably know, breaking into the field is difficult, and four years later, I still haven’t had anything major published...partly because I’ve submitted very little of my work! It seems I have suffered from “perfection syndrome.” Don’t want folks to see my writing till I’m sure I’ve got it perfect. Problem is, we’re all imperfect. Our thoughts, our timing, everything. I’m slowly learning to just pray, cut loose from my own foolish standards, and write. I still trust He’s called me to write, but am not so concerned about the publishing part. In His good time. Who knows who will benefit from my pen...and it may be after I’ve left this earth.

Barbara Lukow

Farmington, N.M.

Hi Betty:

Time Marches On! I know it has been a long time since I wrote you, but I want you to know I read every one of your columns and thoroughly enjoy them. This one in particular really hits the spot with me. People are always telling me I should paint this or I should paint that because they like the colors or some other such reason. But I find that I can only get involved with a painting when it moves me spiritually. I have never worried about the future, as I don’t paint for others, although I have to say, I like it when they do too, but it’s some inner drive that makes me paint, a kind of desperation that needs fulfilling.

Lee Ables


Artist’s quote

”Experience is not what happens to you. Experience is what you do with what happens to you.” — Aldous Huxley.