Somehow, I managed to make it through elementary school without effort. After school, Dad would have us older children come home and work on the farm or in the garden. We lacked nothing. Mom even went away for a few days and came home with a little sister for us.

The family routine consisted of going to school, attending Sunday School every Sunday, practicing piano, playing and working. We lived 20 miles outside of town.

When in the 3rd grade, Charlie picked his nose (thinking no one saw him) and flicked his booger away, we both panicked as the booger hit my leg.  When in the 5th grade, I saw someone smoke a cigarette for the first time, and I also learned how to drive a tractor. Then Dad and Uncle Lee decided to sell the farm and purchase a larger plot of land in another county. So, we moved, lock, stock, and barrel, to Burbank, Washington.

For the next 7 years, I attended the Columbia Burbank School, met friends whom I’ve not forgotten, performed in plays, and continued to learn how to operate heavier equipment on the farm. Working on the farm was never an effort.

Mom and Dad also bought some mountain land in Oregon State and our family and friends went up to the cabin often, especially after the winter crops were in storage. After school on Fridays, Mom would be waiting outside the school, in the large family light green station-wagon (I promised myself I’d never own a station-wagon) to pick us kids up and go to the cabin. I learned how to snow ski, snowmobile, and run a chainsaw. Mom and dad’s view was that I didn’t learn how to party on the weekends or sit in front of the TV all the time.

I applied for college my senior year of high school and decided to attend Colorado State University.

The first year of college was an eye-opener. My whole view of Mom and Dad morphed. Previously, I had believed they were normal. Not so. They were adventurous, brave, hardworking, fearful, and committed to family and to the myth of worldly success. They trained me to earn and save money for college. They never cussed. They showed me religion through the Christian Science Sunday School. They showed me there was a multitude of wholesome activities to do. They taught me to take care of our earth. And, now I was in Colorado, 1200 miles away from Mom and Dad, so I quietly, solemnly, cautiously got to know my Father-Mother God for myself. I experienced a few memorable physical healings through prayer and avoided a lot of drama by applying spiritual principles to everyday problems.

During the 4 years in college, I was fortunate to be befriended by Mary, by Janet and Dave, and Katy and Steve, who showed me family is an attitude, therefore can be found anywhere in the world. I did receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture, but more importantly I learned I have a lot to learn.

Then I went back to Washington State and married Doug Petersen.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Most of the 8.5 million registered motorcycles in the United States belong to men. If women are involved, they usually sit behind the men drivers and go along for the ride. To be honest, I support these women riders/sitters. Although I operate my own bike, I’d never tell another woman to do the same. If, […]

It took three times in a row for me to hear, “It’s okay, Cheryl, I’m in control,” for it to stick. A freak explosion of fire in the heavy equipment I was operating, distracted me. Clothes on fire, I escaped from an open window in the cab. I have no recollection of jumping and crashing […]

Vowing not to be those parents who hang onto the family farm with the hope that the children return to continue the tradition, my husband and I put our farm up for sale after our girls were out of college and told us they had no interest in farming. The property sold in five days. […]

More than 30,000 Christian denominations exist worldwide, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia. Thirty thousand. That’s an enormous number. A 2018 Barna Research study reports that, “Churches of all stripes practice their own flavor of ministry in cities across the United States, all based on particular interpretations of scripture and style.” Arguably, there is no […]