The Healing Hill

July 9, 2017

Mike and my mom and I left our house at 7;00 am as planned yesterday morning. We arrived in the small town of Augusta, Kansas just before 10:00 am. My mom and dad both grew up there. As a kid, we made many road trips there to visit my grandparents, so making that trip brought back a lot of great memories.

We went to the restaurant where we would be inviting those interested to come join us for lunch after the grave side service for my cousin, Anna Lee.

At the restaurant, we set up a small table with pictures of Anna Lee and photo albums and a few of her favorite things, then we went to the cemetery.

We had no pastor or clergyman of any type scheduled to be at the service. Anna Lee hadn’t lived in Augusta in a really long time so we didn’t really know who to ask to speak at the service. Her parents are buried there and it was her wish to be buried by them. We decided that we could handle a small service on our own. We did something similar when my grandma passed away about 10 years ago, but we did have a close friend of hers speak that was used to speaking and we knew that he would have just the right words to say.

Yesterday, I was the one speaking. I don’t really know how that landed in my lap, but it did. I knew what I wanted to say and hoped that it would all just come out of my mouth without having to write anything down. It did.

I talked a little bit about what I knew personally of Anna’s life while I was growing up and I talked about a few things that I had discovered about her over these last few months. Then I read a poem that I had found in some personal things of Anna Lee’s. I felt like it must have had a lot of meaning to her due to the other things that I found in the notebook along with it.

I was happy to have her things to be able to go through.

Here is the poem.


The Healing Hill

“There is a hill on the prairie. I’ve been there. I go back there often in my mind. It gives me peace and strength.

I stand alone on the side of the hill and feel the sun like a warm embrace, the wind gently sweeps my hair as it does the tall grasses. I become a part of the prairie.

I find just the right spot to sit, among the weathered flint rocks and wildflowers. Remnants of the past, beauty of today.

My spots is just high enough on the hill to see for miles to the north and east and west. There is nothing between me and the horizon but grass and trees and nature. I am filled with a kaleidoscope of emotions. It is both exhilarating and frightening to be so alone, a rush of freedom, a sense of awe. I am one with Nature, I am one with God, I am one.

My spot is low enough that I can feel the hill behind and beside me. To welcome and comfort her lost child, Mother Nature wraps the hill around me like her warm shawl and I remember why I’ve come. I say out loud, thought quietly, “I’m home now, please make it all better.”

Slowly, all of my emotions turn to vapor and are gently blown away. I sit, an empty vessel. I am not a wife, not a daughter, nor a mother, nor a friend. I simply am. Alone on the prairie, I am only me. I am a woman, period.

Softly the prairie seeps into me and my thoughts drift to the past and the women who were a part of this before. They gather round me, strong faces, gently eyes, and I am filled with their spirit. A spirit that endures.

Suddenly I am not just a woman, I feel their strength within me and I stand, my face to the sky, through tears and a smile, I shout, “I am all Women and I am Strong.” My body tingles with power and my heart overflows with freedom and courage. I turn back to the faces of my sisters, they are moving away, but they, too, are smiling. 

I sit back down and weep with joy and gratitude for my renewal. I breathe deeply, allowing this new strength to solidify within me.”

Linda Hepburn, her husband Ed and their sons, Travis and Tanner, live in Benton, Kansas. They come the ranch throughout the year to hunt, fish, work on 4-H projects, and enjoy the prairie.


After reading the poem, I asked other people if they had any stories to share or anything that they wanted to say, and two ladies did speak and they had great stories of Anna Lee and I was so glad that they decided to share them.

Someone else suggested that everyone share how they knew Anna Lee and it was a great way for everyone to start talking and sharing stories and reacquainting with one another.

We ended with the Lord’s Prayer and invited everyone to lunch. It was a day that I was not looking forward to at all and it ended up being a really good day sharing stories.

We were back on the road after lunch and at our house by 4:30.

Our daughter Anne is in town so a group of us went out to dinner for her birthday last night. Her birthday is actually next weekend, but I’m a firm believer in having a birthday month!

Mike and I were looking forward to the evening and decided to turn it into date night.

We put the top down on the car and headed out for our drive to the Plaza. We were having dinner at Brio and it’s one of our favorite spots to have a drink and people watch. They have these three small tables by the window and I’m always excited if one is available. One was open!

We had just enough time to unwind with a glass of wine and talk about the day before the birthday celebration.

It was great to have dinner with Anne and her family.

Anne and two of her friends in the front of the picture and beside Anne is her husband, Cortney and their two kids. Baby number three for them is due next month!


Cortney’s parents, Mike and me and Cortney’s sister with her husband. They have an adorable little one year old girl, but I think she is hiding behind her mom on her dads lap!


Date night was great too.


I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my steps in yesterday, so I had decided to just get in as many as I could thoughout the day.

I was ready early in the morning, so I took my coffee outside with the dogs and walked around the house a few times.

During the day I made conscious efforts to pace instead of stand still. Crazy, right?

Mike and I parked as far away from the restaurant for dinner as we could, then got in a good amount of steps before dinner.

After dinner, we took an even longer route to our car. He is such a good sport!


When we got home, I still had about 1,000 steps to go and it was almost 11:00 pm. I took Tucker out for a late night stroll and we got them done!

I tracked my food as best as I could yesterday, but I could have made better choices. My mind wasn’t really on food choices I suppose.

I just guessed on lunch and dinner SmartPoints. I know what I need to do for the rest of the week to stay on track and feel good.

Here are yesterday’s eats….

Happy Sunday!

Breakfast – 4 SP

No picture

A really nasty Quest Protein Bar that I grabbed at a gas station on our drive. It tasted like Cookie Dough flavored chalk, but I was hungry, so I ate it anyway, along with a Banana.

Lunch – 20 SP

No Picture. Let’s be honest. My mind was elsewhere.

I ordered the Chicken Fajita Taco Salad. I ordered it with no cheese and no sour cream. It came with cheese and sour cream. I scooped them off and did not eat the yummy tortilla bowl that it was served in, but I did have two beers and a few chips and guac.

Dinner – 25 SP

My only food picture for yesterday!

Salmon Salad at Brio and Wine.

I order this same salad almost every time we eat here. I completely forgot to say “no fried onions”, so I ate most of them.

It had been a long day and I just wanted to eat dinner.

Daily SmartPoints Total = 49

2017 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
FOUR 100 Mile Walking Challenges this year! (This goal has changed a little now that I have this fabulous Fitbit.)

“love the life you live, live the life you love”


2 responses to The Healing Hill

  1. July 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you Nancy.


  2. It sounds like you were the right person to help your cousin and a good choice to speak for her at the funeral.