Just Keep Smiling!


Hello Farmgirl Friends!


I want to thank all of you so much for all your emails and comments to me after my post in October about losing my dear friend Patti.  I can’t even describe how much they meant to me.


In thinking about this blog post the last few days, I decided what I really wanted to write about is just a simple little post on how the last month has gone for me and the few things I’ve learned through it all.

If you are ever asked to do a hard thing for a friend; say yes.

I’m going to share something here that may be hard for some of you to understand.  But a week before Patti’s funeral her daughter asked me if would consider going to the funeral home and combing her mother’s hair for the funeral.  I didn’t even hesitate before saying yes.  Did I want to?  No.  Did I think it would be terribly hard?  Yes.  Did I stress and cry about it?  Yes.  But I did it.  I took an elderly friend with me because she offered and I knew she would be a great comfort to me.  We didn’t cry while we combed Patti’s beautiful long gray hair with the little wisps of curl that framed her sweet round face.  We whispered so many sweet things to her while we were carefully getting her hair just right.  When we left the funeral home, that was when we sobbed in the deepest sobs ever.  But the reason I’m telling  you this is because it was such a huge honor to be asked and looking back on the experience it was so beautiful.  Patti was just the most precious friend to me that I would do anything for her.



Sixty Homemade Hand Pies!


There is nothing that helps a heart to heal like feeding friends; say yes.  

The day of the funeral we had about 40 people on our farm (family and close friends of Patti)  for lunch before everyone left for the afternoon funeral.  It was the most gorgeous day of sunshine and warmth.  I made a simple lunch of a sandwich buffet… all the breads, lunch meats, cheeses, and sandwich fixins’ you could ever want!  I made my favorite old fashioned macaroni salad and set out many bags of chips!  We had iced tea, water and coffee.  We set up tables outside on our wrap around porches and everyone ate, visited, cried, and laughed.  The only thing I spent a lot of time on were Hand Pies.  I made 4 different kinds:  peach, apple, blackberry, and cranberry/apple.  All from scratch.  And yes… it took me hours the day before but honestly I don’t think there is anything I love baking more than pies!  


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My sweet parents out for a walk!


When your heart very strongly tells you to go “home” to your elderly parents; say yes.  

Three days after the funeral I was on a plane flying to New Mexico to be with my parents.  It was a spur of the moment trip, the plane ticket was expensive, and the timing was hard.  But in my heart was a deep want to be with my elderly parents.  I needed them so desperately.  They were both scheduled for some minor surgeries that my sister was lined up to help them with (luckily she lives right on their farm) but there was something in my heart that knew I needed to be with them.   I stayed about 10 days and I soaked up every minute.  I cried every single day I was there.  My mother listened (she’s the strong one), my dad cried with me (he’s the emotional one).  Caring for them as they quickly bounced back from their procedures was the heart healing I needed.


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Homemade Apple Pie and Tacos!


When you dear Dad asks for fresh apple pie and tacos; say yes.

While I was at my Mom and Dads I spent a lot of time outside.  It was beautiful New Mexico weather so I took my Mom and Dad’s ranch dog and we ran miles of ranch roads.  I did some weeding in my Mom’s rose garden and got it ready for winter.  I climbed on the ladder and tied up the Wisteria vines that had grown out of control all summer.  I made sure my Mom and Dad got long walks every day and we tracked them on my running watch and Dad got the biggest kick out that!  I cooked all the food my dad asked for.  I made coffee weak for him and strong for me!  I brushed my Mom’s hair and rubbed her legs.  I made two apple pies from the apples off their trees and we ate every last crumb of them both.  And I cried terrible buckets of tears when I left, but smiled to be headed back to my home and family in Tennessee.



Tiny little foundation paper pieced quilt blocks! 


When your brain is yearning to learn something new; say yes.

I got back to my hilltop home and the weather had changed in just the 10 days I was gone and the mornings are cold and the dark comes early in the evening.  My husband and I have enjoyed lazy mornings with our coffee and jobs around the farm getting things “winter ready”.  I’ve had some big sewing deadlines that I need to do and I’ve really enjoyed just quietly sewing in my upstairs loft.  No music, no podcasts, no phone calls.  Just absolute silence as I create.  For those of you that sew have you ever done any foundation paper piecing?  I’ve been teaching myself how to do it this week and making some teeny tiny little quilt blocks.  It has been incredibly healing and very comforting.



My darling little grand-girls! 


When your grand-girls are going Trick-or-Treating with their friends and ask you to go along;  say yes. 

My sweet grand-girls are growing up.  Jillian is 13 now and Rosetta is 10.  I can hardly handle how fast the years are going.  Halloween felt a little different this year… a little heavy and not as exciting.  But I went with my daughter and her friend to take their kids trick-or-treating.  It was such a perfect evening.  A crisp, cool evening but not too cold.  A quiet neighborhood with very few people out and about but a lot of houses eagerly watching for kids to come, and some nice easy visiting with my daughter and her friend.  I just felt a perfect calmness come over me as I listened to the kids talking and laughing.  


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My CrossFit exercise class!


Hard is not the same as bad; say yes.  

For the last 10 months I’ve been taking a CrossFit style exercise class that has caused me to push myself out of my comfort zone and frankly has been incredibly hard.  About six weeks ago I had decided that maybe I wouldn’t ever feel comfortable with something this hard.  But I’ve learned that losing a dear friend is hard, living 2000 miles from my parents is hard, life has very hard things.  But I’ve been reminded lately that hard is not the same as bad.  I can do hard things.  And smiling through the tears of those hard things makes all the difference.  Hard things, whether they are physical or emotional, bring growth.



My husband and I before Patti’s funeral!


I’ve been so thankful the last 6 weeks for parents that taught us kids how to smile through the tears.  We grown siblings laugh that all our growing up years Mom let us have a good cry and then she would say; “Okay, straighten up now and put a smile on your face”!  I raised my kids telling them the same thing!  And I am so thankful today that here I am… working to straighten myself up and put a smile on my face!  And wow am I thankful for the support of my husband the last month; he has shed tears too but he has also encouraged the smiles!


Thank you again, friends, for always letting me share all the deep things of my heart.  Friends (even virtual ones) help with the smiles!


Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.



  1. Kim Rice says:

    Oh Dori!
    Thank you for sharing such wisdom and teaching some of us old dogs new tricks! Things are hard, but we can still smile after those much needed tears .
    Hugs to you,
    P.s., FPP still terrifies and mystifies my brain!


  2. Ellen Andersen says:

    Dori, thank you so very very much for your post about your dearest friend and your wonderful folks. Your words brought tears from way down deep…. I miss my Mom and Dad so much. When Dad passed I convinced (it wasn’t easy) Mom to move from their home in Southern California to my place in Harpers Ferry, WV. Mom was with me for 8 years before she passed from heart failure and dementia. I was so blessed to be able to hold her in my arms as she passed. I’m sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but your words brought up these old feelings and you are right….Hard is not the same as bad.

  3. Cyndie Gray says:

    Dear Dori: you share your heart feelings so eloquently. And I am grateful to you for having that ability. We can all do hard things with great love. And your heart is definitely full of love ❤️

  4. Diann says:

    I lost two of my best friends, mom and dad, in my twenties, so even now, at seventy, I wept as I read your blogs….but! A friend told me at the time, “It’s not good now, but it will get better.” And it did. So yes, there have been smiles put on and chins lifted and sweet memories and tears and life continues. I am deeply grateful.

  5. Treese says:

    Beautiful. Dori you have a way to comfort others with your words. Stay strong and keep on grabbing the joy out of life. Isn’t it wonderful when you realize you are so much more powerful and capable than you ever imagined? I know I do.
    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl.

  6. Judy says:

    Dori! That was beautiful!
    My Mama had a similar saying
    after something sad.
    You are such an encouragement to us all!
    Thank you!

  7. Debbie Klann says:

    Dori, I love everything about this! Thank you for sharing with us ❤️ God bless you!

  8. Diane Van Horn says:

    All I can say is thank you for the reminder, life is short, say yes!

  9. Debra J Davis says:

    Your words always bring tears and smiles. Thank you for your openness and honesty.

  10. deb bulgrin says:

    Such inspirational writing. And YES! I think we all need to learn to say yes more often. My mom passed a few years ago, and i often think about how i didn’t mind taking her to the store for just that one item that took hours. HAHA! As for foundation paper piecing, i am teaching myself English paper piecing. I have started with Hexies and I love it. It is so relaxing as i can sit and do that at night and not think about everything that needs done. In fact i have decided to make a hexie tree skirt, so i had better get busy. Sending big hugs to you!!

  11. Joan says:

    Your heartfelt advice just warmed my weary heart… thank you for sharing a part of yourself with so many. I personally am very grateful as my heart has a “crack” in it lately. Xoxo

  12. Myers Brenda says:

    Thank you for opening your heart & sharing with your readers … keep smiling

  13. Kerri Hatz says:

    Your post and sharing your experience is giving me another perspective on my own journey. Thank you for your beautiful spirit! Hard doesn’t have to be bad. Cry and then put on a smile. I was just telling my 33 year old daughter that I noticed I don’t smile like I use to… what a gentle reminder that maybe I need a good cry and then I need to straighten up and put a smile on my face. Many blessing to you. Thank you for the boost I need it!.

  14. Bette M Axiak says:

    I have really enjoyed your blog, if that is what it is called, I am older and do not always understand the computer, but thanks for you heart felted thoughts. Death is hard, but is a part of life. We are still witnessing a lot of death from COVID here in California. Recently, a church member that I was just getting to know, died from COVID. Remember God is in control, and brings the bad and good to us. Love you

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss. I too lost a dear friend to a horrendous car wreck a few years ago. It was tough. We used to meet at her little country store after I got off work several times a week and have pizza at least once. She sold this brand of Cherries and Cream Soda that I loved and always had some hidden in the refrigerator in the back just for me. (I wasn’t the only one who liked it. She was frequently sold out of it.) But there was always some nice and cold for me. We talked, laughed, and sometimes cried. No subject was off limits

  16. Dori, you are such a strong and inspiration to all that follow your blog!!!l think we all need people, especially other women, in our lives and especially in this world of today!! Praying we can all be more like you and crying is good for the soul.
    Love you girl, Rita

  17. Terry Steinmetz says:

    Thanks for sharing. Praying for comfort as you travel this journey of life.

  18. Wanda Milton says:

    Dori, My condolences on the loss of your dear friend. You were fortunate to have such a close friend. Yes, people need to appreciate their parents while they’re still her and enjoy their company. Everyone’s so disconnected these days. Grief doesn’t go away but becomes manageable. There will be days when it rises up and hits you head on. Other days, memories will bring smiles!
    Take care and continue enjoying life to the fullest, which includes relaxing!

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss. I too lost a dear friend to a horrendous car wreck a few years ago. It was tough. We used to meet at her little country store after I got off work several times a week and have pizza at least once. She sold this brand of Cherries and Cream Soda that I loved and always had some hidden in the refrigerator in the back just for me. (I wasn’t the only one who liked it. She was frequently sold out of it.) But there was always some nice and cold for me. We talked, laughed, and sometimes cried. No subject was off limits. I’ll never forget that phone call. I couldn’t believe she was gone. And for a while I was lost. Her husband sold the store and the house and moved to Florida with their daughter. I don’t even drive by the store anymore. I have to pass her house but I don’t look anymore. The pain of losing her is still breath taking after 11 years. But it’s better. It does get easier with the passing of each year. We’ll always love our dear friends but the pain and emptiness gets better. My problem is that I know a lot of people but have only 3 good friends. And she was a good friend. We are so blessed if we can have even one friend like that in our lives and I’ve had 3. I remind myself of that when I’m thinking about her and I smile.

  20. Kendra Ayton says:

    Beautiful reminder that our lives are short…a vapor in the wind and that we need to take the time to smile and remember the good things, the precious family and dear friends and that God is good always.

  21. Ah, Dori, I thought you outdid yourself with your last post–then you write this one and I have been in tears and smiling and laughing as I go through it. You have inspired me once again, dear lady. Thank you for the thoughtful lessons.


  22. Joann says:

    Thank you for your heartfelt words reminding us all to be mindful of the moments that bring clarity and meaning

  23. Thank you… just, thank you.

  24. Martha Cook says:

    Wonderful sharing of your heartfelt experiences – we can all relate! Thank you. (Martha in North Idaho)

  25. Beth says:

    Bless you, Dori — such a heartfelt post to share with us all. Thanks so much from a small town on the Pacific NW!

  26. Gail says:

    Thank you!
    This has truly been a God send. I had 3 funerals last week. Today a very dear friend who has had three surgeries in two months is critical & her son is being allowed to see her.
    God is still Good & I’m so thankful He holds us!!
    Matthew 6:33

  27. Marilyn says:

    Thank You for this post. Losing a friend is an awful thing. We have lost a few friends over the years. It never gets an easier. We miss our parents every day. Glad that you had support from your husband. So happy that your parents are doing fine. Your granddaughters are quite the young ladies. Where did the time go? Blessings to you and your family. God Bless.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  28. Sarah says:

    I’ve not experienced the pain of death yet. Tears for you & what an inspiration you are helping people thru your honesty & transparency. Thank you.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for such a inspiring story, although very sad. Im sorry for losing your best friend. I love MaryJane’s farm house magazine.

  30. Michelle says:

    That was beautiful…..:)

  31. Patricia Murphy says:

    Thank you for sharing the joys and sorrows of what your life has led you through lately. All of us who have lost precious friends can relate and commiserate. And for those of us without, be envious and happy for you that you have parents and a sibling to be with when the need is greatest. I’ll toss in a hubby, too :>) Some of us, really old like I am, have been left without any of those wonderful people. Life is like that. Kind and harsh in turns. Can’t be any other way.

    Again, just a thank you. You lift my day.
    Patricia Murphy

  32. D Wayve Dennison says:

    Dear Dori, I have no idea what foundation paper is, but certainly understood and felt the rest of the story. I am so sorry for your loss of Patti, and thank you for reminding us to always say yes. How wonderful to appreciate what we have, while we still have them; you and your sweet family are blessed to have each other! Keep smiling, dear friend.

  33. Lisa Wilson says:


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