May 15, 2021

Smith: ‘Inspiration matters’

By Regina Smith, guest columnist

Usually in the days before I am due to write my column, I have several ideas floating around my head, competing with each other while I’m trying to fall asleep or take a shower or drive down the road.

This week I’ve got nothin’.

Well, not completely nothing. I thought about writing about Steve, the little blue hippo who was stolen from me last time I was in Kansas. As I was leaving, I asked the little two-year-old face who was hugging him tightly if she was stealing my Steve. The face looked up and said, “Yesh.”

How could I take Steve away from that? I couldn’t. And now I’ve been back for three days with no sign of Steve being returned.

Or I could write about the wind. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in Kansas, but the wind is crazy wild here. It doesn’t seem to stop. I know I could turn that into a metaphor for life — I probably will eventually.

I haven’t been watching the news much in the last couple of days. Sometimes I pull my inspiration from that.

I could certainly write about how justice matters. I’m sure not everyone agrees that George Floyd’s family got justice or that our judicial system worked the way it was supposed to. There are people on both ends of the spectrum who aren’t happy with the outcome. The jury was afraid of the repercussions of a not-guilty verdict or they were swayed by their own biases. No verdict will bring George back to his family and we haven’t even gotten to sentencing yet.

Trial by your peers isn’t a perfect system, but it’s the best we’ve got. The 12 men and women of the jury listened to all of the evidence and made a decision together. They had no stake in the outcome one way or the other — except to preserve our way of life by doing this civic duty.

Surely that’s better than a system where a group of politicians vote on guilty or not guilty based on their party affiliation. How could we ever expect a fair trial or justice to be done when the jury has to be won from one side to the other instead of from a neutral perspective? — That was a different trial altogether, one where instead of evidence being presented, opinions and personal vendettas took up all of the time. P.S. that criticism is aimed toward both sides of the aisle.

But I seem to have gotten a bit off track, I’m supposed to be looking for inspiration.

I could go outside. It’s a balmy 72 degrees — a bit windy but beautiful. Trees are starting to leaf out. Flowers are blooming. I’ve written before about the magic of spring on the soul. It reminds me that life will go on and that the dark, cold winter doesn’t last forever.

Nature does inspire me. Sometime in the next two weeks, I’m planning to try and capture an iconic Kansas shot for a new project. I got really lucky when I did the southern Iowa one. I just whipped out my phone while taking a walk around Green Valley Lake and got the perfect picture.

It’s not the right time of year for sunflowers, or I’d go looking for some of those. Who knows what I’ll come up with, but I’ll certainly let nature lead me in whatever direction it wants.

While we’re talking about nature and inspiration, make sure you check out the Creston Living Magazine when it comes out at the end of the month for Chuck Spindler’s nature photos and what the beauty of nature means to him along with stories of other inspiring southern Iowans.

I could talk about community and how well the Market on Maple event went last weekend — with an additional shout out to the friends who made it a little easier for me since I was alone at the store and a great big thank you to the four young customers who brought me a funnel cake when I couldn’t get away to get my own.

I could write about looking for a house. That’s part of why I’m down here. Real estate is off the charts at the moment. Houses are selling within hours. We were actually on the way to see one yesterday when we got the call it had been sold. This could be a difficult job.

Walking through a prospective house with your home-inspector-husband is a very different adventure. I’m sure he could write a whole column on “electrical boxes matter.”

Apparently there are a couple of brands that have been outlawed by the federal government because they have a tendency to overheat and catch your house on fire. (Yes, we just said, “No” to a house we thought we were in love with due to one of those boxes.)

Do you have any outdated “electrical boxes” in your life that could combust at any time? — unresolved anger from your childhood or a person that disappointed you?

See, I think we could write a nice-sized article with that starting point. But I seem to be out of room.

Maybe next time I will pick up one of these threads or maybe something entirely different will inspire me. I’ll just keep my eyes open and look for inspiration around me. You should look for inspiration, too, even if you aren’t planning to write a column. You could always write a letter to the editor.

Inspiration matters. It keeps us looking outward and moving forward.

I’d love to know what inspires you and what matters to you.

Contact me at (yes, that’s a slightly different email than last time — I seriously thought about writing this week’s column on “mistakes matter” since I accidentally combined two email addresses into one nonfunctioning email last time) or you can write me at the paper c/o Creston News Advertiser, 503 W. Adams St., Creston, Iowa, 50801.