Green Acres Is The Place For Me!

Today is a day to smile…or even laugh out loud. I am not one to take myself too seriously, and also am not above sharing some of my own exploits with my friends in the blog-o-sphere to allow you a chuckle, guffaw, or even…a snort. Just sayin’.

102_4920

“Green Acres is the place to be.

Farm livin’ is the life for me. 

Land spreadin’ out so far and wide 

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”
Green Acres Lyrics by Vic Mizzy

Some of my readers might be old enough to remember the TV show, Green Acres…or at least reruns of it. Or not. Regardless of whether you remember it, it was a funny TV show from the late ’60’s and early 70’s that aired on CBS. It was about a couple that moved from the city to the country.

Sometimes, when I am out feeding the chickens, or making my way to the barn to let the horse out into the pasture, or chasing the dogs around the yard, I “hear” the Green Acres theme song running through my head.

Just so you know, country life is not for wimps. Seriously. Today I am going to share some of the potential disasters as well as the gems of country living, just in case you are thinking about making the trek to the country. It is better to be informed.

Ten Things You Need To Know Before Making The Country Your Home:

1. Animals are messy and they poop a lot. And they don’t clean up their own poop. That is left up to you. Mucking out a stall, or cleaning out a chicken coop is your new domain. Own it. Make sure you have good boots, I speak from experience.

2. Chickens can be very entertaining to watch, almost relaxing if you catch them on a good day, OR it can be like all Hades has broken loose and Armageddon is upon us. Don’t be fooled, people. Chickens can be mean….to each other….and to you! The term “hen pecked” is real.

3. The Tractor Supply Company will become one of your all time favorite stores. You will find yourself pulling into TSC, when you are in town. It doesn’t matter whether you actually need anything or not…you go in, just to look around….or see the new baby chicks…or talk with the traveling vet….or maybe to price the new windmill lawn ornament. Don’t judge.

4. You will find yourself perusing Amazon for things like chicken “saddles”. Yes, they are a thing. No, one doesn’t ride a chicken….they are cute little “aprons” that protect the hens from the over eager rooster. Don’t ask questions.

5. You will become mesmerized by wide open spaces, green pastures, blue sky and quiet back roads. You will swear that no one has better sunrises or sunsets than you do. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to stand in your side yard admiring the sun as it sinks into the horizon amidst blazing purples, pinks, and oranges… with your mouth hanging open in awe. Not that I’ve done that or anything.

6. There is nothing like a clear night in the country. Star gazing will become an addiction. You can’t see the stars in the city. You just can’t. Out in the country the stars shimmer like a million diamonds in an ink black sky. The fact that it is pitch black outside with not a street light in sight, is fine….just be aware that there are lots of animals that are nocturnal…um….in case you happen to run into one accidentally.

7. If you are truly in the country, you will probably be miles and miles away from everything. No “quick trips” to the grocery store, Wal-mart, the pharmacy, or a clothing store. Trips into town are usually planned, and if you forget to get something you are just out of luck. I do miss having a plethora of restaurants to choose from, all within 10 minutes of my house. Oh, well…..

8. During the cold weather months, the snow plow becomes a “thing”. Realize that your mailbox will most assuredly become a casualty of the plow. Most country mailboxes look like they survived a war, unless you are one of those people that have warm weather mailboxes and cold weather mailboxes….and you switch them out for the season. Don’t laugh, this happens.

9. Realize that any time you grill out on your porch or deck, will be the time that the farmer who lives behind you decides to spread manure. It is what it is. Stinky. Enjoy grilling out anyway. You will get used to the country “aroma”.

10. Don’t freak out if you see livestock in your front yard, munching on your grass. They don’t get boundaries…and, the grass truly is greener on the other side. Think of it as them doing their part to keep your large front yard mowed.

If none of these 10 things have deterred you, than maybe you should think about finding your own “Green Acres”. You can’t beat life out here in the country.

Advertisements

Springtime

The sky was blue, blue….you know what I mean…somewhere between the shades of robin’s egg and cerulean. It was the soft color of a mid spring morning, dotted only with white cotton ball clouds. The grass was bright, the brown of winter long gone. Dandelions were scattered across the carpet of green. On this day, even the weeds looked beautiful. The birds chirped loudly as they stayed just out of reach of the dogs, who were wild for the chase.

The walk up the driveway from the mailbox was inspiring. A beautiful spring photograph captured in the moment.

102_4188

102_4189

102_4138

102_4142

Today I am thankful for:

*warm blankets on the bed *pushing snooze on the alarm clock *warm sunshine *walking with the dogs *ice cold bottled water *a clean house *new flower seed packets *dandelions on emerald green *a daughter in days leading up to her high school graduation *a son arriving home from completing his first year of college *family *friends *getting my to do list done *God who loves me, forever

I Hate Death

IMG_1197

I hate death.

I hate the pain it causes.

The hearts it breaks.

The lives it changes…forever.

Those that are left behind.

I’ve walked this journey multiple times in my life…traveled in the shadow of death.

Today, my heart is hurting for the loss of one so young.

I hate cancer. I hate leukemia. I hate when children die.

The aftermath is messy and painful.

It hurts, when hearts bleed wide open.

The “why” questions go unanswered. Even if we all knew the why, could we fully understand it? Would it make a difference? Regardless, there will still be an empty place, that is impossible to fill.

This world is so broken, cracked through to its very core.

One day it won’t be this way. One day death will die. One day, oh…one day.

In the meantime we live in it, and through it, and we wonder about that why question.

Jesus, You understand death. I know You do. When the landscape is darkened with sadness, You are there. You never leave. You never let go. You hold the hand of the broken hearted. You wipe their tears. Although we don’t understand, and the walk is hard and painful, help us in our grieving.

Help us to have hope….in You. The only One who has ever overcome death.

Amen and amen.

1 Corinthians 15:54

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.

How Great Thou Art

Yesterday morning, at church, we sang, How Great Thou Art. This is one of my favorite hymns. I have been known to bust out a chorus or two of this song, while I am going back and forth from the barn. or sometimes when I am outside at night, looking up at the black velvet sky filled with stars. This song even came to mind the other night, when we had the blood moon make its astonishing appearance. I stand amazed.

IMG_1243

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

IMG_0162

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

IMG_0171

IMG_1246

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

102_4811
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

102_2363

102_3455

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

How Great Thou Art” is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish traditional melody and poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg (1859–1940) in Sweden in 1885.

Storms Of Life

P1000338

Spring ushers in storms. These storms bring torrential rain, and high winds with them. I always keep an eye to the sky and watch cloud formations during this time of the year. A beautiful spring day can go from balmy and sunny to dark and mean in no time flat.

I live outside of a town, here in farmland Ohio, that got hit hard by one of those storms back in June of 2012. I consider myself a weather geek, but was caught totally and completely unaware that day.

I never saw it coming. 

As my husband and I raced into town that afternoon, to rescue our son who was having car problems, a storm was racing across the midwest, straight for us. We would find ourselves caught in its fury, as that lazy,hazy early summer day turned wild and dark.

We made it into town, and I had noticed on the drive in, the clouds were a little odd….but, we had things to do so I didn’t dwell on it. Once in town we tried to get our son’s vehicle to start, with no success.

At that moment it hit…….hard.

People running down the street. Siding being torn off buildings. Bricks falling from on high, into piles of rubble below. A large tree right in front of us fell over, electric lines down in the street. Our historic courthouse, smack in the middle of town, took a hit. Rain….wind…..so much wind!

I thought it was a tornado. Not the kind of weather one wants to be caught in, especially when stuck outside in the middle of it all.

Getting out of town wasn’t easy, as we found most roads blocked by debris and downed lines.

By the time we finally got back home, the sun had come out. Our house, that sits alone, in what once used to be a farm field, was untouched. Our children, one of whom was with us, and the other two who were counselors at a local summer camp were okay. Our nerves were jangled, but other than that, we survived this frightening weather event.

(As it turned out the event was a derecho. This is what I found on Wikipedia to explain what took place: A derecho (/dəˈr/, from Spanish: derecho [deˈɾetʃo], “straight”) is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms.[1] Derechos can cause hurricane force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods. Winds convection-induced take on a bow echo (backward “C”) form of squall line, forming in an area of wind divergence in upper levels of the troposphere, within a region of low-level warm air advection and rich low-level moisture. They travel quickly in the direction of movement of their associated storms, similar to an outflow boundary(gust front), except that the wind is sustained and increases in strength behind the front, generally exceeding hurricane-force. A warm-weather phenomenon, derechos occur mostly in summer, especially during June, July, and August in the Northern Hemisphere, within areas of moderately strong instability and moderately strong vertical wind shear. They may occur at any time of the year and occur as frequently at night as during the daylight hours.)

This storm was scary, and not so much like other storms that happen in life.

Storms that we might never see coming…….

When the winds of pain are pounding hard, when the problems seem torrential, and it might feel like there is no way out of the storm, there is.

Jesus is still able to calm the storms of this life, but sometimes, for His own reasons He chooses not to. Sometimes He instead, calms us in the midst of it all.

He brings a peace that passes all understanding.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Ups And Downs

IMG_1534

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Central Auditory Processing Disorder awareness day. April is Autism awareness month. As a special education teacher, consultant and advocate I have had the pleasure (and sometimes frustration) of working with students with all sorts of diagnoses. I have learned a lot from my students, and their parents, over the years…..things I would never have learned had I not been on this journey.

This is a post from my archives, I am reblogging in support of those with auditory processing disorders and autism.

Making A Real Difference

My friend was sitting at my kitchen counter yesterday morning. She hangs out while I work with her son during Fun Kitchen Fridays. He is learning life skills as we create a cookbook for independent living.  My friend told me that a jeep had just pulled up in my snow covered driveway. Dogs began barking as I opened the door. Flowers for me? Completely unexpected, but welcomed. The flowers were beautiful and smelled like spring on a cold winter day. The card attached read: Thank you for helping my Mom change my life. Love, K.D

The message was short. Simple. Sweet.

Yet, to me, deeply profound. I had what my son likes to refer to as “moist eyes”, as I read the card.

Over the past several weeks I have been consulting with K’s mom. K is on the autism spectrum and she needed help with school planning. Planning that would teach her, and challenge her, and benefit her….things that would make a real difference in the life of this young child.

For parents of children with special needs, many times the battles are great. Being an advocate is not easy work. There are set backs and disappointments, so when the battle is finally won the rewards are often bitter sweet.

Sometimes when life gets us down and everything seems to be going wrong, a small, simple gesture can mean so much.

Making a real, positive, difference in a person’s life. One day at a time.

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Matthew 25: 44-45  NIV