The Schedule Is More Relaxed

Today is the first day of summer break. The sky is gray and cloudy, and there is a chill in the air. It feels more like October than June. I had to grab a sweater when I went outside to feed the animals this morning. No matter the temperature, it still is the beginning of summer break!

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Summertime has arrived. Graduations and cook outs. Laying in the deck hammock, a chilled beverage in hand listening to 70’s and 80’s music. Flip flops and tee shirts. The smell of freshly cut grass and bees buzzing around the flowers. It is lighter longer and the fireflies make the fields aglow in the evenings. Road trips and time to visit with family out of state. Home made ice cream and fresh produce from the farmer’s market. Yard sales and afternoon drives on back country roads. A good book, and a long nap. The days run together because the schedule is more relaxed.

Aaahhhh….summertime.

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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’.

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“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.

The Clock Marks Time

It has been awhile since I’ve had time to write a blog post. Life seems to be so busy for me lately! I’m sure that most of you, my readers, can relate? The pendulum, on the dining room clock, swings to the beat of the seconds, minutes, and hours. I watch it from my perch on the kitchen stool. I take one of those moments to contemplate.

The making of moments happens as the clock marks time. Marks milestones. Marks life….but, my heart marks the moments.

I am more aware of the passage of time, as I age. No longer cavalier, in my attempts, to make the moments last just a bit longer.

One child, now young man, out on his own. The other son, came home from college for Thanksgiving. He has a new life at school apart from us.  A daughter who is working on finishing up her senior year of high school. Another daughter raising her children and making her way. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

My husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary this month. He and I were talking about that fact last night. Time, where does it go? And so quickly? Both of us were widowed young, and started over again, with each other….nine years ago.

This past weekend I decorated the Christmas tree. I unwrapped the delicate ornaments from the box. The dates on the ornaments brought me back to another time, years ago. Sweet memories, tucked away in my heart.

I’m working on embracing the time I have. Right now… this day.

So thankful for:

a scarf and coat, clean, cold water, protein shakes, gray winter sky, safety on the road, a husband that I love to hang out with, a fuzzy puppy, all my dogs and cats, and chickens and horses, the view from the back of the barn, the warmth and comfort from a favorite sweater, children that are growing up and making their own lives, friends that I can be myself with, Christmas tree with white lights, Advent candles, hot chocolate and fresh popcorn, a vehicle that is dependable, the smell of pumpkin spice, and peppermint. Things both big and small…..

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Another Day In The Life….

Day Five of the lower back pain. Ugh. I probably should go to the chiropractor but, I don’t have the time. I also don’t feel like spending money for that right now. So, I will suffer in silence, or in my case, intermittent whining. This whole thing has been a reminder to me, how in life, if one small thing is out of order, it can affect everything else. I am hoping that I will just wake up one morning (soon!) and I will be healed…and not have to walk like I am 95 years old for the first couple hours of each day!

 

 

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This morning has been great (other than the back pain). It is sunny outside, with buttery sun puddling on the kitchen and living room floors. We are having another  “cold front”….so the temps are only in the 70’s with low humidity. There is also a slight breeze, which I find very enjoyable. My heat miser friends are not happy. According to them, “July is in the middle of the summer! Summer is supposed to be hot!” I secretly, in my own mind, am thinking, “Suck it up, Buttercup!” I love weather like this and I would do the happy dance, if I could, without causing further pain in my back.

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, I spent some time rearranging things in a corner of the living room. I have a beautiful, hand crafted, oak shelf. I had various knick knacks on it and thought to myself, “I can do better than that”. So…….I decided to bring out about half of my Boyd’s Bear collection to fill up that shelf in the corner. I have a… eh…hem…..rather large bear collection, that has been growing over many years. I like to look at them, so for now some of them are at home in the corner of the living room. My daughter said I am going to grow to be an old lady with lots of teddy bears. I informed her that these are not just any teddy bears….and there are a lot worse things to collect than bears. I obviously will not be willing my sweet, cuddly collection to her! Hmmpppffff!

 

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Anyone that knows me, knows that I am an avid animal lover. My son’s dog, Lonnie, is a terrier mix. When we got him from the Humane Society three and a half years ago, I didn’t know much about terriers. All I knew was that he had the biggest brown eyes and he was looking straight at me when we took the tour to see what animal we wanted to take to our “fur-ever” home. Little did I know that “fur-ever” really meant FUR forever.  I love this dog. I mean really love this dog. He is awesome. Of course, I found out after the fact that terriers are renowned shedders. Lonnie is white with a black mask. Let me just say that I do a lot of sweeping and vacuuming at my house. White fur is abundant. I don’t mind though….he is worth it. Maybe I will knit him a sweater out of his own fur for a Christmas present. Not really. I was just kidding, people. Sheesh.

 

 

 

 

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I need to sweep and vacuum off the deck carpets today, probably wipe down the tables too. I invited a friend over for a birthday dinner tomorrow evening. We are fairly new friends (this past year), but I feel like I’ve known her a lot longer. We are close in age, and that is always nice because then the other person gets references from childhood or young adulthood that others might not get. She is also very cool when it comes to music and photography. So, in my mind, I categorize her as my cool, artsy, friend. Does anyone else do that besides me? You know, like she is my funny, awesome, always has me laughing friend. Or maybe she is my fellow bookworm, always has good quotes and facts, kind of a friend. Or this is my crazy, “I’m gonna go postal”, never a dull moment friend. Lord only knows what title I get from my friends. They probably just consider me a little weird, but lovable. I can live with that.

 

 

 

 

Well, it is off to get things done today. I know this wasn’t one of my “normal” blogs, but today I just wrote what I was feeling. I never know where that may lead!

Ah, The Romance Of Summer…

Today, I was reading through some of my old blog posts.

I came across this poem that I wrote a couple of years ago.

There is just something about summer time…

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Summertime Memories

IMG_0197Front porches, tree lined streets,

hometown parades, ice cream treats.

Lightning bugs, stars at night,

running barefoot, tea on ice.

Shucking corn, bumblebees

curtains blowing in the breeze.

Lemonade, country roads,

windows down, lawns need mowed.

Just washed linens smell like sun,

staying up late, having fun.

Coke in a bottle, feet in the sand,

old friendships, lots of plans.

Written by: Dawn Gibson

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Created For Meaningful Relationship

I believe society does a good job of helping us feel isolated. Surrounded by thousands, but known by few.102_1586

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about having access to the latest technology. I think phones, computers, tablets, mp3 players (and on and on) can be good tools. I, too, enjoy social media, although I do not let it control my life.

I think people want to be connected. They want friends that listen. They want to feel like they are a part of things.

So many times, we settle for status updates, instead of heart to hearts. We listen for the phone to ding, instead of the sound of laughter. We tweet in 140 characters or less, making it short and sweet. It is hard to soul search, when most things can be found through Google search.

We were created for meaningful relationship. We need to hold hands and hold hearts. Laugh out loud and shed tears. Hugs and saying the hard things. All of the emotions and messiness that good relationships bring……

God made us that way, and He called it good.

 

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Today I am thankful for:

*friends visiting

*good food and good company

*ice cold sweet tea

*enjoying views from the deck

*friends that volunteer their time to help

*safe travels

*family here to share memories

*son’s graduation

*important achievements

*my husband who loves me

*daughter who grocery shops with me

*dinner out with family and friends

*God who longs for us to spend time with Him

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 

 

Time Spent Together Is Never Wasted

I received my COUNTRY magazine in the mail this weekend. As I browsed through the magazine, my eyes fell on an article about rediscovering the art of visiting, by Carole Christman Koch. I agreed with the author, that families and friends used to visit a lot more than they do now. I personally have many wonderful memories of Thursday night, family visits, to my grandparent’s house. I remember Tuesday nights were grocery shopping nights with my mom, aunt and little sister. There were many happy days spent with aunts, uncles and cousins. I would go to friends’ houses and they to mine. That kind of thing rarely happens anymore. Everyone grew up and went their own way. Life became complicated and busy. Schedules were tight and the calendar overflowed with activities.

And what the soul really needed, longed for, is rest.P1020495

Visiting used to be that way.

No real agenda. No fancy food or drinks.

Just good company.

Yesterday, my husband and I hosted our son’s graduation party at our house. I’ll be honest, it was a lot of work to get everything ready, and I definitely needed help with it all, but the visiting part was pure joy. Chairs on the deck, drinking sweet tea, and sharing life. One of our friends said, “We live so close…we will invite you over soon. This has been really nice.”

And he was right. It was nice connecting with others…and it is good for us all.

Time spent together is never wasted.

 

I Call Fowl

The chickens were let out of the coop while my husband and I did some Spring cleaning. 102_4899

We have two dogs and three barn cats that intently watched the chickens on their adventure outside of the protective confines of wire and wood.

I kept an eye on my feathery friends and made sure they stayed in the front yard.

Well…….for the most part.

A couple of “the girls” went on a chicken run to the side of the house.

Straight for the collie!

I believe my neighbors think I’ve lost my mind after watching what ensued. I took off after the wayward hens yelling, “Stop! Stop! That big furry guy killed your kind in the big chicken massacre of 2012!!!” (out of reverence for the deceased I will not go into the gory details)

By the way, running at chickens just causes a lot more confusion and mayhem, for those who don’t know.

This did not seem to deter them…which says a lot about chickens and their overall intelligence.

I began yelling at the dog, who looked confused as to why I was yelling at him. He was just trying to nap in the shade, all the while with one eye open to see where those noisy, feathery creatures were going.

I managed to chase them back to the front with the others….all with a lot of running around and “Shoo…shoo…..move it girls!” coming from me.

Eventually, with a lot of help from my husband, the coop was ready for Mr. Rooster and his nine girlfriends to re-enter their sanctuary.

Chickens aren’t the smartest birds on the block (hmmm…maybe “on the block” is a poor choice of words when discussing chickens. Sorry.) …….and they sure aren’t good listeners.

But, they do like to be fed.

I coaxed them back in with food, and a little chicken wrangling help from hubby.

Free range chickens are great and it would be wonderful to allow that all the time, but alas our other pets just see them as a yummy chicken dinner.

So, they are locked back down. Safe and secure behind the wire.

 

 

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Today I am thankful for: 

*humor

* helping hands

* fresh eggs

* a husband I can laugh with

* sunny days

* good friends

* an ice cold glass of water

* God, who has a sense of humor

* the men and women who sacrificed  for this country

* Memorial Day–a day to remember…..

 

A Rich Life

Tomorrow I will turn 46.

The years, they have come and gone, but more than time has shaped me into who I am today.IMG_1195

Although I have never dwelt on my age, I sometimes find it hard to believe.

I guess most of us are like that? Remembering back and looking forward. Wondering when the years changed us.

A full life. A rich life…..

A good life, but not a perfect life.

My life.

The sun is streaming through the kitchen windows. This day is new and fresh and real.

My last day of 45.

An overflowing laundry hamper, an unmade bed. Flowers from Mother’s Day and cookies that my daughter baked. My son sleeping through the pain of having his wisdom teeth removed. Looking forward to my son’s graduation and family visiting. Sun streaming through the house…warmth that shows all the dust. My favorite hoodie and new tennis shoes. Needing to walk more and workout more. Struggling to get things right. A book full of Amish recipes and a brand new llama cria across the road. Birthday cards in the mail and dinner out with my husband. Sweet tea and good books. Blogging and reading glasses. Open fields and practicing songs for church choir. The end of the school year and looking forward to relaxing this summer. Mountain top experiences and trials through fire. Friends that will help me. Family that loves me.

Sure, there is sadness….but, there is also SO MUCH JOY.

Jesus loves me and with God nothing is impossible…and that is always enough, but He chooses to give me so much more.

This whole messed up, mixed up, and completely glorious life is a gift.

 

 

 

 

 

Striving For More

Disability is defined as a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.         IMG_1297

It is considered a handicap or an impairment. Not typical.
Sometimes a person’s disability can be seen…and at other times it cannot.
There are challenges for those having a disability. Accepting ones limitations without accepting defeat. Living life without living less.
On the other hand, one can be perfectly healthy both physically and cognitively, but live a far greater disability, shown by ignorance.
No one should have to live in a box, only longing to be free.
Able bodied doesn’t mean ability, anymore than disabled body mean dis-ability.
People are so much more, and have so much to offer when given the opportunity.
And shouldn’t we all strive to see the person inside? See the whole, instead of the parts?
Yesterday, I went to a conference sponsored by Joni and Friends. As one who has worked in the special needs community for most of my life, I am no stranger to working with individuals that face challenges on a daily basis. I was mesmerized and energized by the speakers at this event, making a difference in their communities in real and tangible ways.
Striving for more.
The world is always better when we stop to help each other.