Life Still Isn’t Slow…

I am still reading Chasing Slow. The book isn’t a massive volume and I very much enjoy reading it, but finding the time to slow down, on most days, can be daunting. How apropos that I would need to slow down to read about slowing down. Go figure.

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I, probably like most people, have lived a life that has taken many unexpected twists and turns. I often ponder the fact that when I was in high school I didn’t think I’d go to college five hundred miles away, in Tennessee. When I was was in college I never expected to stay in Tennessee after graduation, but to go back to my home state of Maryland to teach. The summer after I graduated from college, I never expected one of my professors to contact me about a special education job in a school in rural Tennessee. I didn’t expect to stay in Tennesse for the next twenty years. I didn’t know when I married at twenty-four that I’d be widowed and a single parent just a short eight years later. I didn’t know if I’d get remarried, especially to a man that lived in Texas. Yep. I married that guy. After a few years we decided to move to Ohio, and build our own house in the middle of what used to be a farm field. All these things, events, this life I call my own, none of this was part of my master plan. When I was a teenager I thought I’d live in a Cape Cod style house, in one of the New England states. I’d enjoy leaf peeping during the Autumn months, hikes through the mountains, and spend time reading books of poetry by Robert Frost. Alas, the Master Planner, had other plans for me. Better plans. Special plans. Surprising plans.

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Those of you that know me, know I am not a laid back kind of person…and yes, the world needs people like me! I am the one with the to-do list and the daytimer planner. I like things organized, alphabetized, and accessorized. I love a good surprise if it is a fun birthday gift or a Christmas present, but not so much anything else. If I start something I want to finish it. I don’t like loose ends. Yet, here I am in rural Ohio, surrounded by corn fields, and occasionally the neighbor’s rogue llamas.

Life still isn’t slow….but, I am working on it.

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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The Flies Are Driving Me Crazy

Don’t we all need a good laugh sometimes? Going through my archives and thought I would share this little gem.

The flies are driving me nuts. That is one thing about summer time when one has animals…..flies in the chicken coop, flies

hanging around the horse. Ugh. I hate flies. What is their purpose anyway, except to harass?

Last summer I had some of the same issues……..

They’re Coming To Take Me Away…

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horse fly, Diptera family Tabanidae, Tabanus sp. Location: Winfield IL USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On this incredibly stinkin’ hot day in the rural Midwest, I thought we could all use a good dose of humor. I will allow you to laugh at my expense. Dawn vs. Nature. It is not a pretty sight.

I thought that we had moved to a picturesque setting in the rural farmland of Ohio. Actually, this turned out to be true, although I had no idea the other critters that had also chosen to live alongside us on our little slice of land. In the Spring we had a raccoon under the deck. This visitor caused our dogs to nearly go berserk. At 3 am in the morning. The dogs couldn’t get to the “scared out of his wits” raccoon, and the raccoon was NOT coming out with two “Cujos” on the loose. There was not much sleeping going on that night for anyone in a five-mile radius of our house.

We have a ground hog that has a vacation home down where our property meets the road. He is quiet and keeps to himself. Every time I see him, The Wind and The Willows comes to mind.

We have Bambi and family that trek across our side yard on a fairly regular basis. Fun to watch, unless one decides to jump out directly in front of the family van….then it is a little scary. The other night my husband laid some rubber on the road when he braked hard not to hit a deer that literally came out of nowhere, directly in front of us. My heart was hammering in my chest during that little moment, as I was nearly decapitated by the stupid shoulder strap safety belt. Are there any statistics on death by shoulder strap?

In August and September, we have the gnat plague. Where in the world do gnats come from? Honestly, there is no food sitting out, nothing like that….they just appear like clockwork. In August. They stay for two months and the family chases them around with the bug zapper before they disappear, or are inadvertently eaten, as they are always in my way while fixing dinner. Um…they look like pepper. Sorry. I looked gnats up on the internet. They are a nuisance, but harmless and will not kill anyone if eaten. I don’t know why they come here. It’s one of life’s mysteries.

In late Fall and early winter, the field mice decide that it is time for them to head toward their winter retreat. The retreat happens to be our garage, and if they are slick enough….the main living quarters. This does not sit well with me. At all. I hate mice with a white hot passion. They mock me, as they scratch around in the walls. I find myself yelling at them ….and I know I am not imagining that I hear the faint sound of laughter. Go ahead and laugh! It’s all fun and games until I start laying out glue traps. Stinkin’ little fur balls. Then who will be laughing? I digress…….mice put me in a precarious mental state.

We are currently battling a horse fly population that has reached biblical proportions. Now, before I moved to Ohio I thought I had seen horse flies. I was wrong….at least not like these. I didn’t realize the name horse fly accurately described the SIZE of the fly. These flies are huge. Their heads are the size of my thumb nail. I am not kidding. One has to make a run for it when leaving or entering the house. If one should linger too long on the deck, there is a great possibility that said person could possibly be carried off by the mutant horse fly gang. They dive bomb anyone on the deck, like miniature Kamikaze pilots.

I better go. I’m heading out to the deck.

I think I’ll take the electric bug zapper with me. It reminds me of a lightsaber.

Just call me Luke Skywalker.

Finding Beauty

The older I get the more I want to find beauty. To see it in people’s faces. To recognize it in their laughter. To find it in their tears. Life is a struggle (for us all), and so many times I find myself weighted down with all the things that are going on in the world, but yet still…I look for ways to list all the ways that people are beautiful. The smooth, sweet smelling skin of my five month old grand daughter, her contagious laughter instantly changing my mood. The older lady in the store parking lot, smiling at me. The UPS delivery man who is always so friendly and kind, even though I know he is tired. My husband who works hard for me and for his family. The neighbors who offered help, and unconditional support when we lost our beloved dog. My friends who know me, and know my heart, and I theirs. There is beauty. I just keep my eyes open for it.

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I enjoy being outside. I like to take sky pictures… And field pictures… And animal pictures. And yes, people pictures, in my search for beauty. The other night I walked out on the deck, waiting to call the dogs in for the night. The cold, crisp winter air was still as I peered up. The sky was blacker than ink, with sparkling glitter. I find moments like this to be holy. I am reminded how small I am, and how big God is. The intricate workings of the Milky Way, created by the sound of His voice. Beautiful.

Scented soap homemade from a friend, texted messages and voicemails from family and friends, iced tea, and iced coffee, holding hands and holding hearts, baby laughter, and giggles, good books and timeless stories, friendships that have withstood both time and distance, children who are now adults, but still say, “I love you”, pictures on the refrigerator, and smiles from strangers at the grocery store, dogs that lay their heads in my lap and lick me until I pet them, wedding rings and commitment, love and loyalty and fun. God is so good and He chooses to gift me with beautiful people and beautiful moments and ……..

I am so thankful.

 

 

It’s Fall, Y’all!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”……. okay, so that line from a song is the wrong season, whatever. I am so happy that it is Fall. The other night I watched geese fly overhead in their typical V formation. The soybean fields surrounding my house are turning yellow. (Yes, soybean plants are beautiful in the Fall—unlike corn stalks, which get brown and dry before harvest.) The leaves here, are just barely starting to fade from their summer glory. The nights are cooler. Speaking of weather, I am not pleased that today, the first day of Fall, is supposed to be 87 degrees. What is with that? I am unable to wear all my super cozy sweaters when it is that warm! I still have a box fan going in the house—even with all my Fall decorations now in place, around the house. I am ready to burn my apple/pumpkin/cinnamon candles. Being the weather geek that I am, I watch my local meteorologist every night, live on Facebook, who is kind enough to give all us weather geeks the details. He said Ohio is going to remain in the 80’s well into October. Noooooooooo!!! That just isn’t right, people.

Here is a post from my archives……enjoy it while you sip some hot coffee (or if you are in the same overly warm circumstance as I am….iced coffee).

Fall Montage

This is what I love… My favorite season of the year…

This is what I’m looking forward to seeing, I can’t wait!

This is a visual montage of what Fall means to me…

I love Autumn- Yes, I do!

I love Autumn-How ’bout you?

 

 

Llama Love

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The neighbors across the road have llamas. I never knew how much I loved llamas until my family moved here. Our little slice of heaven has a llama field directly across from our house. The llamas often greet me at the mailbox, their ears turned in like fuzzy question marks.On occasion some of the llamas break free from the confines of the fenced in area. Have you ever seen a llama jump a fence? It is not unlike a deer, as far as that goes. Of course, they are taller than a deer, but are about as silly, as neither knows to get out of the road. Standing in the middle of the road is not safe…..if you are a deer, a llama, or a human being for that matter. Move it, my furry friends! Sometimes the llamas will decide the grass really is greener on the other side, and trounce their way to our front yard for a snack. I do not fancy myself  the “lord of the lawn” or “the grass master” (that is my daughter, actually) …..so I don’t really care if they snack on our yard, eh….as long as they are helping to keep the grass down. Besides, it gives the dogs some fun and excitement. Oh, there is also a brand new cria (baby llama). Picture a black and white cotton ball on stick legs. My husband and I got some pictures the other day. His were better than mine. It never fails. Every time I go to take a picture, the subject moves! Then it sort of resembles a blur. Just use your imagination.

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This morning I was sitting at the kitchen counter, scanning through Facebook posts, as I am wont to do, when all of a sudden I heard them. My ears are attuned to all things llama. The boys were fighting! I grabbed my phone and ran out to the front porch. I turned the video on my phone. Of course, my phone does not zoom in well and it was too far out to really do a good job of videoing. Although the picture is not zoomed in, one can really hear the llamas (they are extremely noisy when going at each other!). Young male llamas like to neck wrestle each other. Usually it has to do with dominance and territory. One of the llamas neck wrestled the other to the ground but, wait…….he popped back up, bellowing at the top of his lungs. Just like two teenage boys fighting. During the entire video I am giving “Wild Kingdom” commentary. Great stuff, people. I might have missed my calling in life. Of course, at the end of the video, one can hear my dogs standing beside me panting (I promise it is them, not me), and then I can’t get the video off and so you get to see my feet and part of my front porch before I mercifully end the show. I never claimed to be a videographer, people. (I was going to attempt to download the video because it is only two minutes long. Alas, living out in the sticks, there is no fast download of video. I might post it tomorrow, because it will probably take that long to load!)

I love living in the country! City living might be more convenient, but one can’t see llamas in the city….and that is really sad for you. I, on the other hand, can watch all the llama drama right from my front porch.  #greenacresistheplaceforme #llamalove #llamadrama

Rest, Peace, Joy

School is out for the summer, my students are excited. My grad school assignments for the week are completed. I have no appointments today. I’ve already done the grocery shopping for the week. Everything is pretty much done….so I am taking today as my mini vacation. I will blog. I will journal. I will play with the dogs. I will read. I will watch a marathon of X-Files, this evening, with my husband.

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I need today.

Time to breathe. Time to ponder. Time to do nothing, but just be still.

How many times have I been guilty of rushing around, finishing things, checking items off my lists, proofreading that paper, meeting with people to the point of exhaustion?

I appreciate  these days of doing nothing, which are few and far between. These days turn out to mean everything.

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Thank you, Lord……that I can find rest, and peace, and joy in You.

Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him.” Amen.

 

Challenge #12, Might-Have-Been

 

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I often get asked, why in the world did you move here? The people who ask, are alluding to the fact I moved from Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is a city nestled in a valley surrounded by the foothills of The Great Smoky Mountains. It is a place that many Ohioans go on vacation. Yet, here I am. My family and I moved to a rural area of Ohio, outside a tiny village whose population doesn’t even make it to “town” status. It is not unusual to see Amish families on the roads in their buggies.I admit, it is not a happening place. I miss restaurants, and all the shopping. I could be to most places in five minutes. With that said, when I lived in the city I didn’t wake to the sound of geese flying overhead, or the rooster crowing. I didn’t have the opportunity to witness open sky and wide, uncrowded spaces. These places to breathe and think and not feel so rushed. In the city, buildings crowded out my view of the sun rising, and city lights detracted from the brilliance of the night sky. My house was on a large double lot in the city, but there is no comparison to the twelve acres in the country. There is room for the family and dogs, cats, chickens, and horse.

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When I am going about my business of feeding animals and other chores, I often stop and soak it all in. I am a country girl at heart. This life I’m living, bring me so much joy. If you had asked me a half dozen years ago, where I’d be, or what I’d be doing, I could have never imagined this. A new marriage and family, in a new house in a new state, in the country. It might never have been……but, I’m so glad it is!

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