Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone…

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I am still reading Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path, by Erin Loechner. I have to smile thinking about how long it is taking me to get through the book. It is a great book, and I am enjoying reading it…life is just so busy for me right now I don’t have the time to read as much as I would like. Does anyone else see the irony in that? I keep telling myself life will calm down when I am through with this semester of grad school classes. It will be better when I graduate with my Master’s degree. Life will slow down after I finish typing the rest of the summaries for my homeschooling families. I will have the opportunity to breathe when my husband and I successfully get all our adult children out of the house and on their own. Slowing down, saying “no”, relaxing, is always down the road, tomorrow, next month, next year…… it is never now. This day. This moment. I genuinely want it to be. I’ll be honest with you. I have a difficult time relaxing. Like so many wives and mothers, slowing down is not easy for me. Even when I am sitting, I am thinking of the million things I need to get done. This, let’s face it, can be exhausting in and of itself.  These are legitimate things. Things that if I don’t do them, probably won’t get done…and they need to get done…but, this is no way to live.

Lately, since beginning the book, I am thinking more about how and when to say “no” to activities. I am slowly learning that “no” is not a bad word, and saying no doesn’t make me a bad person. I don’t think I am meant to live this one life I have in exhaustion. God has plans for me, and He is not about having me burn my candle at both ends until there is nothing left.

So, with that said, I am continuing daily to make a concerted effort to slow down. I will try to enjoy each day because once it is gone, it is gone.

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'”           Matthew 11:28

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Falling In Love With Fall

I know that Fall isn’t official for another couple of weeks, but since it is after Labor Day it is close enough to begin the celebration. Here in northwest Ohio, we are still seeing days in the 70’s, but the nights have become cooler. There is the explosion of pumpkin spice in everything known to man, I actually wore a sweater a couple of mornings this week, and Friday night football is back in session. What is there not to love?

When Life Threatens To Bust Me Wide Open

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The things meant to sustain us, are often the things that drain us…

Some days break me. Crack me wide open. I feel exhausted and moody. Eeyore has nothing on me. You all know what I’m saying. We’ve all been there.

It is not one thing in particular, but many small things that chip away at me. The cat puked on the couch. My grand daughter is not interested in hugs and kisses this morning, even when I desperately need her sweetness. My students are not into the lessons I am trying to teach. I am pouring myself into the Revolutionary War and all I get in return is a blank stare. My college classes are drowning me in assignments that I try to squeeze into the cracks of my otherwise hectic life, and my resentment toward my <innocent> professor grows. I am behind in typing my home school summaries. (Parents, please forgive me!) Messes I didn’t make. Muck I didn’t create. And Misunderstandings that I hate.  Life is hard. And all I really want to do is curl up in a blanket, read a book and forget about schedules, deadlines, and craziness.

Just when I was feeling like I was going under for the third time, and life was looking bleak, my husband reminded me of something. He said, “Dawn, remember your one thousand gifts. Remember your practice of writing all your blessings”.  “Yes”, I barely whisper. Blessings. Things that God chooses to gift me with. All the small but great. The subtle but sensational. The soft, and wonderful and silly. I write on the good days, to sustain me through the bad ones. To remind me through the hard. The jagged and broken. On those days when I am fragile and cry over running out of green tea.

When life threatens to bust me wide open, or worse when it punctures me leaving a slow leak of joy….emptying me. I will choose joy.

Today I choose joy. I choose life. I choose to be thankful.

*Rainy Saturdays *Cool Fall-like weather *September *Fall is on the way! *Sleeping in *Wearing leggings and an oversized t-shirt (comfy clothes) *Reading my Chasing Slow book *Quiet house *A husband who loves me even when I feel unlovable *Safety for my children *A grand daughter that turned one a few days ago. *Excellent lab results *The smell of coffee brewing. *A God who whispers to me, calming my soul. *Friends *Second, and third, and fourth chances at getting things right. *Smiles *A new haircut *Old quilts * Dog licks *Netflix *Dancing to music in the kitchen *Gluten-free pizza *Family *Texts from my sister *Laughing

 

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

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.

What Is Truly Important?

 

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That apple looks so good. So juicy. Absolutely delicious, and I realize I am hungry.

The things. The busyness. The to do list. Being best. Being needed. Going to the next level. Obtaining the prize…and what does that look like anyway? I’m not sure. I just know I want it.

The fruit dangled in front of me now isn’t so different from that time long ago. “You should have it”, the Deceiver says. “After all, you deserve it”. Blinded by what I believe I need in order to be successful in this life. To be happy. To be fulfilled. I bite hard, looking for the perfection that doesn’t exist.

“But the thing about apples is that we’re always biting off more than we can chew. It is hard to see which bites might nourish and which might cause us to choke”. -Erin Loechner in Chasing Slow p.130

This book is causing me to reevaluate. To realign. To get to what truly matters. Let me tell you, Erin’s words pierce me, much like a skilled archer, whose arrow splits the apple in half and then goes… straight to my heart.

Chasing slow is not just about efficiency, or about finding more time in the urgency of the day to day, but also to slow down and instead consider what is important for eternity.

The dictionary defines important as “of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on success, survival, or well-being”. This morning I find myself pondering….What is truly important? How can I live my life well?

 

 

Life Is More Enjoyable

Why is it when I long to slow down, the rest of the world seems to speed up? Do I really want to jump on this merry-go-round that spins me until I feel sick? Faster and faster until I have to get off….

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As a young adult, I used to think I had to be where the action was. The real party didn’t even start until late….and I had to stay up to enjoy it. Life was meant to stay busy. Do things. Stay up. Stay out. Stay moving. Life, with all of its ups and downs, has certainly changed that perspective.

There is so much more to see and experience when I slow down to savor the moments. Slowing is not boring, nor is it always easy, but it sure does make life more enjoyable.

  • Shadows of sunlight in the early evening
  • Summer sunsets
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Bubbles
  • Laughter with my husband
  • Freshly wiped down counters
  • The smell of lavender
  • Cats purring
  • Giving the dog belly rubs
  • A new phone case
  • Checking things off my to do list
  • Sipping tea
  • Emailing family
  • Bare feet
  • Purple nail polish
  • Darkness at 9 pm (which means Fall is on the way!)
  • Grown children that hug and say I love you
  • Help with dinner
  • Folded blankets
  • The warm glow of salt lamps
  • The smell of freshly cut grass