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Simple Pleasures. Blessed abundance.

As I sit here wondering what to chat about this morning, I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed by my blessings. I am so incredibly lucky to lead the life that I do! I have so many simply abundant blessings that I don’t even know where to begin. I gaze out the window at the expanse of land surrounding me. The clouds hang on the mountains in the distance and I have so much joy and appreciation for the rain. I just did all that transplanting this past few days, and I have been impatiently awaiting the Spring storms. There is something so refreshing about the Spring rain, encouraging new life, telling those roots to reach deep into their soil and find the nourishment to grow. The smell. Oh the fantastic smell that Spring rain brings! I could sit outside all day, just to smell the freshness of the cool rain. I wouldn’t get much done though, would I? So, i opt for stepping out every little while for a brand new fresh whiff. It’s so inspiring! So uplifting. The grass already has a new shade of green peeping up, just from the overnight moisture. I can’t wait to put on those lovely purple galoshers and head out to see how the transplants are doing. Or maybe today is a red galoshers day?

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Well, life took a detour one paragraph in, and I got distracted by a two and a half hour phone call. How blessed am I that I can just stop my day and take two and a half hours to just visit with one of my closest friends? This wasn’t a catching up call. We have been close since just out of high school, but I guess today we had some real stuff to chat about. Such an uplifting conversation, and while I started this post thinking about my blessings, they have just been highlighted and uplifted in this conversation that leaves me feeling invigorated about this blessed life I am living. My friend and I have grown together, raised kids together from different states, and just become who we are as individuals, together, over the years. We have had ups and downs, as any friendship will, but we stand the test of time through the good and the bad. As we both embark on new adventures this season, it is so refreshing to have a close friend, one who has seen it all, and see’s the great possibilities that the future holds for each of us. We are blessed to enjoy the little things and cry over the pain together, and she belongs on my list of things I am most thankful to be blessed with.

And now my husband is calling from his lunch break. How blessed am I to have such a fantastic man in my life? And that he has a fantastic job? And that on his short, half hour lunch break, it is me he is thinking of? Seriously, I can find blessing in abundance everywhere right now. I have a lovely adult teen son, who has never been in trouble in his life. I hear his voice coming from his room and am filled with gratitude for my family.

I have this lovely pack of pets, all very well behaved. Totally and completely in love with me. Three awesome rescue dogs, and two lovely cats. Also rescues. It is a blessing to be able to provide a safe, stable environment, for all of them. They are getting old. Every one of them has more than ten years of life lived, and its such a delight to see them still in good health and full of abundant energy for this wonderful Spring day.

While I was talking on the phone excitedly with my friend, about all the doors that seem to be opening and what ideas I have for the immediate future, the sun managed to burn off most of the clouds. Now it is damp, fresh, cool, crisp, bright, and sparkly out there. I wandered through quickly. Didn’t even bother with the purple galoshers. Everything has so much more green than it had yesterday! I found more asparagus popping up. In just a few short weeks we will be eating from the garden again. Oh sweet, Heavenly relief!

All this dwelling on blessings really hit hard last night. I was watching a recorded episodes of “Live free or die” and perusing YouTube videos of Glacier National Park all at once. Glacier National Park is to date, my favorite place on the planet. I think we are due an adventure up there soon. Thinking about taking a long weekend to head up to Glacier really got me thinking how blessed I am to live in this beautiful “last best place”. A place where wild still exists, and the race is just a bit slower than the rest of the country. I spent time reflecting on the fact that I am surrounded by beauty at every turn, but moreso, that I am just a short drive from both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Two of the most unique, amazing places that I have ever been are right in my back yard. That thought is what really got me thinking about the abundance of blessings in my life, and that thought got those blessings flooding my mind to a point of near overwhelm.

At the same time that I was browsing videos of Glacier and daydreaming about a road trip, I heard one of the “Live free or die” cast members start to talk about his relationship with fire. He was talking about how the majority of the population has no relationship with fire, and how they rely on it for daily life. How the majority of people’s relationship with fire consists of turning on a burner on the stove to cook dinner, if they even cook at all. For a moment, I considered that his off grid life has him so disconnected, that he doesn’t even realize that fire is a major component of plenty of peoples lives, and it started to sink in that he was indeed correct. I just happen to live differently from most people. I have a relationship with fire. I rely on fire to warm my home. I wake up to cold mornings and the first thing I do is start my fire. Before coffee. Before dogs get a potty. First, get the fire started. And it made me realize that I am coming along in this dream for a simpler, less rat raced life. I am not off grid. I am not at the level of simplicity that he is, but I am headed that direction, and again, perspective on how blessed my life is.

So, here I sit. Blessed beyond comprehension. I have this bountiful life. I have land around me, and a gorgeous horizon full of snowy mountain peaks. I have this lovely handful of pets distributed around my feet as I sit here writing my thoughts to share with whoever feels compelled to read them. I have a nice, juicy roast in the bean pot in the oven, and boy do I love my bean pots. I could write a whole post on them alone. If you ever get a chance to try one, don’t hesitate. They are fantastic. I have a delightful child who consistently makes me proud, in the next room, and a darling hubby who takes time out of working his tail off to provide for us, taking a moment to message me from work, just to say “Hi, how are you today?”

I have fully equipped and ready to stock beehives. I have a grand vegetable garden getting ready to start producing for the year. I have some of the freshest, cleanest well water that you could imagine. I live next to a river and get to watch birds of prey hunt over the pasture out my bay window. I have abundance! My house is warm. My closet is full. There is a big, hearty chunk of meat in the oven, and a hugely satisfying pot of soup on the stove to go with it.

I have Faith.

And, I am about to embark on yet another new adventure. My blessings can only grow with each new adventure, and already I am blessed with bounty that I never imagined for myself. Hard to believe I get to keep growing that bounty, but oh so exciting!! I am ready for this adventure. I am excited to walk through the coming days with my eyes and ears wide open. I can not wait to see what is next! I look forward to experiencing each moment. Isn’t that a blessing in itself? The excitement to experience each moment. I am thankful to see my blessings. I am thankful that I am not on a constant hamster wheel, trying to get more, more, more. Insight that I am not confined to that social structure may perhaps be the best blessing of all.

Often I hear people express that they would love a lifestyle like mine, but…..

but. can’t. won’t.

It makes me want to convince them that they can, while feeling a sense of sadness that my words are falling on deaf ears, because in their mind they have “but, can’t, won’t” for every statement I make. I know that it is a simple reorganization of priorities. The ability to look at your obstacles and brainstorm a way around them. Life is about the choices you make. I choose a simple, country life, but because I choose a simple, country life, I don’t choose the latest vehicle upgrade or the fanciest name brand clothes, and my cell phone might be going on three years old now. My laptop from which I write this post, has quirks that cause my cursor to jump all over the page, randomly, and I often have to delete and retype my words multiple times. I take time to download digital coupons to my grocery card, because those savings add up pretty fast and food is exorbitantly expensive. I cook my food, almost all of it, at home. I don’t keep up with the rat race, and it doesn’t occur to me, until someone who finds my way of life foreign, questions a factor.

I have this fabulously dependable little SUV that I purchased for six thousand dollars, eleven years ago. This was a particularly rough day for her, but she pulled through. I love that little beast. She is quirky, and she knows when someone that isn’t me gets behind her wheel. If you aren’t gentle with her, she locks up on you. She won’t let the key out of the ignition, or she refuses let you shift out of “Park” until you give her a friendly, loving jiggle. Countless times, my husband has looked at me with a sigh and said “I need you to get the key”. I don’t know why, but she usually lets go right away for me. A quirky, but dependable car, she has never failed to get me where I am going. Not. Once. Ever. She has taken me on long, winding, mountain drives. She has bounced in the mud off the beaten path in deep mountain terrain. She has rolled off the interstate at a mere twenty miles an hour, for over 15 miles, flashing her check engine light the entire way, but she never stops till she gets me to a safe place. She is paid for. Completely paid for. She qualifies for permanent registration. She has cheap auto insurance. And she is dependable. She is big enough to hold all of my pets, and has a high enough clearance on her to deal with some of the worst roads. She stood strong when a dodge Ram slid through an icy intersection and crashed smack into her front bumper, leaving me with not even a sore muscle to complain of. I really am thankful for this dependable little car.

I have never had anything but appreciation for this little car. And then one day, I went to an event. An old neighbor, and dear friend, invited us to an annual Fourth of July celebration. I had seen her every single year for this event, for the entirety of our relationship, but a few years ago, I pulled up in front of her house, and her response was the strangest thing. She got a quizzical look on her face, and said to me “Oh. your still driving that thing?”

She wasn’t being rude. She wasn’t being condescending. She was just genuinely shocked that I would still be driving this car. I replied “Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”  and later that night it started to sink in. What is surprising about driving an older, dependable, paid for car? It is not in terrible shape, it is not a rust bucket. It has a bit of hail damage, but nothing horrendous.

Not long after that I had a similar experience with a client. I was giving him a ride to town. He had noticed that we own three older vehicles, none in terrible shape, but all old enough to qualify for permanent registration for several years now. We also own an old truck that we only really use for big jobs. As we were riding, he asks me, first, if he can clean my car for me for ten bucks, to which I said no. And then he went on to ask me why we didn’t trade in all of our “old, crappy cars” for a nice new one.

I giggle as I think of my response to him. The furthest answer from the truth, but how could I explain my entire philosophy of frugality to an adult teen child from a fairly well off family, living the epitome of the race? I said “you just asked me if you could clean this car for ten bucks, why would I want a brand new car for my pets and family to make filthy with hair and mud?”

It left him silent, but the two incidents, so close together, really shined a light on something about myself that I hadn’t really seen yet.

I don’t care.

I don’t care that I have the shiniest, trendiest new car. I care to have the peace of a sturdy, dependable car, that is paid for. It is wonderful to not have to rely on a bus to get me to the grocery store. I don’t care, if I get out of that car, and you think my jeans aren’t cool enough or that my purple galoshers don’t match my red hoodie. I don’t care at all that I no longer fit into this society by the standards of this society. I am not in this race, and I have no desire to beat anyone to the finish line. I am here to stroll through the adventure, stopping to smell the roses and enjoy the finer things in life. The blessing that is no car payment. The blessing that is comfort in my own skin. The blessing that is embracing who I am, finding a way to exit the race, and being happy to meander along, participating at a pace that allows me to enjoy the abundant gift of life.

I love the blessing to think for myself. To make decisions based on my understanding of a situation, and not because it is what society and my peers expect of me. It is too high pressure trying to live a life where others expectations are the goals you aim for, and today I reflect on the blessing that is me embracing me. In all my eccentric glory, I am simply grateful to be alive, and living an abundant lifestyle that suits me perfectly. I hope each and every one of you finds that kind of blessing and abundance in your lives. I hope with all of my heart that every one of you learns how to be their most abundant self, and experiences it to it’s fullest while on this Earth. Until next time my friends, don’t forget to embrace life in true authenticity. These are the moments that will matter most. Now go enjoy something simple!

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The vision

IMG_1088Good Morning my friends! Today I wanna talk about my “vision board”. I put it in quotes because for some reason that I haven’t quite identified yet, the term “vision board” is not quite comfortable for me, but I have not found the word that is, nor the reason for my discomfort with the prior. Whatever the case, it has made a profound impact on my daily approach and I want to share that with you.

I have this giant list of passions. I feel that life is too short to possibly fit all the things I want to experience in, and I have much to accomplish in this lifetime. Some of those things are optional, if I get to them, but most feel critical, before I die I must achieve as many as possible. I find that I have so many passions, that I often get caught up in one and neglect the rest, or I lose myself in daydreams about what the future will look like once I accomplish them. Its self defeating and I had to find a way to overcome it. I have been struggling with balancing my time as I work from home, try to manage the home, and start a non profit. I have Bible studies to do and beads to string and quilts to sew. I have a garden to plant and a home to maintain. I have a homestead to work on, and a start up non profit that serves several niches of people and animals that have slipped through the cracks. I have a book to write about healing and joy. I have a family and lovely handful of pets to remember not to neglect while I chase my dreams. There is no shortage of passion in my life.

The problem of having the dreams and goals of ten people, is that it can become quite difficult to prioritize, balance, and stay on track to accomplishing them all. For some time, I made giant lists. Every night. Hundreds of to-do’s. My goal was never to cross them all off in one day. I would do what I could, then redo the list each night before bed and start again the following day. The problem was that this list was never done. Ever. There was a grand lack of satisfaction with this list. Being ill for a few months has made it nearly impossible to imagine tackling a list that size, and I just ran out of will power for these lists. So, I started a new kind of list. Instead of writing what I wanted to get done, I started keeping a list of things I had achieved that day. This was brilliant. My family gets my evenings. All of them. I put away the computer, make dinner, forego any unresolved chores for the day, and just spend a few hours with them. It is a priority that fell naturally into place and when hubby sits down after work and says “how was your day?” I have a direct answer for him. I don’t forget to tell him things that I wanted to share, my list makes this time of evening so much more satisfying and pleasant. It gives me freedom to see all I have done this day and to set aside anxieties about productivity and just enjoy my family.

Still, I struggled with staying on task. I found myself looking for a quick fix,  feeling impatient about the longings of my life, and looking for an answer in daydreams. Simply longing to be doing it now, instead of what I was doing, would send me into an unproductive cycle of daydreaming instead of doing. And so comes the “vision board”. January rolled around. I was aware of this cycle of daydreaming that was holding me back. I was aware of the lack of balance in my scheduling each day, and I was desperately seeking a solution to both. Looking inside and outside of the box, under every flap, I just kept coming up empty.

I don’t make New Years Resolutions. I think that is just self defeating. If I want to make a change that badly, it should not depend on the day of the year I did something and I should not make a goal just to say I did something for New Years. I have never been a conformist. Maybe resolving not to make New Years Resolutions is just my subconscious way of fighting needless conformity. I really don’t know. But, I needed a change. Somewhere along the line I learned about these vision boards. I had always been skeptical. I mean, how could simply putting your dreams on a board really affect the outcome? Well, I  decided to give it a try. I was so sick and it was New Years week. With the holidays over and everyone returning to work, it was a good time to give this a shot. I took my time. I had a lot to organize. Just tossing it all up there on a board wasn’t gonna help any. I made a list (because we all know I need lists at this point). I drew a sketch of how I wanted to lay out that list on the board, so things could overlap and priorities could be made with the size of each section in mind. It ended up looking like a big sun, so I went with it.

And then I started my board. I got out all the scrapping materials I might want to use. I found a perfect sized piece of cardboard and I covered it with pretty paper. I put my sections on with “rays” of sun. I had eight sections in total. In the middle of it all, the center of the sun, I glued a big picture of a beautiful dream home. The rest of my goals went into the sections surrounding the center. They consisted of the following categories: God. Writing. Sewing. Crafting/Creating. Gardening. Livestock. Food preservation. And Business development,  for both my husband and I. For the next several days, I tediously cut, pasted and organized these dreams into a picture of a truly satisfying sense of my passions. Many times it just felt like I was doing more of the precious time wasting, daydreaming and longing. Making a collage of my dreams rather than chasing them. Thankfully, I was sick enough to allow it, since I couldn’t really do anything else, and the “vision board” came to fruition.

I set that board in a prominent place in my living room where I have no choice but to look at it daily. I can not believe the change! I don’t really know how to explain it, but my life looks completely different, in just three short months, and I won’t let you forget that I have been sick for the duration of it. Sicker than I have ever been, for longer than I have ever been, and still my productivity is at the strongest it has ever been. The change blows my mind. I still manage to keep the simplified pace of life that I have worked so hard to create for myself, and in many ways, this board helped to further that goal of slowing it down. My house is cleaner than it has ever been. My garden and yard are getting the care that I always want to give them, but struggle to consistently maintain. I have balanced my responsibilities between all of the dreams and goals that I have prioritized right now. I am making more progress on all of them, consistently, than I ever have before. Like everybody, I have household chores ‘nemesis’, and those are even all caught up. I find extra time for purging and decluttering, and I still have as much, if not more, down time, than ever before. My stress level is lower, and I can’t remember the last time I wasted time daydreaming on stuff I could be doing. My family has noticed, my friends have noticed. I have to be honest, that board changed my life. I was so skeptical, but I gave it a shot. I am so thankful that I did. I can’t imagine having made it this far, this fast, without it. Especially with all this mucous clogging up my brains. It keeps me on task. It reminds me. I have things to do. I have heights to reach. I can’t stop now. It helps me find the ambition to just get up and spend ten minutes on one thing, when I just really don’t want to do the tedious right now. Then ten minutes more, and ten more. Before I know it, my list of “have done’s” for the day is always satisfying by the time hubby gets home. Dinners are earlier and family time is more appreciated. I spend alot less time nagging at my family for help, and simply state the one or two things that I need them to do. The difference is astounding. I will continue to make a new board each year as my dreams are achieved and evolve. I will recommend it to my friends, and if you are even a little intrigued, I seriously recommend you try it. What do you have to lose? I lost alot. I lost a big chunk of unproductivity. I lost a huge pile of clutter. I lost the mess that used to embarrass me each time someone came in. I lost the big pile of clean, unfolded clothes that were always so hard for me to get to. I lost the neurotic, unorganized feeling. I lost a whole lot. The things that replaced the stuff I lost are exactly what I was looking for.

Are you ready to start your vision board? How can I help you? No matter what you do, have fun with it. Do a good job. You need it to motivate and inspire you so you aren’t compelled to waste time looking for motivation and inspiration elsewhere. I would love to see what you come up with!

Peace and satisfaction (or daydreams of my ranch)

Hey Friends!

It has been so long! So much has happened, and so many details, that are just really not worth it. I am finally feeling the drive to write again. Lately it has been tough. Been angry about my little friends cancer, frustrated with my current home situation, and looking to get this rescue ranch off the ground. I have had a myriad of epiphanies, and we are so close to moving forward. Things are great with my family, but we are dying to move into a ranch where we can expand the business. Our current home is a money pit, it sucks so much from us in upkeep, we cant seem to save a penny to move forward. Its coming though. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The finances may finally be there for us. I had a big week of epiphanies that I am not trying to start a business. The business has been operating for quite some time now, I am just looking to expand it to a larger venue. That was a pretty big day for me.

I am fighting illness. Have had the flu twice since Christmas, and now what appears to be pneumonia. I am treating it with homeopathics and I feel quite a bit better. I am on a one track mindset to get this ranch up and running, I can see, smell, hear, feel, and taste every aspect of it. I have daydreams of in-laws at Christmas and kids in the yard. I can smell the woodstove and see the beautiful rows of jars stacked up all neatly in my pantry. Images of orchard trees dance in my head. I see rows and rows of beautiful raised beds full of tomatoes and peppers and every other veggie I can think of. I hear the cluck cluck of the chics as I take them their scraps, and I hear the hooves of horses hurrying to the barn for their grain.

I smell the dew on the early morning ground, and the coffee and breakfast in the kitchen. I see people milling around, a safe place, a social and joyous place. I look forward to feeding the masses on a big ole ranch table.

I can hear the music of the farm, wafting in the background, as I meander through my daily routines, and greet my various wards of the day. I can hear the whir of the dehydrator, and the chirp of the birds, meshing to make one beautiful song.

I look forward to the simplicity of growing my veggies, all of them, not to mention it is the end of January, and I have gardening on the brain any way.

I am making a cough syrup. No science to it really, just honey, onion, garlic, cayenne, and ginger, simmered till the onions are soft and strained. it sounds surprisingly delightful. Some say honey loses some of its health value when cooked slowly, others say it enhances it. i am not really sure either way, but I don’t know how else to infuse it quickly, so I may just try making the non cooked version over the next couple weeks, and compare. The non cooked version is impractical for immediate relief of illness. I have illness now.

As far as RMRR goes, I have made tons of headway, and going down in the next week or two to register the business officially. I have a functional business plan, a beautiful logo,and I am working with a realtor looking for a contract for deed place that we can start off in. The realtor thought that with my mission we could find someone willing to do contract for deed, which would not only guarantee a few years of rent go to the principle on my home, but also that we wold not have to move the business in three or four years when we are ready to buy. That would be ideal, here’s hoping we can work it out. It would also be in the best interest of a seller with an empty house that is not moving, as they would be generating some income off the property in the meantime.

My thoughts move swiftly these days, and now I am onto envisioning a huge sunflower patch for the birds. I never had an interest in growing flowers, till it dawned on me that they are functional, more than just pretty. So many flowers, so many uses. This dream of mine is so close to reality, it gets hard to breath sometimes. SO very soon, I will be able to say “I did it” all buy myself, as a single mom with a special needs child, I made my dreams come true. Its breathtaking to think about.

I remember fondly, how great it felt to be working hard on the ranch. It is my goal to feel as good as I did then, with the added benefit   of knowing why my child is so unique to boot. I worked hard, had great muscle structure, ate well, slept well, went to bed exhausted, with the satisfaction of putting in a good, honest, hard days work. I was hungry at mealtime, and tired at bedtime. My body felt good from working hard day in and day out, doing things that I loved to be doing. I love the way ranch life stays the same on a basic level, but changes so fluidly from day to day. One day fences, the next a paint job. It’s never dull or boring. Always something new. Such a simple sense of satisfaction in knowing you spent the day tending Gods Earth and feeding His animals. Such a great sense of achievement when you tuck the animals in for the night, make sure the gates are all closed up tight and the tomatoes got enough water. The quiet that surrounds you as you prepare to bed down for the night, the sound of the coyotes in the distance the you know your animals are protected from. It is so rewarding and peaceful. Such a great sense of simple satisfaction overwhelms, as one drifts off into deep, restful slumber, knowing full well that in a few short hours, it all starts again.

I long for winter days in front of the sewing machine, the smell of a roast slowly baking in the oven. Its all so close I can feel it, and I am at peace for the moment. It has been a long journey, getting this piece of peace, but it is a wonderful and satisfying feeling. I truly look forward to sharing the adventures to come with you. In the meantime, have a blessed evening. Rest well.

 

 

 

 

Ahhh, my friends, Fall is here. Well, this feels more like Winter, quite frankly. It has been snowing almost all week, and been quite beautiful at that. I have enjoyed every single flake that I have seen fall. There is so much going on, and I have been absent this last few days, but I found a moment to take a deep breath, and so, here I am. I had my eye on a place, and was feeling quite apprehensive about it, despite the fact that it was perfect for our needs. I had asked for them to work with me on a move in date, for Dec. 1, but she really wanted to rent it by Nov. 1. I knew we would not be ready by then, so I told her that if it was available on Dec. 1 we would take it, and if not, we would find something else. Today, I very apprehensively checked the rentals section, afraid that I would be devastated if it had been rented. Much to my surprise, when I looked and it was not there, I felt a huge sense of relief. Not only do I not have to worry about coming up with nearly 4000 dollars for December 1, but the Holidays are a terrible time to move, and ideally, January 1, would be a great move in date. I don’t believe in New years resolutions, but I do believe in new beginnings, and how fitting would it be to start the rescue ranch the first of the new year? Shocked and overwhelmed at the sense of relief that I have, waiting till January First, and oh, how pleased my husband will be to find that we dont have to move during the holidays. I have until January first to tie up some loose ends, and that is also a huge relief, plus, I just cannot packing this place up in a month, I just cannot fathom doing that, on top of everything else I am doing. We have a spay/neuter event on Nov. 10, that I am an on the planning committee for, and I have a potluck for my little friend with cancer tomorrow. I also have all this RMRR stuff I am trying to do, and a cancer awareness cookbook, and a few other fundraising type things. Good heavens. I feel like never in my life have I been attracted to technology, but never in my life, have I wanted a piece of equipment so badly. I feel a need to buy a tablet. Silly, I know. I have three different committees that I am on, a lot of meetings that I go to, and clients that I need to be able to bill on the go, and I am feeling like a tablet would go a long way in helping me organize it all, and keep it portable. I also have my Bible study to move forward on and well…its all a lot of details, really. Needless to say, I have been busy. Very, very busy. I definitely feel that it would be a business expense, but I am saving every penny, so I can get us into a ranch. I have made do with paper and pen this far in my life, never even really wanted anything but paper and pen, but dang, my binder has a lot of stinkin sections…its not very portable anymore, and well…you see where I am going with this. Anyway, I just might do it. Have to talk it over with the hubby, but I think it makes actual sense.

I have a lot on my mind with three non profits on my plate, and one just waiting in the wings for me to make time for them. I have business licenses and other connections to make. I have a whole lot of details going on. I am trying to do many, many things with my time, and my brain cannot see a list. It sees three lists, swirling around atop and below each other. A tornado of lists, if I may. I have tried to list them all, but the papers just stack up and I cant remember what I have written and what I still need. How do I get all of these details organized?

Once I get the three non-profits organized, I reach a place where I start thinking past them, to what comes after the event is established, and again find myself with a barage of details. Primarily with RMRR. I feel that as soon as I find a place, I need to start planning the respite and foster programs. I need to have everything in place for those to start right away, I need to plan the gardens and farmers market programs, quickly, cause planting is in march, at least for seed sets. I need to plan the RMRR store, and resource programs quickly also. Chickens won’t be far off, once spring rolls around it will be time to get them going. It feels like the next six months is going to be a blur, and yet, I have been waiting so long for this  that I am just as thrilled and patient as can be. Mostly, I am probably just too overwhelmed to be impatient. I can only assume God is using this opportunity to teach me how to juggle the many non-profit programs of my own that I intend to build. I finally found the courage today to make a phone call that I have been dreading. Nothing scary about it at all, I just couldn’t make myself call. Feels good to have faced that beast, and it turned out to be the kitten I thought it would be. Phew, check one more big one off the list.

I have this series of ideas I want to blog about. I learned a lot in therapy, and I think that a lot of people would be alot happier, if only they could grasp a few of these concepts. I also have some ideas about God and the Bible that I would like to share, some unique perspectives, I suppose. I feel as though I should do a “therapy” series. Maybe a “God” series. I certainly feel as though I should blog about some of the more important lessons I learned. A post specifically about being a “special needs mommy”. I always talk about my special needs child,a nd my special needs clients, but never do I talk about the ways in which I relate with these children, and I would like to explore the dynamic that happens when you learn just how easy it can be to “mentor” a special needs child when you understand treating people as individuals and letting go of expectations. I want to post about blame, and shame, and how we all like to think its “mom’s fault”. I would like to blog about shame, expectations, and codependency. I want to talk about the tools we have, and the “lizard brain”, or amygdala. I want to share a concept that was shared with me, and one that I heard someone repeat the concept to, in a very simple way, and how we all have different perceptions. I want to write a letter to all of the folks that I know who are fighting and fighting against simple, honest, real answers. To those who refuse to see whats in front of them, to the “can’t, won’t, but” folks out there. I want to make a plea for Jesus Christ, to those who have been shown, in such a misrepresentative way, what bits and pieces of the Bible say. I want to do so without condemning any organized religion. I want to talk about what it means to love Jesus,and quite frankly, a tiny bit of the anger of the denomination I was primarily raised in, well, that comes through, and I don’t wish to offend anyone. I want to talk to you about health, food, exercise, and a natural way of life, the way God intended.  So much I want to talk with you all about. Where does one start? What do you all want to read about? What are you curious about? Well, friends. Today, you can see, my mind is in a flurry. There is much that wants out, and the avenues for release are scarce at the moment. Until next time my friends…may your thoughts be organized and your days be blessed!

Movin’ right along

So, I made myself this ridiculous list, you know, best case scenario, everything I would like to have done before I leave. What I would like to come home to. So far, I have shocked myself and completed the ridiculous list two nights in a row now. Wonderful! I feel a bit like bragging today. My mom is always telling me that I have the best dogs she has ever met. I kinda laugh, and think to myself, “she must not know any REALLY good dogs, like a working dog”. I have met some really good dogs in my time. Regardless, the point here is that I am so proud of my mutts this afternoon. I bathed them often when they were younger, but it has been quite some time since I have subjected them to any bathing aside from the quick, cold well-water bath when they roll in a stinky fresh cow-pie. Today, they had to have baths to travel this week. Mom’s house is not located on a ranch, and she would not be thrilled with stinky dogs, and my car is clean, I don’t want stinky dogs either (they really aren’t very stinky dogs, or they woulda had a bath). My point…let me get back to it. I asked them who wanted to go first, and Buttercup stepped right up. She followed me to the bathroom, and when I clicked my fingers above the tub and said good girl, come on, she climbed right in. She proceeded to tolerate the bath with her tail between her legs. She stayed, I didn’t even have to close the bathroom door, not once, through all three dogs. Oh so proud. I then dried her off and asked who was next. Moon sat so pretty in front of me, ears down, nose up, like he was just saying “I can be a good dog mom, let me show you”. So, same thing, One click and a command and in he went. terrified. His legs shook while I massaged and bathed him. I am extra careful not to traumatize them with wild face washing. He also, stayed the entire time. They finished up, and the little dog, the one I thought for sure would make me chase him down, wrestle him in, close the door, and hold him there, starts barking at me, like “don’t forget me”. One more time, same command, same action. So proud of these three. So flattered that despite the fear they each obviously exhibited, each one trusted me on the first command, each one stayed put covered in suds and water when I asked them to. Such good doggies! I am proud of them, as you can clearly see. And, a little surprised. I thought for sure one of them would give me resistance, instead, each of them took their turn, and then jumped back in on the next guys turn. Good Mutts!

They are so cute when they get out of the bath, all fresh and frisky, they wanna run around rubbing on anything they can find, and they are excited, maybe cause they just got a full body massage and one on one praise from alpha for the last twenty minutes? All I know is that they are like children on a playground after the bath, and that they are so dang proud of themselves! Brings me joy!

I am moving right along on my lists.  Bathing the dogs was a big one! Glad its done. House is nearly clean, laundry nearly done, dishes, well, you know dishes. Last night I harvested a half a ton of raspberries. Well, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but dang, there were an overwhelming number of them. Had a very interesting conversation with a friend who is a new believer and being convicted to the core. I love watching that happen! Also had to control an urge to bite when a good and trusted friend attacked Christians publicly on facebook. On my fingers, I angrily started ticking off answers to her rant. 1 Blah blah blah. 2. Blah blah blah…you get the point. I got to seven before I calmed down. I never answered on facebook, but I did tell her I would like to talk to her about it in person. I decided that I had to journal about it, and get the angry, defensive, me in check, and handle it much more diplomatically than just checking off points at her, and accusing her of being as judgmental as the people she is accusing. It threw me for a loop, because she is one of my closest friends. Ugh! The beauty of my close friendships is that the best ones include honesty and candidness, so it will be fine I am sure.

As the responsibilities I need to tackle before we leave wind down, and departure time nears, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I am excited. I have some gypsy in my soul, and my feet haven’t wandered so far in a long time. I have been quite settled for many years now, and a nice long trip out on the open road is long overdue. I am thrilled to be going to see my mom, don”t get me wrong, but at this moment in time, the thing I can’t get over is how excited I am to hear the road under my wheels, to smell the changes in the air as we move from one climate to the next, on through it, and into another one. I am in anticipation over what my now nearly grown son will think of some of the landmarks that he was too young to comprehend the last time we were through there. Oh, how I am looking forward to the experience of the road nearly as much as I am looking forward to sitting on mom’s couch, enjoying her company, and watching the mutts frolic in the backyard with her little mini aussie.

Lots to do, I better head off here, and get my behind movin. Many blessings, friends!

Spay/Neuter satisfaction

WooHoo! With two vets today, we managed to spay and neuter a hundred and one animals. We worked hard, it was hot, and everyone was fighting the crabbiness that sets in when heat swelters around you for so many days on end, but we kept a generally positive attitude, through all of the challenges that come with organizing an event like this. Lets face it, you cannot fix that many animals in one day without a few challenges, and today was particularly challenging, but oh man, it is oh so rewarding to go home and think of all the animals that we helped today. Their people are so gracious, most of the time. I could go on and on about my feelings about the different types of pet owners, but maybe not today. What I will say today though, is that I am particularly thankful for pet owners who are patient and compassionate. I am thankful for the ones who are happy to help in any way they can, but I am especially thankful for the ones who are happy to sit there as long as their pet needs to sit. Some people are pulling and tugging their doped up dogs across the floor trying to force their legs to work despite the Ketamine. Some people insist that there is just no way their dog can ride in the front of the car on the way home, some insist all kinds of weird stuff. but most are happy to learn, have questions, want to know what their dogs are going through, and are patient and kind. Those are my very favorite people! Most are thankful. Most are grateful. Most go away with a smile and a gracious thank you. Some do not, but it makes the rest so much easier to appreciate. I love when it feels good to thank them for coming. I love knowing how much difference we made today. I have my hang ups, but this is neither the time nor the place. I do look forward to being in charge of my own stuff in the future more often. The cancer benefit I did for my girl, well, after some time pondering on it, I became blatantly aware of of how generous this community is, and how much I am capable of, and I look forward to being able to pull off events that are as organized at that one was.   One thing I am very pleased about is my wonderful set of volunteers. I have managed to establish a very dependable set of volunteers, who know what they are supposed to be doing and where they belong.  It took years to do, but I am proud of them. I realized that it was a product of being able to weed out the names that are on every volunteer list and call them first for every event. I invited one of them to join the committee tonight. I need help, and that is all there is to it.  Any way you look at it, todays event was fabulous, and I walked away with a great sense of satisfaction, and a strong desire to come home and work on my own non profit programs. Tomorrow.

Today, I am beat. I am tired. I have nothing very sensible to say. I am hot and sticky and I am replaying the event over and over in my head. I have a bunch of details I am hung up on and I really should be writing in my journal so I can put them behind me. Some of the negatives of the event are weighing heavy on me and I need to find a productive way to process them and decide what to do with them. Do I file them away, and continue, or do I remember them, move on in my life, and give this project to someone else? I am pretty sure I am not ready to move on yet. I really love this job. Even on a volunteer basis, I cannot imagine not getting to be in there, recovering all those dogs. It is all worth it for the ten hours I spend recovering and caring for incapacitated dogs. I would pay someone to let me do that…so, I can’t imagine walking away from this opportunity, so I need to figure out how to deal.

I am very thrilled that this event has passed. Some basic clean up stuff tomorrow, return coffee pots, the van, meds, etc. I am ready to wrap it up and call it done, and move forward with this very short, hot summer. I look forward to going to see my mom, but now that the event has passed, its a mere week and a half away, and wow! That is quick. I have a lot to do before I go. Especially if I want to come back and find a ranch asap. All of a sudden my brain is flooded with a whole new series of thoughts. I cannot wait to see my mom. I am looking forward to the fact that we have nothing planned. I love the idea of sitting next to her pond and putting my feet up while the dogs romp and play, and of course, my son will love it in grammas big ole backyard, with trees he can climb and a pond he can play in. Oh it will be so relaxing. No running around, no tourism, just chillin at moms! yay! I love that my mother and I have reached that wonderful place. It takes some mom/daughter teams a lifetime. Some never master it, but my mom…hands down my best friend! It was not so long ago that that was not true. I remember very clearly when my therapist looked at me and said “Oh, it’s always mom’s fault”. She was very condescending. I doubt she meant to be, but wether she was going through something of her own, or just calling it like it is, it stung. She was partially right, and partially wrong. Some stuff simply was moms fault. The big difference between then and now, is that I have learned that mom worked with the tools she had, just like every other person on the planet, and well, what else can I say? Can’t really not forgive a person for anything when you realize that. She did the best she could. She did all she knew how, and even through her failures, she still only wanted what was best for us, even if she didn’t know how to get it or even what it was. I realize now that she never loved anyone like she loved her children, just like every mother. I realize she had a shame platform, much like my own, and as I healed mine, I saw hers unfold in front of me and every “mistake” I ever thought she made, made some sort of sense. I realized that I took stuff personal that she was not even aware she was doing, and now, I realize its not personal, and ask her if it is a behavior she is aware of. It is lovely! We are honest and candid with each other, on a deep and trusting level, for the first time ever, and in the last five years. It makes me feel joyous inside! I look forward to going home, to say the least, but really only want to see my mom. I suppose I have friends who will be angry, or have hurt feelings, if I don’t call them. I will try my best to be a good friend, but I am really going to see mom. She is sick, and feels like crap. Aside from the fact that my brother lives in Wisconsin, neither my brother or sister is really a “nurturer” type. There are things that would help her, that she just doesn’t have the energy to do for herself, and I can run some errands for her, pick up some health food supplements, you know simple stuff. Help with laundry, dinner, and some vacuuming. Whatever I can help with will make me happy, even if it seems like menial tasks, because I know how exhausting the menial can be when you are broken.

Ok, I think my brain is drained. I need to go wash off this sticky. My boys almost asleep, mutts are fed and pottied, and I think it is safe to hop in the shower and forget about it for a minute. Many blessings, my friends.

The time has come…

The time has come for so many things…

I struggle to write this week. I am a positive person. I don’t dwell on the negatives, and I see the best in the darkest of situations. That is why I struggle to write. The times we live in have brought me to a harsh realization that the end of life as we know it is here. I don’t jump on Y2K or 2012 bandwagons. I have never had a doomsayer attitude, but I feel a sense of heaviness as we move into this period. It is a bittersweet feeling, as I also feel a sense of relief that Jesus will do a great job with the Earth, however, I had a scare today that shook me a little. I have been in this place where I am desperately aware of how bad our food source has become, I am aware of the distinct changes in the weather patterns and the amount of disease around me is at an all time high. I have never known so many people with so many mysterious illnesses. I am blatantly aware of the police state we are currently living in (although most Americans have no idea that we are in this place), and I am growing more conscious daily of the “revelations” around me. I want to discuss all of this, yet how do I, for fear of being labeled a doomsayer.

The time has come for Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch. It is here and we are so close to being ready to get started on that adventure. The savings account is almost to a place that allows us to step outside of our small, restrictive, but owned home, and into a rental that is going to cost us a WHOLE LOT more than our current home does. An overwhelming, intimidating, amount. I pray for the perfect rental, that has what we need to do the work that God has in mind for us. I pray that I can stay focused on His will and not get to caught up in my own excitement. Oh, how I pray, that He sees horses in my life! I am so excited about the prospect of having a huge garden and some chickens next spring! I am watching my little container garden grow thinking of what I can do with a real chuck of garden. Oh the daydreams I have for a garden when we buy a ranch. Meanwhile, I will be happy to care for someone elses ground as it exists for a while.

The time has come for me to get my self esteem up off the floor and start selling some of my homemade goods. People like them and my self esteem is the only thing holding me back.

The time has come for me to do the work that was intended of me. I see my self from a very different perspective now. I see some of my special qualities coming out, when it is happening. I see the skills He has given me, and the gifts and blessings, on a daily basis. I realize that He takes my dear little friends cancer, and uses it for good in so many lives, and in my life, He used it to show me how much I am capable of…it was quite shocking, still is, and I can see clearly several lessons in it. He used it to show me some of the more important things. Things that I know, but took for granted, like finding time to visit a friend. Realizing that money doesn’t mean ANYTHING in the grand scheme of things, and learning that God blesses the poor. Grasping that concept in a new way. I felt led to start a Womens Bible study, and while nothing profound has happened, I feel like there are several women who are pretty active in the group, which indicates to me that there was a need. I think the gift that surprises me the most is the profound ability to work with kids. Traumatized ones especially. I love kids, always have, but went through a brief period where I was convinced I didnt really care for them. I find it ironic that I now feel compelled to step into almost any situation to soothe a hurting child, parents present or not. I have no problem walking right up, and looking some kid in the face and saying,  “Wow, you seem really frustrated, is there anything I can do to help, or can you see what you are doing to your mom? Try to use your good kid manners for ten more minutes while she gets through the store K?”  Kids just need to be talked to a certain way. We don’t give them enough credit for their ability to make decisions and choices, and we give them way to much credit as far as being resilient. They really do harbor a lot of hurts that we don’t acknowledge from childhood, we just don’t see the results till adulthood, at which time it can be very hard to fix. I find myself consoling upset children in the strangest of places, and when it works, parents look at me like who are you?

It is an odd feeling, but if I made one moment of that child’s life make sense, if only for that moment, I am happy. I never, ever envisioned myself to grow up to be a person whose entire life would be to work with traumatized people and animals and help them heal themselves. Crazy wild blessing. So flattering and humbling all at once. What a gift! I have also learned that parents are only working with the tools that they have, and when I see a parent misbehaving, I have learned to remember that little mantra, and realize they are probably doing a better job than their own parents did with them. We all work with the tools we have. I find that working with traumatized children is very much like working with traumatized animals. We need to move slow, be un-intimidating, but firm and strong. We need to ask their permission and wait for it to be granted to move forward. This can really take a long time sometimes, and other times it comes so fast. The biggest thing the two have in common is that when you “train dogs” to be successful, you don’t really train the dog, you train the handler what kind of body language to use, what kind of control to exhibit and when to let the dog have control. The same holds true for parenting training. You aren’t fixing the kid, you are giving the parents the tools the kids need to thrive, to learn to process and express emotion rather than act out for lack of better way s to express their “pain”. Both animals and children will act out when they do not have a calm alpha. Children need control. Just like adults, they need to know they have some control over their world. They need consequences that fit the “crime”, not punishment. They need to be validated, and told that their feelings are valid and matter, with no ‘but’ attached. Children need to know that they are respected to learn what respect is. They need to make mistakes to learn how to make good choices, that is the reason they are given parents for 18 years of guidance, after all. Screaming at your child and sending him to his room wont fix it, but having a good, sit down one on one discussion about how a particular behavior makes you feel, and finding consequences that fit naturally will stick with them for a lifetime.

How on earth did I get on that tangent? I was thinking about a girl whom I helped the other day. I was at a therapists office. She is the person whom I am licensed under, and I was in her waiting room, when a little girl came in a kicking and screaming and saying NO NO I DON’T WANNA TELL. Her dad kept saying, you wont be in trouble…she just kept screaming louder and louder. After a few minutes, I cautiously stepped out and said something to the effect of I know I am crossing a line here but can I try something. Her dad looked at me like “be my guest”. I opened the conversation with the little girl by asking her if I could ask her a question. She said yes but kept crying. I asked her if she was feeling scared to tell the therapist something. She told me she was and I asked her why. I listened to her answer, she had quit crying before I asked my second question. I got her answers, and reassured her that I could totally understand why she would care so much about what therapist would think. We used names of course, but for privacy, that seems inappropriate here. I also told her, hey, you know what? I have known therapist for almost thirteen years, since my boy was smaller than her, and he was actually bigger than me now and he still loved to come here, and I know a secret about her. She doesn’t get mad at kids. not ever. she helps them understand why they are feeling the way they feel, but she doesn’t even know how to get mad at a kid. By this time the girl was up, playing, smiling, climbing and ready to be there. I told her if she had an more concerns she could come find me, and I went and sat in peace and thought about what had just happened. Her dad seemed so incredibly grateful. I am certain that I made a difference in their day. I have no choice but to thank God for a gift that one day not so long ago I would have sworn I would never have. I recall sitting in Church thinking, Oh please don’t call me to the daycare. I really don’t have much tolerance for kids. Oh how wrong I was. Oh how funny God is!

Hmmm, I started todays post, with an overflowing heart. I have been longing to write for so long, but fear that the end times concerns within me would reflect as negative thinking has held me back. I open up this blog every day planning to write, and cannot  make myself do it. Today, it all comes gushing out. had no intention of talking about kids, at any point in the day did I plan to write about children, or gifts, and yet, here I sit, spilling it all over the keyboard.

A close family member has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, another very close friend, like a nephew, got Kawasaki disease last week. Two girlfriends have gut health issues far worse than mine, and one close friend is allergic to everything, including her own sweat. Not literally, but when she gets hot, her whole body gets covered in purple hives…big, itchy ones. The food source is tainted, and we are all getting sick because of it. I cannot wait until my garden veggies come to fruition. I hate buying veggies in the tore any more, and I rarely crave meat. I am not a vegetarian by any means, i just don’t require a lot of meat for my own tastes. I prefer veggies, and boiled eggs and cheese for protein. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good steak, but they are so heavy and hard for my body to process, that my cravings for them are few and far between. I have found that my body readily accepts soups, any time of day. I assume that is because they are so broken down that I don’t have to work hard to digest it.

I found a great source for beads on the internet and have been on a crafting kick. I am so incredibly thankful to be released from that rest, and creativity is flowing through my veins like the woman I once knew. Now if this darned heat would just break! Gardening is also at the top of my priority list, as well as making sure we have a good “nest egg” ready before we jump into this ranching business.

I could not be more thrilled at the notion of having a foster child. Of giving stability, safety, and comfort, to a child who does not know those things. Oh how I long for that day we get our first foster child. I will cry myself to sleep with tears of gratitude that first night. I have a spay/neuter event that I have not focused enough on, and I am going to be hustling this week to get my volunteers and food put together…

Well, my friends, I suppose I have stolen enough of your time today. Have a blessed day…