Tis’ the season when winning the battle over boredom and the winter times blues proves difficult. I’m sitting by my fireplace, gas logs, gazing out the family room window. What I see is not the least bit impressive. A bare ground except for a few damp, dead leaves scattered here and there. Naked tree tops baring their ugly, bushy twigs resembling Medusa, bend over the fences, taunting me with thoughts of breaking limbs. The grey sky hovering above screams of freezing, cold temperatures. Bleak. So now what?
Win The Battle
The first thing for me to remember is, I’m not trying to win the war at this point, just a battle. So for winning the battle over boredom, I take a few minutes to journal my thoughts through this blog. Next, I look at my hobbies and see if I have any indoor projects I can finish. Yep, I do. I have some crochet projects that are way past due. I also have some reading past due, and writing and the list could go on. Third, I look at what I can do today, instead of dwelling on what I would like to be doing, and do them.
Don’t Wish Your Life Away
I am wowed at how many things lay beyond the surface just waiting to be discovered. I often overlook these things because I get focused on what I wish I could do. I began to understand the meaning of the cliché “wishing my life away.” With that thought, I need to busy myself with these projects so someone else may be blessed with the finished product.
Winning the battle over boredom and the winter time blues seems difficult at first, but keep looking and thinking and take some time to accomplish a small project you have put off, or just enjoy the day with your family. There is nothing wrong or lazy about building some family memories together. Whatever the task at hand, just remember, you are winning the battle and each battle you win brings you closer to conquering the war! Feel free to comment and let me know your strategy for winning! God Bless.
Hello Friends. It’s been a while since I have blogged. I hope this finds you well and forgiving for my lack of attention over the last few months. This year is approaching its end and, for us, its all about a season of change. Funny how change comes, welcomed by some and despised by others. Sometimes it staggers into our lives, like a drunk, leaving us to wonder where it might fall and how long it may stay. Other times it barges through the door, uninvited, demanding its acceptance be immediate. Either way, change is something that happens whether we like it or not, prepared for it or not, and whether we feel we can handle it or not.
My mother sold her house last February and eventually moved into our rental house. It was a need for both her and the house. She needed a place to go, and the house needed renovating. The two have come together nicely. The renovations went as smooth as could be expected and she has adjusted to this area better than she previously thought.
I left my full-time job to be home again. Someone needed to be close to the house, or at least it was my first thought. I didn’t realize I would have a house to renovate. I also didn’t realize my presence would be needed to offer some stability to my in-laws. In the big picture of life we don’t always get to see these things before they become a reality.
It happened on a Sunday night. We knew the day would come, uninvited, no doubt, but nonetheless it would come. It’s a progression of the disease that becomes permanent. My father-in-law was resting in his recliner, as he did daily, and couldn’t get up. It was time for bed, and his legs didn’t work. He couldn’t stand or walk. My husband, with the help of a neighbor, helped him to bed. Just like that, he became bedridden. Wow! Yeah, talk about the change that barges through the door, uninvited, demanding immediate acceptance, here it was staring us in the face.
Now what? You do the best you can with what you have. Pride melts. Your independent attitude gets tossed out the window. No room for that. Then you pick up the phone hoping someone on the other end answers, with answers, to your questions. Then you pray, because you didn’t pause to pray before. Next you accept the help as it comes. You listen to those who offer advice and answers to your questions. Last, you act by putting into place the advice you’ve been given to offer comfort and relief to the one who needs it most.
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disease. It’s a disorder of the central nervous system. It affects the brain’s production of the chemical called dopamine, which is a chemical, that sends signals which control movement. In a nut shell, my father-in-law’s disease sent him plummeting into a state of limited mobility which continues to get worse. This became our reality last week. Keep our family in your prayers.
Joy is the one thing, the Christmas season brings, which cannot be exchanged or refunded. I will cling to mine over any perishable gift I may receive. Seasons like these make the true meaning of Christmas becomes a little more clear. The truth moves into focus. As we look through the lens of the world’s best gifts for the season, we realize the best gift was given over 2000 years ago and couldn’t be wrapped in paper, or bagged, with a bow on top. The best gift ever given came through hard labor, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, born in a smelly stable, brought about a change which would last for all eternity. He broke every barrier known to mankind, that He may save mankind. He came for the Jews and the gentiles, the weak and the strong, , the whole and the broken, the lame and the well, the rich and the poor. Wow! Talk about a change worth embracing. Oh what Christmas truly means!
A lot changed, a lot said and with that, let me leave you with a wish for you and yours to have a safe and happy Holiday. Merry Christmas from our family to yours! God Bless.
A look beyond the surface is something one chooses whether or not to take the time to do. For anyone coming to our farm right now, it is vital to the eyes of the beholder, otherwise one judges the appearance and may turn away. Last summer, we suffered a drought and our hay grew dry, brittle and sketchy. This summer proves different with lots of rain. Rain is beautiful in drought conditions and we swear to never complain again, until , it keeps coming day after day. It’s true hay needs rain to grow, but it also needs to be harvested which requires three to four days of dry weather with no rain in sight. Our hay stands tall down both sides of our driveway and our farm looks neglected. It reminds me of the childhood cartoon where the man and the dog relaxed on their front porch all summer and didn’t take care of anything and when winter came, they went hungry because of their laziness.
Our garden wasn’t planted due to the rain. It grew tall weeds until my husband decided he would bush hog them down. It is what it is. We can’t control the weather anymore than we can control our circumstances. It happens and we do the best we can do. It’s also part of life. We get slapped with something we didn’t see coming, or something we would never invite into our lives, burst through the door with a vengeance. We are left holding our attitude in one hand while trying to balance our circumstances in the other. Trying times are never easy. We do have a choice. We can look beyond the surface and find something good, something beautiful, something worth remembering, or we can bury our head in the sand and hope our trial passes quickly. Our Pastor often reminds us, we are either in a trial, headed for a trial, or just coming out of a trial. It’s a cycle in life we will all endure.
Here on the farm, beyond the hay, is a beautiful field of sunflowers. It isn’t visible until one travels beyond the hayfield. We have also had several baby goats to be born and two calves born just this week. They can’t be seen on the surface because mom hides them so well. They are there and they are a reminder of how awesome our God truly is. Even in the midst of our trials, He shows up and paints beauty all around. One day we will get a rest and our trial will subside and then the true beauty of character will show on our faces and will be revealed through our attitudes. Just remember the next time you see someone going through a trial, be bold and look beyond the surface and help them see the beauty. Choosing to be judgmental will only bring judgement back to yourself.
Should my child take riding lessons is a question asked of me often. My answer is always the same, YES! If you have a place to keep a horse, great, but your child needs riding lessons unless, you, yourself are an expert and can teach them. Connecting with someone who knows all about horses is beneficial in many ways. It’s not about learning to mount a horse and staying on. A good riding facility, with a good instructor , will connect you with a community of horse lovers, provide contacts with important people such as veterinarians and farriers, and possibly help you buy or lease your child’s first horse.
I loved horses and wanted my own as early as I can remember. It’s my experience, most little girls love ponies, but usually grow out of it. That wasn’t the case for me. I pleaded over and over with my parents to buy me a horse. My father grew up on a farm and used horses to work. He shared my love for horses, however, he left it behind when he married and started a family. He always said raising children becomes more important when you become an adult. Horses became animals of pleasure after machinery replaced them on the farm. . We didn’t live on a farm, ,but we had a place for a small pasture and shelter for a horse.
My father, gave in and started with the purchase of a small, red pony. He came complete with a saddle, and bridle. Problem number one; I was only seven years old. Problem number two; the pony wasn’t broken to ride. My father did what he learned as a child. He called several people in the neighborhood and asked them to come and break him in. They jumped at the challenge and our yard filled with teenage boys and men who got their thrills from taming wild animals. The plan failed.. That pony was as stubborn as anything my dad had ever seen , he told us. He wouldn’t dare turn me loose on the pony, but he saddled him and led me around on him. I wasn’t happy, the pony wasn’t happy, and my father really wasn’t happy after the pony had bitten him several times. He sold the pony and waited for a couple of years to try again.
Pony number two came after my uncle informed my dad I needed a small horse, because ponies are stubborn, unpredictable and gallop very fast if they decide to bolt. He owned a small horse and agreed to sell him as long as my father promised to sell him back if it didn’t work out. The deal succeed and he delivered my horse. He was beautiful. He was dark gray and his name was Smoky. I was so excited to have him. Several problems arose with this horse, ending my horse adventures. Problem number one; we brought the horse home, before we had the fence around the pasture. Problem number two; I couldn’t saddle or bridle the horse by myself, so I always had to wait for my dad to do it. Problem number three; my brother, who wasn’t the least bit interested in the horse, received orders to take care of him in the mornings. Problem number four; I had not learned anything about horses, so once mounted on him, I was afraid of every little thing he did.. Like swatting a fly with his tail and shifting his weight from one side to the other. He was gentle, and patient with me, but he learned he could overpower me. Power is a dangerous thing when it’s given to an animal of this size. My dad sold him back to my uncle and I felt like a failure. I thought everything was my fault.
I had no idea about riding lessons until I realized my oldest daughter inherited the same love for horses. Seeing it in her brought back memories of my heart as a child and how I longed to have a horse of my own. We live on a farm and once she was old enough my husband and I decided we would let her have a horse if she was still interested. Someone, I knew with horse experience, told me about a riding facility where my daughter could take riding lessons. We contacted the lady and signed her up when she was eight years old. She was a natural with excellent timing and balance. She and I both learned the importance of safety according to horse language. They are animals and will always act as such, so we learned how to respect their space and build a relationship with them. We learned to build trust with the horse and how to prepare them for a ride, which is something I never valued as important. We purchased Katie’s horse through this riding facility and she took lessons on her own horse while we boarded her there. Before we agreed to bring the horse home, Katie learned to saddle and bridle her by herself. Once we brought her horse home, Katie continued to build a relationship and bond with her. She would do anything Katie asked of her. She was an excellent starter horse for her. Without riding lessons, she may have felt like a failure like me. Instead she still rides today and gives riding lessons as well to children with a heart like hers.
Sharing this story with my readers reminds me of Proverbs 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of council, but with many advisers they succeed.” When we come across an area in life, we know very little about, it is wise to seek out those who possess experience in that field. Especially if it involves our children and the guidance needed for their success. My prayer for my readers is you will pray and seek the counsel of our Heavenly Father first and ask him to lead you to those who can help you. Amen. God Bless.
This old barn, built in the early 1930’s, stands on the front of our property. Its large loft and wide stalls serve many purposes. I’m quite fond of it. I wish the stalls could tell me about things witnessed over the years. Which animals stayed in which stalls? Did the animals talk at night once the barn doors closed? Don’t laugh. Stranger things happen everyday. Which animal bit or kicked the farmer? Which child hid in the barn to try chewing tobacco for the first time? Oh my, the list could go on.
Today the barn stores hay for our animals. We know an owl once lived in the loft, because we saw her fly in at dusk. We also found her empty nest. We raised rabbits in the hallway and doctored sick horses in the barn when needed. My daughter recently raised chickens in one of the stalls. My niece was married in front of the barn and held her reception in the loft and in the hallway for those who decided to keep their feet on lower ground. My daughter held her reception in the barnyard so the barn might add a rustic look to enhance her wedding photos.
Recently, this old barn became a new adventure for my son and two of his friends. These young teenagers decided the time to conquer their fear of night-time in a barn loft rested upon them. They planned an overnight sleep over. Our house stands about a thousand feet behind the barn, so the boys piled their sleeping bags, pellet guns, flashlights and pillows in the tracker and took off. I remained hopeful, but skeptical at the same time. I hoped they would conquer their fears. My skeptical attitude remained because two of them tried this once before and failed, and my son asked me to keep the doors unlocked, you know, just in case.
My husband woke me at 6:15 the next morning. He informed me the boys were home and they were hungry. “They stayed at the barn all night?” I asked him with a sleepy, but surprised voice. “Yes.” He replied just before closing the door. I quickly pulled myself together because I wanted to hear their stories! Well, we are talking about boys! The only response I got from them; it was cold, and the floor was hard. Oh well, at least they conquered their fears. They grew a little inside. Whether they realize it or not, it happened. They made memories which will surface with new stories each time they tell someone about their experience. Memories they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. The memories will remain over the years, although their friendships may dissipate due to long distances and circumstances. Wives, children and grandchildren, no doubt, will give their attention to these memories through the stories of how one cold night, with two friends, and nothing but a sleeping bag and a flash light, they braved the dark in an old barn loft somewhere down in Ringgold, Georgia to prove they could.
In bringing a piece of our farm to you today, my prayer for my readers is that you will invest in helping the youth of today make good memories to carry with them down the road. Things they will be proud to share one day with others. Invest in someone’s life for their future. If you have a wonderful childhood memory please feel free to share. I would love to hear from you. God Bless.
The first new baby of the year was born yesterday in the wee morning hours. My husband retrieved his handy kit and his two helpers and they rode off to check the new calf. I decided to come along to take pictures. As we approached the baby and his momma, she lowered her head and snorted politely at us. She looked nervous and not sure if we were there to harm her new baby. This is not her first calf and she is a good mother.
Darrell, along with Stacie and Brad, hoped off the tracker and squatted down beside the calf. I was the smart one staying inside. My husband, ready with the tag gun, stood surprised when he realized he couldn’t get it to trigger. Momma cow grows troubled and starts to bawl. She goes from snorting to running around and around Darrell and his helpers. Stacie calls for her dad to hurry. Then, my husband’s cell phone rang!
Darrell held the gun in one hand, while answering his phone with the other. He tried to carry on a conversation while keeping momma cow at bay. Momma cow, with her distressed bawling, called for reinforcements. The other cows trotted up to rescue her and her baby. My husband, forced to think quickly, scooped up the calf and threw him in the back of the tracker and jumped in the driver’s seat. He took off fast to get away from the cows.
He drove to the lower end of the pasture and then got out and successfully tagged the calf. He also examined it and since it was a male calf, he had to band him. The momma cow, along with her reinforcements, caught up with us and once again surrounded us. Darrell picked the little guy up and gently laid him down behind the tracker and we were off again to leave momma and her baby alone.
Our Belted Galloway cows are docile, but as with humans, momma cows are always protective of their young. In the first few hours the mommas are nervous anyways and they are trying to clean and bond with their babies, so they don’t want anyone messing with them. It’s always best to let nature take over and then everything else will fall into place.
In sharing a little snippet of what happens on our farm with you today, I’m reminded of the times we suddenly feel threatened by unsettling circumstances surrounding our lives. What do we do to handle these times and to whom do we turn? The Bible tells us in the book of Matthew 18, verses 19-20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (NKJV) Just like the momma cow in this story called for reinforcements, we have our own reinforcements to call. We have others willing to pray with us. My prayer for my readers today, is that you will allow others to pray with you in times of trouble. Yes, we can pray for ourselves and God hears them, but there is just something about having others join us and lift up our cause before Christ with us. God Bless.
Our Belted Galloways are raised year around in a stress free environment on pasture where they have free choice hay and grass. They are free of antibiotics and hormones. This breed is a heritage breed. According to the Belted Galloway Society published nutrition facts from 2009, this particular breed surpasses the USDA standards for both grain and grass fed beef. The Belted Galloway Society also states it is lower in saturated fat and higher in beneficial CLA. Read more about the nutrition facts and benefits at www.Beltie.org.
At this time we have ground beef for sale, packaged in 1lb or 2lb packages for $5.99lb. It is USDA packaged. It is sold here on site at our farm to locals. We only have ground beef at this time, but we will be adding steaks soon.
Unmasking the reality of my fears is my challenge writing lesson for today from Positive Writer. I wrote about this topic on an earlier version of my blog, but my computer completely crashed taking all my data with it. Needless to say the first version of this story remains lost in cyber space. Without further delay, here is my own personal story.
I pulled on a pair of capris and stepped outside to enjoy the pretty spring weather. The temperature was mild and the sun beamed hot rays of light across the yard. The birds sang above me as I walked around scoping out places in need of landscaping. Approaching my small flower bed, I could see weeds taking over, so I leaned over to pull them out. Once I finished my project I spotted what I thought was a tick on my leg and I reached down quickly to swat at it, but I stood surprised when it didn’t move. It wasn’t a tick, after all. A small brown spot held my gaze. It has been present all of my life, except now, it appeared a little larger.
A trip to the doctor’s office so I could have the dark brown, perfectly round, raised off the skin, spot removed and sent for a biopsy happened on a Monday. I worked in a doctor’s office as a medical assistant, so I knew all the formalities of biopsies and pathology reports. My doctor didn’t take pictures of my spot because she didn’t thing it was anything. I went home with a couple of stitches in my leg, but otherwise I was fine. Pathology reports usually take several days to come back to the doctor’s office and then the doctor has to read, and sign them before patient’s receive a call back with the results. My call came on Wednesday morning.
My husband was about twenty minutes away from the doctor’s office when I called him to explain I was to go to the office and tell the receptionist I was there and they had a room waiting for me. It happened just like that and my husband was able to meet me there, walking in the door just before the doctor. She had not sat down before she informed me my spot was positive for Melanoma. Stage IV Melanoma, she informed me, which she went on to say, it had already spread and I needed an oncologist for further testing and treatment.
With an appointment scheduled for five days out to see an oncologist, I was free to go. Go where? Home? Suddenly home didn’t feel like home. Shouldn’t I be going someplace else? Wasn’t there something else for me to do? No. Not at the time. My husband and I drove separately so he told me he would see me at home and we got in our vehicles and started the ten minute drive toward our house.
My insides felt like jello when it shakes. My body felt chilled as I drove to my house. I prayed, but I could only tell God I couldn’t ask why me. All I could think about was my children and the children I have seen over the years on St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital telethons to raise money. These sweet children are fighting the battle of their lives. How could I hold the images of their faces in my mind and ask why me. I couldn’t!
My fears hit me in the face like a bucket of ice-cold water. My oldest daughter was five weeks away from graduating high school. My middle daughter was in 7th grade and an active soccer player. My son was only seven years old and I feared he would suffer the most if I weren’t here with him. I had lost a parent suddenly at the age of fourteen and I knew all to well the pain grief can cause. I feared for my children’s emotional well-being and the pain of losing a loved one and I didn’t want them to suffer through that grief the way I had.
I was afraid for my husband, because I knew it would be hard on him if he had to raise our children alone. I was afraid my oldest daughter would take on responsibilities she was too young for and she would grow bitter because of it. I was afraid my middle child would get lost in the shuffle of daily life and she and her sister wouldn’t be close because of it. I was afraid Brad’s development would deteriorate especially socially without his mother.
I was afraid every pain I felt was the cancer that had spread. I was afraid my last days would be spent with me not feeling well and too sick to serve my family. I was afraid to trust all the things I wouldn’t be able to do to God, because I couldn’t get past my thoughts of losing my dad and still missing him. I was afraid of what would happen in the “gap” if I wasn’t there to stand in it for my children’s sake. I was afraid with my husband’s work hours he wouldn’t be as in tune with our children as the two of us could be together. My mind couldn’t rest, nor could my body. What does one do when faced with so many fears once they have the potential to become reality?
I believe in prayer. I believe in prayer warriors. I am thankful for prayer warriors. I went to the church and found two ladies I know are prayer warriors and I called them into a Sunday school class room and told them about my diagnosis and cried as they prayed for me. I released all that negative energy and all those negative thoughts into the sweet prayers of these ladies. I went home afterwards with my insides feeling like jello when it shakes, but with my mind a little clearer.
I’m not sure what happened to the original pathology report from Wednesday to Monday, but I went from a stage IV to stage Ib. I had surgery to remove the spot with clear margins. I have been cancer free since April of 2010. Unmasking my fears was not easy. It’s only through adversity we get to encounter our fears for what they are. It is through prayer and God’s grace my fears were relieved.