Archive | Coping RSS feed for this section
Image

My Mom’s China

27 Dec

This year 2013 has been a very eventful time. Our lives have recently best been explained by the following scripture found in the Old Testament of the bible.
No matter what belief system you embrace, this passage reflects what is on my heart.

Ecclesiastes 3
New International Version (NIV)
A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

What does this have to do with china?
When going through tough times, it is common to take a look at what is really important in your life.
Cleaning out my china cabinet, I took down my favorite china, Burleigh Blue Calico by Staffordshire. It is made in England and is only available in limited pieces
I inherited an incomplete collection of this china when my mom passed away over twenty years ago.
I have children still at home, pondering this thought I stacked all of the blue china on the counter and carefully washed each piece.
When I was done, I took a deep breath and rearranged the mish mosh of classic pottery plates (also cobalt blue) to accommodate the new additions in the day-to-day dish cabinet.
Was I really ready to incorporate these precious, beautiful hard to replace pieces into our daily lives?
Would I cry or get angry if one was broken?
After a time I have come to realize that the risk is worth the joy of seeing the bright, cobalt calico print on our dining room table. We did have our first and second casualties; dinner plate and teacup.
We are now looking for a stone tumbler, precious broken bits saved in a Ziploc bag are now awaiting their rebirth.
Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder, whether something or someone retains value when broken has to do with the patience and hopeful scrutiny of the bearer.
I am thankful to have this exquisite reminder of my Mom every time we use these plates, fond memories of times shared together.
As my family and I anticipate the return home of my eldest son and his wife, I look forward to a time of new hope, dreams and future deposits of this memory bank called Life.

Keeping one glove…

8 Mar

We had lived at the house in town for seven years. Now, against all odds our dream had come true. We had just purchased a home in the country.
Amidst our crazy busy schedule; up at 5 am to get ready for work, son ready to be dropped off at school across town and enough time to navigate through the stagnant traffic of city life five days a week.
Not taking a lunch at the regular time, my boss let me take my break at 2:30 so I could go and pick up my son from school. He came back to work with me and after work, we drove home, ate dinner and went out to take care of the horses who were boarded at a private barn.
Being four months pregnant, I was a little particular about the way I wanted things to line up! The weather that November was typical for the Pacific Northwest and being that we were in the elements so much, I had just purchased new hats, gloves, boots for staying warm and dry.
It had taken me awhile to pick out a pair of gloves, I have children’s sized hands and feet and the choice was overwhelming! Finally I decided upon a turquoise pair of gloves, they had grippy dots on the palms and stars on the backs of the hands.
When the offer was accepted on our new house, we did not have long to sell our house in the city. Friends and well-meaning family warned us not to buy the house until our city house sold.
I recall receiving the phone call from the realtor that our offer was accepted, literally five minutes before it expired! I stood there holding the phone receiver in my hand, my husband asking me “what? is it good, what is it about?”. After slowly hanging up, I looked up at him and told him. “We have less than two weeks to sell this house before our first payment is due!”
The realtor we had already spoken with was wonderful and gave us some tips to make things go well. We packed most of the personal items, stored them in our huge garage and burned a Sugar Cookie candle in the entry. Less than a week later our house sold to a young couple buying their first home.
Mind you, it certainly wasn’t our great works that sold this house for us. It was meant to be and sometimes you have to step out and have faith. This was one of those times.
We packed and packed and drove out to the country house. It was such a wreck with much to be done prior to it being close to habitable, but that is another story!
We love our new home, yet there are adjustments with any move.
Being out in the country, it is DARK after the sun goes down! While unpacking, I realized that I couldn’t find the box with gloves and hats. Our house didn’t have a wood stove yet that was operational and we were sleeping in the front room with oil filled base heaters to be warm. We were still traveling to care for the horses and it was cold in December! We had over a foot of snow on the ground shortly after we moved in.
Darn, where is that box? Finally found the box and gleefully pulled all the warm winter stuff out and looked again. There is only one of my new gloves! Well, I had put some mismatched socks in a bag and brought them with us because I hadn’t time to match them up before we moved. I searched all over the place, sigh, only one of my new gloves could be found.
For some reason, I am an eternal optimist. Can you believe that I kept the one glove? Why? Growing up with bare minimums, I appreciated little things. For example in our family at Christmas we were given necessities; socks, new undies, new outfit if we were lucky.
I wanted to hold onto the idea that I could find that glove!
Time passed and my beautiful daughter was born, my ten-year old son growing and that fall I “spring cleaned”.
Surprisingly the second glove appeared out of nowhere. Rather like when a lost sock finds it way home. I was overjoyed!
We were out doing farm chores and I finally got to wear my pair of gloves, reunited at last! Filling water buckets, one of my hands got wet and I took off the gloves and put them in my pocket.
Tired and satisfied at the work we had done, we went back into the house and hung our coats up to dry.
I put some muffins in to cook, set the timer and dashed out to do chores. Not one thought about the gloves.
Next day was the weekend and we were all outside, reached into my coat pocket to get my gloves…pulled out…one glove.
Not again, I frantically searched all over to no avail. Sigh, setting the glove aside by this time feeling like it is the precious.
More time passed and that spring we were having shavings delivered.
We were in the shavings room and scraping the floor clean. I had already found 2 socks, a flip-flop and a hat. I look into the turn out and see a spot of turquoise amidst the grass. Could it be? I rushed out and lo and behold, the long-lost glove!
At first I was ecstatic, I could justify keeping the one glove to my husband who likes to razz me for my eccentric behaviors!
Then as I reached down to pick it up, I noticed that it was in tatters. One of the animals had liked the texture and it was only a scrap of glove now.
It sounds silly, but I was so disappointed. I went back into the house and really thought about why had I kept that mismatched glove for so long? What drives me to keep a huge bag of socks waiting to be matched? Why couldn’t I be like my friends who just throw everything away without remorse?
Mulling this over I came to realize that I have hope in silly things, including people when others do not. Gloves, socks, children I always have faith and hold out when others just go and buy new. Growing up with little I see things differently, constantly looking for the good. Whether you be a glove, sock or wayward person there is always something positive that can be found if you look hard enough!
Hope is not encouraged in this me world and I am content to be peculiar and be on the search for it, as I pull on mismatched gloves.
One glove navy blue and one glove…turqoise.

BbbbbBad to the Bone!

28 Feb

Ah, the challenge today was to write two new posts. Even though I have discovered that I love to write, I still start my day the same way. Usually 2 cups of fresh ground coffee, waking children, feeding our resident old man dog of almost 11 years, food in the cat’s bowl and maybe eating breakfast. Once we have our meet and greet whilst the children and I look over the day’s schedule of school and such, I venture out to do the chores.

Starting with the pullets in the beautiful red Chicky tractor that my wonderful husband built for our little ones, then big girl Chicky coop, guest buck goat, alfalfa in pasture for spoiled expecting, huge ewe and sheep friends.

Next I walk the chip path, well it should be called the muck path right now! We were blessed to have delivered a full load of chips from one of the utility companies, then the extra wheelbarrow went on strike. So, until more money and a trip to Jerry’s we are making do with sharing one! Which does not sound like a big deal…but with stocking wood for keeping house warm, cleaning stalls, moving feed..well you get the idea.

Arriving at the barn, I push open the big slide door and am greeted by nickers, Ms. Peep clucks from inside her snug little house and goat protest maa’s! Little doe goats are fed grain first, followed by the does-in-waiting grain, old mare grain, giraffe grain and filly grain.

Climbing up the ladder, I notice there are no open bales of grass hay. Great, I left my pocket knife in my coveralls. Well, cleanup time upstairs. There is enough hay to feed all and now the loft is tidy. Tearing some huge flakes of alfalfa, I drop some down for feeding sheep and goats. I have transversed that ladder for almost 14 years with no mishaps. I made up for that today! I don’t know what happened to cause my boot to slip and instead of the ball of my foot finding the next rung of the ladder, my whole shin did. It hit hard, causing me to gutterally growl out in scream language! My poor dog ran over the base of the ladder looking up at me with sympathy and wonder, I growled for what felt like ever. Even though I am in pain, I did not even swear, huge accomplishment!

Halfway up or halfway down the ladder, oh man. I still have to finish climbing down. I suck air and carefully finish backing each rung until with great relief I am on the barn floor. Nothing appears broken, the throbbing in my leg I can now feel in my head and every breath I take. Guess I am limping it back to the house, after I give the alfalfa to the sheep and let them out. Come on, I am a Farm chick. Injuries just have to wait sometimes to be fully acknowledged, because on Z Farm..I am now..BBBBBbad to the Bone!

 

 

Sigh, No Cherry Pie!

27 Feb

This year the holiday that was bombed…Valentine’s Day. Our family celebrates loving each other on Valentine’s Day by giving simply, things that we should do more often. We don’t need a holiday to tell a loved one that you, do indeed love them! 

After setting down to check for emails, I noticed the Facebook tab was flashing. My son and daughter in law, I always look forward to hearing from them. We are nine hours apart and it is challenging enough to remember what time of day it is on the other side of the world! My son wanted us to sign into Skype, this is a step by step process. The computer I am fortunate enough to be using is over 12 years old! An ongoing chuckle that is constantly being acknowledged by all who hear, is that the computer is held together by the breath of God!

In order to sign into Skype, I must close each and every window, save every file…backup again. Once I have accomplished this, I can click onto the Skype logo on my desktop. Hitting that button is rather like wondering if the 3 year old fireworks you found carefully stored in a box in the bottom of the closet will still catch and spark! Evidently some video driver is going corrupt and I am told it cannot be fixed, as a result sometimes the image is similar to a Brite Lite screen with fuzzy picture behind and bright pixel dots on the screen!

We are in luck today! The breath is strong today and I am thankful to be able to see my son and daughter in law. It has been since June that we saw them last. They came home to get married in a whirlwind leave and then they were gone. I can tell by looking at his face that he has news to share. We had been looking forward to them PCS’ing back to the states. (PCS=change of station/transfer to a different base). Not only had that just been swatted out of the sky, now he was deploying…for the third time.

We listened mostly and tried to keep the conversation going. There is always an awkwardness, when sharing bad news. My youngest son as soon as we signed off, went to his room and sat on his bed. He did not eat lunch, snacks or dinner. He did not want to talk, nor play, nor watch television. After a couple of hours passed, I walked past his room and he was doing school online. That night he tossed and turned, he kept getting up and came out hugging me from the back of the couch. “Mom, I miss my brother! My heart hurts.”

His sister didn’t comment and went about the rest of the day staying busy. Turning thirteen soon, I have noticed that she tends to be more independent. I knew when she wanted to talk, I would be available to listen. She went with my husband to run errands and they came home with beautiful flowers for me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Brilliantly colored and variantly petaled Primroses that smell sweet like the promise of Spring! While I was making dinner, my daughter came in and started helping me without being asked, prepping food and putting away dishes.

I knew this was her way of demonstrating her love and concern about the talk we had that morning with her big brother. She brought up the disappointment of not having them here for her birthday, games and 4th of July. No camping or finally being able to celebrate a birthday with her big brother after 5 years and worst of all…still, NO Cherry Pie!!!

Image

Just a Bench…

22 Feb

We were given a cement waiting bench, we put it out by the tire swing so the children waiting for a turn would have a place to sit.
Little did we realize that this bench would come to represent more than just a place to sit.
Before little sister and brother came along, my oldest son and his friends would sit out there and scheme together. One day they talked about how they would create jumps for their BMX bikes. Another day it was used for a napping spot. Countless coats, hats, plates, books and Army men have utilized it.
Our cat likes to sit upon it and watch the goats out in the pasture.
The dog watches whomever sits there and offers to share their sandwich.
I sat at that bench after I lost my dream horse that I had shared the previous 16 years with. After the sun slipped away, the fog slowly crept along the ground and came to swirl around in front of me. I know I sat out there until I could feel the cold penetrate every joint in my body, I guess I needed to feel something, even if it was painful!
Over the years Z Waiting Bench has been well used and appreciated.
Last year someone was just downright mean and took it upon themselves to break the edges off and this exposed the iron rebar running through the rectangle of cement that gives a sitting place.
After thorough interrogation of the vast range of children that were at Z Farm that weekend, we came to the conclusion that the NOBODY Gremlin that causes socks to be lost, dishes to be dirtied and other various household items and farm tools to be misplaced had gotten bored causing mischief in the usual way.
In life I am finding that it is not always possible to find out the truth in all situations, no matter how much it is desired!
Instead of focusing on the havoc that was wreaked, think of the opportunity to recreate beauty from ashes.
There were a few very surprised children when I told them that no longer could we comfortably sit upon Z Waiting Bench.
After being queried by the suspected offending party about this, I calmly stated that safety came first and I was really sorry that one had ruined it for many. Hearing complaints, blames and whines we removed the seat and placed it on the ground.
Well, that’s not fair! Protest after protest from all was heard and acknowledged. I replied “Life is not fair and we just have to make do with what we have. I want you to remember that decisions you make really do affect others, contrary to what society tells you!”
I have two bags of cement, broken pottery and china pieces stored in the garage waiting for the warmth of Spring.
Collecting materials so we can implement plans to create a new and improved cement seat for this bench.
We want to have this done before my daughter in law comes to visit when my eldest son leaves for his next deployment of 9 months.
So many have come to Z Farm, shared, helped, been ministered to and moved on in their lives.
We are continually blessed by longtime family friends who come to visit. Sharing a meal together, we listen as they recall that some of the most pleasant memories of times spent on Z Farm included work, with me as the Sargeant Taskmaster! This resulted in tears, I laughed so hard! They reveled in their stories of youthful antics, mind you they are only in their early 20’s now.
One young man, now in the Marines. Another getting his life together and working steady. Both had fond memories of doing chores, eating well and sitting on Z Waiting Bench, while times passed.
Why not just go out and buy another? What is the point in replacing it? I am not giving into the societal norm throwaway mentality.
You cannot always just “go buy a new one!”
As I think forward to hands and minds joining together in the solution, it will create new memories.
It has been almost five years since my son left home, progressing towards his third deployment and still living abroad.
I cannot explain why it is so important to me, but I need to show that broken things are worth fixing, valuable. Maybe this will help things to seem normal, like before.
He remembers Z Waiting Bench and knows it will be here for him…waiting once again.
waiting bench

Driving the sexy beast…

20 Feb

I saw this comment on my son and daughter in laws’ Facebook page. He posted a photo of his 1985 Mustang. He has invested a lot into that car and not only monetarily, emotionally as well.
Our family jokes that this car will forever be sought out by our local law enforcement. They are constantly seeking to find out when my son will be home on leave. I am sure they would like to just pull him aside and chat him up…right?
After I wrote the blog about driving your car, I had an opportunity to drive your car again. As I searched for a CD, (no I haven’t figured out how to download music into the 2nd cell phone yet. It took me 2 months to program the first one, excuse me if i am not jumping to do it all over again!) I find a CD that just looking at causes a fresh wave of missing you. It is a CD that you recorded for me and you wrote “Mom’s mix, love you MOm” on it. Recalling what prompted the creating of this music, I smile. You were 15 and making it known that you liked to listen to Other music now. I did not necessarily share the love of your genre of music, yet wanted to enjoy time with you. So, we compromised and you put a few songs you liked, then a few songs I liked and so forth.
Currently skipping through the rather loud choices, I settled upon a song called Seize the Day. I listened to that and when I came home, I time warped and expected you to walk out of your bedroom with your jet black hair, eyeliner and skinny jeans.
Now, I can’t get that song out of my head! I looked the lyrics up online and reading them realized why that song was stuck in my head.
I notice that the green light is on your FB this morning and I greet you and send you the lyrics to the song. I am so caught by surprise when you tell me that you were cleaning the house to the same song, it sounds like within the same time frame as when I listened to it.
This may just seem like coincidence, take into account that we live over 12,000 miles apart!
Little reminders in life, no matter how far apart we are in actual mileage , our hearts do not acknowledge this distance!
Enjoy your time in Europe, praying for safety in your next deployment and don’t worry..We will keep your car pristine…for the next leave when you “drive the sexy beast!”
Mayday ahah 246

Next installment of parenthood…

20 Feb

My youngest daughter went to a friends on Sunday nite. She and her friend had fun and took and posted pictures of their antics.
Oh my, I guess I am not ready for my little girl to get the attention that she doesn’t even know is starting to happen already!
I have to state that raising boys is a lot easier than girls. I think i can make this statement as we have 2 boys in the family and 3 if you include my husband!
Since we live and operate a small family farm,whenever one member is gone, the others have to pick up the slack. Or, sometimes Mom just likes the solitude and does all of the chores.
It is amazing that I can get all of the chores done right now, since we are not milking yet in an hour. If I take my time and play with the critters like I usually do, make that 1 1/2 hrs.
When I have many hands, they do not always make light work!
Our two youngest children ages 10 and 12 help out with chores in the evenings during the week. We quite often have our 11-year-old nephew out on Saturday nights and to add to the crew the grandchildren will come out for the weekend as well.
With so many helping hands, one would expect chores to fly. Well, they do breeze by and right off into the spring swirl of wind!
My daughter being the eldest in the group, likes to take charge and of course the others resist, not realizing that resistance is futile.
I have to brag, my children have gained enough life experience on the farm , from expectant animals to watching for illness or injury.
We have had a crazy schedule and while we were rushing to do the chores, amidst a chatter cloud of resentment I sighted a silver thread.
We sat down and had a Mom-children talk. I asked my daughter if she remembered the animal rescue & anti-horse slaughter research she had just completed for school? She gave me a funny look and answered “yes, why”? I laid my proverbial cards right out on the table. I entered into the arena of conversation by informing them that we had our very own rescue horse, Silver. Did they really think that we could find her a better home than she already has? How many animals had been sent to their horrifying deaths and suffering being neglected by owners who carelessly cast them aside when they encountered difficulty in keeping them or they were no longer interested?
Had this 26-year-old mare not been ridden by them and most of their friends? Did she not deserve to be retired with love, respect and small amount of sacrifice financially from our farm to show her honor she had earned?
This dramatically changed the whole attitude of complaint during chore times. Instead of being resentful, the children now take pride in the fact that we have our own “old girl”! Even though our old girl has sought after bloodline in the Arabian breed, so many animals have glutted the market that papered, young, old, pregnant, trained, healthy are trucked to slaughter destined to be put to death for the sake of the almighty dollar.
I overheard all of the kids and some friends added to the mix talking about our various animals and the work involved. My daughter stated, yeah, we have had Silver for quite a long time and we are giving her a good life now! That made my heart soar!
This last month consisted of 2 full weeks of illness from the children, dealing with having a tooth pulled, a goat doeling with a broken leg, testing for school and the flu added to life on Z Farm.
It makes everything worthwhile to hear the children’s laughter, see them outside enjoying the property and animals we have been blessed with.
Why do the eye rolls, sighs and complaints always seem to occur when I am on my last nerve? I think it is part of the divine plan to keep me humble, for I am constantly reminded to partake of the joy of the little things…as much as I dread this next installment of parenthood…I give thanks for the children and their remembering to stop and notice the raindrops capturing the early morning light and glistening like rare gems, or the spicy fragrance of the fresh rainsApple blossoms.