Tag Archives: Inspiration

Random Acts of Kindness…

2 Feb

Image My youngest daughter had to write a personal narrative essay regarding an experience that they had or knowledge of someone performing an act of kindness. I was going through her grade book and saw that her teacher had graded this essay and posted comments about her writing. I pulled up the essay and it brought tears to my eyes. Several years ago, we were cooking breakfast with our church’s youth group. We would arrive at church early and prepare pancakes, sausage, coffee, hot chocolate, tea or juice for fellow worshippers. Donations were accepted, we had a blast and it helped to raise money for the kids to go to youth events. One very cold morning as we were pulling into the parking lot, I noticed a tall young man walking with a big backpack, hood pulled up. He was hunched over in the shoulders like one does when trying to stay warm. As we all tumbled out of the Suburban, I told my nephew to run and ask the young man if he would like to come and have breakfast with us. My nephew looked at me incredulously and asked “do you know him?”, I replied “not yet”. My family went into church and ran upstairs to get things going for breakfast and I waited for the young man as he walked across the parking lot. Once inside the church, he took off his backpack and asked if it was ok to leave by the door and where could he go wash up? I showed him the bathroom and told him to come upstairs when he was ready. He looked at me and apologized for not being showered or shaved. I told him that we just wanted to get him warm and there was no problems, he looked just fine! We gave him hot chocolate and then a heaping plate of pancakes and sausage. He told us how he had arrived in our little town, walking from the local bus station over 2o miles away and he was on his way home due to a death in his family. He thanked us and went on his way. Boy, did I catch flack for inviting a seemingly homeless person into church! I was asked if I knew this person, were the kids and people safe upstairs with him, etc. I could not believe what I was hearing! I did not even think of the other scenarios mentioned to me, I heard that still, small voice nudging me to invite this young man into our fold. I have learned never to question it and have regretted the few times I have not followed up on the nudge. What a flashback to read my daughter’s essay and realize that the little things that we do, get saved into memory banks. Sometimes our own, but more importantly our children’s. I pray there are many more deposits like this for her as she grows up into the beautiful young woman God means for her to be.

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+My Tangled Garden

16 Jan
  • Lately my life feels like the current state of my garden; tangled, overgrown and neglected. Some areas still show outlines of herbal ideas faintly recognizable through the grass and weeds.  As I open the gate and walk in I see colors of fall still displayed on some of the Blueberry bushes, a Rosebush is full of immature blooms never to be set upon  by a bee.  The once towering Catnip plant has been pulled down by the arch nemesis of morning glory vines. Tiny pink petals shimmer between curled vine, leaves and stems. At the end of the garden the raised bed is already covered in preparation for the coming of  winter bears a fragrant rebel. Last year at the end of summer a very sad, tiny rosebush was rescued from a local store. Holding my breath, I trimmed it back and lovingly planted it in the raised bed which was covered to protect the plants inside.
  • When danger of frost was past, I rolled back the heavy plastic cover revealing a beautiful sight. Seemingly showing gratitude, the previously “Charlie Brown” rosebush had taken over the whole end of the bed and had bloomed profusely! Starts of Salvia almost 4 feet tall beckon to hummingbirds. Nasturtiums that cheerily spread and reseeded now host a variety of life from butterflies, bees, bumbles, humming birds and an occasional wild  bunny.
  • Our tendacy is to focus on the weeds instead of the flowers.
  • My garden reminds me counting blessings and appreciating them encouragages us to care for the precious beauty within our lives. It is so easy to take for granted especially while tripping over blackberry vines, weeds or caught up by thorns.
  • Weeds can be beneficial as well, when plucked chickens eat them like salad greens or make sunshine yellow Dandelion jelly.
  • The first bouquet of flowers from my oldest son as a toddler consisted of as many bright yellow dandelions as he could grasp in his little fist.. Seeing his face light up as he handed them to me was priceless! Do you think I told him those pretty flowers were really considered weeds?
  • As this year draws towards winter, I will cringe as I trim back plants still showing green.

How is your garden in life?

Choosing an attitude of gratitude is challenging when overwhelmed, however we do have a  choice flowers or weeds?

The Quest for Organic

3 Jan
  • Our little feirme (farm) has a small herd of Mini-Mancha dairy goats. Currently we have two senior does in milk.  One of our milk customers wanted to know if we would consider feeding Organic feeds to our milk does as they wanted to keep using our milk, but new health concerns had them looking to organic only in their diet.

What is the definition of Organic? As I researched, It came to my attention that there are endless interpretations of this one word. What I am looking for are grains developed for goats that are not grown or processed using artificial chemicals for  growth, fertization,insects resistance or weed deterrents.

We have not used any weed killers, sprays, powders, chemicals on our property since we moved here in 1999. Our livestock is fed as much local hay, alfalfa, grains, herbal supplements, minerals and formulas as possible. Another thing I discovered the way we have been raising our livestock and growing our garden, fruit trees is called “sustainable”.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sustainability

Going to some of our local feed stores revealed few choices for Organic grains, feeds or hays. The first Organic grain blend we tried is put out by:  Payback called Organic Country Buffet which is an all breed blend that has a lot  of powder in the mix. Our Goaty Girlz do not really care for it and my oldest doe “Tutu” lost body condition, both does lost weight on this. Availability is challenging, most feed stores want you to order and pay for a minimum month supply of bags as it is not kept in stock. Price is steep, expect an average of $12.00 per bag increase in price. Now we are looking for possibly mixing/milling a grain  blend with higher protein and palatability.

Here is a link for the organics offered by Payback, we will be contacting them and will keep you posted on our quest for organics. http://www.paybacknutrition.com/products/organic

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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.

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

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.

Up at 3 am…

16 Feb

Our grandchildren are spending the weekend with us. We are trying to have them come at least once a month to visit and help on the farm.
We do not have the usual family dynamics. My children range from 29, 22, 12 and 10 years old. My grandchildren are 7 & 11. We also have my nephew age 11 who comes usually every Saturday night to stay over so he can visit and go to church on Sunday with us.
My brother lives in a studio behind us and is developmentally disabled. He has been living with us for almost 10 years and prior to that he had taken to being on the streets when my mom passed away.
Does reading that make you feel busy?
I have realized that there are a lot of families who have full plates, some with life dripping over the sides and some with stuff stuck to the plates!
I was sound asleep when my husband lovingly nudges me awake and says “hon, hon, your grand-daughter wanted you to know she is up puking”. Did she really ask for me? Is it just me or do most guys not deal with bodily fluids? Argh, I slowly creak out of bed and pad my little feet down to the bathroom. Poor little thing is trying to hold her hair back and not get the yuk on her. I rummage around and find her a hair tie, pulling her hair back into it. Next, I wrap a flannel sheet around her, get her a water bottle to rinse her mouth and ask her if she thinks her tummy is done protesting? She shakes her head no, so i hug her and tell her I will come back.
Hmmm, what to do to pass the time? Check my emails! This was probably not the wisest thing to do at 3 in the morning for most, however I am incredibly brave because I continually fight the no sleep minions.
I check mail and then pull up my bloggers page and enter titles into 3 more pages for ideas then go back to her.
She is huddled into the warmth of the flannel and tells me she is ready to go back to bed now. Rinse mouth, make sure jammies are in the clear of the vile vomit, wash face and hands, brush hair and we go to my daughter’s room. I make a bed for her on the floor with a soft comforter and fluffy pillow, flannel blanket, fuzzy blanket, tuck up to the chin and night-nights.
Now that she is seemingly doing better, I should be able to go back to bed. Houston, we have a problem! I am Wide awake!
I log onto Facebook to see if my daughter in law is online, my son and daughter in law are currently living in Germany and there is a 9 hour time difference. I am disappointed, no such luck this early morning.
Well, after reading this you will know how I deal with the insomnia issues! I have a routine when I wake up in the wee hours of the morning; bathroom, check on each child covering them up if needed and praying over each, giving thanks and uplifting them to the Creator. Stoke the fire, get a drink of water and back to bed.
I have been struggling with restlessness for a while now. I finally realized that my brain just does not want to turn off, so now when I wake and sleep is elusive…I pray and then I blog! Usually it is just long enough to type in some new titles and save them. I have found this is a wonderful mental cataloging that assists me with sorting the skeins of thought rolled up in my grey matter!
Well now that it is after 4 am and the fire died out, sigh, I think I will try going back to bed.
Our hardwood floors, though freshly vacuumed are chilly with no fire and I could not find my slippers in the dark!
Thank you for listening.

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