High Hopes

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First of all…. How has it been two months since I have written a blog post? I literally gasped when I saw that my last post was June 25th. I remember that day clearly, I was so excited that I had finally figured out how to upload my children’s book and with sincere expectation believed that it would be a couple short weeks before I would get my proof in the mail and approve it for print. Oh, I have always been the optimist but my estimate of two weeks would actually be more like two months.

I didn’t take in to consideration that I would make mistakes, I learned that we are often blind to our own errors. I ended up going through the process four more times before getting it right. It has been a good thing for me in so many ways, I am learning to take things in stride and embrace the realization that taking the time to do things well is important. As much as I wanted to get my book finished by a certain date, I wanted it to be done excellent, even more. So, I learned to swallow my pride and embrace my mistakes as an opportunity to grow and move forward.

I also didn’t factor in just how exciting, emotional and exhausting July and August would be. Farm life has been so full of new births, building projects, blackberry bush removal and visitors. We started farm to table dinners and finished the second phase of our goat barn. Amid all the gains we have had loss too, we lost our first baby goat in August. The little doeling had a cleft pallette. It was heartbreaking. Even though we have her sister Millie, I often think of her tiny twin that slept in my lap and died in my arms. Even in sadness there is so much to be gained. Love and loss often come hand in hand, I am learning not to allow grief to keep me from moving forward and embracing the love and joy in front of me. Somedays that means bringing home free kittens when you have tears streaming down your face and you need to smile so your heart doesn’t break. It’s ok, it really is.

I have high hopes for the future, not because I expect that everything is always going to be rosy. I am optimistic because I know that I can find value in every circumstance. I can climb higher than life’s problems and find new perspective gained from all my past experiences. I have gained so much from pushing through and finishing my book, it was so much harder than I expected and even more rewarding when I finally approved it for print.

When life is hard, or you keep making mistakes, don’t let it break you. Use these opportunities to make you stronger, better equipped and just grow with it.

P.S. My book will be available on Amazon in about 3-5 working days from today…                  I am so excited to share it with you all, let me know what you think of it,if you choose to purchase it!!!

 

Petals and Thorns

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It’s May! Yay! Those April showers certainly have brought the flowers and with them the blackberry  bushes. I have a love/hate relationship with those vines. Yes, they do provide the most wonderful berries in which I will gather and devour along my morning walk in the next few weeks. Those same vines are viciously cruel, leaving me looking as if I was dropped into a pit of wet and angry feral cats. It does not matter how careful you are, those beastly thorns will find the most vulnerable unprotected patch of skin to torture.

When we purchased our property two years ago it was wildly overgrown, there are still areas on our five acres that we have yet to set foot on. It’s been a battle with hedge clippers and a lawn mower but I am gaining ground. I am using all the tools I possess to claim my land and my future. Along with the multitude of scratches, cuts, and painful thorns embedded in my tender flesh are the lovely hidden surprises uncovered as I subdue my little plot of earth. Yesterday my prize was a tiny purple flower standing defiantly lovely in contrast to it’s prickly confinement. This kind of beauty is what compels me forward despite the pain I might endure.

Farmlife, as in all life is, is full of these moments where joy and pain walk hand in hand.  Last month we watched as one egg out of twenty miraculously hatched after 46 days of not so patient watching on my behalf. I had finally given up and decided to discard the last two eggs from the nest when I heard peeping coming from one of the eggs. I rushed to replace the egg to the nest before it’s mama returned and the next morning I was rewarded with the smallest little fluff of yellow I had ever seen. Joy! My hope fulfilled!     I made the decision to leave the duckling and entrust it to the faithful duck who had set there so long for this little lone survivor to hatch. I returned to find it’s tiny form cold and lifeless on the ground, it appeared to unsuccessfully follow it’s mother outside the shelter. Death and loss is always painful, even a tiny duckling not fully one day old can have an impact on one’s heart. Life can be brutal as well as beautiful.

It wasn’t even a full week later that another lone survivor duckling hatched , this time from our incubator. We had started with ten eggs but only four started developing. I had  begun to lose hope when a mistake on our sensor placement caused the temperature to rise higher than it should. Against the odds, this little one made it and the joy of this triumph was made just a little sweeter in contrast to the dismay I felt earlier in the week. Trials, pain, disappointments and such are the black lines in a painting that define and enhance the colors of our life. Hope and patience to wait for beauty in the midst of pain and loss is the intrinsic nature of a farmer. It takes faith to place those costly, diligently thought out seeds in the ground and wait for the fruit of their labor. So many factors are out of our control and yet there is no victory in life without taking risk and doing the hard work. Our labor may be painful and the risk come with a cost but we will not gain anything of true value without it.

I may be tenderly typing this entry with sore, berry bush thrashed hands but; I do have a renewed passion and gratitude for my life and that my friends is worth it.

 

 

New You, New Do

I am probably quite similar to a most women in the way I have not made taking care of myself a priority. I suppose we convince ourselves of our need to be somewhere else or to do something perceived more important; these ideas often takes precedence over caring for our physical and mental needs. I have been married for 31 years, raised three children, homeschooled, worked in a busy church office and participated in ministry most my adult life; I have been running at full speed for as long as I can remember. A person can only neglect themselves for so long before it takes a heavy toll. I made excuses for myself and allowed myself to believe I would get all those bad habits under control “someday” when life slowed down.

Five years ago we left California and moved to a rural county in Western Washington; my life seemed to go from 100 miles per hour to 10. It took a couple years to find the right property to build our future on, but we finally found the right place. I was in the place I had dreamed of for years surrounded by so much blessing; however I felt hopeless inside. I had no solid reason to feel this way so, I reasoned my emotions on hormones or pre-menopause symptoms. I was doing active hard physical work on the farm but I kept gaining more and more weight. I was exhausted , and depressed. I would look in the mirror and not recognize myself, I felt lost and trapped in a foreign body and mind. It is a frightening feeling to be so disconnected with your own self, but I worked really hard to portray my old self.

Fortunately, I asked my husband to make me an appointment with a new naturopathic Dr. in our area. Dr. Taylor found me to be low in vitamin D, a low thyroid production and obese. I faced the facts head on and embraced a new diet, began taking a thyroid replacement and vitamin D supplements. Within two weeks I began to feel hopeful again, as if someone opened the window of my mind and let the sunshine in. I share my personal story to encourage anyone who may be struggling with symptoms like mine to not put off taking care of yourself. I am so thankful to look to the future with a healthy mind and body so I can enjoy living on my little farm with  hope and joy. I even decided to ditch the muck boots and work clothes for the day to get a a new hair style. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our families and our farm is to do the best thing for ourselves.