Watching the Sunrise

My zen is waking up early, before the day begins.

When it’s still dark outside, but to do that, I go to sleep early. That was the scenario lastnight. By 9:00 pm, my daughter and I were getting sleepy. She chuckled and asked, “Is it too early to go to bed?” By 9:30, we were there.

My body naturally woke up at 5:50 this morning.

Waking up this early reminded me of something I miss.

Watching the sunrise.

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This little house sits completely in the woods, which is unusual being so close to the city. Maybe when it was built, the trees were small, but have grown over time. The house is surrounded by trees, and give you a feel of being in the woods.

A ginormous oak tree sits in the front yard, spreading it’s massive canopy over the roof of the house. As beautiful as they are, they keep me from seeing the sunrise.

Note to self: My next house will have a view of the sunrise.

Transitioning to Organic

A friend made a comment about the Food for One post.

She said, “Buying all organic is expensive!”

I used to think so too, so what happened? Just like every form of change, it took baby steps in the right direction.

The first time we bought Tillamook cheese. My daughter and I were standing in an organic supermarket staring at the large block for $7.00. This young lady rushes up next to us, with a baby strapped to her front, a toddler by the hand, and grabs a block of cheese. She looked at us and said, “It’s the main reason I come in here. Worth every penny!”

We use that cheese for everything, and it grates beautifully. I stopped buying pre-grated cheese because of the caking agent used to prevent clumping.

When we ran out of milk, we replaced it with Organic. We used to drive to a local dairy farm and buy raw milk. If you have access to that you are in heaven. Raw milk has a head of cream, so you are getting your milk and creamer in one.

It takes a long time for 2 people to go through a gallon of milk, and the raw milk was sold in gallons. We couldn’t drink it before it expired, so we opted for a half-gallon of Organic. It’s the same price, or less, than a store brand gallon of milk.

Whenever we would run out of a normal item, we would replace it with an Organic, or farm raised version. We raised chickens for years, and learned about fresh eggs. We raised certain chickens for colored eggs.

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The shell color effect taste. They are just pretty.

Years later, our pantry is not full of junk. We rarely buy anything canned, or food in a box. We try to stick to the 5 ingredient rule. If the item has more than 5 ingredients listed, it stays at the store. It may have more than 5, but we make sure we know what they are. Oreos excluded.

It’s Pretty Ugly

I took a friend to meet Stephanie today. You may or may not recall but, Stephanie is who gave me the courage to care for plants. Everyone needs a Stephanie in their life.

Getting out of my truck, this caught my eye. It has been hanging there for some time, and I have walked by it a countless number, but today it spoke to me.

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My daughter is still in shock that I brought it home!

She asked, “How much was it?” I cheerfully replied, “Stephanie let me have it for 9 bucks!” My daughter looked confused. This was so unlike me to buy something that wasn’t pretty.  I have already received $9 worth of joy from it.

Some days look pretty, but some days feel ugly, and it’s okay to have both.

You are Good

I went down to the corner store this morning, and was greeted by my friend behind the counter. We love one another like good friends do, even though I just met him a couple of years ago. He is a real life superhero in my book.

I don’t know his story, only what I’ve seen. He has a heart the size of Texas, but he isn’t native Texan. He is from another country, and he runs the only store in little Dale Texas.

Last Thanksgiving, he was overwhelmed with gifts of food from the locals. He said it was a huge difference from the previous year. He received a couple of pigs that year, but last year it was in the double digits. He has a good heart, but it took time for people to see it, believe it, and trust him.

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He asked, “You missed the fireworks lastnight?”

I responded, “I saw them from my front porch.”

He asked, “Are you okay?” Tapping his chest in reference to last years Breast Cancer.

I reassured him, “I am good, just tired.”

Then it was like God entered the conversation, because he said, “Of people?” We were talking about health, so this comment surprised me. The fireworks celebration brings in a lot of people, so it hit me right in the heart when he said this.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at him and said, “Maybe.” He started shaking his head furiously, and said, “NO NO NO.”

He opened his arms, leaned across the counter, and pulled me into his arms, like it was forbidden for me to be tired of people. He hugged me, let me go, and said, “You are good.”

To Feel Him

I have done a lot of things that make me look like an idiot. Probably one of my all time favorites was when I would praise and worship God on a pier.

I woke up this morning, snagged a cup of Joe, and stepped outside. I love to stand on my front porch, feel the cool breeze, and just soak in the moment. The sun breaks through these two ginormous oak trees right in front of me. It’s like God’s way of saying, “Good Morning.” I walked inside, flipped on the stereo, and stepped back outside.

This moment brought back memories of McDade.

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This pier is where I stood and worshiped God. This picture was taken on a crisp, and frosty morning, but that didn’t stop me from going down there. I still remember the warmth of my feet, breaking through the frost, as I jumped up and down, and danced around. That pier was completely thawed by the time I was done, and so was my heart.

The wooden spool is where I sat my coffee, and laid my phone, which was playing the music to worship Him. I miss that pier. My heart was longing for that feeling this morning, but all I have now is a front porch. Plus, there is a road in front of my house!

I still live out in the country, but since we moved to this little farmhouse in Dale, I haven’t enjoyed that outside ‘praise and worship’ moment. This morning, I could feel, and hear the music coming through the screen door, as I stood on the porch. Instinctively, my feet started bouncing to the beat.

It was the one I shared yesterday in our Feel the Music series. I sat my coffee down, and raised my arms high in the air, and sang along with Tenth Avenue North, “I have this hope…”

My heart began to swell, and it felt like mild electrical waves flushing through my veins. I had goosebumps from head to toe, and it’s just the most exhilarating feeling ever!

I heard a car coming, so I withdrew.

It was the same feeling when I would hear a car coming down the driveway in McDade. I lived on 40 acres, so the only car that drove by was my landlord. He was probably thinking, “We really need to size her up for a little white jacket that ties in the back.” What would this person coming down the road think, if they saw me dancing around my porch? In my pajamas no less!

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This is a picture of my daughter taken in McDade. She is gazing out the window, on a rainy day, looking at the pier. That is how we treat God sometimes. We can feel in our heart what He wants us to do, but let’s just stand here a minute and think about it.

The Bible is full of stories where God asked followers to do things that made them look like idiots. My favorite is Noah. Let’s build an ark, and wait for the rain. The people in this town already shake their heads at me. It wouldn’t surprise them at all to see me building an Ark in my front yard.

They know I’m a writer that lives with my daughter. I wear pajamas way too late in the day. Sometimes the entire day. I had Breast Cancer and walked around bald-headed last year, but….”She’s always happy.” They know what they see, but you can’t see God.

You have to feel Him.

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Feel the Music

I hear this song almost every time I get into my truck. This is the Acoustic version, so it will sound a little different than what you hear on the radio.

This has been in my draft folder all week, but I feel led to share it now.

It reminds me when I am too much in my own world, that He is King of the World.

“When did I forget that you’ve always been the King of the world?” And when I pray, and God is not answering fast enough, “I try to take life back right out of the hands of the King of the world.” I can take life too seriously, so it’s good to know, He is still on the throne.

Go With the Flow

We live in a 1940’s Farmhouse, and the tub has the original lever built in that closes the drain. It also has a manual stopper that you press down to stop the water from leaving.

After my dog was bathed, I unplugged the stopper from the drain, but it didn’t drain. We’ve had a lot of rain recently, so I thought maybe it was clogged with mud from outside. I asked my landlord to look at it. He said it was clogged so he unclogged it, but my tub still wouldn’t drain.

I took matters into my own ‘fix it’ hands, and drove down to the store, and came home with a bottle of Drano. Following the directions on the back of the bottle, I was already looking forward to my shower. I poured half the bottle down the drain, and waited.

My daughter is very particular about following directions on the back of bottles. Especially toxic chemicals, so I told her I wouldn’t plunge it. It says not to on the bottle, but oh, how I really wanted to! I had been waiting, so I wanted it to unclog right now!

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I was sitting on the side of the tub, and I remembered it said to pour hot water down the drain. My mother used to heat the water in a kettle, because the water coming out of our pipes are not heated to the intensity to scald us, so I heated up a kettle of water.

As I was doing this I was realizing that I don’t want to get to a point in my life where God has to do all this to me for me to obey. The Drano, scalding hot water, and please don’t plunge me! There have been times where I felt stupid, because I didn’t want to see the reality of the situation.

God has used the plunger on me before, but I hope I have learned enough that He doesn’t have to do that today. Actually, I hope I don’t allow myself to become clogged again.

As I was sitting on the side of the tub, I noticed the old, built in lever was pointing upward. I didn’t recall messing with the lever, but I must have because it had moved. I didn’t think the lever would close the drain on this old house, but I guess it had enough strength left in it to do just that.

I reached over, pressed it down with one finger, and all the water went rushing down the drain.

How simple was that? Every time my landlord asks, “How is your drain? Is it still doing okay?”, I laugh out-loud at how silly the entire ordeal was, but it made me realize how difficult I can make life, and how simple it is to just go with the flow.

A Metal Rooster

Maybe you don’t know of my love for chickens. This time of year farm supply stores have an abundance of baby chicks, bunnies, and ducks for Easter. The children love them, and my daughter was no different.

The first time we stepped inside a farm supply store, she was 5 years old. Seeing all the babies, there was no way I could deny her a few baby chicks.

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What I thought I was buying for her, turned into a long time passion of mine. For years I had chickens, and loved having fresh eggs everyday.

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I had chickens that laid a variety of colors. Some of my most healing moments were spent cleaning the chicken coop while listening to music. It was where I would escape while building up the courage to leave my 25 year marriage. Being there brought me peace in difficult times.

Chickens got me through it. What looked like caring for them, was really very soothing for me.

They all brought me joy, but there was one that followed me around the yard. Her name was Reese. She knew my life was in turmoil, and she would show up throughout the day like she was checking on me.

She wouldn’t come in the house, but she would get as close as she could. Here she is sitting in a planter by the front door. She laid her daily egg in that pot.

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Isn’t she beautiful? She’s a Polish hen.

I’m speaking in past tense, because none of my chickens are with me anymore. I brought them with me to our new life on 40 acres, but we had possums that would come at night, and get into the coop.

I tried everything to keep the chickens safe including moving the coop closer to the house. It was up on the deck by the back door, but the opossum wasn’t deterred.

I won’t put another life in danger for my happiness. I worried over those chickens every night, so the joy was already gone. I was now in ‘protection’ mode to see if I could keep them safe and I couldn’t.

A metal rooster is what I have today.

It reminds me of my time with them, but it doesn’t need my protection. It braves the elements all on it’s own.

 

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Circle of Healing

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My daughter, and I went to the Fourth of July celebration lastnight, in our tiny town. It was quaint, and sweet. It was enough walking through town, and soaking up the stares from strangers. My daughter, as you know is stunning, and today, so am I. She tied a flag scarf around my bald head, so I’m sure we were a sight!

It was all good until I heard that song.

Standing in front of an old schoolhouse, in the midst of the crowd, I heard Luke Bryan singing this song from a few years ago. I used to love Luke Bryan, but he lost me after, “That’s My Kinda Night.” My daughter was standing beside me, and she immediately noticed the change in my demeanor. She said, “Remember when you used to love Luke Bryan?”

My body froze, and my head dropped when I heard that song. It brought back memories of when I left my marriage of 25 years, and moved to nothingness with my daughter in tow. I’m sure my friends thought I had lost it, leaving the security of what I had always known. That first year, on our own, was such a season of learning. Of unbecoming who I’d become.

When I started this Blog, it was to share my experience, strength, and hope with others. I would take a life lesson, and share how it impacted my life today. Staying above the water line with it, being careful not to go too deep, and reveal to much about me personally. Walking through this Breast Cancer Journey is causing me to burst out of my cocoon.

There was a man in my life that is borderline genius. We both have the gift of writing, except he was able to utilize smart people words. One of his favorite words was ‘Nuances’. I never could wrap my mind around the full meaning of that word, until today. Noticing the nuances of life. One of his favorite quotes was, “The only constant in life is change.”

That man is no longer a part of my life, so it’s ironic that I am still learning from him.

My soul has healed enough to share my personal lessons with you. I believe people come into our lives for a reason, and sometimes only a season. I am sitting in a circle of healing.

For My Daughter

I woke  up very early this morning with a mind full of my daughter. She is sleeping in her room across the hall, but since this Blog began with her in mind, here’s one for you.

You have watched me your whole life and know my every mood. When you were around 12 years old, you saw me standing in the backyard, staring into the abyss. Walking up and sliding your hand into mine you asked, “Are you ever going to smile again.?” I wasn’t sure at the time if that was possible, but I knew something drastic was going to take place.

We had a farm called Hope Tree. You named it, drew the logo and we met with a graphic artist to bring it to life. We opened it up to the public and brought in families that have never held a chicken, or seen a baby pig. We educated them about farm life, the kids got dirty, and we went on to host birthday parties. Three years later, people still call wanting to visit.

We had ducks, and you took a Vet Science course, so we incubated their eggs. I still recall how mesmerized we were watching through the little window of the incubator as they broke free from their shell. Then we had a huge cardboard box full of baby ducks. That was the noisiest box ever, but a friend of mine saved us and took almost all of them to her farm.

That farm was the last good part of our life while married to your Dad. It got me through so much, and kept me sane as my marriage crumbled. I don’t know which broke my heart more. Finally walking out of the marriage, or saying goodbye to every animal, and leaving Hope Tree. The very best part of it all was taking you with me. God has led us through it all.

We knew it was past time to leave, but didn’t know where to go. Being homeschooled, we were not tied to any school district, so we could live anywhere. You found an ad for a house on 40 acres in McDade Texas. I looked at you in dazed confusion and asked, “Where the heck is McDade?” It was an hour away, and I’ll never forget the look on our faces as the road to the little house got smaller, more treacherous, and finally ran out of pavement onto a gravel driveway.

Mr. Rick was waiting to show us the little house. It was so beautiful out there, and I recall how everything was so green. Rick and his wife Patricia lived on the 40 acres as well, so it wasn’t like we would be alone. I had asked God to make it crystal clear if this was our new home. We had looked at quite a few, but nothing felt quite right. Mr. Rick was standing in the dining area, by the bay window, and looked at me and asked, “Is this your new home?”

My heart swells when I think of that little house. It was our new beginning.Walking this path of life together, with God at the lead, has been an amazing journey. Rick and Patricia were so sad when we left, but a year and a half later, we were ready to fly the nest, onto a little bit bigger one. It was like God has chosen them to watch over us, just like where we are now.

You found this house too, and again, a lovely couple own it. We downsized and moved to 5 acres, but Mr. Pete has his woodworking shop on the land, so we’re never alone. God always puts the right people in your path as just the right time. The house in McDade was a safe place for us to grow and learn how to depend on God for every little thing, but there were three things we yearned for. Things we took for granted before. Do you recall what they were?

The house was a one bedroom, but it was a massive room. We shared it which I wouldn’t have had it any other way. At the time, I don’t think we were willing to be separated by rooms. We were ready for our own bedroom, a bathtub to soak in, and a washer and dryer.

You learned the ins and outs of the laundromat for a year and a half. We were grateful, but tired of going every week. We had a shower, but no tub, and you couldn’t very well go hide in your room from me, because we shared it. This house on 5 acres has all that and more.

This is probably the longest Blog I have written in a long time, and I could go on and on, but I don’t need to. You remember it all, because you experienced it all with me. I am so grateful for you and how brave you have been your whole life, but especially these last 3 years. You are moving toward adulthood quickly, and I couldn’t be more pleased with who you’ve become.

Don’t ever forget your worth. You wrote about it here right after we moved into this house. You are beautiful inside and out, but way too hard on yourself. You get that honestly, but I hope you see me being kinder to myself and will follow suit. You have told me, “You’re my hero”, since you were five years old. I hope you know that you are mine too.

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