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Cherish Those Friendships – Face-to-Face —-rising above the cyber dust—-

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This August, my husband and I will celebrate 21 years of marriage. That is a rare thing in this day and age. Has it been easy? Of course not. Have we wanted to strangle each other at one point in our marriage? More than once. Has either one of us said “this is not worth it”, but yet we kept on going? Absolutely. Marriage is not easy. Any relationship, whether it is romantic or just a mere friendship, takes work and perseverance. It takes running the whole 26.219 miles in that marathon, no matter how much your legs feel like jelly and your lungs desire that much-needed oxygen. It takes riding that bucking bull for the whole 8 seconds, no matter how much you get jerked around, you just got to keep holding on. It takes fighting the whole 12 rounds in that boxing match, even though both eyes are almost swollen shut and your arms are exhausted from punching. You can’t expect to not put an effort into something and anticipate that it all will be perfect. Nothing in this world comes easy, everything requires a little elbow grease.

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My daughter and I had a conversation about how people do not want to take the time out of their own lives to work to keep relationships healthy. I mentioned to her that friendships were stronger before social media became so apart of everyone’s lives. Now days, people would rather text someone, rather than pick up the phone and actually have a conversation. We would rather have friends on Facebook and have digital interactions instead of meeting up for a cup of coffee or just an afternoon tea. We would rather send a 2-second message from the unknown to ask how they are doing, instead of taking time out of our day to see if they are okay, in person. We measure our likability by how many likes or comments we get from our posts on Instagram, Twitter, or Face Book. Does it really matter how many “thumbs up” or “hearts” we get? It does, to so many people. True friendships are becoming extinct. Our ideals about relationships have become distorted and askew.

As I walk around the mall or eat out at a restaurant, I look at the others around us. Do you know what I see? I see the tops of everyone’s head, because they are not interacting with the individuals they are with, they have disappeared somewhere into the Cyber World in that little hand-held device they are grasping for dear life. Maybe they are playing some game, or having a chat with someone they never have met. They are taking selfies on Snap Chat, or just scrolling through Face Book, Instagram or Twitter, just liking and sharing posts as they go. It is like the world will come to an end if they dare miss a post of a cat video or see what someone has eaten for lunch. If they would just look up, there is someone who they can interact with, right in front of them. Someone they can touch and have an intimate, meaningful conversation with. It is a despairing thing to a sea full of people and all they see is the small spec of algae that is just a thousandth of an inch in diameter. The sea is full of life, all you need to is maneuver yourself out of the deep water and swim toward the surface, where the sparkle of life surrounds you.

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My family is just as bad at times. Sometimes I want to throw everyone’s phones as far as I can throw them. Here we are, all together, sitting in our living room and I look around….everyone….including our six-year old…..is on some sort of device. Our heads are down and everyone is silent. Why are we not having a conversation, playing a game, enjoying the outdoors or even enjoying a great movie together? Why do we search the web for social interaction satisfaction? I am just as guilty as anyone else, but I am going to do better and “power down” when I am home. More people need to “power down” and enjoy the actual company of a real individual, instead of virtual reality that is not tangible.

I know that social media can be a great asset for all of us. I am not completely dismissing the whole entity of social media and interactions on the world-wide web. It has created great opportunities for so many people. We are able to know what has happened across the world in a matter of seconds. I am able to see my cousins and watch their children and grand babies grow up, because we just live so far away from each other. I just don’t believe we need to rely on having these digital ties to virtual individuals more than the reality of what is actually in front of us and are able to touch. I think people have become seared and callused. We forget how to talk to people. The world has learned to say what they want, do whatever they care and offend whom ever they choose. We don’t care about other people’s feelings or values. They say the pen is mightier than the sword. This can be a great thing, but it also can be very hurtful. Would we dare say some of the strong and aggressive words that we have posted on the internet to someone directly face to face? Would we have an altercation or quarrelsome engagement with an individual that is standing inches away from us? I guess some of us would, but most of us would choose to use kinder words.

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We would be careful what we say so we don’t cause a scene and cause our self to look foolish. When we hide behind our computer screens, or hand-held devices we become lion-hearted, plucky, valiant, gritty, chivalrous, and invincible. We think we have the right to say what is on or minds and not caring who we offend or scar. Cyber bullying is a new act of harassment that none of us ever dreamed would become a such a wide-spread problem. People have been intimidating and persecuting other people since the beginning of time, but you know what the difference is…….they did it face to face. When they went to browbeat someone, the other person was at least able to defend their self in the flesh. 70% of students today, report seeing bullying online. It is has become so easy and it is for the whole world to see. I think they feel empowered by bringing someone else down.

Individuals wonder why some of their friends have abandoned them or wonder why after 10 or 15 years, their marriage has failed. Face to face conversations is a thing of the past. People do not want to sit down and have an intimate conversation about what is going on with an individual. They don’t want to hear about someone’s problems. They don’t even care to hear how their day went. What happened about actually caring about someone other than yourself? What has happened to our world? Will it ever be the same? I am not sure, but I do know that I am going to do my part to fix the relationships in my life. I am going to do my best to make sure the people I care about see my eyes as I look them in the face to speak to them. I am going to make sure I pay attention to my family and friends instead of having my head down and peering intently into my digital device. I intend to “power down” every chance I get. It is time to lift my head up and free my mind from the Cyber World and re-enter the real world.

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I hope you join me in my quest for digital freedom, and be aware of the people who are right in front of you. When you do lift your head up out of the cloud of cyber dust, you will realize what attributes the world has to offer. When you have that cup of coffee or afternoon tea with that long-lost friend and relish in the conversation you will feel rejuvenated. It is great to meet new people from all over the world. It is just as fantastic to keeps tabs on friends and family that you don’t get to see very often, but just don’t forget to look up and give your undivided attention to those loved ones that God granted you the privilege to see face to face everyday.

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Forgiveness…..It does the heart Good!

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Have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever did something and didn’t think about the consequences? Have you ever done something, and at the time, really didn’t think that you were doing anything wrong, but to someone else it was the end of the world? Have you ever been blamed for something and really it was just a misunderstanding? If you have, then don’t worry, you are human. We all have had one of these moments happen at some point in our life. That is what makes us HUMAN.  I can honestly say I have never “Walked on water”, “Turned water to Wine”, “made a blind man see”, or “calmed a stormy sea”. Since I have not done any of these spectacular events, I can confidently say, I will no doubt make mistakes in my life.

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I will be the first to say that I am not perfect. I have made mistakes in my life, but some of my mistakes were also misunderstandings. Through all those mistakes, there have been a few people who have never forgiven me, and may never will. I have also had those wonderful people that don’t look at my mistakes and have had a forgiving heart.

I am not perfect. I can say that, and be completely alright with it. I know that I am a work in progress. I also am a person that forgives easy. I don’t hold grudges. If I know that I make mistakes, how can I treat everyone around me different from how I want to be treated? How can I go around and hold a grudge against someone when I hate it with a passion, that I have a grudge held against me?  I know that I will have to live my ENTIRE life and know the possibility that my past will be brought up, but the Lord tells us to forgive and forget.  That is hard for humans to do.  People can change, but sometimes they are not given that chance to change.

Holding a grudge and hating someone is hard for me to do. Why do I want to waste my energy at staying angry?  I would rather forgive you instead of condemn you for what you have done.  I know I have hurt people I love with some things I have done in the past. I guess sometimes after the same thing happens over and over, it gets harder for a person to deal with emotionally.  Once a trust has been broken it is really hard for the human self to get over that hurdle to trust again.  I understand that. What I don’t understand is …. Why say that you want to move on and then bring up every little thing that has ever happened all over again, time and time again.

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I was talking to my daughter the other day.  She is going through a little rough spot.  Last night I told her that you have to understand how the other person feels.  You feel horrible because it happened to you, but I can guarantee that he feels much worse.  He feels anger, embarrassment, regret, shame.  He feels lower than dirt.  He feels that his heart is ripping out of his chest.  He feels like he is wandering in some dark and desolate valley and he is probably alright with it, because he feels that he deserves to be in a such a horrible place for what he had done.

I do realize that there comes a time in your life that you can no longer be in a toxic situation.  There are people who you can forgive for what they done, and even forget it ever happened but, you need to move on to other things in your life.  Only you can decide what you can live with and what makes you move on.  The most important lesson to learn is to find happiness and forgiveness.  Don’t fill your heart with hatred for another human being.  Try to forgive and grant those people that hurt you a second chance or a third chance…..or maybe even a fourth.  The Bible tells us to forgive 70 times 7.  I don’t think that He means after a 490 times we can no longer forgive.  I believe he is telling us that we don’t keep tally marks, we just forgive them.

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So if you have someone in your life that you have not forgiven and you have not buried that hatchet all the way, but that handle is still sticking out to grab at any moment, make a change today. Change the way your heart feels toward them, but don’t just forgive them, also forget what they have done and never bring it up.  You will feel so much better.  Forgiveness…..It does the heart good.

There are times – a little free verse poetry

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There are times when I think I see the sparkle in your eyes

But, it is just a flicker and then it is gone.

There are times I see your genuine smile and your face lights up the room.

But, then the moment disappears.

There are times when I feel that you truly hear me and the world opens up  

But, then that door slams shut.

There are times when I feel your touch brush up against me,

But, then I see the recoil of your hand, and I realize it was just an accident

There are times I hear your laughter

But, it was not what I said, that caused your jolly spirit 

Do you see me?

Do you hear me?

Don’t you want to touch me?

Do you even love me?

I guess I will never know.

I guess I can just hope.

I guess I can just wait.

I guess I can just have faith.

REST IN PEACE MY TERESA – a sweet little speckled chicken

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Have you ever felt that you were connected to another living creature so much that when their life departed this world, the emotional trauma was too intense to handle? You can’t breathe. Your heart feels like it has been ripped out. You become almost too weak to stand, and the tears…..so many tears. It feels like your eyes become a mighty rushing river that is flowing over an edge of a cliff.

I have only been attached emotionally to two animals my whole life. When I mean “attached emotionally”, I mean my world sort of ended for a while when they passed from this life into their little backyard heaven in the sky. Animals have such innocent souls, and you can’t help to be enraptured by their presence.

The first animal who was my whole world, was a little dog named Chiquita. She was half Chihuahua and half Dachshund. She was the cutest thing and at times a pain in the heinie, but she snuggled her way into our hearts. We moved from California to Missouri the summer after I graduated from high school, and she made the journey all the way with us. We never imagined a day without her. We let her out to potty one day, like we had done dozens of times, but this time she decided to get out in the road and was tragically hit by a car. When I went to let her in, she was nowhere to be found. I went looking for her and calling her name. I had his heavy feeling in my chest, and I knew something was wrong. I inched myself to the road and as I got closer I felt this dread seeping into my chest. As I first laid my eyes on the road, I realized my search had ended.   I found her lying there on the side of the road. I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest. I fell to my knees with anguish and I don’t even remember rushing to the other side. My world ended just for a moment.  That little innocent soul was lost, and all we had now was the memories of our sweet little Chiquita.

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You don’t realize how attached you get to animals. Her death hit us all pretty hard. We never really had another dog in the house after that, at least none that I became attached to. I love animals, but for some reason I never allowed my heart to open up to another living creature quite so deep, until a few years ago.

About four years ago we got four chickens. They were all Speckled Sussex, and they were beautiful. Over time, I lost three of them and one survived. One……Lone……Chicken. Since she was all alone, I let her out of the coop and let her roam. She would hang out with the dogs, and then sometimes reside in the pen with the goats. At times she was just lay on the front porch, like she owned the place. She was just free to go anywhere she wanted to.

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One day, a few years ago, our youngest son thought we needed to name her since she was the only chicken on the farm. I thought that was probably a good idea, and I let him pick out a name. He came up with Teresa, so Teresa the Chicken, she became.  She also became my best friend.

You may ask, how a chicken could be anyone’s best friend, but she was. Teresa was the sweetest chicken you would ever get to know. She would come up beside me and just talk to me.  She was very vocal.  I would talk to her and I swear she knew every word I was saying.  I could be myself with her.  She just wanted a little attention and a little bit of food to keep her happy.  I know what you are thinking. “How can anyone get attached to a chicken?”  Well I really don’t know.  She found a place in my heart that was open. Whenever I went outside, there she was.  We would have these long conversations when nobody else was around and she looked at me with those innocent black eyes and she would purr and squawk.  It was like she was giving me all the answers to life, but unfortunately I didn’t speak “chicken”.  If only I did.

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Sometimes I would pick her up and she would lay her little red, speckled head on my arm. Of course, she was not like your normal pet.  She didn’t play catch, do tricks, or want to come sleep in your lap.  I know it is not normal for people to have a chicken for a pet, but she was mine.  She was a part of the family.

A few weeks ago I got a few more chickens and I put them in our coop.  I still gave Teresa the freedom I know she wanted and didn’t make her stay in the coop with the other chickens.  We started having a predator problem, and I got worried for her safety.  I made sure that all the chickens were safe in the coop, but this night I scooped up Teresa and told her that I believe she would be safer in the coop, just in case the predator comes back.

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The next morning I went out to check on the chickens and I noticed that the door was broken in to. The door was clawed and chewed up and panic set in. I went around the pen and two chickens were in the caged part, but I didn’t see Teresa.  I ran back around to the front and opened the door and just as I feared, there she was, just lying there.  I was hysterical.  A torrential flow of tears ran down my face.  I could not breathe and I just stood there for a moment in complete anguish.  I composed myself enough to run inside to tell my husband that she was gone.  I cried most of the day, and I just didn’t feel like doing anything but sit in my recliner and pine for my little red speckled friend.

I knew that I loved Teresa, but until I saw her laying there, lifeless, I didn’t realize how much she meant to me.  Animals are so easy to love. They don’t judge you or get mad at you. They don’t expect much and they are really great listeners.  You can talk to them about anything and they just sit there and take it all in.  Very few people in this world will just sit there and let you ramble on about things that are not really important to anyone else, but you.  Very few people will also love you completely unconditionally, but animals love you no matter who you are or what you have done.

There will never be another chicken like Teresa.  She is one-of-a kind, but to keep her memory alive, I have decided to immortalize her.  My dream has always been to write a children’s book, so the main character in my books will be Teresa.  I hope to make the world fall in love with the little chicken that captured my heart.  Rest in peace my sweet, little speckled chicken.  I am sure your enchanting personality has already captivated everyone inside heaven’s gates.  I will see you on the other side some sweet, glorious day.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MY 18 & 19 YEAR – Parenting Adult Children

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When I first found out I was expecting our first child, I thought I would be excited. I was thrilled, but my initial reaction when I first saw the pregnancy test that I was holding in my hand was positive, fear hit me like a brick. I was going to be responsible for a human being. My first thought was this is going to be a scary and rough journey. I had no idea what to expect.

When our little baby boy was born, that fear hit me all over again. What do I do if he cries? How will I know if he is hungry, or how will I know if he has had enough? How do I give this baby, who was not even 6 pounds, a bath? What if he stops breathing in the middle of the night? What if I screw his little life up? What if I am a horrible mother? I think the last question was my biggest fear. I didn’t want to be the one to mess his life up.

When I found that we were expecting a baby girl much sooner than we had planned, all those questions began flooding my mind again. Now I have two I needed to worry about. Two babies to take care of, and it was so overwhelming I was not sure if I would get it right.

As you both grew, it was a lot like having twins. I got asked so many times if you WERE twins. I sometimes said “Yes!” At times, it was much easier to say that, then to say “No, they are just ten months apart.”. Then I would get that look and instant judgment. Then I would say, “yes we waited and yes I know what causes that.” It was just in God’s plan for us to have two babies so close in age. I really don’t know what the reason is, but you both have most definitely been a blessing in our life.

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Life with babies so close in age was great, and I enjoyed each moment that I had with you both. You always had someone to play with. I never had to worry about one or the other, because you would protect each other and fight for each other. You have these “twin moments” where no body around you really knows what just happened but it is like you spoke to each other in your minds. You just laugh and go on.

I knew a day would come when you both would leave our home and it would most likely be close to the same time. Even though you both are still living in our home, I have discovered just recently, that having adult children is quite difficult. I thought rocking a baby at two in the morning because they are crying and I really had no reason why, was difficult, but parenting a 18 and 19-year-old is every bit as challenging. For 17 years, you have been like little chicks under my wings, and now your little wings have become a little bit stronger and ready to take flight. I guess you can call me a “mother hen”, always fussing over you and interfering a bit too much. I am sure you get tired of me asking, “where will you be going?”, “when will you be home?”, “who will you be with?”. I REALLY do need to know these things. Even though you are 18 and soon to be 19, I have literally spent your whole life knowing where you are and what you have been doing. It is completely impossible for me to stop cold turkey. IMPOSSIBLE! I worry. So when I ask where you are, and what you will be doing, or get that text that says “Hey I am just checking on you”, I am not trying to control your life, I HAVE to know, so I won’t worry MYSELF to DEATH.

I get it!!! You are legally an adult. I totally understand that technically you don’t have to ask permission to go somewhere or do anything, and for the most part, you guys are great about letting me know.  I want you to know I appreciate that. You will understand when you are parents of your own.

You will understand what I am going through as I watch you grow up and become adults and on your own. It is hard. I want to do things for you.  I know……i am a bit of a control freak…..I will totally admit that. I can’t help it, it is in my nature to make sure every little thing is in order. I am in a major transitional period right now. I can’t act the same way I use to.  I need to learn to treat you as adults, but I still have that longing to feel needed.

I miss watching you sit in little cardboard boxes and watch TV together. I miss watching you ride around in your little battery operated cars. Do you remember the John Deere Gator and the little Gray Beetle?  You both had one, but for some reason you could not ride separately. You both would hop in one and ride it till it died and then hop in the other one and ride it till it died. We should have just bought one instead of two. It makes me smile just to think about it, and tear up at the same time.  I miss you standing side by side gathering vegetable cans from the pantry and loading a dump truck to haul off to who knows where.  I yearn to watch you standing next to each other while singing in choir in elementary school. I hardly have a picture that I don’t have both of you in it. You two were just inseparable.

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I suppose some of that has not changed. You two are still each others best friend and I guarantee if something happened to the other one there would be a fight on our hands. I know that one would be lost without the other. I also know that I can’t keep you young forever. Everyone has to grow up.  It is what God intended. Of course, if I had my wish, I would turn back time and do it all over again.

I just want you to know that if you have ever felt like I ruined your life in any way, I am sorry. That was never my intention. I love you both so much, and all I have ever wanted was to be a good mother. You may believe this or not, but I am not perfect. I have made mistakes, and I am sure at times, have made you angry. There are times where I don’t even like myself.  I laughed at that, but that is so true. So if you ever read this, I just want you to know I love you.  I love you both.  It is not easy being a mom.  We get yelled at for no reason.  We get blamed for just about everything, especially when something is lost. We get taken advantage of….. a lot. Sometimes we feel that we do everything and everyone else just sits back and relaxes. There have been times when my favorite snack is in the pantry and go into the kitchen to eat it and someone says they want it also. Well you know, I always give it to you, and I go without.

Now, this may be a little “too much info”, but this momma has not purchased underwear for herself in about six or seven years. That is not a lie. I have two pairs of jeans, very few socks, and shoes that are practically falling apart. I seldom buy clothes for myself, and if I do it is dirt cheap.   To be honest, I really don’t care.  If I have to go without, so my kids can have more, then that is what I do. I always make sure you have what you need. It may not always be exactly what you want, but I have always tried. I have worked two or sometimes three side jobs, just so I can purchase school clothes or presents for Christmas. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would never give myself more and you have less. I have no regrets.

So as you go off on different journeys in life, don’t forget your momma. I will always be here. I hope you don’t resent me for being an over-protective, ole’ mother hen.  I don’t think I would have changed even if you wanted me to.  I think you will understand when you have children of your own.  You will then understand why it hurts when you get that “eye roll” or that long sigh or grunt.  You will also know how I feel at this very moment; making a transition of being a parent of a child to a parent of an adult.

In the words of Robin Sharma, “Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous in the end.”  You will get through this better than me. You will be excited about this change, and to busy too notice.  I will be happy and proud of you, like I always have been.  Being a parent of an Adult child may be hard at first, but I know it will be gorgeous in the end.

 

BECOMING THREE

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As a little girl, I often thought about growing up and becoming a mother.  I could not wait to get married and have children.  In my head, I had it all planned out.  I knew what I wanted to name my children, long before I even met the man I was going to marry.  When I actually got married, my husband and I waited about two years till we had our first child.  We were so excited to have a baby boy.  A few months after we had our first child, I became ill, all of a sudden.  I went back to my obstetrician, and they looked me over and decided to give me a pregnancy test.  They set me aside and told me gently, “You are expecting another baby”.  I could not believe it.  I just sat there and cried, not because I didn’t want any more children, but because the baby boy who I cradled in my arms, was only 3 months old.

I was not ready emotionally for another baby.  It was quite overwhelming.  They gave me an ultra sound just to be sure the pregnancy test was accurate, and there she was.  At the time, I was unaware that this baby growing inside me was a girl, but after I saw her at just a few weeks old, I cried tears of joy this time.  I loved her from the second I saw her.

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One year before we were blessed with our third child

We were a family of four for 12 long years.  We had one boy and one girl.  We were happy with our little family.  We had thought about having more children, at times.  Sometimes my husband wanted another one and I didn’t or vise versa, I wanted another and he didn’t.  So we decided that we were perfect just the way we were.  Of course, God had another plan for us.  In 2010, I found out I was pregnant, again.  Yep, that was a surprise, I was not expecting.  I was shocked, but not upset.

As this wee babe grew inside me, I just knew it was a girl.  Everyone around me felt the same way.  I remember looking at cute bows and adorable little dresses.  At my 20 week ultrasound, my mother and two older children gathered around me and watched in anticipation as the baby wiggled and squirmed on the computer screen.  The baby stretched real big, and the doctor asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby.  Of course we all were dying to know.  When she said we were having a healthy baby boy, I was stunned by the news.  I really didn’t care if this baby was a boy or a girl, I just wanted him or her to be healthy, but deep down inside I just knew I was having a girl. We all chuckled and my daughter was a bit disappointed, but ultimately we were just happy he was healthy.

 

I have to admit, dressing up a little girl again would have been fun.  We even had a girl’s name picked out, Piper Nicole.  So we went back to the drawing board to find a name.  My husband was picking this name out, since I had already, long ago, picked out the names of our older two.  Our planning for baby boy Williamson began.

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Our first picture in the NICU, he was 4 days old. Stayed in the NICU for 14 days.

 

We have been a family of five for six years now.  Our youngest son is now in Kindergarten, our daughter is a Senior in high school and our oldest son is in college.  A lot has changed since the unexpected blessing of our third child.  For six years now, there have been five chairs, five plates, five glasses, and enough food for five hungry people.  The living room has always been brimming with laughter and every piece of furniture was filled with all five us.  Times are changing a bit now.  We are suddenly becoming three.

Every parent goes through the empty nest syndrome.  I am just not sure that every parent is prepared for the house to feel so uninhabited.  Our older two still live at home, but their absence from the home has increased.  They both have jobs and my son is in college.  In a short few months my daughter will move on campus at her college.  Fortunately the college is an hour and a half a way.  Not too far for momma to go and visit and not too far for her to come home on weekends.  Our son is often at his girlfriends, at college, or working.  We seldom see him.  I knew this time would come some day, and I am so thankful that God gave us our little boy, so our house would not feel so desolate all of a sudden.

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Our oldest two are so close in age that it has always felt like we were raising twins.  They were either doing everything together or one would finish and the other would start.  I knew that we would have back to back graduations, and two in college,  but I just really didn’t know how much their absence would affect me.

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Some times we even have their birthday together because one is April and the other is in May.

 

Every mother knows their children will eventually leave.  I mean that is our goal, right?  We love them, protect them, educate them and prepare them.  Our goal is to make sure that they have all the skills so they can become productive individuals in society.  We do all this, and we are still so unaware how time goes by so quickly.  Their wings will soon become strong enough and they will take flight to go on their own adventures.

I often wondered how that momma bird feels when her last little, baby birdy jumps off that branch and flies off for the last time.  She has to be so nervous for them.  I wonder if she worries about them and hopes that she sees them again.  I wonder is she feels the emptiness in her heart as she sees them fly off into the distance.  I know our daughter and son are not going far off, but they are not that little boy and little girl anymore that would run around and play and give each other kisses.  They don’t run up to me and want me to hold them or kiss their boo-boos.  They are no longer completely dependent upon me.  That is very difficult.  They both are adults now, and it is really hard to change my way of thinking.  I still see them as babies, instead of my grown adult kids.

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Becoming a family of three instead of five is very hard on this momma.  I know we will always be a family of five and eventually we will be adding more to our family, but some days I wish we could go back just a few years when we were together more often than we are apart.  I thank the Lord for all three of our children.  I am proud of each one of them.  All three of them have very distinct personalities and of course they have their moments where those personalities are not so pleasant, but I love them no matter what.

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Love You Forever, by Robert N. Munsch is my favorite book and no matter how many times I read it, I cry like a baby.  I just read it the other day to our littlest for the first and by the time I finished the book, both of us were sobbing.  So if my children ever read this article you are reading at this very moment, I want them to know that they are the reason I adore this book, because these few words that is written in the book is exactly how I feel about them.  “I will love you forever, I will like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be”

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I have never once regretted being a mother. I have loved every minute of it. I am anxious to see where the next few years lead, and even though right now we are “three” more often than we are “five”, some day we will be so much more.

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ENJOYING MY LIFE ON OUR FAMILY FARM

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Have you ever just looked up into the deep, dark cosmic abyss and gazed at all the stars twinkling back down to you?  Last night, my husband and I came home from church late, and when we got out of the car, my husband said he would show me where the Big Dipper was, if I wanted him to.  Of course, I said yes, because I always seem to get it wrong.  We stopped where we were and looked up to the sky and became mesmerized by the little jewels shining so bright on the night canvas.  He pointed out the big dipper to me and our littlest son.  We just stood there with our heads looking up toward the heavens.  We live way out in the country where we have very little light pollution, and the stars just shimmer like little diamonds in the sky.  We stood there, quiet and at peace, for a long while.  That is why I love living in the country on our farm.  We couldn’t hear anything but the frogs peep and croak in the far distance, and the wind blowing through the trees.  We all were as content as we could be.

Today we had a training at work, and the trainer began by asking us where we worked, our years of service with the department, and if we could be anywhere else in the world at this very moment, where would you want to be.  Most everyone said they would want to be on a beach somewhere or in some foreign country.  I thought about their comments, and it would be nice to be on the beach somewhere or in some random country overseas, but to be honest, I would not want to be anywhere else except on our farm.  I love to be at home on our farm.  I am content with working in the yard, taking care of my chickens, or just admiring the animals as they eat the fresh, green, tender grass.  There is nothing better than sitting in my yard swinging to my heart’s content.

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Farming is not only a form of income for us, but it is a lifestyle we have chosen.  I was not raised on farm, but I got here has fast as I could.  I married into the farm life, and even though it was quite an adjustment from the city life, I have loved every minute of it.  I remember wondering why my husband would rush out of the house and run to the field and take care of a cow that was down, when we first got married.  I didn’t understand the urgency.  Now I do the same thing.  The other night we got home real late in the evening and I was exhausted from the events of the day.  I went to bed and forgot to close my chicken coop door.  About four in the morning, I heard our guinea start to fire up.  When ole’ Sam gets excited he sounds likes he is screaming for his life. I woke from a sound sleep and listened and he did it again.  I then heard the other chickens start to cackle, but I knew by the sound of it that something was wrong; something was trying to get to my chickens.  So I jumped out of bed, threw some clothes on, and found my phone so I would have a flash light.  I ran outside and noticed that the guinea and one of the hens were out of the coop. I counted them all and thank goodness, they were all there.  Here we are, me and my husband, out in our yard at four in the morning, chasing one of the hens all around the yard so we can put her back in the coop with the other chickens.

I chuckled at the scene.  Here I am, years later, rushing out of the house to rescue the animals that I vowed to protect, just like my husband has been doing for years.  I realized that is what farm life is like.  These animals that we raise, does not only serve as a source of income, but they are apart of our family.  Living on a farm is a labor of love.  It is like no other feeling, and if you have never been in the presence of little calves running around so happy and care free, you have not lived life to the fullest.

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Sunday mornings my husband spends his morning in the yard with his coffee cup watching and inspecting the cows.  I am not really sure why it is, but the cows will come by the yard fence just about every Sunday morning before we leave for church.  It is like they are there to be noticed and to tell us to have a delightful Sunday.  This last Sunday, I joined him for a little bit.  The temperature was perfect and all the little calves were gathered around.  We just stood there side by side, talking and watching the cows nibble on the freshly grown grass.

I know farm life is not for everyone.  We get questions a lot about how we can live so far off out in the “boondocks”.  They wonder how we get by without having a grocery store five minutes from our house.  I understand why they think this way.  I was in the same mind-set a little over 20 years ago.  I lived in a city till I was 18 years old, but my husband has lived the majority of his 42 years on a farm.  For 23 years, he lived on a farm much larger than ours.  His family lived on a little over 1000 acres, although our farm is slightly smaller, only 77 acres, he’s just as content.  My husband lived in town with me when our older two kids were just babies, and hated every moment of it.  I was not too fond of it myself, but it was something I was accustom to.  After living on farm for the last several years, I could never go back to city living.

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I have grown at ease to the serene environment that has encompassed me.  Farm life has become my life.  There are approximately 2 million farms that dot America’s rural landscape.  According to the Department of Agriculture, about 97 percent of  U.S. farms are operated by families.  These families can consist of individuals, family partnerships, or family corporations.  Some of these farms are thousands of acres, but many of are less than a hundred.  The world needs farmers.  Whether it is a cattle farm, a crop farm, or a little bit of both, the world relies on the farmer.

In 1978, Paul Harvey couldn’t have described a farmer any better.  Here is the profound words from his “So God Made a Farmer” Speech.

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.

I have a great appreciation for those who choose agriculture as their way of life.  I know it takes all kinds of people to make this world go round’.  I am just one of those individuals who choose to go round’ this world …..on a farm.

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IT TAKES ALL KINDS TO MAKE A WORLD

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When I was little, my Grandma Burdette use to quote to me and my sister this one simple line, “It takes all kinds to make a world” all the time.  I remember rolling my eyes and thinking “whatever”, because most of the time she was getting on to us.  As a child, I really didn’t understand or appreciate those eight words.  Those eight words have such a vast meaning, and I never realized how powerful they really were until I was an adult.

I recently had “falling out” with one of my family members.  We had not spoken for several months.  We both have a bit of a temper and when we get mad, we get mad all over.  Sometimes I have a problem with saying something before I have a chance to even think of the consequences.  It is like stopping the water flowing over Niagara Falls, it is a complete impossibility to stop.  I have learned over the years to control the flow of wordage that wants to escape its dam, but there are times that the dam breaks and carnage strikes innocent bystanders.

Since I have gotten older it has become easier to think before I act, and I also have learned to appreciate that old phrase my grandma instilled into my being.  It does take all kinds to make a world.  If we were all the same, it would be a completely mundane, characterless world.  We all think different, dress different, speak different, act different, and we are all raised different.  Together, the world is one giant puzzle, and each piece is different from the other, but without that one piece, we are not complete.

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We have to learn to get a long and appreciate each others differences.  I believe we have forgotten that we are a world that require each others uniqueness.  I attempted to make amends to that one family member. I asked for her forgiveness and to start fresh.  Life is way to short to have a feud with someone who is your own flesh and blood.  Likewise, life is too short to worry about the fact that someone is not like you, therefore you should have nothing to do with that individual.  We should show love to one another.  Me and my cousin are alike in a lot of ways but we are also different in others.  We have been raised differently and think differently and at times you can say we are poles apart, but there is one thing that holds true and is undeniable, the same blood runs through our veins.  She messaged me this morning and asked for a fresh start, and of course I was relieved when she felt the same.  We didn’t grow up together and our parents were not always close either.  It seemed we lived a world apart but as we grow older the cousins on my dad’s side have created a bond and have began to reach out to one another.  We are all different but we desire the connection with one another.

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I know it is hard to connect with some people, family or not, because they are so different from you.  I know for me, uniformity is comfortable.   It is natural for individuals to flock to each other because they have similar interests, but in reality, uniqueness is what we should strive to embrace.  Family is always important but friendship is just as important.  Accept those who are different from you.  The Bible quotes several scriptures about loving your neighbor as your self. It also states not only are you suppose to love your neighbor and your friends, but also love your enemy.  Love your enemy……think about that for a moment.  That is probably the last person on EARTH that you want to love, but God is asking you to do that.  God says that if you just love those who love you, what good is that?  If you are friendly only to your friends, how different are you from anyone else?  God has given us faith, hope and love, but God says the greatest of these is love.

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It takes all kinds to make a world, which means it is important to love all kinds of people who are in this world.  I don’t care who you are and how different you are from me, I will always address you with love and kindness. There have been many people in my life who have been cruel to me.  People are not the kindest creatures living on this earth.  Some animals have a more nurturing spirit in their little body than some humans have in their pinky toe.  There are some individuals that I think I could NEVER show love to, but God expects it; he commands it.  It takes all kinds to make a world, because God created this world and everything in it, and He created everyone different.  He loves us all, and He expects us to do the same.  Don’t spend one more day hating someone; family, friends, or even your enemy.  Life is too short to have hate reside in your soul.  I would much rather have the sweet, refreshing feeling of love in my heart instead of the foul, revolting, rotting stench of HATE.

Take time out of your day to make amends to those relationships that have gone sour.  Go out of your way to make new friends to someone who you never thought you would because of your differences.  You never know, that individual may become a life long companion, and someone you would lay down your life for.  Just remember, it really does take all kinds to make a world, it is what makes this world so remarkable.

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