Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Why Do We Choose to Regret?

Every now and then a random song will pop into my head. A person may trigger a thought that leads to a song. Or a word someone speaks could spark an outburst of musical talent. There is always a song in this head of mine.
Today’s song, of unwanted choice, happened to be Adel- Someone Like You. Now mind you, Adel is not someone I would listen to. I do, however, like the heart and passion she puts into her songs. She doesn’t demand an audience because she can, but rather because she has talent and passion in what she brings forth.
That said I couldn’t help but listen to the song and feel sorry for so many. Why do we let fear hold us back? How much of life do we miss out on when we step away from what is good. Yes, sometimes we hope to find something that is better. But other times it is simply because we are scared that it is too good for us or what if the situation changes. We lock ourselves up in this silent prison and wait until it’s to late and we are left saying "we hope to find someone like you". When we could have had it from the beginning of it all.
Sometimes, our lives get confused and wrapped up in the pleasing of others. Like, keeping a standard for your family name. By trying to appease others we give up on who we are. To surrender who we are is a guaranteed way to let a part of you die.
I would like to challenge you to let go of fear. Take that chance when the good is looking you in the eyes and try it out. Let joy be apart of your life instead of hesitation. Don’t miss out on the best and get stuck settling for seconds. Don’t let Adel’s song come up on the radio and cause you to feel like you are hearing someone talk about your life in similar words.

The Crazy Beauty.

The place of letting go and letting life be at peace. It’s a beautiful place to be.
As I had previously mentioned, I had given online dating a try, compliments of my mother and her handiwork. Well, one of those oh so sweet guys I had once met re-contacted with me back in August. He asked the what if… what if we worked… what if we lived closer to each other…. what if we weren’t headed in different directions. I assured him he was an amazing guy with lots of promise for the right girl. I was just not that girl. He asked if I was sure. I told him I was content being just as I was with my precious son.
That was the truth. I finally hit that place in life to being at peace with how life was panning out. I was content with it being just my son and myself. I was content not having nor searching for a man to fill the quiet void. In fact, life no longer felt lonely. I was happy.
That would be about when crazy kicked in. My dear friend, Alex, came in for the weekend and joined my mother at her computer with a bottle of wine. Next thing I knew they were laughing and giggling and enjoying themselves far too much. I went to check on them and saw they were on yet another dating site! For real?! They found a guy they thought was perfect for me. He was good looking. Had a nice write up. But, he was a redneck. Like totally a redneck. Raised truck, lots of camo, backwoods redneck.
I talked to him for a few days and we decided to meet for dinner. No. No, no, no, no, no! This guy doesn’t stand a chance. As we walked out to the trucks I planned on sending him on his way…. but, some how I agreed to a second date. Which he planed for two days later! I asked him all the heavy questions. He was suppose to run! He didn’t. We walked out to the trucks to say our good nights and he hugged me. It was different. It was warm. Protective. And felt safe. Something was different about this guy. Four days later we meet again. This time he took me to his back yard and we shot guns for a spell. The next day, he met my family. A week later I met his. Then he met my son and suddenly life was in a world wind. I felt like I knew this guy forever. There weren’t many topics we didn’t breach while talking. Talking was easy.
My son loved the man. My parents liked the man. The man broke down my walls. My protective barriers that I used to be sure no man would get too close… no man would hurt me… he tore them down as if they were made of tissue paper. He won my heart. He won my love. And I his. When he asked for my hand, my father didn’t hesitate. My mother was sure. My son giggled.
In this crazy thing we call life, beauty comes when we least expect it. Beauty comes when we learn to be happy and content with life. This crazy beautiful thing we call life. We call love. We call happiness.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sometimes It’s Disappointing.

I have realized it is so easy to get caught up in life. The hard fact is that we all see life in a different way.  Far different ways.
The value of family. The value of a friend. The value of life. Three things that are viewed far differently from one person to another.
Life has taught us all something different. Some have learned to fight. Some to love. Some to be loners.
Life taught me to embrace. When you get that second chance and truly embrace all you have been through, you are left with two options. The first is to close off your heart and trust only yourself, the second is to hold to hope in everyone. I believe everyone holds the potential to be someone amazing. I believe there is the potential of good in every single situation.
I’ve learned to love. Everyone needs to be loved by someone. Everyone needs someone to encourage them, to believe in them. If I can be that person for someone else, I will. This world is harsh and quick to tell you that you are a failure. I want everyone to know and feel as if they have a fighting chance to be someone… whether big or small.
I’ve learned the value of family and friends. They are in your life and you need them, in one way or another. I’m there for them. Call at 3 in the morning and I’ll answer. Need a shoulder, I have two. Not feeling well, chicken noodle soup is on the way. Need a laugh, I love to laugh!
 The hardships of my past have caused me to care, have grace and mercy, love, hope. It is not all just for my future, for my sons’ future, but for my families future, friends futures, and even the random people I cross paths with.
However, reality has shown how so many cannot embrace life that way. It hurts. It’s disappointing. When you long to be a team player and another can’t. When it strains the family. Stresses a friendship. You want nothing more than to hold it all together. Sucking up your pride, time and again.
Life has taught me that, sometimes, enough is enough though. Sometimes you have to let go and walk away. Give space and let change happen. You cannot be treated with disrespect… even if you love the person so. Never burn the bridge, simply walk away.
Yes, it hurts. A part of you grieves. But, hope says that maybe soon you will be reconciled and it will be good.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

To Feel Like A Giddy School Girl.

I love to find pure, simple joy in the little things in life. The garden is one of those things in my life.

After settling the animals in for the day, I grabbed my big wooden bowl and headed out to the garden. Little by little fresh produce was add to the bowl. Once it got to the point of over flowing, I headed inside. Cucumbers, zucchini, paste tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, four kinds of sweet peppers, red beets. The array of colors was beautiful! Everything was emptied out upon the table.
  I returned back out to the garden. This time I hit up the hot peppers and carnival squash. The colors were nice and rich. The ground was rich and healthy. The plants are obviously reaping the benefits. Once the fruit was collected from the second round of picking, I head back inside the second time.
I stand in awe that we are able to grow fresh foods on our own land. I stand in awe that even in our corruption and imperfections, God still gives us such great abilities. It makes me feel so giddy and excited to grab my bowl and head out to the garden and see what beautiful treasures will await harvesting!
A days bounty

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Because Sometimes There Is No Understanding.

That phone call. The one where you are asked to come to the hospital. The one that drops your heart into your stomach. The one that leaves you numb, shaking, and using your every ounce of your being to control your emotions. A call I never want, yet came close to receiving.
It was a Saturday afternoon. I was going to go hiking with some friends, but storm clouds loomed heavily over head. Instead of a day in the mountains, we left to enjoy a day in the city. We jumped a train in and spent the morning meandering through a museum. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch and split up to enjoy some shopping. It started a light, misty drizzle at this point. We were having fun, laughing, goofing around and just enjoying a leisure day with no time restraint.
It was quarter till two and my friend, the Hammer, and I decided to swing into Barnes and Nobles to use the restroom and chill for a few. As I walked back out and over to where he was waiting, my phone alerted me to an incoming text. I reached for my phone as I came up next to him and froze. A picture of my parents’ truck was starring back at me. The front end smashed and twisted, the bed cover thrown to the road, debris all around.  
 “Oh my gosh, that’s my parents truck,” was all that could escape my lips. Hammer asked what was wrong and I showed him the picture. Taking a moment to regroup, hands shaking, I called my father. His voice was shaking. He said they were ok, but at the hospital. They were in pain. Hammer asked if we should head back home and my dad insisted on enjoying the rest of the day, friends were on their way to stay with them at the hospital. He said they were driving down the highway when someone ran a stop sign and hit them head on. The truck was thrown one direction and the car the other. The other guy was unconscious.
I was freaking out on the inside, shaking on the outside. Hammer wouldn’t leave the safety of the little corner we were in until he knew I was calm enough. I was grateful to be with someone whose head was working correctly! I grabbed a Robert Frost book and he told me to read him a poem. I picked my favorite poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay.
After a spell spent regrouping, the two of us headed back out to meet up with the other two guys. A few more hours spent in the city was drawn to an end as the rain started to fall, so we made our way back underground to the train. Sitting in silence, the 40 minute ride stretched on for what felt like hours. I was finished. I was ready to be home. I need to lay eyes on my parents and see that they really were ok.
Once back to the car, we had another 35+ minute drive back to Hammer’s house where my car was waiting for me. I jumped into my car and instantly called my parents, again, to see how things were going. My dad had been released from the hospital but they were still waiting on my mom… it was now 7 at night. It would be a couple of hours yet. A couple hours!!
Hammer and another friend, Hunter, came over to watch a movie and keep me company as I was left waiting. Finally, at 10:30, they came home. I could see them! Black and blue and sore, but standing in front of me. Home. Their mobility was low as the pain through out their bodies kept them bound in an invisible prison. I had to help my mom get dressed and undressed as she couldn’t move her left arm upward. But, my parents were home.
The next morning my father called the tow company to see if we could come clean out the truck. And that is when the sledge hammer dropped. No. The truck was shrink wrapped, no one was getting near it as this was looking like it would turn into a fatality accident. Words my dad struggled to take in. All the trooper could tell us was the other man was not wearing a seatbelt, in a medically induced coma, and he had no alcohol or drugs in is system.
My dad was plagued with thoughts of was there any possible way for me to swerve. No. What if I would have seen him come around the bend sooner and have been able to slam on my breaks sooner… but that wasn’t a possibility either. Why didn’t he slow down? Why didn’t he swerve? Did something medical happen? A hint to an explanation would have given him a level of peace, but there was none.
One week turned in to almost two when we were finally informed there was no way the accident could be tied to us and the truck was being released.  It would be towed to the Ford dealer down the road from us. That night we went to go see it. Pulling onto the lot there were a lot of cars involved with fender benders. Some with bumpers sitting next to the naked car nose. There, straight back in the last row, sat the Big Red Beast. Twisted and crumpled. By far, the worse looking car on the grounds.
Standing in front of it was worse than the picture I received. Metal had pierced through the hood. The engine was pushed back and into the cab a good two feet, pinned up by the front seats. The tow anchors… one was bent far to the side and the other was torn off all together. The driver side rim was bent and pushed up under the driver door. Two months of ownership and only 30,000 miles… the Big Red Beast was finished.
It was just over two weeks in that we learned more about the other driver, although practically nothing at the same time. He was still in the coma, fighting for his life. Two days away from hitting the four week mark, we now know they are trying to wake him from the coma. He will have a long road of recovery a head of him.
Each day my parents’ bodies get healthier. But I look forward to the day the Big Red Truck is removed from the collision lot. Driving home from work, I can see it’s twisted body sitting there, standing out with its bold color.  Insurance should wrap up next week and we will finally be able to replace the truck.
The funny thing is when shopping for the truck a sales man tried to sell them a Dodge. (no offense intended for Dodge drivers) My dad looked at the man and said I will only drive a Ford pickup. The man laughed at him… not good moves for a salesman. My dad mentioned how he has seen Dodges measure up after being in accidents and that was why he stood firm with his opinions.
My parents were on their way to a friends for dinner. Typically they would have turned off the highway and skipped over the mountain, instead of going around, to get there. But this afternoon they decided to break that routine. I believe everything happens for a reason. So why did this happen? My mom recalls looking around after she slid out of the truck and noticing cars stopped around them. As people ran to each vehicle involved, no trucks were there. A little white car sat directly behind where my parent’s truck was in line. The driver of that little car was a young girl. She ran directly to my parents to see if they were ok and promptly said, “If he would have hit my car I’d be dead.” They way the truck was thrown, what would have happened if he flew through the north and south lanes of the high way?
While we may never know if something happened to the man who hit my parents, one can’t help but wonder if God used the Big Red Beast to save the lives of those in the smaller cars. I don’t question their being in the truck saved their lives.
Times arise where we wish we had more information. When we wish we could have changed the out come… even when we were not the cause of the issue.  Sometimes the best way to handle the hurt of the unknown is to believe there was a purpose behind it and eventually we will understand.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Blessing in the Little Things of Life.

Living life wrapped in the craziness of… to put it simply… life can easily leave one overwhelmed. So often we cannot stop and smell the roses, because we are already planning out tomorrow. That is one thing I adore about my garden and animals. I have to go out and tend to the animals a few times a day. I have to go and collect the produce every few days. I have to stop being busy and step out into the sunshine and fresh air.
After five years of trying to get a good soil,  grow a plant that didn’t look like Charlie Browns Christmas tree, and actually collect food for more than half a salad… last year I finally collected enough to eat regularly, share and store a few squash for winter.  It was exciting!
I spent the next number of months watching the sun. How did it go across the yard? Which areas got morning sun versus afternoon sun? What spot got sun almost the whole day? What area got no sun at all?
As the leaves began to fall and the grip of frozen death crawled in, I started planning this years garden. What seeds did I have stored up from the previous year? Would I need to get any other seeds or plants? What planting rotation would I have? Then came the big question…. How much space will my parents give me?
The main garden.
I talked to them, shared my plan. And they liked it. **In my best Mufasa voice** “Whatever the light touches, Abigail, shall be your garden.” Oh yeah, score!
With my parents blessing I started planning. I can elongate the garden on this side, stretch it like a pie slice on that side, there is an 8x15 patch over there, the edge of the deck, around the one side of the pool. AH, but when it rains the water drains over there like a river, better make that an 8x10 patch. I can put these seeds here, those seeds there. The herbs can go up there. It was a beautiful thing. I mapped the space out twice until I was satisfied. 
I waited patiently for the frost to end and spring to arrive. When I say patiently, I mean patiently! The first day of spring was meet with almost 6 inches of snow. May first came and went with frost still arriving in the morning. Then finally… at last!... it appeared to be safe to start as the frost melted away over night into soaring temps and a cooking sun.
Around the deck.
Soil was delivered and the garden was laid out. The plants that were started were tucked into the soil. Four hours of crawling through the garden gave way to hundreds of seeds sinking into the warmth of their home. Hard work left me refreshed and hopeful. This garden would be a beautiful thing.
Little by little the seeds gave way to life poking up from deep within. Leaves started to emerge. Flowers glistened across the stretch of land. Arms reached out to claim their space. The garden has started to become fruitful.
All together I have about 1/10 of an acre covered in plants. I am still working on using the whole space to it’s full potential, but I’m still a work in progress as this is only the sixth year of trying for a green thumb. This little space consists of 2 kinds ofradishes, red beets, carrots, cucumbers, candy onions, 7 kinds of peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, eggplant, ground cherries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries, 6 kinds of lettuce, 5 kinds of tomatoes, 4 kinds of beans, popping corn, sweet corn, red skin potatoes, sweet potatoes, 6 squash, zucchini, and a mix of edible flowers and herbs.
The squash jungle has since met in the middle!

I look at my squash jungle and it makes me smile. Snipping lettuce, pulling tomatoes and sending the abundance home with others makes me feel refreshed. Digging my gloveless hands into the dirt and pulling up the radishes renews me.
It’s the little things in life that we should stop and enjoy the blessing of. It’s laughing at the thought of the oilman needing to delivering oil and protecting the jungle from his hose… which I thought I had thought through prior to planting, but the great green jungle took over. It’s a choice to plant that much. It’s a choice to keep up with it. It’s a choice to enjoy it. It’s a choice to find the blessing in this little thing called a garden.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A 10 Year Love Story.

This is my love story. One of love, grace, worth. One of trial and surrender. One of awe. Faith. Security. This is my love story and I wouldn't trade it.

Meet Alfalfa.
Isn't she wonderful?
She is a 2005 Focus. Not something the average Joe would write home about. But I love her. A car, you say. Why, but yes! My love and appreciation is one that makes some laugh or shake their heads. So please, may I share my story with you?

It all started 10 years ago, back in 2005. I was just a young girl of 19 years. My first car was limping on it's last leg and it was time to look for a new one. At this point in my life I had just finished school and held a part time job at Subway. I was looking at cars that were around 5 years old and very discouraged by the condition versus the price.

I had made a list of what would be important to me and started praying for those things in my next car. Black, sun roof, four doors. I knew I was getting married soon and kids were one day going to be in my future, so a family car was very important.

I showed my father some of the vehicles I had found through my online searches and his opinion of them wasn't far off from my own. Then he said, "Let's go down to the dealership and see if they have anything." I agreed, but thought there was no way I could afford a worth while car.

Sure enough, the moment we stepped on the lot, a lady swooped in, talons exposed, set on making her sell. I told her I wanted a black, four door with a sun roof. She told me I was good at dreaming big.... she had no idea! She took me over to Alfalfa and I saw the price tag of $20,000.... I could never afford that! She said this was the only one that fit the bill on the lot. I wanted to test drive it. "But you're just a young kid and you will be ready to trade it back in in a year or two," she insisted.

After a little back and for, I got to test drive my beauty and I knew she was mine. I told God I would like to get $900 for my trade in, but no less than $700. I also said I didn't want to exceed $280 on my monthly payment. After some back and forth, we were stuck at $400 for the trade in and $350 for the car payment. So we walked. I was discouraged. She felt so right while driving. But I would not go over board on debt at such a young age. A few phone calls went by and then they asked us to come back in, that they had played with the numbers. Suddenly they had incentives for first time car buyers, having proof of finishing college, and the list went on. This beautiful car with a price tag of $20,000 suddenly became $12,000 and some. Next up was my trade in. After pulling some numbers the best they could do was $700. When everything was calculated, my monthly payment would be $278.73. I smiled and said she was my car. Lovingly, I called her Black Beauty.

The End. WRONG! So I just learned about God's grace and favor. I learned about the importance of not being afraid to ask God for what you wanted and believing it would happen. But that was only the beginning of our love story.

I valued this car. After everything I went through to get her, I knew she was a gift from a loving God. I hand washed her weekly. Didn't let trash pileup inside. Babied her. In time I got married. Seeing someone in need we decided to give his car to the person. In turn he now had my sweet Black Beauty to drive and I had no car. I asked for a beater to just get around town and he said no, I didn't need it. So, after two beautiful years, she was taken from me.

But my God was still faithful. An opportunity arose that I wanted to be part of, but I couldn't see making ends meet while still having a car payment. I prayed and asked God that if He wanted me to do this make a way to pay Black Beauty off. Three days later I received a check in the mail. I was in awe... even called the person who sent it to make sure it was correct! Only two and half years into ownership and my sweet girl was payed off!

Time went on and through lack of care and respect, my girl was left with stains all over every seat, scratches and dings. Dried coffee coated multiple surfaces. My, then, husband even ran over two dead deer breaking the frame off of one of her fog lights. I didn't love Black Beauty anymore. But, than again, I no longer loved me. She was dirty, abused, broken. And so was I.

I had finally reached my breaking point and I left the marriage. I left Black Beauty. I returned to my parents home broken and with a few suitcases. But that ever so faithful God started to heal my heart, mind and emotions. Nearly six months went by when I needed to get a job and try to stand stable on my own feet. But I hadn't a car. As if a little birdie sang it out to me, I remembered Black Beauty was still in my name. I never switched her into both our names when I said I do. But I didn't want her. She was beat up and abused. So, I told him I'd give her to him for $3,000. She was valued at $7,000, I just didn't want to look at her again. Angerly, he said no. He would just drop the car off. And he did. Holding on to his keys, I insisted he hand those over too. Black Beauty was mine again, but it wasn't so sweet.

I spent an afternoon scrubbing and scrapping at the years of grime that built up inside of her. With a gentle hand I washed over her scrapes and dings on the outside. She wasn't so beautiful anymore. Black Beauty no longer suited her well. And so, Alfalfa became her name. But, the name fit her. The way her silly little antenna bobbed up and down, front and center on her roof.

It was then, in that moment, a fraction of the bitterness melted. She was stained and banged up, but she was mine again. And she needed an inspection. Remember the before mentioned dead deer? Yeah, I was now left with a welding bill to repair the undercarriage damage. The bitterness returned. I was left with this wretched car. Over time, God showed me how this car and I were two peas in a pod. By the hands of the same man we went from being young and lively to being tattered and torn. With a little scrubbing... eh, a lot!... some wielding and a little care, Alfalfa was ready to go again. It softened my heart. In fact, it brought me to a realization of my own heart and it made it easier for me to let go of my years of hurt. My mind and heart needed a good scrubbing and a little wielding too.

A year went by. It was just me and Alfalfa again. I learned to love her all over. I returned to my weekly hand washing routine. But a new inspection loomed in the near future. I knew, by the sounds I heard, she needed work done. Work I couldn't afford. But I felt God say He had it. If I could be faithful to her, she wold be faithful to me. And so I was. And when the mechanic called me to come pick her up, I questioned what he did to her. And in his "lady you are crazy" tone, he told me nothing. My sweet Alfalfa passed her inspection with flying colors... much to my and my fathers surprise!

I saw the faithfulness of a loving God. I loved Him more and I cherished Alfalfa more. And as another year passed and another inspection completed with perfection, I know that this love story will be one I will never forget. We celebrated our 10th anniversary on April 7. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

Yes, Alfalfa is just a car, only an object, but never question what God can use to bring about a depth of understanding and healing in someones life.

So, that is my love story. Alfalfa's and Mine.

This post has been shared at:
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

The End of Their Era.

I have incubated and hatched my own girls' eggs this year. It was exciting and nerve wrecking! Post to come on that experience.

But, with 17 precious little ones almost ready to make their debut, I needed space for them. I've noticed that egg production is down, by a good bit. And decided it was time to condense the birds from two coops into one. This left me with two problems. First, my two roo's don't like to share their roosts. Second, while I could squeeze all 22 of my birds in to the large coop, it is more so built for around 15 for comfort.  So, someones need to go.

Thus marks the end of their era. What do do with older hens? Stew meat. But, I do not do the life taking process and Pop Pop has been busy. Also, the issue of Big Boy. I hate to just kill the guy, he did such a great job as flock leader. The internet it is! I sold my girls and Big Boy to a very excited woman. I don't know what their future holds, but hope they have a happy ending.

These guys hold a special place in my heart as my gateway animals. They were the first on the property. We've learned a lot together. So, it is a little sad to see them go. But reality says I can't keep feeding someone who isn't supplying anything either. I love all my animals and strongly believe in taking care of them to the best possible. If any have to be "removed", it happens the healthiest way. If life is possible, I will choose that path first. Thankfully these girls and handsome boy get life!

I can walk around all day holding him and he's happy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Importance of Community Revisited.

Being there for each other. We all need someone at some point or another in our lives.

A while back I talked about the need for community while homesteading. As the  years have passed and life has gone through many changes, my thoughts have only grown stronger on the need for community. Not just in homesteading, but in parenting, life, single-hood and marriage. We are not created to be alone. God looked at Adam and saw that it was not good for him to be alone and along came Eve. 

Yes, these are my thoughts. I can't scientifically prove anything. I wont tell you that you have to live to my standard. But just think how awesome life would be if we could all truly be there for each other... would change a whole lot of things in this world we live in.

I love people. I'm totally a social butterfly. I can make friends almost anywhere. It's just who I am. It is so important for me to see people smile. I don't need to be center stage, I don't need to be showered with thank yous. In fact it makes me uncomfortable! The greatest joy is seeing someone smile... knowing they have been surprised that you thought of them... that someone cared enough. It's a beautiful thing.

On the flip side, I'm the kind of person who is there for you through the thick and thin. Best friend or simply an acquaintance. I've been known to get up and leave in the middle of dinner to drive an hour and pick up someone who missed a bus to drive another hour and half to get them home and follow it up with a another hour and half to get myself home. I couldn't tell a young girl no, spend the night at the bus stop. At news someone is ill, I'll make chicken  noodle soup and run it to their house. Someone needs to laugh, awesome! I'll find something ridiculous to do!

I've gone through some of my own lonely days. I know what it is to not receive a text/phone call for three days straight (say it ain't so!), to sit at home on a weekend with no one (son at his fathers and parents out of state) and just wish I could watch a movie or play a game with anyone, to feel like you have no one to talk to, to feel like you forgot how to laugh. I don't ever want anyone else to feel those empty emotions and so I do what I can.

I believe that is how it should be. We should desire to help someone when it is needed... and not for selfish gain, but because we just care about each others lives.

On the less personal end of my life... the homestead. I have gotten to know some amazing people. To see so many people in the surrounding community desiring to have animals, grow gardens or simply have projects to do. There is something to say about this community.

It is impossible to know it all/be able to do it all. But if you look into the community around you, you will find someone else that can. Seeds to be shared, animal grooming, butchering, ownership of a tractor. It is beautiful thing to see people coming together to help each other and be there for each other. To have a number of people who can be a phone call away with advice or visual know how. People who welcome you to their own little farm to show and teach you and others. Or simply there to encourage each other as we learn and experience together.

Not all my friends can understand my love for this little plot of land I have. Nor can they completely understand my desire for more land to grow a bigger garden and have more animals. Even when the temp is -5 and the water is all frozen, doors need to be shoveled free of snow and ice so I can get to the animals... I love it. I have to go outside at least two times a day. I get fresh air. But in the end, I couldn't have made it this far with out a community... a support group.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

He Didn't Pick Me.

I have two fears that I can't seem to shake. The first  is something happening to my son. The second is my son choosing to live with his father when he is older.

I don't speak of these fears often. There is nothing I can personally do to conquer either, so I pretend they are not an issue. As if they do not exist. Every weekend I watch him go with a smile on my face. I keep myself as busy as possible when he is gone, that way it's as if nothing is missing.

Easter was just this weekend. We decided to let him choose what he wanted to do for the holiday. He picked his father's family get together. I smiled and said you are going to have so much fun! But on the inside I was torn. He told me he couldn't wait to see what his father was going to buy him, the big egg hunt would be fun, and he would get so much money. Things. He was interested in things.

A part of my world crumbled. I felt rejected. Lonely. It is hard when you are the one teaching him, raising him, imparting the understanding of the word no, making sure he knows who God is. I don't have the extra money to buy him toys each weekend, take him out to eat regularly, get gaming systems/ipad/his own laptop. When he wants to use an electronic, when he is with me, than we share my eight year old laptop. That's just how it is. When a special event comes up on a weekend I have to beg and beg his father to take him. Usually he does end up going, but he doesn't know what happens behind the scene with my begging. I will not do it in front of him.

Sometimes it is simply hard. I want to be a fun parent too. I want him to think I'm great too. But I also so want a child that is well rounded. A child who knows he is loved by the way I raise him, not just by the things I give him. A child who is respectable. A child who doesn't think money grows on trees.

Oh my little love, I hope you know how much I love you.

This post was shared at:
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Growing in Grace Linkup

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The End is Near.... For the School Year That is.

How do you know when the school year needs to be over? Well besides the log saying so, the child has no more interest. Your sweet child went from utter excitement for school to "do we have to do school today". Your patients are being challenged. You want to scream "would you just focus", but instead you grit your teeth and try to show them... for the umpteenth time... where they are in the word problem. You silently remind yourself that in less than an hour your wonderful child will return as the books are closed.

Today is one of those days that you quietly remind yourself that there are only three and a half weeks left to this fun. Then you have a couple months off before the fun begins again in July. Just three and a half weeks. You force the pleasant smile and tell you child he is doing a great job as he completes a simple math problem in on 12 minutes. You try and bargain with a rare sweet in the hopes of finishing the next problem in under 5 minutes.

As you casually slip out of your chair and walk to the window, take a deep breath. Look at the plot that will soon be filled to the brim with fresh produce and just remind yourself, three and a half weeks. Then turn around with a fresh smile on your face and rejoin that child you love. With the tension left by the window, you can finish off the rest of the math knowing the end is near for this school year.

Rebel Against Winter.

Spring has arrived. How did I celebrate it? I grabbed lunch with a friend and made dinner for another and her family. It was a beautiful way..... except for the weather.
Umm... that looks like January!
That is not the start to spring that I would like. For church yesterday, I couldn't care what the temperature was, I needed a pop of color! So while I was dressed in a warm brown sweater, I grabbed a beautiful indigo blue necklace and earrings. Not to be forgotten, I grabbed a cute pair of heels and headed off to the church... in a barn. Typically this is a casual group. Yes, there is heating and air conditioning... but they still have a few knots in the woods that make great little peep holes to the outside world. Heels are not typical attire. I turned heads, got a few chuckles, and questions from the kids. My response? Why of course a barn is the best place to wear heels... Besides I am just rebelling against winter!

For a moment I'd like to address winter.

Dear Winter,
You have made your presence know. You have given us many days below zero this year. You have dropped more snow than necessary. Enough. No, like seriously, enough! Spring has arrived! It is time for flowers, sunshine, colorful clothing. It is time for the snow to melt, trails need to be blazed, animals want to graze, birds want to soar.

Winter, please, please, please wrap up your bitter weather, allow the snow to melt. Take you wind chill and black ice with you. My goats are antsy. My chickens feel cooped up. The garden is ready to be tilled. The dogs... oh the dogs!... they have blazed a war path through the house is a desperate attempt to get energy out. So please, be kind to spring. Give her a chance to shine forth with warmth. Share the spot light. Your turn with swing back around soon enough!
Frozen Disapproval

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Humor in This Life I Live.

Grow a garden.... get some chickens.... you are a country girl right? Yeah, something like that! Zoom through five years and you will approach the present. You have what kind of animals.... are you a hippie? Yeah, something like that. I wouldn't trade it. Not for a million dollars and a mansion of a cabin on the top of a hill.

Let's face it, the moment you bring home your first animal your life changes. You say there will not be more, but, oh yes!, there will be more. Chickens are the gateway animal! Your life is forever changed. Even those who say they will not embrace it will be caught watching the animals out the window.... and just might end up prancing around with goats.

It's a life you dream about, you learn to embrace, you love. There are moments of frustration, moments of hysterics, moments of pure joy. Since I believe in living life to the fullest, I decided this post need to be a fun take on the last five years of my life.

Things I've learned-
-Lugging around 80lbs of feed gives you the ability to instantly guess how much something weighs.
-How to spot the shadow of a raccoon/fox at midnight on a new moon.
-That your heart will pound faster after a near slip and fall in turkey sludge than if someone scared you awake at 2 in the morning.
-Goats are super cute.... until your doe goes into heat!
-Your goat will escape and run on that one morning you decided to be lazy and let them out in your pajamas.
-You will spend countless hours watching your animals... with a silly smile on your face.
-Chickens really do have their own personalities.
-Your turkeys will think you are the best singer... ever!
-You will be amazed at how content life will seem.
-Life will at times be busier, yet more peaceful.
-Goats run fast. Especially when they know they can provide a free show for your neighbors.... who think you are crazy.
-You get ridiculously excited when you find your first egg.
-You will feel like a failure when your first animal becomes ill/passes.
-Digging in the dirt renews your spirit.
-You will be amazed by the bounty of fresh produce you will collect on your own piece of land.
-Garden grown produce has TONS more flavor than store bought.
-You will be that crazy person trying to ward off pesky bugs in random ways.
-You will find great joy in watching your child/nieces/nephews with the animals.
-You will forget how you managed without all your animals. 
-A weekend away from feed schedules will feel like paradise... but returning home can't come soon enough.
-You start off keeping your hands clean, a few years later you shrug when you get poop on your hand. It's bound to happen, just wash well!
-You will get super excited when your father surprises you with a new shovel for cleaning the coops.
-The goats will help in their own way.
Siren helping my unimpressed father.
Let's face it, there is ups and downs with life. Animals just add to the flow with more interesting and random ways. It's a life I love. It's a life I've learned to laugh at... cause let's face it, you just have to laugh when you slid down an icy hill on your bum with a dozen eggs scattered about. Life happens, but at the end of the day you have your precious and crazy little farm waiting to great you with excitement at your return. So, go hug a chicken, dance with your goat... or whatever animal graces your presence... you will feel better for it!

This post is connected to:
Homeacre Hop

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The End of Online Dating.

Mothers. They are amazing people. Even when they sign you up for online dating. SURPRISE! I am happy to say that after a year and half of multiple dating sites, I am finished! It is a glorious thing!! I've meet and talked to some amazing guys. I know it is not the desired path for me and if my face happens to appear on another one... it is most likely my mom.

Fare thee well!
That said... Here are my thoughts (and some gleaned from the people I've gotten to talk to)-

1. It's like you are selling yourself. Setting up your account is stressful and fun. You go through all your pictures picking out a handful. You answer all the questions that describe who you are. But, while doing this you are picking apart every little thing. Should I use this picture? Maybe not, the angle is horrible and makes me look wide. My eyes look crossed in that one. While typing out your answers you question if you should say it like that, you may seem like a snob. But don't mention this, guys may not talk to you right away. It's like a guessing game of what will get more people interested in talking.
2. Honesty... say what?!?! Nothing better then reading a profile and thinking "Wow, this guy seems like he has it together, loves Jesus and could be a possible match". Then you start talking and suddenly mister do good turns out to be the opposite. He doesn't really own that home... it's his parents... and he lives there... with no job in the foreseen future. Or, 5'10" really means 5'7". Yes, I can tell how tall you are in person. How about my personal favorite.... "Yes, I am a Christian. Let me tell you about Allah. By the way, you are a strong willed woman that needs to be controlled by the wills of god." Umm, what god? Allah god? Than yes, I am a strong willed woman and no, I will not be controlled. (True story, that date happened!) It all ties back to the first thought, selling yourself. Just be real.

3. It's okay to say no. Sometimes it is so hard to not answer the questions/email sent to you. You feel rude if you don't.... even if there is zero interest. Or you start talking and realize that nope, he is so not the one. It may not be easy, but it is okay to say no.

4. You don't have to stay friends. A number of times I talked to guys who were really interested in talking further, but it just didn't feel right for me or my son. And then you get the "can we be friends". Followed by you feel bad for saying well, no. I'm not looking to make friends. I will say that the second guy I talked to on eH did turn out to be an amazing friend. We keep in touch and tend to see each other every other month. Not everyone is meant to be friends, not everyone is mean to be a permanent part of your life.

5. It's still discouraging. I was signed up for online dating because I had been discouraged with trying to meet people in person. It seemed that every time I said I'm a single mom, guys ran. It was so easy to have someone ignore you or turn you down online. But even that became discouraging after you spent time talking to a guy and having them say they want to end conversation after a number of weeks/months, because they meet a girl who doesn't have a child. It hurts, you cry, and then you just keep on going. I mean if they aren't interested in my son, then I'm not interested in them. We are a package deal. But, it still hurts that people can't see the amazing blessing he is to me. I found myself ignoring emails and keeping it all surface business talk. But you have to take a chance and push through your discouragement. When you do, you just might find an interesting guy who is willing to be patient with your business mode and wait for you to get comfortable with conversation.

This much I know... it's not the life style for me! I know it has worked for some, that is totally awesome! I look forward to seeing who the man of my future will be. But it also feels so good to deactivate the account and say it is finished!

This post is connected to:
Wise Woman Linkup
Modest Monday Link Up

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hope in a Girl's Heart.

There is this dear friend to me. She has moved to Florida and I miss her. She, too, is a single mom. While I find the other mom's in my life to be awesome and I love them dearly, there is something to being able to just have a real, heart felt conversation from someone trudging through the same or similar things in life. To encourage each other along the path. To give advice. I love and appreciate her so. It was after a beautiful talk with her that perspective returned to my pretty little head. This is a small glimpse of my heart.

Dating as a single mom is nothing like dating as an independent woman. You have to evaluate everyone for not just the potential of your future, but your child's as well. Then there is the time juggling, not letting it interfere with your child... in fact keeping your child out of it to the best of your abilities. There are the insecurities of looking in the mirror and seeing the imperfections that mark your body in a victorious way that shows the power your body has to have brought forth the most amazing life.

I am still female. Plenty of insecurities. Plenty of hesitations. Living a lifestyle that was never intended to be lived. We are not suppose to raise our children alone.

I dream of... the day where I won't have to fight through life... the day when little things don't feel like battles... the day when I have a partner to get through life, to lean on, to hug me.

It is so hard sometimes to risk opening up your heart. Oh I want to! But to do so is opening up to vulnerability. To be vulnerable. So hard. When you have to be strong not just for yourself, but your child, then suddenly you have to let someone else in. You need to give up control. Place yourself in a position where you may get hurt again. Oh I want to!

There is so much hope in my heart for the tomorrows that will come. And while I may have to daily give up my insecurities and risk my emotions to get to know an awesome guy, it will be worth it. Of that I know and hold sure. I may need a little more grace than a single gal living life to the fullest on her own, but I'm so worth it.

My name is Abigail. I need a little grace, but I have a whole lot of Hope for what is to come.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree.

The festive season is over and we are left with tired conifers with their branches hanging low. All the lights and decorations are tucked away and the rooms are back in their tidy order. Fragrant candles burned low. Quietly, we slip back into the mundane life blanketed in cold.

But still, the tired conifers with their branches hanging low sits. Tossed road side or hidden in the woods, forgotten. The joy that was shared around lit branches since forgotten. Years of growth towards perfections discarded and now useless. Or is it?

Nope. Life abounds! We spend money to bring a moment of joy and relaxation as we sit beside the glow, but does it end when we take it down? Waste not! Rather add greenery to your runs. Add entertainment and exercise for your two and four legged friends.

Keep in mind that not all pines are safe for animals, so look it up before you toss it in. None the less, the animals love them! The chickens jump up on them and play king of the tree. The kids jump over them and play chase around them. The birds and goats love to nibble on them as well. Both have used them as wind breaks on the chilly days. And for added enjoyment, their runs are spiced up with shades of green.

So before you... or your neighbor... or you friends/family... toss those trees out, give them the second chance to provide joy.

This post shared at:
The Homeacre Hop