Archive for the ‘raising girls’ Category

Miss John Deere Lives Here

I simply must get pictures of my other children, but they just don’t frequent my favorite photo spots as much as this one does.

Cowgirl thinks this is actually her Tonka Toy. As coincidence would have it, she was born quite close to Father’s Day, and occasionally her birthday lands on Hunky Farmer Boy‘s special day.

Last summer in the middle of a deluge, I ditched Saturday massage class and our crew headed the opposite direction in search of a Father’s Day lawn tractor. The existing lawn tractor was approaching 20 years old and there is only so much that bailing wire and parts stolen from another mower can do to extend the life of an old piece of equipment.

Cowgirl had her heart set on a green and yellow model, and after some research and price comparisons, we decided a John Deere LA175 would suit our needs and our budget for our modest acreage.

Of course any new “tractor” purchase requires a baseball cap. She managed to squeeze the salesman for a pink cap for her and little sis plus the traditional black farm cap for HFB.

Here’s where things get confusing. The green machine was actually Dad’s purchase on Dad’s credit card. That would suggest that any sister willing to learn to drive it and mow should have access to our version of four-wheelin’.

Not so. Cowgirl is quite the possessive one. If a sis wants to go for a spin, they are relegated to riding in the pull behind trailer. That works for Little Sis, but the 15 year old has some issues with Cowgirl’s constant claim to ownership. Cowgirl doesn’t have a problem with it at all. Stealing the key is a frequent strategy. After all, it was purchased for HER birthday. (No Cowgirl. It was actually HFB’s Father’s Day on which your birthday fell last year.) Okay, in all fairness, we might have gotten out of a $100 birthday party by bribing her with joint ownership.

Did I mention she mows this whole pasture? I guess that makes it hers after all.

This Woman Knows Her Business

After spending the better part of two months dreading the upcoming horse show season, it arrived kicking and screaming early Saturday morning.

It was preceded by an insanely expensive shopping spree at Cavender’s where every last penny of Daughter #3’s stock show money (plus plenty of mine) was surrendered to their cash register.

And at that moment….the moment when this kid of mine put on the clothes, I was on fire and ready to go. The dread was gone. The proud mama kicked in. This kid totally rocks when it comes to horses. I haven’t quite figured out where she got it, but she definitely got it.

And she rocks the look. Time to clean my shotgun. Boys, back away from the Rodeo Princess.

Ignore the messy room. We have priorities at our place, and keeping bedrooms spic and span doesn’t happen to be one of them. Looking like a million bucks in the show arena is much higher on the list of most important priorities.

And while my cell phone photography skills leave much to be desired, you will most likely get the picture as to her talents. This kid is absolutely fearless…..at least when it comes to horses. That doesn’t mean she isn’t careful. She just isn’t afraid. Of anything. Except failure. She hates failure. More on that in a minute. Oh, and hats. She’s not a fan of the hat requirement.

Dang, she looks good on a horse.

Readers, meet Shorty. Shorty…our readers. Shorty is a roping horse. Fourteen years he spent roping, working cattle, chasing down the little boogers, and taking care of his cowboy. Then he came to our barn. Never saw a show ring before he met Amber, but she needed his speed, and I needed his lack of insane price tag. The combination meant that someone had to teach him a thing or two, and it wasn’t going to be me. That pretty much left one person to take on the challenge–a then ten year old kid who’d only been riding about year. Did I mention, she’s still only eleven? Five feet eight inches of eleven year old determined to teach a horse named Shorty how this gig works.

And have mercy, has this kid taught Shorty a thing or two! She has taught him how to setup and stand for showmanship.

She and Shorty totally rock the grade gelding class. Of course Shorty was once registered. Some poor sap made his ex really mad and she burned the papers. As a result, we have a rockin’ grade gelding. At 15, he’s still impressing judges every time he enters the arena. That gorgeous tail and mane? My beauty shop skills. Conditioner by Aussie. You should be very impressed.

She taught him how to swerve around barrels and poles and stakes. (Those pics are just too blurry to even post.)

And she is desperately working to convince Shorty of the value of giving her the correct lead when loping in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship. He’s beginning to catch on, but it’s been slow and frustrating to get there.

This is the “Mom, why do you make me show him in Western Pleasure when you know we suck at it?” posture. What can I say? The kid HATES failure. Especially when she knows she’s doomed to lose before she ever enters the arena. I told her it isn’t about winning this event. It’s about showing her mama, her uncle, and the other local dads who know of this horse’s (lack of) previous experiences that while those other kids can ride the one with power steering and an automatic transmission and win, she’s capable of driving the standard with no power steering and making it all work in spite of a stiff clutch. Yes, the starts and stops and turns are a bit rough, but they get better everytime she takes him in that ring, because she’s got what it takes. No, she doesn’t get the ribbon, yet who’s the better driver?

“Mom, you’re weird.”

Ideals are nice, but losing still sucks.

Then, the speed events roll around late in the evening. Barrels, poles, and stakes. And now that she’s the oldest in her division instead of one of the “babies”, she’s proving herself to be a force with which to be reckoned. There must be some sort of adrenaline rush when riding a horse that fast. All I can think of is the pain rush. Not this kid. The faster, the better, except when going around something like a barrel, then we prefer to slow things down just a bit. It keeps her inside the arena rather than in the stands with the crowd as almost happened last year when she started sliding off and that “roping” horse just stopped dead in his tracks. That’s what roping horses do, you know…stop when the cowboy starts to jump off????? That was a valuable lesson in centrifugal force. Or centripital….or some kind of Newton thing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhKH2vE-oUU]

And now she wants a youngster. She thinks she’s got what it takes to takes train a futurity horse. I think she does, too. Please click the Paypal button now to donate to our Feed Amber’s Horses fund.

I complained to her red-headed uncle (who I blame for starting us in this expensive hobby and who says his hair isn’t red) about how slow this kid is when I want her to hurry up and do something. He proceded to inform me that this annoying behavior of not getting wound up or in a hurry about anything is precisely what makes her so amazing with animals. I’m thinking it’s the same behavior that makes her avoid housework in favor of getting grit in her ears mowing six acres on a John Deere LA175 mower. Ride, Forest, Ride!

Plus, she wants to learn to work cattle on a ranch. Enough of this pretend junk at a kid horse show. She wants the real deal. Ridin’ and ropin’ and stuff. And did I mention that she’s brought up the “C” word? Yeah..cutting. Red-headed uncle says I don’t have the denero to fly with that crowd.

Anyone want to adopt her for the summer? You won’t be sorry.

We Interrupt the Regularly Scheduled Schedule for a Little Bit of Self Care

I am home today, ditching work/school. Funny thing about it….it was an easy decision. Usually it is an agonizing decision and unless I or a child is on our “deathbed”, off to work I trudge. Sometimes even a child on her “deathbed” couldn’t convince me to use those precious leave days. Often Dad has been relegated to stay home or the kids tough it out by themselves.

You can submit my nomination for Mother of the Year award now. I know….I’m a shoe-in.

But today was different. Yesterday saw some sort of stomach annoyance attempt to derail ME. I was tougher. I ingested my good gut bugs. I drank my kefir. I endured the labor-like waves of muscle spasm that would occasionally slap me into reality. I sat in my corner of the office away from anyone else, answering the phone, answering emails, and making only one out-of-the-office delivery. After all, it wasn’t that bad, just annoying…..all day….and still annoying this morning.

Then munchkin #4 comes stumbling into the living room this morning crying and holding the trashcan. What’s up with this thing? Preying on poor innocent children. Is she dying? No, not really. Same thing….labor pains. They come and go. Those things suck, especially when there isn’t a tax deduction when it’s over.

Then I looked outside. Cold and cloudy. That was all I needed. This would be my day to rest, read, write, cook, and take care of the only kid I have left who still willingly curls up in my lap. Time for some self care. Time for prioritizing appropriately for once. Time to release.

First order of business? Ginger tea with raw honey. Such spicy sweetness on an agitated digestive system. I was never one for ginger snaps or crystallized ginger, but ginger tea is nice. Must be all that other stuff they put in there to disguise the peppery ginger. Munchkin liked it, too.

Second on the list? Clean up the kitchen. Ugh. Unfortunately I’m not sick enough to get out of that one. It actually wasn’t that bad this morning (by our standards), so I was done fairly quickly.

Food? What’s one to eat when everything that touches the inside of your digestive system triggers the cramp from hell? Nothing. But we might as well wash that pesky little bug right out of our gut, right? That means soup. Broth. Maybe some nutritious veggies. A little bit of starch. This recipe. Hope it tastes as good as it sounds. I doubled the garlic. Everything should have double the garlic. Garlic kills bugs…and artery clogging stuff….and cold viruses….and friendships, but only if you forget a breath mint.

Now to find a good bread recipe for the bread machine. Whoever invented bread machines should win a Nobel prize for something. Those things are awesome. I’m thinking my egg bread recipe wins….because I have lots of those…..eggs that is. Thirty something laying hens pretty much ensures that I don’t run out of eggs and egg bread.

I suspect bread is one step removed from Elmer’s glue, but it is so flippin’ good. Especially hot. Especially with melted butter dripping through its little bread pores. Yeah. I’m thinking that’s not exactly on the top ten list of healthiest foods.

That’s just too bad. This is self-care day. The soup is mega healthy. It’ll wash down the bread and butter, and the Herculean peristalsis activity will probably remove them both prior to absorption, so it’s all good.

Truth Telling and Confused German Shephards

I admit it. Telling the truth is hard for me. No, no. It’s not that I am a pathological liar. Although I think I probably was….when I was five. But I grew out of that by the time I was about….uh…..married? And I only used it to get what I wanted……and keep my tail out of trouble. I usually got what I wanted, but I was lousy at that second part.

While lying isn’t a problem for me anymore, telling the truth, my truth, is painfully difficult. And apparently I am not alone.

Last night, I enjoyed a very nice teleconference with Ronna Detrick on Truth Telling in Extravagant Ways. She told the Bible story of the woman who annointed Jesus feet with expensive perfume and washed them with her hair. I’ve never before felt a kinship with this woman. I mean, according to everyone else who tells the story (everyone I’ve ever listened to anyway) she was the town prostitute: a very very naughty woman who had to be forgiven of MUCH sin. Hence all the theatrics. MUCH sin requires much drama and emotion and displays of affection.

Ronna told the story of a woman who was perceived by the community in a certain way, but who went to Jesus and told her truth extravagantly. She went to him and allowed her emotion to shine through…extravagantly. She revealed what was most true for her…extravagantly. She acknowledged her own feelings and reveled in the feeling at the feet of the most loving and kind teacher…extravagantly.

And for the first time, I had a reason to relate to this woman. She didn’t swallow up her emotions. She didn’t tell herself that he wouldn’t have time for her or that he wouldn’t be interested in her. She just went for it. She let him know exactly how she felt. She made her needs known. She told her truth, and she did it extravagantly.

I’ve raised (am raising) four of the most beautiful, courageous, and strong women. Power oozes from their veins. And yet, in some ways, I feel as though I am failing them. That strength, that determination, that “push through no matter what it takes” feminism has left them almost powerless to tell their truth. I can’t take all the credit for this. I assign plenty of blame to the expectations of middle class society.

Drama and hysterics are unwelcome around here. Rational, thoughtful conversation is prized. Not questioning the system is highly valued. Don’t be a trouble-maker is the undercurrent.

Truth-telling is rarely neat and tidy and free of drama. In our clan, there is a family gene for crying. Too often, truth-telling equals buckets of tears, and we all despise those tears. It means throats that seize up and swollen mascara-smeared eyes, and since men tend to look at a woman in tears with the confused German shephard look, it’s just better off avoided.

Unfortunately it also means passion pushed down, dreams set aside, stress bottled up, and unfairness allowed to go unchecked. It means resentment that boils and bubbles inside and eats away at our bodies. It means conflicted emotion and a feeling of being powerless. And it means walls get built around our hearts. Impenetrable walls. It sucks.

But why do we do it? Why do we squash our truth so completely in order to keep the peace, get along with everyone, and avoid conflict? Is it just not worth it? Is there some horrible fate that awaits our truth-telling?

Yes, and my girls have seen it happen to me over and over and over. They have watched as I have spoken my true passion only to spend the next several days, weeks, and months trying to pick up the pieces. They have seen the consequences of a world that does not value truth-telling. They know well the persecution and the childish back-stabbing that adults are capable of inflicting on non-conformers. And it sucks.

So how do I communicate to them that is is worth it to speak their truth? How do I model the benefits of owning and making known the “know-that-you-know-what-you-know” that’s inside? How can I show them that the tears are a part of the process and it’s okay to let them spill? How can I let them see that opening up and being who they really are is not only respectful, but admirable? How can I help them accept the fact that the disapproval of others towards our truth is not our problem, but that of the other person?

Guess I’d better model telling my own truth with confidence and emotion so they can see me grow stronger in the process.

Ronna, how big’s the couch in your office? Got space for five?

Natural-ly, Powerful-ly, Amazingly Smiley

Several months ago, I worked through a book by Danielle LaPorte called Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design. I rock when I am living 80% Natural, 20% Powerful. You’ll have to read it understand what that means. Trust me, it’s cool mojo.

This time of year really makes me want to step up to the plate and be authentically natural and supremely powerful. The new life, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and yes, even the wind. I thought it would be a fabulous time to share some things that make my world Natural-ly, Powerful-ly Amazingly Smiley.

Just think about the raw power it takes for one of these to push through the soil, stretching, climbing, digging, and POP! No makeup, no skin care routine. Just plenty of raw natural beauty.


Times 20 (-ish)


Can tulips shave? These beauties have a five o’clock shadow that’s just a bit obnoxious!

And then there are these tulips……

Nothing says natural powerful like flying pony tails, tiger socks, and being a foot taller than every other nine year old.

And if that doesn’t suffice……..

Smoking everyone down the court and banking it off the glass right through the net is pretty powerful. So is being a foot off the floor AND a foot taller than anyone else this side of the Amazon. See a pattern taking shape?

And what could be more naturally powerful than a beautiful day of sun……..

And raw feminine power smacking a tennis ball. I pity the poor dudes on the other side of that net!

If that’s not enough natural power, how ’bout some man-made power laced with some hunky man power?

Yeah….I know. I’ve used this shot before. What can I say? This man on this tractor, says natural powerful on a level that sends me into orbit….with no rocket boosters necessary.

I think I hear a tractor. Better head to the farm. Somebody needs me. <wink-nudge-wink-grin>


Watching Man-History Repeat Itself–It's All Mom's Fault

Yesterday I confessed to the many love affairs I have had in my life. I have had the housekeeper, the gardener, the farmer, the construction foreman, the electrical engineer, and more. And yes, they are all the same guy, my sweet man of 20+ years.

One might say he’s quite multi-talented……or you might say he’s a tad schizophrenic, which could certainly be a possibility as the only member of the male species living with five women, two she-dogs, a very fertile mama cat, and 53 laying hens. The lone tom cat and two horses aren’t much help. The horses are geldings, and the tom cat is just….well….he’s just Fred….a lap layin’, whiny, spoiled, hairband fetchin’, anything-but-a-tom’s-tom cat. So yeah….schizophrenia is certainly a possibility.

My mom, of course read my blog. So nice to have the parentals among a blogger’s loyal fans, even if they are reading out of obligatory parental guilt and a desperate need for self-preservation. My mom–the sweet, shy, try-not-to-rock-any-boats mom–informed me in no uncertain terms that  according to my criteria, she has had way more professional types than I have. I, of course, had to defend my honor by mentioning all the roles my guy has played that I hadn’t had the forethought to capture on a memory card.

Then it hit me. It was HER FAULT I had ignored all those other guys in favor of this one. It was HER FAULT my man criteria included “fix a toilet without calling a plumber”. It was HER FAULT that no man who required the services of a Quick Oil Change car care center ever stayed on my list of potentials longer than two seconds.

It is HER FAULT that both my husband and my father stare at 40 year old broken dishwashers with a gleam in their eye thinking of all the useful life that still remains.

Then it hit me harder. Dear Jesus, my daughters are doomed! I know this because #2 has told me so. Her view of her dad has established her man-criteria. Like a treasured family heirloom, we have ever-so-faithfully passed down the expectation that our men must be able to do anything and everything and that such skill, such vast knowledge, such raw masculine talent is a pre-requisite for making the cut.

I am grateful that my girls see their daddy as a pattern for what they want in a man, because that means I’ll have cool sons-in-law. It also means maybe I won’t have to worry about them finding a guy too soon. I know they exist, but these women will have to hunt them down and that could take awhile. Those who can meet the criteria are spread out a little bit farther, and they are a bit fewer in numbers, but I feel pretty sure there are still some in existence.

And I’m just pretty sure that before it’s all said and done, my girls will point a finger at me one day and say, “It’s YOUR FAULT!”

When it happens, I’ll look them square in the eyes and say, “You are MOST welcome!”

A Yoga Sanctuary

As a mom to four beautiful girls, a tv-loving husband, two dogs, any number of cats, a few rabbits, my chicken-ladies, and a couple of horses, finding space for quiet solitude can be quite daunting. It used to be that I had the early morning hours to myself until the last minute hustle and bustle of getting ready for school kicked into high gear. Now with teenagers rising early to make the most of their youthful beauty, it seems the quiet time of peace has given way to the sound of showers, blow dryers, makeup clackity clack, and discussions along the lines of, “Where is my shirt? You borrowed it last. I was gonna wear that.” And so yeah…you get the picture. Peaceful solitude eludes me for the most part.

Fortunately, I have discovered that my new massage therapy business allows me the opportunity to experience that much needed peaceful solitude in the beautiful space that is my wellness center. Some have suggested that massage therapy is a physically demanding occupation requiring difficult strenuous labor. Instead, I am finding that it is a relaxing, peaceful space in which both giver and receiver are rewarded with calm serenity. It is proving to be my sactuary of sorts.

I am realistic enough to know that giving enough massages to maintain our current standard of living is probably not a good idea. It is somewhat taxing on the body, and there is always a certain amount of giving of oneself to the client. I want to be able to give my best to every client, and not just give what’s left over at the end of a long day. There are certain things I do, such as Energy Medicine routines, to help keep me at my best. However, my desire is to do more to benefit myself while also meeting the needs of my clients. I recognized this need in college when I decided to pursue a career in physical education and fitness. I knew that I would live my best life if I worked in a fitness related career field.

The vision and desire that has evolved from having recognized these priorities is to create a nature-centered space in which to practice and teach yoga. Of course, I know very little about yoga at this point, but I know enough to know I need it, I need what it represents, and my body will love and appreciate it very much. Input from others has indicated they would also appreciate having a space and the guidance to learn and practice yoga. I know from attending a yoga retreat last year that yoga in nature is food for the soul. Unfortunately, our West Texas “nature” is one of frequent winds, blowing dust, extreme heat and cold, and more variety than Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors. It isn’t exactly conducive to creating an outdoor yoga sanctuary.

Yet as always, once the intention is stated, the means begins to evolve. A couple of years ago, I began to study yurts as a possible structure for my wellness center. Their design has a spiritual and integrative quality that makes them ideal for a creative healing space. I released that idea once we decided to use the little two bedroom rent house for my wellness center. Ironically, the yurt idea did not release me.

Earlier this year, I publicly stated my intention to pursue yoga and an instructor certification. The question of where I would practice has been recurring in my mind ever since. Knowing how much I desire to experience yoga in nature, and knowing how much variety our weather gives us in this part of the country, I began to consider the idea of constructing a greenhouse for a yoga space. Shortly after, the yurt idea returned. Why couldn’t I use the structure of a yurt and the coverings of a greenhouse to create an almost perfect space to experience yoga in nature? Apparently I can. I contacted Spirit Mountain Yurts and presented them with my idea. They loved it and so the stage is set to create a beautiful plant filled space warmed by the sun, sheltered from wind and rain, carpeted with green grass and herbs in which to share the spiritual experience and wellness of yoga with friends and neighbors. It will be a yoga sanctuary.

Of course a few details remain. I intend to begin my yoga training this week, assuming our weather cooperates. I am most grateful for your prayers for safe travel as this will require a weekly trip to Amarillo. It will take approximately a year of training before I am eligible to pursue instructor certification. During that time, I would ask that you send your thoughts, prayers, and positive intentions toward this dream. I trust that you will help me make it a reality by seeing it in your mind’s eye as though it is already complete. I have no idea how it will be funded, yet I trust the way will become clear at some point.

Meanwhile, enjoy some images of yurts that were sent my way by Spirit Mountain Yurts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and let me know what you think of my vision.

Graduation Gifts

Graduation Day for my oldest beautiful one is fast approaching. Some have asked if I am sad and teary-eyed. My response to that question is a resounding NO! I am so excited for her. She gets to step away from the confines of small town life with its limited choices and enter the big beautiful and limitless world of opportunities.

One of the neatest traditions of graduation is that of giving gifts. We do this for many life transitions including weddings, housewarmings, birthdays, retirement parties, and so on. There is something very special about giving to the one who is about to take a leap that allows us to feel we are helping them on their way. As she moves closer and closer to 7:00 PM on May 29th, I keep thinking about what it is I most want to give to her. So far, the list looks like this:

1. I give her the gift of love. May she always have an abundance of love to give others because the love she has for herself is absolutely overflowing.

2. I give her the gift of open-mindedness. It took me a very long time to acquire this precious item. I share it with her so that she will have the opportunity to experience so much more of life because she can see beyond her own experiences.

3. I give her the gift of intuition. Again, this is one that I’ve only recently uncovered for myself. She is already developing her gift of intuition, and it is serving her extremely well. I trust that she will learn to use it in just the right balance so as to protect herself and serve others.

4. I give her the gift of courage. It takes guts to put oneself out there for the world to judge your talents and abilities. Sometimes that judgment brings some disappointment. Other times it comes with abundant rewards. Both experiences require significant courage. Here is trusting that the disappointments will be blessings in disguise and the abundant rewards will be easily recognizable.

5. I give her the gift of inner peace. The ability to rest quietly in one’s own company and enjoy a bit of solitude is priceless. It is also critically necessary to maintaining one’s sanity and for listening to intuition. Here’s to the ability to quiet her mind.

6. I give her the gift of vision. May she always look forward to both choose and see her destiny and shape it the way she wants it to be. Looking back only attracts more of what one is attempting to leave behind. Forward focus is the only way to travel through life.

7. I give her the gift of everlasting inner beauty. May everyone who crosses her path throughout her life feel as though they have experienced a gift simply being in the presence of such an amazing person as this one of mine.

8. I give her the gift of wisdom. May all of her choices in life be guided by the wisdom of her heart rather than the rationality of her mind.

9. I give her the gift of freedom. While she will always be welcome to visit in my presence, I set her free to become her own person, establish her own family, experience life her own way without criticism, control, or disapproval from me.

10. I give her the gift of abundance. May she always realize that her heart’s desires are fully available to her simply by making her request known and feeling she is already in possession of that which she seeks.

And so it is. In a little over two weeks, she will step up on stage for the last time as a high school student. When she steps down, her life will forever be changed, and there will be no looking back.

 “….and these three remain: Faith, Trust, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love.” Enjoy life, Princess.

 

Composting Life's Crap

Seems like the past week has been full of drama, hurt feelings, emotional upheaval, hypersensitivity, and at least a dozen other piles of crap which I have found myself stepping in, shoveling, or personally dropping in some way. I feel I am giving way too much brain energy toward cleaning up messes and not enough toward appreciating crap for its composting qualities. After all, mountains of crap make for really awesome gardens when properly composted.
 
So before I waste another moment of my precious energy stores managing the feedlot waste that is part of day to day life in the middle class, let me do some composting. In other words, here are the gifts I am choosing to find in the piles that have accumulated recently.
 
I am grateful for people who look inward when criticism comes rather than automatically looking for someone to blame. There are some people who consistently examine themselves and their own situation to see if just maybe some area of their lives needs a little housecleaning. They aren’t martyrs, and if something isn’t their issue, they lay aside the criticism and move on. Yet they do at least take stock of the situation and refuse to assign blame elsewhere. They ooze respect for others and are sensitive to the feelings of others. Very cool people.
 
I am grateful for opportunities to see true colors in others before I get myself in a mess too deep to crawl out of. Bite me on the butt once? Possibly my fault for provoking an attack. Bite me on the butt twice or even three times? I have the right to surround you and yours with a virtual restraining wall that will prevent me from putting myself out there for you ever again without having on my fireproof gear. I will love you from a distance, but I probably won’t put myself on the line for you and yours. Very valuable gift.
 
I am grateful that I am an idealist who sees possibilities rather than obstacles most of the time. I say most of the time because I must refer back to the occasional walls that have been built to protect and defend. Idealism can be painful at times, because those who cross my path who are either psychotically pragmatic or obsessively pessimistic tend to hail on my idealistic view of the world. Still, I like the innocense and innovativeness that comes from being an idealist.
 
I am grateful for kids and family who choose to see the world as a positive place full of opportunity rather than a dangerous place where people are out to get them. Fear and paranoia are a prison that severely limits a person’s opportunities. The ability to turn “getting picked on” into “good publicity” takes superhuman strength and a tremendous amount of endurance and stamina. Y’all are my role models and heroes.
 
I am grateful for people outside of my family who care about my kids. They are there for us in so many ways. They give my kids rides, encourage them, chastise them when necessary, feed them on occasion, have fun with them, but mostly they are a positive adult influence who will talk straight to my kids and to whom my kids will listen. I am grateful that I recognize their value to me and my family. You are 100% awesome.
 
There. It still looks and smells a bit like poo, but at least now it can begin the process of turning into something useful. The smell will fade, the burning hot reaction will begin to cool, and fertile soil will be left to produce beauty and nourishment. You’ve just gotta love composting.

Gratitude

I woke up this morning thinking about gratitude. I hear it can really get things rolling in our lives, plus I need a big dose of it, so I decided it would be a great blog topic for my Saturday morning.
 
I am grateful for snow, even the fine sandy 40 MPH blowing kind. Even it contains moisture, and even it managed to get us out of school 4 hours early. It gave me an entire afternoon and evening with my daughters, which was a ton of fun. It resulted in my husband building a cedar fencepost fire in my wood stove. Nice.
 
I am grateful for a steady paycheck. There are lots of things I can say about my job both positive and negative, however, I get paid a pretty crazy amount of money to do what I do. Am I worth it? You better believe it. Do I always feel worthy of it? Probably not so much. Would I like to do something different for that amount of money? Definitely. However, it is cool that there are people who feel like I add value to an organization worthy of a good measure of compensation. Besides, I really do have quite a bit of freedom in my job.
 
I am grateful for family. I have the most wonderful man on the planet, and four absolutely gorgeous and insanely talented daughters. These women are about to take the universe by storm, and they will do it with their daddy wrapped securely around their little fingers. I am grateful for parents, brother, and in-laws who love and support me and my family in all we do. Family is just cool.
 
I am grateful for a body that is healthy and strong and able to think, build, dig, create, and design.
 
I am grateful for my small community. It provides a lot of freedom that I haven’t always seen. Heck, where else could I have nine acres with
two horses and 60 chickens inside the city limits and not be bothered by anyone about it? Most people are just grateful the the place is being mowed and cared for. They also like that I share my amazing pastured poultry fresh eggs.
 
I am grateful for grass, trees, flowers, vegetables, and animals plus the land that supports them. They feed my soul. They also remind me of how amazing our world is in its ability to renew and regenerate year after year. 
 
I am grateful for cars and gasoline because they provide a means for me to travel to other places to experience rest and view other types of beauty.
 
I am grateful for (some) stress because it lets me know I am alive and journeying through life.
 
Finally, I am grateful for a universal provider who has allowed me to be here experiencing all that life has to offer. I am grateful for his promises to grant my desires and his willingness to forgive me when I act in ungrateful ways.
 
Life is good. What things trigger your sense of gratefulness?
 
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Angie Cox, AHN-BC
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My Awakening
Got a bit of time to kill? Grab a hot cup of lemon ginger tea and kick back on the couch for a tale of this female's transformation from Religious Zealot to Divine Feminine Goddess.
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