Monday, January 31, 2011

Signs

One of my favorite poems I found in Runner’s World about 15 years ago:
"There are clubs you can't belong to, neighborhoods you can't live in, schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open." - Nike

In my runs around my home and around my work, I find that is not necessarily always the case. I very rarely run in town or in heavily populated places. I run in the most desolate, least traveled places I can find with my favorite runs being along the creeks and in the woods near my home. Lately I’ve begun to notice all of the many, many signs: Keep out, No Trespassing, Posted, No Parking . . . . signs for everything. Many of these signs are in the middle of nowhere. I’m sure there are good reasons for them. And to be quite honest, I’m not so sure that there aren’t signs posted at the edge of ‘my’ property.
But how can we keep the beauty of a forest to ourselves? How can we keep people out? It just seems wrong to me. I don't think this is what the Creator had in mind.  We don’t own this land – there is no way that we can! The forests from which we try to repel people have been here long before we bought it and will be here long after we pass on. We only have this earth on lease.

Honestly it is heartbreaking to see a breathtaking span of snow-spattered pines marred with a garish orange sign screaming Keep Out! And why? There have always been people who have ignored the law, who have no regard for the preservation of beauty, and really, those signs mean nothing to them. I can’t imagine that someone who would break the law and hunt out of season or destroy property would be deterred by signs.

I am sure there are legal reasons to post signs. And some signs are not as offensive as others. But is it any wonder that society has grown more and more isolated and disconnected from each other? When we blindly scream to unseen intruders to Stay Out – what opportunities do we miss to share the beauty of nature? Our greed in keeping it all to ourselves is deplorable. What good is beauty if it can’t be shared?

I say that instead of warning people to Keep Out, Stay Away, No Trespassing, that we instead proclaim to Welcome, Come In, and Share the beauty of this land that is only ours for such a short while.





Sunday, January 30, 2011

One more day

I love to take my long runs on Sundays right after church.  This gives me time to ponder over the morning's sermon.  As a kid, in our fire and brimstone Baptist church and later, in our very nice Methodist church, I remember next to nothing about the sermons.  In our Baptist church, I was scared to death by our minister who, in the pulpit, seemed to do nothing but scream and point at me.  In the Methodist church of my youth, the only part of the church I remembered was the beautiful stained glass window of Christ kneeling at a rock in the Garden of Eden.  I remember watching all of the 40ish men dozing off - wondering if my dad would snore.

Things have changed these days.  I listen to our pastor.  And today's sermon was about being blessed (Matthew 5) and whether we've earned another day.  That got me thinking.  I believe that I am a decent human.  I try to be nice. I try to be helpful.  I volunteer for many, many good causes.  But do I really deserve another day?  I guess that depends on who you ask. 

I'm guessing that my animals hope I wake for tomorrow since I feed them and all.  The two dogs who are mine would most definitely miss me if I wasn't around tomorrow.  But do I deserve tomorrow? I'm not so sure about that.

What have I done today?  I showed up at church, I ran for an hour and a half, I made pepperoni bread, I talked to my daughter, I played the piano.  Does this get me a free pass for another day?  Hmmmmmm.  What about what I didn't do today. . . .

I didn't swear at the dogs too much.  I didn't intentionally hurt someone. I didn't lie, cheat, or steal.  I didn't kill anyone or anything. I didn't yell at the kids.  Yet. 

I'm thinking that I don't like that question all that much:  Do I deserve one more day.  Because I'm not so sure that I do.  There wasn't anything momentous that happened today.  Someone else's life hasn't been changed because of something I've done.  How do we/I earn our/my keep? 

Maybe tomorrow I will have the opportunity to do one or more things that will qualify me for somemore time here on earth.  Maybe the opporunities will present themselves that I can do so many good things that they can be put into a sort of 'good deed' bank to use on days like today where I am at the status quo. 


I'm hoping that I do get at least one more tomorrow. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family Dinner

One of my many childhood memories that I've made a conscious effort in my own family to continue was our family dinner.  I don't remember ever not having a dinner together as family.  It was a way to stay connected with each other and to just be with each other in body, if not in spirit. 

My family dinners these days are almost always just my kids and me.  Those dinners run the gamut from quiet, sulky affairs to tawdry, raucous feasts.  Our dinner conversations many times would make most cultured people blush.  But not us.  We talk about everything that is on our minds.  Things that happened with the kids at school including not only the fact that Haley has a part in this years musical but who has earned the lead in the past and how old they were when they were cast as the lead and all sorts of other stuff.  We talk about upcoming happenings at schools, when soccer and 4-H start, when rehearsals are being held, all of these things.  I also share things about my work day and many times, the negative effects of a cruddy day at work are quickly wiped away by our family dinner.   We offer each other our opinions (often unwanted) and we offer each other support. 

But most of all, we laugh.  We do a lot of reminiscing and some of our stories we've retold a hundred times!  Things that at the time would not have been considered worth remembering but now that they are in our past, we love to remember - things like how the sliding board at the Centre Hall daycare smelled like pee, how Ikey used to call Jordan 'guy', how during an exceptionally wild game of Cranium, I was required to twirl like a ballerina - at the beach - at sunset.  And I know we've all heard about a thousand times how Ikey dropped his phone in a puddle of mud at Grange Fair.  We remember all sorts of things.  We do a lot of dreaming during dinner too.  The latest dream is of having a real farm with a real barn and some flat land to actually ride horses without worrying about falling down the hill into the creek.  We discuss the pros and cons of getting goats again and how to best make, and is it really possible to have, a goat-proof fence. 


And I like this.  I think the kids do too.  We sit together, fix our plates together, thank God for our meal together, and then eat together.  Years and years ago, my mom made a real effort to have the family eat together and I loved it so much that I've done the same thing.  I highly suspect that my kids will carry on the tradition.  It is so much cheaper than therapy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Watah

So the overriding theme for my weekend has been water.  When things happen at One Old Goat farm, they don't happen a little at a time.  They happen all at once - in a very big way.  Usually catastrophes are chronic around here with one following another and another and another until, well, until we get it all fixed.  Or I go mad. Or both.

We live precariously with modern appliances here.  Which is fine with me - my ultimate goal is to be totally off grid - invisible to all - or at least as much as possible.  I want to know that I will be fine if everything crashes and we are left with no electricity or gas.  Everyone has their own hobbies.  Mine is figuring out ways to be totally self-sustaining and to teach the kids that if push comes to shove, they can provide the necessities without all things to which we have become accustomed.

All that is fine but I haven't yet figured out how to deal abruptly being without water.  Sunday morning I noticed that the water didn't seem very warm.  It was rather tepid, in fact. Thank goodness I showered before I left for church.  Later that afternoon, I realized that we had no hot water.  So I checked to see if the circuit breaker kicked. It hadn't. I wouldn't have been too concerned - the kids were relatively clean and could easily go a day without a shower.  But I had just returned from an 8 mile run and was sweaty and stinky.  Sunday afternoons during football playoffs are not a good time for things to break.  The only thing that could get my husband away from in front of the television would be if the cats ran out of food (trust me - the cats can be unrelenting).  So I resigned myself that we would all do our best getting clean with a big pot of warm water. 

This morning we still had water albeit cold water.  It was still running even though it was about 9 degrees below zero.  When I came home from work though, I found my kids waiting for me in a stifling hot house.  It seems that the water pipes did freeze and they were heating the house up to unthaw. The pipes thawed and soon we had running water again.  Some of the water was running so well, that it wouldn't stop running!  I got that fixed and hopefully by tomorrow morning, we will be able to take a shower that doesn't freeze our hair and make our body parts turn blue. 

But in that two hour period that I had to run down to the cellar to turn on the main water valve every time we needed water - to wash, to fill the tea kettle, to flush the toilet, I realized how much water we used.  When I think of the countries that don't have access to clean water, it really kind of makes me sick to think that not only do I not hesitate to turn on water whenever I want-not need-it, there are a lot of times that I waste it. 

I wonder how those people who don't have the same access to water - fresh or otherwise--make it through the day. And could I ever be so self-sufficient that I had would not have to worry about my water supply even in the worst case scenario.  If I were a braver person, I would leave the water turned off at the main valve for a week or so just to drive home the fact not only to me, but to the rest of the family on how much water we use. 

But I'm not that brave and I don't thank God nearly enough that I am privileged to have clean water at the turn of a knob.  In my quest for self-sustainability, I'm hoping to at least rig up a way that I can store rainwater and use it throughout the summer to water my gardens and the animals. 


It's a start.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snow

At a glance, this looks like a beach.  It's not - it is Mount Nittany on one of the few sunny days we've had recently. 

The girls walking through the snowy woods to visit a friend.
                                                        The fruits of my labor (and the cause of my tired back);
My hope for spring.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Good Uncles

My kids have some very good uncles.  I know this because I had some very good uncles and I can compare.  My oldest brother recently had minor orthopedic surgery on his knee.  My youngest son, who has never known anyone who has had any type of surgery, was extremely concerned.  And wrote his oldest uncle a letter asking him many, many questions about the use of crutches, the pain of the surgery, and . . . the possibility of duck hunting.  My middle daughter also was part of the letter writing and added her own thoughts - also referring to the possibility of duck hunting.   They also slipped a $1 bill into the envelope before sealing it.  I don't think they ever expected an answer because seriously who, these days, actually writes letters?

My big brother did.  If he only knew how much that meant to these kids! They were absolutely thrilled to receive a handwritten letter in the mail! My son read that letter to me at least three times!  He was amazed that his big uncle had written to him and had mentioned duck hunting!  I hope he knows that his nephew and niece have the memory of an elephant!  They will never forget that hunting ducks was mentioned.

My little brother doesn't write letters. But he is a very good uncle.  My kids love him!  As my little brother, I remember many more stories about him than I can recall of my big brother(who I viewed as a legend).  I regularly tell my kids stories about Rob when he was growing up and I'm sure many of those stories are those he would rather I kept to myself! 

As aunts and uncles, I think sometimes we overlook the power and influence we have over our nieces and nephews.  We can show kindness - or not.  We are role models, we are extensions of the family, and we all have some very huge shoes to fill.  I know that I will never be the aunt that my Aunt Carol was but I'm hoping as years go by I get better at it.  I'm lucky to have some great nieces and nephews and I don't tell them often enough how much I love them!

The truth is, that some people just have crappy families.  That is not the case with me.  I was lucky to be gifted with the best brothers that God could have given, the best parents that God could have given.  My brothers could have chosen to be invisible uncles, but instead, choose to carry on the tradition of my Uncle Joe, and to be a very good uncle.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Customer um . . . service?

Since when does the term 'customer service' give people free reign to abuse, degrade, humiliate, demoralize, and psychologically destroy another human being?  And why is it that in the name of the almighty dollar, are the recipients of this behavior unable to defend themselves?

I've seen horrific verbal abuse directed toward a cashier who was simply acting according to store policy.  No doubt, if the customer would complain to the corporate store - the cashier would be found at fault.  For not providing good customer service.

Since when is it our right to take out our anger caused by our boss, our spouse, the weather, our mood on some poor human who is only trying to support him/herself by working at the only miserable job to be found. We treat customer service representatives like crud but then lament the fact that all of our jobs are quickly becoming computerized.

Money can buy anything.  Employers are more than willing, eager even, to sacrify good employees simply because they don't want to lose the business of some angry consumer who simply gets off on making life miserable for anyone they meet.  Who feels that he is entitled to unparalleled service beyond the constraints of company rules.  Where does this end? When all of the workers who genuinely are working because they love what they do, driven by the need to help others,have all been driven over the edge to the brink of depression simply because they are not supported by their employers and are treated like an easily replaced commodity?

Which we are, I know.  Easily replaced.   But in comparison, how productive is an unhappy employee - one who is browbeaten into submission and operates in fear of the next oversight. Or the next customer who happens to be having a fight with his spouse in comparison to an employee who strives to do his best simply because it is the right thing to do.  And yes, it is unfortunate that sometimes we won't be able to sell our product because we aren't all things to all people.  But do we need to be?

These are just more reasons that I love my little farm with my chickens, my horses, the Dolly Llama, Lunchbox, and all of the dogs.  Straightforward that group is.  If they don't like the type of service they receive they let me know.  Without a doubt. They may kick, growl, bite me or even run after me and peck me.  But we are clear on our expectations of each other.  It is a relationship that works and benefits each of us and by being mutually respectful, we know that we can expect nothing but the best of each other.

A Very Rude Awakening

My morning had already started off on a wrong note - two kids sick, one staying home from school - when I heard a car horn blaring in front of my house.  Not just a toot, but a full-on hold-down-the-horn blaring.  I thought for sure that the house was on fire or some other tragedy.  No. The damn cow was out. Again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dreaming Dreams

I wonder sometimes if a little unrealistic dreaming may just not be a bad thing.  Especially when it is mid-winter and despite the beautiful weather, everyone is suffering from a bit of cabin fever.  And especially when our car is still out of commission and we haven't been exactly mobile.  My kids and I easily get swept away in our dreams: our future trip to Switzerland with a friend of mine, our camping trip this year to (hopefully) the nature reserve on Assateague Island, and most recently, a home in New England. 

This mythical, mystical home in Maine has brought about some lively debate this evening.  The kids have argued bedroom size, number of computers, number of bathrooms, showers, televisions, fences for dogs, and anything else they could argue.  It is kind of funny hearing them argue about something that is, right now, just a dream.  And to be honest, after awhile it became rather irritating.  But along with all of the bickering and quarreling about the material things they would like to see in their home, something else - a new twist on this all - popped up, the fact that my kids understand that there are many, many children who are in such a place that they can't even dream about these things.  From my vantage point on the couch, I overheard some comments from my kids that confirmed my belief that I've raised some very compassionate children. 

Now I know that the likelihood of us packing up and moving to a beautiful home in Maine is next to impossible, but when you are 13 and 11 years old, anything is possible.  And to be truthful, it is hard for this 48 year old to believe anything but the same thing!  But still.....it was really nice to hear my son say that if we did move, he would like to find 12 kids who have had a crappy childhood (his words), and invite them to spend some time with us.

This tells me a couple of things.  First of all, my 11 year old son has developed compassion - a trait I believe that is absent in many, many people I've run into over the past year or so.  I'm so pleased that he is able to recognize and empathize with others.  Second, this tells me that he feels that his childhood has been pretty good - good enough that he wants others to experience the same thing.  What a boost to my self-esteem!  And all these years I've thought I've been the meanest mother ever........maybe I've done something right!

And really, how bad can a dream be if it generates feelings of love and goodwill toward other humans?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snow, finally!!

 Finally we have some snow here at One Old Goat farm!  Needless-to-say, some members of the family were a little more thrilled than others. 

The weather doesn't seem to bother the bravest of the chickens.  Not one bit!

And this rooster runs through the snow as if it were summer!


But some of the chickens are, well, chicken!  They would rather hang in the house and just gaze out at the wintry beauty.  I'm not sure what they do in their cozy little chicken houses.  I do know that laying eggs is not one of the activities.  Last winter the girls surprised me by producing nearly as many eggs during the winter as they did in the spring.  This year, they took a week sabbatical but happily, are laying once again.


 
 The chihuahuas had a blast in the snow.  For about 5 minutes until they were cold and ready to run back into the warm house and look for a warm blanket to curl up in.

The rest of the dogs were left inside to sit and wistfully look out on the snowy fun.
 

Everyone has a gift

Today in our church, we were treated to the most wonderful experience.  Chiz Rider came and played his trumpets for us.  I wasn't expecting what I received this morning.  Last month when his impending visit was announced, it sounded like a good time.  Some nice music to perk up the second grey Sunday of the new year.  

I had no idea.

Music--good music--sometimes brings me to tears. But this was something far beyond simply good music. Tears were streaming down my face moments into his concert. There wasn't another sound in the church expect for this man's horn. This guy was blowing his gift out into the heavens for all to hear and enjoy. I don't know that I can even describe how I felt listening to him. Sometimes people do things really, really well--but their talent is just one part of them. Chiz was this talent. I can't explain it, but he was his trumpet for those 45 minutes or so that he played for us. He was the music. Oh, what a gift!

Ever since mid last year when our pastor mentioned in one of our services about everyone having a gift, I've been a little bit tormented about the fact that I have no determinable gift.  Everyone I know has a gift: my mom can take anything and make it positive, she never forgets anything, and she keeps her word more than anyone I've ever known.  My dad is the most laidback person I know and I get my love of nature from him.  My kids have more gifts than I can possibly name. And so on--they all have gifts.

But maybe one's gift isn't necessarily a talent? Maybe being gifted doesn't mean being able to sing or make something or cook or paint well.  Couldn't it be possible that one's gift is simply being able to enjoy from the level of one's soul, the gift of others?  And if that is possible, perhaps I've found my gift.  Because today my soul was shaken by the music of a man playing a horn.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Red letter day at One Old Goat Farm


 I knew it was going to be a decent day when at 1:00 am, the bull was still in his pen.  At 3:00 am, the bull was still in his pen.  And at 4:30 am, the bull was still in his pen. 

However I've learned alot in the past week about bulls.  They pout just like dogs when they are scolded.  After yet another morning being rudely awakened by an escaped calf (and I use the term 'calf' very loosely - he's pretty darn big), I had had enough.  Off to TSC my husband went to purchase yet another boatload of posts, insulators, and electrical tape.  Frankly, I would have sold my left arm to electrify this animal!   We strung up enough electrical cord to light up the sky like the northern lights.

I felt kind of bad the first two times that Lunchbox got zapped.  Because he pouted.  Just like a kid.  He stood in the middle of his pen and refused to look at me.  I felt bad for a second until I remembered the near heart-attack I had when I heard a horn blaring in front of my house at 6:00 in the morning.  Or when I heard someone pounding on my door at 5:00 in the morning.  And then, I didn't feel bad at all.  But he still he pouted.  And sought revenge.  And when a bull seeks revenge . . .

 he eats things!  But all in all, it was destined to be a fine day here at One Old Goat farm.  With the bull in his pen and the water pump working, it was all good.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Looking down



When I am out and about, I like to observe my surroundings.  Alot. To the point that I tend to notice silly, trivial things that others may not.  One thing that has always surprised me is the number of people who walk around looking down.  Seriously - eyes to the ground!  I find it very difficult these days to actually make eye contact with people - especially people who appear to be around my age.  And if I can't make eye contact, how can I smile or say hello?

I first noticed this phenomenon (or is it phenomena?) a few years ago when I worked on a large college campus.  On several afternoon runs around the University, I made an effort to make eye contact and smile at everyone whose path I crossed.  On this extensive research, I noticed that the college aged students were more likely to meet my gaze and return my smile.  Others, adults, seem to make every effort not to make eye contact.

I wonder about this.  What is it with my generation?  Is this true across the country? the world?  It doesn't seem to matter if I am on campus or in my own small town.  I think it quite odd - are people afraid to see what is ahead or who they will meet if they look?  Are we afraid we are going to fall or maybe misplace our feet?  Crazy! 

And it is not just people on foot who avoid eye contact.  Today I was at a crossroad and the woman to my left pulled up about the same time.  I was going to wave her to go ahead but she never looked my way, not a glance.  How many good gestures are missed by people simply not acknowledging one another?  How many friendships do we miss out on because we just don't care to look at each other?

Aside from the obvious benefit of not getting in cracked in the head by low hanging branches, looking up allows me to easily identify friends as well as enemies.  Looking up allows me to witness the beauty of the world. Maybe that is why I often prefer animals to people.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A gray day



I usually like the week after New Years. It is low pressure - or at least it feels that way because all the hyperactivity of the Christmas season has passed.  There are no parties, no concerts, no shopping  and I can live off of the holiday leftovers. 

But this year for some reason, something doesn't feel right.  There's been no snow. In fact, it has been relatively warm--enough to the point that I am able to actually go outside and work.  Part of the reason I like the week after New Years is because there are no expectations.  It is too cold to go outside and sometimes we even get snowed in from work.  These are supposed to the beautiful snowy white days that we dream about.  Or at least I do.  I like to have at least a few weeks during which the yard actually looks nice.  It's as if everyone is in a gray funk.
 I want to see snow again.  I want to see my chickens stand on one foot again.  I want to make a snow angel.

I want to not feel as if I am getting old and that my Christmases may never been the same again.  The kids are growing up and some of the magic is leaving because of it.  I think Centre County would be a little more upbeat if some snow fell.
Even the geese are confused!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Whenever I think I want some more goats . . .

I've been thinking that I want more goats.  At least I was thinking about it until I reread this post from June 2009:





I'm a veteran of life: I've survived divorces, a huge family in a small house, countless mini emergencies, and yet this weekend something occurred that brought me as close to the edge as I've ever been.






Bucky got loose.






Now let me just say that Bucky was just being Bucky. There was no malicious intent on his part, no hidden agenda to drive me crazy so that he could reign supreme over the entire One Old Goat farm - none of that. But let's just say that at two separate times this weekend, I was brought to bawling uncontrollably in my backyard with a lasso in one hand and a bucket of sweetfeed in the other. I was prime entertainment for the Georges Valley neighbors. I am thankful, however, that the neighbors who were watching from their lawnmowers had very LOUD lawnmowers. It drowned out the stream of profanities coming out of my mouth.






Bucky has a taste for my neighbor's trees - those 100 feet tall, fast growing trees that are very, very leafy about now. When Bucky gets out of his pen, he bypasses all of my yummy maples and cottonwoods and heads for the neighbor's trees. Usually I just fill up a bucket with sweetfeed and he follows me back into his pen. Now we fixed his pen: it is impossible for me to get into or out of. But Bucky as found a way. I swear he has sprouted wings because I cannot see any spot where he has crawled under or over. I just don't know. So Saturday he got out. We just noticed seconds before leaving for my daughter's soccer game. And of course my husband wasn't home. And of course I had the neighbor's kids with me. And of course Bucky had great fun waiting for me to get within inches of him before darting off over the horse fence. Around and around me, all four of the kids, the dogs, and the chickens (who didn't know what the hell was going on) running through the horse pen. I think it was on lap 8 that I finally broke down in tears. At that point, everything comes to a standstill (except for Bucky who is walking slowly towards me). EVERYONE is staring at me: the kids, dogs, horses were chewing on their hay looking at me, Dolly was inches away shiffing my hair. The two boys - my son and his friend - offered ideas (which included knives and catapults) and the girls were stunned by my hysterics. So I shifted gears and we all left for the soccer game (hoping that Bucky would run away). He didn't. But my husband was able to lure Bucky into the pen.






Next day. My parents were visiting and we were having a party for the kids' birthday. My parents arrived and Bucky escaped. Again. And headed straight for the neighbor's trees. I felt myself crumbling. I found my rope and casually strolled toward Bucky as he was busily munching on leaves. He took off as the rope was poised above his head. This time I broke down after only 1 lap through the horse pen. Crying uncontrollably that I could not deal with this *%*!# goat again. In front of my father! I've never let this kindof word slip in front of my dad. Mom, yes. But not my dad.

He knew I was upset.


So my dearest daughter, mother of my grandson, great lasso-er of goats, came to the rescue and within minutes, had Bucky roped and tied in the barn. I love that girl.


So what am I going to do? For now, Bucky is on leash with plenty of access to outside and shelter, food and drink. My mother called me last night and said that my brother had offered to 'take care of' Bucky. But unless he is going to be eaten, he's not going to be killed. I've tried selling Bucky and giving him away. I've worked on his fence until my arms and legs bled. He's getting out somewhere but I don't know where.


Everyone told me not to get a goat. I didn't listen. So now I hate Bucky for him being what he is. Although now, a day later, I can't say that I really hate him. Bucky is a goat-a male goat. And he is acting like one. I guess I should love him because he is really, really, REALLY good at being a goat. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thankfulness


A beautiful day

I'm a little leery to allow myself to believe that 2011 has begun on anything other than a good note.  Therefore I've decided to be thankful for all that I've received in the past 48 hours.  My prayers today go something like this:

Dear God,



Thank you so much for giving me a family made up of people with good humor, good taste, and the ability to not take everything too seriously.  Added to that, we are fortunate to have some really good cooks in the family (thanks Jess!). 

Thank you so much for allowing me to be born into a family in which family comes first.  Even when I need to call my brother to come rescue me and my kids when my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.  He came right away even though he didn't feel well, even though we were an hour away from him, even though it was dark.  He helped us without question and met us where we were stranded with a hug and a smile and the promise of coffee.  I am thankful beyond belief (as are my kids), that we just happened to break down when I pulled over into a closed gas station so that the girls could take off their coats instead of while heading up the mountain.  I am so thankful that we broke down directly in front of a phonebooth - which are scarce as hens' teeth especially in the middle of a forest!  And especially since we had no cell phone service!  I am so thankful that I was able to get through to AAA even though none of my other calls to other people except to my brother went through.  And AAA sent a woman to us who lived right up the road and she stayed with us and talked to us and gave us options as to what we could do.  She really put my us at ease.

Thank you God, so much for other total strangers who were willing to give a helping hand.  Even if that meant pounding on our door at 5:00 in the morning to tell us that our cow was standing on the road.  And that stranger waited until we had things under control.  I'm also thankful that my husband wasn't at work because, quite frankly, the cow makes me a bit nervous.  And I am so thankful that none of the other animals escaped. 

Thank you God for good friends who are going through a rough time right now to whom I've not been overly friendly.  I'm thankful that they are able to overlook my social anxiety and tendencies to hermitism (new word!) and are still willing to accept me as a friend.  I pray that you give them all the strength they need to get through this time and to know the pain subsides after awhile.  Even though I can't say it, I love them. And they have always been good to my family.

I was so going to put a different twist on this post.  But I've found that when I write it, I am most sincere in my thankfulness.  This morning when I dragged myself in after spending an hour mending a fence, I wondered what I had done to deserve this start to the New Year.  But in the few minutes it has taken me to write about it, I realize how blessed we are.  How truly, truly blessed.  And I pray that everyone is cared for in the way that we have been the past two days.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Wild Welcome to the New Year!!

We had a great time welcoming in the New Year!  Time spent with family is always good.   
Fun with Cheez Puffs
 
Lots of good food
  Some family members were a little 'wilder' than others.  Most of us just stuck the food in our mouths.

Apparently Zoom had had enough.


Winter then fall

Anyone who knows me knows that I love fall.  I love the colors of autumn, I love the cooler temperatures - fall is perfect for me as...