LIFE

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Had a pretty amazing day today! I found a recipe online the other day for home made play doh, so today I made some. We forgot to buy food color, so it was just plain color. Well, the lack of color had no impact towards my son, he LOVED the dough. As a matter of fact, he’s pretty much spent the entire day playing with it. So, I’ll be getting some food coloring and finding more loose objects for him to press on the dough and play! We have cookie cutters and shells, but I’m thinking of more items for textures and such. It just brought my heart so much joy and pride to see how he enjoyed playing with the dough. The recipe for the dough can be found here….http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/04/best-ever-no-cook-play-dough-recipe.html

It’s been a tough road getting here, for me.  Emotionally and spiritually,  I’ve been pretty broken for some time. But, through all the tough moments, the good has always far outweighed the bad in my life. I’ve learned forgiveness is the best tool I have to get me through life. I have to forgive those who’ve hurt me deeply, and I have to forgive myself, as well. I’m doing my best to go back to the me I was before I let life circumstances change me; and I really just want to build people up. I want people to know that they matter, that the world is better because of them.

Everyday I spend with my soulmate and my son is a tremendous blessing. They are my reason for breathing! I will do everything in my power to see that they know everyday how loved they are.

The journey of motherhood has definitely changed my soul. Like, I am not the same. And I am constantly evolving; I’m growing right along with my child. It’s a pretty amazing experience. And I am just so blessed.

Today, I received a random act of kindness from a sweet, dear friend. I was a bit overwhelmed by it! I mean, I love this woman like a sister, but still, it touched me deeply. I am grateful I have this person in my life, but I’m not sure she realizes how special she is. So, I thought about it.  How good her kind words made me feel. So, I tried to do the same today, with someone I know. I guess I feel, you never know what someone is going through in their life…..maybe your words might be just what they need to hear. It’s a nice thought.

Whatever the future holds for me, I’m ready! I’m pretty tough. I’ve been through a LOT! And I know that God has great plans ahead for my family. All in HIS time. Today, we relished in the simple pleasures of life: home made play doh, a kind word/gesture from a friend, a pay it forward and just some beautiful weather. God has blessed me greatly.

God’s Plan. God’s Timing.

Thinking today about stuff and honestly, I’m struggling a bit.  JEALOUSY is such an ugly trait and something I try hard to not let creep into my heart. But, when we are feeling low is when Satan has the most power over us, and he likes to plants those thoughts into our hearts and mind. So, I am just an imperfect human and my way of working through these thoughts is to put it down in writing. And it’s always my hope that words will help someone else who is struggling as well.

Anyone who knows my family, knows that finances are a big struggle for us. And I guess that’s the biggest thing I struggle with, is understanding WHY, why does it have to be? What is Gods plan for my family? Does He not see in our hearts? Does He not understand all we would like to do to help others? Does He not hear our prayers? Does He not see the emotional toll that our family faces daily? Are we not WORTHY of having these prayers answered?

My spouse is pretty damn amazing! I will brag on her until the day I die. She is the type of person any company should be PROUD to have as an employee.  She’s dedicated, ethical, driven to be the best at her job, and she’s adaptable.  Her forte’ is Inventory control and/or management. She’s got a keen eye for detail and a knack for spotting costly mistakes. Despite this, it’s been incredibly hard for her to find a job to replace her previously highest income jobs. And unfortunately that creates a lot of stress in our family.

My spouse worked for Walmart for almost 16 years before quitting. The decision to quit, it’s a bit complicated. Basically it boils down to we unfortunately ended up at a store that was out of control; and we didn’t believe in ourselves enough at that time to stand up for ourselves. It was easier to quit! That is not a typical character trait of my spouse at all; in fact she’s anything but a quitter! So, was that part of God’s plan for us? Was there something in our future path that wouldn’t have occurred (a blessing for us or someone else) if we had stayed employed by Walmart? It’s definitely something to think about. We do know that the company did a lot of “cleaning house” at that store after we quit; so our concerns were validated.

Last year was really tough on my family. A friend helped my spouse get this job that paid really well; and we hoped it would be the answer to help us get caught up on our debts and move forward on some of our other plans.  But this job came at a great cost…it took my spouse away from her son for 3-4 days a week! That is a lot of TIME to sacrifice, that is a lot of FIRST moments she missed. And when the journey to become a parent was a 16 year journey filled with loss (I had 3 failed pregnancies) and bankruptcy; you shouldn’t have to choose between family and paying the bills.  TIME always has more value than money.  So, my spouse was laid off from that job in July 2016.  It’s been really tough financially on us since then.  Was this too God’s plan? Did God know that my spouse needed to have more family time?

So, here’s where I struggle the most. In understanding people’s motives. We have always been freely giving people. Giving of money, giving of gifts, giving of information, giving of advice, giving of support, giving of time.  Our motivation in life has always just simply been to be happy and help others be happy too.  If I can help you, I will. I can be struggling to pay my bills, but if I see a job opportunity that might benefit you; I will pass that along. There is a quote, “Do not expect others to treat you with the same kindness as you treat them; for they don’t have the same heart you do.”, this is absolutely true. I think our society is so competitive that people just aren’t inclined to help. They feel if they help you that you may somehow do better than they are doing. I think there is enough success in the world for everyone.

So, is it jealousy I feel? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just heartache I feel. I don’t covet material possessions. I would just like my family to be able to pay our debts without worry. My could become a millionaire tomorrow (stranger things have happened), and I would still want to live a simple, frugal life. The difference would be I could afford to do so. I would be able to get solar power installed, buy supplies to can and dehydrate food, get our home updated to be more efficient, etc.  Having money would just allow my family to be together daily and to spend time learning life skills, growing food and working on philanthropic activities. We definitely have more ideas than money; maybe that too is God’s plan. Maybe one day it will all come together and make sense. Maybe much of what we desire in our life will happen in the future, through our son, not us.  That is definitely a lovely thought.

Well, I definitely know in life that the only person you can truly count on is yourself. (Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been blessed much in life by kindness from strangers, family and friends.) We don’t understand or know what God’s plan is for us, the path we need to choose. And I think that’s the hardest part of life. We think we are on a good path, but then it seems the bottom falls out! We know what we want, we want to be able to work from home, to eventually bring in all our income from working together as a family.

Work fromhome jobs are tricky, there are more scams than legitimate jobs. I am a pretty good novice at sewing. Our number one goal before this month is over is to unpack my sewing machine and get things functional so I can start sewing again. Then hopefully I can sell some stuff and start building a business. We had talked for years about doing a t-shirt business, but weren’t really sure what to pick or how to proceed. It’s funny how life is though, we talked so much about it that a person close to us actually did it! They had the money and resources to do it. Does that make me jealous? I guess, a little. They were in a position that they could afford to take the plunge, they had the money and a back up income source. We’ve never had that, so it makes it harder for us. Like we can’t afford for it to fail! But was this all God’s plan? Was it for us to plant the seed for someone else? Maybe, who knows?

The only choice we have in life is to continue to move forward. I will continue to try to find ways to bring in additional income to lessen the burden on my spouse.  I am looking forward to doing some sewing and hopefully people will be happy with what I have to offer.  And as a family we will continue to fight the good fight to stay positive and work together to achieve our goals in life. We will continue to show resilience and not give up!

We are looking into my spouse possibly being a realtor, but I believe to start requires about a $2k investment, plus the time to learn. And the additional income needed to get a better wardrobe and take care of some dental care.  But it’s an idea we are throwing up into the universe to see if God approves. We are keeping our hearts, ears and minds open to opportunity. We want to be able to pay back debts and kindness shown to us. I would love to be able to fund The Little Pantry and The Little Library movement and just do so much to help my family and others. And I know, that despite the hold and power that Satan has over this world, that somehow God will provide.

Somewhere through all this rambling, I find myself feeling a bit better. I still have no answers, but I can see that the answer will be provided.  There is a track record in our lives to the blessings that have been bestowed upon us; and that is it always comes in Gods timing, not ours.  So, we will stay open to possibilities and just do what we are capable of until He provides the solution.

Outdoor Play

IMG_0098As an older mom, I constantly battle with feeling that somehow I am letting my child down.  That they are at a deficit of some sort, because I’m not a younger, more vibrant mom. I’m trying to get back on a healthier track in life and hope to lose weight and become more energetic. I KNOW how to eat healthy and I know how to lose weight; but I’m finding it so hard right now. I know a lot has to do with worry over finances, as I am an emotional eater. But, I trust in Gods plan and know the resolution will be presented to us in HIS time.

That all being said, I have shed MANY tears over things that I feel are necessary for our child to have a great childhood. I swear I use to be such a kid & know how to play; but somehow life has just beat me down & I can’t get to that place. So, I think to myself if my child had a great outdoor play space, I could play with him and maybe learn to be a kid again. So, I have been OBSESSING over getting him a play kitchen for inside play (I love to cook), and for outside, I wanted to get him something from Cedarworks, Little Tikes, Step 2 or Gorilla Playsets.  All I could think is he NEEDS this amazing outside play area.

Our little boy actually enjoys watching American Ninja Warrior; it’s actually the only adult program I get to watch. He loves to climb and I know in my heart he would enjoy an outdoor play area.  So, I am constantly scouring the BST pages and Craigslist for a good bargain.  There have been a few obstacles with these finds though: (1) most items won’t fit in our SUV,  (2) even the good deals are typically too much for our current finances, (3) most people won’t hold items until you get there, and (4) people won’t deliver, even for gas money.  So, we’ve found it hard to find what my heart desires.

So, I tried talking with the companies that make the items I want. Asking them for discounts or anything to help.  What I got back was SILENCE.  This is hard, it’s actually a bit heartbreaking  I KNOW our son is not going to suffer from not having outside toys  But he is our only child. We are older parents who unfortunately also are poor financially; we just want him to have some things, the things we think are important.

Well, so then I was just at a standstill.  I was depressed and just overwhelmed.  I spend most of my time helping my spouse in her job search, selling (or trying to sell) items on EBay, and playing with our son.  So, I started thinking.  And I come to realize that I was allowing myself to be swept up in to the world of consumerism and the material world.  And I had to take a deep breath and remember why we are on this journey and what is important.

We desire to be homesteaders.  That though is expensive to start. Living a simple life, comes with a hefty price tag when you are starting from scratch!! But we view this as a worthwhile endeavor and it’s our goal to LEARN and to be able to TEACH our child.  So, with that in mind I went to my favorite Facebook pages to gain support and ideas.  These pictures are not mine, I found them on Google.  But after talking with some wonderful moms on the Waldorf Life Page and WildSchooling; these are my inspiration and what I hope to build for our son.

We have plenty of downed wood on our property and a few pallets. We are a bit out of shape, but we also are motivated. There are things we need: tires, pots, pans, buckets, washboard, sink or something similar and utensils, along with other miscellaneous items. The most expensive item we need is either a chainsaw or the money to hire someone to help us cut and move the wood. Even if we buy a chainsaw, we’ll probably still have to hire someone to move the wood to the build site. And then of course, the tires are the next most expensive item.  It’s all going to take time. And we have to do our planning to get it right. I have a post going on my local BST page asking for an old tractor tire and also for items for the music wall and Mud kitchen. I’m hoping to get at least one project done in time for Christmas.

The tire sandpit I had thought we were going to build this weekend.  But, we tend to get EXCITED and not always do our due diligence in preparing.  So, now we are looking for a tractor tire, as the tire on our property is pretty small. And we also didn’t have the area prepared.  We need to dig up the ground, put weed proof down and I’d love to cover the weed proof with some gravel or something.  Then we also need some plywood to make a top and a pool noodle, and maybe some paint. This quickly became a project that we can’t currently afford.

In a perfect world, I could get the Mud kitchen and music wall built in time for Christmas.  And then start getting the logs cut and moved to build the playground and cut stumps and such for him to walk and climb on.  This is my hope.  I’m truly hoping that I will encounter some kindness from the community and people will donate some items so I don’t have to buy a lot. But, if I do have to buy, I plan to shop at Goodwill or places similar, as I know they provide many services to the community.

My spouse is excited about us building our son a playground.  My hope is that we can actually physically and financially pull it off!  I want our son to grow up being in touch with the earth and nature, that is my greatest hope for him.  But I suffer with great anxiety about the dangers in nature…. it’s one of the biggest struggles I have as a parent. I want him to be brave, explore and enjoy all there is in life; but I want to keep him safe.  The best way for me to keep him safe is to educate myself about our surroundings, to be familiar and to be out there exploring with him. This is a great challenge for me, but it’s an obstacle I have to overcome.  I don’t want him to inherit my fears and anxieties, I don’t want him to grow up sheltered.  I want him to be in touch with all that nature has to offer, all the blessings God has provided for us.  Making this playground will force me to take him outside more often, and that is the first step.  It provides a safe place for him to explore, to play, to be outside.  And hopefully it will be the stepping stones to greater adventures in time.

SIMPLE LIFE

IMG_9690.JPGWhat I want more than anything is to just live a simple, non-consumerism life. I want to learn to grow our own food and preserve it. I want to make memories and have great life experiences, instead of things. I want to have less financial strain and more joy and laughter! I want to squeeze every ounce of pure bliss out of life. I want our son to be able to say he had the most loving and supportive parents and the best childhood.

What I have is a life in progress, working slowly to that goal. It is HARD to achieve. Living simply, doesn’t necessarily equate to living cheaply; at least not in the beginning. It cost to live a simple life. But, I feel it’s a worthy goal and something I will continue to strive toward. One should never give up on their hopes, dreams or passions; the answer to your prayers might be just a eye blink away.

The Girl Who Would Be Called Dempsey

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This is a picture of a Miniature Donkey, that I was going to buy.  I only knew I was going to buy her for about a week, then everything changed. And somehow, this change has changed me. Logically, it doesn’t make sense that I feel as devastated as I do. There was a part of me that kind of thought it was a bit of a crazy purchase. But, then there is the other part of me that tries to have faith and stay optimistic. So, in good faith, I did believe we would be purchasing her.

The name Dempsey, it’s my Maternal Grandmothers middle name. She hated it! Thought it sounded too masculine. But, I think it suited my grandma; for as sweet as she was, she was also feisty too! My grandma lived to be 100.  My family is a complicated mess, but I do have many good memories around my grandma.

Anyway, this beautiful little donkey belongs to a precious friend of mine. Someone who I don’t think realizes how amazing she is. I drive her crazy and somedays I fear she’ll decide I’m too much of a mess and won’t be my friend anymore. I love her and her family, I love her kids like they are family. I refer to her as an Aunt to my son. And because her friendship is so precious, I informed her as soon as I knew that we wouldn’t be able to make the purchase. I thought for sure she’d be upset, but she handled it gracefully.

But, here I sit…. STUCK! And I can’t explain it. How on earth did I develop such an emotional attachment to a picture of a baby donkey?? Why is it having such a profound affect on me? I can’t explain it and I need to move past it. The only thing that comes to mind is what it represents. It represented hope, I guess. I guess the hope that one day my family will be able to have something like that. That we can buy our son a gift of that magnitude, without worry. I think that’s what it represented to me.

My family always seems to struggle financially. We want to be able to fix our home, raise a garden and some livestock and make our son proud. We want to leave a legacy for him. I think that’s why all this bothers me so much. It’s again just a reminder of our struggles. And again, I feel like a failure. I know going after your dreams is noble and a worthy cause. And I know raising our son in the country was and is the right decision. But I just wish God would provide some guidance. I just don’t know if I can continue this way.

So that’s it. I’m at a crossroads and I really don’t have the answers or solutions. So, I just have to pray. And just love my family and pray some more. I have to stay hopeful and faithful. And ride the wave until I can regain control

Fowl Pox

I’m definitely a novice at owning livestock. As a kid we briefly lived on a farm. But my parents didn’t involve us kids. So, now as a mom myself…it’s important to me to start having livestock. To start LEARNING myself (even if it’s the HARD way), so I can teach my son and INVOLVE him. This is hard!! But everyone was once a beginner. Books are good, but lord I wish I had time to read. It is something I NEED to adjust in my life and make time for. I have an amazing friend (I know I drive her CRAZY) who helps me a lot. And I know I will learn from others in the farming community, as well. But the best learning comes from experience. As a mom, I am learning everyday. I have really good days & days that I wish I could rewind and start over. At the end of it, I just always end my day with a prayer of gratitude, forgiveness and pray that my loved ones know how important they are to me.

We are currently battling what we believe to be Fowl Pox. We chose (partially due to our goals & partially due to finances) to do natural treatment of our flock. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but it’s what we are doing. I realize that I could lose my entire flock. So far, we had one hen that had a sudden onset of gurgling and died within hours. Her eyes never swelled. We have the BR rooster who seems to be well (best I can tell). We have the hen with two swollen eyes, which now has one eye partially open and swelling is going down. However, she still makes gurgling sounds. Then we have my favorite chicken Gertrude (she’s kind of fat & awkward like me) and she presented yesterday with a swollen eye.

This is how I’ve treated them. First day, warm compress and neosporin on eyes. Second day, added saline wash, then warm compress and neosporin. Third day, changed to just saline wash and bought Vetricyn to spray in eyes. I put Ropa Poultry Oregano solution in my chickens water. During treatment, I have doubled the amount I add to their water. Starting day 3, I also started putting Apple Cider Vinegar in their water. I can’t say this treatment will cure them. But I do know it hasn’t killed them. And I do believe it’s helped them to stay strong enough to battle the illness. Also, the day the chicken got the 2nd swollen eye and I noticed she wasn’t drinking, I gave her an oral shot of Gatorade. I’m hoping my flock survives. I am pretty attached to all of them.

WHAT CHICKENS HAVE TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE: Sunshine and fresh air help just about anything that ails you. Having friends (or your flock) near you when you’re ailing can give you the strength to go on. NEVER GIVE UP! Even if you lose, the days you lived enriched someone’s life. That I can overcome and deal with things that scare me or make me uncomfortable. I wanted to give up my flock because I was scared and felt like a failure. But keeping them and trying to heal them, it’s rewarding. And it teaches my son valuable lessons as well. It teaches him empathy, nurturing, responsibility and unfortunately that sometimes things don’t go how we want them to go.

I have days where life is too much, too hard for me. But my son needs me, and the animals at our ranch need me. It all helps me to cope and feel like I do have a purpose. And I try everyday to become a better version of myself. I am extremely blessed to be on this journey. And honestly the biggest problem I have in life is the lack of money, it creates so much stress in our home. Well, you know…. I may not be financially well off, but God has made me rich in so many ways. And I’d rather be rich in love and my blessings than to be so poor, that all I had was money.

I just read the information on this page today, from the Chicken Chick and it’s very interesting.  Seems we so far are dealing with the “wet” version of this illness.  We are going to clean the coop tomorrow with dawn dish soap and then spray down with vinegar. We also are going to try Iodine in their water and see if that helps.  INFO HERE: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2015/07/fowl-pox-prevention-treatment.html?m=1

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Reflection

Well, we have lived here for a little past three months now! With everything we’ve done and that has happened so far, it seems like it’s been longer. Mostly in a good way, I would say. We know how blessed we are to have this home, and the land. It may need lots of repair, but it’s a very peaceful place to live.

For the previous six months, we lived life pretty much in limbo and afraid of what the future held. After my spouse got laid off and we saw our home taxes continue to rise, we knew we had no choice but to sell our previous home.  Although we have people we love and care about back in TX, we knew we had to leave. The plan we had, the help that was offered to us, well it all went awry. And survival instincts kicked in, and we moved forward. Along the way, we were very lucky and are thankful to those who helped us. Still, though, we lived in a very type of “survival” mode and it’s something we are still recovering from.

We are older parents, and know how blessed we are to have our son.  We know what a privilege it is to be parents and also the “burden” it brings with the responsibility to raise a good person. I don’t mean burden in a bad way, but that it’s not something to take lightly. You are raising someone’s future spouse, parent, coworker and just all around member of society.

As older parents, we try not to obsess over it, but we are more aware if our mortality. We feel we are against the clock and racing to keep ahead. We want to be sure to instill in our son good values and such, but also provide enrichment and learn/teach him skills for life survival and such. We knew there were far more benefits to raising our son in the country, then in any city environment. And although it’s been hard so far, we know we made the right decision.

Some things I have learned so far: money doesn’t go as far as we want or need, repairs are always going to be more than you think, there is always going to be something that comes up to either brighten or dampen your day, you need a fishnet to catch chickens and the like, PATIENCE is always the solution, and most importantly that God is watching over us.  We’ve spent more money on repairs for this home than any we’ve lived in and we still have a long list of things to be done. That being said, we still know how blessed we are, and love our very humble home. We’ve gotten chickens, guineas and ducks and they are so much fun to watch. They will both relax your soul and drive you crazy when it’s bedtime and they don’t want to come in. It’s amazing how quickly you get attached. We’ve named a few of them: Bonnie & Clyde are the pair of Silverlaced Sebrights, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are the Buff Orpington hens, and we have one Barred Rock Hen we call Gertrude. They all have their own personalities.

Weve met some really nice people since moving here. Surprisingly not anyone seems to give two shits about us being a gay couple. It’s been pretty refreshing. I’ve learned that there are just some really good people with old fashioned values if you just open up to meet them.

I like to barter, but currently I don’t have much I feel to offer people. But I did manage to do a bit of a barter and I’m pretty excited about it. I had bought these metal nesting boxes for my chickens. I was so proud and so excited about it, but the chickens didn’t like them at all. So, I listed them for sale. One of the farmers we had met through buying hay wanted to know if I’d do a trade. Well, we are on the list to get a puppy from them, so we traded for a credit towards the purchase price of the puppy. I can’t explain how happy it makes me!! It was a moment of joy for sure. And it takes away a little bit of financial worry. It seems most farm folk are open to trades/bartering, it is something I think society as a whole could benefit from.

The other day I was overcome with worry about our missing ducks and rooster, and just not paying attention to where I was walking; but God was.  Because all of a sudden I heard a rustling sound and right beside my foot, just maybe 6 inches away was a copperhead snake! I screamed and just froze and watched as it slithered away, it wasn’t in a hurry or aggressive at all. But I still know how that could have been a really bad experience if not for Gods protection!

Another example of God’s protection recently revolves around our electricity in the home and listening to my inner voice. We have an electric stove that came with the house and it was hard wired in versus a typical cord and plug.  Well, I just always felt uneasy about it, so I wouldn’t use it.  Which meant PBJ’s, eating out and munching on junk food, because we also just don’t have very many outlets and our electric needed to be updated. So, the electrician came and updated our electric and told me I was very lucky we didn’t use the stove. That it would of most likely had caused a fire! The stove is now hooked up safely.  God put that inner voice in all of us, I am thankful I listened.

There have been many ups and downs in our lives.  We have such big hearts and want to do so much to impact the world in a positive way! But some days I fear that although we are rich with blessings, that we are destined to be financially poor forever. Finances have always been tough for us. Our money has gone three ways in life (1) to medical intervention to have a child (2) to charity (3) to retail or ink therapy (4) eating out and of course bills and such! I don’t really regret anything we’ve done in life, it’s all created memories and such that mostly brought joy to our lives or someone else’s.

Moving forward, we are hoping to eliminate (mostly) the eating out and retail/ink therapy (although an occasional tattoo might be gifted to me) and we no longer have to “try” to have a child. But we won’t ever stop giving to charity or giving of ourselves in anyway we can. We want to instill in our child an understanding of being charitable and helping others. It is part of our dream with having our farm to eventually be able to grow enough food to feed us and donate some.  We’d also like to be able to raise some livestock and help people in that way too. Maybe choose one family a year to donate half a processed cow to, or perhaps donate a baby animal to a FFA family.  We want to always do something that helps our society in some way.

I know God has great plans for our family. I hope they will be realized in our lifetime, but I know the plans may be for our sons future, not ours.  So, we will just continue on our path in life.  We will pray for guidance and hope for “signs”, and we will try our best to stay positive, while licking our wounds! Life is a crazy journey, and it’s mostly beautiful! Everyday that I wake up and get to see the smile on the faces of my son and spouse, those are good days!!