Packing up the Tree

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We finally did it….we finally took down the Christmas tree and packed up the ornaments. Yes….I know that Christmas was what…….three weeks ago? The only excuse I have is that this is how we roll over at our place.

It has always been this way in our home. We have never gotten the tree and all it’s ornaments up the day after Thanksgiving. It has always been a week or so later. I am not sure why….it is just the way it is around here.

Due to the fact we get our Christmas decorations up later than most people; I am thinking it is only fair we also take them down later than most people. Our festive decorations probably stay up the same length of time as other peoples’…..we just start later and finish later.

I only recall one year when the tree came down before New Year’s Eve. The reason for that was because we were entertaining and hosting a party at our home that year and the tree just took up way to much room in the living room.

For some reason it seems to take way less time to take those decorations down and pack them away than it does to put them all up. Makes me wonder if I spend too much time with ornament placement on my tree? Or, maybe it could be the fact you really don’t have to check the lights when taking them OFF the tree?

My frontroom does look a lot larger now than it did yesterday when the tree was taking up an entire corner….the downside is…it doesn’t look as festive and warm either! I have heard of people leaving their tree up and decorating it for other holidays, like Valentines or Easter.  I am not quite ready to do that as I really want my couch back in the room.

I kind of think my husband and I have a tough time letting go of the Christmas tree because Christmas is such a great time of family gatherings. For us it is the time our kids come home and we get to spend some time with them and the grandkids.

During the Christmas season we see friends and family that aren’t around other times of the year. We play games, open gifts, eat lots of great food and we get to celebrate that our Savior was born.

Maybe it kind of feels like when we pack up the tree, we pack up all those good things. Instead of looking at it that way, maybe I need to be looking at it from another angle. I think I need to be remembering that it isn’t the tree or the decorations that made the season so special…..it is the people we shared it with and the reason for that sharing.

Perhaps that is why New Years follows so closely….so we realize we get to have another year of joy…another year of sharing…another year of celebrating what makes life worth living. May you be blessed in the sharing, the celebrating and the living!

Some Christmas tree ornaments
do more than glitter and glow,
they represent a gift of love given a long time ago.
Tom Baker

 

 

Identity in Photos

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This past week I was challenged on Facebook to do a Black and White Photo Challenge. The hard part of that challenge was to use only photos to show who I was…my identity.  I wasn’t allowed to use any words….any explanations….any photos of people… to tell the story of my life. It really was a challenge!

I thought I didn’t do too badly….except I could not find a way to include my family. The challenge made me realize that as people, we really have many facets to our lives. Our lives are intricate linkings of so many things….people, places, things, ideas, beliefs etc.

I am going to share with you some of the photos that I posted. If you are a regular reader, a couple of the photos might be familiar to you. They might look slightly different because I changed them from color, to black and white.

The photo up top is pretty self-explanatory….blogging and tea are a part of my life that I thoroughly enjoy. I have never made a dime from it and more than likely never will, but I have met so many wonderful people through blogging. There are so many of you that I would love to sit on the porch and share a cup of tea/coffee with.

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The Girls and Their Home

I thought I should definitely include a photo of my chicken coop, complete with a couple of the girls. (This is one of the photos that may be familiar!) If I am the Chicken Grandma I guess it stands to reason; chickens are a part of my life. I have learned many lessons from the chickens I have known and cared for. I have a feeling they have many more lessons to teach me.

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Another facet of my life would be my participation in using essential oils and other products from Young Living. I have found them to be useful to me in so many ways. I love to help others learn about them and love using products that contain natural ingredients rather than a lot of man made chemicals. I have been fortunate to meet many great people this way also.

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Solid Ground For Me

My faith is a big part of my life and this year I am participating in a Bible study of the Fruit of the Spirit through Coffee Break Bible Studies. This is my first year with this group and I am finding it to be a great experience.  Once again….so many good people!

The next two pictures were, for me, ways that show life with my husband. My husband loves the thought of being self-sufficient. He loves large gardens, living off the land and burning wood in our wood stove. I love this picture for that very reason.

I also love the texture and the roundness of those logs. Knowing they will make my house nice and warm this coming winter is a great thing too!

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This man that I married 37 years ago was born a farm boy and remains very much a farm guy. The first 6 months of our married life we lived in a very small town. He could not wait to move out to the farm where he didn’t see anyone when he stepped out the front door.

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The M Farmall is the second tractor we ever owned. Every so often my husband wonders if he should sell it, but then decides it isn’t worth that much money, so he may as well hang on to it. I am always glad he decides to keep it as I am a little sentimental about that old tractor.

When I look at those pictures I realize they portray only a small part of my life. There are so many things I did not get included. Not being able to include photos of family, friends and loved ones leaves a huge hole in the fabric of life.

I realized that objects cannot replace relationships and never will. I also know that one can not really share their entire life in the space that a few photos take…..it takes a lifetime to share a life.  It takes a lifetime to know someone and to be known.

Have a blessed weekend. Take the time to build those relationships…the ones that last and stand the test of time. Those relationships are a wonderful gift and blessing.

 

“Through others we become ourselves.” 
― Lev S. Vygotsky

 

The whole point is to live life and be –
to use all the colors in the crayon box.
RuPaul

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rupaul818076.html?src=t_live_life

 

 

 

Drumstick

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Every so often you end up with a chicken who can be defined by the word ….. moxie.  I don’t typically name my girls but I may have to name this one. A couple weeks ago (the night of July 4th to be exact) this Rhode Island Red came close to being a late evening snack for a raccoon.

We had spent the day with family at Lake Okoboji and by the time we got home, after the fireworks display, the evening had cooled off nicely. We opened the windows to let some of the cool air in and headed for bed.

We woke, from a deep sleep, to the sound of a chicken squawking in terror. My husband grabbed a flashlight and saw the glowing eyes of a raccoon, who had decided our chicken was extremely edible. He (my husband….not the raccoon) grabbed the gun and headed outdoors.

It didn’t take long and I heard a lot more squawking. My husband came back in the house and told me that, that chicken was one lucky bird. He had found her and put her in the coop with the rest of the girls.  He also told me he wasn’t sure what shape she was in, as it was dark and he could see, by the flashlight, there were lots of feathers in the back yard.

When morning came and I went to let the girls out of their coop, I could see red feathers strewn across the yard. I reluctantly opened the door of the coop, dreading what I would see. I was sure I was going to find a dead or half-dead, bloody chicken.

When I did open the door, the flock of hens blew past me like nothing had happened during the night. I peered in the coop and the only girls still in it were the broody ones that will not leave the nesting boxes.

I started hunting my chicken down, as I was curious to see where all those feathers had actually come from.  I discovered that she had been plucked on her back and on one of her legs. Amazingly, there wasn’t any broken skin!

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My husband has actually started calling this girl, “Drumstick” and I have to agree she kind of looks like a walking drumstick!

I cannot believe she escaped from a raccoon with only losing feathers! I also cannot believe that it has not seemed to slow her down at all. She doesn’t seem in the least traumatized by the whole event. She is living life, like any normal chicken and has her feathers have even started growing back in.

The only difference in her behavior is that she no longer hides outside at night anymore. She now makes it a point to be one of the first girls in the coop when evening comes. Somewhere in her little brain she has figured out that following the rules equals safety.

I have a feeling that we, as people, are often like Drumstick.  We like to live on the edge….go where it isn’t safe….and hope for the best. We tend to think that bad stuff will only happen to someone else and we will be okay.  Every so often, that bubble is shattered and if we are fortunate, we will make it safely back in the coop.

I am thinking Drumstick, might end up being an awesome object lesson for my grandkids (and for me!). A lesson that there are rules for a reason. A lesson that when bad things happen to you….don’t let it take over your life. Drumstick is a good reminder that one should live, really live, as long as you are alive.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
– Henry Ellis

 

 

Friday Blessings

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Red Headed Woodpecker

 

Today was a marvel, weather wise. The last while, we have been sweltering and today, the day just kept getting cooler and cooler. One weatherman thought we should tell people we are in the month of Junuary. I think he might be right!

As I sat on my porch enjoying my cup of tea and breakfast this morning; I even had to wear a coat….that is really unusual for this time of year. I will say it does smell nice and fresh when it is cooler out in the morning.

My husband and I really do enjoy the quiet start to the day. We get to share the outdoors with lots of wildlife. It is so interesting that these animals don’t even seem to pay attention to us as they go about their morning rituals.

We had a wonderful time watching the Red headed woodpecker clinging to the tree in the front yard. I hope he is eating a lot of bugs and ants…..it makes for less bugs and ants that get into my house!

This morning we had a very enterprising little squirrel join us. He was so busy digging up previously buried corn kernels that he did not even care that we were sitting so close and taking pictures of him. I think he felt very sure that we would not meddle in his affairs.

It didn’t take long and a rabbit decided to make his appearance. This was really no surprise as we seem to be overrun with rabbits of every size. The rabbit population is a running argument conversation between me and my husband.

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Cottontail/Bean Eater

 

He thinks we can’t have too many rabbits around…….I think we have waaaay to many to be compatible with my flowers and vegetables.  So far, the rabbits and my husband are winning. (Can you hear the big sigh from where you are?)

I must confess the baby bunnies are cute….but eventually they turn into bean eaters and that is not cute whatsoever! I am hoping my husband commits to doing something this fall about the rabbit population. (He does like rabbit soup, so there is hope.)

Watching these animals this morning was a great reminder of trust and faith. None of these animals worried where their next meal was coming from. They just figured that it would be provided when they went looking.

They do have predators to think about, but it doesn’t seem like they live their lives in fear of what is coming. I sometimes wonder if we spend so much time and energy in fear of what the future will bring, that we find it hard to live in the present.  I think if we could live the way these small critters do……..full of trust and faith; life would be so much easier.

I am sure they have hard times……times where food is scarce, times when they are cold and uncomfortable, and times when they have to run or fly for their lives. And yet, they live and enjoy the moment for what it is. They bask in the sun when it is shining to warm them. They eat their fill when food is present. They live fully in the time they are given.

May your weekend be full of life lived fully. May your life be lived in the present and may you enjoy the small things that can be hard to see. Have a blessed weekend!

Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6:26-27