Tag Archives: work

Splash Down Time

Recently on Facebook:

Don’t ask me how we managed our lives without our cellular devices – not only the phone, the constant contact with the people involved in our day-to-day lives, but the apps that have replaced calendars, watches, cameras, alarm clocks, news radio, books and the fun of doing simple math. I’m guilty. The frequency with which I use my phone astounds me.

I relish the times when I’m in town and my phone runs at cyber-speed (as compared to the unreliable signal at home).  The phone connects me to my shopping list, coupons, product reviews as well as social media to research things that might streamline life… As if we aren’t already going fast enough, doing enough, cramming more and more into each hour of every day.

So, after my phone clanked off the porcelain and thudded onto the rug for the third time today I, well, gasped – again.

And then I stopped.

I realized I’d been inundated with tasks and going too fast for too long. So fast I’d overlooked removing the phone from my back pocket before stopping for a moment in the bathroom. Again. We’re talking about the phone I cannot afford to replace (even with insurance). At one time putting the phone on the counter was as instinctive as washing hands before leaving the room.

Every aspect of my life is moving at cyber-speed. As I checked off the To-Do list in my mind, I realized I could hear my pulse in my head.

Enough.

*

I must lower my blood pressure, breathe more intentionally, recover my spontaneity and channel my endorphins toward an exotic retreat. I’m thankful I didn’t miss anything important as I charged ahead, leaving God in the dust. I don’t need to deep clean (again) before spring arrives, I don’t want any more stuff to fill my space and my arm is healing as expected. And yet I race around as if time is running out.

Silly human. God’s got this.

Today I gave myself the day off. Not for any particular occasion or event, but because I need to intentionally slow down and hang out with the best friend ever – the Holy Spirit.

I might do it again tomorrow.

I want God to run my life instead of life running me.

I’ll text you how we’re doing tomorrow in a few days.

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)

 

*Image courtesy Jennifer Caravalho via Unsplash

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Press On

“One of the worst results of being a slave and forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you anymore you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.” C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

Izzy and I spent the morning in the garden – again. While we pulled weeds, thinned carrots, tossed those treats to obliging hens, horses, the steer and the pups the temperature warmed up considerably.

While spraying the crates of freshly picked veggies, we enjoyed splashing in the cool water. We’d planned a power walk to the river and back after we’d finished with the garden work, but after the stretching, bending and pulling in the heat the idea didn’t seem quite so grand.

We toyed with relaxing over tea and the no-bake cookies Izzy had made the day before instead of the walk. As we laid the vegetables to dry my mind began wandering back to the chapters I’d read the night before. She broke the silence saying, “You ready for your weigh in?” It was two days away.

I gave her the kind of look one prefers to the volumes I could have said, took a refreshing, deep breath, and instead of stepping into the house took the dog leashes from the hook by the door. “C’mon Pups,” I said. She said, “Let’s do this.”

Good call.

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,” Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

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Water Follies

SchnauzerOne helped me recognize something this week.

But first, let me get my whine out of the way:

I missed The Taste of Chicago again this year. My family and I like making memories at that “cultural experience for all the senses.” Five days of the best of the best food in Chicago Land – and lots of live music. What’s not to love?

Then BestBud texts a selfie at The Mountain Fair in Carbondale, CO saying she missed me.

Nice. Sort of.

Now this week is the Tri-City Water Follies. For years it’s been an annual thing.

While Izzy helped man a friend’s food tent at the Follies, Cole helped another friend harvest his wheat. My sinuses had me feeling puny, so instead of festivities with friends, I minded the ranch in the triple-digit temperatures. Nowhere near the Boat Races.

Poor Roo.

No worries, We had our water follies too. Studying GoodGirl, SchnauzerOne also developed a fondness for chasing and biting moving water.

Initially this was good – the two dogs that still compete for alpha status learning to take turns, play nice and chill – literally.

Not quite. SchnauzerOne was quickly so caught up in catching the water before it disappeared into the dirt, in moments he began tearing up grass by the roots. To spare the lawn I diverted the fun to the pastures.

Soon I was taken at how well SchnauzerOne, who is normally very attentive and obedient, completely ignored my commands to stop as if he couldn’t hear me. I know how that happens. I’ve ignored the voice of reason too – not just back in the day either:

  • How many times did I injure myself by insisting upon weeding just one row – for two or three hours? Another time I just wanted to finish the section I began… a week later each bend and stoop made me regret it.
  • And don’t get me started on delicious fresh tomato, cucumber, sweet onion, dill, sharp cheddar and lime-mayo sandwiches – bread being my nemesis – rather than making a tasty salad.

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19 (ESV*)

After I walked over and picked up SchnauzerOne we both understood each other. I’m pretty sure I heard GoodGirl snickering as she darted past us toward the pastures.

After watering and checking the livestock it was well into the 90’s. We were glad to get inside. Except for GoodGirl. She wouldn’t relax until Cole returns. I understand how she feels and do my best to assure her it’s gonna be okay. She’ll learn a short break in routine is good for us all.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” 2 Corinthians 4:16, 17 (*English Standard Version courtesy Bible Gateway )

Header Image portion courtesy Tri-City Herald

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Down Time

It appears the scant week of triple digits proved too much for my WiFi repeater several times this week. And yet life goes on. In fact, pushing cyber chores to evening hours makes time for a quick flat football game while the sprinklers run – work will always be there.

The daily chores in the lots, yards, working the gardens and tending the livestock keep us all busy. The heat drains our energies faster than usual so we find indoor chores earlier than we typically would. In fact, days into the heat wave I noticed by late morning even GoodGirl practicing new ways of holding the rugs down on the concrete.

It’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.

Have a happy weekend!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

 

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Pressing Back

As this week began, even with the four of us working at it, I felt the pressure keeping up with our super-sized vegetable garden. The weeds were seriously battling for the ground that served the livestock well in previous years.

Often I’d spend enough time bent over the rows that moving the rest of the day was a challenge. Even so I’m glad for it. Taking a little time out with ice packs each day began as physical therapy. As often happens I soon turned to prayer and in no time rose again refreshed and determined to keep up the good work.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

About mid-week Cole took advantage of a western breeze. He mounted a tank on the ATV and drove it around the garden side of the fence, spraying the outward perimeter as he went.

Surprisingly, the only casualty was one sprinkler head at the north end and the conductor holding the hot wire above it. We replaced them quickly so the sun didn’t burn the entire north end of the crop. Two days later we can barely see where the balloon-like tires rode over the cantaloupe vines.

With a couple of days of light cloud cover we took a break from weeding to bring in the first loads of fire wood. Staying warm this winter should be much easier with a new log splitter due to arrive any time now.

With all that we still found time to relax a minute, count our blessings and gear up for fireworks later on this week.

And the lessons continue.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

 

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More Spring Cleaning

During the winter Cole lets out shop space for boat and RV storage. To help him out, his Harley Davidson Motorcycles winter with me in the cottage. As much as I enjoy revising old, happy memories riding around the countryside, come spring I’m very ready to see the bikes on the road again – or anywhere else.

Someone commented on how the relocation project didn’t seem like such a big deal. I now have highlights of this year’s event. And this post doesn’t include fertilizing the pastures that same afternoon – another all-hands-on-deck event. That’s a whole other story.

And for the record, The Deuce is available to a good home (for sale).

“Nickel” and “The Deuce”

 

The pad in front of my cottage – Before

 

Relocating the Challenger to work on later

 

Moving the ’57 Cab to the lift. Maybe this is her year.

 

… And lifting

 

Fresh air, finally!

 

ChuiyTwo tests the saddlebags

 

Cole and YellowLab take a breather before turning the keys

 

Final check before this year’s first run

 

Now GoodGirl and I can take a breather

 

 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Galatians 6:9, 10 (NIV)

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Peaceful Pause

So, there it was, enough of a pause in the rain and the horrendous winds to allow the sunshine to dry the grass. It finally felt like a northwestern spring day.

Yeay!

All I wanted was to throw some weeds to the hens, a flake of alfalfa to the steer, mow the lawns, add the clippings on the compost pile and toss it, feed and water Izzy’s newly potted plants and then put my feet up to enjoy the sunshine and a late morning latte.

Was that really so much to ask?

 

 

 

 

Evidently it was.

A distant neighbor’s peacock insisted upon announcing his presence from what sounded like our yard.

Every. Five. Minutes.

Peacock’s can be ornery in the spring, so dogs and I searched.

Even from high in the nearest neighbor’s tree a scant quarter-mile away,  for miles around he sounded like he was in our yard.

 

20180414_151445

 

Once we solved the mystery of the clandestine peacock, ChiuyTwo understood the need for some peace and quiet.

 

 

 

 

 

GoodGirl and SchnauzerOne however had other ideas:

Finally after cleaning their paws on my freshly washed jeans, they decided they needed to rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:29, 39 (NIV)

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Spring Cleaning

While Brother Cole and I remain the same, we have experienced some changes, and new players if you will:

SchnauzerOne and ChiuyTwo will be my house guests until they move to the main house at the end of the month. Getting a good, sharp photo will take some more doing.  Meanwhile, lots of playtime is the order of the day.

GoodGirl will need some time to understand our the new friends are not toys, but she’s always ready for play. And everyone approves of my new storm door.

As can be seen on four of the hens, Darryll the rooster’s departure has been too long overdue. As of yesterday he has taken residence elsewhere.

And hardly least of all, Isabella (Izzy), Cole and I juggled around some of the project trucks, parts, etc. and organized the lots a bit. There was no bloodshed during the three-day project and a good time was had by all:

Cole, getting-his-trucks-in-a-row, and Izzy.

That’s one tough little tractor

Cole has some pretty cool tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23, 24 (NIV)

 

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My Groove

I began today happy to wake up, which is my preference, but soon I went on a tear.

Momentary digression:

For weeks I’ve been working on the lawns, vegetable and flower gardens around the main house. The underground sprinkler system is down. So, for the first 2 – 4 hours a day, 6 days a week I’m working in the yards, pulling weeds around the lots for chicken feed, hauling grass clippings to the livestock, tending the pastures in between moving the hoses and sprinklers. Clearly I get my steps in early!

 

Note: The potted plants around my door require about 5 minute’s attention every other day. I have gravel, no lawn.

 

 

I do all this mostly because I enjoy it, but also because 1) Brother needs and appreciates the help while he works in town and runs his business here, and 2) I’m at a standstill in my cottage:

  • I can’t paint the walls or floors before the roof is repaired and any drywall that needs replacing is done,
  • the list goes on, but I’ll spare you the whine.

You’re welcome.

Last week I began watering the grass in the evenings in case that might green up the too-beige lawn.

I may have mentioned I typically rise and go to roost with the chickens. The problem watering in the evenings rather than early in the morning is when I’m up later in the evening I have trouble getting to sleep before 2 or 3 a.m. This doesn’t work well when I usually wake between 3 and 4 a.m. – like it or not.

So back to today:

This fourth (maybe fifth) groggy, sleep-deprived morning I felt notably grumpy and shaking it off was difficult. More importantly, my chapters have taken some hits – the writing’s vague, sequences bounce all over the place and dialogues suck (it’s an industry term). Sort of like me lately.

Before long I’d zeroed in on the problem:

  • I volunteer the upkeep of Brother’s lawn and our gardens,
  • I volunteer caring for his livestock,
  • I volunteer vacuuming the avalanche of dog hair in the main house (his house) three times a week before he ever asked me to help him out with it. I admit, I do this so I don’t feel bad using his vacuum cleaner in my cottage.

Shortly after returning from the pastures this morning I became annoyed by all this – yet again.

It appears I threw off my groove.

 

With the emotional turmoil and all the changes in the household lately, Brother’s been quite overwhelmed. Been there, done that. They’re his problems, not mine. Still, I care about him and I understand his situation – and his occasional crankiness.

I must say here that Brother is mostly kind and generous. He is not obligated, but allows me use of his vehicles and is keeping the Tracker, what we call the Wanna-be Jeep mostly for me. He tells me often he appreciates how I always refuel all the vehicles and I check the oil and water every time I drive. No matter how busy he is, he checks in on me if he doesn’t see me. He offers me cash any time he imagines I need it. And he always says (or texts) “Goodnight. ‘Love you.”

He even took it upon himself to replace my ugly old shower curtain rod with a newer, shiny chrome one that matches the fixtures. It’s what he does.

Because he primarily sees the demands on his time, he doesn’t actually notice all I do to help out. It’s what I do.

After my rant at the cottage walls subsided, convicted by my attitude, I got to my knees.

It’s funny the way prayer works.

Shortly after I amen-ed, I realized I’d allowed Brother’s problems to take priority over my work – my job.  What’s more, I’m sure he has no idea.

But here’s the twist: Today I recognize my problem is I haven’t treated him like my brother. I’ve treated him like a landlord. Okay, so I wouldn’t care so much about a business relationship and would quickly insist a landlord hire a gardener, repairman, etc. But I’d never let my brothers take advantage of me (without some serious shenanigans). Family doesn’t function well like that. Believe me, I know about dysfunction.

I took the focus off my finger pointing at his problems and checked the three pointing back at me. And then I got back on my knees again. Once I regained my spiritual balance, I composed a text and scheduled it for about the time Brother clocks out at work in town:

“I’m returning to my job in the mornings. I can feed/h2o livestock, vegetables n flowers in a.m. You can h2o lawns in the p.m. If you need anything else we can talk. <3”

Walking around, moving the sprinklers, he’ll enjoy the lawns all the more. This feels like a good start in a better direction. I took a deep, sleepy breath.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:2-5 (NLT)

 

The Emperors New Groove Video courtesy YouTube

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Still Workin’

Yeah, it’s been a while. Originally I imagined this imposed hiatus would be a week or two.

We plan – God laughs.

It turns out I’d carried a lot more baggage home with me than I’d realized. And surprise, I’d gotten so used to carrying it all I hadn’t noticed the the weight. As it happens, hurting my arm and shoulder wasn’t entirely a bad thing. I had to lay a few things down and I’ll tell you, sometimes doing that right can be a long process. I’m determined to stick with it and not need to do this again!

 

Still, I enjoy my new life on the ranch, despite how it humbles me – daily. So much to learn, such astounding lessons.

 

 

I finish the chores early in the day so I’m back to work on my chapters now: Write – edit – edit – edit – submit.

I don’t have my head around my new What’s Next format – yet – but I don’t want anyone wondering if I’ve gone off the rails either.

So for now, enjoy the link to what feels like my life’s sound track from Mandisa and keep checking in!

 

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

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