A Fresh Start

IMG_0094.JPGThe New Year has quietly taken its seat. Welcome 2017. Did you notice I went to bed early,  leaving the front door open for you, without any fanfare ? Actually, I was excited about your arrival. Years ago I’d wonder about the answers to so many questions, about my future. My future is now. One thing I wondered about a fair bit was how it would feel to be this old? { Going on 57}  I’m surprised to now know I feel about the same as I did back then. Not as much energy perhaps, but certainly enough to cover my bases of caring for my home, caring for a few other homes for income, and tending my chickens, and I can still walk a healthy distance. I’m thankful for all that. Zero meds too, which I’m really tickled about. Mentally, I’ve learned so much too. If I knew then what I know now…. timing is perfect for everything. Including knowledge. The lessons come when we are ready, and I’m thankful my lessons came when I was ready. My biggest lesson has been on the law of attraction.  I never knew my beliefs, thoughts and focus brought me to where I am today. Had I known my words and thoughts held so much power, I’d have certainly been less sloppy in that area. As I mentioned though, timing is /was perfect.

This year, I want to experiment by staying in the moment as far as possible. Good bye past. It’s time for fresh everything. I’m truly excited about changes coming in many different areas of thought. Minimalist living really interests me. Less is more has always rang true for me, and I’m always delighted hear about others’ slant on the topic.   No explanations needed. This is me. I’m excited when I read about new solutions to old problems. Feeling fully rested at 2 am this morning, I read some from The Farmer’s Almanac. Yes… a written sleeping pill. Anyway, there are healthy weed killers. Reading many blogs, I see people are figuring out how to recycle used items in fun and creative ways ; they  are able to stretch limited finances and still enjoy life to the fullest ; people do have chronic challenges and isn’t-it-wonderful when others slow their step , to help as they are able? Have you noticed all the brilliant ideas out there brewing to generally  help the planet, to nudge people into positive action,  to help us all be the very best us we can be?  Have you noticed all the beautiful , shiny, spirits out there, in any direction you look?  Sometimes my breath catches and my eyes water, with all I notice. Over the holidays, it seemed whenever a Grinch showed up, there were others ready and willing to spread their kindness. I choose to watch for these people. In fact, part of my brain is constantly tuned for kind people. With no TV to speak of, I’ve escaped most of the drama of the election in the U.S.  I know emotions have run high though.{Understatement} For me, I’m still free to choose where I place my attention. We all are. This year, I remain excited about all the like-minded people all over the world who hold peace within and without, who love humans and animals, who display kindness in many ways, and aim for healthy balance in all things. I’m not a dreamer. Be mindful of what you are looking for. Be mindful of what you want to see in the world. You will find it.

With your amazing people, timely lessons, fresh ideas, moments of wonder and splendor….2017…  I welcome you with open arms.

 

What Are You Celebrating?

One week from today, I plan to be spending the day cleaning for a new client. Until then, I’m expecting snippets of many random moments to find their way to my inner scrapbook. Today is earmarked for preparing a little get-together for my sisters and friends who have supported my shop so faithfully this summer. It will be simple. Believing ‘less is more’ rules just about everything I do. There will be no table laden with choices of foods, with leftovers lasting til New Years. My focus is on our together-ness. A warm fire will join our spirits. It may possibly melt the eye lashes off the person closest to the stove too. I’m excited about the tiny surprises I have planned and  eager to have everyone right here with me tonight, in my comfort zone.

When opportunity permits, I want to make more pies and more bread. It feels good to have homemade things to share. There’s another house for me to clean, which will be extra satisfying with  Christmas energy scattered around like dust balls. A turkey meal at home will rule the day Sunday.  It is Muffin’s and my third Christmas together. He will help peel, slice and cook . My son is bringing the dressing. I plan to make him a coconut cream pie. Mom has other plans this year, so we will notice that empty chair. But  I’m thankful for the sweet invitation she’s been given from my sister.

Boxing Day holds an invitation for us for another feast, with Muffin’s family. I’m eagerly looking forward to the whole day. The family has welcomed me so kindly that it feels like it’s been this way for years.  And years. And  after we get back home from feasting, I will allow a good night’s sleep to ease me back into my regular life. Cleaning another’s home. Tending my chickens. Bringing in firewood. Taking out ashes.  Hopefully  friends  dropping in for coffee when they are able, with some leftover sweets. Thoughts of a New Year…. and goals…and  possibilities that tickle both the mind and the heart will stir within.

Before 2017 gets here, right now during this one time of the year when we want life to somehow, magically,  become perfect in every way, what are we really celebrating?  My  reasons for baking almost non-stop, for sending cards, for trying a bit harder to help others more, for snapping on pretty lights, and for not being afraid to show I do care, are all because of a a beautiful example that was born many years ago. I’m not getting into anything religious. Rather, it’s spiritual. For me, I’m celebrating the lesson I learned as a child, that love and kindness are as essential as water and oxygen. The planet has seen many examples of  the best kind of love. Lives so love-filled and kind that the world took notice. I celebrate every worthy example. I’m thankful a smile can make a difference. Or a handful of birdseed. Or a hug. Or a prayer.

A few years ago I decided to create my own personal nativity. Maybe it should be called something else since there’s no Mary and Joseph. No need for them since I’ve stepped forward to babysit, as best I can,  every day. There are no shepherds. They can chill  or focus on the needs of the sheep. The angels can sing elsewhere. I find this time of year I want to listen to the song within my own heart most of the time. If it’s silent in there, then that’s what my spirit is needing. A few big chicken ornaments perch on my window sill , so I don’t really need a cow, or goat or sheep. I do have the tiniest Baby Jesus. He’s so small. He’s plastic and wearing what looks like a blue onesie. No blanket but a nice manger of plastic straw. At times he must freeze when the window is open to help cool my hot flash. Seeing Him, so tiny, needing help, sometimes cold, and without parents, keeps me mindful of others who might be in that same situation.   Guarding Him is a fairy. She represents me. We look nothing alike. But, she is offering something in her hands to the baby. She looks happy with her gift.  It probably changes from day to day. I bet some days it  is just a prayer.

I try to be mindful of the many ways kindness is transferred from one person’s heart to another’s. This time of year, I celebrate it !

 

 

 

 

A Morning Like No Other

My photo wouldn’t appear here, and I’ll take that as a sign from The Universe that it wasn’t supposed to. Respect easily wins this time.

A few days ago a friend sent me a text,checking to see if I was available Thursday morning to “treasure hunt/ free shop thru some household ‘stuff’ “. Cardboard boxes could help. The whole text was mind candy! My excitement level was the same as if I’d received a brown-paper-package-tied-up-with-string, in my mailbox, without a clue as to who sent it or what was in it.

I was so excited Thursday morning that I kept my big boots on as I poked around the kitchen, waiting for my friend to arrive. After settling in  her vehicle with boxes and trying to take a quiet calming breath… my heart was prancing…..CW explained her connection to a man from 20 years ago out west, how their paths had just crossed again, how the man’s mom’s health had declined to the point of him having to come and settle her home affairs, and our reason for going treasure hunting and free shopping. I’m still amazed at how CW and this man connected here, how everything unfolded allowing CW and her husband to help him in such an important way, and that I became involved too.

We arrived at a house in the community I grew up in. When I was small, brothers ran a store there, with penny candy and bulk cookies. No remnants of the past remained. Instead, piles of things leaned against walls, as if unsure of their new location. Boxes held tidy spices, labelled craft supplies, Christmas ornaments, books, fabric, and dishes. Plants looked like they had lost their best friend. The house held ,what felt to me, like good energy. There were so many things I could use, or could pass along to someone else to enjoy. That  was why I was invited to come. To help empty the house and to find happy homes for the contents. It was my pleasure. CW and I were mindful that at some time we’ll be doing the same thing for our parent/s. Someday, our own stuff will be sorted through and someone will be trying to decide who gets what. Neither of us knew the lady whose possessions  now had to scatter. I believe we both tried to get a handle on who she really was, but it sure helped not having emotional ties. I dread the day when every ‘thing’ WILL  be tangled in emotions.

We really don’t own anything, do we?  We can use something every day and call it ours, but when we make our transition, it’s left behind. In that one morning, so many things came into my hands that I can use, share or donate. CW gave me a bread pan she found, knowing I wanted one more to handle a whole batch of bread. And , she left it in my mailbox because that’s part of what makes her a Complete World, or CW as I call her here. She is equipped to handle any situation in all ways,whether physically, emotionally or rationally. The man out west found the perfect person to help settle his mother’s household. His concern for his mother’s plants was great. CW couldn’t take them. So,Thursday evening I sent CW a text, reporting that all the plants except one had responded  so well to water and love. Within a short time, leaves turned greener, new growth appeared, and an energy of relief seemed to surround the orphans. Their contentment has added  joy to 3 rooms. They have window seats.

I can’t remember having had such an experience. I still ponder my involvement in what I consider a sensitive situation, with people I’ve never met. I’m thankful to have been chosen to be part of the process. While I have no idea why, I believe it was meant to be.

 

 

 

I Noticed I Miss You

053.JPGChristmas is creeping closer every day. I’m in denial.  I have lists and notes scribbled around the days of December on my calendar. There’s a scrap of paper reminding me to pick up icing sugar, pie plates and apples , while  another paper has the names of people I want to remember with a Christmas card and notes to be here at this time and there with cleaning supplies on that day. I’m on the verge of gathering my lists, using them for fire starter and freeing myself from myself. Why do I think the details born in my head are whats holding the holiday season together? My silly brain.

 What surprises me is how much I enjoy the driving part of my trips to Bridgewater. It’s time I  allow my mind to forget the lists and details, and instead, notice whatever is passing my car windows. I love a harmless flurry of snow, or flashing sunlight through treetops from a sun that has full rights to an extended vacation. The other day I noticed something else that hung with me the whole drive into town. A friend’s house stood vacant and silent, and it hit me that I’d never see his tree in his front window again. He’s been gone awhile now and it’s not that we were really tight, but….I loved his talents! {From my photos, he drew my kitties, shown above} The last Christmas that I took him some homemade cookies and jam, he had just bought himself a new banjo. He played it effortlessly.His cough sounded horrible…. He was also mourning the loss of his 17 year old  cat at the time, and I felt so bad that I had made some of his cookies in cat shapes. A stray had started coming to his house and it wasn’t quite ready to go further than his step. He found a small measure of comfort in that, a place to direct the leftover love he had for his own now-gone treasure. He showed me his Christmas tree, which I could tell, brought him joy. It had lights from so long ago, complete with reflectors. Big bulbs that got hot. Some had the color worn off in places. Some had been orange. As a child I loved those old worn bulbs that survived the abuse of years. Not sure why the orange ones grabbed my attention. I appreciated his tree. I appreciated his talent. I appreciated his welcoming me into his home for a short visit. Christmas was when we connected.

 So, no tree in the window. He has made his transition. All is well with him. I remember how faithful he was to his mom. He went above and beyond as a son. He treasured his mother. He had cared for her during those difficult days before a bed became available for her in a nursing home. He looked after all her needs. Can you imagine…..That’s what his heart was made of. What a nice time of year to have these details keep me company as I drive along.  I miss him now. Near Christmas.

Thank You, Today.

012.JPGThis is one beautiful day! I’m so thankful for it. This moment in time is absolutely perfect, just the way it is. No, Ellen-noir didn’t return yet. Anything is possible though. The Universe is on it all so I don’t have to try to figure it out. Living things have to eat. …that whole bigger picture remains and acceptance is so much easier than resistance. Today I choose acceptance. Bless your heart Ellen-noir. Thank you for being such a sweet part of my flock. Thank you for being the chosen one.

Thank you,Today, for bringing your reliable sunrise . Thank you for silently pointing everywhere to the awesome miracles my world is wrapped in.

 

Ellen-noir

IMG_0550.JPGI’m spent. This weekend darted all over the place. We missed the nor’easter today. It was cold with a wet snow/ rain mix when I tended the chickens this morning. I decided to keep everyone inside where it was dry and more comfortable.  I have 2 hen houses , each with a coop.They have metal roofs, which I’m really  pleased with. It’s so nice to stand in there and hear the rain outside, yet have no leaks  or tarps blowing in the wind, like before. My standard check list included clean water, food and sunflower seeds scattered around for entertainment purposes.

 A bit later I had face time with my daughter and grandsons. Their Christmas tree looked so cute. It was lit up. The boys were still in their pajamas, sporting new hair cuts. These short visits are so easy and convenient. It keeps my homesickness for them at a more manageable level.

Muffin had made arrangements to visit a couple’s home this afternoon, to check out some items they had for sale. We got to know them through their generous support  of my shop this summer, so were eager to see if we could support them back. We did, had fun , and then it was off to Bridgewater for a few groceries. I stayed in the car while Muffin got what he wanted. We came right home, and with daylight to spare,  he decided to finish his new bird feeder by putting it on a post. The next thing I knew he was rushing through the door ,telling me 3 chickens were gone.  GONE?  I had kept them inside where it was dry, comfortable and SAFE.  There were a lot of white feathers in the coop where my new flock stayed consisting of 3 ‘Pearls’, 2 ‘Rubies’ and one black chicken, Ellen-noir. A Ruby, a Pearl and Ellen-noir were gone. After awhile a Pearl appeared outside, nervous and frightened. Muffin caught her and tucked her back in with the others. We looked. We called. As it started to get smudgy , a Ruby appeared from somewhere and was easily caught. Ellen-noir still hasn’t appeared. It’s dark now and I’m clinging to the belief that she will come out tomorrow, having forgotten about whatever got in the coop and scared everyone so badly. In broad daylight too! Since it got dark, I’ve kept busy cleaning and tidying. Thankfully, bedtime has arrived. I’m going to bury my mind in my book until I’m so tired I have just enough energy to snap the light off. My heart knows Ellen-noir’s journey is going to continue on , whether I see her reunite with her family tomorrow or not. It’s a comforting reminder that there’s that whole bigger picture of physical journey and non-physical journey , no matter if it concerns a human or a pet. Sometimes, it takes a long, calm conversation in my head to keep me rolling with the flow.

A Great Day

IMG_0555.JPGIt’s past my bedtime. These girls and Biscuit are all tucked in for the day. The other flock has willingly called it a day too. I’ll soon fluff the fat pillows behind my head, and lose myself in my book. Words will blur. I’ll reread the same sentence over and over until it registers that I am falling asleep. I expect to sleep well.

Some nights I don’t sleep well, but tonight I think I will. It’s been a great day. Not an OK day or a so-so day, but a great day. I rolled with the flow today. There were no preconceived ideas of how it should go, and no to-do list with my goal being to have everything crossed of it by day’s end. I allowed the day to take me where it wanted to go. Dishes got washed. Chickens got fed. Christmas songs got played . A friend received my smoke signal and came for coffee. A meeting got planned for 2pm, concerning employment. {Yippee!}  A few groceries got bought, including a bag of mixed nuts in their shells. { I had promised myself a bag} A nice drive home from Bridgewater. A little rest in front of the warm fire. An e-mail that was so kind and rich, that it made me crave more conversation with my friend as soon as possible.  My younger daughter called. We laughed so hard over perfect silliness that we gasped for air and our sides hurt. My eyes needed tissues. I started to help Santa with a little favor. My older daughter face timed me. My grandsons were decorating the Christmas tree, and for a short time, I was in their living room surrounded by their excitement and strewn ornaments. My eyes wanted to use more tissues, for another reason,  but I swallowed and stayed focused on the moment. It was too special for words. It was so thoughtful for my daughter to ‘invite me over’ for awhile . I left when it was time for their supper. Muffin called to say good night. We commented on Flea sleeping on the rocking chair this afternoon. She’s still there!

It was an easy day. There was no effort and no resistance to anything. While I could get caught up in my usual inventory of useless details, tonight I’m not. There’s no need. It was a great day!IMG_0580.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Feel Like A Winner

First of all, my camera is acting wonky, so I can’t show you the photo I took of my cookies. Wish I could. Mom and I went to a type of penny auction yesterday. The day was wet , dull and too mild for November, so perfect for an outing. We each bought some tickets with a craving to win at least a gift certificate, if not one of the beautiful baskets that was generously filled with same-theme items. My tickets went in on the Book Lover Basket, the Ice Cream Basket, the Men’s Basket {I did think of Muffin} , and the Woman’s Basket. All were wrapped so nicely with cellophane and labelled with a sparkly tag. It took 2 long tables to hold all the baskets, there were so many to choose from. Practical me put most of my tickets on what I’d use most, including a gift card from the Co Op.

The Sunday School had their cookie sale going on too. For $4.00 you could fill a container as full as you could get it, with homemade cookies.  My photo would have really been eye candy for you, but since I don’t have it, my container had perfectly formed chocolate balls; chocolate Reeses pieces cookies; a peppermint patty; fruitcake cookies; sugar cookies with icing; marshmallow squares; pnut butter/chocolate chip cookies; macaroons with a pretty cherry on top and a plain sugar cookie. Deciding which ones to choose was pure bliss!  I  suggested we go back to Mom’s for a cup of her tea to go with some of our cookies. I inhaled one before the tea was ready. This little outing with Mom is such a nice memory.

As the afternoon aged I caught myself expecting a phone call telling me I had won a basket. I could imagine carefully opening the cellophane and mindfully enjoying each item as I dug deeper. My heart raced just thinking about it. No call came. Maybe someone had my basket and they were too busy to call me right away. I embroidered after supper. I read some. I folded laundry from the dryer. Still no call. And there was no call today either.

I didn’t win a basket, or a gift certificate. I didn’t win anything I put a ticket on. I still feel like a winner though. In a small way, Mom and I supported the Sunday School and Hall committee, in their efforts to raise some money. We both enjoyed getting out on such a dreary day, and coming home with such a nice assortment of cookies. We both realized the effort that a lot of people put into such a fund raiser. So many people donated items for the baskets. Someone had to put the baskets together and did so with attention to neatness and pretty details. Volunteers were kindly taking care of tables and seeing that bases were all covered. I can’t imagine the total hours involved in organizing such a fund raiser, making, baking, and decorating cookies, setting up the hall, and then cleaning up afterwards. The community is blessed to have so many people all pulling together to raise money for worthwhile causes. When I think of all the details, it doesn’t matter about who won the baskets.We’re all on the winning side,  when we truly appreciate the efforts of others, and have  this much fun on such a few dollars, on a dreary November day.

My Lazy Day

We’re back. Safe and sound from our trip to the city yesterday.048.JPG

Being with my old co-workers felt comfortable. Nothing has changed between us, although we’re all at different places on our own personal journeys.My main want from the trip was to have my friend’s  next appointment be 6 months from now, instead of the usual 4 months. It didn’t happen. And, that was something my mind wanted. Just because it didn’t happen on my timetable doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, or a good thing. It’s just what’s what right now. She’s blessed to have doctors keeping such a close eye on her. She feels great. We carry on. We remain on the positive side in our minds. We remain thankful for  the health our bodies carry , making all the great stuff that pours into the ticking moments of each day so much more enjoyable.

Lunch was yummy. I was the only one who had a sundae. The sticky, stringy  caramel forced me to scrape and dig in all the creases of the dish to get every drop. Yes, I enjoyed it, and my messy hot dog. I only bought a 3 kg box of Minute Rice. Two co-workers each bought a box too, so we  all had our radar on for good buys. This day trip was valuable to me in ways other than the obvious ones .Different environments provide different angles in which to see ourselves. I realized I am truly comfortable in my new financial situation. There’s no longer a paycheck every 2 weeks, and  I find I’m appreciating what I do buy, a whole lot more. I seem to have more in my closet-pantry and freezer.  Small things make a big difference. Life seems simpler and decisions easier. My head has fewer details and less hurry. This is a lovely place to visit, and to linger for awhile. But I know myself. I cannot stand still for long.