Hey God, It’s Me, Are You There?

For me, the universe, without an overarching, creating energy force, whom most humans refer to as “God” is unfathomable. I believe in God. I believe he has a plan for my life, and its’ a good one. My problem is how the heck do I know when God is telling me to do something…like after I have prayed about it, and think I have an answer…and get to work on it, but soon find myself straying off of the path, onto another…and then wondering if God is now pulling me another direction, or if I just lost focus of my original plan and am now hopelessly lost?

Over the last few years…or really, my whole life actually, I’ve felt lost at times, overwhelmed with all the things I am trying to do, and knowing I need to cut down on something so I can focus bigger in another area. I have sooo many interests. I’ve never experienced boredom in all of my 51 years…always waaayyy too much to do to ever be bored.

………….

Okay, so every post should have a point, or at least be interesting Right? So here it is. I have been praying fervently for direction in my life as to career choice. I have spent 9 or so total years in college, working on a degree in English and Creative Writing, but stopped short just 6 credits shy of my degree in my senior year because I procrastinated on getting forms in for my financial aid. So, there I was, having lost my regular job a few years prior and now without a degree that I had counted on, my partner left me with an old run down house and farm that I have no money to fix up. During that time I was praying for my partner to love me and realize that I loved him and that I wasn’t doing all the horrific things he constantly accused me of. He was an abusive type person, and I clung to him like glue for years until he finally abandoned me because I had put him out of the house on a restraining order…due to my fear of him and his increasingly violent and bizarre behavior that extended to threats against my friends.

That whole time I was with him and a period of time in between when I was not, I prayed to God to make me a good enough person for him. I read all the articles on how people should just keep trying harder and not give up on relationships. I tried for 15 years. I don’t know if he ever loved me. He never once, in 15 years told me he did, but he often told me he hated me and couldn’t stand the sight of me. But there I was, thinking that if I just tried harder, he would finally see that I was a good person, and treat me well. Every once in a while, if he was speaking to me, he would actually be nice, and I would think all the bad stuff was behind us. But then something would break that spell, and instantly it would revert to insanity once again.

For example. I never kept my phone locked. He often looked through it, which my counselor had advised me to let him do. I did not have anything to hide, but I had an older phone and it often lost messages. One day, in the middle of a perfectly nice conversation, he asked me when the last time I had spoken to my ex-husband was. I said it had been a long time. The kids were grown and we didn’t really communicate anymore. Then he asked me a couple more questions about my ex-husband and our contact about the kids and my grandson. (We had been divorced for 20 years). He then went livid, absolutely livid. He had been setting me up, and I fell into the trap. A few weeks prior, my ex-husband had texted me asking if I had any roosters I didn’t want..he was having a barbecue or something and they wanted to do fresh chickens. I had forgotten all about it. I don’t know if I had sent him a response text or not, but it wasn’t in the phone, therefore, my partner said I lied about not being in contact with my ex and tried to hide it by erasing my responses. I still feel guilty when I think about this scene. In a way, I was lying…although I had actually just forgotten. And I don’t know what happened to my response, or if I had responded. This was an example of how I failed him daily and how I could not be trusted. Ever. A normal couple might have laughed about this. What a dorky question my ex asked me. This, however, was one of probably 7 major cracks in our relationship that could not be fixed. Could not be talked about, except how I had failed, once again. There was never any blame put on him for setting me up to fail. For not trusting me, for expecting the worst from me and when it didn’t show up, fabricating something.

I never tried so hard to get something to work in my whole life. I never prayed so hard for God to fix something…or at least show me how to fix it. In all the Christian books I read, a woman who tried really hard would be rewarded with a good man and good husband….  And then I started reading books on abusive partners, “gasslighting”, narcissistic people, and the likes, and I realized I would not be able to have a good relationship with this person, although some online “life coaches” claimed his behavior could be fixed by certain things I could do, like going on a trip together and proving that I could use maps and people skills to get ourselves unlost…that sort of thing. It all hinged on me, and my behavior, and reactions.

And I wondered how my prayers had gotten me into such a fix. I was envious of my friends good marriages and always surprised when their husbands would talk to me like I was a worthwhile person, or laugh with their wives, or fix them dinner without drama, take them places, declare their love for them, hold their hands, etc. And I wondered what I had ever done to never have found a partner that would love me for life? Or even love me a little bit?

So I wonder about all the clues God gave me that I ignored. I wonder what it was that I missed, that I was just not paying attention to? How many good potential partners did I overlook because of one thing or another? And I wonder the same thing now, as I sit in my run-down farmhouse, broke, and worrying about how I’ll make the next house payment. How many career chances did I overlook because I was just not focused on what God was trying to tell me?

About 13 years ago I got my first horse as an adult. I grew up with horses and loved them for my whole life. I got interested in natural hoof care and horse-keeping and soon found myself doing a program to learn to barefoot trim…quite an intensive program I will say….soooo much to learn, and much of it not even about hooves, but how everything can affect horse hooves, from diet, to boarding, to training, tooth trouble, and more. I loved it sooo much! When I lost my “real” job, I used my retirement to live on while I attempted to build my trimming business into a full-time occupation. In the meantime, I had gotten dairy goats, and started a small soap making business too…then went back to school to work on my degree.

I had thought I would quit trimming horses after I turned 50. I thought it would just be too much on my body, so I tried getting my soap business going bigger. I opened a shop with a “partner” in my town, and that fell through, so I took everything back home and continued the business there. I like making soap, but the constant mess and clutter in my dilapidated house is overwhelming and discouraging. I’m never good at organization, and that business really, really needs to be organized. There is constantly supplies to buy and it seems like any money made needs to be put back into the business to grow and expand it.

So, that takes me back to where I was praying fervently for God to help me figure out a clear career path..something I can do that I love and that will bring in the money that I need to do the work that needs to be done around here. So I was sitting in a roadside deli one day, out on a hoof-trimming trip. I had noticed all the new spring beauty around me as I drove through the countryside, and it had put me in a particularly grateful mood. I saw the old men (actually they were probably my age) sitting in another booth talking about farming and hay planting, and it was as if a light from heaven descended upon me, and I suddenly thought, “I must be the luckiest person in the world to have a job where I can drive through the beautiful countryside, work with the loves of my life, (horses) and their owners, and have the flexibility to attend to my own farm and family matters when needed.

I had not been promoting my hoof-trimming business at all because I had planned on quitting when I turned 50, and was too old. Ha ha ha. So, my client base has dwindled a bit as long-term clients have moved or their horses have passed on. Some decide to shoe one or more of their horses and then I lose that client as they prefer to have just one farrier so the shoer will get the whole job. On at least one occasion I’ve lost a client to my fees, which are not negotiable…who negotiates with a farrier over a known fee after they have just worked their butt off trimming their unruly horses?

I’ve thought about shoeing. For a regular horse, it goes against all of my training. When I went through Jamie Jackson’s program years ago, I was made to sign a contract stating I would never shoe a horse. His program has gotten a bit daft, and once I had completed all of my required courses and practicums, I distanced myself from that group. There are other courses out there of course, and all have their merits. At 11 years in, I have found that I am wanting to learn more…and so have enrolled in another course that teaches much more than just hoof trimming, but more of a whole body approach to hoof and natural horse care. I have also decided to learn to shoe with Epona shoes! Epona’s are a plastic resin shoe with a very wide base…not just a rim shoe, but a shoe that will support the whole foot on those few horses that need it.

I could go on and on about barefoot horse care, but this blog post isn’t about that. It’s about listening to God when he is speaking to you, and to know when he is actually speaking to you. At times I am still feeling myself pulled in different directions. After losing a client this week because the vet wanted two of the horses in shoes, and another cancellation due to finances, (a total of 8 horses), my bank account is looking a little bare and I was getting discouraged. The devil always wants to discourage us. He wants to stop us in our tracks and take our successes and turn them into failures. I have often doubted the presence of the devil, but after taking a bible study course called “The Armor of God”, I can clearly see how the devil will try to derail us when God gives us clear answers.

God had warned me in the beginning of my failed relationship that it was not a good idea. He warned me the very first time we met after 8 years of being apart at a Chinese restaurant. I sat in my seat opposite him, scared to death of saying the wrong thing, or looking in the wrong direction. ( when we had dated 8 years prior, he had constantly accused me of looking at other men, cheating, lying, etc.) I told God I could handle this, and ignored his warnings, and didn’t, until this moment, even realize those feelings in the pit of my stomach were coming from God. I thought if I could just make myself good enough, my partner would love me. What I didn’t realize was that I was already good enough. And God loves me more than any partner ever could.

I wish you all a peaceful, beautiful day, and pray that you too, will allow God into your life, and allow that still small voice to direct you into greatness.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

My Dog Smells Good

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“My dog smells good”. This statement is at the top of my list of positive affirmations, blessings, things I like, list for today. In fact, it is the only thing on the list at the moment. …But wait, let me add a few more.

My pony’s little whinny is so cute.

My house is warm.

I woke up without a headache.

I am in excellent health and physical condition.

I love my dining room curtains.

Positive affirmations are not new to me, but recently, I’ve taken them much more seriously. Normally I go to sleep thinking about problems and wake up thinking about the same problems, or even more problems.  Recently, however, I have been waking up in the mornings and writing lists of things I like, things that are going well, or what the solutions to problems might look like. For instance, instead of complaining to myself about the mud everywhere right now, I am concentrating on the solutions to the mud problem, and seeing the new mud-free version of things in my mind.

I was driving in the rain yesterday, in a run-down area of town, and I realized that in the past, I had tried to do everything from a place of lack. I identified as a victim of various things, spousal/partner abuse, poverty, low self-esteem, lack of friends, etc. I was listening to an audio book while driving, and when I heard that we are all born worthy, and have nothing to prove to anyone, my life kind of flashed before my eyes. I drove past piles of trash in yards, broken windows, and dilapilated houses. I saw people walking down the street, with pain on their faces. I could see that same sense of lack, that same sense of unworthiness that I had so often felt, an unworthiness that husbands/partners/bosses, were only too eager to agree to, and point out to me, and I wanted to stop the car, get out and shake them, and tell them how worthy they were, and that this sense of worthlessness that they were feeling was not what they were born for. I wanted to tell them how like attracts like, and the more negative things they kept their focus on, the more negative things would show up. I wanted to tell them to focus their energies on all that was good in their lives, and what they wanted their lives to look like, instead of what their lives actually looked like. I wanted to tell them that you cannot expand and attract more positive things into your life, when all of your energies are focused on your lack. It is hard to learn to think differently.

So very hard.

We are not trained from birth to focus our energies that way.

And so we often trudge through life feeling worse each day, as we grow older and our dreams remain unfulfilled.

Some days, when money is tight and there are other problems, its really hard to focus on our blessings and maintain a positive outlook.

On those days, the lists I have been making have totally changed what could have been a bad day, into a good day.

Yesterday I was getting ready for a Chrismtas party. Usually I make sure the dogs are outside when I get in the shower, but I was in a hurry and forgot to put them out. Tonya, my pit bull LOVES a bath, and  when she heard the water turn on she immediately ran into the bathroom and jumped in the tub. Her feet were muddy, and she needed a bath, but I didn’t really want a dog in the shower with me. She, however, had no intention of getting out, and the thought of a wet dog dripping mud all over the house wasn’t a good one, so I let her stay in the shower and I washed her too, even though it was a much less pleasant shower with a dog trying to catch all the water flowing out of the spout and the shower head. But, we both managed to get clean. Which is why she smells good today. Which is one of the things I’m loving about the day already. A nice clean dog.

Since the dog is clean, I’m washing my sheets and blankets too. And feeling really good about the day already.

I hope you are enjoying your day also, and if you are not, I recommend making lists of all of your blessings and all of the things you would like manifest into your life. Writing them down will give you more and more ideas on how to make them realities. I could go on, but the horses are calling me to get their breakfast. NOW!

So I better get to it!

Anita

 

Conundrum

My Neighbors Dog

I’ve always wondered if people who live next door to writers ever walk a little tighter line for fear of being portrayed negatively in some some novel, or magazine article, and lately, maybe even a facebook post. Sometimes I grin mischievously to myself when I think of the “relationship” that landed me out here in the middle of no where, away from friends and family, only to dissolve under the pretense of love gone bad. There of course, was never any love. Love does not go bad. But when I sit down to novelize some of the craziness that went on here before he left…my brain shuts off and my computer freezes up. The past, I realize, no matter how awful or even how glorious, is best left where it is, and not regurgitated, longed for, worried about, or dreamed of. Sometimes though, it kind of shows back up unexpectedly.

One of my neighbors, whom I’ll call Mr. Bagsly, has a dog I’ll call Dog, since I don’t know his name, or even if he has a name. Dog does not like me. I don’t know why. I put food out for Dog every day. Dog visits morning and night, and sometimes all day too. My dogs do not like Dog. I don’t know why. He is nearly a permanent fixture here. He even poops in the yard. My dogs bark at Dog whenever they see him. Mr. Bagsly kept Dog tied up for years, now that Dog is free, I don’t think he knows what to do with himself.

When I come out of the yard fence, Dog will lunge at me like a wolf. Dog scares me. Dog hides behind the truck near the garage and when I come around to get grain for the goats in the dark evenings, he is often laying there, like he’s waiting for me. I think Dog might want to attack me, but he never has. So far.

Mr. Bagsly used to run down the road with a leash whenever Dog got loose and catch him and bring him back home. Now, Mr. Bagsly never tries to get Dog to come back home. So Dog stays on this farm a lot of the time. But no matter what I’ve tried, Dog refuses any kind of affection. He will not even take meat leftovers out of my hand, or dropped on the ground. He refuses anything I offer.

This “thing” I have going on with Dog kind of reminds me of the “relationship” I had with the person who used to live here. I tried everything humanly possible to befriend that person. I went out of my way to do things for him. I tried every way I knew how to show and prove I loved him. But, like Dog, he never trusted me and never grew to love me. Never. In the 15 years I knew him, he never once told me he loved me. He never once trusted me. He never once was happy with me or happy to be with me. Ever. And I always blamed myself. I constantly worked on myself to make  myself more lovable, more gentle and kind, more understanding, more patient, more worthy.

Some days I think maybe he and Dog are onto something. Maybe they know secret things about me that “common idiots” like my my friends and my own dogs, are too stupid too see. Some days I want to put a bullet through my head and just get the hell out of here. But then I remember, because I’ve done so much work on myself, that we attract people and conditions into our lives that we are a match for. For example, when we are able to be happy and joyful and connected to God, no matter our current circumstances, we attract happy, joyful, God/Source centered people into our lives.

Esther Hicks says that to attract happy circumstances into your life, you first have to BE happy. Our culture has it backwards. Society tells us that when everything is perfect, THEN we’ll be happy. It’s a very hard way of thinking to break. But, our happiness depends on…us being happy.

And about that dog. I really don’t care if Dog likes me or not. I realize he probably has suffered trauma and abuse at the hands of his owner, and is acting the only way he knows how, and it has nothing to do with me.

Nothing. To. Do. With. Me.

Culture

Wednesday Before Thanksgiving

This morning I am blogging from my cold dinning room in my lucky writing socks,  with my morning prayers already said, the coffee brewed and in my cup, the dogs still sleeping soundly in my bed and everything quiet outside so far. The sun has barely brightened the late-night sky, and even the chickens seem to be sleeping in this morning. I am hoping more of a routine will help elicit world-changing thoughts and ideas from inside of my feeble, sleep-fuzzy brain.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have no plans. My kids and I are a bit scattered around this area, some of us have to work, so we probably won’t all get together for a traditional meal, but we will still see each other sometime this week. I hope. Although I don’t plan to cook a big meal, there will be pie. Some kind of pie.

Today is the day I go to the Lynchburg Virginia Community Market, and take soaps and other things I’ve been working on this week. The market is closed tomorrow and Friday, but opens back up on Saturday with our first Mistletoe Market. There will be a lot of extra vendors of both crafts and foods, including food trucks with hot meals. There will be carriage rides and lots of fun stuff for kids to do. The Mistletoe Markets will be for the next three Saturdays, so if you are in the area, you should definately check one of them out.

Speaking of the market, and in keeping with my brevity plan for my posts, I must get started on packing the car and get all the critters fed their morning hay.

Until later my friends,

Blessings to you.

via Daily Prompt: Elicit

Small Blessings

As I sit here in my dining room, surrounded on all sides by stacks of homemade soap that need wrapping, in a an old farmhouse that is much too cold for morning comfort, favoring a thumb and an eye that both got the bad end of my lye pot, I can hear a young buckling goat, the one that will never stay in the fence, dancing on the metal roof of the well-house. I check outside and see that Finland, an aged whether (castrated male goat) looks to be doing okay, and I feel blessed that God holds me and my small farm in his hands and answers prayers…often before they are even asked.

Last night as I was feeding the animals, running a little behind as usual, I put Caritas’s (my thoroughbred) grain in his pan and walked off. I made a mental note to myself that I needed to fix the fence very soon so that the male goats that live with the horses could not get into Caritas’s feeding paddock and bother him for his grain. Just when I turned my back to start getting hay, I heard Finland (aka Finny) scream and I turned around to see Caritas lifting all 200 pounds of Finny into the air by his neck and then slamming him to the ground. I yelled at Caritas, who let go of Finny and went back to his grain as if nothing unusual had just happened.

I helped Finny to his feet and he was shaking. His right eye had blood coming out of it and both front legs seemed to not be working right. I couldn’t get him to move, so I began thinking about who I could call to come and shoot him. He seemed to be in so much pain. But as I stayed with him and helped him calm down, and checked him all over for injuries, I was finally able to get him moved out of Carita’s paddock and back to the pasture. I put a goat coat on him since he was shivering so bad and realized he must be in shock, and it might just be adrenaline that was enabling him to walk. At this point he still wouldn’t move, and was lifting one front leg off the ground and then the other. I was convinced they were broken, but I couldn’t feel any breaks.

I kissed him and hugged him and said a prayer for him and then left for Antonya’s very last obedience class that we were going to be late for. We made it to the class just one minute late and Tonya aced her test, thankfully.

When I got home, I went out to the pasture in the dark, expecting the worst, but was shocked to see Finny come up to the fence from his shed when I called for him. His eye had stopped bleeding and was still in its socket. I really don’t know why his eye was bloody. Caritas picked him up by his neck, not his eye, so I guess it was the pressure from being slammed on the ground that caused the bleeding.This morning, I went out to check on Finny and he and his friends were out in the overgrowth area munching blackberry briers. He seemed happy to see me and let me adjust his jacket and take a few pictures.

What a close call for Finny. A few days earlier I had a close call myself. I was  not wearing safety goggles and managed to splash lye from the lye pot into my eye. I had gotten sodium hydroxide in my eye at work one time and they took me to the hospital and tortured me, after which I was fine. I figured I could stay at home be the master of my own torture session, so that is what I did. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed some more. Between the water and the lye, I was convinced that if I fell asleep that night my eye would dissolve right out of it’s socket. I woke up the next morning with my eyelid glued shut, but the eye was still where it was supposed to be and in good working condition.

With the Christmas season bearing down upon up us, tight on the heels of a presidential election most people would just as soon forget, it’s easy to lose sight of how truly blessed we really are, and instead focus on things in our life that are not going right. It’s easy to get depressed this time of year by a lack of money to buy gifts, pay high electric bills, and cook elaborate family meals. Some of us are lonely… family and friends live so far apart and everyone is always busy. It’s hard to be happy when it’s 20 degrees outside and not much warmer inside. It’s easy to let hours and days of depressed thoughts turn into weeks and then months, and then years. But today, I am going to focus on everything GOOD in my life. Just taking 5 minutes aside, I made a list of blessings in my life that fills up an entire page. Even some of the negative things have turned out to be blessings in disguise. I am beginning to think that everything is a blessing in some way or another. Me and Finny both value our eyesight and our lives, quite a bit more this morning.

I challenge each of you to have bigger eyes to see the good things in your lives, and smaller eyes to see the bad. Let’s make this Christmas season the best ever. I plan to post happy Christmas happenings, here on the farm and elsewhere,

and would love to hear your happy Christmas stories too. Would you like to guest post on this blog? I can’t offer money, just a moment of fame on this very new blog. Please contact me if you have a post you’d like me to share.

Until another day, my friends.

Peace be with you.