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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year 2017!

It’s the third day of the new year. I’ve spent these last few days fixing up an upstairs bedroom for my daughter. It feels great to finally get to the point of clearing out the whole interior of the room, which has been used for storage for the past 7 years. I have been working on it for a year and a half now, but with such a small house, and part of it being used for my soap business, there never seems to be a place to put extra stuff that is not in use, but also needs to be kept. We have thrown away, given away, sold, or donated about half the contents of the house. We are getting there, slowly.

New Years eve Ciara, my smallest goat, kidded 3 weeks early with a still-born doe kid. I am not sure what prompted her to go into an early labor and delivery, but she seems fine now. No milk yet though. I was hoping for milk because I’m having to buy it now to make soap since all the girls are dried up prior to kidding season, which should start in 3 weeks.

I did not make any New Years resolutions because I really could not think of anything I wanted to change…except everything, but it’s a gradual process, like fixing up that upstairs bedroom, and eventually the whole farmhouse. I’ve done six other rooms in the house so far. In the past I would only look at the work still to be done, and feel overwhelmed, and depressed, and then not do anything at all productive. Now, I look at the small parts of each project, and concentrate on those…a little each day to completion.

One thing I did decide to do for New Years, based on a challenge from a friend, was to change my diet to paleo/primal. I started on the last day of the old year and so far have stuck to it. Easily. I have managed to add a few unwanted pounds over the past year and would like to say goodbye to those. I tried WW, but I stayed constantly hungry and I hate tracking what I eat. With Primal eating, you don’t track, but you eliminate all grains, most sugars, and most processed foods. Replacing grains with healthy fats is something I’ve done before with good results, so I hope to see those results again. Adding in more veggies is always a challenge too.

This is day 4 and I feel great. The second day I did not feel very good but now it’s going much better. The best part is that I am not hardly even hungry. Yesterday I only ate one time. I was going to eat again but I wasn’t hungry, and didn’t feel like it. So I didn’t. I still need to find a paleo-friendly salad dressing (without canola oil or sugar) that I like. I could not find a single one at the grocery store when I looked.

Well, it’s raining here this morning, but the horses and goats still need to be fed. I have to carry hay through the rain to put it in their shelters…another project I am working on…hay under the same cover as the animals.

I wish you all a wonderful new year! If you have any delicious paleo dressing recipes, please do share!

My Etsy Soap Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior

A Christmas Blessing

How has your Christmas been going so far?

I can honestly say that this is the very best Christmas season I have ever experienced. And not because of presents or gifts, but because of a change in my thought process. The best gift I have ever received was the gift of a good study habit. Nothing changes unless we make the effort. We do the work. We can sit still and let things just happen to us, or we can decide to see everything in a new light of creation…everything that went before has helped make me into the person I am today, and being able to be thankful for that, instead of feeling victimized, has been truly freeing and uplifting.

I have been able to be serene and calm enough to recognize God’s workings in my life. The hints, suggestions, happenings, etc.

I have always struggled with feelings of not feeling worthy of happiness and  success.

But just recently, someone from my past contacted me. From more than 30 years ago. Someone I really cared about. Someone who I had influenced way more than I would have ever thought possible. And they said that I was a nice person. That I was nice to everybody. Thirty years ago I was nice to every body? And that made we wonder where the unworthiness came from?

When I think about it, I think of how, over the years, I have often been so totally disconnected from my inner being. From the God inside of me. And of course, at those times, I did not realize that my disconnectedness was what was causing my fear, my depression, my anxiety. Trying to please people who despised their own selves and who could never love me. Who could never trust me. Who could never be happy with me.

But, this is not a sad post. It is a HAPPY post. I am praising God today because of the revelations. I will not live in the past, but choose instead to expand and live fully in every moment I have left on Earth. Sometimes our pasts can remind us that we were always worthy. That we will always be worthy of the richness of the life that we were gifted with.

I plan to go forward and make the most of the time I have left. How about you? Will you allow this day to be the day you move forward, instead of backwards? What is on your gratitude list this morning? If you haven’t made one yet, I suggest you do.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

 

Calm

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

Of a Smokey Stove and a Cold Morning

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I might say, it’s a wee bit cold in the castle this morning. The chimney is a little clogged but the clean out cap is solidly rusted on…thanks to a chimney sweep who removed the old, cumbersome chimney cap and replaced it with a new version that never kept the rain out, turning the chimney pipe into a steam heater, solidly gluing deposits of burned wood to the sides of the pipe. Summer dried the deposits out and loosened them, and gravity made sure they all fell to the bottom of the pipe, effectively inhibiting the flow of smoke up the chimney.

We have a fire going this morning, but it’s a bit smokey upon opening the stove door. A chimney sweep is being sourced at this time, after my failed attempts at removing the cap as well as the entire lower pipe piece. None of the pipe moves without moving the stove, and I am no match for a 1000 pound wood stove.

The clogged stove pipe reminds me of a few interesting insights I’ve experienced lately, being less focused on my personal problems, and more focused on things that make me feel good, like a clean sink, a swept floor, that sort of thing. It’s funny how that happens. It’s always unexpected, and only happens after you take your focus off the thing you are trying to figure out.

Kind of like a clogged chimney, where the heat and smoke don’t flow freely, and when looked at, back up out of the stove door as soon as it’s opened. When we look at our problems, and focus on them, they clog up our minds and our bodies, making us depressed, anxious, and a bit crazy. But taking the focus OFF of our problems and the things we DON’T like, and focusing instead on the things in our lives we DO like, even little things, or anything else, besides our problems, we clear the way for solutions and answers to flow freely to us, uninhibited.

So, I play games with my five year old grandson with no guilt at all. In the grocery store, we pretend we are crawling through the ductwork in the ceiling, at home we play genies and gems on the computer, get excited over new pokemon we’ve caught or hatched, animate the dogs and stuffed animals, and make up new dances and short plays…

Everyone should have access to a five-year old child. We could all throw away our prozac while constructing an imaginary world that is a lot more fun and less problematic than our “real lives”.

And that is all.

Construct

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

Let The Snow Fall Where It May

Last night the heater in my bedroom kept shutting off, which got me a little worried until I woke up enough to realize that the reason it kept turning off was that it was maintaining a temperature of 75, which is what it was set on, and so did not need to run all night. Usually when I look at the heater lately, it reads 57 degrees, and runs constantly, never able to actually get the room up to 75 degrees.  What a blessing to finally be warm again, and from the looks of the weather report, it seems that the warming trend will last a week or maybe more.

I know winter is coming. In many parts of the country, a real winter is actually already here. For me, thinking about winter coming is kind of scary..kind of like the dreaded anticipation of a root canal. Living on a farm, there are lots of things to hate, I mean LOVE about winter.

There is the exhilerating, heart-attack inducing exercise of shoveling snow, the claustraphobic bliss of wearing coveralls and stocking caps to bed, the gratefullnes of no friendly, visiting neighbors, since I do not shower for days at a time because the bathroom is just too cold, the puzzle of frozen water pipes and figuring out just where to aim the heat gun while down in the 18-inch high, spider-infested crawl space under the house, having the excuse of frozen water pipes to use the bathroom outside and accidentally mooning the neighbors, the soft and fluffy unplowed roads meaning no bothersome trips to the grocery store for days at a time, living off of dry beans boiled in melted snow that take two days to cook on the woodstove, by which time I am probably eating dog food, melting snow on the wood stove and carrying it outside to water all the livestock because of frozen water pipes and and hoses.

I could go on for days about the fun of winter, living in an old, un-remodeled farm house, but I have just made myself entirely too happy to continue.  I am simply ovejoyed at the thought of all the fun and chaotic adventures of winter. A season that is sure to show its cold and frozen face just about any day now. And I do plan to enjoy every minute of it. Every. Single. Minute. What memories I’ll be making! What contrast I’ll be enjoying (as Esther Hicks might say).

I honestly can’t wait for it, because I know that once it’s here, it’s that much closer to being out of here. Like any other bad day, not one of them can last forever, and if we didn’t have the storms, the hardships, the snowy days buried stocking-cap deep in frozen white hell falling from the sky, we wouldn’t know a good day if it hit us broadside and knocked us into next week. And therefore, I say, bring it on, Old Man Winter, you old fart. I’m just going to curl up with a thick pair of insulated coveralls, a nice warm hat, some mittens, a pot of something hot, a pit bull on my feet, and let the snow fall where it may.

Winter: It’s coming to a location near you. Soon.

 

Chaotic