2020, a year that has stopped hearts, businesses, and social gatherings, has failed to prevent the world from turning, plants from blooming, kids from growing, and changes from coming.
I haven’t liked the anxiety and animosity that have grown the past 10 months, but I have found comfort in the predictability of continuing to raise a family and run our farm. Even the “I hate homework” meltdowns are something to relish because it means my child started learning something at school, and I only have to assist with the reinforcement lessons. I’m not the homeschool headmistress.
Watching our fall calves frolic in the fields brings added joy to our lives because it means we are still growing and producing. That’s what farms are supposed to do. Everything hasn’t stopped.
The dirty laundry continues to drive me crazy. Dishes continue to not wash themselves. The empty milk just constantly finds its way back into my refrigerator (apparently NO ONE in my family EVER takes the last drink). Everything hasn’t stopped.
The task of keeping families masked has become one more chore we must consider before heading out the door each day. It is a task that we are using to protect lives from the perils of the Corona virus pandemic. It is a responsibility that now presses on us in our homes and adds to our laundry list of ways life has change in the shadow of COVID 19.
My washdays are definitely not holidays as I wrestle with washing masks in a special bag and drying them on the special rack because the face coverings require special care.
While I know it is a method for warding away COVID 19, I can’t help but groan at the daily dilemma of washing, finding, and coaxing my children and husband to wear the required face-coverings.
The masks’ appearance defined our first day of school photos. Never before did I view my children as bandits heading off to steal the treasures of their unsuspecting teachers. (Now I can’t un-see it.)
Each night the masks have joined our bedtime ritual in on the “Do you know where your ________ is?” fun.
My Sunday evening anxiety seems to flare up midweek as I scramble to re-locate and wash the masks my kids will actually wear so as to make it through the week in their concealed coolness.
On August 26th the family and friends of Healing Horses said good-bye to Thunder.
Thunder was a wonder horse.
He was a 20 year-old barrel racing, trail riding, four-legged dream-fulfiller. Thunder’s loss was sudden and has left a hole in many hearts. As we seek to fill that gelding-sized gap, a “Thunder Tree” has been planted.
Just outside the arena where he trained with many riders, a new silver oak has taken root. Soon it will proudly brandish a plaque in Thunder’s honor.
The loss of a good horse is never easy, but the beauty and grace in which Sadie, Thunder’s special girl, has approached his death has helped all of our hearts to find solace in the knowledge that he moved on to a bigger and better arena with the angels.
The night of his passing, Sadie shared the beautiful belief that “God must have needed a good horse in heaven.”
No doubt heavenly hooves must have galloped to greet Thunder as our tears were falling here on Earth.
Sadie’s innocent incite inspired her to appropriately give the new tree’s planting an added healing purpose as she named the silver oak planted in his honor, The Thunder Tree.
Doritos are not allowed in my house. Not in the snack size, family size, or the party size. Doritos are not allowed in my house in any size, shape, flavor, or package.
I will eat them.
If I have Doritos, I will eat them. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
On a camping trip this summer, I splurged and bought a bag of those delectable Doritos and said to myself, “I’m going to be on vacation. I want to eat like I’m on vacation.”
And I did.
A large portion of that bag was consumed by me. And a large portion of the next two days were drug down by a terrible stomach ache. (My stomach apparently does not share my love for those triangular treats.)
We all have that one friend or family member who is just never happy. Whether it’s their job, love life, looks, or the air they breathe, they just aren’t happy.
I have been struggling with a friend like this lately. It is my nature to try to fix things when they are not working. The problem is I can’t fix my friend’s attitude. I can be supportive. I can be kind. I can continue to include that friend in social occasions and conversations, but I can no longer let myself get sucked into the constant vortex of the woe-is-me mentality. I have to free my mind from the belief that I can control someone else’s joy. It’s out of my hands; I need to stop letting it commandeer my mind.
Consider issues in your own life that are out of your control but still seem to hijack your thoughts or contentment.
Is there a situation that seems to unsettle you, but shouldn’t prevent you from being successful? Are there conditions in your life that let you down but should be the least of your worries?
“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.”
Since his arrival, Atticus has grown quite the reputation for being a sweetheart of a horse.
He is easy to catch, lead, load on the trailer, and care for in general, with two exceptions: getting shots and leaving Winn-Dixie.
When Atticus came to us he had a terrible runny nose and a bit of a cough. The best way to treat these issues is with antibiotics administered via syringe. Horses are big animals, so the shots are really big. As we quickly learned, no amount of grain or peppermint treats could keep him calm once that syringe appeared. It took a shortly-tied lead rope and fast hands to administer Atticus’ antibiotics. When it was time to immunize him from standard horse illnesses, the shot was slightly smaller, but his reaction was much larger. We got the job done, but it was no easy feat.
Just be. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit my sister Robyn and just be calm and comfortable on her couch. The kids were in school. The husbands were working. Her dog Tammy was snoring happily between us. I told Robyn that I wanted her help with the Wise Words Wednesday post for this week.
My invitation was two-fold. One, I needed a post. Two, Robyn has been taking it easy as she is recovering from a recent procedure and this would provide some Intentergy into her day.
So when starting off a Wise Words Wednesday post, I need wise words. After sharing some thoughts that can not posted on this platform, Robyn tapped into her infinite reservoir of memorable quotes and said she her go-to phrase is “Just be.”
I know that 2020 has been a year of discomfort. And that’s not okay, but in reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, I was kindly reminded that some of the greatest opportunities for growing and learning come from uncomfortable situations.
When speaking to her students about vulnerability and shame, Brené warns them ahead of time, “If you’re comfortable, I’m not teaching and your’re not learning. It’s going to get uncomfortable in here and that’s okay. It’s normal and it’s part of the process” (Brown 203).
This warning made me smile because it reminded me of the supply lists for incoming students to my English I class. After typing up and printing the nice, neat lists, I would carefully (in the scariest handwriting I could muster) write “FEAR” in red ink at the top of each list.
You can only imagine the delight I experienced in seeing the eager faces and ready hands grab at the waiting lists from the holder outside my classroom and then the quick flicker of surprise as that word“FEAR” registered in their already-panicking minds.
I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say that starting the day as a pandemic-exhausted parent has me feeling like Gandalf facing the legions of Sauron’s forces while also being Frodo seeking the best route up Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. I just want to make the bad stuff go away and bring about peace without too much destruction.
Just as Gandalf, Frodo, and their companions discovered, there are an awful lot of things looming in the way before we can make each day successful. Thankfully J.R.R. Tolkien provided many layers of inspiration for us in The Lord of the Rings series starting with, “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”(A totally Intentergy way of thinking.)
To bring the full Intentergy spirit to this post I want to remind everyone that it’s good to not have just one “precious” person or thing that absorbs all our energy and attention. Keep your loyal and loving companions close. If you get lost, scared, or distracted, there are plenty of ways to turn a new page.
When it seems the world is completely off kilter and there isn’t anyone or anything that makes you feel like you have anything to offer, the best way to feel worthy is to surround yourself with people who value you.
I’m not sure if it’s my 41st birthday, or the new high energy (a.k.a. hyper-anxious) horse I just acquired, or the stress and chaos of the very-extended time my children have been home due to the Corona virus, but lately I have not felt worthy or successful. I have found myself questioning even my dinner choices and frantic over the potential of planning activities with family and friends. Apparently, my passion for planning has been hindered by the fear of making a wrong choice or exposing everyone to a potentially deadly situation with one penciling in of my calendar or preparation of turkey tortillas.
What I really needed were the wise words of Denzel Washington. “If you hang around 5 confident people, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 intelligent people, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 millionaires, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 idiots, you will be the 6th.”