Taking the Extremism out of Veganism

What is the first thing you think of when you think of the word vegan?  I think of craziness.  I think of mobs of people pushing their way into health food stores yelling.  I think of anger.  I am vegan.  But the word vegan makes me nervous.

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Just like any group, there will be those that have to force their ideas on others in order to create what they feel is right, whether that be religion or lifestyle or opinion.  I understand it.  I just think there are better ways.  Because veganism is really a peaceful, beautiful thing.  My husband said that when I posted on Instagram and then on my farm facebook page the other day that we are vegan and opening a sanctuary we would lose followers.  We did.  The word vegan makes people nervous.

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Others have changed the term to plant based diet.  A benign term that means lots of delicious plants and denotes more of a health food approach then a save the cow message.  I told the teller at my bank that I was plant based and she looked at me very confused.  “I’m vegan,” I corrected.  “Oooh,” she answered, “what do you eat?”

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My friend is in the trenches.  She and a group of dedicated, emotional, loving people go out to cities all over the country.  They stand on street corners with masks on, wearing all black, holding televisions that display the atrocious way that animals become meat.  Blood, fear, and reality fills the screen.  Videos of these events show people walking briskly by.  Does empathy enter any of the bystanders?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  They go out to factory farms and create an unnerving presence.  They rescued a hundred turkeys before Thanksgiving.  The thing is, that when I see my friend, the violence and the plight has so greatly affected her.  Her emotional wellbeing.  Her eyes.  I worry that it is slowly destroying her.

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I have been on both sides.  So, I know that anything anyone told me while I had my blinders on when I was farming would not have changed my mind.  Only I can change my mind.  I taught herbalism for many years and a plant based diet was a central part of my teachings because you can only heal symptoms for so long before you have to look at diet and lifestyle.  I am surprised still how many of those students became vegan.  At least one or two a class.  Including the aforementioned friend.  Friends have sanctuaries now.  My writings whisper and inspire.  My friends know I am vegan.  I make amazing food.  They make amazing food for me.  No one is being forced to do anything.  Most people do not want to harm animals.  They can only eat meat because they can’t see the suffering, the crying, the blood.  They don’t see families, they see packages.  But sometimes people want to see what this is all about.

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So if you want to try veganism, keep these things in mind:

1- You don’t have to tell anyone.  You can just do your thing.  I didn’t want to cause harm.  I know there are cow parts in my tires and I still drive.  I know there is no way to completely avoid it all but I can be vegan.  My anxiety has notched down to near nothing.  Depression is not an issue.  Karmically I feel better.  I love animals.  Why would I want to consume them?  I smell like death when I eat them.  Plants create vibrancy.  But I don’t have to wear a PETA shirt to the grocery store.  I can inspire in my own way.

2- Don’t go out and buy new leather shoes, but the old boots you been wearing, keep wearing them.  Throwing them in a landfill doesn’t bring that cow back.  Be reasonable but be mindful moving forward.

3- Just peek at the labels of cleaning, beauty and bath products and make sure they are vegan and didn’t test on animals.  Goodness knows, no one wants dogs and rabbits to be stabbed and tortured in the name of good eyelashes.

4- You don’t have to go no-oil, no sugar, no gluten, only whole foods vegan.  The health benefits of giving up animal products is huge.  Knowing that you saved one more animal.  One more animal.  That is enough. You can use veggie meat along with your veggies and fresh bread and glass of wine.  There are no rules.  The meat and cheese substitutes out there are awesome.  No better time to be vegan.

5- Follow farm sanctuaries on Instagram or facebook.  The animals speak for themselves.  Know that you are saving hundreds of animals in your lifetime from pain and slaughter.  Watch some documentaries if you don’t know what goes on.  Don’t be tricked by the term “humane meat.” There is no such thing.  You are also helping the environment, your health, and so much more just by one simple, light decision.

Let’s take the craziness out of veganism and replace it with compassion.  I am Animal Friendly!

 

Hygge Lifestyle (simple pleasures and joyful living)

As the season begins to change, and the light appears more golden, as do the leaves, I find myself responding as well.  A natural response to the cool nights, I suppose.  Autumn welcomes in the New Year in many cultures so perhaps that would explain the nesting instinct.  My ancestors of old would be busily putting up food (as I am) and preparing the garden beds to sleep for winter.  Firewood will be cut and stacked soon and soups are on the menu for the first cool day.

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Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is the Nordic principal of all things cozy and good.  Of cable knit sweaters and wool socks.  Of blazing fires and drinks with friends.  Of self care with baths and saunas and good creams.  Of gifts and community and laughter and warmth.

Perhaps it is because of my Scandinavian ancestry or perhaps it is from living in a four-season climate, that I so love the hygge concepts.  It is one thing to prepare for winter and be ready to survive, it is quite another to prepare for winter beautifully.  It draws in the sensations of warmth and soft textures, and good books by the fire, and romantic evenings in, and game nights with friends, and rose scented baths, and hot chocolate in the snow.

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But outside of the seasonal aspects, the Hygge lifestyle is for all year.  Its focus is on friends and family and self love, and good food and good drinks, and noticing the beauty in every moment, in every season, in every facet of life.  Of embracing bliss and goodness and waking up to these lovely days we have.

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The book, The Hygge Life; Embracing the Nordic Art of Coziness Through Recipes, Decorating, Entertaining, Simple Rituals, and Family Traditions is a lovely book to curl up with and incorporate into your home and lifestyle.

Wishing you heart warming and simple joys!

Four Years Being a Farmgirl…and our new home

November 25, 2012- I had just learned what a blog was and was excited to try it.  Pages that would normally fill journals filled spaces on this web sized book.  To write stories that teach and inspire and make folks laugh while learning to farm and homestead was my idea.  A compilation of tales that I wish I could have found at the beginning of my journey.  I could have never imagined the amazing pieces of life we would be recording.

Indeed over the past year and a half you have put up with me pouting when we lost all that, started two more blogs, always return to this one.  I use my own blog so often to find recipes that I might be one of my best followers!  Over 110,000 times Farmgirl School has been read over the last four years.  I am honored.

When I found out that we were actually buying a house, my inspiration came flooding back.  Months of blog posts already half written in my mind.  Home.

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Our new abode come December 30th.

November 25, 2016- I can now use the skills I have learned about chickens and ducks, gardening, and decorating, cooking, and preserving, cooking on a wood stove, and intertwine them with new memories with my beautiful family, and all the things I want to learn, like Hugelkulter beds, and canning cranberry sauce to create many more years of Farmgirl School.  And all the things along the way that I will learn and share and our world-wide community continues.  We all share so may beautiful desires and wishes.  To return to homesteading life was certainly ours.  So here we go…

Gone Vegan

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Last night Doug and I watched the documentary “Forks Over Knives”.  I tell you the reason we did it though, we knew what they were going to say, but we needed inspiration because Doug and I are extremists and we need passion to achieve anything.  Diet and lifestyle is a much argued subject and it gets confusing traversing all the information out there.  Most of the time we just don’t want to think about it.  Our ancestors just ate, can’t we too?  There is also much discrepancy on what our ancestors ate!  Meat was a rarity no matter what the Paleo movement tells us.  It was seasonal, or small, or for rich people.  And those rich people were sick and fat.

We knew this when we ordered bacon at a restaurant after being vegetarian, I for twenty-seven years, Doug for eight, and staunch vegans for two years.  All our friends ate meat.  They were fine.  My friend that convinced us to eat meat died of cancer shortly after.  I watch cancer come through my shop door almost daily.  I can see illnesses.  It is a somewhat rare clairvoyant gift that helps me be an effective herbalist.  I see heart disease, circulatory problems, I see problems in me and Doug now.  We need a change.

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In the past two and a half years since we began eating meat we have both obtained a lovely array of issues.  When we went vegan the first time Doug lost thirty-five pounds.  We had just started our rigorous farmers market season (eight markets a week) and we felt great.

We had convinced ourselves that it is a natural process, that farm animals are to be eaten, that we kill animals when we clear farmland for vegetables, that my body needed meat and B12!  Then I read the back of a bottle of kombucha.  20% of my daily B12.  There are a lot of sources of B12.  The meat and dairy industry make the guidelines that we all use for health, for our children’s health, for what we believe to be true.  We listened, and then we saw for ourselves.

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We were invited to go to a pig harvest and barbeque.  I had my freezer full of heritage pork from a local farmer.  We can do this!  We chickened out.  Turns out Doug and I would just sit there babbling like idiots, crying over the pig, or worse, try to wrestle him into our truck to kidnap.  I must admit that Doug and I are lousy meat eaters.  But we can’t blindly buy packaged, red tinted slabs of faceless meat either.  I know what goes on in slaughterhouses, even the grass fed, sustainable, local, blah, blah, blah cows go there.  Pretty horrific.

Anyways, I promise not to be preachy with the veganism, I wasn’t when we were before either.  But I will keep you up to date on how we feel and what we are doing.

To start this process, Doug and I assessed how we feel.  Doug has gained almost half of his weight back. He has chronic sinus and breathing issues since we began eating meat.  His energy levels are nil, his umbilical hernia is getting worse, he has digestive issues again, his memory is his most concerning factor.

I have gained weight in my stomach, uneven, not necessarily noticeable to the vast majority, but I know it is either bloating or fat which is not supposed to be there.  I have extensive swelling, my rings don’t fit, I get sharp pains in my chest, have breathing problems sometimes, and my knee and lower back often hurt.  I also am having problems with my teeth.  Doug and I both know that dairy leaches calcium from the bones but that cheese…ooh it calls to us.  Loudly.  My face is breaking out.  I have circulatory issues, frequent blues, and even more frequent headaches.  About 2-6 migraines a month.

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This is a lot of really personal information but I know that it will only get worse if we do not wake up.  We see folks all around us with dietary and lifestyle related illnesses, issues, things we just call “getting old”, but I ain’t going out like that.  I still have a lot of life ahead of me and I want to keep my husband here too, both of us nice and healthy.  So, if you are curious or want to join in, follow along each week and see how we are doing!  Maybe it will inspire you to adopt a plant based diet as well.  Or, we’ll all go out for bacon.  We’ll see!

Use food as medicine.  Check out the documentaries Forks Over Knives and Food Inc.  It will change your life and your health.

 

 

The Beautiful Chaotic Homestead

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We were welcomed into the home of a beautiful family yesterday evening for supper and company.  Another family is there camping out and between the two families there were nine little blondes running around between the ages of nine months and eight years.  The scene looked all the world like the movie “Yours, Mine and Ours” and the chaos was more intoxicating than the chilled glasses of Chardonnay.

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Christy and Kevin live on thirty-five acres in Elizabeth.  A place that Christy could only dream of.  She had hoped to find a place with four stalls and instead found a place with a riding arena and eight stalls!

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Their list of critters includes turkeys, geese, ducks, chickens, sheep, goats, barn cats, Colorado Mountain dogs, and pigs.  I was surprised to see my friend, Faleena’s horse there too!

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The homestead was bustling, the women working with kabobs and babies in the kitchen and the men working to complete chores.  Doug and I jumped into our expected roles, he out in the barn with the men and I set a baby on my hip.  I do love the busyness of a kitchen and a large family.  I do find myself missing the days when my children were little and the house was wild with local kids and pets all waiting for dinner.

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We cooed over the baby Nubians and pet the friendly dogs and enjoyed the setting sun across the prairie as a hawk soared overhead.

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We realized that even though we are thrilled being around the type of homestead we always worked for and that type of work is genuine and fine, we are not looking for anything of that scale any longer.

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After we found out we were being forced off our farm we stopped.  Just stopped.  All of a sudden there was no more wood to chop, no more goats to milk, no more chickens to tend to, no more gardens to water, no more life.  We felt ourselves fall into a deep fatigue.  I am not sure how many years we would have been able to keep that kind of activity up as there are just two of us and the type of homestead we wanted really requires a family.  We are glad we experienced that lifestyle.  Moving forward it will be nice to rebuild and only allow in our very favorite parts of the life we loved.  I cannot imagine not having a garden.  I can do without the fiber arts.  I love cooking but I only want to preserve what I really enjoy, not thirty-seven quarts of carrots just to get through the winter.  We can enjoy a few chickens maybe but not the exorbitant feed bill that we had every month.

With that we will only buy things that we need.  Things that make our home home to us.  Bunk beds for visiting grandbabies.  A bed for guests.  An art room.  An office.  A large kitchen.  We know what we want because we have lived without and can decipher what really makes our life great to us.  The large bustling homestead was awesome.  Our last few homesteads were fun.  I suppose I won’t be considered a homesteader anymore.  More like a 1950’s housewife but that is okay with me.  I found it ironic that just when we thought we were nearly self reliant, we found ourselves 100% in need.  It will be fun reworking the next half of our life to include all the things we really, really love and schedule in rest and fun as well!

Co-Homesteading and Urban Farms

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I am a writer. Beyond being a gardener, mom, grandma, wife, teacher, or anything else, I am a writer.  This means that all of my business and my family’s business is generally open for all to read.  If I had to keep it to myself, I would fall into the depths of despair or be too giddy with unspoken news.  Sometimes I may give too much information.  Sometimes the information changes daily as I know it.  Sometimes the reader may feel that they are on a rollercoaster if they don’t read the posts in order.  But I don’t mind sharing my life with you.  It is an extraordinary, ordinary life that most people can identify with.  Readers can identify with our losses, heartaches, successes, passions, and emotions.  We have so many cheerleaders out there.  I have been touched by all the letters, messages, and calls to help.  My friends send me Craigslist ads for rentals, folks have offered for us to stay with them, people are buying our things to help us out.  Thank you.

Our income was wrapped up in this farm.  The goats are gone.  I watched the sheep leave.  The chickens left yesterday and I cried and cried.  Our income right now is from selling off everything.  We needed a miracle.  I don’t want to jinx it, but it seems we may have gotten just such a miracle.

Kindred friends buying a piece of property.  A place longing to be an expansive urban farm created through Permaculture.  We see a chicken coop and duck coop rising up near a greenhouse, raised beds filled with delicious foods.  Outlines of perennials and herbs, of fruit trees, and bushes.  Wildlife is abundant in this little town.  We were surprised to see a raccoon walking by and noted to make a stronger coop after we heard of bears.  It is interesting to me that over the years I have written about co-homesteading, sharing the load, creating an oasis that benefits a group and a community.  The urban farming posts are numerous on my blog.  It is almost like I manifested where I am right now and that this was just a lovely, scenic stop on the way.  A way to make us appreciate a much smaller space, a way to make us handle cold better, and help make us appreciate little comforts.

We are long past being able to find a place that allows our animals, finding the money for a deposit, first month’s rent, transfer the cable and internet, hire a moving van, and hope we can stay there for awhile.  We are stepping out of the status quo and the norm and entering a community ideal that is quite different but that I have envisioned for a long time.  It is not a new idea though.  A place where expenses are shared and knowledge is shared and each person brings an important skill set to create such oasis.  A place where no one has to do it on their own anymore.  Where the chores are shared and the gardens are shared and building sustenance for all is shared.  This place is surrounded by really eclectic and talented urban homesteaders and farmers, Permaculture experts, and vibrant people.  Well, from the outside they are called hippies.  Sign me up.

So, here we go.  We are standing on a cliff, armed with my favorite cast iron frying pans, some clothes, and our cats, and are ready to jump off.  Are you with me?

Extreme Homesteading (high altitude, freedom, and yoga with frogs)

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Homesteading has become so much more than a lifestyle for us, it has become a part of our very being.  There are apartments with lush carpet and furnaces awaiting, city streets to catch buses on, and jobs that offer weekly paychecks.  Parts of that we miss but not enough to hightail back to it.  When faced with absolute obstacles (such as out of ideas to bring in cash) we just try to pick up a few odd jobs or cut another expense.  We are almost out of expenses to cut.  Which leads us to dreaming about setting up sheds in a mini-village and living there rent free!  We dream of living in warmer places where that would be possible.  High altitude homesteading is not for the meek.  Everything from baking bread, canning, to growing vegetables takes longer and one must know the tricks to succeed at these things.  (A reason I hope my homesteading school will take off!)  So goodness, gracious, why have we actually chosen to live this way?

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What better way to live than to live fully?  We do that every day when we greet the sunrise, when we start the wood stove if needed, when we brew the coffee in the French press and transfer it to a thermos.  When I can sit down and write until the kids shuffle off to work and breakfast is to be made.  Our granddaughter to be dressed.  Doug goes and milks the goat and feeds the animals.  Sometimes Maryjane and I help with chores.  She gathers eggs, helps feed, and pets the sheep.  We check on the ducks and feed the cats.  We strain the milk, pour some of the fresh cream into coffee, and put it in the fridge to cool.

Maryjane had her two large horse toys set up and was milking them last night.  She had me hold one of them so it wouldn’t kick.  Then she pretended to make cheese.  A homesteader at heart, this little girl is picking up so many skills and she is only two!

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I do yoga while looking out across the meadows while an owl looks on from the old willow.  Meditation comes easy with the frogs chirping from the pond.  I place laundry on the line, read books, prepare lunch, straighten the house.  Today we prepare for our first farmer’s market tomorrow.  My book signing is Saturday.  Classes on Sunday.  I play the guitar under the cottonwood.  Maryjane plays in the dirt.

The girls come home from work and we have dinner or sometimes it is just me and Doug.  We play cards, talk, read, write, pray, enjoy the sweetness of home.  We worry, we plan, we pray, we hope.  We make tea.

This year we will try to cut our grocery bill even more by growing, bartering, raising, preserving, and preparing all our own food and drinks.  Our own herbs for cooking and medicine.  We will gather all our own firewood.  I will improve my sewing skills.  We will make our own gifts.  Doug will continue to learn how to build and repair.  We will continue to release what we don’t need, learn to produce what we do.  Maintain our freedom, bask in the pride of a job well done, and live more self-reliantly than ever before.

So why do we work towards extreme homesteading?  Because after the oil lamps are blown out at night and we snuggle into bed, and see the stars through our window, we know there is no other life we want to lead.

A Pioneer’s Life For Me

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I was dreading going into the goat pen.  Elsa has mastitis and we have been diligently treating it but that along with her spoiled little girl self makes it incredibly difficult to milk her.  It takes all of my strength to hold her as Doug milks her out.  All of our muscles are shaking by the end and she has kicked the milk bucket a few times.  Our clothes are covered in milk and goat hair and I am often near tears.  Last night as I looked up before going in the pen a beautiful sight transpired.  The same one that made us feel we made the right choice moving out here.  The brightest rainbow arched across the sky, seemingly right above us, from horizon to horizon it promised peace.  Its colors sparkled in the rain that fell in straight glistening showers downward watering the gardens.  The sun shone through it and all was bright.  Today we will tie her back legs.

I love the peacefulness of home.  Now that Emily has moved back in, we drive considerably less.  We feel better in our bustling schedule around this homestead.  I love the heaviness of the cast iron skillet as I prepare eggs fresh from the coop and slice warm bread that I baked.  Dandelions, or other produce later, are mixed into the eggs throughout the season along with homemade cheese.  I hope fresh fruit will join these.  We look across our table and see how much of it we produced.  We are aptly satisfied and proud yet strive to produce nearly everything we consume.  Of course we shall rely on the humble farmer that provides the grains for our table.  The coffee from far away.  The teas exotic.  But our year long sustenance grows each season on this homestead as we produce more and more.

The milk hits the bucket in a sing-song tune as Isabelle stands sweetly on the stand.  She occasionally turns to kiss Doug’s ear.  She loves him and seems to want to impress him.  This year she is giving over a gallon a day of fresh milk.  I pour the warm milk into his coffee once inside.  The creamy morning treat warms the farmer.  These simple pleasures transcend the ordinary ones we knew growing up.  Last night after Doug had fallen asleep I sat in the rocking chair my father gave my mother upon learning that she was with child over forty-one years ago.  I sat in front of the wood stove and let it warm me as I relaxed into my book, the oil lamp highlighting the page, a cup of hot tea by my side.  The house and land is quiet.  My muscles are tired but my mind is joyous.  There is cheese pressing, bread dough rising, and at least the dishes are done.  I am reading an Amish book.

I have sat in an Amish home and read accounts.  They are not unlike mine.  Keeping the world out is something I strive for.  The news stays in its dramatic studios of fear.  Anger, stress, and sadness dissipate quicker here.  We are not immune to financial wonderings and relationship woes but here in this setting they work themselves out and the spirit is restored quickly.  We pray openly here and are thankful for our blessings.  We call on the Lord for signs, for help, and for comfort and receive them as we listen softly in the night by oil lamp and quiet.

The aprons hang on the wall and tell stories, I decide which one I wish to don this day.  I have long skirts, and long slips, and layers to make them stand out because they are comfortable, and feminine, and fine.  The apron pocket holds what I need as I bustle from clothes line to barn yard to kitchen.  Three meals a day grace the table and the children always know they can come home to a hot meal, peace and quiet, and an escape from the world beyond.

The counties out here argue over fracking, over wind mills, over water.  Not here! they say.  Yet folks will not give up their luxuries and want these means of fancies and want destruction to get them so long as they cannot see them.  We work on our own solution, to use less.  To find alternative ways.  And the classical music plays softly in the kitchen and the electric kettle often gets turned on but bird song could fill the musical need and a kettle whistling from wood stove could suffice.  And the world could howl outside our door but our respite remains here in our pioneer ways.  I put on my sun bonnet and head outdoors to plant.

Your Ideal Life (who are you? what do you want?)

Another young life snuffed out over the weekend always causes stirs in the close knit community that we lived in for so long.  Our children knew him, went to school with his siblings, we helped his mother with pain when we had our store, she too a victim of a car accident.  But this time her son was taken back to where we start and left a terrible hole in the hearts of many.

One of my close friends that I love was in a similar accident and was thrown from her vehicle.  The very same fate could have met her.

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Our lives are whispers, really.  There is no time to live a life that is not ours.  In each of us there are specific passions and interests that are meant to lead us to the life that we will have the most impact on the people around us and be the happiest.  A blueprint, if you will.  The prayers that are answered and the seemingly amazing chain of events that allows a person to live their dreams is not luck or karma, it is the path that person was supposed to follow!

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Our paths and interests change as we do.  Everything I have done would appear to have nothing in common but there are links through them all.  From modeling to dancing to herbalism to farming, I have been teaching the whole time.  I have long been interested in everything old fashioned and devoured books like Little House and Anne of Green Gables.  It is not surprising that I am here.

Now, where would you like to be?  Here are three exercises for you to write down and your path will be ever clear.  Through these you may find that you want to pursue a new hobby or completely change your lifestyle.  Maybe you want to move or maybe just take up sommelier classes!  There are no right or wrong answers.

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Exercise #1– Write down your ideal morning.  What time would you wake up?  What are you drinking?  What does your view look like?  Who are you with?  What are you doing?  Where are you?  Would this be a morning you could do every day?  How do you feel?

I wrote this down a few times and after a while I realized that I was waking up and living my ideal morning each day!  Up at dawn, quiet house, cups of coffee, writing, then sitting on the porch with the kitty when it is warm.  I feel peaceful and ready for the day.  If I am rushed in the morning, my mood is rather unattractive!

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Exercise #2– Walk through each row of the non-fiction section of the library slowly and look at each section.  Notice your reaction to each category.  What subjects pique your interest or simply make you smile?

I did this a few days ago.  I find that I smile at the books about children and the children’s section.  I love the travel section, mostly the Italian wine country memoirs.  I love the wine section and I can never leave without twenty cook books!  I love books about farming, particularly memoirs.  I enjoy fictional books about the Amish.

Five years ago I may have been obsessed with all of the herbal medicine books.  Five years before that I might have been interested in beginning gardening and decorating.

I bet librarians know a lot about their patrons just by seeing what they read.  You can find a lot of things out about yourself this way.  We tend to lose ourselves in the world.

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Exercise #3– Make four columns on a piece of paper. In the first one write everything you love in your life.  Kids, job, pets, roses, pretty table cloths, whatever.

In the second one write down everything that causes you stress. Why?  Is there a way to change your reaction, your situation, or is it something you can get out of your life?

In the third column write what you have found out about yourself from the exercises above.  What do you love?  What makes you happy?  What do you want to learn?  How do you want to live?  What does your ideal life look like?

Finally, in the fourth column write three ways you can start to get the life you really want.  This could be big or small.  Put house on market.  Sign up for Spanish classes.  Stop obsessing about food.  Get a library book about becoming a rose farmer.  Get chickens.

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All of our lists will be different.  I do this regularly.  Sometimes we just need to write things down.  Sometimes the obvious is lost in the hustle and bustle of every day.

Happy Dreaming!  Happy life planning!  Happy living the way you are intended to live.  Whether you are nine or ninety, I wish you your ideal life.

Finding Oneself Among Cottonwoods and Willows (the walk of self discovery)

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I found myself among the cottonwoods and willows.  I was probably there all along.  I looked up into the high tree tipped with buds, the sun filtering through thick branches.  I quietly filled my jar with buds and twigs.  A bit of bark.

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The breeze brought news of rain as I gathered and listened.  My true essence blooming and enveloped me as I wild crafted the materials to make my pain medicine.

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My fingers agilely gathered the herbs, a bit of pine, willow bark, cottonwood.  For so long, eight tablespoons of this, two tablespoons of that, a waterproof label.  The medicines amazing and developed to help masses of people.  But my headaches still seemed unanswered.  This time, among the cottonwoods, I heard the recipe.  Simple really.

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Finding oneself and recalling the gifts and genetic dispositions and self that is true within our inner most being often eludes in the face of the world.  To find that knowing, that instinct and profound quiet, the peace of it all, the true self calls.

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But there I was all along among the willows.  My intuition full, my hands deftly fingering the right additives for my concoction.

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Instead of alcohol I added my own homemade red wine vinegar.

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I added the last of our honey harvest, licking the sweetness off of my fingers after squeezing it through.

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I added oil to the salve ingredients.

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The sun will infiltrate their cell structure and bring out its real essence.  It knows what it is meant to be.  And there I am too.  Among the cat tails and meadowlarks.