It is Enough

My mantra this year, for 2018, was, “Never make a decision based on fear.”  It was amazing how many times I caught myself making decisions (keep my struggling apothecary open, open another shop, apply to begin school) based on fear rather than faith.  This simple mantra helped me understand my motives and make better decisions (no more shops, no school).  And through that faith Doug got an amazing promotion and I am able to stay home and do what I do best, homestead and homemake.  I am available to help my children, feed my husband nutritious meals, keep a house, take care of a mini-farm, and grow our food.  That mantra led to a great outcome.

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Autumn always feels like a new beginning to me.  Like the pagans of old, I feel this is the New Year.  My mantra for the next year is, “It is enough.” I have enough things.  I have enough love. I have enough creativity.  I have enough space on this mini-farm right here, right now.  And most importantly, I am enough. 

Our Lady of the Goats

With so much time on my hands I have had way too much space to reminisce, regret, and be hard on myself.  Over the past four years we have built our dream farm, lost it, went homeless, lost our animals, lived with friends, lived in the city, rebuilt, bought an urban home, made a farm, closed our businesses, Doug went back into the IT field, our children have found the loves of their lives, and our second granddaughter will arrive any day.  A lot to take in.  A lot of gratitude.

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So I may have made some dreadful decisions over the years.  But I have made a lot of good ones too.  I am enough.  I don’t look like I did when I was modeling in my twenties.  I have faults.  But I have more wisdom and I have more love.  And everything around me echoes, It is Enough.

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…maybe one day we will have goats or the animal sanctuary I so dream of….or maybe we will stay here in this space…or maybe it will become legal to have farm animals beyond chickens in the city here…but in the meantime, I must leave the future where it belongs and be present.

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It is Enough.  We are enough.  You are enough.  This beautiful life is enough.  And when we realize that, gratitude comes rushing in with peace and great joy on its wings.

Close Two, On With the New

They closed with little fanfare.  New opportunities only come from shut doors.

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One shop that had been in place for years transfers to my daughter, Shyanne, and she will have more success without the overhead.  The new shop space is left better than it was before.  No one came and the fates have spoken.  I did get a new piano out of the deal.  The abandoned beauty was left in the back of the shop covered in years of plaster and dirt.  Restored and tuned, it sits in my living room ready to be played.  So, silver linings all around.

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It’s never a mistake to follow your dreams.  I always encourage folks to take the leap.  Sometimes I fly, sometimes I fall pretty hard, but I dreamt, I tried, I lived.  My house is now filled with boxes and furniture from both shops and a thin path leads all around.  That is my task the next few days (or weeks).  I still have taxes to pay and accounts to close.  I think I am done with shops and tax accounts and juggling and no pay.  Ah yes, and no overhead.

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I have a job interview tomorrow to go back into caregiving.  I don’t necessarily have to work but the tight budget thing is gets old and I have big plans for this lovely house and yard and y’all know that takes a little cash.  So, all good things ahead.  Blog posts about redecorating, renovating the kitchen, landscaping the gardens, recipes, and a simple life are still to come.  And my new grandbaby will be here soon.  I am relieved, overwhelmed, inspired, and grateful.  Thanks for following along on the ride.  This is indeed a very good life.

Farmgirl Advice for a Happier Life

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1- Just because you are very good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it.  You can always reinvent what your life looks like.

2- Life is meant to be experienced.  There is no one purpose. You will have plenty of time to ponder the meaning of the universe, right now be human and experience life.

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3- Change is never easy.  Allow yourself to mourn.  But keep that glimmer of hope because the best is yet to come and closed doors lead to wide open opportunities.

4- Quiet your chattering mind.  Tune into the activity around you.  As I sit here on the porch on this lovely late summer day I watch a mouse quietly approach the bird seed and begin to nibble as dozens of finches take flight, their silhouettes artful in the filtered light.  I listen to the crickets’ songs of summer and feel the cooling breeze on my skin before the dog days of summer heat that is to set in later.  There is a much bigger world than what is going on in our minds.

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5- Listen to your passions and follow their road.  Do not try and figure out where they go, just follow their lead.

6- See people’s spirits.  See them as children.  Banish ignorance.  Don’t give into fear.

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7- Release the past.  Past relationships, events, hurts, happenings, eras.  Leave them behind with a blessing and move forward.  Cut the ribbons that keep you bound.  Fly.

8- Be enchanted.  Life is brief and blissful.  It is what we make it.  It is what we create.  A large black bird lands on a trellis next to me.  He is fascinating in his mottled browns and blacks and tussled feathers.  I wonder if he was born this very year.  The glorious blue jays screech their joyful song across treetops.

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9- Have faith.  Know that you were not just dropped on this earth without lifelines.  Fear is the lack of faith.

10- Treat yourself with care, my dears, and follow your heart.

The First Step to Achieving Your Goals

MIL50095//1My goodness, the house is lovingly leveled with trimmings and paper and gifts galore.  And the gentle hum of Christmas comes to an end.  But the Season of Light continues on as Yuletide goes until New Year’s Day.  The tree, the lights, the song all come from Yule, so really, Christmas lives on.  So I may leave my tree up to shine this week, but my mind wanders to the new year and what it sings in promises and change.

New Year’s is a great symbol of death and rebirth, of transition into betterment.  As we tick off the things we want to achieve- perhaps the very things we have listed for years prior- let us think first about the process of transition.  Before you write anything on those precious slips of paper or in your journal, what do you fear?

Do you want to change your eating habits?  Your diet?  Your lifestyle?  Do you worry about not being able to eat what you want when you want?  Do you fear deprivation?  Because it will make your goal quite difficult with that fear whispering in your ear.

There are many fears that stay hidden under the surface.  Fear of wellness (more responsibilities, no excuses), fear of money (we ask for more but that too comes with more responsibility and more taxes), fear of disappointment, fear of failure, fears….oh they are prevalent, you just may not recognize them for they burrow in and become part of the landscape of your mind.

Best root them out so you can succeed at your transformations this year.  Exposing the darkness brings more light.  And that is what this time of year is all about.

Act Two

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Our blessings come to the forefront of each day.  The days we watch our granddaughter, Maryjane, are full of laughter and fun.  We talk into the evening with the great friends we share home with.  We are going to a slumber party tonight at my cousin’s house.  It will be as if we were twelve again, except this time our parents won’t come roaring downstairs because of our inability to stop laughing.  Meals, karaoke, time with family, another break from the ordinary.  We know we would never be on the streets, so many great friends and family do we have.  All the light of our days made the focus now.  What beauty these days bring!

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In our time of renewed beginnings, our journey starts with rest and entertainment.  Things we missed out on for too long because of our focused life.  Our bodies don’t miss the intense gardening, farm work, and homesteading activities but my spirit does.  Filling my time with writing, hiking, visiting, sitting on the porch, playing with the baby, and dreaming of the next venture is surely a great way to begin the next half of my life.

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All of our experiences up to this point find themselves seamlessly woven in the book I am writing just as easily as folks I have known make themselves into characters, changed, altered, romanticized.  As if the last forty-plus years were an exercise in designing settings and characters for books.

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My future gardens await, my sewing room is out there, my large kitchen will be grand, my home will be mine, books to be written.  I read about a woman in her nineties who wrote her first book, an award winning compilation of poems.

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Friends, my best is yet to come.

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The Forever Farmgirl (keeping the faith, new beginnings, and the ongoing homestead)

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I wonder if life thus far has been preparing us for this.  Doug and I love bed and breakfasts.  We travel when we can and see as many as we can.  We even considered opening our own.  We lived through the coldest winter of our lives and came out stronger and loving the sun even more.  We have been practicing and perfecting every homestead skill we can think of in order to be more self reliant and to encourage others to do the same by teaching these skills.  We have amazed even ourselves by being able to grow food in the harshest of situations, on gravel driveways, and in discarded buckets.  We can split wood, take care of animals, make and grow our own food, preserve, and have learned that we really want to live very simply.

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My herbal business has changed and morphed over the years as has my knowledge and what I want to do with it.  I was able to sell my business and grow my herbal school.  The women in the course this semester have brought out so much in me that I was afraid to teach before for fear of scaring folks off!  I am teaching herbs to not only heal physical ailments but also mental, emotional, and spiritual as well in order to achieve a more balanced life and a new level of health and inner peace.  Teaching folks how to tap into their intuition and personal strengths has made teaching all the more valuable to me.  I changed the name of my school this year to the Homesteader’s Pharmacy School at Pumpkin Hollow Farm because there is a school in Boulder with a very similar name to my previous name, North American School of Clinical Herbalism.  But this, just as this final practice farm, was just a transitional name.  The new name of my Herbalist School is going to be Sacred Owl School of Original Medicine and will teach students how to not only know how to handle physical ailments, but how to use intuition and other means of holistic knowledge to really help themselves and their loved ones.

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I sometimes forget in the midst of intense heartache and changes that worrying is really quite useless, that the universe works in amazing ways and the Creator always helps guide.  Someone called me the other day and signed himself and his wife up for the fall Herbalist Course.  He didn’t care where we were moving, they would drive there to take the class.  When I asked how he heard of me he said that a woman in a grocery store gave them my information.  So many things are coming together without my knowledge or help that I cannot help but be astounded and amazed at how this life works when one is able to step back and look in from a new perspective.

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I will always be a farmgirl.  Doug and I will always have a homestead, whether it be in the middle of Denver, or in the beautiful mountain town of Cascade.  We love this lifestyle too much to attract any other kind of lifestyle.  Our life will reflect our greatest desires.  We will always teach.  That is my greatest gift and passion.  The possibility on the horizon pertains to a possible purchase of a three story Victorian bed and breakfast by friends that would be turned into a holistic bed and breakfast, meeting center, retreat center, and working homestead with classes.  The four of us have the right skill sets to be a power house team.  Goats would still be milked, chickens fed, organic gardens would fill the property.  Yoga, spiritual retreats, delicious food, tea on the large southern style porch, a cabin in back for us to live in complete with artist’s loft.  A dream come true?  We will see! Our fingers are crossed and breath held.  But we must exhale and inhale the wisdom that all things work together to bring us what we most desire and to help us to help as many people as possible.  We have each other and no matter where we end up it will be just right!

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Farmgirlschool is alive and well.

The overwhelming number of responses and emails and phone calls have been very heartening for us.  Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement.  We are excited about what is on the horizon!

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Finding Hope in a Winter Wonderland

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The morning rang promise.  The air outside twenty degrees and the inside of the house had warmed to forty eight.  But the sun shone so brightly, so gloriously this morn and I found that the prairie’s cold edges had been softened by an overnight snowfall that left the spance of barrenness now dancing with tiny diamonds, facets of crystals, sunlight, and festivity.  I let out an exhale.

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Have you ever had those evenings when you blow out the oil lamp beside the bed, huddle under the covers, and pray to wake up in Hawaii?  When discouragement and nit picking sadness won’t leave you but rather leaves you weary and desperate?  Such a night it was.  The feeling of insurmountable and never ending happenings start to take on its own unreasonable aura.  For all the dreaming and praying and begging and planning and succeeding at finding our dream homestead, if you had told me that the house in an arctic blast would never get over fifty degrees, I would have said, “Oh, hell no.”  I don’t stand outside when it’s in the forties, I am going to stay inside in it too?  Yes sir.  I have let go of all the souls that passed on this year but the sadness remains.  I understand that it is tough times for folks but I went to bed wondering if I am being foolish with what I do.  Healers don’t exactly bring in the big bucks, and sometimes they don’t bring in the little bucks either!  We are here to help people who choose not to go to the doctor or hospital and there is absolutely nothing we cannot help with.  But we have received more inquiries on social media about our old house and whether it’s for rent than for remedies.  Our friends visit doctors who give them medicines that make them sick.  Should I go get a real job and give up?  Do people really need me?  Should we move back to the city to somewhere that has heat?  Should we….and then blissful rest overtook me until the dog heard something at one in the morning.

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But then I awoke to this scene.  The house feels warmer somehow.  An older gentleman that has been battling severe nerve damage for many years in his foot is coming by for more medicine because it’s working for him.  We are getting ready for a craft show tomorrow where we will see friends, perhaps help some folks with our remedies, and get excited for Christmas.  We will get by and I should be thankful that we have a home, food, and some heat.  This lifestyle may not be for everyone but it is certainly for me and Doug and I am thankful for those new beginnings, new mornings, and snow covered fields that remind us of all we have.  Homemade gifts are in the works, hot coffee in the thermos, and life on this homestead goes on and is certainly sweet…if not a bit chilly.