Be still and know … and then what?

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It’s April,  May, 2019. In January,2019 I attempted to write what God had impressed on my heart for 2019. What word He was giving me for this year.  For the past three years the phrase for the year has been, ‘it is what it is.”  The only thing I was sure of this time was that wasn’t the phrase. But, what WORD was it? Still wasn’t sure in February, or March. Then I got an inkling that maybe my word for the year was JOY. Or in a phrase – Choose Joy. Life events collided and seemed to make that word and that phrase a feat of incredible fortitude and strength.

Come and muse along with me…: In January I was finishing up my school bus driving career of approximately three months. Honestly, I wasn’t sure why God had directed me to drive a bus. I totally killed the written tests and the driving tests, so good in fact that my trainer was using me as an example of an excellent driver and encouraging others to follow my lead. Yet, I was a little hesitant. Seems I was right to be.

My first time out on my own I took down a carport parking structure with the bus’s big right mirror, while maneuvering out of the way of an oncoming speeding car – and while my supervisors and trainer blamed the incident on the non-assistance of my assistant and the other car, I knew it was ultimately my responsibility. At one point I got lost with very spirited kindergartners on the bus….while they flipped over the backs of seats and ran up and down the aisle, I missed a turn on the route sheet and got completely lost. We weren’t allowed to us a gps or a cell phone, and I had zero idea where I was, so I kept driving. I didn’t venture far…mostly driving in a big square, but soon the kiddos were yelling things like, “where are you taking us?’, ” I wanna go to school”, “we’re lost”, “can we go to the pool?” Finally, I pulled over and gathered them up by me and told them I was lost and needed their help. We needed some good team work…they changed, “team work, team work!” I looked up their school in my phone and using team work,  they were going to tell me if the phone was telling me the right way to go. If I had been previously familiar at all with the area I would have known I had only to make my square one block shorter to arrive at their school. We walked up to the door, they hugged my legs before going to class. I explained to the teacher what had happened and she, bless her, was more concerned about the kids wayward behavior than the lateness of us getting to school. She said she knew I was obviously intelligent and I would get them there. Driving home that day I was sure I should quit. It was then the anxiety attacks and insomnia set in.

On my route I had a particularly challenging middle school group. They were mostly ESL kiddos living in a big trailer park and hotels by our Costco. Some of them didn’t understand English and unfortunately I don’t speak Spanish. Some were very loud and just as mobile. The turning point  for this group came when we left school in the pm and one of the students dropped onto the aisle and sat there. On the floor. I was  at the stop light and told her to get back in her seat. She didn’t move. She probably didn’t understand me. The light turned green and the kids screamed – “Go! Go!”. I calmly told them I couldn’t go until everyone was safe in a seat and asked her to please sit in a seat. She didn’t move. The kids continued to yell- “go, go”. I repeated that I couldn’t go until everyone was in a seat. They yelled a few insults and called me some not very nice names….I explained that I couldn’t go until everyone was safe  and I could stay there all night if need be. The light turned red. Then green again. “GO!GO! We want to go home!” To which I replied, “me, too! Everyone get in a seat and we can.” The other kids turned on the aisle sitter and said, “she’s not kidding, get in the seat.” (There was also a lot of Spanish but I have no idea what they were saying.)

All this this time, I cried, a lot. And I have such an ugly cry face. Seriously, it scares children and small animals. Finally, the compilation of driving the bus, but getting lost, no GPS, unruly kids and very little disciplinary aids available, Lance and I decided I should quit. I prayed a lot about it, because I was sure, initially, I was preparing myself for what God had prepared for me – to be a bus driver, but the anxiety was so overwhelming…it was untenable.

My resignation was refused. My supervisors were kind and explained away all my problems so that nothing was actually my fault…(while that feels good, I know that a portion of the issues were indeed on me.) After my refused resignation they put me on a different route. It was in a suburban area where the garages are in the back of the houses so everyone parks in the streets. It was like driving down a very narrow alley. One day I squeezed down a street and I moved slightly to the right to let a car pass (when you’re driving the bigger vehicle, don’t be polite. It’s always easier for the smaller to move out of the way. ) I sideswiped a parked truck and took out his extended mirror. I was devastated. When I got back to the depot, my boss asked a trainer to go out with me and review some driving strategies. We drove my route and came up on the road construction. He asked if I told the bus depot about the construction. I said, “No. Was I supposed to??” He replied yes. ( Even thought the truck and I had met blocks over). I have nothing but good things to say about those supervisors. They wanted me to succeed in the best way.

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Be anxious for NOTHING. I knew the scripture well, but anxiety was having a hay day with my brain and heart while I struggled with should I quit or not…or be an assistant….I had some heart troubles and ended up in the ER. I and the folks at work, were attributing the heart discomfort to the stress. But, a subsequent visit to a cardiologist and the testing showed some blockage.  And, with this news, my sweet boss accepted my resignation.

The very next week I received a call from Home Depot asking for an interview. I had applied to Home Depot a year earlier. I had worked for them before we moved to Australia and really wanted to go back to them, but they hadn’t called. I was hired and started the next week in the gardening department.

I love working at Home Depot. I love the interaction with customers and the management at my Home Depot is excellent. From the store manager on down, I feel like I matter.  Come see me at the Wiley, Texas store!

The heart thingie still exsists. I have been on new meds, had some new tests that revealed new stuff and I am scheduled for an angiogram which will reveal if I need a stunt or not.

So, as God does, He chose this time to have me move into a position I NEVER thought I’d have…Back Up BOOK KEEPER! (When I was about in the third grade I developed a real nemesis with the maths.) But, I am determined to accept all that God puts before me.

God keeps laying out the challenges and I keep trusting and hitting them head on….but I wonder, honestly, what is He preparing me for?

First, drive a bus. Pass all the challenging tests, get a job, then FAIL….and next?Get a job you love. Do it for two months and get ‘promoted’ to the vault as a part time book keeper (aka a career I AVOIDED at all costs) and for what??

Well I guess we will see! The Man said a couple of weeks ago that God is preparing me for something He has prepared for me.

My heavenly Father is a GOOD GOOD FATHER and I will trust and try and love everyone to Him as I go along.

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Gypsy feet are on the move again,but the body resists.

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Just about this time, one year ago, God moved us to Australia, again. We arrived thinking we would be here for a long time. We bought a car that we could explore this magnificent country in, some nice furniture that would last awhile, and signed a lease into the next year. Now, all that has changed.

We are heading back to America (to live in Texas this time) and find ourselves doing another international move in the span of 12 months. I truly believe God has it all handled and all the pieces will fit into the move puzzle, but my body seems to have not recieved the memo. Everything hurts. Sleep is elusive. The gut is acting up big time. Frustrating! Every night after four hours of restless sleep, I get up, achy, stiff, sore. My mind wants to start the day, tackle the chore list, start the decluttering but my body stumbles to the recliner and if not for some vigorous self talk would stay there. I feel like I am living that scripture in Matthew – “the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” or as the Message puts it, “there is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” That’s me – an old dog sleeping by the fire (but there’s no fire).  Mostly, though, this old dog wants to sleep.

In the years from 2010-2014 we were active folk. We did skydiving, scuba diving, hiking, biking, and all manner of exploring. From 2014-2016 we had our little hobby farm and had our family close. Although we didn’t see the adult kids that often, we did entertain the grands on many occasions. Then we moved back here. But the year, 2016 was stress filled, too…unemployement, a new job full of uncertainty and then the move back to Australia. Then 2017 brought new changes to the new job, and the realization that our plans to buy a house here etc, wouldn’t come to fruition. More stress. But, all along my walk with Jesus grew closer. I heard the Spirit more clearly, when I read the Word, things seems very evident, no mystery. So, why can’t my body catch up with the Spirit?

I reckon this is where intentional living comes to play. Managing all aspects of life. What we eat. What we drink. How we move our bodies. How we interact with others. When we sleep. What we nourish our brains with. What we feed our spirit with. I feel like I already do most of it, but probably lazy in some areas. Honestly, the thought of doing any more tires me. But, it’s necessary.

So, how’s your walk through this temporary world going?? How can you change things? or are you ok with the way things are? Is your subconscious reacting one way, while your spiritual life seems to be another? Why? God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but of courage and power and a stable mind, so don’t be afraid of changing things. Don’t fear diving into why you may be having trouble sleeping, exercising, or any questions of life in general. No worries. His desire is for  you (and me) to have a rich and satisfying life! (John 10:10 NLT).

 

 

 

Do kookaburra count as farm animals?

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It’s been seven months since we made the move down under. For the most part it’s been good. Actually, compared to the first move down here in 2010 it’s been FABULOUS. Interesting fact: it’s as if the Man and I have swapped personalities since last time. When we moved here in 2010 I was very sad and it took me about six months to settle in.  He, however, was super happy, and excelled at this work. This time around, I’ve settled in quite nicely but he struggles. But, I digress.

When you move from one continent to another, you expect that things will be challenging, that you will miss the familiar and your heart will ache for your family. What I didn’t expect was how much I miss the small hobby farm that was Baldwin Acres.

Here in Oz, we are awakened by a cacophony of bird noise. Can’t say it’s songs because there seems to be much anger in some of it. A family of kookaburra live in the big gum tree behind our house. They share this space with some Common Miners and some little birds that I can’t identify.  Every morning the kookaburra engage in seemingly heated exchange. Is someone stumbling in late? Did they run out of geckos for breakfast? Who knows. Maybe it is the language of love in kookaburraeeze, whatever the cause, it is very loud in the morning. And, annoying. On Baldwin Acres with a few roosters in residence, it was loud in the morning as well. But, a little calmer loudness. I miss that.

I didn’t think I would miss the animals so much. Not just the sound of the rooster, but the bleat of the sheep and the strange noise the goats made. I miss being greeted by everyone when it was feeding time. They were all ranging free so even when I was just out tooling around they were eager to see me. Nudging my leg, nibbling my shirt hem. smelling my boots. I miss the way our very large sow, Olive, would leaning against my shins until I scratched at her side until she flopped down and exposed her belly for more rubs. I miss Bob, our male goat, who followed the Man around the same way our boxer Remus did. I miss fresh eggs and waiting with broody hens for their charges to hatch.

I don’t miss the sometimes rough odor, or all the poop. There was a lot of poop. I am not sure why that took me aback because obviously every living thing does…but so.much.poop. was really unexpected. I don’t really miss trimming hooves or chasing curious wayward pigs back through the woods to the house. I don’t miss when the little chicks, or tiny piglets for whatever reasons, didn’t make it. But, I do miss them. All of them.

We go back and forth here about rescuing a dog or a cat. Which of course would be lovely, but seriously, they’re no pig or chicken. How could such a small farm make me so attached?

It’s not only the animals I miss, it’s the orchard with plums, pears, cherries and apples. The garden with lettuces, kale, tomatoes, squashes, onions, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, carrots..all fresh and ready to be eaten right from the picking. I miss the feeling of accomplishment achieved when we were able to eat, can, butcher, gather, all the things our own hands produced. God richly blessed us.

So now, what to do? I have a small plot and a patio tower in which I am growing I pepper, basil, aloe, lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, not the same as the raised beds, but still getting my hands in the dirt and freshness in my belly is amazing.

We’re in the waiting phase right now. Waiting on God to show us where we go next. He has already set the path before us, but right now it’s difficult to see. As we wait on Him, and seek His will, we will enjoy the memories of what was,  relish the moments that are now and expectantly look forward what will be.

Daily visits from the kookaburra’s and patio produce, will keep Baldwin Acres busy until then.

 

 

 

 

Winter is not my favorite season.

Except for Christmas, winter is not my favorite season. I think we must be on day 427 in a row of rain and gray skies. The back pasture has flooded at least twice. The pig sty looks like,well, a pig sty.  The damp coolness plays and pokes at my joints and muscles, and my hair is in constant need of a hat. Winter and I do not get along.

When you don’t get along with something you can either live in misery and complain about the situation, which admittedly I do from time to time, or you can look for the good. the old making lemonade out of lemons idea.

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Snow on Baldwin Acres

This winter scene is pretty. Snow makes the scenery a little more beautiful. This is our raised garden and small orchard area. This doesn’t fit into my winter blah scenario because it is lovely, lasts only a while, and allows a little respite in activity.

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This is a close up one of the garlic beds. The white stuff is not snow. They are ice spikes. We had so many days of freezing cold and rain, that these ice spikes adorned all our vegetation.

DSC_0009Here is a picture that sort of shows the mess I’m referring to in the back pastures. The tractors have stopped work for a while, because the ground is boggy. The area is spotted with puddles and little streams of water. To the left of the barn is the pig sty, in the barn is our supply of alfalfa and our livestock nursery. Currently Pork is housed in there, waiting to give birth to little piglets. To the right of the barn is the feeding area. There’s a tub for grain and an alfalfa feeder on the wall. We recently spread a ton of rocks in this area because the continual traffic of the  livestock (Jacob sheep and kinder/Nubian goats)  really has churned up the mud. A person (me) could (has) get stuck in that muck.

When it rains, if you’re not out in it, not mucking out poop, or tending to animals, but maybe just observing the landscape, it can take your breath away. Or at least let you appreciate God’s creation.

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These beautiful water fowl (ducks) take advantage of the winter pond. This area completely dries up in the spring and summer. But, it’s a nice treat to see wild birds taking a little rest here.

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And, finally, I will appreciate the wet, mucky, season because without it there would be no spring. There would be no dormant time for the earth to recover, and the seeds to die, so when the spring sun warms the soil and dries the seasonal puddles and streams, we can grow healthy non- pesticide laden food and new livestock will be born. There is great contentment in the weariness at the end of a long homestead labored day.

The Bible attests to the need for seasons. Seasons not just for our homestead schedules, but also for our lives. Ecclesiastes 3:

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.(The Message)

I’m trying my best to live in each season. Because in the season is where we find life, purpose and hope.