Category Archives: Resolutions

Growing, and Learning, and Stuff

That stab.  That cut.  When you realize past faults have not been forgotten or forgiven.

It’s that sting only a loved one can give you.  When they take your past and hold your heart hostage with your transgressions.

“I don’t trust you.”

“It’s just like when you…”

And you know to shrug it off, because, it’s a low blow, below the belt, they meant it to sting like hell… but they forget you’re not as stone as you seem most days.  They just wanted to jab, they forgot they were throwing a punch to the gut.

They forgot.

But all you can do is remember.

So you try and grow, and build, and learn.  Because that’s all you can do.  You know who you are now.  Shaken, but steady.  You won’t crumble, you’ll fortify, and hope not to become so absent minded.  You hope to never deliver the same sorts of blows.  Never.  Don’t stoop.  Stand Tall.  Chin up.  Keep on, Keeping on.

Thank God for those faults that made you fall, made you learn, made you grow, and made you better.  Thank God.

~Emily

Good Riddance 2013

It’s that time of year when the bloglands are filled with resolutions, and plans to do this and not that, and goals, and promises, and sweet little recaps of the closing year.

Normally I’d be cranking out my master list of 101 things I would like to consider tackling in the next 365 days… but this year I need a change.

A HUGE change.  We’re talking ginormous.  Godzilla times a million big.  Because last year chewed me up, and then threw me away with the bath water.  Cold bathwater, up the creek too, between a rock and a hard spot.

I’m sure there were some good parts dangled in front of me last year.  Like a visit from a dear friend.  My 60th sale on Etsy.  Getting a cell phone that actually worked.  But the bad parts trumped the good.  And then were topped with even more bad sprinkles just to keep it lively.  Like loosing my FIL, and while trying to make plans to make it up to him, flinging hot oil onto my contact lens.

Or like right before Christmas, being excited to have almost all of the shopping done.  And having my shop doing somewhat well.  And then having a cyst flare up to the size of a golf ball, then having the husband’s company CANCEL Christmas bonuses (Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?), while your oven is deader than a doorknob, then your door knob breaks, in the lock position, then your husband’s car needs over $500.00 worth of work, then you go to the ER where they knock you out with oddles of drugs, and company is on the way, and just announces they will be staying for Christmas.  (Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.)

Last year needs to choke and die a slow and painful death.  And it best not leave any of its baggage with this year.  Or I’ll be learning how to blog with my arms tied behind me in a spiffy white coat.  How I wish I was joking.

So my plans and goals for 2014?  In general, to buckle down, to burn last year’s calendar, and to pray for the best.  After all, the best laid plans can blow up in your face, and things can always get worse (and probably will), tomorrow may not ever be.

We have to live, knowing, that today is where we are supposed to be.  Right here in the now, that’s our purpose.  And that’s my goal.

So 2013, Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

No?

Fine.  I’ll just go back to knitting, and watching Christmas Vacation for the millionth time.  😉

 

Masterpiece

tangle

Life. We’ve heard it before, it’s not about the finished work, but the individual strokes that created the finished piece. That doesn’t make things easier to swallow. Because sometimes you have to see the finished piece, so you know where to lay that first drop of ink.

There has to be a vision, somewhere, somehow, to get you moving in the first place. Especially when life locks your soul up in a cold, dark basement. It’s the chicken and the egg. What comes first? Movement or direction? Doing or being inspired? Some days it’s neither, some days it’s both. Like moving a huge piece of furniture, where you ease it forward, moving one corner forward at a time. Doing. Living. Doing. Living.

sketch

And it’s all so exhausting.  The pushing and the pulling.  The constant reminders of mortality.  The mistakes.  The blemishes.  The still having so much to learn, and do.  And the overwhelming need to have a fresh, new, blank canvas to start all over again.  Because if I only knew what I know now…

zen

Had I known…

Perhaps I wouldn’t have cared so much about the masterpiece.

Maybe I would have held onto those scrap pieces of time.  Those scribbles in my life…

Maybe I wouldn’t have left so many blank pages lying around.

Yet it’s the masterpiece that drags me back up off the floor.  The need to get somewhere better than here, better than the now.  My blessing and my curse.  The delicate lines drawn by the fragile lives, and tear stained water colors.  The need to make this life beautiful once again, not in spite of the hurt, but because of it.  To always remember.

And to accept the here, right now, is where I’m supposed to be.  Today is my Masterpiece.

art

Are You Willing to Make a Change?

Is it possible to change your life? 

What change would you make?  Is it big, is it small, is there just one, or would you make at least a dozen changes?

Could you turn around just one or two small aspects of your life and make yourself a better, happier person?

Yesterday I stumbled on an article claiming that in just 100 days you could make a major change in your life by just doing one or two things everyday.  This isn’t a new idea to me, I’ve followed flylady.org, I’ve read the books, the blogs, watched the shows on tv, and have always ended up bored, procrastinating, forgetting about my “mission” and so many more excuses. 

Life always seems to get in the way of making a real change.

But changing things, even just small things is always so appealing.  Because what if, just maybe, things could be different, better, easier, and the grandest of all allures… more fulfilling?

What if I could have changed things on try #1, or #2, or #12 two years ago, if I had just stuck with it?!

What if you could have changed such and such six months ago… where could you be now?

Ahh, but the point isn’t looking back and saying “what if”, the point is to let your past motivate you to actually dedicate yourself to a happier you today.   Or something of that nature.

I’m challenging you and myself to pick FIVE things from the list of sixty to tackle for the next 100 days.  Keep a journal, keep a blog, keep some record that shows your progress.  Dedicate yourself, find a friend to keep you accountable, don’t go it alone, storing the idea in the back of your head.  DO NOT procrastinate and say you’ll think about it later, waiting for the perfect time, the perfect list of five… just start now.  Because I know you are already psycho-analyzing this whole thing.  Stop.  It. 

Here’s the link again for the list that inspired this post: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/60-small-ways-to-improve-your-life-in-the-next-100-days.html

You can choose from that list, another list, or make up your own five.  But share it with us!

Here’s my five:

  1. Set an hour aside every day for the next 100 days to devote to creating one source of passive income.
  2. Create a “100 Days to Conquer Clutter Calendar” by penciling in one group of items you plan to declutter every day, for the next 100 days.  Here’s an example:
  3. Follow the advice proffered by positive psychologists and write down 5 to 10 things that you’re grateful for, every day.
  4. Make it a point to learn at least one new thing each day: the name of a flower that grows in your garden, the capital of a far-off country, or the name of a piece of classical music you hear playing in your favorite clothing boutique as you shop. If it’s time for bed and you can’t identify anything you’ve learned that day, take out your dictionary and learn a new word.
  5. For the next 100 days do one kind deed for someone every day, however small, even if it’s just sending a silent blessing their way.

I wanted to choose something from every group, but there’s no reason to go overboard all at once, even if most of them sounded like great ideas that I just have to do now!

So let’s see it, what’s on your list?

(and psssst, go to http://www.facebook.com/WhiteGoatRanch to follow my upcoming craft thingy)

Switching Gears

Sometimes in life, when we don’t take the time to slow down, life will make us slow down.  And sometimes life slows us down by giving us more, by testing our resolve and our priorities. 

Schedules and plans are ment to be disposable, or at least bendable.  Dreams and hopes need to allow enough wiggle room for sick children, heat waves, injuries, mood swings… and other dreams.

Somewhere along the lines my gears got rusted together, stuck in moving forward, stuck in impatience, and unable to switch back to just living for the today.  The brightness of tomorrow always made the today look dark and gloomy.

It’s time for something a little different.  It’s time to switch gears, ever so slightly, ever so slowly. 

Maybe you would like to join along?

I’m calling it, “July’s Camp Slow the Hell Down “… or something like that.

It’s going to be filled with grand things like coffee, pen and paper on the deck in the mornings, instead of coffee and emails at my desk.  One day freezer baking, instead of fighting with the bored boy and terrible two’s toddler, trying to get dinner ready before the husband comes home and before the toddler chews my leg off.  There’s going to be that thing called exercise, with the moving of body parts and sweating.  Heck lets throw in some arts and crafts too!  And lots of reading. 

It’s time to make time, and enjoy the time we have. 

It’s time to enjoy where I, where we are at.

Are you in?

How could you change things up in small ways?

Go Time

Funny things about breakthroughs, they seem brilliant in the moment as they’re spawning, but the next morning they tend to dim and tarnish.  This is my attempt to stop that.

It was one of those self condemning moments, where I was fighting with myself over my lack of confidence in my wip, and how I’d rather start a new project, one I could feel better, one I could fall in love with, but why can’t I finish the first one… when it hit me, make yourself fall in love with this one.  Give it what your heart is missing in it.  Duh. 

And then came the cast iron pan over the head… make yourself do it.  Do IT.  Seems simple enough, unless you’re raising young children, five million animals, a garden on a rocky ridge, landscaping and trying to remodel your home, and, and, and… 

I keep waiting for the right time, but truth is, there will never be a right time.  And I need this done for me.  Forget showing anyone else, I need to show myself.  I need the proof.  ME. 

I need to do this, before my inner voice wins and says I can’t do it at all.  And I can’t look to others to lean on.  So here we go, or here I go, and here it goes. 

One month is what I’m giving myself.  Unreasonable?  Probably.  One month to finish this round of edits, and hopefully get some critiques.  I will be writing my queries in July… no matter what.  Even if my inner voice is screaming at me to quit.  This is it. 

And I’m not so sure how I will be able to keep up with the blogging and everything else during this time, but I can’t worry about that, not too much.  Okay so I’ll probably be worrying a lot about it all.

Do you have a goal you’ve been avoiding that you want to crack down on?

Do you have tips, hints and advice that might help me or others make this happen?

Do you need my address so you can send me lots of encouragement, chocolate and coffee?  (I need pretty office stuffs too, maybe some flower and new tunes)

Do you want to guest blog for me so  don’t have to neglect this space for too long?

~In the Storms~

Life happens.  When it rains it pours and sometimes you get gail force winds right on top of everything else.  Things can really suck. 

It’s hard to not look back over the past year and a half and to not get depressed.  Disappearing family, broken homes, two family dogs lost, emergency surgery, cancer, seizures, bills, migraines, devastating tornadoes,  it rains, it rains, it rains, it pours. 

I need stock in Kleenex and wine. 

Life can be so jaded, so complex that we forget about the blessings, the good times, all the days that happened, the moments in between the tears. 

Like this weekend, the memory of driving through a deadly storm to get to my dog… how did it erase the night before, less than 24 hours before, of dancing all night with my husband and my kids, singing together, twirling, laughing, and falling down.  The kind of night that made me wake with a smile.  I’ll never forget the loss of that weekend… but I don’t want to forget the gains. 

Kids blowing bubbles, toes in a lake, smiles, hugs, a new reader proud and beaming, playing pretend, a perfect loaf of sourdough, working together, sitting under the stars, warm fires, tree frogs singing….

Getting back up when your heart is too weak to stand. 

Letting yourself fall apart to start with.

I’m convinced living is about every single moment, about letting yourself feel all the pains that surround you and choosing to keep going.  It’s not about the telling yourself you have no right to hurt because others have it worse, it’s about feeling every inch of your own grief and allowing it, because it is yours.  It’s about seizing every second that’s given to you, every bump, every smile.  It’s all about putting yourself back together and facing it all again. 

 

There will always be rain, the storms might always be on the horizon, but I’d rather be out there taking pictures, flying a kite, than hiding away in the basement.

*All pictures are my own.  Taken on Good Friday of last year when several tornadoes hit St.Louis, devestating many lives and shutting down Lambert Airport.

Getting Back On

Look, I'm in an actual photo! And yes there was a horse at my wedding.

I fell off of a horse once. 

Honestly I actually didn’t “fall”  I think more accurately I was more so flung into the air.  You’d have to ask my friend who had the bright idea of teaching me to ride WITHOUT using the stirrups, I was too busy trying not to die to see what exactly happened. 

And even more honestly it was all the fault of the brilliant wanna-be-cowboy who thought it would be a genius idea to jump onto my horse (a trained western rodeo, used to be a bucking bronco type of horse) from the round-pen fence while we were cantering.

My horse didn’t think any of this was too neat and decided to show US his skills from back in the day.  One tiny buck, two tiny bucks, one real buck which ended with me on the ground seeing tracers of my hand.  (Which is really fun to play with IF people aren’t freaking out around you)

After I was done playing with the tracers and laughing about the small dent in my helmet I rushed over to my horse, and with shaky knees got right back on.

That was easy.

It wasn’t so easy to get back on the horse that chased me down in a field with a whole famous western scene stallion rearing up with the sunset behind him.  Yeah.  His name was Freckles.  He should be glue.

I’ve also stayed FAR away from the horse that tried to kill me with me on her back, while my dog training instructor giggled, “How’d you manage to stay on her?” 

Fear.  Pure fear, that’s how I stayed on, and friggen thighs of steel. 

You fall off you get back on.  The fear may not disappear but you get back on, unless the horse’s name is Lucy or Freckles, then you just stay the hell away, but normally you get back on.

So what do you do when your brain, your conscience, your self-esteem is the big scary horse that threw you into a brick wall?

You brush the horse poop bad thoughts off of you, take a picture of the dent in your helmet laugh off the hurt, tighten the reins and dig your feet securely into the stirrups.  You Get Back On. 

Even if you have to ask for a boost from a friend.

Even if you need a shot of liquid courage first.

Even if it requires an entire bottle of Advil.

Even if you shouldn’t.

You get back on.

And yes I might be repeating a theme from the last post.  Deal with it.  It is THAT important.

I still don’t think or believe that I have the talent for this whole “writing” deal.  I still think my book should have a date with my goat’s stomach, but I’ve never been the type to let anything get the best of me, even if it’s a horse that’s 5 billion times bigger than me or a dog that sent me to the er after he thought my flesh would make a tasty snack. 

How scary could a little book be?  Certainly no scarier than a hoof to the hip, or a 70 pound Belgian Malinois with a grudge. 

Shakey knees, butterfly filled stomach, and a billion pounds of doubt and all, I am getting back on.

What fears are you facing?

~Just Start~

Today feels different.  There’s a flavor in the air that screams something about this new month needs to be different.  But how?

My wants are all conflicting with my needs, and it’s like my brain is ready to commit on goals if only I knew where to start.

And I suppose the great secret in life is just to start.

Even if it’s in the wrong place.

Even if you shouldn’t.

Even when you don’t want to.

New starts, fresh starts.  Saying yes.  Opening doors.  Building Bridges. 

Just Start.

What paths are you afraid to set out on?  What’s holding you back?

Whatcha gonna do about it?

101 in 365

I’m a list maker, a list lover even.  I could make list about list for list all dang day long.  But every year I TRY to make a master list, a challenge of sorts.  101 things I’d like to get done over the next year.  Nothing serious, nothing strict, no actual deadlines or set agendas… just a wish list of a to-do list.  Here’s this year’s list:

  1. Finish the headboard project for the master bedroom.
  2. Perfect a sourdough loaf of any kind.
  3. Finish knitting an afghan for the living room.
  4. Finish edits on “Denali” first draft.
  5. Go camping without the kids.
  6. Go camping with the kids.
  7. Build a new chicken coop.
  8. Learn how to can veggies.
  9. Stock up wood for next winter.
  10. Re-do the boy’s room.
  11. Afghan for the boy.
  12. Make/use/perfect homemade shampoo.
  13. Re-finish dining room hutch.
  14. Re-finish basement stairs.
  15. Build a seed rack.
  16. Re-do the goat hut.
  17. Fence in the garden.
  18. Write a short story.
  19. Enter a writing contest.
  20. Make a quilt for the master bedroom.
  21. Re-do the bathroom.
  22. Create/keep an exercise routine.
  23. Start a gratitude journal.
  24. Make homemade pasta.
  25. Finish tearing down the old pool area.
  26. Come up with a remodel plan for the kitchen.
  27. Finish and USE a control journal.
  28. Go hunting with the husband.
  29. Re-do the girl’s room.
  30. Make washrags for the kitchen/stop buying and throwing away sponges.
  31. Create a picture wall in the dining room.
  32. Finish kids’ hutch.
  33. Finish the “Martha Cave”.
  34. Make skirts for the girl.
  35. Re-finish the dining room table and chairs.
  36. Clean out the basement.
  37. Re-create/move the pond area to the left side of the deck.
  38. Strip down the “yellow wallpaper”.
  39. Make and use menu plans.
  40. Go fishing.
  41. Read 15 books. (current count for the year 3)
  42. Finish my friend’s website.
  43. Learn about and plan meat chickens.
  44. Research cheese making.
  45. Make homemade laundry detergent.
  46. Visit family in Minnesota.
  47. Till up three more garden plots.
  48. Finish basement bathroom.
  49. De-clutter property from precious owners’ crud.
  50. Grow a herb garden.
  51. Dry and store homegrown herbs.
  52. Write a poem.
  53. Have kids create artwork for the house.
  54. Knit scarves and hats for everyone.
  55. Make a rag rug.
  56. Make and USE seed markers.
  57. Create and USE a garden journal.
  58. Re-plant, and re-build the shade garden alongside the house.
  59. Clean out and organize all closets.
  60. Stock the deep freeze.
  61. Research good sources for meat.
  62. Create a kids’ garden and play area.
  63. Plan an “orchard”, start working on.
  64. Go on a road-trip.
  65. Re-finish hallway.
  66. Treat the deck.
  67. Install screen doors.
  68. Read the bible, again.
  69. Build a wood rack thing.
  70. Gravel the garden paths.
  71. Make something clothing like for me.
  72. Plan an etsy store.
  73. Learn how to make real soap.
  74. Find a church.
  75. Write letters and cards to friends.
  76. Plan/aim for more date nights with the husband.
  77. Build agility equipment.
  78. Make a scrapbook.
  79. Make cloth napkins.
  80. Plant berry bushes.
  81. Plan/Build a potting shed.
  82. Organize, sort and purge decorations.
  83. Clean out stumps/brush piles/ and old rotten trees.
  84. Learn how to fix my hair in ways other than the stay at home mom ponytail.
  85. Learn how to make Bagels and Donuts.
  86. Re-do kitchen.
  87. Pretty-up the deck and entrance.
  88. Research and make herbal, natural facial products.
  89. Make a “dream” journal for the house, with detailed to-do list, pictures and shopping list.
  90. Quit “bad habits”.
  91. Plan and start saving for a “Denali” vacation.
  92. Make a new outdoor fire pit.
  93. Teach the boy to do dishes!
  94. Teach the boy to take care of his own laundry- put away clean, gather dirties.
  95. Potty train the girl.
  96. Have more company.
  97. Make a master recipe binder.
  98. De-Clutter paper junk.
  99. Finish 31-days to clean.
  100. Learn how to knit a sweater.
  101. Finish everything on this list before I die.  ;p

Obviously this won’t all happen in only 365 days, not unless I win the lottery, and hire a crew of 50 men servants (’cause “slaves” is not pc).  But that’s not the point.  The point is to see how much you can get done, and to not get overwhelmed with starting projects that aren’t on the list.  Things can always be moved to next year’s list (except for potty training, that’s a must, lol).  I’ll be updating as the year goes on, and I’d love to see what your master list would look like!  Please try it out and link up with what you’d like to get done!