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Are You There Self?

Internal locus of control or external locus of control… that is the question. (a.k.a. are you motivated by outside influences or your own drive) I once wrote a college paper on this subject and was completely anxiety riddled at the amount of research and the new (to me) format that I was required to learn in a very short time frame. I had written only a couple of 10 page papers in high school that were always essay style. My first college paper was a 15 pager in APA format that I had never encountered before. It was a hurdle to be sure. I did piles of research and yes, my outline was 100% essay but when I sat down to actually write I cranked it out in 2 days more or less ( in between other classes). I have never been more proud of an A before. And I still wonder how much I actually understood what I wrote. 🙄

Today the question still pops up in my mind. What motivates me? What is driving the machine that is me? Do I allow whatever others think to cause me to act? Am I operating in my own best interest? And the greater question still, am I living in a way that is motivated by a love for God?

I am by nature curious and introspective. I want to live my best life – all the way. So, I am always thinking about my current methods and what does and doesn’t work to achieve that. Recently I went through a very dark time. I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I had certainly been leaning that way. My body was sapped. I had allowed my lack of personal boundaries and self care to deteriorate me to the point that I was in a horrible state of mind mentally and constantly fatigued. I felt like I was living only to fill others needs. I slept a LOT. As in, if it wasn’t necessary I did not leave my bed. I still loved my family and helping others but my body quit giving and I was flat out tired of other people’s needs ALWAYS being first. To make matters worse, I often found out that those who alway seemed to need something could have very easily completed the task without me. I needed to find my value. I needed to care about me.

Selfish? No, I just needed myself. Everyone else had gotten my help but there was precious little coming back my direction. Something had to change.

And so I did the unthinkable. I quit giving. I stopped being available. I said no. Did I like it? No, it killed me to turn people down. I wanted to go to every birthday and donate at every fundraiser and volunteer at every function. But I began to set limits. Right away my family balked. How dare I not take them here, or fetch this or make that! What a horrible person I was for allowing them to suffer natural consequences as a result of their own thoughtlessness! How selfish of me to make room for my needs in the family budget!

And the horror continued….I stepped back at work, I requested help for seemingly simple things, I relaxed, I rested, I began to heal. I got a lot of questioning glances and a few persistent requests until I finally just said I’m not available all year. I had hung the do not disturb sign over my face and I began the task of rebuilding my health and sanity. And you know what? Everyone survived without me.

My husband is the opposite of me in so many ways. But we both are driven from the inside. His motor runs quite a bit slower than mine but when we are focused on what is important to us it WILL be accomplished. I love that we are both doers. But I had to reestablish my boundary lines even in our marriage. I had to be more careful with myself. In every relationship I drew lines. Some just got the axe all together. I’m not investing where there are no returns. Sorry, it’s nothing personal, I just don’t have the physical energy or the head space for it. After the hormonal tornado that I’ve been through I can see how people can “snap”. Good people, under too much pressure. Too many outside ideas and needs pushing out the person inside.

Recently I had an opportunity to test how firm my boundaries were. I was dumped into a situation and called the offender out. A highly volatile offender to boot. Did I bend? No, I didn’t. I was actually kind of proud of myself. I stood up for me. I valued my time and my rest. I was not going to be forced into doing another person’s duty simply because they wanted me to. Nope, not anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to help. I want to be a part and give all I can-just not to the detriment of my own well being. If you are a born people pleaser then it might be time to re-evaluate. Sooner rather than later. I can tell you from experience it’s not pretty when you omit self care for too long. I hope this helps someone.

Questions for self evaluation:

What is important to you?

What do you value?

Who/what gives back in your life?

How can you invest in yourself a little each day?

What are your limits?

Love,

Veronica

*disclaimer*

If you know me personally – don’t take this personally!❤️

If you know me well, I think you’ll see it for what it is❤️

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Fair?

This week is fair week. That might mean nothing to many people. But for us that means we are hauling our selves and our goats ( along with all necessary food and gear) to the local fair grounds so our animals and kids can show their stuff. It’s fun, dirty, hot and exasperating all in the same dry and windy breath.

As a show mom it is my primary responsibility to have all kids ( human and animal) fully prepared to do their best. Well, surgery kinda laid me out this year so I was a little weak on the giddy up. No matter, here we are – we made it! We stuck it out and are ready to compete. Saturday will be the auction and it can’t get here fast enough for this mama!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the very essence of animal husbandry and 4H has my whole heart. But, … let’s be real- it has me wanting to kick all my kids out and hide myself in a dark closet where no one can find me. Except maybe the Schwann’s man…and only if he’s delivering those silver dollar bars.

Let me introduce you to the cast of characters for fair 2019 starting with the 4 legged kids:

*Spike* if you could imagine a laid back Cali cool surfer dude in the form of a goat that would be Spike. He loves everybody man! He’s chillax to the max and loves hugs. He’s my favorite and I don’t mind admitting it. My only regret is that market animals have a short life span. Sorry dude, you will be missed!

*Fighty* Mike Tyson who? Fighty has entered the ring! Got food? He’ll fight you for it! Got hay? He’ll fight you for that too! Opening the gate? You guessed it! He’ll fight to be first out….unless, of course he doesn’t want to go out and then he will fight you to stay in. The winner for most consternating attitude goes to Fighty! Yup, everyone is a winner here! 😝 Good thing you’re cute kid!

*Skidder* This is the first time I have encountered a goat with anxiety. Skidder prefers to be restrained in a stall. The more secure the better. In fact, he will voluntarily jump on the grooming stand to be strapped down. It’s the only time he stops hyperventilating….drama much? Oh Skidder…. He also got his name from his habit of falling flat on the ground when you walk him and then going completely bezerk when you try to lift him back up. Skidder won’t be missed😏

Now for the 2 legged kids-

*Boy child of 16 years* Headstrong and physically strong this young male specimen is showing signs of independence and a distinct parting of ways from the matriarchal system. (Read: won’t listen to his mother) in all fairness he is maturing and growing daily. We have had many talks …. a few lectures…. and have learned a lot about each other this year. I’m taking the win here and leaving the goats totally out of the equation. Boom, #winning

*Girl child of 14 years* This lady is observant and able to get by nearly on her own. She sees what goes on and learns from others without much instruction. Which is good because she is also teening out on me at times and not always so receptive to mother’s suggestions *ahem!* I’m pretty proud of her and all that she is learning. Again, win.

*Girl child of 10 years* Um…..well, this one is a first year 4Her and acts like she’s got this thing. She was giving the big kids tips and reminders. I had to remind her that she had never done this before. Didn’t faze her. She is a cocky little bugger. My greatest task with her will be to point her in the right direction and keep the reins in hand.🙄 For her performance really isn’t a concern. Life is her party and she gets freebies from all the booths and candy galore. She’s thrilled. Win.

The problem is….. I am highly competitive. And a perfectionist (albeit I have been somewhat reformed). And I came into this deal with zero experience. Like, I had a cat for a few months once when I was a kid. So, all in all the deck was entire stacked against me. Add to that an antsy teenage son who spends a lot of time out of the house on odd jobs, a major surgery (mine), and 2 out of 3 animals that were impossible even on their good days. 🙄 And have I mentioned that I live in a small town and I know my friends kids are also our competition. It’s tough to smile at your friends successes when your pride is wounded. But we do because we are beyond proud of “our” kids. In this community we consider those who live here our own. And my children honestly don’t care. They see their gains and are content. They humble me and teach me each year that the goal is growth. Gosh, I’m a blessed lady!

So, while I maybe going prematurely gray and legally insane, we are growing, learning and making gains with each new project and venture.

So if you asked me:

Is it hard? Yes.

Does it make me want to run away and hide? Yes.

Is it worth it? YES

Put your kids in 4H folks! You won’t regret it! (Mostly)

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Oh, the Irony

I have been spending some time “yardening” as I call it. My garden (vegetable) has yet to become this season and so my efforts have been purely of an aesthetic nature. Weed, fertilize, plant, prune and water. As I putter around and fuss with the sprinkler I can’t help but giggle at myself. I’m basically trying to control nature on my plot of dirt. This sectioned off piece of land that I call my property, which was someone else’s before me, is being sprayed and mulched and molded to my liking. But you know what? Every time I think I have all the weeds eradicated those filthy buggers pop right up again. I can’t help but smile ( a little) at the sheer tenacity and the force of nature. Adam’s curse come to life, right here in my front yard.

I think of creation and how we are formed. We are not the creator, we are the creature. And in our frailty we are still curators and cultivators. If I let my yard go it would run rampant in no time. And so I pluck away at the never ceasing weeds. Here we live and tend to our little things as if we have control. Who am I to tell this plant that it is unwanted? Who am I to force this one to grow? And yet we do just that. Irony at its best.

If you have never grown a garden you really should. It may not be a success but you will learn a lot! One thing I have learned, and there are many more besides, is that you are never in control. Ever. Not even a little bit. Crazy, right? Another crazy thing I’ve learned is that it’s ok and actually preferred to release all pretense of control. The less we hold tightly to in this life the more we are free to live. Forcing a flower to bloom when you want it to isn’t going to happen but with some care and attention that flower will blossom in it’s season and be the gem of the garden.

There is a wonderful message titled “Let it Unfold” that gets me every time I listen to it. Every time one of my roses bloom it is a reminder to keep tending my garden but to remember who really opens the blossoms.

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What’s On Your Mind?

Wow! It has been a while since my last post. I have been busy doing stuff and busy doing nothing in the last few weeks. By nothing I mean gardening, napping, reading and generally enjoying my summer break.

There is something that has been weighing on me lately. I’m not sure what others think of me and frankly it’s none of my business but I often wonder what would happen if I actually spoke all the things that come to mind (within reason). So many times there is a flittering spark of a thought that dances through my mind and in a moments hesitation it is gone. I once read that if a thought is not “married” with an action within 30 seconds the thought will not be acted upon at all. Wow, 30 seconds is all it takes to kill an action that just very well may change the course of your life. The impact of that is huge.

I’m by nature a cautious creature. Wary and hesitant. But I also want to live a full life and reach my utmost potential. I want to leave this world happy and secure of my final destination and knowing that somewhere along the way I made a difference in someone else’s life. And so I am at odds with myself most of the time.

In the midst of this I know God is working on me. His voice is ever calling me to be just a bit braver and step one more foot forward. How lovely it is to walk with Him. I cannot be who I am destined to be unless I trust in my maker and His plan.

How small we really are when we think of the vast universe. I recently took a trip and while driving home the rolling hills were criss crossed with roads. The cars motoring along reminded me so much of ants crawling over an ant hill that it made me giggle. Is this how God sees us as He peers down from above?

And yet I know that we are so precious to Him. He loves and cares for us. He watches and guides us. He heals, changes and helps us. I’m ready to see what He has in store next.

Whatever your journey entails I urge you to do the things, live a big life and give it your all❤️ I’ll be over here cheering you on as I endeavor to do the same!

A camellia I picked at my grandparents house shortly after their passing. This flower will always remind me of time spent at their home.
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Elvis Has Left The Building

My cat Elvis is quite the character. He loves to snuggle and trip you while you walk. He often perches on the windowsill to watch me do dishes (on the outside). He has yet to realize that his recent poundage is not simply that luxurious fluff that he wears for a coat (he is half long hair). He will sometimes lose his footing on the narrow ledge while watching me do said dishes. *cue dramatic cat yowl, scrambling paws followed by a dull thump* No, he has never been seriously injured but thank you for your concern.

With all that I love him dearly. He is smart and comical. And a big sissy la-la who whines about everything. Seriously, he used to steal food from his mother well into adolescence even AFTER she caught him his own mouse. If he sees you through the window headed toward the door- ANY door- he will meet you there and dart as quick as he can through your feet to get inside and get another snack. Unfortunately, he can only stay in the pantry or the laundry room as I am allergic to cats….go figure. If I do not pet them or pick them up I am fine but the minute I start ruffling fur I am in trouble.

Elvis and I have learned to live with it though. I let him stay in the laundry room which has a large glass window panel. I “pet” him through the glass. Basically, I put my hand on one side of the glass and he rubs his head on the other side. Sort of like visiting hours if you know what I mean.

Anyhow, I love his crazy furry self and he loves me. That’s all that really matters. And since he has no social media I sure as shootin’ am going to do my best to get a video of the narrow window sill episode. That is something you do not want to miss!

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Hey everyone!

So I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Truth is I’m not all that energetic sometimes. But today I am a happy girl! Yesterday I had a procedure done to check out everything in my abdomen. It went pretty well and I think we are moving forward. By this time next year I hope to be fully charged and back on track!

Without further ado I will share what else has been keeping me busy:

*Decluttering

*Streamlining chores and other ” must do” tasks

*Completing small house projects to improve function and / or efficiency

*Self care ( much harder and more time consuming than I would have guessed)

*Keeping up with appointments for my kids and myself

*Staying connected to far awayfamily and friends ( also sometimes difficult when you start phone tagging)

*Scheduling writing projects ( not so successful here)

In short, I’m trying to get my life together 😄 Well, I’m just trying to make things more manageable around here. I know people do not consider hobby farms to be anything like real farming. And its not but its still work to keep up animals, homes and property. And if you are like me and lacking your usual spunk (albeit temporarily) it can feel like a mountain.

So I’m living lighter and I have never enjoyed myself more. I’m starting to breathe easier and love more freely and edit whatever is not benefiting me. Whether it be time wasters, clutter and even relationships that bring me down.

Change is never easy but as I give myself permission to let go I’m finding a stronger trust in God and a greater ability to live in a mindset of abundance. I am truly blessed.

I thank you all for taking time to read my little blog. One of my main goals is to become more faithful and schedule more posts in the future!

Love to all,

Have a beautiful day!

Veronica

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Sanity for the School Hustle

For those of you who have your lives all pulled together I applaud you. I don’t know how you do it! I seem to be one hot mess after another but that’s all fixing to change.

On a positive note, I did find my sign. And it’s absolutely true. Every word.

I’ve been about the business of simplifying life lately. If its not useful in my life RIGHT NOW I just don’t want it up in my space anymore. So what’s a scatter brained gal who is trying to improve her quality of life supposed to do beyond the basic decluttering? I’m So glad you asked! Ok, so maybe you didn’t but I’m going to tell you anyway! 😄

Currently I have reduced my clothing options into a capsule( ish) wardrobe as seen here:

Which should help get me dressed much quicker without looking like a slob. Nice, right?

I have also bought a new planner that has more writing space to give me room for detailed planning. I ended up getting more of a student planner as I will be using this for my lessons as well as personal appointments. Have I mentioned how many appointments I have missed this past year? No? Well, I would tell you but I kinda lost track…..😶

Next on the simplify list is my menu board. I down sized for the actual board size but the process is the same. Make a plan and work it! You have to know what is happening for dinner when everyone is hungry and nobody (including mama) is wanting to figure out what to put on the table.

Finally, my trio of kitchen helpers helps me to make a plan for healthy meals and stick to it!

I just bought a veggie Spiralizer so I can have delicious noodles without the gluten. Yes, please! If I didn’t already have a dinner plan I would be using this bad boy right now😀

Next is my adorably wonderful time saving genius of a product….instant pot, I love you! This guy is the Farberware version which I like for the nonstick surface on the liner.

And to round out our kitchen trio I recently purchased a cookbook that promises to deliver quality breakfasts, lunches, dinners AND snacks!!! Yes, I said snacks. All designed for the school year hustle. Um, sign me up!

It is appropriately titled ‘The School Year Survival Cook Book’.

As the school year rolls on I’m sure there will be a refining process as we settle into a routine. I don’t know about you but this gal is ready to get some sanity back in the schedule.

What are your top tips to keep things running smoothly?

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Living Lighter

I’ve been vigorously decluttering for the past couple of months and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can also think more clearly and make decisions more easily. It’s been great! I also learned more about myself (and my family) along the way. It makes me think about who we really are when I sort through the things we collect.

I seem to have a very strong attachment to first aid kits. As in, I had at least 4 of them….( not counting the extras for camping). I have down sized to 2 kits (one for camping and 1 for the car) and sorted what was useful to be left in my cupboard at home. That may seem odd but the truth is I absolutely love bandaging up booboos and being prepared for any emergency. Yep, I’m the lady who always has a bandaid or cough drop or Tylenol when you need it!

My husband seems to have an envelope fetish. I’m really not sure why any one person needs to have 300 envelopes at any given time but maybe he’s secretly a collector. I asked him about it and he’s not sure either. Its a mystery…. He also owns a LOT of wire. Like big 50-100 lb spools of wire. I know nothing about computers or electricity but he tells me its invaluable for such things and to keep-my-decluttering-mits-off-of-it-thank-you-very-much! *sigh* I guess everything has its limits.

Daughter #1 is as neat and tidy as can be. She keeps all her things in order and regularly purges all her drawers. She also stole all my matching white hangers with the rubber grips…I guess its a price I’m willing to pay for not having to nag at least one of my kids! Yes, she is the middle child and truly falls into her role.

The boy is more or less a train wreck. But an organized one. He is a “piler” and he knows where his things are for the most part but nobody else could possibly make sense of his system. I gave his room a complete overhaul while he was at camp and set up little areas in his room for his various projects. He plays his guitar in a comfy chair and he repairs/builds small r.c. motors at his desk. He reads a bit too. True to form he is a bit scattered in his ways but I think he appreciated that I thought out what his needs/wants were. Each activity was given a zone and appropriate storage. I hope it lasts!

Daughter #2 was a walking disaster. She can destroy a room in nothing flat. I guess its the “baby” syndrome. For her I had to start from the ground up. I gutted her room (there were 6 trash bags of unneeded items!). Then we had to do a whole learning process. I asked her a few questions to find out why she was struggling so much. She just couldn’t reach the hanging bar in the closet very well and was over run with toys! Oh, and blankets…she’s the one with the blanky obsession and being the “baby” she is the snuggler of the 3. Anyhow, we went with the dresser for nearly all of her clothes and greatly reduced her toys and blankets. I did daily reminders for about a week for her to make time to tidy up and… BOOM! She’s got this.

I’m no minimalist. Not even close! But I have learned that less is more. I love cleared surfaces and now if an item is going to have a place in my home its going to have to work hard to keep it! Bye-bye clutter home and cluttered life!

If you are feeling overwhelmed and things just seem to keep piling up clearing out a drawer or 2 is pretty good therapy! And its free! Who knows, if you sell a few things you might even come out ahead!

Have a great Saturday!

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Get It Together Woman!

So I have been a busy bee lately. I am currently on summer break and while I would love to read all day and lounge in the sun (ok, maybe I did that for a couple of weeks already) I am feeling an urgent need to simplify life.

Let’s be honest, things can get harry sometimes. For me that looks like a wild woman running around 9.7 acres trying to keep 2 cows, 20 chickens, 4 goats, 5 cats, 1 dog, 3 kids and 1 husband from destroying everything. Yeah, you can see how well that might work. So I have started clearing the clutter in a major way. Like, they know I’m coming to the thrift store EVERY. DAY. (to donate, not shop)

I’ve decided to keep only what is useful in my life RIGHT NOW. Not in a few years or even a few months. I do have seasonal things but I’m not holding onto the “just in case” items. No more unfinished projects lying around. Not more “maybe it will fit me” or “it was such a great deal”. If it doesn’t add value to my life in some way it’s out the door!

Guess what I found in those closets and boxes? Stuff that I never wanted in the first place! Weird right? Who in their right mind would even bring this stuff home? Um…..this girl! I am always on the look out for a project and I have found that my creative nature sees the possibility in EVERYTHING. This is all well and good when you want to remodel or maybe repurpose something, not so great when you are taking a slow meander through a yard sale and you are chock out of storage.

In the past week I have taken an average of 3 bags to the thrift store every day. That may not seem like a lot but remember this is DAILY for a weeks worth of days. I have also filled the large trash can outside 3 times. It holds about 6 bags of trash and we usually have at least 2 bags of garbage in a week.

The result? I feel so much lighter. I can see what I have and what is important to me. I don’t feel overwhelmed or weighted down by stuff. I like my rooms. Every one of them! I can easily find things and get them out because I know just where they are!

We had a real struggle with our move to this new place last year and we have had to just let things be and learn the ‘lay of the land’ for that time. We have done a lot and made many changes but it’s just now starting to feel like home and I am just so thankful for the space of time to get things to a point that I feel like is manageable. I love where I live and I wouldn’t trade it for anything but this girl has got to get organized!

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Project Season

Here was my little project yesterday afternoon:

As you can see I had a little fun getting my little corner looking a bit better. My crusty mailbox had lost the ability to stay closed and the numbers were a joke. It was time! I cleared some sod, edged it and added a few flowers with a ladder trellis.

The honeysuckle and hollyhocks get to climb the ladder in the back and in the front I have a lavender plant on one side and a white flowering ground cover one the other. Rock chunks courtesy of my dilapidated side walk. I can’t wait for it to grow in!

The thing that really struck me though is that a year ago (or even a few months ago) I wouldn’t have been able to complete something like this. I was exhausted and my mind had no order or clarity. I was in a fatigue so deep that I ran strictly on autopilot and anything that took any amount of problem solving was beyond my capabilities. I am thankful once again for my doctor and the things that have helped me along.

And I do hope the mail carrier has an easier time of dropping off our mail!

Wishing you a spring full of lovely projects and new possibilities!