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Spring on a start-up

Hey Folks! Oh my goodness, it has been so long since I have had the time to sit down and catch you all up. I remember a little while back, when I was feeling like my business growth was quite stagnant. I remember asking my husband if he was ready, because we may be stagnant now, but when God decides it is time, it will drop in our laps so fast. Even as I said that very statement, I did not fully grasp just how fast and wonderfully heavy it would fall. The last couple months, since we moved into our larger home, have been phenomenal in business growth, but the last month has been indescribable! Every single day I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and more and more affirmations that it is time fall into my lap. Hubby and I both running 14 hour days, and I often wonder if there will ever be a day that I have the dishes, laundry, mowing and business work all done in one day. Still, what is happening to us is amazing. I am certainly not complaining. I will take this exhaustion with gratitude. As much as I hate to admit it, I have become a solicitor. I have been sending out solicitations, and getting a pretty decent response. I have had a bank offer us a donation, before we even asked. I am getting the non-profit status paperwork together and increasing my clientele list through local networking. Building the board of advisors is a daunting task, but it coming along beautifully and it seems that God is putting all the right people in my life at the right times. As active as He has been in my life, I wonder how He has any time left for anyone else? So when I see the evil one trying to meddle, I just start belting out at the top of my lungs, “JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW”.  Funny story, I had this experience mowing the lawn a couple days ago, and I can only imagine what the people driving by were thinking as they passed my little ranch and hear one very out of tune young woman screaming Jesus loves me at the top of her voice, you know, so He could hear me over the mower :).  There is just no way you can scream in tune. I have been paired up with a low income family to mentor for the next year through a local homeless network, and I love it! I definitely feel it is training for the next step on the ranch. The bee’s are just lovely, we couldn’t be happier with our decision. The biggest surprise is how much these children look forward to any opportunity they get to check them out and work with them, and we have requested donations of beekeeping supplies and suits so that they may really dig in. To see these Autistic spectrum kids digging in the garden, planting tomatoes, tending bee’s. It makes my heart so warm. My eyes fill with tears at random moments as I am overwhelmed by the beauty and simplicity of it.

I take great wonder in people’s perspectives as I hear over and over again “You work with special needs teens? you are a very special person”. The irony in that is that I am so much more comfortable with special needs kids than I am with typical children. I have great wonder and awe for people who have the patience to work with typical kids. Special needs kids are so much more transparent in many ways. They are not trying to manipulate you, rarely struggling to find a balance between growing up and staying a child. They just let you know what they need, and if you provide it, all is well. The hard part is really just learning to interpret their language, and that is as easy as learning sign language or Spanish, and quite frankly, easier in many cases. I found myself quite hurt last week when my insurance company told me that there are no underwriters for special needs businesses. Are you kidding me? Latest research says that one in fifty children is now on the autistic spectrum. How can there be no insurance, and really, aren’t these children less likely to hurt themselves than a child who is out being an average child, experimenting with all the evils that adolescence places in their paths? I figured “that can’t be true”, there are tons of special needs businesses, as a matter of fact, I volunteered at an Equine therapeutic riding center for years. How do they get insurance, so I called them. What they told me is that the only way they were able to get insurance by going through a specialty company that only serves non-profits. That is unfortunate as it takes 6-12 months for the IRS to grant 501 (3)(c) status after receiving your application, and jeepers creepers that application is nearly a cool grand! Youch!

Meanwhile, solicitations really are helping tremendously, but while it is easy to talk people into donating a little item here and there, finding actual cash funding which would allow for scholarships for low income families, proves more difficult. Thankfully I have an excellent support network, and much help doing things like getting the articles of incorporation in the exact right wording for the first submission, so it doesn’t get kicked back to me time and time again. Connections to clients is also key, and that is coming together nicely.

Something is going wrong at our local post office, and much important mail is being returned to sender, even though address and name have been confirmed, and I am fearful I will miss something important, so I believe that a PO box is in order. There are so many little costs with starting a new business, and boy do they add up quickly. I just keep praying.

Had a couple teeth pulled on Monday. I feel like I have been on a fast, just liquids for the first few days. Yesterday I finally broke down and went for the solids. I tried a few bites of a scrambled egg, and later a few bites of macaroni and cheese, and it was soooooo nice to have solids going into my belly, but oh so painful on those empty tooth sockets. Worth it! My belly has not been full in days and I have no idea how people live on juice alone. I would crack! Protein is so hard to get in a natural form when you can’t eat solids, and I crave protein so badly! Lots of yogurt in my life this week, and peanut butter. Another observation, most liquid foods are sweet. I sure wish God would have given us a liquid or soft version of steak! I think I am officially burnt out on sweet, even healthy sweet. Even peanut butter feels like a sweet to me at this point.  I find myself craving cottage cheese. And quite frankly, the biggest observation I have noted, is that we are meant to chew. My chew muscles are mad at me and they want a job! Particularly one that requires mastication.

And so, the rescue ranch is taking off and receiving much support from the community, the resources keep pouring in, and the doors keep opening. When satan tries to meddle, I slam a door in his face and start belting out my worship songs. I have armor that he cannot defeat. I am confident in that and it makes me feel so strong. So protected. I must remind myself to not take this protection for granted.

Getting those abscessed teeth out finally has energized me. My entire body feels different. Fresher. cleaner. The business I have been working for for so long is finally blossoming right here and now, and it feels amazing.

Thanks for being patient with me as I post my journeys. Many blessings all! Till next time…

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Its official!

Yay! Today is a day to celebrate. Today is the day I officially became the registered owner of Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch. The business license is final and I feel that today is a landmark day in my life. So thrilled that this is all happening so fast now that we have found the space we need. It’s a wonderful affirmation of God’s intentions for me to see it falling into place so smoothly. Things are going well. Obviously, finances are always tight when you are trying to start a new business venture, but I just keep praying and knowing He will provide a way! I am now in the process of looking for grants to get some of these programs really moving. Its a tedious task, there are so many out there, but so many restrictions in each one. Also, it costs money to apply for grants. Just small handling fees, but every 7 or 10 dollars I spend registering for a grant is 7 or 10 dollars I don’t have for rescue ranch supplies. Its a tough balance, and since I cant remember ever winning anything in my life, I really have a hard time investing in grants. It feels a bit like buying lottery tickets, I may as well burn my money or flush it down the toilet. I hope God proves me wrong. I have put in for two grants and a wish program from Intuit, as well as registering for things like the Mother Earth News chicken coop giveaway. One thing I am really struggling with is  how to finance single moms. I have a mother who has called me twice, and is in desperate need of respite care. I want desperately to offer her services, but I simply cannot afford to feed an extra mouth these days. This house increased our cost of living a lot. It opened numerous doors that allow us to grow, but the getting established part makes me wish money grew on trees. So many needs. How does one go about getting a fund set up to cover the costs of providing care to a child just because her mom desperately needs the help? Where does the money for that come from. Finding things for the ranch, that is not too bad. We can source most things used for free or cheap, not all though.  I have placed a request with a local bee supply company for some of the necessary supplies for the bees, and suits so that the children who visit can participate too. Still waiting to hear back and hoping that the delayed response means that they are considering my request. There is an overwhelming need for many things to get this rescue ranch really able to serve the greater community, but on a small level it really is taking off. I am in the process of registering my services with several organizations in the area who work with special needs and autistic kids, in an attempt to reach out for more respite clients.

I started this post days ago, but life has been so incredibly springtime busy that it may take me days to accomplish this one. The business is coming along so nicely, and I can feel the hand of God in my life every day as I move forward with this business. I had to turn away a defeated single mother the other day and it broke my heart. She needed emergency services at the last minute, and I was already booked, but I think all she heard was I can’t help you, rather than the I can’t help you right this minute but lets get a meeting scheduled so I can in the future. I think the thing that was really defeating her was feeling like she couldnt afford services. I have been searching and searching for some funding so that I can create a program that offers scholarships to the parents that cant pay. I wish I could offer free services to some of these parents, but holy cow it is expensive. Little costs here and there make it cost prohibitive to just give free services. How on earth do I find someone to sponsor funding so I can offer scholarships. Just a small scholarship would make such a huge difference in so many peoples lives, and I just dont know how to get it. It has taken a few months to adjust to being so far from town, and we love the adjustment. I am making more wholesome food, spending way less time and money at the grocery store, and eating much more healthy homemade food, consistently now. I feel like its a constant search and I just need one person to say yes. How do I find someone who has a desire to support this program financially? I guess I just keep looking.

We need a well water test, the business license just came, fingerprinting for background checks, insurance, all the little costs just keep adding up. I have nothing but Faith. God has been so present the last few weeks, I can feel and see Him all around me, and it is purely by Faith that I haven’t had a nervous breakdown about finances yet. I just know He will provide, somehow. I am in the process of setting up a website for the rescue ranch, and an email exclusively for rmrr business. Its coming along so fast now that I am even being assigned to mentor a family that has been through homelessness through a local non profit agency who has a mentorship program I volunteer for. It just feels so much like the training I need for the internships to happen in a few years.

I love spending my days in the kitchen, processing food and baking and cooking. I haven’t had tons of time for this, as it is spring and spring is busy, but I have done some things, jerky, fruit leather, some homemade oreos. Looking forward to trying lots of new kitchen goodies. My first batch of Kombucha is done and I look forward to learning a lot more about how God intended for us to eat, and fermented foods. That is quite exciting for me.

I need to spend some serious time organizing and getting myself on a workable track, its going by so quickly that its hard to make sure I get all the details. I am also spending a lot of time trying to get some of the items we need donated so that I can spend the money we do have on the physical bills. Its tedious work, asking over and over for companies to donate supplies, but I know if I just keep trying, someone, somewhere will hear me asking and believe in this cause. For now, life is hectic and I have spaghetti to make, so in an attempt to finally get this post published, I will leave you with that for an update. More as soon as I find time my friends. In the meantime, many blessings to you and yours!

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New property

For days I have been dying to jump on here and give you folks an update, but I am so wonderfully overwhelmed, that it is hard to figure out where to start. Lots has changed since my last post. We moved into a larger space and the business is finally really taking off. Spring is so busy around here. Getting all the plants in the garden, getting business structured for this house and set up, networking new clients and jumping through all the red tape that comes with owning a business, its keeping me busy, but the best part today is the bee’s. The bee’s are absolutely amazing. Phenomenal. Indescribably cool.  I am proud of them for making their way over the house to the pear tree on the very first day. They are so smart. The buzz that they make is so relaxing it’s nearly cathartic. The closest I can come to describing them is that it must be a tiny glimpse at what standing next to God would feel like. Senses overwhelmed with joy, there is a deep earthy scent surrounding them, like concentrated honey I suppose, and the hum, oh the hum, such an overwhelming sense of calm the hum instills. Its really just like all is right with the world and you can feel the creation in them. Amazing creatures for sure!

This wonderful new space has come with many of its own quirks. We love it here, there is a general sense of peace that we have lacked until this point. It feels the opposite of our last place. It is bright, sunny, cheerful, tidy, peaceful, relaxing and good to come home to. There is a sense of freedom with not having neighbors close by, like no one will complain about my compost bin and bees. However, there is a landlord to appease, and this particular landlord REALLY cares what the lawn looks like. Ok, I am fine with that, I enjoy doing lawncare, should be fun. Here is where things get interesting. Mowing was fairly successful, although I am using a tiny push mower to mow a three acre yard, and quite frankly, its alot more like mowing pasture than yard. Cant wait to get my hands on a riding mower, or even an industrial sized push mower. For now, we make do with what we have and hope that someone needs to replace and old one soon or something. If I was a superstitious woman I would cross my fingers, but instead I will pray pray that God hears my landlord demanding a neatly kept lawn and find a way to equip us with the things we need to keep her happy. I finished mowing half the yard, and went to get the trimmer, only to find that it is not only broken, but electric, and this house doesn’t come with outlets on the outside. Now what? How does one weed eat a three acre yard with extension cords? So, Father, please hear my prayer for a gas powered trimmer too! Lol, I feel so thankful that He has blessed us with this place, but it leaves me begging him for the supplies I need to manage it effectively. I am not picky, happy to take hand me downs it should be an easy task for Him and I together. I have received the business cards I ordered, Thank you MOM, for all your hard work on those!  Business license is in the mail, and bee’s are happily installed in their hives. Garden is long overdo for cool season crops and that is high on my agenda. Greenhouse plants are thriving wonderfully, and I really have no complaints, just blessings. I have discovered a wonderful program called Bountiful Baskets, and if it is available in your area I highly recommend you try it out. http://bountifulbaskets.org/ . I order a basket of vegetables every Monday and pick it up on Saturday. It’s a great deal. They try to include six types of fruit and six types of veggies in each basket, and there are add-ons available as well. As an average, I save approximately 30-40 dollars a week on produce using this program. My son is snacking almost exclusively on fruits and vegetables, which is a lovely change for us, and my Husband appreciates all the new foods I am making because I have new vegetables that I wouldn’t normally buy or that I would buy only when planned in a meal. I cant stress enough how lovely the program has been so far. I have participated three times now, and I am anxiously awaiting picking up my third basket on Saturday. One thing we have effectively done is learned to go to the store far less often than we used to, also a nice change. I am processing foods at home, making healthy food choices, and learning to ferment even.  I started my first batch of Kombucha last Thursday. Yesterday I was able to put up 6 lbs of strawberries and a few lbs of venison jerky. Today I am making squash chips, which I, for some reason, am having an incredibly difficult time with. They just wont come out right. Either mushy or burnt, no happy medium. I followed the very simple instructions to a T, even confirmed with a girlfriend who makes them, and she said hers turned out wonderful. Still, I am struggling through it and hoping to master the process by the time I have worked through these three squash. Any tips would be appreciated.

I am dealing with the professional aspects of being a caregiver. Of reminding myself that I have no business judging others parenting styles, that I too make plenty of mistakes. I am learning how to turn this tiny service into a business that requires contracts and medical release forms, and I am even in the process of getting my business insurance, just waiting on the call back to activate it. I am so busy that my muscles ache from lack of sleep. Still, I am happy. Pleased that I am given the opportunity, and that we found a house that suits us as well as it does.

This house is expensive. Very expensive. I am not sure how, but we manage to scrape it together every month. I do know how, Thank you Father! I look forward to a time when we are ready to look at purchasing a  place of our own, but happy to be renters for now. So much less burden than owning. I have been working on fundraising opportunities for the ranch. As small as it is, they are limited, and spreading the word is hard. I will post a couple links, and if any of you feel so compelled to vote for me (it only takes a minute), or share my funding page with others, I would be eternally appreciative! The first fundraising site that I have been using is GoFundMe. Its an online site where a person can create a site asking for help with specific items. I have raised a little money through there, and recently updated our wishlist for things we need now. The link to my site there is: http://www.gofundme.com/obn80.

The second site I am using at the moment, is Intuits WISH program, where they grant 15 people a wish for their small business. The prize is $5000 towards your wish. It would be a blessing if you would vote for me there. You can vote once a day, and they are granting one wish a day for 15 business days. 6 have already been granted. To find my page there you search for rocky mountain rescue ranch. I have been most successful finding it when using all lowercase letters. https://www.loveourlocalbusiness.com/. I also applied for a couple of grants online and of course entered the Mother Earth News drawing for the chicken coop. One can hope, right? Meanwhile, I have been keeping my eyes and ears peeled for any ranch materials and lawncare equipment that we can source almost anywhere, thrift stores, garage sales, craigslist and freecycle are all on my list of places to find ranch goodies! Yesterday I found a dog run free in someones driveway. I went to the door, explained my husband had the truck, and could we come back for it. he told me to take the free sign and hardware so no one took it, but by the time husband got back to take the panels, someone had snagged them. Talk about bummer, AND, i now have dog kennel hardware, and no kennel panels, while the person who took the panels has no hardware. Talk about bum deal! Was quite excited to have found a cage to put around chicken coop or bees to protect from predators at night. Felt that God was just handing me goodies, but it was snatched away as soon as it fell in my lap. Not meant to be I guess. Husband is doing some work for a friend who needs an air conditioner, and while we own four of them, we both hate air conditioning and have never installed them, so he may trade us a piece of lawncare equipment for an air conditioner. It would be a fantastic trade for all involved. I am living and working in a trading circuit and I love it, but I also pray hard for the financial freedom to purchase the things we cannot trade for.

I can’t get over the bee’s. I approached my husband tentatively about wanting to keep bee’s probably three years ago. I figured he would think I was nuts, and that I had enough crazy hobbies, but instead he embraced the idea, which is great, because he needs a hobby badly. Regardless, The time has come, bee’s are here. I was so excited, but from his reaction I would say that I have to give in and let the bee’s be his. Of course everything is ours, and one cannot own nature, but, he has taken to them like a bunch of babies, even named them Bob. Grin. I still can’t get over how amazing they are. How proud of them I feel when I see them do something phenomenal. Oh I wish I could put into words the calm and content they bring. I love that I can sit on my porch ten feet from the pear tree, listening to hundreds of bee’s joyfully collecting pollen from those blossoms. They don’t even notice us. The first night, they were incredibly active, and we kept a close watch on them. There is a distinctive distance you can be to the hive where they pretend you dont exist, but the minute you cross that boundary, inquisitive guards swarm you, sniffing curiously, as if to ask if I am friend or foe. One of my friends imagined it to be empowering, but I would say it is the exact opposite, profoundly humbling. We have had bees for a few days, and I am sure that we are hooked for life. Never have I seen something bring such joy to my husband, and I feel quite the same. Even my sensory challenged son, who cannot stand bugs above all else, came and hung out with us with no bee suit. Thousands of bees swarming around our heads and not one sting. Amazing! Hubby and I are borrowing bee suits from our bee mentors, but son is impatiently begging for one of his own so that he may participate in the handling of these fine critters. They are clearly one of Gods finer creations.

I give up on the squash chips. I failed that challenge and not looking back, happily. I am going to have to try something different. Nothing is working. So, in the past couple months, we have had a few challenges, but all in all, Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch is finally taking off. We have simplified our lives greatly, and yet they are busier than ever. Loving life, counting our blessings, and facing one challenge at a time. It is so uplifting to finally see it all coming together. Until next time, many blessings my friends!

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RAW

Good morning folks. How is everyone today? I am raw. It has been a rough couple weeks, and I don’t even have a plan of attack for this post, just feel the need to write it. Since my husbands accident, life has been a roller coaster, ups, downs, and all arounds…

Today my weather is like a classic Montana day. One minute bright and sunny-ish, the next so gray and dreary, but its just weather. It will be different tomorrow. I am hoping its sunny and spring like, but if its not in the forecast for tomorrow, Spring will come eventually. It always does. Like the chives and daffodils poking up this chilly February day, sometimes we gotta live under the burden of snow. Yet, I know that when the snow melts, there will be beautiful flowers and nourishing food that springs up. I know that the snow melting waters the plants, allows them to thrive. Can I face this latest tragedy with the knowledge that the snow will nourish the flower? It is my hope to keep that perspective. While I dont feel it is right to divulge the latest tragedy here, I do feel the urge to compare it to the turmoil of spring. The ups and downs of waiting for the dreary days to pass and the flowers to bloom. I have spent many days daydreaming about my garden, and today, my tragedy transfers easiest into a garden comparison. I love to garden. I love the joy it brings to plant seeds in the ground, nurture and water them, and watch them grow, but I haven’t put a lot of thought into how much I NEED it. This last 24 hours have been filled with appreciation for my “garden”. I always knew I loved it, just never really fully understood how dependent I was on it. Those fresh veggies, they are my lifeblood. They nourish me, help me stay strong, give me a purpose, and while I knew all of that, I never realized how deep that love went. Not until the idea of an unhealthy garden presented to me. The idea of a garden I cant provide nutrients and health to is devastating. Its helpless. It is a fear that goes deep and intrinsic. I cannot lose the thing that keeps me healthy and nourished. I feel helplessness as I wonder what I can do to help it. I feel panic as I scan the internet for answers to this disease that is ravaging my garden. I desperately seek an answer to make it all better. It drives me to find an alternative, something that can kill any garden pest. I know that when I find just the right control, the pest will die and the garden will thrive once again. I look for a control that is natural, wont cause lasting damage to the ground or the plants. I found that my garden is on the  front of my mind, day and night. It takes precedence over all of the little details while I patiently (and sometimes impatiently) wait, and watch for the change from pest ridden to healthy, and then to blooming and nourishing. I feel the stewardship taking hold in me, and I want to reach out, scan the other beds. The flower garden, the herb garden. Make sure they are healthy, strong, and not being devastated by this pest. I want to wrap a protective coating around the more fragile plants, and help keep them safe till this storm passes. I find strength in that. In the notion that I can protect the others, keep them strong. Eases the helplessness just a tiny bit.

On a positive note, we may have found just the right property. The one I have been desperately seeking for so long. Just playing the waiting game now, to see if its ours. Like a garden, life is all about waiting for the fruits of your labor. I have labored hard and intensively, and I see the fruits ripening. I think it will be a blessed bounty, and look forward to the harvest. Until next time, may your garden grow fruitful, bountiful, and full of nourishment, and may your garden pests be kept to a minimum.

 

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The daze

Good day Folks! How is everyone today?

We have had a long and exhausting week, but all in all, good. Poor hubby tried to remove a hand with a grinder, at work, on Thursday, and had surgery to repair it yesterday, so you can imagine how exhausted we all are. He is on the mend now, and I am still on the search for the right property for us.

It seems that everyone is fighting something this last week, and I wonder how much the season wrapping up has to do with it? It seems everyone is so emotional and ready for Spring.  I know I cannot stop daydreaming about my garden, and wondering if we will find something before its too late to get a good start. I have daydreams of rows and rows of brassicas and tomatoes. I can’t wait to hear the birds singing first thing in the am. I look forward to more melty days than frozen ones, and I imagine that being cooped up is making everyone a little more emotional than usual.

I have done deep soul searching with many of my friends this last week. People keep telling me I should be a therapist. No thank you! While I love sharing my insights, I imagine sitting in an office all week listening to peoples hardships, is a thankless job, and quite heavy on the heart many days. In all of our struggles this week, I have been able to feel the hand of God holding a bubble of protection around us, as if He knew we were gonna need this week, and this trauma, to go as smoothly as possible, and I felt Him just kinda guide us through it smoothly. It was quite wonderful to be so aware of His presence through it all. A lady even bought my lunch for me when I forgot my wallet in the waiting room. I keep thinking I want to call the sandwich shop, and leave a message for her (she was a hospital employee, and the cashier knew her name), and leave a message for her, that at the moment she bought my lunch, it was like an angel just swooped down right from Heaven to take care of me. The most ironic part is that the cashier called her an angel.

I really feel a sense of satan trying to attack and distract us, and I am blatantly aware that he is causing the struggles and hardships, and I can feel my Father, holding him back at arms length, just outta reach. I am immensely thankful for that protection. I have a slew of emotions to evaluate, but don’t really have the energy to process them. Looks like some deep journaling is in my near future. I know that the right house for us is out there, and all I can really focus on is finding it. I am going to spend my day packing and preparing, because I hope to get on with it as soon as possible. I wonder if it is worth it to start my indoor plants? I have so many containers, I could really just do a container garden, and take it with me if it takes too long to find a place. Clearly, I am just needing a place to process random thoughts today. Hopefully, I will find a place before it is time to start indoor starts, and it will be a non issue. Oh I have gardening on the brain!

I just walked into my sons room and found my client removing screws from my sons laptop. How do you spell caniption? I had a straight up fit! Looking forward to moving forward. All in all it is a wonderful day. I have a general feeling of exhaustion, but I know it will pass as the rest and recovery ensues. I hope you all have an incredibly blessed day, and can feels the arms of protection around you too! Till next time….

 

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Faith. Patience. Acceptance. Forgiveness.

I have a confession. I have found the key to happiness. It is such a simple concept, and yet, so hard to wrap your mind around. Today, I feel compelled to try to put it out there, and if just one persons grasps it, I am content. I have spent years, searching for answers, healing past hurts and traumas, seeking therapy and soul searching. I have explored many spiritual outlets, I spent many years as an unhappy single parent to an undiagnosed special needs child. I went from being the most responsible 16 year old you ever met, to being a complete failure as a parent and woman. I hit rock bottom. I blamed others. I looked at others behaviors and said things like “I am a better person than them, so why am I doing so horrible and they get all the breaks?” Guilty as charged! I also believe deeply in accountability for oneself, and while I am not proud of my behaviors and judgements and blame, I also own my responsibility for it. I sought redemption from myself at every intersection, in every doorway. I saw many, many therapists. Two of whom made big impacts with little statements. I have talked about these life altering statements before, but have never put them all together in one sentence. I was talking about a friend today about Faith, Patience, Acceptance, and Forgiveness. I was like, “can’t you see, its the key to happiness?” I decided it needed to be processed further, and here we sit. I truly believe that anyone who can deeply grasp these four concepts can find true, peaceful, contented, happiness. When you truly sit back and evaluate the people in your life who are happy, you find find that they have things in common. It is not money, a bigger house, more or less kids, a nicer car. It is far less tangible than that. I hope to help you define those attributes that a genuinely happy person consists of.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have good days and bad. What that means is that I enjoy the blessings and trouble free days more than I ever have, and even though I still have “weather” in my life, I am content that I will survive the storm, and when it is all said and done and I look back at the damage, I will have wonderful things to show for it. What I am trying to say is that I have peace. That no matter what happens, I am at rest in my spirit and soul. I know that this too really shall pass and I am going to come out better for whatever turmoils I face. I know that I am cared for and loved. I understand how to validate rather than control people. I have learned how to accept people for who they are, and that they are only using the tools they have. You cannot expect any more than that from someone. Clearly, the secret to happiness is a hard subject, and I keep wanting to get distracted, take a little side road, but those side roads are irrelevant, as they come naturally with learning the key to happiness. Bear with me as I try to stay on a straight path here.

Lets just start with Faith. It took me years and years of hard legwork to find the pieces of this puzzle, that when assembled, equals happiness. I hope to save you some of the work. You have to be open to Faith. Faith is key. I am a Christian. I studied many faiths, and this is the one that fit for me. One part of me feels obligated to tell you that Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, but the part of me that deeply understands that journey, will not let myself push that on you, so just understand this. Having FAITH, it gets you through. It helps you understand that you are not alone, that you are loved, that you have an army at your side, that no matter how low you feel, how alone it may seem, how misunderstood you may feel; someone, something, somewhere, gets it to the core. It gives you strength, vision, drive, and desire to please and live a good, honest life. It holds you up when you cannot hold yourself. Wherever you find your faith, you won’t find happiness until you learn to trust it completely. You have to one hundred percent fully submit yourself to it, trust it, and let it be your light. Without Faith, you will struggle to achieve the other three goals.

Which brings us to patience. Patience, as anyone who owns an ounce of it will tell you, is completely dependent on Faith. It is like a ragged board that takes years and years of trials, tribulations, errors, and mistakes, to sand smooth. It is often difficult even for those most practiced in it. It is the ability to let go and just believe that it will be ok, that this too shall pass. It is the knowledge that everything works out with time. That there is a grand plan and it you will get there. Patience gets us through tragedy, heartache, and loss. It gets us through joy and festivity. It is difficult to sit and wait for this feeling to pass, for that joy to come. It is human nature to want it NOW! Teaching ourselves how to breath through it, how to slow down and take a long look at it, will save us so much frustration and energy. Being able to let the anxiety go and just Accept that things will work the way they are supposed to, or that your child will eventually go to bed, or that that job will come when it is supposed to, that is all a part of Patience and in order to have patience, we have to have Acceptance.

Acceptance of what is, what has been, and what is to come. Acceptance of everything that is real. We have to accept our Faith, wholeheartedly, believe we will be taken care of by our greater good. We have to accept the mistakes that people in our lives have made, and realize that all we can work with is the tools we have, and we all have different tools. We have to accept that our crimes are no more or less heinous than our neighbors and mothers and fathers, only different. If we all had the same tools, and lack thereof, imagine the chaos in the world. It takes all different types of tools to get all different types of tasks done. It certainly takes different tools to be a banker or doctor, than to be a respite care provider or dog handler, and with each tool, you have strengths and weaknesses. Sure you can pound a nail with the back of a wrench if you have to, but it would be so much more efficient to use a hammer. In the same sense, good luck adhering a screw with a hammer. It could probably be done by force, but it causes way more stress than using the appropriate tool. People are the same. Each has tools, and all tools have uses, some work better than others for certain tasks, but none is more valuable than then next, depending on the task at hand. Asking a banker to handle special needs kids is like asking a dog walker to run a bank. The sooner you understand that we are all doing our best with the tools we have, the sooner you will truly and deeply understand Forgiveness. When you have Forgiveness, you have completed the puzzle, and every relationship in your life will thrive. You will find peace and contentment no matter what storm is brewing. You will know that your shelter will keep you safe from the storm, and that you have the appropriate tools to clean up the mess afterwards. You will find genuine happiness.

Forgiveness is HARD! Forgiveness is such a simple concept, that I think we spend all day overthinking it. Forgiveness doesnt come with “buts”. “I have forgiven him BUT…”. It doesnt come with blame. It doesnt come with anything but acceptance of the offending action. It is a sensitive but important subject. Lets talk about moms. In my understanding from therapy, and from what I have observed working with people, it is natural to blame our moms. Mom is hard, its sensitive. Dont get defensive and Say BUT MY MOM REALLY WAS …… whatever it was that you think she did to you. Your mom loves you! No matter what mistakes she made, no matter how many failures. I PROMISE you, she loves you. She may hate herself, but she loves you. She did her best. She worked with the tools she had. She never, ever wanted to fail you. It was not once ever a dream of hers to let you down. Forgive her, she is only human! Accept that she worked with the tools she had. Every mother, every father, every single human being on this planet, makes mistakes, and works with the tools they have. We all strive to be good people, even those who are not perceived that way. When someone fails at doing morally “correct” (from OUR perspective), it is because, sometime, somewhere, a tool they desperately needed, failed them. Accept them, have compassion for whatever on Earth it was that could have gone wrong to perceive that behavior as ok. Question your own perspective. Is your moral solid, maybe you are judging someone for something others find completely acceptable. We are all different. We all have certain size tool shed, some better equipped than others. Let others have dull tools, and you will feel more compelled to help them sharpen, and less compelled to condemn them. When you accept peoples actions and behaviors intrinsically, forgiveness comes naturally.

There are, of course, little details that come naturally in the developing of these habits, that fit in the puzzle, but focusing on them is not pertinent, as they will come naturally as you grasp the former. Empathy, understanding shame and validation, letting the little things go, are all examples of skills you will naturally grow, as you travel and explore the road to happiness with only those four directional signs. You can see how one naturally leads to the other, and how it is an impossible puzzle if one piece is missing. I encourage you to think about these things with an open mind. Allow them to grow in your heart and in your head. It only takes a seed of faith to grow a tree full of life. Start with Faith and allow yourself to breath the fresh air of relief that comes with this journey! May you find many blessings along the way!

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Peace and satisfaction (or daydreams of my ranch)

Hey Friends!

It has been so long! So much has happened, and so many details, that are just really not worth it. I am finally feeling the drive to write again. Lately it has been tough. Been angry about my little friends cancer, frustrated with my current home situation, and looking to get this rescue ranch off the ground. I have had a myriad of epiphanies, and we are so close to moving forward. Things are great with my family, but we are dying to move into a ranch where we can expand the business. Our current home is a money pit, it sucks so much from us in upkeep, we cant seem to save a penny to move forward. Its coming though. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The finances may finally be there for us. I had a big week of epiphanies that I am not trying to start a business. The business has been operating for quite some time now, I am just looking to expand it to a larger venue. That was a pretty big day for me.

I am fighting illness. Have had the flu twice since Christmas, and now what appears to be pneumonia. I am treating it with homeopathics and I feel quite a bit better. I am on a one track mindset to get this ranch up and running, I can see, smell, hear, feel, and taste every aspect of it. I have daydreams of in-laws at Christmas and kids in the yard. I can smell the woodstove and see the beautiful rows of jars stacked up all neatly in my pantry. Images of orchard trees dance in my head. I see rows and rows of beautiful raised beds full of tomatoes and peppers and every other veggie I can think of. I hear the cluck cluck of the chics as I take them their scraps, and I hear the hooves of horses hurrying to the barn for their grain.

I smell the dew on the early morning ground, and the coffee and breakfast in the kitchen. I see people milling around, a safe place, a social and joyous place. I look forward to feeding the masses on a big ole ranch table.

I can hear the music of the farm, wafting in the background, as I meander through my daily routines, and greet my various wards of the day. I can hear the whir of the dehydrator, and the chirp of the birds, meshing to make one beautiful song.

I look forward to the simplicity of growing my veggies, all of them, not to mention it is the end of January, and I have gardening on the brain any way.

I am making a cough syrup. No science to it really, just honey, onion, garlic, cayenne, and ginger, simmered till the onions are soft and strained. it sounds surprisingly delightful. Some say honey loses some of its health value when cooked slowly, others say it enhances it. i am not really sure either way, but I don’t know how else to infuse it quickly, so I may just try making the non cooked version over the next couple weeks, and compare. The non cooked version is impractical for immediate relief of illness. I have illness now.

As far as RMRR goes, I have made tons of headway, and going down in the next week or two to register the business officially. I have a functional business plan, a beautiful logo,and I am working with a realtor looking for a contract for deed place that we can start off in. The realtor thought that with my mission we could find someone willing to do contract for deed, which would not only guarantee a few years of rent go to the principle on my home, but also that we wold not have to move the business in three or four years when we are ready to buy. That would be ideal, here’s hoping we can work it out. It would also be in the best interest of a seller with an empty house that is not moving, as they would be generating some income off the property in the meantime.

My thoughts move swiftly these days, and now I am onto envisioning a huge sunflower patch for the birds. I never had an interest in growing flowers, till it dawned on me that they are functional, more than just pretty. So many flowers, so many uses. This dream of mine is so close to reality, it gets hard to breath sometimes. SO very soon, I will be able to say “I did it” all buy myself, as a single mom with a special needs child, I made my dreams come true. Its breathtaking to think about.

I remember fondly, how great it felt to be working hard on the ranch. It is my goal to feel as good as I did then, with the added benefit   of knowing why my child is so unique to boot. I worked hard, had great muscle structure, ate well, slept well, went to bed exhausted, with the satisfaction of putting in a good, honest, hard days work. I was hungry at mealtime, and tired at bedtime. My body felt good from working hard day in and day out, doing things that I loved to be doing. I love the way ranch life stays the same on a basic level, but changes so fluidly from day to day. One day fences, the next a paint job. It’s never dull or boring. Always something new. Such a simple sense of satisfaction in knowing you spent the day tending Gods Earth and feeding His animals. Such a great sense of achievement when you tuck the animals in for the night, make sure the gates are all closed up tight and the tomatoes got enough water. The quiet that surrounds you as you prepare to bed down for the night, the sound of the coyotes in the distance the you know your animals are protected from. It is so rewarding and peaceful. Such a great sense of simple satisfaction overwhelms, as one drifts off into deep, restful slumber, knowing full well that in a few short hours, it all starts again.

I long for winter days in front of the sewing machine, the smell of a roast slowly baking in the oven. Its all so close I can feel it, and I am at peace for the moment. It has been a long journey, getting this piece of peace, but it is a wonderful and satisfying feeling. I truly look forward to sharing the adventures to come with you. In the meantime, have a blessed evening. Rest well.