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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 LIGHT, 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.