Did I Ever Want to Know This?

My sister and brother-in-law were here to visit weeks back.  She and I have much in common.  We love gardening. We love little animals.  And we both suffer from  ailments that set us planted on our knees begging for Uncle sometimes.

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She explained that she had gotten her DNA tested recently and that her findings have helped her to understand her difficulties better and how she has been able to implement action to her betterment.

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I thought that was pretty cool.  So I did the same thing.  Did I have any idea of the door I was opening?  Nope.  Actually my findings were not a huge surprise.  After all, I have been living with all those “numbers” for 56 years, so I am somewhat familiar with their personalities.  I became familiar with my blond hair and brown eyes a few years back.

What was magical (or scary) was that all those numbers confirmed many things that I already knew.    And the many things I did NOT already know.

I think I thought that much of my “stuff” was environmental.  Or something.  Why cant I drink a cup of coffee without my nervous system freaking out?  Why am I not able to deal with medicine well?  Why do I go through bouts of mild (or not) depression?  Who dun turned me into an alcoholic?  Who was that bad guy/girl?  WHY AM I SICK ALL THE TIME?

I heard a scripture verse on the radio yesterday that has rung beautifully in my ears since:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.        2 Corinthians 12:9

I LOVE THAT.  He is here with me ALL the days that I am weak.  I rest surely in that.   I take great comfort.   I want His power splayed all over the top of me.  And His grace IS sufficient.  On the days when I ask for it.  Some days I forget to ask.

Knowing my DNA results did not fix any of these things.  But it gave me huge insight into those questions.  I don’t have to ask WHY?  Why me?  anymore.  The answers  to the question is this:  Because. “I SAID SO” (Ooops. My moms gene sneaking out of me.)  This is who you are.  In  large part, this is who you were born to be.

Huge blessings, I was born to be.  Wonderful, beautiful girl I was born to be.  Into a great, loving  family I was born to be.  Sickly?  Yes.  But there are millions of numbers attached to me.  What more could I ask?   So complicated.  So fragile.  How can I spend time complaining with all those numbers wanting to keep me upright everyday?    There are a few broken numbers I’ll admit.  And even some pretty scary things looming.  But for goodness sake, who is not suffering in this world?

Our  new little grandbaby had her baptism yesterday.  It was beyond precious.  The cycle of life overwhelms me.  SHE overwhelms me.  It was picture perfect with family and friends (we missed you Charlie, Sam and Lauren)  celebrating the entry of her little life into the church.  Immediately after being blessed with the water and oil, she literally flopped into a slumber from the exhaustive wait.  It was like the event caused her to pass out.  She is now safely and snuggly in the embrace of Christ.  Whew.

The weather was beeeautiful.  The party was perfect.

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I pray that she got the best of my genes.

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When we were slipping into bed last night, Pops said that days do not get better than that.  I agreed.  Days do not get better than that.  Life is not without suffering. I keep trying to convince myself of that.  We are born with it in our bones.  But the perfection that we get glimpses of between the shards make it ALL worth it.

Even if I don’t have a memory of it in twenty years.

It is all about this moment.

Peace,

Karen

 

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Who Tells Your Story?

“Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?”

“Who keeps your flame? Who remembers your name?”

Them be powerful words.  Written by the genius who wrote the Broadway hit musical, Hamilton.

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I am not a Broadway buff.  I am not a history buff.  I am not even culturally engaged really. But Pops gave me tickets to the Broadway show a few months back.  I had seen a few trailers on tv and it looked intriguing.  The original cast is winding up its first year and I was a lucky one to see them before handing over the baton, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius writer, and leading actor.

There is something striking about this musical that has struck me and many others.  It swept the Tony’s.

Maybe its  hip-hop meets 1776.  Maybe its the diversity of the cast.  Maybe its the tiny little  subtle nuances throughout the whole production that strike yours and my heart at different intervals.  Maybe it’s the depth of humanness displayed.  Maybe it’s America trying to absorb the history class they slept through in High School.

Who tells my story?   Hmmm.

Who carries my flame?

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Will my flame be too burdensome to carry?

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What is my story?  Does it matter to you?  Does it matter to anyone?  I have been reflecting on it lately.  Well.. since I have been trying memorize the whole soundtrack.  It is that awesome.

I know we all have a legacy that is left at the feet of our family, friends, community and for some,  far wider.    What is that legacy?  Money?  Children and Grandchildren?  Careers and talents?  Integrity?  Our sins and mistakes?   Our physical traits?  Our quirks?  Our habits?  Wow.  It could be anything.  And everything.

Sometimes I sit back and look at my art and the other efforts I deem important and wonder if this will mean a hill a beans when I am gone.  What are the sum of my parts?   Who will keep my flame?  Some people would believe it doesn’t really matter.  When you’re gone, you’re gone.  I am not of that belief.  I believe we are here for a mere breathe but the sum of our mere breaths are vastly important.   (Look at Hamilton.  His mere breath got himself on the face of  an US note.)   Every breath counts.  Every last one of them.  We have a huge opportunity to spread our love here.

I listened to the Hamilton song with my son, Charlie.  He told me that HE will tell my story.  He asked me what part of my story is important to me?  If I could be there to tell my story, what would I want said.  That is a good question.  A really good question.  If I had to give him a jump off place, I’d say:

In all things, she tried desperately to love Jesus………..

If you get a chance, go see Hamilton.

Peace,

Karen

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Hen For a Best Friend?

A dear Canadian farmer friend who keeps me updated with the current events of the chicken  world  touched base today.  He and I were wannabe -chicken -farmer -dreamers years back and we both have made our dreams of chicken poop and blood orange egg yolks a reality.  His dream expanded far wider than mine and he is going to town on his farm in Canada. His dream is his livelihood.  Mine is my hobby.

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Farmer Doug

He sent me the following story of a young sailor guy who is sailing the world with a hen.   The sailor  desired an animal companion rather than a human. Gee, I wonder why.   He settled on a hen.  It is my guess you cannot imagine why in the world he would choose a chicken for a sailing mate.

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Please  open link to take a gander at his priceless photos.  Precious.

It is  my opinion that chickens get a bad rap.  They are stupid animals they say.  Well…I beg to differererer……Its all relative.    What would you expect given  their heads are the size of a cherry tomato?  Of course, we cannot compare their intellect with ours.  Is that what those people are doing?  Can we please look at the rest of their character attributes?  Intellect ain’t all there is, sista.

My chickens are gentle.  They chat with me when I enter their house. And they ALL  have a little to add to the conversation.  Personalities vary just like ours.  They know when I am coming to treat them and when I’m not coming to treat. They wait patiently for me to feed all the other animals.

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They walk quietly in single file line to their treating ground.  I could learn a thing or two from our “stupid” chickens.

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Chickens live in the moment.  They are honest about their moment.

They hoot and howl their eggs out.  These guys work HARD for your Saturday morning omelet.

They quibble and squabble away their differences.  No harm. No foul. No lasting resentments.  Unless of course there  is a weakling  lurking about.  I never said they were perfect.  Maybe that’s why the sailing guy chose only one hen to sail instead of a buddy system.

As with any being, if you love them, they can in turn love back.   If you give them room to grow, they will flourish.   If you keep the  creature locked in a cage  physically, mentally or emotionally where they can’t stand on their little legs, they can not blossom. They will lack the love and luster.

Every night after dinner, we abandoned the dirty dishes and run to  the swing to watch the chicken show.  There must be  some redeeming qualities in these little guys if we invest our evening entertainment hours in avian performances. Maybe I have the intellect problem.  Not the chickens.  I’ll have to think about that.  Or not.

They require no showers before bed time. No teeth brushing.   They march right on to their school bus (roost) at dusk  without being asked and lights out.   I do need to train them to shut lights.

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Could I go boating with one of my hens?  Oh yes.  If I liked boats.  Can I take her on a jaunt around the world in my pickup?  I’d love to.

 

Long live the hen.

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Peace,

Karen

 

 

 

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Naked. Nothing. Simple.

Many years ago in a land not too far away there sat two couples in a diner at two a.m. munching on something I am positive was not healthy.

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Not sure it was this diner but I am going to guess.  Same town.  Same era. 

The conversation turned serious for a minute when one young woman wanted to know what we were doing there.  “No, I mean, What  are we REEEALLY doing  here?  What is our purpose? ”  The other young woman, being me, dug deep for a profound answer that would knock the rest off their seats.  We were going to answer that question that has been in circulation for oh… since the beginning of time. One of the guys who sees things just as they are said, “I know exactly why we’re here.  Because we’re hungry.”.  We all laughed and the subject was changed.  Nothing was solved but I would put money on that each of us today could  say where and when that 1 minute conversation took place.  About 25 years ago.  Why do I remember that?

I have pondered that question over  the years.  Is it really as simple as that?  Or is it more complicated than that?

Ahh,  the olden days.

Fast forward to this summer.  I have been studying some spiritual things in nature.  The question has come up again.  Especially now that we have our very own first grand baby, Joan Marie.

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In my “spiritual things in nature” investigation, I have concluded that this little precious baby in her 2nd day of life is doing it better than I.

We define ourselves by what we do.   I am an artist.   I am a wife.  A mom.  An educated woman.  A gardener. Sorta.  An animal lover.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  I could go on but I would faint from boredom.   I have created this image of myself that I spend my days trying to live up to.  Exhausting.   I make lists upon lists to make sure the image is upheld.  When I go to bed at night I subconsciously check my list to see if I accomplished the tasks needed for the world to believe the self-image that I created for myself.

Isn’t honesty brutal?

Dang.

My  recent discovery is that when I was  born, like our precious Joan, I was already everything in God’s eyes.   It is a place of utter simplicity.  Not adorned or decorated with my created self images.  Naked and nothing.  Perfectly made and fully created.  “It is a place before having done anything wrong or done anything right”, says Richard Rohr.  A wonderful author of spiritual things (in nature.)

Pure.

State of “be”ing.  Not a state of “do”ing.

As I move along in life, I don’t want  to compare myself with others and their gifts or calls anymore. Richard Rohr also says, “All I can give back to God is what God has given to me – nothing more  and no less.”  Hmmm.  That is so good.

I have a great example that should neatly tie this baby up. My mother-in-law, Jo, who our new baby was named after, use to tell me every summer to make sure to let my kids just BE.  Don’t schedule  their hours up.  And when I think about it now….What she meant is …    Let them be who they are.  Who they were created to be.  Let them use only their little minds to figure out who they are.  Let them run through summer being nothing.  Naked.  Simple.  God will show each one of them who they are.   And that is all they can give back to Him.  Such a miracle.

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Oooh. She was right.  That Jo, she had more wisdom that I can say.   Especially when it came to children.

What I want to say and may be having a time trying is this……I am beautifully, lovingly made. I  have a purpose.   A simple and wonderful purpose.  I was born with it.  It is a gift to each of us.  I can take the self-made burden off my shoulders.  What is to be is already within me.  Just let it be and let it flow.   Let it ride.  No need to contrive.   I am not my own invention.  Naked.

I want to shout out to my son, Eric, and his beautiful wife and mother to my grandbaby, Emily…. Thank you SOOO much for naming your daughter after that great woman, my mother in law.  You have awakened her memory in me and I will think of her every time I look at your daughter.  I am so  grateful for that. A gift you have no idea.

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We miss you Grandma! 

Peace,

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello From the Stranger Down Yonward

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Lovely. Wonderful.

Goodness gracious,  it has been a long time. Who knows..I may get out my idea list and soldier on to a nice long run like I did a few years back.  Just remember that I have not taken any grammar, phonics, syntax, spelling or what not classes since we last met.

As we continue to mosey down this road of farm life  many  emotions come to mind that will make me feel better if I share.  I feel the need to vent in an effort to stay  sane.    Doing the same thing  over and over again expecting  different results.   Would be insanity.

That would be me.

Living on this farm forces me to face my fears on a daily basis.  And I keep going back for more against my better judgement.

Every single time I walk in the woods with our crazy Gracie Coonhound, I fear that I will get caught in the crossfire with she and a wild critter.  I become tangled in a triangle of fury with Gracie and coyotes.  Or deer.  Or opossum.  Or snakes.   Kinda on a regular basis.

Our season has just transitioned from calm and safe to  woolly , furry and deadly.   Winter, for me, is a sigh and a breath of rest.  I can see where I am walking in the woods and the bare trees allow me a better view of what is ahead.  The snakes have kindly gone to where I dare not venture.   That makes me feel emotionally healthy.

I need to share.  Thank you.

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I am frightened.

This Spring has brought me the knowledge of  Big Blue who lives directly outside my front door.   How on God’s green earth can I live like this?  Instead of running inside like I shoulda and woulda a few years back, I go to the back porch and bring two rocking chairs to the front porch and park myself about 6 ft. from his perch?  Really?  Did I just do that?

This afternoon, Mr. Shady  called me from our garden and announced that a  glob the size of a basketball was stuck to a branch of my apple tree in the orchard.  I drove down with my camera and got within scary close range to a glob ( swarm)  of bees so that I could capture a photo for the eyes of the curious. What?

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If I had my wits about me at all or if I knew myself at all I should be locked in the meat locker in the  basement.   If I had one.  Instead I wake up daily in this woolly, furry and deadly season, wrap my body from head to toe in white cloth so that the ticks wont suck me dry and put one foot in front of the other and out the door I go.  On guard.   Someone has to milk those chickens.  Did I mention I have Lyme Disease?

For you who know me, you are probably asking why,  sweet Karen, why?  I don’t know why.  I cannot imagine living another way.  Maybe I need things messy.  Maybe I need things uncertain. Maybe I need things unpredictable.   Maybe I want to be so  immersed in the willy nillyness of God’s creation that I  am willing to live among the scary and the woolly.  Who knows. It’s easy to  get my head around it when I realize that many people live with bigger snakes than I.  Bigger bears than I.  Bigger tigers than I.  Bigger problems than I.  That puts things in perspective.  Thank Goodness.

I am thrilled to be here.  Thanks for letting me speak some words.

Peace,

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today. The Carnage.

We’ve had furious activity in the wood these days and I can give this little one 100 percent of the credit.

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Her name is Gracie.  Crazy Gracie.

If there is anything lurking in the whole of 85 acres, she will find it.  And she will flush it out.  She is about 16 months old and she is fierce and fearful of nothing.  As she flew by me today in hot pursuit of a  2 and 1/2 year-old 8 point deer, I said to myself, I really need to bring my camera on our morning walks because it is a wild world out here.  Nobody could possibly believe this nonsense.  But wait.  I captured some serious nonsense today.

We have lived here almost 4 years and I have carried my camera many mornings enjoying quiet contemplation with the ferns, the haystacks and maybe a wild flower or two.  The past 6 months I havent carried it cause I’ve been too darn busy working in my studio.  I had NO idea that all these shenanigans were lurking about me until Gracie came into my life and told me.  I’m not sure if I am happy about this or not.  It used to be peaceful.

Two months ago, as we strolled on our morning walk, she, as usual, got out ahead of Virginia and me.  About five minutes into our walk she comes tearing down the wooded hill with a small pack of coyotes on her tail running towards me.  I started yelling in a deep loud voice and the coyotes turned and ran away.   Thank goodness.   She turned and charged after them.

 How can I live this way?

Shortly after that day, she charged a small doe into a fence as I stood there and watched.  The poor deer broke her neck.  As I watched.  It groaned and groaned  a terrible loud horrific sound and died.  As I watched.  Pops and one of the kids hauled it off site quickly.

Last week, she came whizzing by after a beautiful red fox.  And when I say these events run right by me, I mean they  run right by me.  It’s something out of a cartoon.  Truly.  They went running west and 3 minutes later they come running east.  And darn.  Where is my camera?

Gracie often bounces out of the wood with a deer head, or a hind quarter, or a gray animal that cannot be identified.  In the spring, the turtles might as well come out with their hands up cause she will find every last one of them.  And when she is done tossing them in the air, they are left to spend the rest of their life searching for the place last seen.

Back to today…..As I said, the big buck and Gracie flew by on the morning walk and I thought, that’s it, this afternoon I will bring my camera.  And this is what I was able to capture on the afternoon walk….Be prepared.  We live in the wild, wild hills of Brown County and I can’t say we were not warned when we bought this property…….

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Buck trying to get up.

Virginia  and Crazy Gracie found the 2 and !/2 year-old 8 point buck (the wild men of the neighborhood gave me that info.  You didn’t think I could have figured that  out, did you?).  He evidently got his leg stuck in fence this morning when Gracie was chasing him.  He was struggling to get up this afternoon.  The dogs were barking  him to death.

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Called the sheriff.  What did  you want me to do?  Dark was looming.  Coyotes were on their way.  I had to get this thing out of my yard.  The sheriff was most impressed with my off-road driving.  Where’d you learn to drive like this? he asks.   I think I scared him a little bit.   He was going to shoot the deer if it was still living but since Virg and Gace barked it to death, well….

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Look who might need a bath tonight.

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Neighbor man came and dragged the poor buck  to it’s heaven place.

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The chickens are doing just fine all snuggled on their school bus though.   Not all is a stress job.

What will tomorrow bring?

Peace,

Karen

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fast. FaSt. FAST.

But…. E-A-S-Y DOES IT.

Every year at this time Pops comes to me with a modest request.  Will I secure a detox cleanse kit for him.  Oh.. and will I do it with him.   He wants a clean-me-out-for-I-have-not-been-diligent-lately program.

His favorite indulgence is:

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Doesnt matter what form the coke comes….Just bring it.  Now.

Mine?

Caramel sauce.  By the bucket.  I tend to be conservative with my indulgences since each time I indulge I get what feels like a Jack Daniels hangover.

On and off for the last 10 years we have participated in programs with questionable results.  My nutty food sensitivities force me to eat pretty well throughout the year,  so I can’t really tell overall.

After using the same one for several years, I called my doctor to see if he recommended  a newer/better body cleaner  outer.  He did.  So we did.

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This is not a plug for this item.  Believe me.  This is not a plug for this item. Core Restore?  Six pack abs at end of week?     If you notice it even comes with an electric stirrer for the yummy powder that we get to drink twice daily.  The upside to this is that it only lasts 7 days oppose to the 14 day we’ve done in the past.

So, what’s the big deal. you ask?

The big deal is this.  When Pops read the instructions he stopped and said, “Oh my. (actually that’s what I said) It says here that we can begin eating on the third day.  WH-A–T?  Okay.. we calmed ourselves and beginning  Saturday night at  9:53 pm  we stopped eating.  We resumed eating on TUESDAY at 7:26 am. Just approximately.   Let me count….. somewhere in the vicinity of 56 hours.  It was THE most uncomfortable two days of my life.  (I am totally aware that I am dealing with a first world problem and I am very sensitive to those who are not as fortunate as me.  Just want to be clear.  I am just being honest. )   Now, I have gone much longer without food in the midst of a  medical situation, but I wasn’t in my right mind and I think they were getting stuff in me somehow.  And Pops, oh my goodness, he is still down for the count.  Poor guy.

On Monday, he decided to stay home for the fasting was sweating his little brow.  46 hours into the fast he walked in on me watching Dives and Diners (not sure on name).  They were in Texas, I think, checking out the Texas size burgers.   WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? he said.   I can tell you that I was out of my ever livin’ mind.

I contemplate fasting as a prayer offering often. I would love to be able to that.   I physically don’t think I can handle this.  I felt like I was in stressed heart  attack mode.  Flu systems too.  Major toxic shake out.   Maybe now that I’ve gone 56 hours, I can give ‘er a 24 hour try as a prayer lift.   Have you ever fasted?  My son, who has not eaten for days in Army Special Force training, says it gets better. You no longer feel hungry after days.  Maybe because you are not. alive. anyMORE.

Another thing I learned during the two days of fast is that meal time is a sacred thing to me.  I look forward to meals.  We gather and we talk.  Those two days?  No need to talk. Passing ships in the morning, noon and night.  Pops says, do you need anything while I am out?  Nope.  More time to stir and shift in my hungry seat since I don’t have any preparing to do.  Threw both of us into total fuzzy land.

IMG_7903We are half way through the week. I feel normal now.  Unfortunately, Pops is feeling a little under the weather.   Feeling results?  Who the heck knows.  Yeah sure.  Why not?   I did not lose a single ounce of weight during the  56 hour fast.  So whatever that’s worth.  I really wasn’t trying but if your going to take the time, there may as well be a bonus, right?

It is valuable couple time together.  Try it.  Couples that clean out bodies together, stay together.

Peace,

Karen

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