Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Next Phase

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Hi Friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I wanted to provide an update for anyone who still reads the blog. As many of you know I’ve been in the midst of personal and professional transition. I knew a few things were coming down the wire, thanks to the Nine Star Ki philosophy that I follow. And while I have a good grasp on personal themes and energies of the month and year, it isn’t a substitute for actually going through and being in a full on experience…….of any kind!

The past five years have been amazing and I’ve LOVED every moment of being home, raising my children and expanding my personal path. It’s been a phrase of self-exploration, meaningful discoveries and investigations that weren’t possible had I not listened to my heart and followed what was coming through. It took for a me for quite a loop then when I realized that my path was once again shifting and not necessarily in a direction that I had seen coming. Nope, I sure didn’t plan on this one. After five years of being out of the education field, save for substitute teaching, I never planned on a return. The opportunity arose and after a lot of contemplation, I accepted. In August I became Maywood Public School’s librarian. This position required that I take additional classes to obtain a specialists degree. I started September as a college student with nine hours of classes, a full time job, a family and….an open mind. I had no idea how it would go only that it was sure to busy and probably stressful.

This return was significantly different from the previous 12 years of teaching. I realized as stepped back into this linear world with clocks, schedules and deadlines that I’d changed enormously. I’m not sure that I can describe these changes or that they would be relevant to reading. We all change and sometimes I don’t think we take the time to recognize and honor ourselves properly. No, most of the time, our focus is on all that stands before us: spouse, kids, home, laundry, dishes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, animal, homework, sports, tests, groceries…….who has time to contemplate when maybe our goal for the day is simply to get something on our plate to eat before we begin a second or third job for the night, before we crash wearily into the comfort of a bed we only spend 4 hours in?! That may sound extreme but that I’ve lived that scene once or twice in the past few months!

And there was no one to blame or be upset with. I had chosen this path or at least something deep inside me had felt it was the right way to go. I’ve loved books since I was a little girl. My favorite places to visit are libraries. I spent more time in my college library than I did in the bar, well, probably I did…..(no comment from Jamie, Danielle, Nancy or any of my other peeps who may be reading this!) The point is I LOVE libraries and not once in my life did I EVER consider going into this field. I have no idea why either, and let me tell you, I’ve been shaking my head and chuckling for the past few months at how I could have possible missed this field…HUGE OVERSIGHT!

I truly hesitated at the thought of giving up my personal freedom and the ability to create my own schedule. I love being at my home, hanging out with my animals and crafting a good life here at the Rafter Lazy H. I felt deeply nourished by the land, our place, my family and friends. I dove into expanding and honing my domestic skills. I learned to be a better gardener, can and preserve food, knit, sew (a little), cook from scratch, create new uses with old things, and writing. We brought in dairy goats and chickens, taking a few more steps toward self-sufficiency. I welcomed this “grounding” phrase after years of being on the go and traveling all the time.

Things don’t stay the same though, no matter how much we want them to. We all move on, we all change, grow and learn either with our conscious participation or resistance. We can embrace changes or we can deny them. We can give the power and responsibility away or we can co-create and align. I’ve always looked at life as an adventure. I never know what is coming my way and to me, that’s part of the fun. There are days that are not fun and days when I’m blessed out beyond recognition and yet I avoid labeling them. I feel the emotions, I allow them to come in and roll out. I take it all in.

Last Friday this current phase culminated in a personal goal that I didn’t even know I held. I’ve always loved learning and sharing. It’s part of my vibration and something that comes naturally to me. I had thought about getting a master’s degree and then when I left teaching I never gave it another thought; too much hassle, too much time, too much effort, too much money. In October I met with an amazing lady by the name of Dr. Rebecca Pasco. Ever hear of a golden key? She put in in my hand in this conversation! In this crystallizing moment I was reminded that our paths are not linear, they are meant to wind, weave, and take the “scenic route”.

I never looked for this job, this position, this career. It found me. I’ve only ever followed my heart in anything that I’ve ever done. If it feels right I do it, if it doesn’t I don’t. Gone are the days where I resist my own insight. Instead, even if it makes zero sense (to anyone including me) but it feels correct, I do it. I think my family and friends have seen this enough to know that it’s simply how I roll. So Dr. Pasco shared that not only could I get my specialists degree in library I would only be two classes away from a Master’s Degree, something clicked: this degree has been waiting a long time for me. I wasn’t going to spend money getting a degree in a field that I didn’t love. I wouldn’t have known that I love the library field had I not said “yes” to the opportunity that came to be a year ago at this time. I wouldn’t be in grad school if I hadn’t taken a chance and called Dr. Pasco. The amazing weave and web of this phase just feels magical to me! And all that was really needed was an open-mind and an open-heart. I’m thinking now we aren’t supposed to know how the dance will go, we’re just supposed to dance.

I wasn’t sure about the best way to offer an “update” and I’m a bit surprised at how much just “spilled out”. I’ve missed writing the blog and I’m happy to report that I’ll be posting much more often now that my classes are about wrapped up. I want to encourage you, wherever you are in your life, whatever you are facing or contemplating to say YES. Say YES to YOU. Go within, feel your truth. It is that simple, you can always wonder how things will turn out, but you don’t have to know. You can freely enjoy the path that you are walking on this day. You can let your heart lead the way and allow it to take you where it knows to go. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we work so hard to figure it all out because then we’re missing the joy of the present moment.

As we prepare to close the books on another year, I stand in awe and gratitude of all that I’ve been given. It’s really not the degree that I’m after, it’s the experience, the knowledge and the awareness of all that I am receiving, giving and learning along the way. Most of all, it is the opportunity to connect with others, to share, inspire and grow together. I think we have no idea how significant our impact and support is for others is. I was simply blown away with swelling gratitude, by the facebook responses I received when I posted that I’d made it into grad school. Those likes and comments were worth more than a million bucks to me!
So with all of my heart…thanks for reading. Thanks for your patience in between posts too. I’ll be happily sharing the new adventures, humor and story as they unfold. I hope you’ll keep “dancing” with me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Keep on going..........

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Cowboy Quote of the day: "If you're going through hell, keep going." ~Winston Churchill

I wouldn't necessarily qualify this month as hell, but some aspect of it are darn close. In the nine star ki philosophy, the energies of this month are related to two earth. Earth energies are known for being grounded, very grounded, and sometimes they get stuck, very stuck. No matter how hard we push, shove, insist, force and move, it may not appear to glean much progress. So we stop, wait and assess. Sometimes we start something new without fully realizing the implications involved. Yet, how can we know what the "new" will be like if we aren't willing to try it out, one taste at a time or.....by taking a whomping mouth-full!

My life has certainly taken on a new direction. I'm spending my days in a much more focused, linear manner. I'm not sure I'll always be doing what I presently do, though I can say that each day seems like a monumentally different shift! I can barely remember what I did last week, let alone focus on next week. Being so busy has helped me learn to prioritize my time, do what HAS to be done today and then carve out a little shameless time for myself.

How do I do this? I've had more than a few people inquire lately. Thanks so much for the love and support via, phone, text, email and facebook messages! I feel I have the MOST FANTABULOUS people in the world in my circle! I'm also blessed with amazing clients who actually take my advice and apply it! Here's what I'm offering for those of you who are wondering how to survive quantum acceleration, and conscious evolution:

1. Do at least one thing that YOU LOVE everyday

2. Get moving, whenever you can, whenever your schedule allows, walk, run, job, bike, swim, whatever....just do something physical every day.

3. Breathe. Whatever may be bothering you now, will likely be gone in a few days. If its still hanging around, it is there to teach you something. As soon as you learn it, the issue will clear itself up.

4. Do your best to sneak away to the sanctity of your bedroom and go to sleep early (especially if you have to get up early.) Even one night a week invigorates your body.

5. Don't react. If you hear news or information that is less than supportive....just listen. With so much energy swirling around, its easy to forget where we are and what others are going through as well.

6. Don't think. Stop trying to fix what is wrong, fix others or fix yourself. Just let it be. Accept who you are right now, all the blessings you already have and be grateful for the totality of the experience.

7. Play. Play with your dog, your kids, your friends, connect with others in meaningful and enjoyable ways. Focus on being with positive people, let the toxic ones go.

8. Breathe. It's essential. Sigh if you have to, scream if you must but take a lot of long, deep breaths and smile. It's does help you relax.

9. Do only what has to be done. If you don't get everything crossed off your list, you'll probably have an opportunity to do it tomorrow. If tomorrow doesn't come, it won't really matter will it?!?!

10. Get yourself an excellent planner. My favorite is the Mom Agenda. You can have it personalized if you want to. It's hard cover, it has a pocket in the front and in the back. There is a master calendar and then a weekly one with plenty of space. Write every, single, little detail down: passwords, emails, Christmas lists, birthdays, anniversaries, to-do's, goals, play lists, play dates, football games, church meetings, and anything else that may keep you awake at night! once you write it down, do it.

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

And one final thought; if the world around you appears to be moving fast, let this be an invitation for you to move even more slowly, with intention and integrity. Before you know it the "hell" you are walking through right now, just might transform itself into your next heaven.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Long Awaited....Dilly Bean Recipe!

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Hi Friends,

You may have noticed I've taken a little time away lately. The summer's rolled herself into August and we find that a new school year is just around the corner. Chad skipped a few rodeos and I gave up a little golf playing to spend a few days with our children before they start back to school next week.

I'll be posting more frequently as we settle into a routine. I say that with a little "tongue in cheek" because we never accomplished what remotely resembled a routine last year!

I've had several lovely peeps inquire about my dill bean recipe and so with out further delay, I fired up the ol 'puter today to post it on the blog. ENJOY! It's a favorite 'round these parts! I recently canned 25 pints. That should keep us stocked til....Christmas!

Dilly Beans
2lbs of fresh, tender green beans
cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic peeled (I had at least two per jar because we all like garlic)
4 heads fresh dill or 2 t. dill weed
2 t. mustard seed
2 1/2 c. white vinegar
2 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. canning salt
*jalapeno or other peppers to give it a lil zing!

Wash tender beans, string if using that kind. Leave benas whole, trimming to fit jar; pack lengthwise into hot sterilzed pint jars. In each jar, add one dash cayenne pepper, one or two cloves garlic, one head of dill, and 1/2 tsp mustard seed. Combine the vinegar, mwater and salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour thi over the beans, filling to within 1/2" of the top. Seal immediately. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Beans should stand in sealed jars at least 2 weeks before serving.

I also add dried peppers, whatever variety I have on hand.

PS If you know my brother or my cousin, Austin...you may want to hide them! hee hee Just kidding boys! Glad you love them!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I hear you October

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I can taste October. I know she’s coming. It’s one of those inevitable things that you sense before you can see. I hold on to summer with all my might, both hands clinched down, as if my life depends on it. I love every bit of summer, even the heat. I may mention that it feels hot, but you won’t find me complaining about it.

I adore everything from fireflies to birds, moonlight nights, campfires and friends, plush grass (and weeds), a bountiful garden and cool mornings that burn up in the afternoon. There isn’t one that I detest about summer so naturally I never want it to go. Never! I could live eternally in this season and even if I live to be 90, I’m certain that the season will make feel young once again.

Summer’s warmth draws me out of the house and into the natural world more easily, though fall often beckons me in similar ways. Autumn is a transitional season, one that cushions the inevitable adrenaline decline that has built from May to August.

I secretly look forward to hot cider, campfires with a blanket wrapped around me and steaming mug of pumpkin spice coffee. It’s not the same as the passionate love affair I have with all things summer, more like a comfortable companion that I know waits for me year after year. I can gently rock into the red and gold brilliance, breathe in a little George Winston and relax.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on summer, not hardly! There’s still plenty of it left for me to savor and make memories with. There’s enough that I can distract my mind into thinking that it’ll last forever, even though my heart is whispering that it won’t. It will come around again, and so I’ll spend the next three months lying in wait, dreaming, planning, praying that it will arrive quickly, while at the same time appreciating what IS in front of me; be it soupy days or snow drifts.

I hear you October. I know you are on your way.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Friendship

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Cowboy Quote of the Day: "When the solution is simple, God is answering." ~Albert Einstein


Is this not the coolest gift?!?! This gorgeous piece is the artistic cre8tion of my friend Ann. Ann is the official Johnston Family photographer and co-owner of Serendiptity Shots. She has an amazing eye for unique, fun pictures that truly captures the energy and essence of her subjects. I should add that she’s also patient and fast, she’s been capturing Ramon’s antics since she was two!)

This was my birthday gift and it truly brought tears to my eyes. Some of the quotes are from the blog, some she added because they were so uniquely ME, all of it from the heart. I LOVE it and I haven’t stopped staring at it!

Do you have a friend that really knows you and (still) loves you for just who you are? Consider yourself blessed! Though there are a lot of challenges that we face right now, the one thing we always have is each other. I don’t get to see my friend as often as I would like, I can’t just run over to her house and spew about my day, I can’t pick her up and share my triumphs over dinner but I know that she’s just a heartbeat away.

We all have challenges to deal with. We all have days that we’re just ready to close the books on and say good bye to. And we all have friends; they are the tickets that gets us through the rough spots and the companions that we share our joys and success along side of.

Here’s to the enduring ties of eternal friendship, may we all celebrate this joyful blessing!

(Thanks Annie, it was sooooo great to see you and Bob this weekend!)

PS Do any of you see the totally cool embedded name??? Bonus points if you do!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Still Here!

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Yep, I’m still here and still kicking. Well sort of. With the help of copious amounts of coffee and Matevanna tea! It’s necessary in weeks like these. The end of the month finds me swamped as usual. I have the August monthly ki previews that I am kicking out (am delightfully amazed at how fluently these have come together!). I also have a fridge full of beans and cukes that are ready to process. My garden is way, way behind so thanks to my dear friends I was able to secure a load from the Eustis farmer’s market!

We have a slurry of to-dos in the next week, so much that my head is already spinning and it’s only 9 am. I’ve come to accept that this is my lot in life, for the time being. I suspect it won’t always be this hectic, or at least I hope it wont’ be. There’s enough to do that I have had to prioritize and focus my energies. I am now getting up anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30……without an alarm, if this tells you something?! For long term blog readers, you may recall my extreme detest of early morning? That too has passed. In the last month I’ve started a new program of getting up early to have coffee, do chores and sit in stillness before the chaos ensues. It’s working! I’m actually looking forward to and enjoying the early morning hours. Gee, not even a month in being 39 and I’m already accomplishing more than I did in the previous 38 years! (again, chuckle, chuckle!)

My goal is to update at least once a week. (Thanks to all you AWESOME peeps that have inquired about me and asked for more blog posts, I really appreciate the interest!) The next week is filled with appointments and client sessions, swimming lessons and a final push to bring things in order before the school year begins. As my outer world has got very busy, my writing time has been diminished. The good news is I have TONS of content for when things slow down enough for me to post more regularly!

Thanks for sticking with me and do check back for more updates. I will be teaching several classes, covering Feng Shui and Clearing Clutter come fall. I have offerings in North Platte, Imperial, Lexington and Kearney! The classes will be super fun and will include new content that I’ve been working on this summer.

Have superb day and a sunny, fun week!

Friday, July 15, 2011

39

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Cowboy Quote of the Day: “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance”~ Anonymous

I’m dancing today. In my tye-dye shirt and within my heart I am dancing and throwing a big party. I’ve been on the planet to experience 39 years of sunrises and sunsets. I’ve felt rain on my cheeks, sunshine on my skin and joy flowing through my heart.

I never know which direction the road will take me next and doesn’t this makes for a grand adventure?!?! Of all the situations I’ve experienced in my time here, the most amazing and powerful is LOVE. Love for self, for family, friends, animals, the earth, moon and stars. My spirit is soaring today in recognition of the rich abundance that continually surrounds me. It’s my deepest prayer that I can reflect that which is joy, peace, light, love, passion, beauty and grace to all those who are connected to me.

I’m sending rainbow colored balloons of laughter, appreciation and BIG LOVE to everyone today! It truly is a HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Thank you for being in my life, for supporting me, inspiring me, guiding me, laughing with me, loving me and sharing this journey together!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Masterpiece!

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I might possibly be the most artistic clutz that I know. I say that because I am the last person to pull of a creation that is in anyway perfect. Most of the things I find and repurpose or make from scratch have flaws, many of them. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me but every now and then it scratches and pokes like a hidden burr in a sock.

Today was the day I designated to paint the counter tops in my bathroom. We have two more steps to complete before I retire from further bathroom updates. Counter tops and floors have been on the list for the past year. Since my finances are being channeled in other areas, home improvement ventures have taken a back seat. I thought a little paint would change the look of the room. Boy, was that right! It also has changed the look of the floor………


I wasn’t far into the painting when I went to unplug the ipod doc and move it. I lost my balance, tripped and over went the paint can. Yep. That’s how I roll. I have become masterful in the art of turning disasters into masterpieces or, er, well, at least something other than the original intended purpose. I lamented awhile, though I wasn’t heart broken; the carpet has its share of stains and was on its way out as soon as I could corner Chad long enough to cut and install tile.

Scrapbooking has helped me hone the art of mistakes. Applying my philosophy of “there are no accidents” (Kung Fu Panda) I started spreading out the paint…..and then I took more paint and just started playing. I then did something very brave and showed my kids, how their not-so-perfect Mama had decided to redecorate the floor. I got mixed reviews. The eldest was sure that it was a sun, the youngest was sure it was a giant turtle (her latest obsession) and we should add star fish to make it look like an ocean. The middle child just came up and patted me on the back, I’m sure he was thinking, THANK GOD it wasn’t me that spilled it!

I liked the idea of star fish. This is where my art gets abstract or….cave man like?!?! I can’t draw to save my bacon and I’m pretty sure star fish aren’t taupe. At any rate, I dove in and started painting. I doubt I’ll have to live with it long. My husband is NOT into abstract art of any kind, let alone that which has appeared on the bathroom carpet floor. This could be the motivation needed to help him drag the saw and tools out of the barn and back to the house though.

The counters didn’t turn out too bad. I did find a great way to add texture for any of you DIY’ers out there. It’s a mystery ingredient that is sure to cause wonder and awe. Here are the steps:

1. Randomly spill a large quart of rustoleum paint (the really smelly kind that stick to everything, including skin).

2. Next take the large blob of paint and swish it all over the floor or in my case carpet. As you notice this large puddle, simply dip your brush into the mess and apply to your counter top. Paint as fast as you can before the paint dries.

3. Here’s the kicker: The carpet has fuzzies, lots of them. When you dip your brush into the carpet paint, you’ll transfer these fabulous fuzzies directly to your counter top thus creating a very unique “texture”. And you don't have to do a thing but keep on painting!

4. Before you are done, be sure to take your brush and make fun designs all over the floor. This is sure to please your spouse, kids, pets and even guests. And remember there are NO MISTAKES, or ACCIDENTS, these are simply opportunities to exercise your cre8tive genius and showcase new disaster pieces (I’m sure they’ll increase your home's value)

Let me know if you have any questions, or comments. I’m sure that I have just earned my spot on the next segment of Home Improvement. I mean, who wouldn’t want to employ this unique talent?!?! And God forbid it go untouched, unused and unappreciated!

Happy Painting!

Master of Disaster

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Feels like vacation?


If I didn't know better, Id say my body/mind must have decided to take a mini vacation today. Try as I might, I can't force another task to be done. I've taped the walls and sinks in preparation for counter paint. Perhaps tomorrow? This is rare for me, as if I've run out of energy, drive and motivation.....all at once! What's quite interesting/disturbing is.....Im not bothered in the least. The kids have been hounding me to watch a movie with them and today....they got their wish = Mama time! Harry Potter whatever whatever is about to start. I think they've already seen it a dozen times. No matter, we're all hanging out together and Im soooo good with just sitting....at 4:30 in the afternoon (*rare) Im throwing the anchor overboard for now. More from the deck later. Perhaps I will learn a house clearing or stop-the-kids-from-fighting spell?! My only question, since I'm on vacation is who is going to cook us supper tonight? Wait....I suppose there's a spell for that too!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So cute!

I adore the old illustrations!
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I won't be cutting these illustrations out. I did buy a couple of books specifically for some decoupage projects. Birds are my selected subject matter and the older the book the better! My favorite buy of the day is a 1936 book with feathers on the cover and delightful colored illustrations. It was a whopping $2.00 score!

I'm not sure what the finished project is going to look like; I cannot wait to get started! I'll post as I go for those who are still with me!

Bird books!

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Bird cage!.

I bought this to put in the bathroom. My intention was to paint it yellow, but I sure do like the vibrant orange!
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Newest (old apron)

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I just had to add this to my collection. I didn't have a cheery yellow one. (Yes, someday I really need to learn how to sew!)

Treasures!

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Hi Friends,

If I have any blog followers left, let me just say thanks so much for tuning in and checking back. This has been my busiest summer on record. I’m not sure if it is the combination of my children getting older and being involved in more activities, or if it’s some wiring issue in my brain that makes me think I have more time than I do, to get in all the tasks that I need to. Perhaps it is a combination of both? I don’t remember being this busy ever. In the midst of all the actions, I’ve noticed my dreams and personal visions have shifting in discernable ways. Three years ago I was really into knitting and all things domestic. I jumped in and embraced by agricultural background. I grew a garden and learned how to preserve food. I brought in chickens for eggs, goats for milk. I made meals from scratch, unpacked my suitcase and put it in storage. I put down roots, deep ones.

Everything changes, this we know. Sometimes we may not be fully aware of those changes but they continue with, or without our conscious awareness. We can feel these shifts and even look to the outside to confirm that we are indeed in the midst of changes, yet, I think it’s normal to still not have a clue of how exactly situations are going to turn out, let alone what they will shape up to be until we are fully in them.

I thought by this year I’d be selling my goods at the Farmer’s Market, stocking my kitchen with an array of baked and preserved goods. I’d watch the chickens peck and turn the soil while I sipped my morning coffee. I’d make delicious goat cheese and soap. My garden would be plush and thriving. Perhaps I’d finally have a clothes line and a garage with ample storage, maybe even a back yard that wasn’t decorated in knee high weeds?

My reality though has shifted significantly. I still have chickens and goats. The girls are slacking off in their laying and the goats have escaped milking for the most part. We’ve been so busy that we hadn’t even made it to the garden to reclaim the onions that were planted in April. Our lives seemed to hit fast forward and for the entire month of June, it was all we could do to hang on.

This week is offering me a much needed opportunity to catch my breath. I ponder all the changes, shifts, jumps, bumps and dives that we’ve experienced since January and especially since June and I’m truly in awe. The busy times are forcing me to identify priorities. In the midst of laundry, dishes, housework, child care, animal care, writing, client sessions, golf, baseball and rodeo (not listed in prioritized order) there hasn’t been much time for me. “Me time” is important and yet it can be one of the easiest aspect of my life to push back.

Yesterday I rediscovered my love for creative ventures and old treasures. After the errands and orthodontist appointments we hit the used book store and antique shop. I’ve had several craft projects in mind, yet the time hasn’t been supportive to “dabble”. I love to let my heart lead my mind and wander about looking, appreciating and thinking of all the ideas that arise within me.

We found some great treasures; small, old bottles, a yellow and white apron, some great old bird books and a super nifty orange and yellow bird cage!

This week I’ll be repainting some old furniture that I salvaged from a discard pile. I also aim to paint my bathroom counter tops. I have some twigs that I plucked from a fence clearing mission back in April that will be painted canary yellow to go in the bathroom. That is if everything today goes as planned. So far so good.

Oh how I LOVE to decorate with old things. I’ve always known that about myself but yesterday seemed to solidify something deep in my soul. I had a vision refurbishing an old building and setting up my own antique store. I do not fancy myself as a business owner, I have no aptitude for sales or crunching numbers, let alone worrying about how to make rent. What I would love is the thrill of “hunting”, the joy of renovating an old building and decorating it with vintage and flea market finds. I know where my talents lie, perhaps I need a business partner that enjoys the more linear aspects while I exercise my talents in the astehtic and appearances department?! I’d want an old building with great character, soft comfy chairs and a place to read and drink coffee. Anyone care to join me here?!?!

In the meantime, here are some pictures of yesterday’s fabulous finds!

*Pictured above are the cute litte bottles we scored. I added the guinea feathers and dried rose. These bring a smile to my face as they perch on the kitchen window ledge.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Cowboy Quote of the Day: "Nature is wabi-sabi's mistress." ~Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Sometimes it’s the little things that make us pause with wonder. It seems I’ve been on the go for so long now, I don’t remember what it was like to have much down time. I’ve noticed that even our vacations and recreation time are filled with going, doing and exploring. One thing we can never claim is that we’re bored.

I’ve recently picked up a great little book titled “Simply Imperfect” by Robyn Griggs Lawrence (great name!) and I must say, it’s the perfect anecdote for a busy life. Though I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to embrace the principles of doing less, and doing it at a slower pace, I’d like to try. The aspect of the book that does resonate is the idea of honoring imperfection. For years, I’ve picked up random natural things to use in my decorating scheme; broken turkey eggs, pine cones, soap weed pods, wild flowers have all graced my tables, mantle and kitchen window.

Tuning into what others might dismiss as mundane and ordinary allows us to notice and appreciate aspects of our lives that would have otherwise gone undiscovered, such as this double blossomed dandelion. My special flower girl came waltzing into my office this morning and plopped it in front of my face! “I found something cool for you Mama,” she said as she handed me the single stemmed flower. “It has two on top!” She then skipped out of the office, leaving me with her find. I pondered this simple treasure for quite some time.

I realize that some people refer to these yellow plants as weeds but I’ve actually grown quite fond of them. Dandelion tea is delicious and refreshing. The roots make an especially robust, coffee flavored drink and the leaves are one of my favorite salad ingredients. Though my husband would love to spray the pesky invasion, I usually manage to persuade him to leave the boundaries past the lawn “wild and untamed”. This is where Pryce journeys out to pick me a wild bouquet in the mornings. Not on a regular basis, just when she thinks I need some flowers!

This was a loving reminder that even something as ordinary as a dandelion can hold wonder and delight if we are willing to pause long enough to contemplate and fully appreciate the gift being offered.

Lawrence shares, “Natural beauty is priceless. We can take in and appreciate a great view because we don’t have any home of owning it, and we can’t manipulate it (positively or negatively) to match our will. We don’t think we can improve on nature, so we witness it with the innocence of someone who’s powerless. With out egos out of the way, we can simply observe.”

Truly this blossom will fade and will be returned to the earth from which it grew. There’s no way to preserve it, only the image from the camera will remain and the gentle memory along with it.

We can appreciate what is here today, knowing that tomorrow, things around us may look and feel differently. Always there is an opportunity to stop, open and witness the natural beauty and abundanct blessings that are always present for those who are purposely looking.

Here’s wishing you a joyful Independence Day celebration. May the precious gifts of freedom, family and friends surround you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Time, Right?

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Cowboy Quote of the Day: “Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.” ~Charles Dickens


Happy First Day of Summer! For this sun-loving girl, I sure am bummed that I woke up to high winds and 56 degree temps. Brrrr! This is certainly not the way I had envisioned the first day of my favorite season.

What’s your ideal vision of summer? Mind involves a plush green, freshly mowed yard, (I secretly love the smell of cut grass), a hammock and a good book. Summer to me is fireflies and campfires flickering in a sultry, drawn out evening. Summer is rocking on the glider and staring at the moon and stars, wondering how I got so lucky to be right here. It’s the time when I get up with the sun, not because I have to but because it shines right on my face and gentle reminds me that a new day is on its way. Summer is slowly winding throughout the day, choosing what I will do or not do, focusing on nature and all of her splendor. Summer is crickets chirping, sprinklers running and weeds growing faster than my garden. Summer is laughter and lazy afternoons that wink at me and pretend to last forever. Summer always exists in my mind but I’m grateful when it finally becomes reality. Like the blossom of a flower, it’s short lived but I enjoy every moment and savor it like ice cream.

So it’s a couple of days behind. I’ve waited this long, a few more days probably won’t hurt.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Keep On Trucking and then....take a break!

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:

“Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.” ~Larry Bird.

Hi folks, back to blogging! My cowboy buddy, Ross, has been sending me some fantastic quotes but sadly I haven’t taken the time to write. I could do a quick blurb here and there on my phone but the keyboard is rotten (I got the droid x for a bigger reading screen and great camera, typing is difficult!)

We’ve had a busy spell since returning from our trip to Moab. I dare say a part of me perhaps stayed behind and has yet to catch up to the present me that has been trying to find some stability. We’ve had very late nights and unusually early mornings.

Our weeks are currently filled with baseball, golf, baseball, rodeo and a bit of laundry and dishes thrown in here and there. I’ve coached my children in the art of “drop your pants and the door and then head to your bedroom because I probably won’t make it down to the basement for another month. If you want clean clothes you’d better help me out!” So far we’ve been fine, they just had to wear slightly damp baseball pants to the game the other night.

I am declaring a time out as of, well, NOW! I’ll be coasting for a few days. I have a date with a great book and a hammock, perhaps a little golf, college baseball world series, and an attempt to do as little as possible. Looking back this spring, I really pushed, I felt like I spent the entire spring climbing a big mountain, so I made a promise that I would S L O W down, savor the summer and let a few things go that I would normally push myself to get done, finish, clean up, clarify and/or complete!

Don’t get me wrong, I think agree with ‘ol Larry’s above quote but I’m pretty sure he didn’t state those words in the month of June!

Have a relaxing weekend friends!

* “Victorious rock climbers” pictured above: Chad, Josh, Parker, Pryce and Brecken! Yay…way to work hard in the desert!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We love Jeeps

Hi folks! We are on the go go go. I will be travel details when my breath catches up with me and I have a larger keyboard!

We rented a Jeep today. We have a trail to conquer. It beat the dually last year and we never made it to the top. Today....we will! I'm snapping pics like crazy and have some amazing shots to share!

Happy Trails!
RJ
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Moab: Day One

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done,” ~Arnold Palmer


This is probably one of my all time favorite quotes that Cowboy Ross has sent so far! It’s very consist with my life and where I find myself to be right now. I’ve experienced one of the most active and intense cycles of my life this past spring. I know I’m in a location of transformation and change and I’ve done my best to keep things in perspective. Remaining positive is not always easy and I don’t hold myself to being that way all time; I prefer being “real” so that means I honor those down days and times when I am feeling less than motivated.

The “reward” for all my hard work has been knowing that I’d be heading to a favorite hiking spot in Moab. It really never looked like it was something I could do. We’d talked about it but when it came right down to it, there was always some reason to go somewhere else….kids weren’t big enough, too far, hot, the list goes on and on….In fact I pretty much put the idea out of my mind for a good long time. Last summer we head a break in the action and decided we’d give it a try. Driving 11+ hour in a car with three children under 11 (at that time) was not an image that I relished. And would they be able to keep up with their long-legged fathers stride? I sure can’t, I’m always bringing up the rear because there’s usually a cool photo op or a lizard or a flower or a rock…..!

My worries were unfounded. Moab was amazing. The people were super friendly, (much like being back at home) and we had an blast. We hiked over 20 miles throughout the four days were there and the kids kept up beautifully. The area is vastly different from good ol Nebraska. It’s mostly rocks and rugged land. There’s something magical about being there, especially hiking on a full moon night. It’s evolved into one of my favorite locations on the planet, simply because it is so unique. I have no plans of ever moving here, which is strange and funny because I usually always want to relocate to the place I’m visiting. However, that was not the case, I have no intention of making the place a permanent residence but I do plan to visit…..often. It’s also rare that all five of us like the SAME place.

So I’ve held my breath for the past two weeks hoping that it all worked out and it did. Everything that needed to get done so we could go, was. I was wondering that at 9:30 last night when Pecos was picking lettuce and spinach to take a long! We left at 10 pm, which may seem strange. Thanks to many years of night driving to rodeos, I was able to get us down the road a piece. I was done at 1:15 am, at which point I didn’t care where I slept! I can’t even tell you where we stayed because Chad drove another hour and a half! We put the anchor down and shut our eyes.

We were up this morning pretty early (I keep forgetting to put in light blocking devices in the camper). We dressed, walked the dog and loaded up. We’ve been driving most of the day with the exception of two stops thanks to Sparky (he needs his own “potta porty” as BS calls it!

We’ll arrive in Moab within the next two hours and from there, we’ll see where the red rocks take us! I’m so excited to be back in this country. There’s something deeply comforting and healing here. I can’t quite put my fingers on what it is exactly, a feeling or an energy perhaps. Whatever it is, it feels great and I like it!

Tomorrow I’ll be stopping into my favorite Gear Heads store to fill up with water and browse the smart wool socks. I have a feeling they will remember me…I was a familiar face last year!

I’ll be posting throughout the week and when I have service. We’ll be in an extremely remote location for a couple of days. We scoped it out last year and thought it would be cool to camper there (with a camper that we didn’t have at the time!) My cousins Josh and Brecken are already there and another Jeni, will join us tomorrow. It should be a fun, fun time!

I’m very grateful for this opportunity. It took a heck of a bunch of orchestration to pull this off the ground! Looking at our schedule for June, July and August this was about the only time we could fit in a vacation. We’ll return home to baseball, rodeos, camping, the river, and great times with friends. This feels like a pretty terrific way to kick off summer!

Just crossed the UTAH line! Whoot Whoot! We’re ready to get our hike on!

I'd like to thank the cute "biker chick" in the photo above for posing! She was very excited about finding a helmut for our bike excursions this week. She's modeling inside Good Will where she and I scored three bike helmuts, two pairs of baseball cleats, and three skirts (one of which was a Title Nine hiking "skort".) Oh I I LOVE gifts from the Universe like these!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Stop N Smell the Lilacs

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Hi folks! I'm resuming my blog posts for a brief time this week. School is out, brandings are done and we've recently celebrated the beautiful nuptuals of one of my six boy cousins. It was a gorgeous and fun filled weekend and I'll get pics and a video posted as time allows.

This week we have much to do and only four short days to get it all done in before we head out to Moab. I am calling it a vacation but it may not be all that relaxing and quiet, we have much to see and do!

In the meantime, today is ESPECIALLY GORGEOUS! This is the ideallic spring day that exists always in my dreams and only rarely in my reality. The warm weather and ample sunshine make it difficult to concentrate on the Ki Previews but it is certainly conducive to free flowing thoughts and writing (which I DO appreciate!)

Since I don't know how many of you actually read this blog I have no idea if you've missed my postings or not.....so if I have a few Cre8tive Cowgirl fans out there, please know that I will be posting from the road, (as service and patience with my phone allow!)

And though it is busy, busy, busy around here I want you all know that I did take time to stop and smell the roses or in my case lilacs! This is one of my all time favorite sights and smells of the season. They flood my being with nastalgic memories of growing up on the Frauen Ranch and buring my nose deep inside Great Grandpa Jake's bountiful shrubs. Our four little twigs are now looking more full and robust so I couldn't help but pluck a stem to sniff while I let my fingers do the walking this afternoon.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Giving It Our All

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"Don't cheat the world of your contribution. Give it what you've got."
~Steven Pressfield



I am doing my best to maintain a postive, happy attitude during the busiest months of my life (If you've seen my April flash by, would you kindly pass her on back to me? Thanks!)

I am in the midst of finishing up three classes from CSC's on-line library media program and while I'd like to say I've "aced" them, that would not be the truth, actully would be far from the truth in some aspects. What I have aced is my ability to learn, grow and remain ever so humble. If I thought I was "mart" in any way, that theory has been extremely tested.

Here are my contributions to the world this week:

One messy house that needs someone who has the time, talent and attention to bring her back into shape. By the look of my May calendar that is an unlikely possibility.

Two boys with really shaggy hair (if anyone would like to exchange eggs for hair cuts, I could keep you in constant supply. On both accounts)

A very smelly Marley that shouldn't be allowed in the house but he gets to come into the craft room and keep my feet warm anyway. I get over the smell after 15 minutes or so.

One authentically, genuine happy heart. For all the things I have going on, even if I am walking just to the edge of sheer meltdown and overwhelm, I feel very blessed for the many activities, discoveries and support that I've received. I do feel that I have some of the best pals in the Universe!

My final contributions include good doses of humor (something that has gotten me though this past ridiculously busy month) a diversion away form perfectionism (if the target lands anywhere close to the mark I'm calling it a "gimmie" and moving on to the next obstacle)and hopefully because of my current reality, I'm helping to shape independent, capable, creative, resourceful little human beings. That may be a stretch but they are going to have multiple opportunites for growth this week!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

She Graduates Today!

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."
~Mark Twain


Today marks the last day of Pooh's pre-school career. This is a bittersweet moment but I am embracing it with as much joy as I can muster. This is one excited girl! I think she's headed in a postive direction. She shared with her teachers that when she grows up she wants to be an otter trainer and a paleontologist! (I personally think she should begin with tying her shoes and waking up in a happy mood but maybe that will come?!)

I am at the end of a very busy week. I will be happy to complete my responsibilites and obligations but I have to say I am looking forward to some serious downtime....seriously. With the study of the nine star ki cycles I have a pretty good idea of what is going on, at least good enough to make sense of the world and happenings around me. That said the only thing I can control is my perception and how I react to the outside world. I feel like I've been riding on a roller coaster; experincing the most supreme highs and some very low places in there too. I think the key for me (and maybe for you as well) is allowing both happiness and sadness to be in my field as well as releasing the idea that there is nothing "set in stone". Everything changes; the sooner my being consciouly adopts this (it isn't always mind over matter) the more freedom I will feel.

Wherever you are today, whatever you've been fighting for, holding on to very tightly and struggling with or against, I'm going to offer you a radical approach.....just let go. I think there's peace in that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mom of the Year

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:

"You can motivate by fear and you can motivate by reward. But both those are temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation."
~Homer Rice



I used both fear and reward to motivate my children today. I am now preparing for the shiny "mom of the year" award that I am sure will follow this post.

Today was the dreaded "dentist day". It's a nasty word in this house. Of the five of us, this is the least favorite health professional we see. (No offence Dr. Simpson and staff, you all are great!) Our trip this morning entailed a four tooth extraction for Sparky, a check-up for Pecos and not one darn toy for BS. The tooth extraction was a bit rough. And I have to admit, I felt a bit terrible that I agreed to allow my nine-year-old to have four baby teeth yanked from his melon. The upside (hence: motivation) is that the pain would be a one-time deal (until he suffers the agony of braces in July.) If we took all those pearly whites out at once, he wouldn't have to repeat the process again in two months (and in the meantime feel lopsided until June. That's a plus, right?!

Pecos got off easy but not for long. He's got fillings that need to be replaced and a couple of lingering baby teeth that are going to be evicted as of June. They have the option to leave on their own....(encouragement AND motivation?!?!)

BS got off faily easy with the exception that she didn't get a single toy (*tears). However, she did score a cool new tooth brush, water bottle and pencil when she got her Kindergarten immunizations. Wow....lots of tears, and screaming there. I apologized to the sweet nurse and promised that she'd not see this child again until seveth grade.

Oh no, we're not done yet. Ol good buddy Pecos shed more than a few tears with his required seventh grade immunizations too. I figured since we were in already in town we might as well get as many things knocked of the to-do list as possible. In the eyes of my children that is translated as "let's see what else Mom can put us through today."

Long story short, all three walked out of WCDH bawling and lamenting about what a mean mom they have. They completely overlook the fact that most of the time they have clean socks and underwear and do not often go without food. They forget about the dollars good ol mother doles out for baseball gloves, pants and shoes, the rodeo entry fees and the occasional movie tickets. Nope none of that was remembered.

I did try to "soften" the pain buy doing what any uber-organized, caring mother would do....took them through the BK drive through. I know, I had a moment of extreme weakness. Ice cream for all, they got to choose the songs on the ipod (complete torture for me) and gradually the tears dried.

It's days like this that I smile. Most of the memories of my children are happy ones; I can't rightly recall a day when I got all three of them to bawl at the same time. Usually it's two against one, or one picking on the other, but ALL THREE?! Wow, I am TOTALLY MOTHER OF THE YEAR!

Now, where do I go to get that medal?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting Cozi

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"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
~English proverb

Are you Cozi? I’m getting that way! I’ve just found a stellar calendar and family organizer that I thought would be fun to share with my readers. This is a free website on the computer and is also available as an application for Android and Iphone users

Once you download the app, you can customize it to match your family members. It comes with a calendar, to do list, shopping lists and even an on-the-go Journal which can be made into a web page and linked with your Facebook account.

To do lists, shopping lists and reminders can be emailed to all members of the family (providing 1. they have an email 2. they check it!) These lists can also be sent as text messages for your on-the-go busy spouse and kids.

I’m always on the lookout for good (free) organizers for myself and clients. This is one I will share in my classes this fall. I am a perpetual calendar buyer (though I usually abandon them around the first of June!) I do however “keep my life” in my phone and have found it to be so much easier to keep track of a pen and notebook. I was forever misplacing my grocery list and one thing is for sure, I always have my phone with me!

What I love about this app is that the calendar and phone are linked so what I type in one shows up in the other! So cool! (sadly, I've spent the morning checking this out so I could bring you this wonderful information!) Clearly it is easy for me to find such positive distractions.

Accordin to the Robyn J. to-do list, I should be getting off of here and accomplishing something. The problem with such a great app is that is doesn't actually DO the work ;( At any rate, here's the website! http://www.cozi.com/

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dad n Daughter


Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again." ~Bonnie Prudden

If you've been reading this blog then you already know I've had a bit of a struggle with my current transition. It is amazing to think that six years ago today we brought home our teeny tiny girl. I snapped this photo one evening after Chad had got done fixing fence. I loved the dark blue sky in the background and though I don't remember for sure, I plunked the girl in his arms and said, "smile"! He's always a really good sport.

I have been lamanting about the passage of time and how much I'm going to miss having my girl at home with me in the fall, however I want to dispell any possibility that I miss it enough to have another! We're good.

We are certainly going to be winding up the clock this summer. I am pretty excited that the kids are all old enough to be riding and roping, hiking camping, swimming golfing,fishing and participating with us on our various adventures. Typcially Chad is getting ready to rodeo right about now, though he mentioned the other day that he may not go as hard as he did in the past. This was unwelcome news to the boys who did their best to encourage him to continue (they LOVE to go to rodeos and have learned that it gets them out of lawn mowing and other less-than-fun tasks about the place.) We'll see what happens, if he so chooses to stay at home, we have more than enough projects to keep him busy.

Baseball starts soon. Followed by golf league, starting for me tomorrow night (c'mon weather, straighten up will ya?!) We have horses that need to be legged up, a garden to finish planting, various outside projects that I only feel like doing when the sun is out. We have brandings, a wedding and, AND, AND a trip to Moab at the end of May! (I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself!) I have a feeling we are in for a busy, fast paced summer. So instead of looking back I am focused on embracing all that is coming down the line. This spring has required focus and determination and now I am ready for a little a lot of FUN!

What is it that you are MOST looking foward to this summer?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm hooked!

Cowboy quote of the day~ "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted" John Lennon


It is said that a bad day fishing is better than a good day of work. After yesterday I couldn't agree more. We spent yesterday afternoon fishing with friends for Pooh's birthday.

I grew up with a grandads, dad and a brother who love fishing. I went along but never really embraced the sport. Fishing was a chance to sit by water, relax and read. Chad and I have taken the kids fishing a couple of times. They are good sports but they know if they want catch something other than moss they should solicit expert guidance.from Uncle Carl or our friend, Joe.

That changed yesterday. I left my book at home and vowed to pay attention. It paid off! She who shall remain nameless (wouldnt want to brag) is now a fishing convert. I couldnt have done it alone though....I had an adorable cheerleader, shocked boys, a patient coach, who helped land the catches and bait the hooks, and a Chad that is thinking "oh no, she's wants to learn something else"!

In truth, I got lucky, really lucky. And I have a long way to go before I could go alone. Hooking worms, landing the fish, getting it of the hook and then cleaning it is more than I know how to do. I learned a lot though and it was a fun way to spend Pooh's birthday!

And the best part, I didnt do a stitch of work. I think l'll be fishing a lot more!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown." ~William Penn


I love this quote sent via Cowboy Ross. It speaks volumes about the holiday as well as what many family, friends and clients are encountering this month. Personally I feel like I've had a few more challenges and perceptions of restirction that I like to entertain. Yet without the darkness we may not appreciate the light. Without the challenges, the smooth times may not as sweet.

Polarity is continual aspect of our reality. We don't live in a utopian, dream world. It's real, it's gritty and sometimes raw. We can feel sliced to the bone and hit in the knees one minute and in the next, we may be dancing on the deck and singing praises. It's hard to sing praises when we feel low, yet that is the very time those praises carry us; in our deepest darkest challenge there also exists slivers of light, if we dare scan for them. Sometimes the light isn't visible to the eye but it can always be felt, within our hearts and souls. That light never goes out.

Easter is a wonderful time of renewal and reflection. We have an opportunity to begin again, start fresh and live life from a place of deep appreciation and awareness. Every day is a gift, filled with both hills and valleys. How we choose to navigate is up to us; and if we choose to see the challenges and any darkness, we can also find its polar opposite. The yin and yang. I dare say the world is big enough for both. Balance comes when we effeciently recongize the two and find our "happy place" right in the center; our hearts already know how to do this.

I'd like to extend a joyful Easter message to everyone, may you be blessed with an abundance of peace, hope and love. I may be taking a blog break as we'll celebrate Pooh's 6th birthday and a delicious Easter dinner at the Johnston Ranch.

Happy Hopping!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Muddin





For those of you not on Facebook and are wondering what to do with all the melted snow/rain this spring, here's a novel idea, demonstrated by my lovely assistant Pryce (aka Blue Sparkle, Pooh, Lizzie Beans).

For those of you on Facebook that also find your way to my blog, sorry to overload you all with the same videos. Practice makes perfect-o!

Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy, Happy Everything~

Pryce's Clock Demo




I finally figured out how to embed videos

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Come On Out Here Mafia Wives

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"My computer beat me at checkers, but I sure beat it at kickboxing."
~ Emo Philips


Every now and then I’ll turn on tv and listen to the morning news while I tidy up the kitchen. It’s not like coffee, I can go without GMA. Today I listened/watched with amusement as they interviewed four “mafia wives”. Interesting; I saw their fancy dresses and footage of the one with long black hair and a fur coat getting into the back of the car to be driven to who-knows-where.

The next image I saw was a greening pasture with seven horses grazing in the south pasture. I looked at my attire, white shirt with turquoise roses and my old “chore” pants. I’m dressed pretty nice from the waist up, no reason to wear anything decent for feeding animals. I’ll put on something “town worthy” in a couple of hours when I join BS at Kindergarten Round Up.

Thinking further, if producers truly wanted to create a captivating reality show, they should bring the mafia wives here, to a Midwestern farm-ranch location. I bet those gals, "glamed out" in their stilletos, would have had a ball fixing fence with us the other night. Oh it was a joy, let me tell you. It took only two hours to cut brush and overgrown plumb thickets out of the fence line and another hour to dig post holes, stretch the decrepit wire and pound staples in. The finish product looks like a work of art, the likes of which I doubt will ever make it to an east coast gallery, but it should. A straight fence says a lot……………

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Times Marches On



Cowboy Quote of the Day:

"Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened."

~Dr. Seuss


Tomorrow is a day that I have not been looking forward to. I knew it would come and yet there’s a part of me that’s been silently resisting it. My baby goes to Kindergarten Round-up tomorrow. She turns six on Saturday. The time has literally flashed before my eyes.

I think back to this week six years ago. I was completing my last week of teaching 5th and 6th graders. They had a fun little party and on Friday night I went home with the idea that I’d take the following week to play with Parker and get the baby room set up. I hadn’t had that much time to myself in…..(well, since 1998 when Pake was born!)

It wasn’t to be though. We went to a wedding reception in Sutherland the next evening and by 11:36 that night, we welcomed a tiny, adorable baby girl into our hearts. I have LOVED every minute of being home with her. I have not once looked back and wished for anything differently. And now, as time rolls on, we begin a new chapter.

Pryce is more than ready to go to school. She is happy and enthusiastic about learning. I can’t say that I am ready for the transition yet I know resisting it is pointless. I am smiling on all that has happened, truly we’ve been blessed with so many joyful experiences and I trust that we will continue to be. This is a milestone, the first of many that we’ll encounter together.

I know things change. We can’t possibly stop changes that are a natural part of the reality we live in. We also don’t do ourselves justice by living in the past and replaying those happy times because in doing so, we miss the gifts that are directly in front of us right now.

I have a lot of reasons to smile and the tears just affirm that I feel deeply, magically, unconditionally loved and blessed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Learning To Dance......

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Today's Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"Life isn't about waiting for the strom to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain" ~author unknown




Happy Saturday Friends! I don't always post on the weekends but today I am in my office, working to get a jump on the week. I'd be foolish if I thought I had the luxury of time on my side. I don't. What I do have is the awareness that I need to be efficient and work smart. The next two weeks are going to be jam-packed full. I am living life fast forward so the more I can get done in my downtime, the easier I'll breathe when I'm right in the midst of it all.

For me, this means having the house picked up and tidy so that I can find things easily. It means setting realistic time lines and staying on task, resisting distractions and streamlining my energies. And the most important aspect is not just doing all these activites and meeting these requirements and responsiblities, it's about enjoying the entire process.


I've amended today's Cowboy Quote slightly to match the nice day we are having; "It's about learnign to dance in the sunshine when you feel like you have to much to be doing! Go ahead and do it anyway!" RJ

I'm outta here to go hang with the goats and chickens.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Worth the Risk

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I’d like to formally introduce my friend, Ross. He sends me a cool “cowboy quote” every day. He’s done this without fail and it has become something I look forward to. I thought it would be fun to start sharing these with my fabulous blog readers!

Today’s Cowboy Quote of the Day:

“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more” ~Erica Jong

As children most of us are taught to “play safe”. Because our parents love us so much, they try their best to prevent harm from happening to us. I’ve caught myself saying the same thing to my kids as my parents said to me, “Don’t do that!"

So despite all of those good intentions of keeping us from harm, we may also learn to avoid risks, preferring predictable, “safe” boundaries to make sure our bodies and our lives stay right on track. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with playing it safe, it may also prevent us from really living, really knowing the depth of our character, our true strengths and how amazing we actually are.

Please know that I am not advocating dare devil invitations here. I am saying that sometimes we can, and should, do things that scare us, temporarily erasing the protective boundaries we’ve created. These boundaries can be self-protective mechanism, primarily to keep our fragile egos from feeling, embarrassment, fear, disappointment, inadequacy and the slurry of other human emotions some of us work really hard to keep hidden.

I say, do what you most love, focus on this and you’ll be guaranteed to experience the gamut of emotions that ensue on your road to success.

Specifically speaking, I started taking guitar lessons. This is an instrument that I’ve wanted to play since I was four. I remember playing on yard stick, tied with a string around my neck, while watching Hee Haw at Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Otto’s house. It’s never left me. A friend sold me her guitar about six years ago. I got it out of the case twice and put it away. My mind told me I’d never learn to play and it was too late in my life to ever be really good. Truth usually sounds and feels differently than the mind. The timing just wasn’t right.

In fact, the timing may never be right for things that we are hesitant to try. There are a myriad of excuses that can keep us safely protected from feeling anything that might cause us, embarrassment, pain, shame, fear and feeling defeated. If we’re feeling these things before we even start, why initiate the event in the first place? Usually because they are only surface “fears”, designed to keep us locked within the safety of our personal boundaries. This is where risk comes into play.

Are we willing to forgo the way we see ourselves in every day light, in contrast to the greatest vision we know we carry? Are we willing to push through those old cell memories of past failures and inadequacies to get to a higher level of experience? If we are then the risk is minimal in comparison to the outcome. And this becomes your “fearless driving rain”.

I risked seeing myself at something that I am NOT good at and have little natural talent for. I risked moving into a world that I knew nothing about; I’m not an authority and the only thing I have going is that I can sort of read music. Want to take a stroll in humility? Find something that you can’t do, at all, and start learning it!

I will likely never be on a stage, in front of a crowd of screaming, adoring fans (so there’s my fantasy!) I’ll probably not be belting out my favorite melodies to anyone other than my dog, the goats and chickens. What I am doing is risking my own self image, seeing, living and fully embracing the image of my clumsy, non-nimble fingers trying to make a cord sound like some sort of music!

This may not sound like a great risk on the scale of “things to do with your life” but it’s one that is teaching me a great deal. There’s no room for perfection, the goal is simply to be in the moment, and learn in a new, kinesthetic way, the likes of which I am most unaccustomed to. I am learning that I can’t just read and master something, it requires the “DOING” aspect. Repetition and consistency are what get me over the hump here; and yes, these are my weak areas (I usually can stick with a diet/exercise routine for about a week before I’m bored or distracted!)

So what is it that you are willing to risk? What is something that you’ve always wanted to try yet you’ve pushed aside? If you were to erase all negative self-talk, what would you set out to do, explore, experience? In other words, if there were so such thing as failure, what would love to succeed at?

You’re only may be holding back from something so amazing it has the potential to change your life. Go ahead, take that risk……..you may find you have everything to gain.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Toad and Salamander

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As some of you may know, our daughter loves animals. I don’t mean like, I mean LOVE. I recently posted about our “house worm”, Herman Hazel. I must say I never thought that I’d have a child that was so fond of insects, bugs, snakes and the like. While I have a healthy respect for reptiles, they make my skin crawl. I’d developed an intense phobia of them that I am continuing to unwind. I’m a whole lot better around them than I used to be, which is a good thing, because Pryce seems to really enjoy them.

A few days ago, my friend sent a text message sharing that a person in North Platte had a fire belly toad and salamander for sale. Ross knows that our girl is into such creatures and thought of Pryce right away. (I’ve been meaning to introduce Ross to you....he’s the cowboy behind the quotes that I’ll be posting at the beginning of my blogs soon!)

So being the good Mama that I am, I sent a message to the lady letting her know I was interested. Though a series of text messages, we secured what was to be Pryce’s birthday present. The child was ecstatic when I shared that we were going to pick up this early gift. She could hardly contain her joy, “Is it a lizard Mama? ‘Cause I really want a lizard. I love them. I want one of my very own.” I just grinned, praying that a salamander was a lizard in her book and that she’d think the toad was cool……….even if she couldn’t touch it!

We met the girl, got the goods and headed back home. Pryce was strangely silent. I asked what was wrong. She looked at me from her booster seat and screamed, “This is the best birthday present EVER!” I think she was just shocked that I agreed to have these living creatures in the house. For Chad, this was a HUGE stretch, then again, even a dog is pushing it.

I explained very clearly that the frog was not to be touched. She was elated however, to find that she could hold the salamander. I think she picked him up about 10 times on Saturday morning. She gave him a tour of the place and told me that he was very happy in his new home. She also promised to keep her room clean. I even heard that I am the best mom in the world! I sure hope she remembers this when she’s 12 and especially and especially when she’s 16. Is there any way that I can use this as leverage? I’m sure going to try.

Sunshine Chiffon Cake

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Hi Dear Readers,

Here’s the recipe for yesterday’s Sunday Cake Creation (as pictured on Facebook!) Many asked for the recipe so here it is! It seems that Sunday afternoons are about the only time I have these days for trying out any new recipes. (I think Chad is still in shock, two weekend in a row of new cake creations!) In a conversation with him and one of my best friends last fall, I stated, “You know you’re a REAL cook when you have a Kitchen-Aid mixer!” I had secretly coveted one for years but I never asked for one and I didn’t go out looking either. Last Christmas, “out of the blue” Santa delivered a gorgeous professional model to my kitchen. I squealed with delighted and promised Santa, whom I’m sure, was listening that I would be baking a lot more!

I do think Santa and even my family was wondering if I meant what I said on the Christmas morn; if anyone has been following me around lately, I seem to have my head in a book (not the pleasure kind either), fingers dancing on a keyboard, cleaning/ organizing, a lot of running here and there and not so much baking. I cook but in my mind, this is different from baking. Cooking equals drudgery to me (personal opinion) Anyone can patty up a hamburger and throw it on a grill but it becomes a cre8tive work of art when you use a mixer to add breadcrumbs, herbs and spices to the plain ‘ol burger!
Cooking for me requires that I have a meal out by a certain time and though I may spend hours preparing, it’s only going to take 10 minutes at best to eat. Baking on the other hand is without time frames. I only bake when I have the luxury to enjoy what I’m doing. I set aside time to measure the ingredients, read directions and carefully, consciously enjoy the process. Baking requires clean-up but it seems more calculated and manageable. Maybe that’s all in my head but that’s how it feels to me.

I’ve a list I’ve been keeping in my head of the different recipes I want to try; right now time is my greatest hurdle. I have the motivation I just don’t always have a couple of free hours available. I’ve been attracted to cakes, much to the joy of my family. We don’t eat a lot of sweets. Every now and then I’ll whip up a batch of cookies and we’ll gobble them down as an afterschool snack; more often though we’ll have popcorn, apples, crackers or jerky. I put in some busy days so time in the kitchen is kept to a minimum during the day with evenings reserved for final clean-up. It’s the most used room in the house so as a result, it becomes the messiest, very quickly.

The following cake is a delightful spring version. I used lemon but oranges could easily be substituted out. If I had a garden of cute little pansies, I’d add them to the top for added visual flair. The entire kitchen and dining room smelled of fresh lemon and offered us a delightful afternoon pick-me-up. This would be a great cake for a bridal or baby shower, spring luncheon or Easter dessert.

After zesting the lemons, I cut them into chunks and plopped them into a large jar with tea bags and boiling water. After the water cooled slightly I added ¼ cup of honey and we sipped this with our slice of cake.

Oh and don’t forget to get out that pretty cake plate that’s been sitting in the back of your cupboard! Serving your lovely cre8tions is even more fun this way. I’m making a point of using all those fancy dishes and serving pieces I received some 17 years go!

Also note this recipe was lifted straight out of the Kitchen-Aid manual so that’s who gets the credit! (not me!)

Sunshine Chiffon Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar *or honey
1 Tbs. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup cold water
½ cup oil
½ cup oil
7 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp. grated lemon zest ( I used 4 lemons)
7 egg whites
½ tsp. cream of tartar


Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs. butter or margarine, softened
3 Tbs. lemon juice


Combine flour, sugar, baking power, and salt in mixer bowl. Add water, oil, egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon rind. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 4 and beat about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl. Continuing on Speed 4, beat about 15 seconds. Pour mixture into another bowl. Clean mixer bowl and wire whip.

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 8 whip 2 to 2 ½ minutes, or until whites are stiff but not dry.

Remove bowl from mixer. Gradually add flour mixture to egg whites. Fold in gently with spatula, just until blended.

Pour batter into ungreased 10” tube pan. Bake at 325 for 60 to 75 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake onto funnel or soft drink bottle (I used Chad’s Shiner Bock, we don’t buy soda in bottles around here!) Cool completely. Remove from pan. Drizzle with Lemon Glaze and try your hardest to keep family from eating it in one setting!

*To make Glaze: combine powdered sugar and butter in small bowl. Stir in lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is desired consistency.

Have Eggs.....Will Bake!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Easter At The Farm.....Come Gather Your Eggs!

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Hi Everyone!

My family and I would like to extend a SPECIAL INVITATION to vist our farm this Easter season. Starting this week, we thought it would be fun to offer families and small groups an opportunity to come visit our farm to gather eggs for coloring, hiding and Easter cooking!

Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic lunch, take a nature walk in the canyon, pet our ponies and play with the goats. Times are by appointment only.

Please bring "farm worthy attire", which means, OLD clothes and shoes! This is NOT a place for anything fancy that you don't want mud, dirt and yes, even poop on! (This is the reality of being on a real farm!) Remember to bring Easter baskets and cameras as there will be plenty of photo opportunities! Additional eggs may be available for purchase, depending on availablity.

The only cost this year is $2.00/dozen eggs. Donations are graciously accepted and any proceeds will be funneled right back into the feed/hay expense for the animals.We're also available for daycare, preschool and elementary field trips. We've had so much fun with our little farm that we thought it would be fun to share it!

To reserve your farm visit, get directions, and ask additional questions, please call 308.362.4426 or send emails to cre8tivecowgirl@gmail.com

We're working on "Summer At The Farm" activities, so please check in from time to time to see what may be coming down the line! We're thinking about offering "camping in the canyon" nights, trail rides, pick your own veggies, jam and canning classes! We're open to suggestions and would love to share our farm experinces with others who may be interested.

Feel free to share this post with others! HAPPY EASTER!!!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cranes and Greens

In addition to the delight of feeling the sun on my legs for the first time in months, we were also treated to this gorgeous display of sandhill cranes. They soared elegantly over hole #4. I am sure my game didnt look any better from above, but it was GLORIOUS to finally be golfing again. I'll be no good for anything the rest of the day!
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Friday, April 8, 2011

My Little Birdie Tea Cup

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Sometime I might do a post on our holding vessels. There's something really special about the type, texture and color of our tea cups. I continaully switch on and off, depending on my mood and the type of tea. The newness has not worn off of this one! I've already packed it with me on a day trip. Crazy...I know!

Blueberry Bliss and Pineapple Kona Pop

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The white pieces.....pineapple the little dark circles dried blueberries and pink flower petals. Not only is this beautiful, but can you smell that? Isn't it amazingly invigorating? It's a PERFECT tea for spring and makes a WONDERFUL cold brew for summer. My kids think this is better than kool-aid.

My Afternoon Indulgence

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I’ve recently indulged in this lovely canister, filled to the brim with Blueberry Bliss and Pineapple Kona Pop. I don’t usually buy fancy teas, in fact, I most often brew up the herbs from my own garden and those that I purchase in bulk that don’t grow easily or aren’t as prevalent my neck of the woods. When I’m at home, I brew loose leaves, though I take tea bags along whenever I travel. As we all know it’s much healthier than soda and makes water a bit more…..interesting!

About 10 years ago, while taking my professional training to become a Feng Shui Consultant I came across a wonderful store in the mall, Teavana! It lived up to it's name; it was like walking into tea heaven for me. I had a difficult time deciding which ones to buy. Since I was on a tight budget I opted for a couple of small bags. I don’t even remember the name but I do recall it had chocolate pieces and sunflower leaves. I used it very sparingly and made it last for a year.

On a recent excursion, I came across a Teavana store at the Flat Iron Crossing Mall. Heaven, revisited. I only had a short time and their selections had expanded since the last time I walked through the doors. Though at anytime I could buy tea on-line, there’s something special, magical about being in a tea store where you get to smell and savor and taste test! I landed on this combination, and WOW! It was LOVE at first taste. The sample had been sweetened slightly with German Rock Sugar, which I did not purchase. I am blessed with a brother/family that provides me with delectable honey from North Central Nebraska. I also splurged on this adorable tea cup, saucer, strainer and lid…..with BIRDS! (see previous posts if this is confusing!)

I spent 9 years of my life drinking Dr. Pepper at 2 pm to get over the afternoon sludge. When I left teaching to be at home with my daughter, I still experienced tired time and a craving for soda. I replaced that craving with herbal teas. I take a 10 minute break to heat the water, brew the tea and sip. That’s all I do for that time. My mind races, I think of all the things I need to do by the time the kids burst in the door and I don’t respond. I just sip.

I could add up the money I would spend on soda and compare it to the cost of the tea but I can already tell that this canister of tea will last MUCH longer. It also contains vital nutrients. Add the honey super-food and savor; nothing to feel guilty about here! “Thank you Ma’am, I’ll have another!”

What’s your healthy indulgence? Please share in the comment section below.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The House Worm

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Here's Herman. He is Pryce’s new house worm. She adores him. On Saturday she was helping her dad prepare the garden and she “rescued” him from the tiller. We have a girl that cries at the thought of worms being destroyed yet doesn’t flinch or bawl when her brothers tackle her.

It certainly puzzles me that somehow Chad and I have produced a worm-loving child. Chad will handle them but he’s not a fan. I avoid touching like them; they give me the creeps and they to closely resemble snakes. Pass. In fact, I purposely make sure that I have someone to bait my hook when I go fishing. The boys aren’t especially fond of worms either. Parker announced to his Uncle Carl on a fishing trip one day that he couldn’t touch any worms because he was “allergic” (which totally makes sense to me!) Pake screamed “snake” when he was three. Alas it was just a giant night crawler but that set him back from any love for the little things. Pryce is a different story. She is totally devoted for her worm friend.

Saturday: She came in with what used to be a box that held microwave popcorn. She’d filled the box with dirt and asked if I’d like to meet Herman. I responded with a kind no. She was undeterred and continued to pester. I agreed to have a look. I also announced that Herman would sleep outside on the chair.

Sunday: It was announced that Herman’s new name would be Hazel, but he was still a boy. She asked for a sucker stick so that she could dig up her worm friend. That is when I took this picture. There was worry that Herman had crawled out or that he dried up. We added water to the soil and a lettuce leaf. Worms don’t eat much, I’m told. Happy to find Herman, I mean Hazel she watched him for the better part of an hour. This child clearly does not have ADD, she focused better than some adults I know. Since Hazel had remained in his home. He got to stay in the house, on the metal organizer. I was told not to “broom” him if he crawled out. “Call for me Mom, I’ll come get him and put him back.”

Monday: Hazel’s name was changed back to Herman. His official name is Herman Hazel Johnston, every person should have at least three names, this includes worms. Pryce wanted Herman to join her for pre-school for show and tell. I told her she’d better ask her teachers. At noon she comes in with her daily arrival announcement, “Home, home home!” and “Good news Mama, Miss Colleen said Herman can come to school. We’re going to have an educated worm on our hands. Joy.

Pryce goes to visit and “cuddle” Herman and flips out because she can’t find him. I notice the soil is exceedingly damp. Maybe he drowned. Sad. After some poking and prodding, her tiny hands held up the worm triumphantly, “He’s alive! I think he looks much healther.” Do worms ever look sick? Apparently she picked up that if worms loose their slime they will die. She’s on guard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I suppose this is one of the cheaper pets around. It is quiet, doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and keeps her well entertained. It makes me wonder what is coming down the road. As a friend pointed out, “her ‘pets’ are sure to get bigger, you may want to be cleaning a shot gone when they come to visit!” When that day comes, I’ll bet I’ll prefer having the worm won’t I?

So while I won’t be inviting Herman into my office to keep me company while I work, I’m loosening up a bit having him in the house. The delight and joy emanating from her is contagious! It’s fun to see her so interested and excited. I too get excited about a lot of things, but worms are not on that list. It will be fun to see if these interests in worms, lizards, snakes and bugs stick with her as she gets older.

What were you interested in as a child? Is that interest still present? Please share in the comment section below. I’m curious to know if the things that we love as children turn out to be career paths that we follow as adults. If this is the case, we may have a “worm herder” on our hands!