Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year

Trees are going up.  Lights are twinkling.  Menus are being planned.  Parties are in full swing. Giving is on our minds. Across this great big world, no matter what you celebrate, it’s the holiday season –  from big cities to suburbs to small towns to rural communities.

In our family, it’s Christmas. Growing up, our tree glowed with colored lights and candy canes.  Christmas pageants and plays afforded some slightly off-key singing. And Santa’s milk and cookies were always snickerdoodles. (Interestingly enough,  those were also Dad’s favorite.) It’s a time filled with memories, from the emotional to the hilarious, like the year our new puppies pulled the tree over by leaping for the aforementioned candy canes.

Now well into adulthood (ahem … dare I say entering middle age), we continue to count on those traditions and build new ones.  When Cowboy and I were newly married, Christmas was one of those times when when our families filled our home with the things we needed most like silverware, mixers, critter essentials, jeans, and boots.  

We are grateful for all of those gifts that helped to make our house a home.  We still treasure them.  I mean how many parents don’t blink an eye when you ask for four mineral block holders for your horses for Christmas?  Or horse steps so you can get your vertically challenged self closer to the saddle? (This last one is totally my issue by the way, not Cowboy’s.)

As we build on new traditions, we’ve begun to focus on experiences, like taking family to see a Christmas musical or hunting out the best Christmas lights, which also requires that the perfect mug of hot chocolate be brought along for the ride.

We’ve also become very aware of those that could use a little extra compassion, a helping hand. We’ve got amazing friends and family, and over time we have been shifting our gift giving to those organizations that need help to make this world we all share a better place.  It’s fun to see which causes friends and family care most about and donate in their honor.  Even our just-barely-a-teenager niece has gotten in on the act, finding an organization she thinks honors those she cares about.  Those moments are priceless.

Which brings me back to this world we all call home.  Let’s be honest, it’s been a tough year, especially if you spend any amount of time watching the news.  From natural disasters to man-made ones, to politics that have divided more than united, 2017 has made us all a little weary.  Our collective spirit could use a dose of holiday joy.

So when someone wishes you Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, or just plain old Happy Holidays, let’s remember to take it with the grace and love it was intended.  We could all stand to give each other a break, and realize that when someone is wishing you a merry or happy anything, they are simply sharing their best wishes for you.  They are not entering into a religious or philosophical debate or argument.   They are purely wishing you peace, joy, memories, and giving – all of the beauty that comes with this holiday season.

When you look around the world, we could all use a little more love, humor, and kindness.  Share your memories, share your well wishes.  And above all, share the love. Happy Christmas and Merry New Year from our farm to yours.

My Farmtastic Life - Christmas cat and dog
This is how we roll with Christmas at the farm – nothing a little stare down won’t fix. Seriously though, love all around.

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Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Christmas Cards, O Christmas Cards

2016 My Farmtastic Life Merry Christmas card
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from two- and four-leggeds on the farm!

I read a blog post today by a dear soul who was lamenting the guilt heaped upon her when she receives Christmas cards, and it got me to thinking.  At the farm, we’ve been hit or miss with the sending of cards.  Some years I stock up on boxes of them only to pack them up with the Christmas decorations, unsent. And sometimes I’ve unpacked them the following year only to pack them up again. (Please tell me that I am not alone here!)  Other years we’ve designed them online and sent them out.  Woohoo!  Right now we are batting two years in a row of getting them out – and that feels like some sort of record.

But what really made me lose a little of my holly jolly was thinking that this fellow human felt guilty for not keeping up.  I get it. In the age of Facebook, Instagram, and heaven help us Pinterest, it’s easy to go down a spiral of feeling less than – less crafty, less joyful, less, less, less.  Let’s face it, we could all give ourselves a little break.

So why do we send out cards from the farm?  Mainly, because we want those near and far who have touched our lives in some way to know that during this time of year we are thinking about them.  It’s really just that simple.  There are folks on our list who I worked with in my 20s (not yesterday folks), and others who I knew as a child, and still others who help us with this crazy farm life.

Our lives our not perfect by any stretch. Holy cats just read our blog to find out what crazy antics these critters keep us busy with.  If we’re not scooping poop, we’re stepping in it.  But the truth is, in this big crazy world, we are blessed.  Blessed because there folks who care about us.

So when you open your mailbox and find a Christmas card, or (gasp) a Christmas letter, know that the sender just wants you to know they are thinking about you.  That you are not alone. You are not forgotten.

Listen, I’m not saying that Great Aunt Sally isn’t bragging like a maniac or waxing poetic in her Christmas letter about her kid’s promotion to head fry cook, or her granddaughter’s successful run for band president, or sharing how her cheeseball took first place at the county fair, or heaven forbid sharing her third husband Larry’s latest ailments. But let out a big guffawing laugh, be grateful for your less eventful 2016, and find comfort that she thought about you – in her own crazy way!

So if sending Christmas cards is something you find joy in, then get out the stamps and the glitter stickers. And if not, that’s okay too.  From all of us at the farm, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! Cards or no cards.

 

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Farm Style

This Christmas season has been a busy one at the farm with critter antics and adventures galore.  Stories are coming, but we wanted to wish all of our farm fans a very merry Christmas with our version of Twas the Night Before Christmas, farm style of course.  We hope you enjoy.  God bless!

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Farm Style

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the farm,
Every creature was stirring, making one noisy barn.
While stockings were hung on the horse stalls with care,
Ranger hoped they’d be filled with carrots to share.

The dogs, they were dancing all over our bed,
Wiping visions of sleep right out of our heads.
Cowboy in his boots, and I in my coat,
Decided rest was not coming. Nope. Nope. Nope.

When out in the barn there arose such a clatter,
We dashed in to see what could be the matter.
Nightmare the cat had cornered a mouse.
Oh dear me, not another. When will we build a house?

The moon shone above all our crazy below,
Water troughs glistened like new fallen snow.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
Jack rabbits, turkeys, and all sizes of deer.

My eyes, they lit up with the critters anew,
Cowboy chimed in, “No ma’am, not one more for you.
These critters are guests, and they’re just passing through.
There’s no room at the inn, all the bills have come due.”

I smiled and I nodded, a wink in my eye.
I realize he’s right, I cannot tell a lie.
But I love all our critters, odd quirks and all,
Even when dogs chew shoes and horses bust stalls.

“Now Dixie! Now Goober! Now Maybelle and Shadow!
Oh Willie! Oh Grizzly! Oh Chip, Bear, and Rhino.
We must get a grip if we want to see Christmas.”
Nighttime is ending, please Santa don’t miss us.

We called to the fur-kids to gather around,
We begged and we pleaded, “For once settle down.
Christmas is coming, and Santa is near.
Let’s make sure there’re snacks for all the reindeer.”

Suzy and Smokey, River and Ranger,
Set out their buckets, while we found the manger.
Mama and Sweetie shared their best hay,
As we looked to the sky, soon it would be Christmas day.

Sleep fell over the farm as we finished our chores,
Peace and rest came in the sound of sweet snores.
When out on the porch I heard the chimes blowing,
I peeked out the window to find it was snowing.

Just at the moment, I saw old Saint Nick.
He was chubby, and jolly and ever so quick.
I jostled poor Cowboy so he wouldn’t miss it.
Rubbing his eyes, he said, “Is it Christmas?”

Tears filled our eyes as we watched what came next,
Santa bent down, his hat to his chest.
He was saying a prayer by the manger so sweet,
Asking the Lord to meet all of our needs.

I watched as the critters all gathered around,
They joined dear old Santa, with heads all bowed down.
The scene on the farm this Christmas morn,
Reminded us why our Christ was born.

He came down to Earth to set our hearts free,
To love every person, even Cowboy and me.
We remember at Christmas and all the year through,
Jesus has blessed us with our own little zoo.

So from our farm to yours, we offer this wish.
From people to donkeys, to dogs, even fish.
We pray this New Year will bring blessings to all.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a Texas yeehaw!

Merry Christmas from MyFarmtasticLife