Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Soul-tober

Sometimes we just need to take a break, whether it’s from a litany of commitments and chores or the mental gymnastics we put ourselves through on a daily basis (we know who we are) or from something as simple (and as overwhelming) as the news and social media.  Sometimes, our souls just need a rest.

And given that I’ve already heard Christmas music in stores and seen the trees and ornaments stacked for sale, I think October is a glorious time to inhale and just take it all in. Because, seriously people, it will be holiday-palooza before we know it.

It’s easy to feel like this life is just one giant to-do list as we race from season to season. Whether we’re rushing kids from here to there, putting in extra hours at work, or Pinterest-ing ourselves to death to create some perfect moment, life can be downright busy.

A dear friend and mentor once said to me, “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time for that’, instead say ‘It’s not important to me.’”  I’m just going to leave that there for a minute and let it sink in.

What she was advocating is that this wheel of busy we are all on is filled with choices.  When we tell ourselves things like we don’t have time, what we are really saying is that thing/commitment/effort is not important to me.  Ouch. That was a hard one for me.

But if we are honest, we really don’t have time for all of the things we could take on.  And most of us have likely taken on lots of things without really thinking about if it’s important to us. Whether it’s from guilt, a sense of duty or out of habit, it’s super easy to say Yes and way harder to say No.

It’s curious that the thing that we most often say No to is making time for ourselves.  Sometimes in our culture it’s easy to feel like making time for ourselves is selfish.  In the faith culture I grew up in, putting yourself first was not only wrong it was a sign of a weak character.  Oh my stars how sad this makes me to think of this now, and how I hope with all of my heart that we aren’t still instilling this in our young ones.

Listen, I’m not suggesting that you sign up for narcissist 101, I’m simply suggesting that you take time to feed your soul, fill up your cup, soak up some gratitude, care for who you are, and dream of where you want to go.  Give yourself permission to say, “Yes, I am important.”

For me, it’s the simplest of things like planting myself on the porch with a good book and a cup of mint tea or listening to my favorite podcast or music while I weed the garden.  It’s brushing a horse or trying yoga (which also leads to much laughing). It’s making time for storytelling and cooking and crafting. It’s simply sitting side-by-side with Cowboy and talking about life. Those things fill me up.

Here’s what we all know deep down inside, when we are broken and tired, we can’t give our best and quirky selves to those we love most.  And while it sounds dramatic (cue music), the world really does need us to be our best selves, for all of our sakes.

So as you bask in the bluer skies and golden sunlight of October, think about what you will say Yes to and put yourself at the top of your to-do list.   Whether it’s making time to read a good book, meeting up with a friend who makes you laugh, or spending time in nature (like Dinosaur Valley State Park or Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – our town really does have the best), take some time for a soul break.

P.S.  A version of this post was published in the the Glen Rose Reporter. This farmgirl is delighted to serve as a community columnist.

Featured image © Marek – stock.adobe.com.  Standard license.

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

It’s a Close-the-Gate Kind of Day

Life at the farm keeps Cowboy and me on our toes.  It seems between farm life and the critters, we are busy bees.  There is always food (dog, cat, and horse, oh my) to be bought, stalls to be scooped, and fences to be mended.  Well, you get the idea.  It’s a busy place, and the project list is never ending.  I tell folks all the time that while we love country life, it takes more time and money than we ever anticipated.

That said, there is nothing better than sitting on the porch looking out at the hills and horses, a breeze in the air with a wind chime serenade, and a glass of citrus iced tea in hand. The truth is, the farm is our favorite place on earth.   We feel so grateful and blessed to live this crazy farmtastic life, which is why our favorite days are what we call close-the-gate days.

Close-the-gate is our way of saying no one comes in, no one goes out, and we get to enjoy the farm with our critters all to ourselves.  While we love visitors, we absolutely cherish a little peace and quiet.

On these days, Cowboy is likely to be cooking up something lucscious on the grill, cats and dogs will be sprawled out napping, and I’ll have a batch of tea going on the stove while I flip through my stack of books for that perfect mystery fix.  Sometimes we’ll give the horses much needed baths,  laughing and getting ourselves soaked in the process.  Or sometimes we’ll  take the pups on a walk around the farm, stopping to inspect wildflowers while they inspect jack rabbit trails.

Farm Photo - Gate with sunflowers
Close-the-gate, enjoy the day, smell the flowers.

In short, we simply enjoy the day and each other.  We live for and prep for close-the-gate days.  We know when it’s coming and make sure our biggest chores are done, the fridge and pantry are stocked with fresh ingredients, and the critters are all set for some munching of their own.  It’s a day to count your blessings, and here at the farm we use all of our fingers, toes, paws, and hooves to count them up one by one.

So whether you live on a farm, in the city, or the suburbs, we highly recommend a close-the-gate day to refresh the spirit.  As we enter the hottest days of the year, take some time to soak it all in, and let us know how you enjoy your close-the-gate day.

Be blessed!