Winter blues got ya down? My cure…fresh air and pets!

Dec. 6 is a snowy day.  The only thing blue is my neighbors house! I love the snow.

Dec. 6 is a snowy day. The only thing blue is my neighbors house! I love the snow.

December.  Bah-humbug. Okay, not really, but it could have been if I had allowed my attitude to venture that way.  I am not a lover of winter.  I am a sun worshiper.  When the days get shorter and the skies are more gray than blue and they have a tendency to leak tears over the lands, I get a bit of the blahs.

I decided in the early part of the month that I needed to let things that were bothering me slide off my back.  What was bothering me you ask?  Well, lots of things actually.  The biggest was not being able to spend time with my grandson for his birthday or any time over the holidays.  I also have a few issues with this house we live in.  It’s not easy living in a house of disrepair, and the thought of trying to bake and cook and decorate and bring it to holiday life was a bit daunting.  And of course, as always, there is the issue of living with chronic pain and the limitations that places on me and the various ways low energy and high pain levels have impacted my life.  No job, no money, no freedom to do all that I would want to do.   That’s just a few of the things…get the drift?

It started snowing here around the 5th of the month.  And it got cold.  Frigid cold for this part of the country.  We were in the teens and even some single digits for the first half of December.  Guess what???  My body had not felt so good since early June!  The dry cold air made my hot tight joints and tissues feel so much better.  So I started my baking.   We were nearly snowed in for a couple of days, because the combination of 6 inches of snow and then the freezing temps made the streets impassable.  There just weren’t enough plows and other equipment for the city to keep things clear.

Anyhow, we got a tree, and the decorations came out, and the baking continued and before I knew it Christmas had arrived.  My guys two youngest were with us and we had a nice, yet quiet and low-key holiday.  I let the messes roll off my back.  I didn’t look at the parts of the house that are still broken.  I ignored the untended leaves all over outdoors.  I just enjoyed my pain levels being down, being able to bake and cook and interact with friends.

And then it was the day after Christmas.  My boyfriend wanted me to travel with him to take his daughter to the airport.  It was a 10 hour round trip drive.  I don’t do riding in the car well.  I typically break up any trips I take into 2-3 hour driving segments each day!  I warned him that I could well end up in bed for a couple of days.  The weather also had taken a turn.  It was foggy and the humidity was up.

I got home and went to bed and stayed there for a little over 2 days.  And guess what?  The blues came over me with a vengeance.  Each time I would hobble out of the bedroom to get a glass of water or use the bathroom or just say hi to everyone, I noticed everything that is still needing fixing in the house.  And of course the post holiday messes, with all the extra food and new appliances taking up space and the decorations looking not quite as festive but instead a little more cluttering.  It just would hit me in waves.  Then the limitations of energy and the pain being bad really knocked those negative thoughts into full speed.   I was not liking where my thoughts were going.  Not at all.

Yesterday I got out of bed and went to my regular support group meeting.  I shared how I was concerned about my thinking and how I needed to probably get a little help with it.  I promised to make an appointment with my doctor and to talk to her about maybe doing a little counseling.  I realized, I’ve had quite a bit on my plate in the last 3 years and having a professional to talk to and give some perspective might help.  I told my group of friends to hold me accountable, because I have been here before, in a dark depression and I know how to put my smiley face on for everyone else to see, and that will get me no where in a hurry.

When I got home from my meeting, I was tending to the chickens when my little feral kitty, Muffin, came around the corner.  I decided to go grab my new camera that I had got for Christmas and do a little photo session.  The cool air felt good on my face.  It was a fairly decent day out.  I looked around at the leaves and the remnants of things that had once had life, but were now just brown decaying bits of debris in my flower boxes and decided to do a little work.  I grabbed my gloves and away I went.  I pulled up all the dead and decaying matter and threw it into the corner of the yard.  I raked up all the leaves under the apple tree and hauled them over and dumped them into the chicken run.  I figured that might help keep the mud down for a little while.  I got the shovel and tended to the doggie droppings.  When my guy came out to see what was going on, I got him to clean off the lawn chairs and put them away for the season.  I cleaned up the area where we had spent a few summer evenings having BBQ’s.  Then more photos of the animals that were out enjoying the weather with me.   I love my animals.  They always can bring a smile to my face.  And the fresh air and being outdoors…..that helps too.  Gets me connected to God.  I beat the blues for another winter day.

When I started writing this it was going to be more about just sharing photos of the animals…but then I got carried away.  I started sharing my thoughts and feelings.  I guess that helps with the blues too.  If you are having some wintertime blahs and blues, I encourage you to get outdoors and get some fresh air, pet a dog or cat, and talk to someone about it.  Sharing really is a great way to lessen the burden of blues.   I hope you enjoy the photos!  They are a variety that was taken over the course of the last month!

My “remarks” to the Social Security Administration

I finally completed the Adult Function Report that was necessary for my application for disability.  It literally took me a few weeks to complete it.  At the end of the form is a place for remarks.  This is what I wrote. 

 

[Trying to explain how my life has changed in the format you have provided proved to be extremely difficult for me.  If you were to look at my work history through my entire adult life, you will see that I have always worked in physically demanding jobs.  Waitressing, landscape maintenance, pre-loader at UPS, CNA, nursing.  Often I was working a second job or going to school part time in addition to working a regular job. I did all I could to provide for my 3 children after I become a single mom when my kids were 1, 4 and 5.  I did not get help from their father or anyone outside the home.  I participated in PTA and Scouts in addition to caring for my children and my home.  You also would be able to see how over time my income slowly but steadily increased.  It took me nearly 10 years to obtain my goal of having an Associates Degree of Nursing since I was putting myself through school while raising children.  It had been my hopes and goals to continue my education after a few years of paying off some debts while working as a RN.  I had hopes of obtaining my BSN and eventually my Master’s of Nursing.  I dreamed of working  and buying a home.  I hoped to do some mission work to share the talents I had honed in nursing.  For the first time in my life I had finally been able to earn a decent wage and my children were grown and gone from home and I was able to financially have a good life.  I had some options.  I had health care.  I had the beginnings of a retirement account.

Because of my physical limitations I have been unable to work at all the last 2 1/2 years.  I waited a full 2 years before applying for benefits because I kept hoping I would get better.  I used up what little bit of savings I had to struggle along financially as well as I could.  I kept trying to do what exercises I was able to when I was able in addition to eating well and eliminating stressors in life hoping to get well enough to work.  It never happened.  I am no more able to work on a consistent daily or weekly basis today than I was 2 1/2 years ago when my physician determined I was unable to work.

I have found myself homeless 3 times.  If not for the kindness of friends and those that care about me I would have had to live on the streets.  I have not been able to spend the time with my family and friends that I used to because I either hurt too much to even want to be around others, or I am too tired, or unable to focus.  I have had to miss out on activities that I used to enjoy because I don’t have the strength to do them. 

I used to be so outgoing.  I used to socialize weekly.  I used to enjoy entertaining. I loved to travel.  Now, I would rather sit in my quiet home alone than be around others because I don’t have to energy to put out for others and I just get so tired.  My only socializing comes from my weekly visit to my support group and spending time with my boyfriend.  Once in a great while I will attend  a function, but it comes with the price of typically ending up completely down for a couple days after I return home.  I have not entertained in my own home but for maybe 1/2 dozen times in over 2 years.  It requires too much planning and effort as well as there have been times I have planned something only to have to cancel it the day of the event because I had an exacerbation of pain that made it impossible to do anything, let alone be a good hostess.  Traveling is only every couple of months and it also comes with the price of typically ending up in bed for a couple days when I return home because my pain increases and I’ve used up all my energy reserves.

I truly believe there are many people who if they had to deal with my pain on a daily basis they would just give up.  I am a very strong person.  I have given birth naturally to 4 babies, two of them at home, with no pain relief.  I broke a bone in my foot and continued to work on it as a pre-loader at UPS as well as doing landscape maintenance for 4 months before finally going to the doctor because my foot hurt.  The bone had been so damaged from my continued use of it that I had to have surgery to have the bone removed.  I have a very high pain tolerance as well as work at having the most positive attitude I can in my circumstances.  Some days I do get depressed, but most the time I try to view the glass 1/2 full!  I am only able to get through this struggle with pain with the support and encouragement of my closest friends and my support group.  If not for them and my own internal belief that life is always worth living…I would have given up some time ago. 

I am tired of being in pain.  I am tired of being unable to get medical care.  Without insurance or income it has been nearly impossible to get any help for my conditions.  This last year, after I received a small cash settlement, I sought care from a nurse practitioner, a chiropractor, acupuncture and physical rehab, all out of my own pocket.  I have had some temporary relief, but nothing longstanding.  If I were to be granted social security disability I would be able to get more help to get better so I could maybe eventually work part time.  That is my  hope.  But now…I know I can not  work because all of my energy and abilities going to maintaining my simple life and taking care of my basic needs. 

Thank you for your time and consideration in this process.  It has been a challenging endeavor for me.  I used to be able to articulate and complete tasks such as this form without any effort.  Now, as I’ve stated before, this has been a great effort of a few weeks of time to complete this the best I could.  I hope I have been clear.]

I typed my responses to the questions asked on the form.  It was typed and single spaced except for a space between questions and answers.  When all was done, it was 10 pages long.  The process of contemplating all my limitations as well as the changes my conditions have brought upon my life were at times very depressing.  Most of the time I really try to focus on what I can do and have gratitude in my life.  Yet having to realistically and honestly look at all I’ve had to give up…well…it just is so sad. 

In other times during my life when I have had to recount difficulties to another I would just roll it all off and be done with it.  I remember after nearly 2 hours time in giving my life history to a psychiatrist, when I was done he looked at me and said, “You have had a life full of much trauma and many losses and yet you tell it like it is just a story out of a book you read.  Does it not bother  you?  Are you aware that you have endured much?”  Well, of course it has been upsetting to live through some of what I have, but it’s my life.  It’s the only one I have had.   Getting my panties all bunched up over it doesn’t change it.  That was my attitude going into this dissertation of my health conditions and how they’ve changed my life.  Yet it is different now.  In the 18 years since that visit with a mental health professional I have done much work on myself.  I have learned to allow myself my emotions and feelings.  I am able to look at myself and realize not everyone has endured these difficulties.  

It took me being out of work for 2 years to finally accept that I wasn’t going to be able to work.  I kept hoping I would get better.  I kept hoping it was “all in my head”, like some people think it is.  I kept hoping if I would dig deep I could PUSH through the pain like I have so many times in life and just do it…work…live…get past it.  But I couldn’t.  My pain is real.  I do have limitations that not everyone else does.  And no matter how much I may WANT to work, I simply can not work.  So now that I’ve written it all out and really looked at what I have had to give up, I will allow myself some time to grieve. 

I will grieve that I didn’t realize how amazing my body was and how strong I was.  I will grieve that I spent so much time working so very hard trying to gain approval from others in my life, that I missed out on doing many things that I wanted to do.  I will grieve that I didn’t work smarter rather than harder.  Yes…I will grieve….and then I will move on.  I will accept those things I cannot change and find courage to change the things I can.  I will be grateful for the life I have been given and live it as fully as I am able.  I will live today the best I can!

 

Grateful for home and all I have in my life.

The Columbia Gorge is so picturesque!  :)

The Columbia Gorge is so picturesque! 🙂

I was gone from the farm for a week. I traveled to Northern Oregon to see my daughter and grandson, and my eldest son and his family. It was a wonderful trip. Mostly at home and low key. Our weekly highlight was that my daughter entered a cake decorating contest and won. We were very excited for her.

The winning cake...Jonah and the Whale!

The winning cake…Jonah and the Whale!

I was home for one day and then back to town for an overnighter at my friends who I am providing care for once a week. I have been tired. A stuffy nose and some post nasal drip are indicators that I am battlings some bug again. Dratted all.

It is such a welcoming site to have these animals come running to the fence to greet me on my walk.  Always makes me smile.

It is such a welcoming site to have these animals come running to the fence to greet me on my walk. Always makes me smile.

I’ve been brainstorming all week about a business idea I’m hashing out. A CSA delivery service that is personalized by a weekly ordering system. I think it could be a valuabel and viable community service. I just am not sure if I got it up and running and at became really busy…woud I have the strength to do it.

The blueberry bushes have some nice buds popping out.

The blueberry bushes have some nice buds popping out.

That is what has kept me from working the last 2 years. Pain and not having the strength and stamina on a consistent basis. It is frustrating to say the least.

The girls have a forage festival on the hill.

The girls have a forage festival on the hill.

I saw my Nurse Practitioner today. I had to go in for a visit in order to get my perscription refilled. It is somewhat frustrating that I had to pay for an office visit for a medication I have taken routinely for over 2 years now. Yes it is a controlled substance. Yes they are operating a business and have policies around such things. But for someone with no insurance and no income, it is a challenge.

Thelma, my pretty month old Silver Laced Wyandotte.

Thelma, my pretty month old Silver Laced Wyandotte.

The good thing is that their clinic is considering expansion of services and they would like to offer some cholesterol and diabetic education and check ins. This would be done by a nurse. It would be very part time and pay would be much less than the customary base rate for this area. It is a small clinic. For me, it sounds like a dream come true. One or two days a week being approximately 4-8 hours a week doing nutition consulting and education. I think I could manage that.

40 baby chicks.  Welsummers, Ameraucanas, my 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex.   A nice brood!

40 baby chicks. Welsummers, Ameraucanas, my 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex. A nice brood!

I am reallly trusting that God is going to provide. My financial situation is getting a bit on the precarious side. By the first of the week I will have rent paid again for 6 months, my phone and insurance paid for a month, plenty of groceries in the house, chicken feed, and the gas tank filled up. If my calculations are correct, I will be able to do that for about 3 more months and then……all gone. So, I am hoping and praying and working on making these potential income earning ideas come to fruition.

Miss Donna enjoying her dust bath time.

Miss Donna enjoying her dust bath time.

I did take a couple forays around the property today, getting some exercise. Hope you enjoy the photos. I just love this place.

Pretty posies

Pretty posies

The same..and yet different.

This is my pair of, almost 2 week old, Speckled Sussex. I believe they are about 2 weeks old today! I bought them at the Grange. I have named one of them Pecking Peggy. The other…I am unsure yet. I am suspicious one of them ia not the same as the other…gender wise. Time will tell. This is my first chick experience. They said at the grange I was getting pullets. But there is something about these two…they don’t seem the same.

This is Peckin' Peggy and ????.  I am thinking one of them is not the same as the other...gender wise.  Time will tell.

This is Peckin’ Peggy and ????. I am thinking one of them is not the same as the other…gender wise. Time will tell.

LIfe is good at home with my flock. My 12 girls are laying about 6.5 eggs a day. I have 5 new babies that all seem to be doing very well. I am anticipating getting 3-5 Blue Red Laced Wyandottes chicks in March. I hope this to be the beginnig of my breeding stock. If one of my Speckled Sussex is a roo too…that is ok by me!!! I would be pleased to be breeding both the BRLW and the Speckled Sussex.

I had my first Reiki treatment today. It was a freebie…although I did gift her 18 eggs!~ A local woman who placed an ad on our own version of “craigslist” here in S. Oregon.  She came to my home and “laid hands” on me. And it felt wonderful! Warm! Caring. Insightful! Helpful! Healing!

I am so grateful to be able to go “outside the box” to find potential healing for my mind and my body. So far, everyone from my chiropractor, nurse practitioner, accupunturist and now my reiki specialist have been very caring and open to helping me with their various modalities. And each of them has merit!!! I have been benefitted physically as well as emotionally, spiritually and mentally from visits with each practitioner.

While chiropractic and massage seems to help for low back and neck issues, the accupunturist has helped with tendonitis, smoking(not planned, and yet I have not had a desire for a cigerette since my first visit) and generalized pain. And now, Reiki has made me feel more aware of my spirituality combined with my physical and emotional person. For someone like me, who appreciates scientific proof, I am enjoying the proof of the pudding more than any words or test results from others that may tout and/or attempt to disprove the benefits of these health treatment modalities.

A couple things the Reiki therapist shared with me during and following my session:

1. She asked, “Is there something you need to talk about, a truth that may be painful?”.  I have not yet, after careful consideration, determined what she was referring to specifically.  I have been working on speaking my heart over the last three years.  It is very possible there is something in my subconscious that I have yet to bring forward.

2.  She said there is  lots of stuff in my back (I have bulging discs, DDD, as well as a recent back strain from a motorcycle accident(I tried to save a bike from going over, and it didnt’ work, except to strain my low back).

3. She asked about the work I was doing, hospice work, which is not work, but rather a gift of love for a friend.  She asked if this loss would be a loss in my recovery life that would be challenging?  Interesting question.  I intend to talk about that issue extensivley on the 22nd of this month in another posting!

4.  She also said that she felt a sense of “community” about me.  That being involved in the community is part of me.  This is one of my desires that I have not attended to since leaving Springfield in 2002~

 

Overall…Reiki seems like a good “next step” in my self care plan.   Combining Western Medicine, Eastern Medicine, good sense, nature and ME!!!!  Who knows where this next step is going….I am just remaining open.  And enjoying my chicks in the meantime.

Misty wet day on the farm

The view out the window was the same all day, and yet, it is never the same!

The view out the window was the same all day, and yet, it is never the same!

I am definately fighting a bug or something is going on. I have had a slight sore throat and some post nasal drip for the last couple days. I had shared about my low level of activity earlier in the week. IT still is low.  Maybe the weather has something to do with it.  Last night I feel asleep about 7:30pm. I am a night owl. I can’t remember the last time I was asleep at 7:30pm. I woke for an hour about 10pm, and then again about 2am and again about 7 in the morning. I did go downstairs and let the girls out of the coop, grabbed a couple logs to put on the fire and back to bed I went…until 11:30am! Even after all that rest, I still didn’t feel full of vim and vigor.

I pulled on some jeans and threw on a coat and clunked my way down the stairs. I knew I had to do my walk before I thought about it. I have committed to, at the very least, walking to the bridge daily. If I have energy to work in the gardens or around the property, then a walk is not necessary. But on the days I only feel I can do very limited activity, I will walk! Today was day 3 of “I MUST WALK”. I didn’t even bother to make snacks for the girls. I told myself I would do it later. I had a window of opportunity that I had to use while the rain was at a slight drizzle. I did not need to look for an excuse to not walk, I could find many. One foot in front of the other and down the drive I went, cup of coffee in hand!

The walk down the drive!  Still a few bits of snow, but mostly wet!  And slippery on this corner.

The walk down the drive! Still a few bits of snow, but mostly wet! And slippery on this corner.

I take in so much as I”m walking. I look up to the house to see if the cars are there and if the dogs are out. I notice that the ground is wet and the corner is very slippery. The girls are following me, but at a distance. The skies are very gray and there is a misty fog hanging across the hillsides. I scan the pasture, looking for Bruce and John. Then I look over to the neighbors and see that they are out with the horses, doing their chores I imagine.

Lots of gray skies and misty fog  hovering over the property.

Lots of gray skies and misty fog hovering over the property.

The creek is a bit rougher today than it was the other day when I was here. It is like a different place from the bright sunny day when I was here….only 2 days ago. The wisps of fog and the shadows of clouds in the stream change all the colors. It is back to winter grays and greens and browns and tans. I can find beauty here too. Things are growing. This is a time that things seem slower, but they are being rejuvenated for a spurt that will come soon! Spring is not that far away.

The creek is a life of itself, constantly changing with the weather and seasons.

The creek is a life of itself, constantly changing with the weather and seasons.

A little later in the afternoon I took the girls some treats of leftover fried egg, stale bread and some veggies from lunch. I had just scattered their treats out and they were on the move to get to them, when a hawk soared over us and up into the tree on the edge of the property. The really tall one in the picture. It was the girls scurries that made me take notice. I didn’t even know what was going on at first. They all just ducked and moved at the same time. As I looked towards the focus of Grandma’s attention…which was where that hawk was flying…that is when I knew what the hubbub was about.

The hawk soared over us and landed in the tall pine tree in the far background.

The hawk soared over us and landed in the tall pine tree in the far background.

 

They watched where the hawk went, some of them still scurrying, some of them just on guard, for a minute or so. Then, they slowly came back out and began their usual pecking order of who was going to get the tastiest tidbits. I watched them, and the tree where the hawk had flown too. When they were done with snacks I urged them closer to the coop and opened the door wide if they were to need to duck! THey had just shown me how aware they really are!

These girls MOVE IT when danger approaches.  Very aware girls!

These girls MOVE IT when danger approaches. Very aware girls!

I was searching for my deer repellent recipe today, which required me to read through a couple journals to find it (I posted it on my FB page). I usually have 2-3 notebooks I am writing things in over the course of a year. I came across an entry in one notebook from Jan. 13, 2012. It was a kick in the pants to get on to what I have been putting off for a long time.

I have been procrastinating something important for some of the most ridiculous reasons. I know they are ridiculous, and yet I have let them stop me over and over. So, in reading about where I was and what was happening a year ago, and seeing that it has not changed and that I must attend to it, that is where I will leave this for now. I am going to attend to a very important matter. I pray it is the next right thing and will somehow let me continue living my life as I am today, maybe even making it a little easier!

Grateful for the sale of 2 dozen eggs and a potential repeat customer; being able to take my walk; having someone bring me lunch from Uncle Buck’s; having homemade soup made by someone else for dinner; knowing God provides for all my needs and many of my wants. I love living life in the country!!!

God slowed me down again today! A walk to the creek was my goal!

Frozen fog

Frozen fog

Only a few people in the world have seen me have a morning like I did today.  A morning where the simple act of sitting upright at the edge of the bed requires  so much effort and causes so much pain that it takes me a minute to realize I am in tears.  Today was one of those days where sitting at the edge of the bed, crying, and looking at the toilet that is 15 feet away and needing to get there NOW was cause for sobs.  It would be so easy to tell you all the things I couldn’t do today.  I could give you a list of things that I wished I could do, have plans to do, am interested in doing, and then tell you that I can’t do them because of this limiting pain.  Instead, I am going to share with you what I DID do!

I  made it to the bathroom.  I sat there thinking about what I absolutely HAD to do.  Now I know if I called M&E they would let the girls out for me.  In fact, that had happened just the other day because I hadn’t been able to make myself get down to the coop before they let their own girls out.   I am so grateful they watch out for me but I really want to do all I can to care for myself and my girls.  So I thought out every action I would need to do if I went down to let them out of the coop.  I thought about the steps, changing shoes, starting the hot water in the wash room, opening the door, looking for eggs, pouring water in their dishes  because everything is frozen again.  I also had to get at least 2 pieces of wood, which turned into a full armload because I  thought I might not get back down to get any more wood except for once when I lock the coop up at night.  I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to get out much at all when I let the girls out at around 8am.  This is all AFTER I dressed for weather.   Today, getting dressed was a big effort.

Winnie loves the sunshine

Winnie loves the sunshine

At noon, when I had to get up and put a log on the fire again, I knew I needed to move some!  So I made a decision to take the girls a hot treat, some apples for the pastured animals and a walk down to the creek!  If I got all the way down to the bridge and back, that was nearly 1/2 mile!  That was a huge undertaking, but I knew I could take my time and I had my phone to call for help if I needed it.

I added some water to the pork lentil soup I had made the other day and boiled some noodles in it.  This was to be the snack for the day.  I have not given the girls many noodles and was anxious to see how they liked them.  They liked them.  A LOT!  I wish I would have been able to get a video of Goldie sliding across the slimy mess in the pan.

She did it twice.

Yummy slippery noodles!

Yummy slippery noodles!

Finally it was time to head down the hill.  I was dressed, had made the treat, talked to the girls and now it was time to walk.  I wanted to get a little bit of the precious sunshine on my face.  I knew it would give me my needed Vit. D.  I also knew that making myself do this one thing would make me feel like I had accomplished something.  It would be veru easy to do nothing except stay in bed and feel horrible.

A walk along the creek

A walk along the creek

This was my first time walking all the way to the creek!  I drive past it all the time, but I had yet to walk to the bridges and take a closer inspection.  What a treat I was in store for!  There is an alternate bridge that has been used upon occasion for very large loads that is a few yards from the bridge we always use to get across the creek. I decided it was time to take a look at it.   It appears to be an old railroad bridge!  How delighted I was.  My grandfather was Chief Dispatcher for SP years ago!  I love anything railroad.  Why am I not surprised that it is here, in this wonderful place I was found to be!

The alternate bridge...looks like old RR bridge!

The alternate bridge…looks like old RR bridge!

Old bridge

Old bridge

The path to get to the bridge was equally enticing.  Mossy trees and rocky paths leading across the bridge and to…the outside world.  I won’t be going there today!

A path to the bridge to get across the creek

A path to the bridge to get across the creek

I was getting tired.  Time to turn around and head back up the hill.  I was moving slow.  I was looking at all the views and vistas and enjoying it all.  And then I saw the glimmer of shimmer on the fence.  Now how had I never noticed that before?   There it was kinda down at the bottom of the gate.  Not a place I would notice while in the truck.  But on foot, I saw it and had to inspect it further.  Yes..it is a perfect representation of this place I live with other people and animals and nature and the world. A sunshiney smile!

A sunshiny smile to the entrance to home!

A sunshiny smile to the entrance to home!

I had a couple apples in my pockets and started calling to Bruce the cow and John the sheep on my way up the hill.  Of course, as usual,  John came at a run!  Bruce held back for a moment, but then he got the idea and was on a run himself!  They both enjoyed their apples, as well as pats and scratches on the head.  I don’t know who enjoyed it more, them or me.

Come and get it!!!

Come and get it!!!

John gets here first!!!

John gets here first!!!

Bruce gets his too!!!

Bruce gets his too!!!

The sky was so blue I couldn’t help but look upwards.  There is that mistletoe.  I have thought about selling it the last two Christmas seasons.  I just don’t know exactly how to get it down.  There are no leaves for shade.  Instead there is an artistic pattern against the bright blue wintery sky!  Majestically the branches arch across the lane, adding depth to the shadows that are visible on the frozen ground.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

Majestically arching oak branches across the lane.

Majestically arching oak branches across the lane.

I am enticed to keep walking.  I want to see the house gardens.  I had not been over there in a few weeks since I last gathered apples.  I need to get a feel for the various growing areas.  Again, I am pleased with the things I had not noticed before.  My walk was slow, and I was looking at the sky and the ground and the shadows and what was around me.  I was delighted by the yard art.  I also was happy to note the various places to sit and rest.  I was thinking towards summer, when I hope to be gardening, instead of just taking a walk.  There are places to rest.  I need that.

Ms. Ladybug loves butterflies!

Ms. Ladybug loves butterflies!

A place to rest when working the lower gardens.

A place to rest when working the lower gardens.

I love my hill.  I smile everytime I drive up here.  I look up and see the barn and know that it is home.  It is where I can take care of myself.  It is where I can find comfort on days like today where I am in so much pain that eating is something I must make myself do.   I am grateful for the preparations of meals on days I felt well enough to prepare foods.  I couldn’t do that today.  I had left some soup and a leftover half of an acorn squash on the woodstove to heat up while I was out giving the girls their treat.  The girls got a hot homemade healthy treat and I will too.  Neither one took much effort, which allowed me to put some energy into doing something that has been good for me phyically, emotionally and spiritually.

The barn up on the hill

The barn up on the hill

I brought up an armful of wood.  Then another.  I had checked once again for eggs, and was thrilled to find my 7th egg for the day in a nest.  It was too early to lock up the coop.  I was going to have to come back down.  It was time to rest.  I had done what I set out to do.  I got so much more than exercise, fresh air, sunshine.  I didn’t forget about my pain during my walk.  But I was able to find beauty, joy, peace, serenity and motivation in spite of it.   I feel so good about the one thing I did do today.  I did what I could do today within the limits of my ability.  A 1/2 mile walk that took me almost 2 hours.  I didn’t get a cardio workout, but I did get a heart workout!  I love where I live!

My fibromyalgia has not gone away.  In fact, it is quite evident.  Some days really are difficult, like today.  Yet, if I choose to focus, I can always find something to be grateful for and something that is beautiful.  If that is all I get for a day, it is more than many others.  My life has challenges, but it also has many blessings.  Count yours…you might be surprised to see how blessed you are too!

Until the next time!  Bye bye!

Until the next time! Bye bye!