Reaching Out/Reaching Up

I was surprised to see reach as the UU Lent word of the day, but then I realized it’s really appropriate for me, and probably for many of us right now.

Reaching Out

For me “reach out” is most important. It’s no longer optional to reach out to friends and family, but mandatory. With so many people living alone or dealing with challenges (like schooling children…or heck, just feeding and entertaining them), it’s important to be in contact with your peeps.

Don’t do as the cattle do! Isolate!

Goodness knows, I am not a great correspondent (other than blogging), but I’m doing my part. I write a couple of letters every day and make sure to say hi to someone I don’t often talk to, especially those who live alone. Today a friend reached out to ME on the day I was going to reach out to HER, which made me smile.

Gratuitous chicken picture. They are reaching up and grabbing at clover I picked for them.

Some of the things people have been doing for each other have really warmed my heart. People who have surpluses share them (we got some bread products that way just yesterday). Restaurants are selling supplies they don’t need due to not being open to the public. And there’s all that mask sewing going on! Way to go, sewing people!

I hope that when this is all settled down we remember all the kind and good things people have done for each other, and let the memories of people who aren’t considerate, run around in public, and hoard stuff fade away.

Reaching Up

My Instagram of the day featured Spice the paint quarter horse in a quest for delicious hackberry leaves, which she deserved after going for a ride and surviving being barked at by my dogs. It’s nice that Sara and I can still ride, as long as we take some reasonable precautions (we no longer share grooming tools, and only one person at a time can be in the tack room, which I keep forgetting).

Spice stretches out while being groomed after a nice ride.

I did a lot of reaching up (and down) yesterday while painting trim. But, now that much of it has multiple coats of creamy white, it looks great.

Nicole paints away on the trim yesterday.

Today, Chris is really reaching up as he works on painting the wall behind the new stairs. He has most of the priming done and is hopeful that there will be two colorful bathrooms very soon!

Looking down from the front door. Lots of white trim, new subfloor, and a primed wall, ready to be a cheerful color.

Peace within Reach

Other than being a mirror image, this shows me all dazed in a meeting, sharing the sight I get every time I drive down County Road 140 to my house. It’s lots nicer with that field of flowers to enjoy.

Many of my coworkers are doing their meetings on their patios or porches. It’s a great way to get outdoors a bit and enjoy some peace, while still getting stuff done.

I’m stuck in the basement for meetings. But never fear, I took a couple of photos of hos beautiful it is on the road leading to the ranch, so I use it as my Zoom backdrop. A little bit of peace for all!

The view without my head in it, and not mirror image. Not bad, is it? You can see my house around the bend.

I hope you can get out in nature, reach up and touch something not made by humans, and find a little inner peace. Let me know how you’re doing!

Surrender? Who, Me?

I ordered a bookcase for only $250. I must be confident things will improve.

BAH. I’m not surrendering to defeat and negativity. In only two days my self-imposed extra-carefulness after coming home from our vacation will be over, and I’ll feel a lot better to know I didn’t get sick or make anyone else sick when we traveled.

Rather than surrender (word of the day for UU Lent) in a “giving up” kind of way, I chose to surrender my expectations of how things should be. Getting rid of that will let me enjoy things the way they are now.

Actually, I think rattlesnakes are at the end of the path. I’ll wear boots if I go out there.

I have bluebonnets to look at. I saw whistling ducks at the ranch. The trees and grass are so darned green that it makes my eyes hurt. My chickens make me laugh every day. It’s thundering big time outside while Kathleen plays “Amazing Grace” on her phone. I’ll surrender to that beauty and wonder of the day.

There are always sweet surprises out there, even when we feel imprisoned by our lack of choices right now. (Baby blue eyes just on the other side of the fence)

If this is my last spring, by gosh I’ll enjoy every moment. And if it isn’t, I know I’ll appreciate all the future springs even more. It’s a privilege to be here now. Since I can’t change what others do or what happens to the rest of society, I surrender to the lessons I’m learning and the love around me.

I am part of the love around you. And I lost weight.

Peace to you all in these “interesting” times.

Who Do YOU Trust? Or What?

This one’s just sad.

The cynicism I’m developing from watching national government representatives continue in-fighting and saying really horrifying things (I am now expendable, oh boy!) has just heightened my mistrust of all of them. Let’s work together, everybody.

Oh my. When I started thinking about trust, today’s word for UU Lent, my first thought was “trust no one,” then I came up with “trust but verify.” I think usually, I lean toward the latter. I have issues, I guess. I give people and institutions a chance, but it takes a long time for me to build up enough trust in anything that I don’t want to verify.

And for goodness’ sake, do not go look up memes about “trust no one,” unless you want to look at a lot of guns and implications of ideologies I personally don’t trust.

Trust Is Tricky

Even without pandemics, trust has been an issue with me. I certainly could not trust my parents, since they came from a society where lying to children was an accepted thing. I found out all sorts of stuff about what happened to my pets, what was really going on when Mom disappeared periodically, what really happened in relationships…etc.

I finally found a meme I could go with.

Later on I learned that I should have been much more careful in trusting friends and coworkers. So, I’m a lot more careful and do a lot more verifying, which I thought was pretty darned healthy, to be honest. But, then I went and read how it’s a relationship killer. Here’s what Nan S. Russell said:

Here’s the simple answer: when the outcome is essential and matters more than the relationship, use “trust, but verify.” When the relationship matters more than any single outcome, don’t use it.

“The Problem with a Trust-But-Verify Approach”

Who to Trust

I’ll tell you who I trust! My animals. The dogs are just so sweet and obviously trust US, so I trust them. And a relationship with a horse just isn’t worth trying for without trust. Apache and I have done a lot of trust work, and even though we misunderstand each other sometimes, we trust each other. I am SO glad for animals.

Today’s Instagram features Fiona, who still has one icky leg.

There are people I trust completely. It’s a risk, but to live with people, you have to trust them. It would be hard to shake my trust for the people I live with in both my houses and the people I work most closely with. They have all earned it.

Sigh, it’s time to stop. I’m getting upset about how we can’t trust our fellow humans to take care of each other. Instead, I’ll end with these nice keywords to live with. They are perfect right now.

This sounds like a great motto for today and for the future.

Donkey Legs and Other Problems with Dampness

Poor Miss Fiona! When I trudged over (okay, I drove) to feed the steeds after finishing my newsletter draft, I noticed one of them did not slog up to greet me, and it was her.

The horses were clean on top and muddy on the bottom after yesterday’s big rain, but were happy to see me. Fiona stood in the middle of the paddock and brayed at me. Hmm.

They’d also gotten locked out of the pens, so were excited at new grass (at most they were locked out two days).

I got their supplements all prepared, and the horses dug in, but FiFi just hobbled a couple of steps. Uh-oh. I went out to her and eww! Every single leg was raw and bleeding on the outer side. Of course there were also flies everywhere.

I took pictures and sent them to Sara. We pondered. Did a dog go after her? No, they aren’t puncture wounds. Did she slip in the mud and scrape her legs? Well, how would that happen to all four?

Ick.

We’ve narrowed it down to rain rot that she’s making worse by gnawing on it, or lice or something. I’ll look again tomorrow and try to get better pictures to send the farrier. In the meantime, I cleaned her as much as I could and fly sprayed her. More news as it happens!

Damp Hens

I felt badly for the chickens last night when it rained so hard, but they were fine today. I need to get their food covered better, though, because it keeps getting wet.

We’re happy hennies.

It is still damp and foggy now, so I just put food on the ground with their delicious scratch and leftover veggies.

They still aren’t laying, even though they have grown a lot. Oh well, they are good diversions.

We Have the Freedom to…umm

Perhaps today is not the best day to talk about freedom, but that’s what the UU Lent calendar said to talk about. Freedom’s always been a hard topic for me, even without being confined to quarters/office and following so many rules and regulations (our home health agency gets new guidelines from the State every day, and we have meetings to go over them; as of now we have to take every client’s temperature every time we see them; glad I’m just the CEO and am sitting at my desk doing my other job).

Still free to enjoy doggie fun and games at the ranch!

Right now, though, I feel really lucky and privileged to be able to be outside and wander around the Hermits’ Rest, so I don’t get cabin fever. I’m still free on my own property.

Land stretching out so far and wide!

As for the concept of “freedom,” I always wonder how other people define it. I don’t feel free at all here in the US. I am afraid to criticize the government aloud, for example. I hesitate to express my opinions on a lot of topics, actually, since I’m concerned that maybe many people are wandering around ready to hurt or shoot people they disagree with. That may be propaganda aimed at people like me to keep us in line, but, this doesn’t seem like a free and safe time to me. I hope I just have healthy paranoia, not crazed paranoia.

Penney is glad she is free to attack and play with June bugs to her heart’s content. She watched this one a LONG time.

So, I plan to continue to concentrate on what I am still free to do, think, and write. I’m glad my blog is not censored. I’m glad my dogs can run and play and make me happy. I’m glad I am free to at least talk to my family and friends still.

Stay safe, and don’t be a paranoid like Suna. You always have the freedom to have another perspective from mine!

A Very Different Ocean View

We’ve been relaxing with Donita and Libba in Swansboro, NC. They live on the Intracoastal Waterway near the quaint old fishing town.

Me, relaxing.

While I have enjoyed my two days of shopping here and in nearby towns, it’s the birds and other animals that have made this trip special. You can see all sorts of marshes and barrier islands, which are just teeming with life.

Oysters by the sea wall

It’s a great contrast from Myrtle Beach, which is all big resorts. No natural beauty.

Laughing gull

Last night I saw an otter bopping around, which was really fun. Today I got to see a wild pony off of Beaufort. That’s pretty good viewing!

The otter was on the shore at left.

And the birds are fascinating. I saw an osprey and a gull fight over a fish. And there are so many waterfowl to enjoy, including many kinds of ducks, geese, egrets, herons, ibis, and so on. This is what makes me happy.

Ibis in Beaufort

Who needs people? I can just sit outside and observe.

Donita and Libba love boats.

What are your plans? When not working from home, I’ll be reading and knitting. And writing!

One of many amazing beach homes. Yow.

Every Single Day Takes Courage

We have courage for the UU Lent word today. I think we’re all more courageous than we know. Life is challenging. Sometimes we wonder if it’s the most challenging time to be alive, like ever, but no, I think it’s always been hard to be human. It’s always taken courage to face each day.

It takes courage to stand on the balcony on the 26th floor if you aren’t good with heights.

Before we had to deal with evil viruses, our current political leadership, bad drivers, and mean people, humans still needed courage. I would have been scared to death to get pregnant before the late twentieth century. Well, I’d have died after the first try, so there’s a time when maybe I should not have been courageous (mis-shapen tail bone). People were always at war with the folks next door, and if you got sick, you just hoped you were strong enough to survive. And then there were wolves, bears, mammoths, and poisonous fruit,

To be honest, it takes courage for Lee to try a new beer. He likes familiarity.

Any of us who get up, greet the sun, and go do the needful, as they say in India, is courageous in my book. And you get rewards for your courage. You learn and grow, you find people to love, you create and contribute to society. Courage wins.

Sorry. I will never have the courage to get on this thing. I draw the line there.

It often happens that when I have the courage to do something that intimidates me, the reward is big. If I fail, I learn a lot, making it not so bad. And if I succeed, I get to add skills and have fun.

But, I think we all have things we haven’t worked up the courage to do. For me, it’s rides where I can’t see what’s holding me up, like roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Oh, and I am not going skydiving. It’s okay. I’ll be fine without these things.

Here is one of the first times I worked with Apache. He’s big and scary. That took courage.

Take riding Apache. It’s scary to sit on another living being and hope it doesn’t kill you. It took courage to get on, to walk around, to trot, and to get back on after falling off. But, it’s the most fun I have. I’m glad I pushed myself. I’ll be honest, I don’t like falling when I can’t see where I’m going, so every single time I dismount takes courage. We each have our “things.”

Courage to do hard things makes me shine. Here, I’m on a long car trip.

Starting our real estate business took courage, and some might say we failed at it. At least it wasn’t a glorious success. But we sure learned a lot, and it’s helped us be more confident with the Hearts Homes and Hands business. I’m glad we are willing to get out there and provide services people need. If we just sat around and lived on our passive income, it wouldn’t be just us who suffer.

Courage is everywhere. So is strength. We just have to remember.

I have friends facing life-threatening illnesses with courage. Their reward is to enjoy life as long as they have it and to learn how much love there is in the world. They also teach the rest of us to not fear the inevitable. I hope to face my health challenges with such grace.

Sending you all love as I have the courage to go listen to a condominium sales pitch and “just say no.”