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What dreams may come

February 22, 2012

I spent a surprisingly large part of yesterday trying to convince my friend Kelly to dream about an accordion last night. In spite of the many vague and overt accordion references I planted in her conscious awareness yesterday, none of them crossed the barrier to her subconscious and appeared as day residue in her dreams. Bummer. I was hoping mind control could be one of my new skills. Nonetheless, my takeaway from the whole experience is no matter how much you want a dream for someone else, you can’t make it part of their reality. We are each in charge of our own dreams and we’re each responsible for achieving them on our own. This point was driven home for me a second time yesterday when someone I care about deeply told me she was too scared to go after a dream that she once had. This brought to light what I believe to be a second universal truth about dreams. Achieving your dreams requires bravery, boldness, and confidence. Then I had a weird situation today where someone I work closely with may not having the skills and abilities required to achieve her dream–demonstrating dream postulate number three: achieving your dreams takes talent and preparation.

These three realizations about dreams could leave a person a little depressed about the whole notion of dreams. As an eternal optimist, I have a different interpretation. Dreams are special because they are hard to achieve. Dreams are important because for the most part you have to make your dreams come true for yourself. You can’t phone them in. You can’t be like, “Oh, hey, I’m feeling a little under the whether today, would you mind going out and achieving some important life milestones for me while I sit here on the couch and nurse my sore throat.” You can’t do that. Thank the good Lord we can’t. The world would be entirely populated by lame-asses if you could order your dreams to-go like food off of a take-out menu. Dreams have to be pursued and wooed and hunted down. They beg to be fought for. If ever I get discouraged about the slow pace at which Geoff and I are building up Good Life Ranch and Lifestyles Lane, I remember that nothing valuable is acquired without a price. If our dream were easy to achieve it wouldn’t be worth dreaming. If moving to rural Kentucky, leaving our home, our friends, and high-speed internet were easy, everyone would do it.

So on this first day of Lent, in a spirit of reflection, repentance, and gratitude, I thank God for the dreamers and what dreams may come.

Let the good times roll!

February 21, 2012

My Pancakes

It’s Mardi Gras and these are my pancakes. Mardi Gras in South Central Kentucky is a pretty tame affair. I celebrated the day before the beginning of Lent by sharing a king cake with my student aides and then getting my hair cut after school. Geoff and I accidentally had a traditional Shrove Tuesday supper because pancakes were the main food  item we had in the house.

I’m pretty pumped about the upcoming season of reflection and meditation. I got even more pumped when my digital bible sent me a text message. I did not know it could text, but it did. That is some pretty 21st century theology.

I’m going to rap up Mardi Gras 2012 by watching the 200th episode of the Biggest Loser, and then bye bye TV until Easter Sunday.

El Camino

February 20, 2012

Seven years ago I accidentally read the book Singular Pilgrim by Rosemary Mahoney. It is a non-fiction account of one travel writer’s attempt to undertake six different sacred pilgrimages. If you know me, you know I love to travel and I approach each new adventure as its own sacred journey. I believe travel is the greatest learning experience of all, and if we approach travel, any travel, with the heart of a pilgrim God uses that journey to expand our hearts and touch deeply the lives of others. I think when we travel we have two choices: we can be tourists selfishly taking from and only superficially experiencing our new environments, or we can be pilgrims honoring and deeply experiencing our new environments. I prefer to be a pilgrim. Reading Mahoney’s book all those years ago made me eager to experience certain specific pilgrimages. In 2006 I was lucky enough to get to go to Varanasi, India and set foot in the Ganges, one of the holiest pilgrimages in that country. My dream is to one day walk the 800 km Camino De Santiago, a journey from France across Spain to the believed burial site of James the apostle.

Recently, actor Emelio Esteves wrote, directed, and produced a movie, staring his father Martin Sheen, about El Camino de Santiago called The Way. I had wanted to see it in a theater, but the nearest place it was showing was in Louisville. This weekend we on demanded it from the satellite and I finally got to see it. Regardless of whether or not you have had a seven year obsession with El Camino de Santiago, I highly recommend this movie. It is thoughtful, touching, humorous, and character driven. Best of all you get glimpses of the gorgeous Spanish countryside, the vivacious Spanish people, and the camaraderie of the pilgrimage.

I realize this post doesn’t have anything to do with farming, but in a way our journey to Kentucky and our attempts to build Good Life Ranch is a pilgrimage of its own. So, whatever pilgrimage you find yourself on during this President’s Day 2012, buen camino!

Ganges River, Varanasi, India

Bringing Back the Blog

February 19, 2012

Hey there, America. It’s been a while. Sorry for my long and unannounced absence from the blog-o-sphere. I guess the best way to put it is that life got in the way.

So, let’s catch up. How’ve you been? Great, glad to hear it. Me? Good question. Well, I have not blogged anything since Thanksgiving, and really have not done any serious blogging since the interns were here this past summer. I intend to remedy that. I know you’ve been missing stories about poop and animals and heavy things Geoff decides to pick up. Have no fear, those stories still exist. The animals are still pooping, Scooter is still rolling recreationally in that poop. But before we get to the poop, I’d like to talk a little about what has brought me back to blogging.

During our first year here on the farm I blogged to make sense out of our new life. I blogged because I was sad and homesick and a little depressed, and I also blogged because in the midst of all of that I was also excited and joy-filled and curious. The start of this school year did a lot to propel me into a more positive frame of mind. I’ve loved the students I’ve gotten to work with this year. I’ve loved the contributions I’ve been able to make to my school and our local community. Now that Geoff and I are just a few short months away from celebrating the second anniversary of our arrival here in Kentucky, I definitely feel more at home. I think that is probably why I have not made time to blog much in the past six months. I’ve just been enjoying life and spending my time with the people I love. I realize though, that there are so many people I love who are not here in KY, and this blog is one way I can keep them posted on our lives even when things get too crazy to sit down and call each one of them up.

The timing is also right to begin blogging again because we are about to enter into my favorite season of the year. This Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent (the forty days [plus Sundays] before Easter). If you know me well you know I love Lent because of its focus on reflection and personal sacrifice. I typically celebrate Lent by giving up something and adopting a new spiritual discipline. This year I am giving up watching TV and I am adopting blogging again. I know blogging might not seem like a spiritual discipline, but to me anything that increases mindfulness and reflection certainly counts as a spiritual discipline. I’m giving up TV because, although I believe there are many worthwhile programs on television, I spend most of my TV watching time looking at nothing particularly edifying and before I know it hours have passed. In an attempt to be more mindful, more focussed, and more productive, I’ll take a break from TV.

So stay tuned, America. Farmerlady is back. Now take a look at this picture I took of gummy bears.

I've gotten in to Gummy art since last I blogged.

 

Live Blog: Thanksgiving, part 11

November 25, 2011

As my friend Adele pointed out, at least today the dads are wearing different colored shirts.

Live Blog: Thanksgiving, part 10–a house divided

November 25, 2011
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If you are not a fan of college football, or the SEC, or sports, then you probably do not know that at 2:30 PM EST today the Louisiana State University Tigers are playing an important game against the Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas. To a normal household this pivotal game does not pose a problem, but in my household, today is a little bit tricky. You see, I am married to a razorback and my people are tigers. In pre-school my brother convinced his class, teacher included, to say the pledge of allegiance to the LSU flag instead of the stars and stripes. In almost all of my baby pictures I am wearing tiger paraphernalia. Geoff and I arranged to be on our honeymoon during the first LSU/ Arkansas game after we were married, but now is the time of reckoning.

I have prepared a lovely pulled pork lunch and am wearing an LSU shirt, and Arkansas shirt, and an LSU hat. My mom says I have betrayed her womb by wearing Arkansas’ colors. I can’t help but be a diplomatic hostess. This could be a long afternoon, especially because I myself am not super in to football.

Live Blog: Thanksgiving, part 9–the denim rule

November 24, 2011

Earlier in the break I instituted a rule that banned both sets of parents from wearing denim tops at the same time because of the confusion it caused earlier in the holiday. Striving to comply with the denim rule, both my father and my father-in-law put on green long sleeved shirts, unbeknownst to each other. We are now instituting the Toys-R-Us rule: If someone says “Hey, Dad!” everyone must turn around and respond.

In other news, Nana would like you to know that she has her poker shirt on. Geoff, Nana, and my Dad (the one in the green shirt) are getting together a pretty big tournament. I am sure I already booked a nap for tournament time. Darn.

Live Blog: Thanksgiving, part 8

November 24, 2011

We did it up right, son! I am as full as I can be. And this Thanksgiving might go in the record book as the smoothest one yet. So far, no one has had to go to the hospital, no one has had to sit in traffic or fly in or out at an awkward hour, and no one has had a fight (not that we thought anyone would, but you know, holidays).

America will be happy to know that I let my partner in life be my partner in the kitchen today. Geoff was the perfect sous chef and we killed it. He’d chop, I’d stir, we’d clean dishes, we’d make witty jokes to our company. In an unrelated note, I might hold the new holiday record for spilling liquids and breaking glass (accidentally), but we have not let that slow us down. Sure I poured out an entire vat of liquid ice cream on the floor (haven’t we seen that on Top Chef and Iron Chef), and sure I loaded the basement fridge so full of items that any fool opening the door (me) had glass containers roll out onto the floor and explode. These minor setbacks do not stop our Thanksgiving MoJo. Geoff raised a great bird, I roasted it up, we combined our families traditional sides and served three generations a peaceful, relaxing, tasty Thanksgiving meal.

God has definitely blessed our holiday and I am super thankful for my family and friends (near and far).

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Live Blog: Thanksgiving, part 7

November 23, 2011

Let’s begin with dinner and work backwards. I quoteth Facebook: Our dinner plans were foiled so we are sitting in the pizza hut in Liberty and I am staring at a truly exquisite mullet. It’s an anniversary dream come true (exquisite because it is paired with a sleeveless shirt in November AND a complete goatee bro-stache combo). We had intended to go to the Bread of Life Cafe in Liberty, arriving only to discover that it was closed. Had we known we would have started our journey in Campbellsville where there are multiple dinner options, but alas we found ourselves on the night before Thanksgiving eating at the pizza hut. Nonetheless, a great time was had by all. And anniversary #3 goes into the books as the Pizza-Hut-Mullet-Dinner-versary :).

Prior to dinner we spent some time trying to get our turkeys out of trees. My brother-in-law’s puppy Rooi inadvertently chased several of our rare heritage breed turkey breading pairs across the creek and into the trees. We’re crossing our fingers that they’ll come down.

All in all TG Eve has been a blast. We had a two part field trip to L-ville, we chased turkeys, we dined with the fam, and we did a lot of pre-cooking for tomorrow. I’m missing my little bro unbearably, but I shall keep calm and carry on!

Live Blog: Thanksgiving, part 6

November 23, 2011

The second half of our Louisville field trip led us to Churchill Downs where Nana, master of the “hunch bet”, showed us how it was done. I had some beginners luck. I picked the third horse to win in the first two races because this is our third anniversary and we were married on the 23. The third horse won both races which was invigorating. It probably would have been even more invigorating if I had bet more than two dollars on either race. But a wins a win. Mom, Nana, Pam, Randy, and Pete got a special tour of the winners circle and the paddock from some Arkansas guy they ran into, so it was a win, win day for everyone.

I don’t recommend going to the grocery store at four o’clock on the day before Thanksgiving, but if you have to, I recommend going to the smaller Kroger in Campbellsville. You can get in, get out, and my student Megan works. She is excellent at what she does.