Tag Archives: nature

“Lord, I don’t trust you…”; retirements, cancer & Psalm 27:14

Last weekend our family celebrated my Dad’s work retirement. zippo Words cannot explain how prideful I felt celebrating that accomplishment with people that came out to honor my dad’s years of hard work. He has always been a great example of many things to us kids, but to show us first-hand what it means to work hard & provide for others is a lesson that I’ve only grown to appreciate as I’ve got older.

I’ve touched briefly on my dad’s cancer in previous blogs. Close friends & family know of his progress & I’m blessed to have so many that pray for us & keep positive vibes afloat as we journey through this tough stage as a family. That made the retirement party even more special as none of us know what the future holds for him, or for that matter, any of us.

Several months ago I decided to do an in-depth self-study on the book of Psalm; containing 150 chapters & (around) 2500 verses, I knew this was going to be quite the undertaking. I gave myself through the summer to complete, but that has now been extended through the winter since the supplemental reading & note-taking is just as time consuming. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, because I secretly am a know-it-all (okay, maybe not so secretly) & “learning” means a new batch of knowledge wrinkles in my brain.

While I pretty much picked Psalms because so many verses contained are dear to my heart, what I’m finding to be the overlaying theme is “trust”….trust.

Trust…

Wow! If ever a time in my life I needed to lean on trust it’s now.

There are moments when I think I’m doing okay about my Dad’s diagnosis & then there are moments when I’m out on a hiking trail & I’m so overcome with emotion thinking about it that I literally sit down in the middle of the woods & bawl my eyes out. It’s in those moments that my faith is the weakest & most tested. Gratitude for a God who has sent me a one-eyed dog that understands my breakdown & will sit down next to me with his head on my lap until the tears start to dry up.

Twice within the last several weeks I’ve had two different people, on two different occasions mention the word “dying” when asking about my dad. Needless to say my response wasn’t the classiest (“He’s fine. And mind your own *blankety-blank-blank -business*”…okay, maybe my response wasn’t that bad, but that’s what I was saying in my head). “Dying”, what a harsh ugly word. And not a word I want spoken in the same sentence as my Dad’s name. But as he just finished yet another several months round of chemo treatments & has begun the next series of testing to see if the cancer has spread or tumors enlarged, these “dying” comments keep popping back into my head & the possible reality hits me full on.

Trust…

Before I begin my nightly (okay…”nightly” is a stretch) Bible-Study I do prayer devotionals, my hope is that I will find answers to whatever is on my mind at that moment. Sometimes it works out that way…sometimes it doesn’t. On this particular night, it was answered. With my dad’s bible versehealth on my mind I opened up my section of Psalms to read & was surprised to find, not only this verse, but also to discover that 3yrs. ago on that exact date, I had also been led to that same verse. During that time our family was grieving over the unexpected loss of a beloved uncle only a few short weeks prior & in the midst of making serious decisions over my Grandma’s own struggle with cancer.

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”-Psalm 27:14-

Both of those situations ended painfully & the loss of hope I felt deflated me like a balloon.

When you feel you’re at the end of your rope, sometimes all you can do is hold on. The theme of Psalms kept repeating in my head,”trust…trust…trust”. For the first time in my life, I actually admitted out loud to God that I didn’t trust him.

“Lord, I don’t trust you. Help me believe that your ways are best.”

When you’re in a strong “relationship” with someone you can freely admit, with raw honesty, that you’re confused, hurt, angered…distrustful. And you know in your heart that it doesn’t change the dynamic of the relationship, you’re still loved & not abandoned. That was what I felt by the admission & a flood of relief overcame me.

I’m reminded of the unbelieving father in the book of Mark. He had watched his son struggle with inner-demons his whole life & the reality looked grim. As a final resort, he brought him before Jesus to be healed.

“If you can?” said Jesus. ”Everything is possible for one who believes.” The child’s father cried out at once,” I believe! Help my lack of faith”

– Mark 9:23-24-

It’s okay to have unbelief. It’s okay to be distrustful. You can be a follower of Christ & still be uncertain that your prayers will come true, but in those moments it’s important to pray that your unbelief be healed. Just be honest, He already knows what you’re feeling anyways, why not just admit it??? Allow God to open the door of unbelief so that what’s behind it can be reached.

“Sometimes you just have to smile in faith…”-Joel Osteen-

smile

 

 

 

 

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I want feet like a deer, reflections from Pslam 18:33

If you read my blog from a couple weeks ago (and I KNOW all you fine readers have, right? but in case you missed it: Ready for a slow down, reflections from Psalm 90) then you’re already aware that I’ve been doing a self-study in the book of Psalm. A book that I’m falling in love with because it’s so musically written & “flowy” (is “flowy” a word??? Who knows? but I dig it!). While studying chapter 18 this scripture leapt out at me…

“He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places”

-Psalm 18:33-(NKJV)

**By the way** Don’t cha’ totally love my word play??? leapt/deer…get it??? Smooth!

Anyways, (refocus) If I have read this scripture before, I’ve never noticed it. It’s pretty unassuming, but to an animal-studied-nerd, like myself, wow…this is a good one!

Deer feet. No doubt you don’t have to be in student loan debt to realize that, yeah, deer feet are important to deer. But do you know that, hands down, hooves are the MOST IMPORTANT part of deer anatomy??? untitled

Deer are flight animals, meaning they run from perceived danger, they’re lovers not fighters. Those skinny little toothpick legs carry a few hundred pounds gracefully at 40mph; they can leap about 8 feet high & the hooves are designed in such a way that they take the brunt of all that force. Pretty impressive, huh??

Without getting too technical & for the sake of this blog illustration, let’s break the hoof down into two simple parts; we’ll call it the “outer” & the “bottom” (creative, thank you very much). Most people know that deer are cloven hooved animals, meaning they have two toes, not one single toe-like a horse. God in his infinite wisdom designed them that way knowing the wide variety of terrain they’d be covering. That design allows them to cover everything from swimming in deep water, to scaling a mountain. The hard outer wall of the hoof is made of keratin (the same stuff as your fingernails) this helps them claw, paw, dig & fight; bottom part is a soft, spongy material that helps them grip slippery surfaces. Pretty cool that when you see a herd of deer running & leaping, they really don’t know what’s on the other side of those leaps, but rarely do they slip & fall. Flight animals cannot survive without their legs, the hoof is the first line of defense to protecting the legs & in turn, the entire being.

I’m in awe of the responsibility that hooves have.

“He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places” -Psalm 18:33-

This chapter in Psalm was written by David wrote after the Lord delivered him from his enemies & Saul (who was out for blood!). David was in a tough spot, he had no idea how he was going to get out of the mess he found himself in. He prayed with a ferocity & the Lord saved him, not in a way he was expecting, for the Lord didn’t rescue him from the mess but equipped him with strength & abilities David didn’t know he had…and he conquered & gave the glory back to God. The NET version goes,”He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain”. You may not think you’re equipped to negotiate the rugged terrain in your life & it may look impossible, but the Lord has equipped you to be a conqueror.

So next time you feel overwhelmed, look at your feet & see yourself has having the feet of deer!

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Some God in my Gardening

The older I get, the more settled & *cough…ahem…cough* domestic I seem to become. My nightly Google searches have switched from, “what bars are closest to this bar I’m currently at” to, “easy sewing patterns…how to make a pallet dog bed…how to decorate outdoor patio using concrete, rubber bands, & beer tabs.” Okay, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.

I’ve taken up gardening…

By “taken up gardening” I really mean, “I’ve developed an obsession for gardening…”

Thanks to Pinterest, a father who has always had a vegetable garden & a plethora of Twitter-communities where gardening is cool again, my obsession has been even more fueled. This is the first year that I’ve had a real decently thriving garden in my yard. I moved to my house about 3yrs ago; a big metropolis village of 300 people. Not that I lived in a real big city before, but a city of 100,000 compared to a village of 300 is a big difference. Trust me, I’m not complaining. AT ALL! I’m a country girl with country roots & cities are not my thing. Now I live smack-dab in the middle of the woods, with a long driveway & land for my dog to run around un-fenced. That also means I have land to plant an outdoor herb & vegetable garden.

While I’ve always had a love for gardening, it was pretty limited when I lived downtown in the city. I had no yard & my “garden” consisted of tomato plants growing in flower pots on my deck. One year my tomato’s seemed to come up missing, while I thought it was a stray raccoon or cat stealing them (cats eat tomato’s???) I later caught my neighbor plucking them off my plants…it did not end well. Another year I bought a “Topsy Turvy” plant from a

my $400 upside down tomato plant

my $400 upside down tomato plant

commercial on TV. This product was made for tight-space living; was hung upside down from a hook & tomato’s grew downward. I thought “perfect” & couldn’t wait to expand my deck garden. Well, the commercial didn’t lie! This plant took off! It grew so well & contained so many tomato’s (definitely factory-produced seeds that grew low-quality, abundant tomato’s) that one day I came home from work to find that my upside down tomato plant had grown into the gutters & the weight had ripped them down & half of my neighbors gutters. A $19.95 product ended up costing over $400 to fix. Nice!

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Green onions & romaine lettuce started from seeds.

So fast-forward a few years & my 3rd season of planting at my house & the soil finally seems dense enough to support a healthy, full garden.
I started my plants from seeds back in March. March, 7th to be exact. As told by the dates I had sharpied on the egg-carton starters. My sunroom had turned into rows of seeds that rooted & bloomed into tomatoes, onions, lettuce, eggplants, dill, chives, parsley & lots more! I had containers on my fireplace mantel, Hearst & brickwork, on my fish tank, on the floor, behind the couch…you name it & it had a vegetable or herb. Ohio also had a late spring, so I didn’t get outside to plant until the beginning of June. By that time I had lost some of my vegetables & they had to be replaced with plants purchased from greenhouses. Quite the ordeal of tilling the garden, pulling weeds, planting, mulching, weeding again, watering, weeding again….and again…and again…but they’re a’growin!!!

This may seem like a huge, detailed backstory to someone who has little to no interest in gardening. But those that enjoy it will understand when I say what therapy my little garden has been. The last few years have been very hard & stressful in my personal life. While I have found ways to relieve that stress (I’m a big outdoorsy-girl), there’s a different kind of therapy that comes from working the land & watching something grow. There’s something different about getting your hands dirty, sweating, tending, & then reaping the benefits of something you’ve put your time into.

I listen to music a lot, I rarely watch TV but I always have music on. When I’m out hiking-headphones on, when I’m cleaning the house-music playing in background, when I’m running (okay, let’s be real. When I’m out one-step-up-from-walking)-headphones on. However, when I’m working in the garden…no music. I’m on my hands & knees, digging in the dirt, my dog at my feet, & I’m thinking…figuring stuff out, praying, having conversations in my head. I’m going through an especially hard time right now, making some big decisions & stressing out over what is the right path; in addition to stresses that life already has me boggled down with. Yesterday while in the middle of planting squash, the story of the Israelites popped into my head. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery from the hands of Egypt, however, he didn’t take them to the Promised Land right away. They wandered around in the wilderness for 40yrs; they couldn’t see past their own stubbornness, unforgiveness, frustrations, situations & attitudes. They never even realized how close they were to their promised land until they gave up even more control. This is me, I’m currently in the wilderness. Even though I’m delivered from the bondage I was in, I’m still “wandering” around in the desert until my promised land. Have I done anything wrong?? No. In fact, I’ve done everything right (mostly). I’ve obeyed. I’ve listened. But the reward hasn’t come yet. Is it frustrating? You bet’cha! Especially for someone like me who lives by day planners & loves schedules. Do I feel forgotten? Ignored? Un-worthy? Yes, Yes, Yes. But just like my garden, the harvest will come. The reward will come because I’ve been working the land, planting seeds, watering, & weeding. Is there an area of my life that God is trying to get me to focus on before the harvest can come??? I believe there is. I can only pray that He will reveal that to me so I can move on.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”-Galatians 6:9-

Being in the wilderness stinks, big time. But it will make the harvest that much sweeter. And all these thoughts came because I decided to plant some tomatoes.

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can't wait!

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can’t wait!

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And yet another example of why people should never attempt at turning an exotic animal into a “pet”…

tiger1

The good thing about having a blog is I can voice my opinion in a controlled environment in an attempt at a well-thought out debatable essay, especially when the topic is controversial & most people like the sound of their own spouting rather than say something worthy & substantial. Which is why I urge everyone to start a blog, it’s much cheaper than therapy & you reduce the number of people you want to shake & say, “really???” Everyone has an opinion, however, not everyone’s opinion is informative. Most are emotional & not factually based.

Recently in my hometown a spider monkey was euthanized after biting a human, without getting into specifics (you can look it up on Fox 8 Cleveland’s website) the outrage is getting a little ridiculous & in my opinion, the anger is severely displaced. I have worked in the animal industry for 12 years professionally & have earned several degrees over the course of that time all animal related (with the exception of a Business degree thrown in). While I by no means claim to be an expert, in fact, I’m humbled & excited by how much I have yet to learn, I do have a little more experience with the industry than most people voicing an emotional opinion. I have worked with horses, livestock, reptiles, domesticated, avian, wildlife, aquatics, pocket pets, & exotics. I have personally worked with spider monkeys both in a zoo facility & an exotic animal rehabilitation center, not to mention the rotation I did during college where I worked in the vet department of an animal testing facility that tested on Spider & Capuchin Monkey’s (don’t get me started on that!) When I say that these animals are NOT meant to be pets, that’s not an exaggeration.

I’m not here to bash the owner or all the supporters of the owner, their actions (or lack thereof) speak for themselves. It was an unfortunate situation with heartbreaking results & I’m sure after the emotion has died down, the owner(s) will realize the role they played in this situation & I’m trusting will not make the same decisions again. Whether it’s a domesticated animal or an exotic animal, when you choose to bring one into your home you have a responsibility to that animal to keep it safe. That includes obeying all laws, following all regulations & being knowledgeable about the animal that trusts you.

As I’m sure most of you amazing readers know, several years ago a guy let loose dozens of exotic animals onto the streets of Zanesville, Ohio. After that incident people were OUTRAGED over the destruction & mass killing of several of these animals…all senselessly. There is always good that can come from every situation and Ohio started adapting stricter exotic animal laws to more safely regulate what people can own & the standards by which they have to house these animals. Ohio went from being the worst (no exaggeration) state to being one of the most regulated. Ohio even created a whole department within the Department of Agriculture to regulate, monitor & fine private & public organizations and owners who have chosen to own exotic animals. While it has been costly for owners & organizations it also has cut down on people owning exotic animals & regulates how many animals a rescue can financially support. I know it may seem like another Government interference but (to me) it’s common sense to monitor this trend that is way out of control & long overdue.

People should not own exotic animals to keep as pets, ever! And you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that works in the animal field to disagree. God created all things for a very specific purpose & when people try to change that purpose, senseless things like the recent Spider Monkey euthanasia happen. Love plays a big part on why people decide to incorporate an exotic animal into their home; they “love” a certain animal species, so naturally they want to own it. This doesn’t make sense to me. You “love” something, so you decide to keep it from living out its God designed purpose? Not to mention it’s a selfish way to think. Because YOU decide that YOU want to own an exotic animal YOU get one. You’re putting your needs before the welfare of the animal. The very essence & definition of love is putting somebody else’s needs above your own. The very animal that you decide to own can teach you that lesson by observing it in a natural environment; a mama bear will always protect her cubs before thinking about her safety.

My best-bud & greatest workout personal trainer I’ve ever had is my dog, Waylon, an Australian Cattle Dog. This dog loooooooves to be outdoors & is the epitome of energy! And I adore him for that. But Australian Cattle Dogs are designed to do exactly what their name implies. They herd cattle. This is their purpose in life, their instinct. What God has created them to do. I’m responsible for stealing his joy, on a daily basis, because I don’t fulfill that need in my dog. Is my dog happy…absolutely. Is he well taken care of…you’ve never met a dog more spoiled. But the level of happiness Waylon would achieve if getting that need met daily is nothing that I can provide him right now. He gets spurts of that activity; many chances to “herd” horses around the farm, squirrels & chipmunks are a daily roundup, he even “herds” me when we’re out on our daily walks/runs. As his owner, someone who he puts his trust in, it is my responsibility to make sure that instinct is met…and I fail at this, I’m 100% to blame & it is a selfish act on my part because I wanted this rescue dog. Just like other fellow dog owners who fail at this if they don’t provide the same opportunity with their dogs & their instinctual purposes. The difference is, these are “domesticated” animals. Through years of evolving, dogs are no longer wild & now know their place within the hierarchy of a human family unit. Exotic animals will never be domesticated, it’s a scientific fact. And even if some mutant gene forms & they do become domesticated, it will never be in our generation or in our great-great-great-gazillion great grandkid’s generation. When humans interfere too much with changing Mother Nature, we do more harm than good. She’s been around a lot longer than we have & is a hell of a lot smarter than we are. Believe it or not but humans are not entitled to own everything on this planet just because we “want” it, there are some things that don’t belong to us. Every time you support a company that does research using animals by purchasing their products, every time you buy an animal from a breeder instead of adopting or not spaying/neutering your pet, every time you pay money to watch animals being put on display (circus’s, rodeo’s) you are selfishly contributing to the destruction of mother nature. I’m guilty of this as well, it will forever be a lifetime of choices that you have to make. Not one person can save the world, but everybody can do their small contribution & that does add up.

I’m very passionate about animal rights, especially on rescue/rehabilitation work (not buying from breeders, spaying/neutering, etc.) & exotic animal rights. When you work in the industry you see the effects that human’s selfishness & stupidity can cause. If I was friends with myself, I would be annoyed with myself when I get on a soapbox about it. I know that I can nag about this topic, but it’s because it’s so important. Think about something you’re passionate about, something you’re willing to fight for…can you really nag it enough? I would rather beat this topic to death than know it’s going on & remain silent. Many times I’ve prayed to not know some of the things that I know & to not have seen some of things I’ve witnessed because the weight of the problem can seem overwhelming, especially when people don’t seem to care or heed your advice. But in those moments I’m reminded of the animals I’ve seen emaciated, beaten, left to freeze to death on frozen ground, of the animals I’ve personally had to put to death because people have chosen to buy from a breeder and/or not spay & neuter. The exotic animals behind cages who were meant to roam freely, the lab animals injected with cancer-causing agents so humans can get the right scent of body wash & the poaching of game who were unfortunate enough to be born with a much desired delicacy. If people are made aware of the problems, they cannot claim ignorance. Whether or not they choose to do something about their contribution to the problem is up to them & therefore the responsibility of that decision, good or bad, also falls on them. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
exoticpets1

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Some advice from an old farmer…

I cannot take credit for this, I found this on a country living Facebook page I follow. The author wasn’t credited, but I just fell in love with it that it HAD to be re-posted in my blog.

Good advice must always be shared!

oldfarmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.

Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.

Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don’t pick a fight with an old lady. If she is too old to fight, she’ll just kill ya’.

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Book Report: The Secret Life of Bees…

Since I’m currently computer-less at home my posts make lack the usual “flair” they usually do. My computer went to the big computer heaven in the sky several weeks ago & I’ve disconnected my internet at home, trying to reduce my dependency on social networking (at least for the summer months). After a bought of not even having a cell phone for a few days (when my cell-phone decided to follow my computer into another dimension, needless to say that was quickly remedied) I’m finding out this may be a looooong summer on the homestead!

The Secret Life of Bees

By Sue Monk Kidd

Overall I enjoyed this novel, but it teeters on the line between 3 & 4 stars for me.

I saw the movie based on the novel several years ago & while I really enjoyed the movie I had heard so many positive reviews about the novel & several friends recommended this book to me that naturally I put off reading it as long as possible. You see, I’m kind of an book snob when it comes to popular mainstream novels ( with the exception of The Hunger Games trilogy) most leave me with a big disappointment & feels of, “really???” when those big expectations are not met. It’s the overly critical & judgmental part of my personality shining through. I found, “The Secret Life of Bees” at a thrift store for less than $1 & figured it was time to check it off my Goodreads reading list.

Set in segregated & racist South Carolina during the early 1960’s, it’s the story of teenage Lily Owens, who grew up motherless with an abusive father. After her “stand-in-mother” Rosaleen; an African-American female winds up in jail for spitting on the shoes of the town racist, Lily decides to break Rosaleen out of jail & together they run away. Following the label of an old honey-jar that belonged to her deceased mother, they end up in Tiburon, SC on the doorstep of the 3 Boatwright sisters, who make their living as beekeepers selling Black Madonna Honey. Lily & Rosaleen in grain themselves into the lives of these sisters, their friends, & neighbors. Its set against the tone of beekeeping as a profession with each chapter offering a real-life fact on bees & their social colonies (which I adored, favorite parts of the novel).

“The whole fabric of honey bee society depends on communication;  an innate ability to send and receive messages, to encode and decode information.”

-The Honey Bee-

The whole novel surrounds Lily Owens & her quest to discover who her mother was & to relinquish her own guilt (or to find out if she did, in fact) accidentally kill her mother when she was a small child. We later learn that her mother had spent time in Tiburon & the reasons she had visited, left, & her relationships with the Boatwright sisters.

Since I’m a nature-buff & I’ve looked into keeping my own beehives, the parts of the novel I loved the most were the parts about beekeeping. I fell in love with the character of August Boatwright, the eldest of the sisters, & if the whole novel was just about her wisdom of beekeeping I probably would’ve LOVED this novel. She was about the only character in the novel that I really liked (which I’m sure is the author’s main intention anyways). I enjoyed her life-stories & how she related them to beekeeping. May, I thought, was annoying with her constant tantrums & the way she was babied by everyone else (I know she was mentally handicapped & had been through her own emotional trials, but it was still annoying). Lily was…well…a typical teenage girl, high-drama & all (but I did think the love interest with Zach was uber-adorable). June & Rosaleen were interesting as secondary characters, even though I think Rosaleen’s character should’ve been more developed since she had a pretty major role throughout the novel.

I would definitely recommend this book for a quick summer read. I loved the little life-tidbits that were stuck in the most obscure of spots:

“J-Jesus, O-Others, Y-Yourself. This is the correct order for life and if you follow it, you will have JOY.”

“After you get stung, you can’t get unstung no matter how much you whine about it.”

And many more little gems like that!

Like I said earlier, overall I really enjoyed it, however, it wouldn’t be one that I’d ever pick up to read again. My problem is that I need to just stay away from really popular books, they always seem to fall flat in my expectations. It’s a read that’s worth it if you even have a tiny interest in beekeeping as a hobby because its chock-full of tips & factual info on keeping hives, otherwise, I’d say skip the novel & Netflix the movie; it contained more of the “storyline” & less of the information on beekeeping.

 

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I feel closest to the devil when I’m bored indoors…

Wow, that’ a genius line! That’s on the level of, “needs to be a line in a country-western song” good!

Okay, enough bragging on my one-hit-title-writing-wonder-line (can you tell I’m in a fantastic mood.

                            It was a good day! 27

The weather was  all-star today. It makes it hard to be in a bad mood when mother nature is happy.

I was fortunate enough to spend the WHOLE day outside! At work I had sunshine on my face in active bliss, when I got home my dog was raring to go & get some warm-weather love on his body. When he saw me grab his hiking harness he immediately turned into a crazed, psychopathic, pony-prancing, kangaroo-jumping, rodeo-spinning bull, neurotic in his delirious happiness at what he knew was to come.

I understand that feeling.

Recently a good friend of mine posted a photo of herself out on the hiking trail & referred to it as her “church” (blog-bomb for Heidi H. Winking smile). Now this is a good friend (not just one of those “good-friend” terms people toss around to make them sound more popular. But an honest-to-goodness good friend). She’s one of the most inspiring, energetic, blissfully contagious people I’ve ever met & has been such a source of strength for me in my recent journey of living a healthier lifestyle. If I’m being honest though, I was a little taken aback by her reference to being outdoors on a beautiful Sunday & calling it “church”. I didn’t think it was wrong for her to feel this way, but something about the reference didn’t sit well with me. It felt somewhat…belittled…to me & I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it made me uncomfortable to compare the two.

So I did nothing. I pushed the thought out of my mind, knowing the answer would reveal itself to me in due time. When I was more accepting & open to dissecting it.

We had a medical setback in our family recently, which meant some time spend in the hospital visiting a relative of mine that I love very much. Unsure of the seriousness & future of the diagnosis it resulted in some stressful days (don’t worry, things have since balanced out!), however, the nice weather days that were granted to North Eastern Ohio, I spent them indoors…in the hospital…stressed out…crabby…short-tempered. When things settled down & I found myself with a free day off; I slept in, woke up & did absolutely nothing that day! I mean…nothing! I didn’t even get out of my pajamas! While to some, that may seem like a PERFECT way to spend the day, but for me, when I crawled into bed that night I felt…angry…bitchy…crabby…mean…hateful…pissed off. I didn’t even know WHAT  I was mad about, just that I was mad & felt like taking it out on someone (and unfortunately it was the rare day that my wine rack was completely empty, double bummer!)

Naturally I took out my frustration & vengeance on God (He got the wrath of Carey spewed forth. But after all, he’s God…so he was probably expecting it!). This came forth by way of cursing, defiance & self-loathing. I refused to read my Bible (that’ll show him!) & I refused to spend my time in meditative prayer (which I try to do every night before bed).

It was while laying in bed, fuming in hate, in the absolute quiet darkness of my bedroom that a thought popped into my head,”you didn’t talk to me at all today…”…and I had no excuse because I hadn’t. By doing “nothing” all day, I had distanced myself from God & opened the door for the devil to walk in, where he revealed himself in me by way of the vile things I was saying about myself to the Lord, the anger that I was displacing unto the Lord.

When I’m “bored” I make bad decisions. When I veg out & waste my time, I’m not showing God glory. Every second counts & is important. The devil knows when I’m at my weakest & that’s when he works his magic by attacking my thoughts (for what person on this planet doesn’t give in to negative thoughts when they’ve got nothing to do but “think”).

I HATE being indoors for to long. It’s no joke that it truly alters my personality. I’m passionate about hiking & I have a deep rooted love for nature. I did not realize it until that night but being on the hiking trail, being out in a nature that was kissed by God, was my church too! For that is the place where I feel closest to God. Where I know He’s hiking with me & where I ALWAYS talk to him. It’s where I think clearest, where my troubles seem manageable & where I can hear God talking & listening to me.

Now don’t get me wrong or misunderstand me, I LOVE going to my “home” church. It’s the church I’ve attended since I was a child. My most treasured 27.2memories, tears, & faces lie in that building. You NEED to have a church “family” in your walk with  Christ; people that support you & hold you accountable. God is in that place! But I CRAVE my one-on-one time with a God that breathed life into me. A God that knows the depths of my heart better than I do & therefore, he knows the way to get me listening to Him is by sending me outdoors on an open trail with a dog that loves hiking as much as I do.

I was judgmental in a way that I didn’t even realize I was being towards a friend that I hold the utmost respect & admiration for. How dare I ever judge how God decides to communicate with his children! How dare I ever assume that just because somebody chooses to attend or not attend your standard-brick-building-with-the-cross-on-the-door “church” that they have any less of a relationship with God than I do. I have no idea how God works in other people’s lives, when I’m (barely) beginning to understand how he’s working in mine!

I pray all the time, constantly, that God keeps my ears tuned in, my mind receptive, & my eyes open to his direction, voice, & guidance. He does just that whenever I’m fueling my obsession for being outdoors. I always end my hikes feeling light, relaxed, peaceful, with a full heart & a mind overflowing with positive thoughts, counting down the moments until my next hike in the sunshine.

And isn’t that what time with the Lord is supposed to feel like?

“The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.”-Deuteronomy 5:4-

See ya out on the hiking trail!

cheaperthantherapy1

 

 

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