Friday, November 25, 2011

tick tick tick tick tick

Every year, as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are tucked sort of neatly
into the fridge, it feels like the timer is set, the whistle is blown,
and we are off.....

the race has begun to Christmas

And, every year I vow to keep it all in perspective,
to not make insurmountable lists....

but then these little thoughts creep into my mind:
how about a candy cane theme in the kitchen?
hmmm - could I really do just white in the living room - tree too?
what about a few lit up deer in the orchard?
 before I know it, I have mounted the sugar plum pony---and
we are off to Christmas! 
Hang on & enjoy the ride...

tick tick tick tick tick

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ralphie on the horizon.

Each morning we look out the window to the pasture -- to our little family of goats:  Little Moo, Taffy, Charlie and Ralphie.  This morning they were playing -- stepping back, raising their front feet, butting heads.  Once they see us, they will call to us -- each in their own little alto maaaaa -- asking for hay, fresh water & a stroke or two.
However, on one recent morning since the corn was harvested, Dave looked out to see Ralphie...
not in his pasture, but eating the field, outside the fence.  Seems our boy had raised up his little goat feet on the fence to see if the grass might indeed be greener on the other side and fell head over hoof into the field beyond.  And, Ralphie, being Ralphie (yes, Cheryl -- he is one of a kind)....stayed just outside the fence and munched.  The other goats, including maternal Taffy, called to him.  And, when Dave got out to the pasture, Ralphie was trying to figure out how to reverse his way back into the pasture.  Dave helped to lift him over the fence line (no easy do -- Ralphie is a big little goat)...and then repaired the fence wound.  And Ralphie was back with his family -- not even interested in sharing this keen adventure, or trying to get back out to the acres of corn....just happy to be back home.

So, now each morning we peak out the window at dawn to see if this:
has been added to this...
to equal one little black & white goat running across the horizon...
running home, kicking up his little goat feet, munching here & there...
but traveling back to his family
where he indeed knows the grass is the greenest.

Happy Thanksgiving....
May each of your homecomings be grand!
  Kari, Dave & Ralphie...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

call me content...

I am just old enough & wise enough to know
that you have to take contentment when you can.
There are enough storms on the horizon that will some day arrive...
but when there is that sweet moment of "all is good",
you grab it, embrace it, hold it close to your heart.

And so it was -- we went to harvest evergreen boughs from our
property up north---and in that quiet place, contentment waited.
And, when we returned home just after dark--
the lights of our farm whispered, "here too". 

For this moment, call me content.
Dave on our land in Winter, Wisconsin.

Where do you find contentment?

guess what greeted us this morning?
kitty prints in the snow...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

call me tired...

as darkness comes way too early now
as cold mornings hint of days to come
as layers are added
that feeling of nesting & hibernation sets in.
I almost look forward to that
first snowed in day (call me silly)
when we are trapped from the world & must stay still.
But right now it is, "hurry little squirrel,
gather your stash for winter".

This week (actually year) in my work life has been crazy -- crazy expectations, crazy hours, crazy motives, crazy...  And, I haven't felt well to boot --  the body has a way of often saying, "too much, slow it down".  So--in the middle of meeting after meeting after meeting on Wednesday, I managed to run (yes, literally over lunch -- needed a horn on my cart) to the grocery store and get all my Thanksgiving needs. I know I am lucky for having the means to get what we want for that day (so do call me humble), and I now make sure that the first item I purchase is a donation to the Humane Society or Food Pantry (call me appreciative) -- but I really must share ------- that as tired as I felt by the end of the day with "one more this, or one more that", there was something pretty special knowing that Thanksgiving dinner was in the trunk of my car... a certain symbol that I would soon close my door to the world as it is. That my family would gather around our table, eat more than we should, play one more game of scrabble, take treats out to the barn and keep the crazy world at bay. 

Call me tired right now --
I am needing the sanctuary of my own normal (my Kari world) to
anchor me, provide a safe harbor and nourish my soul...
so I can go back out and fight those dragons again.
but not now,
now I just want squirrels & kittens & goats & family
and time to relish it all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

call me organized...

And so it I stand and admit it -
yes, I am one of those Type A folks -
who sets their own bar way too high,
creates systems within systems...
yes, get ready ---
even has an organized little bowl of flower frogs.

Now I once had someone wonder if I had the ultimate-
all my spices organized in alphabetical order --
but alas, I am more of a grouper when I organize,
an aesthetic grouper might I add...
so my spices are not in alphabetical order,
but are in the most delightful red spatteware pan you might ever behold.

Call me organized--

but, come now --
who ever can miss that life is not complete without
a batch of chickens (& a duck or two), just waiting in
their organized little box?
Would that be getting your ducks in a row?

Are you organized -- come on,
stand & share...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

call me kind...

or call me thoughtful, or helpful.
I aspire to this every day, every moment.
Sometimes it is easy, sometimes not.

When my son was first born...
I wished for him that his life would be
seasoned with kindness.
And as he got older,
I expected that he would be helpful without judgement.

So each day, I try.  If there is a door to be opened in some one's life, or a kind word that may be meaningful, or a "thanks" that may be unexpected....I try to offer my kindness.  In small ways, without expectations, kindness can make a difference -- I know it has in my own living.  But it isn't always easy -- I once worked at a Food Pantry, helping to organize & get food out to those that needed it that day -- another volunteer turned to me in line & with a smile shared these unexpected words regarding someone at the pantry that day, "you should see the car they drive -- they don't need this food".  My heart just hurt in that moment -- makes me cry to this day.  But I do understand, kindness is hard, helping without judgement is hard...because it is an act of selflessness.  And I also can attest to the fact that I am no Mother Teresa -- I do have a German gene coursing through by blood that can get out and out feisty or defiant at the smallest indication of, shall we call it, yucky behavior.  But in the end, I would like to be remembered as both -- strong & kind.  An advocate & a helper.  Someone who might call you out or reach out a hand. 

So -- here is my list of what I know I can do:
  1. Help those in need....bird food in the winter filled daily, a dollar or two given to the bell ringer, a "here let me help..." offered without expectation.  If you are a parent, model this for your children...cause in the end they do what we do, not just what we say. 
  2. Offer kindness...sometimes it is a smile, a word at just that moment....those unnoticed, no thanks needed, times when we show that this is indeed our own "better angel".
Call me kind -- most of the time
(and that is far better than none of the time).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

call me thankful...

I look at the calendar and am
continually amazed when
this time of year rolls around again.
How ever did that happen so quickly?

A few years ago I stumbled upon the book Simple Abundance at a thrift sale -- and read it daily that first year.  It suggested keeping a Gratitude Journal -- writing down 5 things daily that one appreciates.  I did that well for about a month....then wandered off from that to just jot a note in it every now & again.  So this time of year takes me back to that list --- 5 things that one appreciates.  Now, the typical way one might go about this is to do the basic:  home, family, friends, health, work......but what if it needed to be specific -- detailed moments that caught your breath and made you think, "I am indeed lucky".

So, do call me thankful for:
  1. Running across the farm yard with three cats at my side - Whisper, Chestnut & Cinnamon.  They keep steady to my pace, making me feel like an Olympian.  And when we make it to the barn door -- I am surrounded by a chorus of purrs -- a fitting closing ceremony.
  2. Turkeys in a compote, buttons in an Ironstone bowl, quilts in a pile, magazines stacked by season, lace at the window -- gentle & inviting nuances that say "this is home".
  3. The stack of 1st edition Harry Potter books found on a recent antique trip -- with a call to my Ian, they now await his homecoming --- my 23 year old has discovered reading for pleasure -- and I am not caring if that reading is about a boy & his owl or the best of William Shakespeare -- he is reading.
  4. A call to the front desk of my office just yesterday-- where a client waits with flowers and a card that says, "thanks for your guidance".  Oh my -- I can't even put words to what that means to me.
  5. Ladders.  This morning I asked Dave to take the ladder up to the hayloft -- I need to put the barn to bed for the winter and have some taking down to do upstairs after the last Barn Sale.  There was a quilt hung in the rafters I would need to get.  And then I saw him folding the quilt in his arms on our porch in the early light, gentle and thoughtful -- he had taken the quilt down for me.  And I thought about ladders we climb to reach our goals or maybe to even reach for a star or two.  What would we do if there were not others to hold that ladder steady, to encourage us to climb, to maybe even lead the way, my blog friends -- I am thankful for each of you.  You might not even know that you do that -- but you do, you hold my ladder every now & again.  Please know I am thankful -- ever so thankful for that. 
Do call me thankful....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

call me obsessive...

Oh, how I wish this was how I got
ready for winter...
My indoor cats, Shawnee & McCoy,
on their pillow pile in front of
the first heat of the year.

But alas, no....
this is how I get ready for winter:
And -- as you might notice,
plenty of unchecked items.

Now I'm thinking about Zac Brown's song
"Colder Weather" -- and hoping we
can get this all done soon.

So, what are you -- "orderly" or "let it come" when it
comes to winter's arrival?  Or maybe
pretend "it ain't so"....

Call me obsessive,
call me a tad too organized...
but hopefully,
call me ready.

Oh my...
best get checking things off today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

call me sentimental...

I am drawn to words, to details,
to intricate layers
equally magnificent wonder.

(this is the tree line behind our farm)

I put my Halloween decorations away last night, bringing out the turkeys that would roost in the house for the next month.  As I did so, I thought about things -- pondered them in my heart, retelling a story again in my mind and now here.  Although sometimes it seems like yesterday -- it was a fair number of years ago that I spent a last Halloween with my mother - a strong, independent woman who knew a thing or two about joy & hardship & celebration & resiliency (all the ying and yang of life).  She also knew about the power of simple magnificence -- and would mark the first snow fall and the first robin's return as important markers in life.  I sat with her on that October day -- window in the nursing home open with that year's unseasonably warm weather for a Halloween.  I sang songs to her -- from day camp, from holidays past, words that came to my mind ... about peace and farewells and silent nights.  Knowing that in each of those last moments time was fleeting -- but yet it stood still.  So, it was no surprise at all that as she passed on, I would turn to the window just inches behind me --- and see robins lined up on the window sill. 

Call me sentimental, call me spiritual...
yes, sometimes
the moment truly takes your breath away.

"my whole world it begins & ends with you...."
(those are the words I think of lately
-- words by my favorite Zac Brown Band)

How lucky we are to have moments, people & places
that make us smile when we see them
and cry when we say our farewells.

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