Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Harvest Time In This Little Town

Life really is different in the country.  Time moves slower...people move slower.  I'm convinced that the beer is colder, the grass is greener, and that life is simply better in these parts. 

I grew up a city girl with a country mentality.  My daddy raised me on country music.  I learned to drive in an old 1995 Dodge Ram.  But we always lived in the 'burbs.  I wondered what it would be like to live in the way that they sang about in those songs.  Well, now I know. 

My heart feels bigger these days.  My priorities have shifted.  My mind is at ease.  This is what it means to live.      

I'm a big believer that our current existence is simply a manifestation of our past thoughts.  Somehow the stars aligned and I was given everything I could ever want.  Jon and I share a home amidst corn and soy fields.  We hang out at The Olde Towne Tavern.  We spend our Sundays chopping wood.  This is the life I had envisioned and now I get to live it everyday.  For that, I am grateful.  Someone upstairs thought I deserved all this.  Ha!  Finders keepers!!

I'll leave you with a few fun facts about country folk that I never knew about growing up in the city.
  • Schools close for a week during deer hunting season so that kids can go hunting with their Dad's.
  • Schools close during fair week so that the kids can show their cows, pigs, horses, and chickens.
  • People use demographic landmarks like "that old burnt down barn" to explain to others where they live.
  • Friday Night Lights is NO joke.  Football is EVERYTHING and it starts in the first grade.  Seven year old boys play under the lights in the high school stadium.  There is an announcer, there are fifty cheerleaders, and there are hundreds of people in the stands.  I mean...for real?!
  • Camo...everywhere.
  • Everyone has a gun, or ten.  Everyone, including kids, knows how to use them.
  • It's dark as hell.  Literally...NO light. 
  • Everybody knows everybody.  That's a given. 
  • People hustle out here.  They work hard and they play hard.

Life is good these days...I hope it is for you all too!! 


Our little coop.  Ain't it cute?!


Just got lines on the roads.  About time!


crazy chickies!!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Having The Grace To Accept That Which Is Not Meant For You

I believe in my own mind to be somewhat of a simple person.  All I've really ever wanted was a little land, a little change in my pocket, a little circle of people to love, and a little thing called purpose, the last of which has been weighing on my heart for some time now.

As most people do, we robotically wake in the morning, drink our coffee, log eight or more hours at work, go home, eat, and go to sleep.  Day in, day out.  The fashion in which we exist is systematic until 5pm hits on Friday afternoon.  How often do you hear people at work on Wednesdays complain that it isn't Friday yet?  How often are people talking about how tired they are or how slow the work day is going?  The idea that we must work an 8am-5pm job until we are 65 years old has started to give me a little anxiety. 

Don't get me wrong here.  Some people kick ass at their corporate jobs and love it.  My sister happens to sit at a desk behind a computer all day and is a legit corporate maven, badass working mom, and someone who will probably make millions before I make my first 100K, all while loving her job.  I envy people who love their jobs, because I have never felt that.  I've worked many jobs, all having taught me a thing or two, but for which I had no passion.  When I did not agree with how things were done at a specific job, I would think to myself, "I could do it better.  They're dumb".  I'm pretty sure they call that narcissism.  Oops...may want to work on that! Ha!  Nevertheless, working for "the man" bothered me.  I wanted to make my own rules, and if I failed, I would have no one else to blame.

Nutrition is my passion.  Eating what the earth made, not what some chemist made, is something I feel strongly about.  I live in the country now, so we have chickens and grow a lot of our own fruits and vegetables.  Let me tell you, it's pretty damn fulfilling to eat food you've planted, watered, and watched grow month after month.

Jon and I spend quite a bit of time talking about our goals and what we want to do in our short time on this planet.  I want my life and my career to involve my passions.  My passion is not glass claims administration or slinging drinks to drunk people (pretty much the last 10 years of my life).  My passion is food.  I'm obsessed with food.  And wine.  And good vodka.  There is a quote by John Keats which says, "Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know".  The idea of spending your life doing the things you love, whatever they may be, is something I strive to do.

Jon and I were driving through our little town about a month ago. We stopped at a red light and I looked over and saw a "For Rent" sign in a tiny little building in the Victorian downtown area.  I made him stop.  This little building was going to be mine.  I was going to quit my job and open my own nutrition store.  I called the number immediately and left a message.  I called again the next day.  I stalked these people until I got a hold of them a few days later.  We met with the owner the following morning, and signed the lease three days later, on Jon's birthday.  We sat up every night that week discussing ideas, business names, inventory costs, and loans and money needed to make this happen.  We had 350 square feet to do whatever we wanted with.  To me, it felt like 10,000 square feet.     

The building is old, probably over 150 years old.  We knew the place needed some work, and luckily Jon can fix anything.  We negotiated with the landlord to replace the flooring and paint at his cost, and we would do the labor for free.  I had no problem with that.  It would be a labor of love.  Within five minutes of getting the keys we were ripping out the old carpet.  It did not take long to figure out that the minor repairs that we thought were needed were just the tip of the iceberg.  There was black mold underneath the whole floor.  Once the carpet was removed in the bathroom, there was a hole in the floor leading to the outside of the building.  The floor was completely rotted underneath the subpaneling.  I got sick, and so did Jon. 

We had an inspector out who stated that it would cost $6,500 to fix the mold problem in the entire building.  After informing the landlord of this, he basically told us to pound salt.  We had signed a contract, he said.  He had worked in that building for 35 years and there was nothing wrong with the foundation, in his mind.  He would be calling his lawyer and proceeding with further action because we "defaced" his property.   

We are in the midst of a legal battle over what I thought was my dream.  My heart is heavy.  We hold the permits to a business that we cannot open.  I am devastated, but not defeated.  I know that there is a reason that this little store will not be mine, at least not right now, but it sure isn't very clear at the moment.

I am thankful for my parents for their guidance with this whole mess, and to Jon, who assures me that we WILL make this into a reality, one way or another.

I have never been good at letting go of what is not meant for me, whether it be a job or a relationship.  I find myself feeling as though it is a personal failure.  But I am learning to realize that those people and those things that were once in my life are no longer there so that there can be more room for the things and people that were meant to stay for the long haul.  This is just another bump in the road, and a learning experience in this thing we call life.

A few years from now, when I'm sitting in my 1000 square foot nutrition store, I will look back and be thankful for the struggle.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where Is Your Heart?

I LIVE to travel.  Nothing feeds your soul like a new experience.  And nothing fills your heart more than an ocean breeze, a strong cocktail, and creating memories with dear friends.  That’s what I got to do this weekend.  Jon and I headed down to Wilmington, North Carolina to stay with our friends, Jen and Brian.

I convinced Jon to make the 10-hour road trip rather than fly down south.  My best thinking always occurs on a long trip, hence why I always drive when I visit my sister in the South.  It’s also nice that my man has a company car and gas card which paid our way.  Free gas = amazeballs.  This trip, I got to bounce all my thoughts off of him and we spent the entire trip down discussing life, what we want out of it, and where we are currently in accordance with our long term goals.  We talked about the idea of happiness and what is needed to be truly happy.  After an absolutely amazing weekend with many good friends, we picked up on the conversation on the way home.  We sat on highway 40 in North Carolina for about two hours at a standstill.  There had been a horrible accident in which two people had died.  As people started getting out of their cars to vent their frustration, I couldn’t help but think to myself…there are two people who no longer get the chance to live out their dreams. 

As we made the trek home, I turned into a hunger b*tch, so we stopped in Ripley, West Virginia for a heavy Italian meal.  Next door, there was a health food store called “To Your Health” so we decided to stop in.  Being the nosy person that I am, I started talking to the owner about her little store.  Kay, a woman of probably 70 years, had been a lifelong nurse with a passion for health and fitness.  Although she loved nursing, her dream was to open up a health food store.  14 years ago, she did just that.  And her little store has been thriving in that small town ever since. Her 101 year old mother sat in the back office to keep her company.  My heart melted.  Clearly, this is a woman who knew there is no age limit when it comes to living out your dreams.

So I ask you…what are your dreams?  Where is your heart? 

My dreams and weird and crazy.  I want a summer home in Alaska where I can fish for salmon on my back porch.  I want a few acres of land to call my own with chickens and horses and cows.  I want to work for myself.  I want to grow my own food.  A bit outlandish, I guess.  But who cares? Those are my dreams.  What are yours?  What are you doing to get there?  I decided a few years ago that I wanted to travel more, so I got a second job to feed my new habit.  Jon and I wanted to try to be a little more self-sustainable so we planted tomatoes, corn, cantaloupe, strawberries, herbs, peppers, and pumpkins.  I wanted to work for myself and make my own hours, so I’m in the process of getting my real estate license.  These are the things that make my heart happy, and I’m making my way there, even if it’s at a snail’s pace.           

When you wake up in the morning, there is one simple question to ask yourself.  Where is your heart?  Do those things, and spend time with those people that make your heart full.  Eliminate the things and people that don't.  You'll never go wrong.