Month: November 2015

Fresh Brewed Unsweetened Iced Tea with Extra Ice

iced tea

In the past, I have been very specific about certain things in my life. Iced tea is one of those things. I would only go to certain restaurants to get it because I knew who used powdered tea and who fresh brewed their tea. Getting a sweet tea by mistake would just about ruin my day. I always figured I know what I like and that is that.

Times they are a changing. I no longer have the luxury of having that mindset. I used to wear two or three outfits a day, now I wear one outfit for two or three days (as long as it stays clean). I used to have a pantry full of food, much of which I would never get around to eating. I would only have organic Half and Half in my coffee. My bathroom was full of bottles of scrubs, astringents, lotions and many other concoctions that I felt I absolutely needed to have. I never realized how wasteful I was.

Once you decide to downsize, you have to start rethinking everything; what is really important, what would be nice (if you had the room), and what is completely ridiculous to carry. I wanted to have just what I could carry in Devi (my Mitsubishi Endeavor). So I got rid of most of my stuff and packed up Devi and found that I still had too much stuff. Now I am in the midst of downsizing yet some more.

The point for me is that I always thought I had all this stuff that I could not live without and I had to live in a non-bending, specific way. I have learned one bar of soap washes my hair and face as well as my body; I no longer need soaps for different body parts. Three shirts and two pair of pants can make complete outfits for over a week. There is no room in the car for junk food (that is a fairly new rule and I do not always live by it…but I am trying) and so on.

I have a little respite today, so I am going to try to consolidate and get rid of a few more things. I will consider what is important or has some sentimental value and what is unnecessary. I will probably look back sometime today and wonder how I ever got by with my old way of thinking. I am embracing this new lighter lifestyle as it just seems more organic. Please do not get me wrong, I have a long way to go but, at least, I am on a path-not sure if it is the right path but it is a path. Learning to live with less and without a lot of extra conveniences is a process and I am assuming it is one that is learned over a long period of time.

For today, I will forego a few more of those “things” I thought I had to have and learn to embrace it. If I am out and about today, I may stop at Mickey D’s and get a fresh brewed, unsweetened iced tea with extra ice (a girl cannot give up everything)! Here’s to living with less and loving it!!

 

 

How to Find a Host Family for a Farm or Home Stay

Helping Others

 

Lately, I have been talking about the Farm or Home Stays I have been participating in. I have been asked how one finds people who need HelpXers (as we are called). It is easy, through an online site called Help Exchange (or HelpX for short). The following blurb is straight from the Help Exchange Website and describes the theory behind the program much better than I ever could.

 “Welcome to Help Exchange (HelpX)

HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.”

 “HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts.”

The only difference is that I have decided to stay within the United States (I cannot even imagine the mess I would be if I was traveling abroad). If I was interested in traveling overseas, that would be an option. There are all kinds of working opportunities as well as locations. Some places need experienced help and others are willing to teach, train and coach you to learn a new skill.

The program is amazing as are the people who participate as Hosts. They are awesome and generous. This is a great program for young people to learn about different cultures and learn all kinds of skills, but it is turning into an option for more experienced (dare I say older) people who want to get off the corporate treadmill and start living an alternative lifestyle. I have run into more and more “older” couples who want to ditch the mortgage and the stuff and hit the road.

HelpX is a great way to give back and pay forward. It opens doors to let the participants help each other as well as people who are in need of assistance. I want my life to start being about others instead of always being about me (if you have read past posts, it really is all about me).

So what have I learned so far from my HelpX experience: (1) How to lay field stone and gravel to make a mud-free walkway, (2) How to make better a better food product by using sustainable and organic means, (3) How to paint a porch, (4) Goats are really fun to take care of, (5) How to make coffee with a French Press, (6) The more you move the better you feel, (7) After all these years, I am still allergic to hay, (8) Some outside people do not understand the concept and are not trusting of your motives and so much more. This journey has just begun, so I am looking forward to what other lessons I will be learning. Here’s to a wild ride!!

The Weird Alternate Universe That is The Laundromat

laundromat no 2

I love going to the laundromat; it is like “me” time when it is not busy. Now when the laundromat is busy, it is a different story. A few weeks ago, I found the Hilton (or, at least, the high-end Holiday Inn) of laundromats.   It was a Saturday night, when I suppose other people actually have places to be, and I was able to do my laundry without much fanfare. I was able to read a book guilt-free; I mean what else are you going to do? The experience was truly relaxing and nothing out of the ordinary.

I went to the same laundromat a week later and it was a completely different story. The “mat” was full of people with LOTS of laundry. One couple was using eight double-capacity dryers….how many clothes is that? I cannot even imagine folding and putting all those clothes away. I can do all my clothes in a single load which is one advantage of living with less!!

So I made a beeline to the back of the mat by the dryers where no one else wanted to sit. It was too loud to read, so I have to come up with something else to do to take up the time. The day was grey and rainy, which made the overhead fluorescent lights seemed extra bright while the spinning ceiling fans made an eerie strobe light effect on the shocking light.

I became hypnotized by the circular hum of the dryers as the clothes crashed against each other like waves in the ocean. I have never seen a washer that was front loading, so I was completely enthralled with actually being able to watch my clothes being washed; going round in circles watching them spin, then fill with soapy water, and spin again. The surrounding sounds of voices turned to a dull murmur.

My world right now is definitely in flux. Moving from place to place and relying on the kindness of people I do not really know at first. Sleeping in guest rooms, sharing bathrooms, and living out of a tote are some of the things that are new to me. Yes, it is what I wanted but I never thought about all of the realities. It is all good, I am getting used to it but I realized that the little laundromat I visited felt like home. Most laundromats have the same industrial look to them and smell like dryer sheets and fabric softener. It was truly comforting. I actually looked for excuses to go back.

My newest realization is that no matter how adamant you are about leaving your past behind, you still inwardly long for those small vestiges of comfort or reminders of a different time. For me, right now, it is the laundromat that gives me a sense of home and roots. I know that sounds really strange but it is my truth for now. Here’s to clean clothes, the fresh smell of clean laundry and the feeling of home!!

laundromat

Thank you for listening.

The Road So Far – Lessons Learned

The Road So Far

I do not own this image, but I am respectfully using it in my blog and it is a homage to my favorite show ever, Supernatural!!

 

It has almost been one month since I left the only home I have known most of my life and with very few belongings. A lot has happened in the last few weeks and I have actually learned a lot about me and about life. Here are some of the lessons that have hit home:

 

  • Plans NEVER go the way you think they will: I cannot tell you how many plans I have made only to have them change a few times into something completely different. I am learning the hard lesson of going with the flow. This is hard for me but it is a lesson that must be learned in order to cancel out all the chaos all around.
  • Strangers are amazing: I am still amazed that complete strangers will take me into their home and give me shelter and food in exchange for some work. It is so easy to live in a bubble, just seeing your own life and not venturing out much. That is how I lived my life; consumed by my problems with a very small worldview. My Hosts are bigger view people and it is helping me to see that way too.
  • Even if you get rid of most of your stuff, it is still too much stuff: I seriously downsized. I cannot believe how much stuff I got rid of and, guess what, I still have too much stuff. As you start to live a life without things, you realize how little you need to actually live. Of course, I am lucky enough to enjoy the things our Hosts have, but having lived on the road for a few weeks prior to all this showed me that I can still live good and not have a lot. It is not about living without, but about truly living with what you have.
  • Being old and living on the road is not for the weak: I have spent most of my life working behind a desk and not really exercising or moving much. Now my life consists of movement and activity. It is hard on this old woman!!! Some days I think actual work is easier than this lifestyle. Even though I am still kind of weak, I am getting stronger by the day and thinner (yippee).
  • There are days when you just plain miss a fluffy bed: Having slept in the car (front and back seat), in a tent on an air mattress, on a thin mattress in a cabin and a futon. This goes along with the previous lesson, getting old is hard but you adapt and it all works out. It is still better than sleeping on the ground which I cannot ever imagine doing anyway!!
  • You cannot go anywhere or get anything done in five minutes: the next time someone says I will be there in five minutes, expect it to be at least 20. I guess there are a few things that can get done in that time frame, but for the most part life is messier and takes longer to clean up after.
  • Buy local and meet the locals: The local people of any place are the gems of the area. I have learned to go to hometown hardware stores, fruit markets, diners and more. The local people love to tell their stories and it is a slice of Americana that we must preserve. Local businesses are the backbone of this country and need support!!

 

That is all I can think of for now. I am sure more will come to me as this crazy journey continues. In the meantime, I absolutely need to tell you about a new friend: Luke P. As I was running errands today in the rain, I saw a man walking with a broken umbrella. Since my journey started, I look at people’s situations differently and clearer. I ran and got a new umbrella and new gloves. NOTE: I am not telling you this because I am such a great person, but because what happens in a minute.

 

I stopped and gave Luke the umbrella and asked where he was going. To a town less than an hour away he told me, so we decided that it would be better to drive there in the rain than walk. On the way, I found out all the things Luke has done: walked around the country, rode his bike in snowstorm in Colorado, took culinary classes and now he is a cook at a men’s shelter. He was a respectful and courteous young man and quite the inspiration. He loves helping people and seeing new things. His worldview was amazing to me and getting to speak with him for even a short time inspired me to be a better person (which is what my sojourn is all about). I am so glad I got to meet Luke and hear his unique story. The more I travel and meet travelers, the more I grow as a person. The stories I am hearing are changing my life. Everyone told me that travel would change me, I never realized how much travelers were going to change me. What a wonderful lesson learned!!

I’m Not in Kansas, I Mean Ohio, Anymore!!

So it was a normal Friday, except that it was Friday the 13th, in the mountains of North Carolina.  Our host family was at work and school and Mike was doing some work for another friend.  The dogs, Lolly and Panda, and I were grooving at the house doing some projects that needed done.  The day was cold and windy, but nothing really out of the ordinary.  I am from Cleveland, so cold and windy I know.

It was a quiet day with not a lot going on.  As the sun started to go down, I was finishing my tasks for the day.  Lolly and Panda seemed a little on edge, but I figured it was because their family was not home yet.  They had made other plans so they were not going to be home early.  I fed the dogs and thought about letting them out but decided I should wait until Mike got back to the house just so there were no problems.

I get a text from Mike that he is on his way.  I promised him, that morning, that I would take the recycling out but completely forgot about it during the days activities.  I was going to go then, but I thought I better wait.  Since we have been here, we have had two black bear sightings and I did not particularly want to have a close encounter with one.

All of a sudden the dogs started barking and I figured it was Mike coming in.  I am not sure how much time had passed but it seemed reasonable it would be him.  I thought the dogs seemed very excited to see him tonight (I guess my company is not as thrilling as you would hope 🙂 ).  When I opened the front door Lolly head butted the screen door and got right out with Panda right behind.  So I opened the door further and walked outside.  I did not see Mike, I did, however, come face to face (within about ten feet) with a black bear trying to eat the bird feeder.  It had climbed onto the railing of the porch and was munching on bird seed.

Lolly, the ever-vigilant guard dog, was literally face to face with this bear.  I started screaming for the dogs to get back in the house.  Finally, I had to grab them and push them back in.  When everyone was secure, I looked out the window and saw the bear was gone.  My heart was racing, then Lolly started to growl again.  The persistent bear was on the other side of the porch trying for another feeder.  Between the barking and my banging on the wall, the bear must have gotten tired of the noise and moved on.

It took Lolly, Panda and I quite a while to calm down from the excitement.  I have been told that black bears are not overly aggressive unless they feel threatened which was not a real comfort when I was just feet away from it.  What an exciting night.  Everyone is okay, no one got hurt.  All I can say is that never happened in Ohio!!!

Side Note:  The bear came back during the night, actually made it onto the porch and destroyed one of the bird feeders.  Thanks to Lolly and Panda, it moved on again.

Lolly and Panda - Defenders of the family home!!

Lolly and Panda – Defenders of the family home!!

seemed

What Happens When You Try Too Hard To Fit In?

I do not own this image, but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I do not own this image, but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I am quirky, I get it.  I have always had this thing about not making trouble for anyone, not being a bother.  I tried to always fit in with the group I was with at the time as I was petrified of being different.  I could cuss like a sailor or be as quiet as a church mouse.  I could talk cars (a little bit anyway) or exchange recipes.  I was delusional that everyone always liked me; why wouldn’t they, I was just like them.  Then one day I had an epiphany that there were people who did not care for me and I was blown away.  How could they not like me I was trying so hard to fit in?

So what happens when you try too hard to fit in?  I think I realized it today.  You are not authentic, everything in your life is based on some constantly moving scale of normalcy.  Playing nice does not necessarily mean you are a nice person.  Honestly, I have no idea if I am a nice person, I play the part everyday with the theory of “Fake it Until You Make it.”  I am not saying that I am a serial killer or a puppy abuser, but I talk and talk about being authentic and yet I have no idea what that means.

My sojourn was supposed to show me that.  I kept saying that I had lost myself and that I needed to find myself again, but I did not really know what I meant by that.  I just knew something was not right.  Every day my life gets a little clearer regarding what is wrong with it (a painful process); answers, however, are not as forthcoming.  I sit and try to be grateful for everything I have, yet my life feels like I am wearing the wrong size clothing.  Metaphorically speaking, I do have clothes to be thankful for,  but they are uncomfortable and do not fit right so I am ugly and unhappy even though I should be grateful.

I know this blog should be lighter and more playful, but that is also something I cannot do at this time.  I apologize if you are reading this thinking “get over yourself”, but the idea from the start was to open some doors and find some truths.  I have opened doors but the truths are still lurking in the dark.  I am sorry.

My next objective, try not to try so hard.  I do not even know if I know how to do that.  I want so badly to be everything to everyone, for I think that will make me happy.  But that is an illusion that can never happen and it is exhausting.  What good would it do to be accepted by everyone?  Would it not mean that somewhere along the line I buckled against something, large or small that I stood for, in order to not rock the boat or cause a stir?

All my life, one statement has been consistent in my vocabulary…”I’m sorry.”  I’m sorry I bought the wrong brand of coffee.  I’m sorry I did not wear the right outfit.  I’m sorry I spoke my mind and get someone upset.  I’m sorry I tried something new and it did not work out (add it to my failure list).  I’m sorry I folded the laundry incorrectly.  It does not matter what the situation, I am always sorry.  I said I was sorry this morning for something totally insignificant and it felt like my heart broke in two and I have been crying ever since.  It is like that last “I’m sorry” was the key to open a new door.  I am tired of being sorry for everything that happens.

Where do I go from here?  As usual, there is no real plan. I guess I better take a few baby steps today. I have to up my own self-worth.  Apparently I feel I cannot accomplish even the simplest of tasks without doing it wrong and being sorry.  So I have to start looking for accomplishments.  No more walking on eggshells everywhere I go.  I have found that the harder you try to be “perfect” the more mistakes you make, so no more trying to be perfect.  That should be enough for today.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but I am going to start being open to those lurking truths.

Thank you for listening and following the exploits of an unsure, dorky girl.  I appreciate all of you!!  What is the rule for today:  DON’T TRY TOO HARD TO FIT IN…you are just right the way you are!!  Who is with me?

What is it Like Working on a Farm/Home Stay?

Just a few of the tools I used this weekend.  Okay, maybe not the hammer.

Just a few of the tools I used this weekend. Okay, maybe not the hammer.

I have had a few inquiries into what it is like to work on a Farm/Home Stay.  This is only our second one, but I am thinking it will be similar in other places.  First, it really depends on what the Host is looking for in terms of work to be done.  Many of the stays we have looked at include fixing thing, gardening, caring for livestock, building barns and other buildings, cutting trails, clearing land, painting and general farm work.  In return for this work, the “help-x’er” (that’s us) will receive room or a place to pitch a tent and sometimes meals.  Each Host decides how many hours a week is needed (usually between 20 and 32).  Many of the hosts do not require a lot of experience, this process is designed to expose people to things in order for them to learn something new.  It is really quite a unique program.

Then there is us.  I cannot verify this fact for sure, but I think we are fairly old compared to other help-x’ers.  But Mike has a lot of varied experience; so when seasoned help is needed, he is the guy to call.  I, on the other hand, have spent the last 30 years or so working behind a desk.  I can paint a little and do some things, but my skill set is not in huge demand.

Last weekend was a good example of a typical home stay workload.  Mike was involved in doing some brush clearing, tree trimming, raking of leaves, and other landscaping-like tasks.  The weather was nice, so it seemed like the perfect set of tasks to start on.  While I worked in the house a little bit, doing general cleaning and some cooking.  Then on Sunday while Mike was trimming I started to paint the house around the front door and Mike ended up finishing it.  After working all day and having a meal together, our Host Family invited us to join them in watching a movie.

It is a lovely mix of varied work and being social.  Some Farm/Home Stays simply want the work done and afterwards you are on your own.  That is fine too.  That is why it is so important to read Host profiles and reviews to see if a particular stay is the right fit for everyone.  We have been extremely lucky with our two Farm/Home Stays, as the people could not have been nicer or more generous.  I am fortunate that my “Martha Stewart” skills are being put to use; even though they were not detailed in the profile, it turns out our busy working mom Host can use an extra hand.  I am so very happy to help.

I am not sure how long we will be doing this bartering for room and board, but for now it is a wonderful experience.  We are meeting some of the most interesting people along the way.  Every day there is something new to learn from our Hosts.  Although the process can be a little daunting for someone like me (basically who hates to be out of their comfort zone), it is the most blessed of experiences as it makes me do things that are uncomfortable (not in a bad way) and is making me stronger for it.

I hope that painted a generous picture of what it is like.  If you have any specific questions, feel free to let me know and I will be more than happy to answer them.

I am sure each situation is unusual, but that is just an example of what we have experienced in our three weeks of Farm/Home Staying.  Thank you for listening!!

Home Stay #1+ — Working on a Horse Farm

When I was younger, my older sister, Rita, had two Tennessee Walkers (Bagdad and Marylegs) and a Shetland Pony (Butch).  She loved horses;I was really afraid of them.  They were so much bigger than me and they moved a lot.  My parent’s friend tried to teach me to ride, but that never worked really well.  I was just always afraid of falling off.  Many times I would ride behind my mother and hold onto her with a death grip.  When I would ride alone, I would only ride Western because I hung onto the saddle horn for dear life.  I was allergic to the hay and all the dust in the barn so you can imagine what fun it was for me.

To be completely honest, I actually love the majesty that is a horse.  They are such regal animals and people who can ride them fascinate me.  The family we are home staying with have horses and they are so good with them.  I watch the love they have for them, it is beautiful.  The bond between a rider and their horse is extremely intense as both parties hold the other parties life in their hands.  It is a true symbiotic relationship.

I do not own this image, but I respectfully am using it in my blog.

I do not own this image, but I respectfully am using it in my blog.

Fast forward 40 years or so and I am home staying in North Carolina when Mike meets a woman who owns a boarding stable, he strikes up a conversation with her and next thing you know he is feeding horses and cleaning stalls.  I have known Mike for over 25 years and I never have seen him with a horse.  It turns out that he used to help with his Aunt’s horses and had been around others in his youth.  He loves the peacefulness of working in the stable and it shows on his face.

I have stayed away from going to the stable as I have had other duties to attend to at our host’s home.  Last night, Mike took me to see the stables and I ended up helping him feed and water the horses.  I am much taller than I was back when my sister had horses and I am older and wiser.  I assumed that all the past experiences I had with horses would flood back and I would be good with them.  I was wrong!!

What a wimp I am!!  My gosh, horses are still big even if I am bigger.  They are way stronger than I remember and have huge teeth that look like they would hurt if you got bit.  I wanted so badly to be over that fear, but it does not seem like that is the case at this point.  I guess my fear has an unrelenting grip.  For now I will watch from the sidelines and maybe inch closer every now and then.  I think I can overcome this fear eventually…at least, I hope so.  It is officially on my bucket list, to ride a horse again.  We will see if that one comes to pass.

FYI:  It is a real thing:  Equinophobia or hippophobia is a psychological fear of horses.

How Much Comfort do You Need in a Comfort Zone?

I do not need a room with a view, I need a room with a door.

I do not need a room with a view, I need a room with a door.

As I make my way down this new road I am taking, I am faced with the fact that my well-known comfort zone (my home) is no longer available to me for comfort.  I now have to find a place of comfort somewhere else.  This has been difficult for me.  I am considered a “Highly Sensitive Person”, which means basically that I am easily overwhelmed by light, sounds, commotion, and other external stimuli.  I need a place to go when things get to be too much.  I always ran to my home for that comfort but after many years of that I started to feel that my home had gone from comfort zone to prison.  I say prison because, at times, it became easier to not leave at all then to face the world.

The view from the front door of our latest farm stay.  North Carolina is beautiful!

The view from the front door of our latest farm stay. North Carolina is beautiful!

For now, I do not have a permanent place to live and, therefore, no permanent comfort zone.  I have been blessed thus far on my journey that I have had a room that I could retreat into when I felt overwhelmed.  I took all that for granted for many years, now I realize that is a luxury.  A room with a door….what a lovely sight that is for me now.  A place where I can be quiet and breathe, away from anything happening on the other side of the door.

This view is my new comfort zone.

This view is my new comfort zone.

I used to think that my comfort zone had to be this place where I was in control of all things.  I cooked my way, I cleaned my way (although I gave up on that a while back), I did everything my way.  I realize now that it was the “control” as well as the quiet that was my comfort.

Even Devi loves North Carolina.

Even Devi loves North Carolina.

Having “control” of things is like having a false sense of hope.  It is just not real.  Life does what it does and you really do not have that much control.  Okay, you may control how often you do laundry or what to make for dinner but the big decisions seem to be out of your control.  I walked on eggshells for years thinking if I had everything in place that my life would finally be perfect.  I would try to control something and another thing seemingly fell apart.  I was afraid to rock the cosmic boat for fear that all things would just come tumbling down.  Now that all “that” is gone, I can see a little clearer.  I lived in constant fear…every day and of everything.  It is no wonder I was never happy.  I wish I could have seen that before, things may have been different.  Or maybe they had to be this way in order for me to see them.

So I am learning to find my comfort where I can find it; I am learning to be more resilient and flexible (which is NOT me); I am learning to let go of what little control I have and learn how to do things differently; I am learning that making a new life is harder than I thought it would be but is very doable.

I do not own this image but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I do not own this image but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I always used to say “Let Go and Let God” but, honestly, I had no idea. It sounded good in theory and I was sure that was something I could do at another time but not then because I was still in control. Now I make the latest plans, think of all the contingencies and try to make it come to fruition….and the plans never seem to work out. I need to remember to let go and go with the flow. Mike is amazing at doing that, me…not so much. But I do not think I will ever find peace unless I truly and honestly completely let go.

Here is to letting go of useless control (it never got me anywhere good anyway) and to find life exciting instead of scary; scary being a place a had to hide from. If I can just see the adventure in all this, maybe having a comfort zone might not be that important anymore. Here is to letting go of the woobie!!

Thank you for listening!!

Farm Stay #1 — Near Bowling Green, Kentucky

This is not Kentucky. I misplaced my Kentucky pics, so I hope you enjoy North Carolina.

This is not Kentucky. I misplaced my Kentucky pics, so I hope you enjoy North Carolina.

Now that things are finally starting to calm down a bit, I hope to post more about our Farm / Home Stays.  As I noted in previous posts, Mike and I are basically without a permanent home and now have very few possessions.  We cannot afford to stay in hotel/motels, and we cannot seem to get an apartment without having some sort of employment (go figure, right?).  So we had to think outside the box and Mike came up with a great idea.  Farm/Home Stays.

Basically, what we are doing is volunteering a someone’s farm or home to do work (a predetermined number of hours a week) in exchange for room and meals.  We do buy some of the food as it only seems fair.  The first Farm Stay was only for a weekend, but our current one may go a few weeks.  In the meantime, Mike is contacting other people who might need help in order to line up our next stay.

We are lucky because Mike has quite a few skills that make him valuable on a farm or doing home repairs.  I, on the other hand, have spent most of my life sitting behind a desk and typing for a living.  I fear that my skills are not quite as in demand.  Luckily though, many years ago I went through my “Martha Stewart” phase so I have some homemaking skills that I can use.  But I still feel very unsure of myself.  One wants to be sure that they pull their own weight when doing a Farm / Home Stay.

Anyway, our first Farm Stay was with a lovely family just outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Our Host, runs a small farm with cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, bees, dogs and cats.  She utilizes farming techniques from the 30s and 40s, which she taught herself.  Her animals are treated so well, they are actually stress-free.  They roam in beautiful green pastures (she moves them often so the land stays in good condition) and are tended to in a loving fashion.

I, like many of you, have watched the Big Farm documentaries and have some knowledge of the horrific practices some corporate farms use in order to feed people at a profit for themselves.  I used to think myself as frugal until this short Farm Stay.  They use EVERYTHING, nothing is wasted.  They have reverence for the Earth and its bounty and the Earth seems to be shining on them for their great stewardship.

I cannot begin to fathom all the things I learned in that 2 1/2 day stay.   I am still trying to come back from a really bad anemic episode, so I am still feeling weak and very low.  We talked how our food was designed to heal us but instead the processed foods we eat are doing the opposite.  I know my body has a difficult time up-taking nutrients, and the human body was not designed for that.  Everything I thought I knew about food has changed.

It is amazing how you can meet someone for a short time and they can leave such an imprint on your life.  Our host did that.  I feel so honored to have met her and her family and to have seen her farm.  Their way of life is SO different from the way Mike and I have lived in the past, but now we are open to these types of experiences.  I am generally a germaphobe by nature, but I have to step outside of any kind of comfort zone that I know in order to live in these other people’s lives.  It is a true test for me.

I envy Mike as he just jumps in, no matter what and adapts.  I am slower to adapt, but I am trying very hard to be the person who “rolls with it Baby.”  I can see now that these experiences are going to be the ones that teach me about life.  I thought the road trip was going to teach me about life and about God, but now I see it is going to be living with people who were strangers in the beginning (friends in the end) and living a life that is not mine.  That is going to change me.  That is where my knowledge will come.  I stayed insulated in my little world for so many years, now that is all gone and I have to find my way in a world that I know little about.  It is scary but actually very exciting.

We are officially a week and two days into our new life and things seem different already.  I cannot wait to write more about it as I spend some trying time trying to figure it all out.  Please stay tuned because things are going to get very real!!!!!

Thank you for listening!