I realized this week that our second winter on the farm in Illinois is quickly approaching and I am looking forward to it! Living most of my life in California, I never experienced the changing seasons or the beauty of fall in the countryside. When I lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan I would just get on a plane and head back home to California for a week each month when it got cold.
I never dreamed that I would be living on a farm with chickens, honey bees, ducks, dogs and acres of corn and beans. The chicken breasts I bought in the grocery store always came wrapped in plastic. I’ve learned that they do not start that way.
It has been a period of learning. I have learned about another way of life and I have also learned a lot about myself.
My life has been a series of small changes that have taken place very slowly because I was afraid of change. God wanted to heal my stone heart, but I resisted it along the way. Looking back I have to laugh at myself because all of this could have been much easier.
I took the long way. How many of you resist change? I did for so long because I wanted to hold on to some vague idea I had about myself. I was a slave to ideas and thoughts that kept me in various states of the same place in life.
Today, I want to work on everything in my life that I feel could change for the better. I want to do it all at once, but I know that I have to work on one thing at a time. Trying to move fast or working on too many problems at once will just lead to failure. Do you try to accomplish so much at one time that you end up getting nothing finished?
I think about where I am now in life and I feel this is where I should be at this time. It is another learning stage where I will be until I have grown and am ready for the next stage. Have you ever thought about the stages we go through and what purpose they serve?
Growing up we had a small lawn that took me at most a half an hour to mow. When I was older I just hired a gardener like everyone else. Mowing the grass on the farm takes me four to six hours and at some point it in the seasons it may even need to be done twice a week. There are days that can be so hot that I’m drenched in sweat or it can be so cold that I have to cover every part of my body to stay warm. I enjoy mowing, it gives me time to think about everything. It is a little like hitting a heavy bag with music blaring. The rest of the world does not matter. I am concentrating on a simple task, from start to finish. Do you have anything in your life like that?
Living in Los Angeles I used to wake up at 4am so I could hike with Phoenix (my dog) every morning. It was a perfect time when the city was quiet and dark. I loved being up in the hills of the park when it was dark. Here there are no hills but there is plenty of open space and lots of stars to see. I had to change things up after we adopted Henry (our other dog) so that I had more time in the morning. 3am is my new time to hit the road with the two dogs. I am often asked how I do it at that time. It is easy because it is my regular schedule. I am committed to take out my dogs for a walk every morning no matter what. Do you value your commitments? Will you keep them even when it is hard or the weather is bad?
There is an added benefit with the early walks. I get to see a lot of wildlife that most people never get to see. I have seen coyotes, skunks, a bobcat, lots of raccoons, owls, a bald eagle, and many deer. I get to learn about the land and what it supports. I also add a few miles of cardio to my day.
Our lives are not straight lines to our destinations. Life isn’t one long season, but more like the weather in the midwest, with seasons of growth, harvest and some cold hard winters and other lighter winters. I have enjoyed the beautiful colors of fall this month and I am looking forward to this coming second winter. Then, a new spring where everything comes back alive.
1 To everything
, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.