• Tired of Counting Dollars? Start Counting Stars Instead


    “Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep

    Dreaming about the things that we could be

    But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard,

    Said, no more counting dollars

    We’ll be counting stars” One Republic, written by Ryan Tedder

    Tired of all the hype about money, troubles with debt, pressure to have more? Need to regroup and focus on those things that matter most?

    Here’s an idea:

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  • Learning From Flies – You’ve Never Heard This One Before


    I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your foot. –Nadia Comaneci

    Flies everywhere! Rain showers seem to bring flies in droves to the farm. For some unexplained reason they like to congregate in the garage. There is a fly swat permanently stationed near the door, which my OCD forces me to arm myself with upon each and every exit. Before proceeding with whatever task I went out to accomplish, flies must die. The carnage is massive once the ninja warrior in me comes out. Swat left, swat right, high, low, behind the back, between the legs, I’ve got all the moves! Except one.

    I can never kill the fly that lands on the swat. Every time I go to make my move, I lose.

    In my somewhat warped mind, I always think to myself, “This fly is trying to tell me something.”

    Then it hit me, like my swat has hit so many other flies, hard.

    This fly that lands on my swat is a genius! When met with great confrontation the clever little insect meets it head on. He goes on offense, rather than flying away in fear, he comes and lands right smack on the enemy’s greatest weapon. By meeting his problems head on, he takes away the enemy’s ability to fight and secures his life, peace, and safety. All in one fell swoop!

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  • 5 Principles Your Fence-row Is Telling You about Life’s Journey


    Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up. –Robert Frost

    Farms and fences, they go together like women and chocolate. Both items are necessary to maintain control and peace on our little patch of ground. Our fence-row is narrow, bounded by trees. I have spent countless hours in this narrow space along life’s journey; mowing, trimming trees, mending fence and on and on the list goes. I also spend a fair amount of time just walking along this fence-row, as I find it is a peaceful and pleasant place to stroll along and chew over whatever life has offered of late.

    To me, this fence-row embodies the nature of how life is a journey in many ways. Here are just a few:

    1. Straightness is key.

    Nobody wants a crooked fence. Beautiful fences are perfectly straight. When first installing our fence we used high tech tools like laser levels so our fence would be the epitome of straightness. This turned out to be a lot of fuss and we soon discovered a good ole’ fashioned string worked just as well.

    There are a lot of distractions in life. These meanderings from the desired path cause us to lose focus on our goals and get our priorities out of order. The sooner we find our passion in life and commit to following the straight and narrow the better off we will be on our journey. Crooked lives, like crooked fences leave behind the regret of not taking the time and making the effort to maintain straightness.

    2. Sometimes things get in the way.

    Our farm was hit two consecutive years by tornadoes. No, we are not Irish, nor do we have their luck. Needless to say, our tranquil fence-row was abruptly converted into a disaster zone by nature. Following, there were days of picking, cutting and dragging to clear the rubbish and downed trees.

    While you may not be so lucky as to be the victim of two tornado strikes, eventually everyone has storms along life’s journey. These storms too shall pass but many times they leave behind quite a mess to clean up. With persistence and hard work your fence-row can be cleared and you can go back to strolling peacefully through life, at least until the next storm hits.

    3. Meeting in the middle can be a great thing.

    It seems like every job involving the fence requires at least one more tool than I brought with me from the barn. It’s a long walk back to the barn. What a relief it is when my husband is home and I can whoop and holler from the distance whatever it is I need, and he meets me half way with it in hand.

    Never think that you have to go all the way in helping someone in order to make a difference. Often times even the smallest effort on your part can be a big encouragement.

    4. Take a friend.

    I enjoy strolling the fence-row alone but when my husband is by my side his presence adds an extra dose of gratification. Even better is taking along, my husband, each of us with a dog and a horse.

    Having a companion by your side in life’s journey is priceless.

    5. Keep going forward.

    I often drive my tractor down my fence-row bush hogging. The space is narrow and the tractor is long making it difficult if not impossible to turn around once I start. I know this, because the crooked and broken fence posts tell me so.

    Go prepared and never turn back. Going backwards is always a struggle. Forward is the key to finishing the race.

    Life’s journey  is indeed much like a fence-row. Work, struggle, build relationships, and enjoy peace along a straight and focused path, never looking back, but always striving for the end.

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  • Does Your Life Need Dead-Heading?

    We need deep cleansing of our thoughts on and often so that we can recharge our energy for our own health, happiness and purpose― Kishore Bansal

    My mother always had at least one pot of petunias every summer I can remember growing up. This I imagine, isn’t all that unusual, as probably every mom has some petunias in summer. What was peculiar about my mom faithfully purchasing and planting petunias each year is that she and the little plants consistently maintained a love-hate relationship that lasted all summer long.

    With the predictability of the sunrise and sunset you could count on her stooping over the pot each time she passed to do what she called, “dead-heading.” This is the process of picking off the spent flowers that still cling to the plant. She would often say to me, “If you will get the spent flowers off of the plant, then you will get more blooms, sooner.”

    While she was faithful to perform this task, with an almost religious fervor, there were times when her “dead-heading” practice was not sufficient. At times like these, when the plant had been overcome with dead flowers, and had few fresh ones, she would simply get out the clippers and give the whole plant what she called, “a haircut.” The poor thing would look butchered for a few days, but sure enough, just as she promised, it came back bushier and better than ever; full of blooms.

    I have not lived with my mother for over 25 years. I have never purchased petunias until this year. I’ve probably been subconsciously avoiding them all this time for fear of the time “dead-heading” would consume. The funny thing is, I now find myself unable to walk past this pot without performing the traditional task. Yes, mother, I am apparently deeply scarred.

    Being me, I find it impossible not to think there is some deep lesson in this ritualistic, borderline insane practice handed down from one generation to the next. It hit me today. When you ask? Well, of course while “dead-heading” my pot.

    Here it is: so many of us go through life carrying around a lot of dead weight. Maybe it’s some terrible trauma or betrayal deep in our past. Maybe it’s a bad relationship or a stressful job. Rather, it could be that we are forever stuck thinking about the “glory days” gone by.

    Either way the past is weighting us down and our ability to create new splendor in life is inhibited. It can be hard to realize when it’s time for the dead flowers to be plucked but it must be done before new ones can be created and thrive. For some of us, we have neglected this task for so long that our lives need, “a haircut” before they can bush and bloom again. If only I could be so diligent about “dead-heading” my life as I am this pot of flowers. Who knew a pot of petunias could teach me so much? Go out and get yourself some. Not only are they beautiful, but they will remind you to “dead-head” your life regularly.

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