Even hummingbirds need to rest…

This window hummingbird feeder has been the source of much entertainment over the course of this summer. We knew these would work, because we had seen them at Itasca State Park. They have a restaurant in the park (because it’s so huge), and they have hummingbird feeders on the windows. They don’t need red nectar… they don’t even need a red feeder. We have a purple one in our back yard & it also attracts the tiny birds.

I used to assume hummingbirds didn’t sit still. I had heard that their wings are always moving. Not true. The one above was just sitting. We’ve seen it with others also. There are 4-5 that frequent our yard now. We have the window feeder in the front and two hanging feeders in the back.

This one was hovering above my rug, in the rain. (I also thought they didn’t fly in the rain… again, wrong)

This past weekend was full. I worked, drove to Minneapolis, met up with friends, went mini golfing at the Mall of America, went to Vikings game, went to MN state fair to see our son at the FFA Miracle of Birth building, half of us drove back home, half stayed for 4-H judging day. We didn’t do the farmers market since we already had planned to be out of town (and our beans are producing less). Some days I feel like the first hummingbird, barely sitting still for a moment… wondering if someone else is going to swoop in… Buzzing from fake flower to fake flower to real flower and back again. Even hummingbirds rest. I should observe nature a little more, maybe I’d learn something. It’s ok to rest.

I’m gonna type that part again, in case you weren’t paying attention… It’s OK to REST. Even God rested. Why do we think we have to buzz around all the time? “There is so much to do.” Yeah, I get it. I have a husband, two kids, 10 chickens, a cat, a full time job, a very busy “side” job of farmers market and a couple of direct sales things. I know busy. I value the buzzing and I feel super guilty if I rest. That doesn’t make me better than someone who rests. It doesn’t make me better than someone who knows when to stop. I did sit down tonight, but that didn’t stop my mind from racing…

We’re not doing the market Tuesday, so I don’t have to make the pies until Wednesday, after back to school night at two different schools. But we should pick beans for the lady who wanted 5 bags, even though it rained. Maybe tomorrow. Finish getting school supplies since that starts next week. Clean the house before baking and clean again before company comes. Get all of the laundry off the spare bed. Did I wash those sheets? I can’t remember. Find someone to take some roosters so I can keep the hens long enough to actually get eggs. When should we move the coop? Why do they always pick on Noodle (the smallest chicken). Water the new strawberries. Figure out how to maximize our growing area for next year. Did I send the email I was supposed to for work? What about the writing seminar next May. Yeah, I should do that. Dallas starts at the tech school. He’s a junior? When did that happen? When should we go out for anniversary supper? Maybe next week? Did I order dish soap? Finish making the beds – I need to do that. I really need to lose weight – again. Oh yeah, and it’s Monday night so I have to finish my blog post.

I realize it’s a long paragraph, but that’s just some of what was going through my head while I was “relaxing” for a few minutes. I’m guessing many of you do the same thing. Why do we feel guilty when we rest? Why do we skip our 15 minute breaks at work or work through lunch because we’re so busy? Why do we think we need to multi task, when all it does is give half of our attention to something that deserves all of it? I’d like to say I will try to do better this week, but you read all the stuff that’s going on, when am I going to do that? I need to delegate. I need to ask for help. I need to sit and have coffee and relax. Even the hummingbird relaxes after a jolt of sugar water. I should be able to relax after a cup of caffeine. Juggling it all can get exhausting. I hear ya. Keeping mental track of where every item is in your house, just in case someone needs it can be a mental drain. Add on the multiple “to do” lists and schedules and variables. Ugh. I wish I had some solid advice to insert here. LOL. I don’t. Just know there is at least one momma swimming up stream with you. If you are resting while you read this, you’re a step ahead. Hopefully you weren’t thinking of your grocery list in the middle.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you find some rest this week. Even for a moment. Close your eyes and breathe deep. Really deep. And if you need me, I’ll be covered in flour Wednesday night, but I’m sure I’ll be up late. I’ll say a prayer for you too. We’re in this together.

Don’t assume…

You know what they say about “assume”? Yep, it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” That might be a little harsh for this story, but you get the idea – we shouldn’t assume anything.

Recently, we started taking our produce and baked goods to the local Farmers Market. For three years, we’ve worked our land, expanded our growing area and learned new techniques. We knew we wanted to do this. We knew it was our plan, and we had the land for it. It doesn’t come right away though. It takes time. Something that’s difficult for kids to understand… waiting. Our boys grumbled at the work involved but they helped anyway. Our first garden here in MN was eaten by rabbits and deer. Then the 6″ fence went up… no more deer. Part of the land used to be a road. Part of the land used to be a burn pit. It’s all been transformed. It’s grown and expanded, mostly by hand. Weeds removed, fences and planters put up. Slowly it started to take shape. This year we were finally ready to make it happen.

When we did our first market, I assumed that the lack of interest from the boys would carry forward. The youngest can be a bit of a complainer and procrastinator. I assumed he wouldn’t like it. I should know better. Don’t assume. He counted every cucumber and Krispie treat. He wrote down every sale. He talked with other vendors about growing techniques and types of plants and varieties of beans and cucumbers. He became our inventory control person. And he saw that we sold stuff… the fruits of our labor. He paid attention to what other vendors brought and what was popular. I assumed my teenage son wouldn’t be interested in this venture. I was wrong.

How many times do we assume something about others without giving them a chance? Do you assume you know someone else’s story or struggle? Do you ever stereotype your kids and not give them a chance to expand themselves? Do you ever do that with yourself? Do you ever assume you’ll be bad at something so you don’t even try? Do you ever assume that it’s not worth the risk, so why put yourself out there? I sure have.

  • I assume nobody would pay me to write, so I write a blog each week, for free.
  • I assume nobody would want to hear me speak & tell my story, so I don’t even try.
  • I assume people won’t find me interesting, so I don’t attempt to make new friends.
  • I assume people will judge my house, so I don’t have much company.
  • I assume I’ll just end up at this same weight, so I stop trying to diet.

The list could go on, but you get the idea. When we assume, we aren’t even giving them/us a chance. We figure we already know how the story will end, so we don’t even start. What if we did the thing we’ve always wanted to do? What if we took the leap, wrote the book, talked to the new person, or invited someone new to coffee? What if we opened our hearts?

We assume we know our own story and we already know the ending. God’s not done with us though. His plans are greater than ours. He made us each with a special purpose. Our soul knows what we are supposed to do. That thing that lights you up and makes you smile? Yeah, that. Often times we think we know better. We assume we are in control and we already have it figured out. But what if there was more? What if we allowed abundance and joy and prosperity in, instead of assuming we weren’t worthy? Wow. Amazing things could happen… things we haven’t even dreamed of yet.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. May your only assumptions be positive ones…imagine the possibilities!

Do you feel like you’re just hanging on?

There are some milkweed plants in our back yard. They are actually in our plantings amongst the flowers. They’re not supposed to be there. Most people would pull it out. I wanted it left in. I know milkweed is an important part of Monarch butterflies’ habitat. I counted 15 caterpillars the other day. They are all different sizes and stages. The one in the picture is about the size of my little finger. They will eat up all of the leaves and drop many droppings. They haven’t created their cocoons or chrysalis yet. They aren’t yet butterflies, but I know they will be.

Are you at a stage in your life where you feel like you’re upside down like this caterpillar? Or, would you rather stay in a cocoon and not break out into the world? Maybe you’re not sure you will ever be a butterfly? Sometimes we don’t know there was someone who created a sanctuary or a safe place for us… there was someone who didn’t pick the weed we are living on. The caterpillar might not yet realize they will be flying in a few weeks. Their world will expand outside this lonely plant. They will soar through the air.

This little caterpillar isn’t comparing itself to the larger one. It will grow in time, and will become the same size butterfly when it’s done. As I sit in my cluttered living room, surrounded by 4-h fair projects and Farmer’s market signs & materials, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to compare my house to my friend’s homes (that look like they are from a magazine). I feel like I’ve gone through the caterpillar and butterfly stages more than once. I remember the cocoon days where it felt impossible to get out of bed. I’ve felt on top of the world, soaring above the trees…. and I’ve felt upside down on a stationary leaf.

Some days it might feel like you’re just barely holding on. Hold on anyway. Your butterfly days may be just around the corner. All of that “messy” may turn into something beautiful. Look around you at all of the miracles in nature. I encourage you to stop and say thank you. Thank you for our messes that turn us into butterflies. Thank you for our cocoons to protect us in the transition. Thank you for our friends to fly with us.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough.… whether you’re in the caterpillar or butterfly stage of your life, hold on. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. It’s uniquely your own, and completely beautiful. You are loved.

Are you “alone, alone?!”

The end of June, I signed up as a Norwex consultant. This isn’t a sales pitch – so stay with me. I wanted to make some money on the side and get some products for free. I’ve been involved with direct sales before. Since I consider myself an introvert, this isn’t something I’ve excelled at… “people-ing” isn’t my favorite.

Regardless, I got my starter kit and read through some of the materials. One other driving force for me to join is to reduce my family’s cancer risk. My boys now have a mother with a history of breast cancer and a grandmother who passed away from it. This product line is new to me. I like to know what I’m talking about, so being “new” made me significantly uncomfortable. The end of June was my niece’s wedding, then the big family reunion, then the trip to Milwaukee. Somewhere in all of that, I decided I should go to the Norwex National Convention. Um, you’re doing what??!!

I changed our October teachers convention tickets (was to Chicago) to be flights from MSP to Dallas the first part of August. Because I forgot it’s summer and Texas gets hot? I’m not sure. It just seemed like a good idea and things fell into place. $68 hotel room for 2 nights, $108 rental car… this is all reasonable. The guys would come with me and fish etc during the day and I’d meet up with them after convention.

The convention started Thursday but we flew in Friday morning. Nervous to be “late,” I walked up to the registration desk. They had my name but not my packet since I registered late. Lunch was upstairs. Ok, no big deal, right? Um… I walked up to thousands of people already eating a nice meal. There were two rooms of (mostly) ladies. I asked someone how I could find an open table. She walked with me and I sat down in front of a salad, with 8 strangers who were enjoying their lemon tart already. “Why did you come so late?” “Are you alone?” I stumbled to answer questions while politely eating my salad. “Um, I’m new,” I said between bites of dandelion leaves. “I just started the end of June.” They all looked a little confused and kind of surprised that I had showed up to a National convention, just a month after joining.

The rest of the day was fine. The guys had fun and came to pick me up so we could meet my aunt for supper. Saturday morning came and they dropped me off at the convention center so they could get started fishing. I went back upstairs, feeling confident… now I knew where I was going. I strolled into the main room and it took my breath away. Round tables…3,000 people (2,997 ladies and like 3 guys)… all sitting with their teams. I stood in the back for a bit, scanning for an open seat. Yesterday this was just rows of chairs, but they were prepping for the gala banquet & had it in round table configuration. I thought about going up to a table but then I just went into the lobby. I sat on a chair for a few minutes until I realized the presentation was on a TV in the lobby area. I sat there and watched what was going on, somewhat relieved to just blend in. A lady sat nearby…when another lady came over to talk about how crowded it was in there, I blurted out: “yeah, it’s not a good set up if you’re alone.” They both stopped and looked at me. “Wait, isn’t your team here?,” the one woman said. I replied (wishing I had just kept my mouth shut), “Um, no, I’m by myself.” She stopped and put her hand on my shoulder… “Wait, so you’re alone/alone?!” “Yes,” I said softly. She took me by the arm (not in a forceful way), and led me to the registration desk. “We are going to find your team.” They looked up my upline and found a person who was part of my group. “You’re going to be just fine, sweetie. You’re in good hands.”

Oh man, what had I gotten myself into? What was I thinking? I felt like there was a giant “L” on my forehead. The old me would have just walked out, so they would be unable to find me… but I stayed. I found the people who are part of my team. They asked me to go to lunch. By the end of lunch, I found out that in the midst of 3,009 people, I found someone who knows my sister. What are the odds?! This was a National convention. My sister lives in a small town in North Dakota, and I found someone who knows her. It was like a reassurance that I wasn’t really “alone/alone.”

I did skip the gala/ball/banquet supper thing. (Come on now, I can’t just totally change.) After the other sessions, my youngest son and I met up with my aunt again and did some outlet mall shopping. We found great deals and had a great time. When we were walking out, she found 3 pennies. We all paused and thanked her sister, my other aunt, who passed from cancer several years ago. We weren’t “alone, alone” at all. She was with us. And this was in the convention center hotel… it reminds me of my grandmother.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough, because when you feel “alone/alone,” peace may be the farthest thing from your mind. You may feel anxious, nervous or sad. It’s ok to reach out and speak up. It’s ok to let a stranger take you to find your team. It’s ok to let someone else sit beside you. It’s ok to hear their story and to tell yours. We weren’t meant to be alone, and there are reminders of that all around us. Reach out to someone today. Invite them into your group. Say a kind word or give a compliment to a stranger. I had a total stranger compliment me on my curly hair and it made my day… you could make someone’s day also.