Creative Writing- or is it Really Listening?

I was really never that great in English. I got by, but it was never my favorite subject. FFA and Science were my favorites. That only makes sense if you see where that has taken me.

I started this blog not because I am a great writer, but to share my thoughts on the miracles and abundance that I have experienced in my life. There are also secrets that I would like to share as well. Not all at once, or I would probably be locked up for lunacy: so you will have to stay tuned to get bits at a time.

Here is a safe one though. How does someone who grew up poor and who has experienced single motherhood feel so rich now? It really is not just now. I have always felt rich. Even when I was a teenager; sharing clothes with my sisters so that we did not have to wear the same thing every day.

Though I do claim to be tapped  in to a special magic, I do not claim to have discovered the only way.  We are all different in how we perceive things, I can only share from my experience. I really do not belong to a special church, but I have a strong faith in a God who not only cares for and listens to us; but He speaks to us as well. It takes a lot of practice to hear what He might have to say. Some call it a conscious, some call it a still small voice. I like to call it God. I find that the more practice I get at listening, the better I get at hearing.

Steve says that I have a special connection. But I think that I just have practiced a lot. Probably because of times when I felt like I really needed God to help me get through stuff.

I forget that not everyone practices the art of listening. Last night I shared with a group of new friends; that when we were looking for a farm, I did not want this place. I had another property that I had my heart set on. But Steve wanted this one. I had a dream though that these poor sad orange trees were dying from neglect and were calling for me to help them. I woke up the next morning and told Steve that he was right and that we needed to buy this property.

These new friends asked “What did you do to your trees? They were neglected for so long by the previous owners, but now they look better than any others in the neighborhood.” I answered “I will tell you, but you may not want to be my friend after you hear what I have to say” They encouraged me to go on. I told them that while the place was in a 60 day escrow I made the 45 minute drive and brought some 100 foot hoses to water the trees 2-3 times per week. While I watered each one, I touched the tree and talked to it. I prayed over it, and encouraged it to hang in there until we could get here.

Now that we are here-Steve, my mom and I all spend a lot of time with the trees. We know that some will have to be culled, but we will be slow to make those decisions. These trees are 62 years old. It would be a shame to take any down that could  come back.

Why did I do that? It may sound crazy to some I know. But I felt compelled to do it. Now look at the results. I kind of live my life that way. If I feel compelled to do something good, I just do it.

My suggestion for you my friend? If you feel compelled to do something good, no matter how small, that is in your power to do so. Just do it, without any expectation. Then get in the habit of doing it on a regular basis.

It will not be long before you experience the magic that I speak of.

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Dinner is On!

This is what we are having tonight.

This is what we are having tonight.

The neat think about having a garden is, well wait. One of the neat things about having a garden is that you can go outside in the afternoon and do your  “grocery shopping”. Today I picked a bunch of green beans, a few radishes, and couple of beets from the bed that I planted in September. I also have some cucumbers left from Sunday’s harvest. There is left over pork roast in the fridge and some sweet potato casserole. The sweet potatoes are also from the garden. My mom used my recipe for peach cobbler and used a jar of peaches that I bottled in May. So we have that for dessert. There is also (as usual) goat milk for those of us who enjoy milk with our dinner or dessert.

I looked at all the food that I put on the table tonight and was just overwhelmed with thankfulness for such abundance. I simply had to share it with you.

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Living Life Transparently

I heard this phrase many years ago from a friend who was a pastor. I liked it so much that I have adopted not only the phrase, but have also tried my best to do it.

I have also found that being open and honest about my life, my joys, and my struggles have helped others as well.

One of the best parts about living a transparent life is that you get to know who your real friends are. They are the ones who crow along with you when you are successful, and cry with you when you struggle.

I have been working very hard the last 2 years as a nursing student in one of the top 5% schools in the county. My first block I passed with an A. My second block I passed with a B. My third block I got a lower B. My fourth block I would have received a C. But you cannot pass the block with a C. The night that my grade was posted I was shocked. I missed passing by 1/2 of a point.

It took my about an hour of shock and denial. I called my instructor. She was shocked as well. I was after all the class leader. I know everyone in the class, I had been encouraging each of them at different times. I was even a mentor for goodness sake!

When Steve came home, I told him. He too was shocked. He said “But Donna, no matter how busy you are, you always seem to slide into home just under the catcher’s mitt.” Steve loves his baseball.

He was upset, he wanted to blame the school or the teacher. He wanted to fix it for me. I just told him to hold me when I cried. And cry I did, but not for long. Because I have coping skills and know how to use them.

I called my friends- you know, the ones that I knew would cry with me and tell me that I was smart, and will still make a good nurse. I know people who would not be so supportive. I know some that would actually be judgmental. They are not the ones that I chose to call. I still love them, but that is not what I need right  now.

So, I and 7 other of my block 4 classmates will do block 4 over again. We will be better nurses for it.  We will get more opportunities to practice our skills. (Oh no! Here comes that student nurse again with the urinary catheter!)

I got a text from an old friend that failed block 2. We lost touch when she had to repeat block 2. She is part of the group that I will now be repeating block 4 with. She said that she is scared to death of Block 4 and was happy to see that I would be there with her. You know? That made me feel good. 16 more weeks is such a small part of the big picture. Maybe God has something different for me than I had originally thought.

My graduation date will be moved up to May 2016. But for now, I will practice my coping skills. While my original cohort are loosing out on the beautiful weather and the holidays; I have 2 months off. I will be sleeping in, gathering with my friends and family and snuggling with my two new grandsons.

I hope that by writing this post, I can be an encouragement to someone else who may not have succeeded at something on the first try.

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What are Coping skills and When do We Need Them ?



Coping skills are a part of being a health person.

Coping skills are a part of being a health person.

Here is something that I found fascinating in the psych portion of my nursing classes.

We all have times in our life when we get discouraged or anxious. We have accidents, surgeries, or financial pitfalls. We lose a loved one, go through a divorce, or get fired from a job.

A healthy person responds by getting sad, or mad, cries, throws a fit, sleeps all day or goes out and gets drunk. But then they start doing the things that make them happy. These things are called healthy coping skills and bring them back up to the previous level of happy.

Some people are better than others at discovering their coping skills and employing them. When a person enters treatment for depression, the priority teaching for this patient is to learn to employ and to improve their use of coping skills. It can be as simple as deep breathing exercises or coloring with crayons.

I have been fortunate enough to discover what my coping skills are. They center around my family, my gardens, working in my kitchen, working out, singing silly songs and dancing. I also love to go out with my friends and talk to my peeps on the phone. My little blog is also a coping strategy for me.

What are your coping skills? Do you enjoy meditation, massage or yoga. Do you have a special hobby that brings you joy?

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We all have an Abundance of Something

I collect cute salt and pepper shakers.

I collect cute salt and pepper shakers.

I have always loved that word. Abundance!

It is not that I am a hoarder. Although I have called myself one at times. I love cookbooks, garden books, salt and pepper shakers and canning jars. I love quilting fabric (yes, I have a stash and I know how to use it).

Steve likes to collect things too. He also loves to go yard sailing, so between the two of us; we got some serious stuff.

I am also creating abundance with my gardens, chickens, goats and pig. We have 20 citrus trees and several new fruit trees. I will be planting grapes and berries as well.

I have a group of friends that I speak the language of abundance with. We barter, I have lots of basil, one has lots of cilantro ( imagine that basil and cilantro all year long), another has lots of chamomile. We get together and we trade. Someone needs a farm sitter, the other needs some milk and eggs. Walla, a great excuse to barter. I know, this is addicting. It is habit forming-this happy sharing of each other’s abundance.

But we could take it in a different direction too. I have always felt that I have had more than I need. Don’t get me wrong. We grew up poor and even in my adult life, I have experience; many times when I did not know how I was going to pay the bills. But abundance to me is more of a feeling than a having.

I was just talking to a neighbor the other day. She mentioned that her husband is getting older and cannot offer the physical help like he used to. But he has a tractor and knows how to use it. He likes to help the neighbors with his tractor. If you look, you will find abundance.

Stay tuned my friends. Because in the coming new year we will unfold for your reading pleasure, the abundance of my new community in this new little neighborhood.


Posted in Abundance, community | 2 Comments

Don’t Touch My Baton; Go Get Your Own.

I don't think so

I don’t think so

If you were there, you would have laughed. Maybe. But I will be transparent about something that really ruffled my feathers the  other night.

The more that I think about what happened, there more I realize that there is a lesson to share.

I have been a leader in a group that is supporting a senator that I admire very much. We have come a long way since the beginning. I have had meetings in my home. I have written about his bill in my blog. I have supported him in Facebook and I have been one of the administrators on a Facebook forum that supports his ideas.

We had a meeting at my house the other night with my senator friend along with a  handful of other not yet leaders.

A comment was made that I had so much on my plate that maybe I should pass the baton on to another member. I said “Don’t touch my baton!” The other member called me a “Control Freak”.

It took me a moment to get over that accusation. But here is what I said. “Apparently we (I said we, because I am kind) are missing the whole point of these meetings. The purpose is not for me to lead the same group that is sitting there; meeting after meeting. The purpose is to have a meeting and pass out new batons. If there are 25 of us here, there should be 25 batons. Each one of you should  pick one up and take it home and make it your own. Write on it, glue sparkles to it. Put streamers on it. But do not take the one that I have already decorated to suit me.

Take your baton and go home.  Have your own meetings with new people. I will have more meetings and try to gather more people to fill your seat. Soon there will be hundreds of meetings with new people.

The lesson?

This is where communities get themselves into trouble. A leader rises up and accomplishes something. Others who have not previously stepped up want to take over. Really, the best thing is to learn from others who have gone before you and start your own “new” thing.

This is much more fun!

This is much more fun!

Silly wabbit!  You were thinking of a racing baton. But the baton that I hold is a twirling  baton. It is not for passing. It is for drawing attention.


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We are Community

This how to build a gardening community

This how to build a gardening community

In a group, not one person is more important than anyone else. But within that group, you will find leaders, followers, supporters and people who just want to belong. I get that. There is a need for all those types.

I used to think that I was a support person. I always volunteered to be the assistant leader. But somehow, I always ended up  being the leader. Oh did I grumble about that. But overtime, I learned to enjoy it.

For over 30 years I have been teaching others about organic gardening in the Arizona desert. I have even taught how to process organic meat in your own little residential backyard. Now that I have an acreage, I am ready to do more.

So, here is my intent. Nursing school will be out for me before Christmas. I will finally have time to do some of things that I lay awake at night thinking about.

Starting in January, I will be having a group get together on my property once a month. I have sent the call out “far and near” to friends that are absolute heroes in the garden. I have friends as far as Tonopah who say that they will come. I have Glendalians, and even some hippies from Tempe. I have nursing school chums, a few honey bee people, and some goat people. I have mainstream Christians, Muslims, beer drinking buddies and Atheists. If you really want to learn a thing or two; I have several of my LDS believer friends coming too.

The admission price is the following

Something from your abundance that you can share with others. Preferably produce from your garden, seedlings that you grew yourself, or seeds that you have saved. Because we grow all year round, it should be something different every month.

Those of you who are not gardeners are not to be left out. We want you here to glean and to learn. Your admission price is the following.

What does your abundance look like? Everyone has it. Do you bake the most awesome mini loaves of bread, cookies, candy etc? Do you crochet doilies, do you make soap, candles, lotion? Do you quilt potholders?  Bring several. I guarantee though, you will want to go home and plant a garden after this meeting. That is the point really.

I have a friend that will be teaching deep breathing exercises for goodness sake. The admission price is as diverse as your imagination and form of abundance.

I cannot guarantee that everyone will go home with some of everything, because there is no way of knowing how many will truly show up. There may end up being 5 of us, or there may 200. But you will go home with something= as well as some contacts for some new friends.

It has been suggested that I make this first one for adults only. Not that I do not love to hug and squeeze babies,  but because this will be a time of intense socializing and making new friends. Our absolute full attention will be needed in order to learn from so many different. people. We will do some child friendly get togethers in the future for my benefit.

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