Saturday, January 29, 2011

A 67 year old THANK YOU

Ever written a thank you note to the dead? 

I agree this is a strange concept and an even stranger way to start a blog, but I recently did just that.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, we had an opportunity to visit an airplane hangar that housed years and years of aviation history.  This history included war memorabilia.  The owner of the hanger was all too gracious and even gave our grandson a flight log from a WWII flight navigator.

On the way home I began to scan through the log.  I became intrigued within the first few entries and could not put the log down.  As I read his detailed account, I felt like I was sitting right in that B-17 Bomber with him.  The log entries told of his daily life, accounts of battles and the shock of living through these events.  His words stayed with me for days.  Images from his log ran rampant in my mind, playing over and over again.  I was amazed at how this 67 year old flight log affected me.

I became overwhelmed with a need to contact Mr. Punches to stay thank you for his sacrifice.  This emotion of gratitude was more than I could keep inside.  As the days passed after reading the log, I decided to sit down and type a letter of thanks to him.  I had no clue of how to reach him or even if he was still  living.  But I HAD to write it.

So I sat down on a Sunday morning and began to type.  The words I wrote were a surprise.  The gratitude became a realization of why this flight log had affected me so.  I realized that the men in my life who had served our country in military service never talked about their experiences.  As a child I would ask  my grandfather to tell me about the war.  He would say to me "war is not something you talk about".  I never pushed him as I felt he had earned the right through his sacrifice to not share his experiences with me.

My father, both grandfathers and husband all served.  These men would only talk about the bonds with other soldiers.  The stories they did share were stories of  the antics and the good times they had.  I also felt like they were cheating me of sharing a part of themselves they kept hidden.  But again, I did  not push them to share, I  had not earned that right.

My thank you letter to Mr. Punches was filled with tears and gratitude for sharing something with me that the men in my life could  not share.  I have since learned through searches on the Internet that Mr. Punches has passed on.  He will never read  my letter nor will he know the wonderful gift he gave me through his accounts of that 1940's flight log.

The letter had to be written.  There was tremendous healing in writing it.  I know in my heart that the gratitude I felt was released into the universe and maybe it found Mr. Punches.  My hopes in sharing this story with you is that you will take the opportunity TODAY to thank someone who has made an impact in your life.   It's never too late.

The MEN in my life who served our country...
William Hasty- Grandfather
Jack Underwood- Grandfather (deceased)
Mike Underwood- Father
Mark Hasty- Uncle
Bill Hasty-Uncle
Anthony Luiperseck-Father-in-Law (deceased)
Tom Luipersbeck-Husband


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stick a Fork in Her...She's DONE!

Each year during the winter months our chickens do not lay as many eggs.  Usually about 1/2 of the normal production.  This year, we have not had a single egg since the end of November.  So I added a topic (Chickens on Strike) on the MaryJanesFarm website to recieve guidance on our problem. 

I was educated that after a hen reaches the ripe old age of 3 she's pretty much done with laying.  And when she lays a marble size egg, stick a fork in her baby...she's really DONE!

So now we are left with a dilemma of what to do with our 21 chickens.  A few suggestions were made by other farm girls as to what to do with them, but we have not decided on that option yet.  I guess I'm still a farm girl in training.

As I was preparing for my next blog, I began to think about our chickens and what happens to us when others no longer see value in our production.  It is in our Christian nature to need to work.  There are times when we have spent a lifetime of working, giving and volunteering only to find we just can't produce like we used to.  It is age with our hens, but we Christians tend to "burn-out" before we "age-out".

But even in the midst of our burnout, we can still contribute.  A grand act with immediate results is not always necessary or even appropriate.  Sometimes a simple gesture is all that God requires to do his work.  A phone call, a card, a smile, or a casual conversation may make the difference between someone feeling lonely and someone knowing that God is working in their life through you. 

Although I'm really trying to have a less hectic schedule this year, I've decided I'll retire my FORK for awhile.  I'm not quite DONE yet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Craving Simplicity

It is such an unimaginable thing for me to crave SIMPLICITY.  For years I saw myself climbing that corporate ladder just to attach a title to my name.  I knew if I continued to climb the rungs of that ladder that I'd prove myself.  To who I don't know, but I'd be proving nonetheless.  A need to satisfy the appetite of my type A personlity.  I spent many a night worrying about the next day and trying to resolve problems before they even materialzed.  "Proactive not Reactive" was my motto.  Anticipate the next move, be ready and have the answer before anyone else.   

TOAST...that is what I was by the time I turned 34.  BLACKENED and CRISPY!  No matter how successful I was, I dreamed of living like Laura Ingalls in Walnut Grove.  The more time I spent on our farm, the harder it was to deny this inner longing to have the "simple life".  To sit on my porch, sip coffee with my husband and check off bird species that landed on our feeder.

I remember one time at work I was discussing my weekend with a coworker.  I took great satisfaction in painting a mental picutre of the wonderful, yet insignificant tales of our critters and their weekend antics.  I talked about porch sitting, gathering eggs, and the excitement of spotting a bird on our feeder we had never seen before.  I'll never forget her words to me..."You really need to get a life". 

I remember at that moment thinking I don't need to get a life, I finally have a life that I love.  I believe it was that conversation that opened my eyes to how much we miss when we try to keep up with everyone else.  We ignore that authentic person inside of us that is buried under wants that have nothing to do with nuturing our authenticity.  We ignore that "little voice" that is an indicator of who we truly are.

We resign to ignore that voice.  We go back to weekly grind and give a performance even Scarlet Ohara herself would initiate a standing O for.  We say we'll worry about it tomorrow.  Tomorrow turns into next week and next week into next year.  Before we know it, we have ignored that voice until we lose our authenticity all together.

I'm trying to listen more to my inner RED GATE GAL.  I love the farm and gain such strength from it.  It's peace pulls me.  It is my escape and the one place I know I can be 100% me.  I hope that this year you will listen to your voice.  Don't spend one more minute muffling your dreams and hopes.  Each minute of the day is precious.  When you hear your voice calling....for goodness sake...pick up the phone and answer it!