Since my best friend, Charlie, is a German Shepherd – or – German Shedder – this is the hardest working appliance in my house!
Do you ever stop and think about how many mean things you say to yourself everyday. If I had a dollar for every time I called myself fat or stupid, I would be able to pay cash for that Alpha Romeo I want. I would never treat my friends that way – I love them. Today, in just the last hour, I called myself a fat cow, an idiot, a dummy, and a few other words I should not write here. Wow. When I look at these words written in front of me – I see a bully and a victim – and they are both me!
Why do I do that? I blame myself for my son’s illness. I blame myself for my husband’s issues. I criticize myself when the house isn’t spotless or the dinner isn’t perfect. How do I stop?
I do so many things I don’t want to do.
I don’t want to pretend I am OK when I am not.
I don’t want to bully me.
I don’t even want to eat these cookies.
I need to get back outside. Back in the saddle. Back in the garden.
For now, I am putting away the vacuum cleaner – AND the cookies, and heading off to my craft room with my Charlie dog.
It’s Christmas. So I lit a candle, got out my best cowboy china, and fixed breakfast for me and my dogs, Charlie Tarheel and Baby Dawg. We feasted together on hash and eggs. I even baked a birthday cake for Jesus – but no chocolate for the critters. Then I sang Christmas carols – sorry dogs. But hey, the Bible says make a JOYFUL noise unto the LORD. Doesn’t say it has to sound good – just JOYFUL. So I believe my nasally, flat, off key screechings are pleasing and acceptable unto the LORD. The horses and the mule had a feast too – carrots and apples and granola. Gertie Goose had sweet corn on the cob (hard to find this time of year) and butter bread. Flip Flop kitty had Friskies Shreds, hash, and warm milk.
Everyone got a hug and a scratch. I hung onto my horses neck’s and cried into their manes. I hugged Hector the mule and sobbed on his shoulder. I clutched the kitty and shared my pain. Gertie Goose bit me on the thumb – hey, she’s a goose.
My dogs curled up with me on the couch and absorbed my grief and gave me their love. It seems the more I give my love away – the more love comes right back to me. GOD truly sent me COMFORT and PEACE today. And I will be able to visit my husband at the hospital this afternoon.
I have been offline for a while – holidays are so hard.
My husband, my porcupine, really got lost in the dark. But this time, he saw the train wreck coming and reached out for help. He is now in the hospital receiving the treatment he needs. Odd as it may sound to some, I am proud of him. He didn’t reach out for alcohol or drugs. He didn’t hurt himself. He admitted his problem and asked for help. That takes courage and I am proud of him.
As he receives the support and care he needs, our loved ones do their best to show they care. They tell me how strong I am – but they forget, I don’t have any other choice. Bills need to be paid. Animals need care. Somebody has to be strong. I know there is love in their words, and I receive them with love – but, forgive me – sometimes I do feel like I am picking up the check. I lost my son too and it hurts more than I can every express. I want to just break down and quit, but I can’t. Too many depend on me. So I trudge forward.
I have to stop this – Just me feeling sorry for myself a little bit. Then I remember, today is Christmas. I have loving friends and family. I have precious memories. True, there are no people here with me right now, but my animals are my family and they are here. My SON’s spirit is here. GOD is here. In my heart, I know Jesus is the one who picked up the check for sins he never committed. I am thankful.
On my darkest, loneliest days – Charlie never leaves me – my spirit animal lifts me up – just by curling up next to me (and snoring a little)
Recently, an acquaintance paid a brief visit to my home. Upon entering, the guest looked about and “smirked”. Yeah, I will call it a smirk. I have visited this person’s home and it is quite stylish, very formal and tidy.
OK, being completely honest – I am NOT the world’s best housekeeper. I am NOT the worst either. My house is a simple farm house, no fancy furnishings or carpets. Everything is more “homey” and functional. Yes, there is a mule halter hanging on the closet door handle and I have a saddle in the guest room.
I keep up with the laundry. All dishes are washed and put away promptly and counter tops are cleaned. Beds are sort of made (dogs have a tendency to unmake them). I also sweep and mop at least four times a week. With windows open, my house is filled with good, clean country air – and dust and pollen. I need to dust and wash windows and put away some clutter – so yeah, my house looks “lived-in”.
I have a dog door, and two dogs – hairy, shedding dogs. So, there are little hair balls hiding under beds and chairs. On any given day, there are probably muddy little paw prints about as well.
So, the fact is – if you come to my house looking for dust and dirt and dog hair – you will find it. But, if you come to my house looking for hospitality, friendship, warmth, acceptance, and a hot meal – you will find that too. Visitors are welcome to put their feet up on the coffee table or grab a cozy blanket and snuggle up on the couch. I don’t freak out if a drink or a snack is spilled. In fact, dogs handle most spills rather quickly and efficiently. I invite visiting youngsters to pull out toys and rocking horses and crayons and books, spread them about the living room – and just play.
So, here is my question. What is more important, housekeeping or hospitality? Maybe it is just a personal preference, but I want people to “feel at home” in a cluttered, lived-in house with a few stray hair balls and muddy paw prints – oh, and some dust and dog snot on the windows.
You ever have days you just can’t win? At the last minute, I needed to take my husband to the doctor. I had to call work and let them know I would be late. Then, I felt guilty about leaving my work team hanging – I am old-school dependable. I am ol’ reliable, at work 20 minutes early. But not today.
My husband kept apologizing for needing me to drive, no matter how much I assured him it was OK. “I love you. I want to drive you. We are a team.” Then I felt guilty for making him feel guilty.
When I got him back home safe and sound, I felt guilty that I had to make haste and rush out the door to work – no time to throw the ball for Charlie dog or rub a puppy belly. They both looked so sad!!
That is my vicious circle. When I am at home, I feel guilty for missing work. When I am at work (two jobs), I feel guilty for neglecting home and farm chores. When I carve out ME time to ride my red mare, I still criticize myself for the To Do List I haven’t finished and the floors I didn’t mop. Then, I work myself into a silly state and get in a huge hurry. What does that accomplish?
I hurried by the gas station and slammed my finger in the car door. How dumb was that? So now I feel guilty, hasty, and ouchy! Why do I do this to myself?
But, I am still going riding tomorrow!!