Housekeeping versus Hospitality

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.

 

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BatCrapCrazy

Have you ever had to deal with someone you could ONLY describe as BatCrapCrazy?  This person is SO negative – the nasty attitude suffocates every positive ion in the room.  While in a room with 8 people, we were all happily brainstorming – working through ideas, treating one another with courtesy and respect.  It was a very positive event.  Even if an idea was not accepted, it was not arbitrarily rejected.  Each person had a voice and we were covering ground.  We were really making progress and everyone was able to feel like a contributor.

Then, BatCrapCrazy arrives using the tongue as a vicious weapon, with impunity.  The remarks were so hurtful, creativity was stifled.  Dialogue shutdown.  Progress – DEAD!

I have a raging migraine and my acid reflux is reaching the solar hotspot zone – after just one hour.

You know the really sad part?  I feel very sorry for BCC.  This is a good person, a smart person – trapped underneath all that hateful negativity.  This person does not see the rubble left in the wake – and I am sure does not hurt people intentionally.  I wish I knew how to help.  It must be so sad in BCC world.

This time, Charlie WAS a working dog

We desperately needed the rain here in Virginia, and I was glad to see it.  But, after every storm there are fences to be checked, branches and debris to cleanup.  This is when Charlie dons his working harness and pulls a small wagon.  He sits anxiously awaiting my call:  “Let’s go to work”!!  We walk the fence line together.  I gather up the fallen limbs while he hauls the little wagon.  He is a huge help.IMG_4035

Of course, after a  hard day at work, there is nothing like an afternoon nap.  Notice the “Farm Dog” collar?  Well earned, fine Charlie, well earned – a label of love and honor!!  I couldn’t make it without you!!  God Bless Farm Dogs!!!

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DIS – Connected

I have been traveling grief road for 29 months.  One day, I was a very happy person – then my world exploded.   I became very isolated – personal connections, my connections – all seemed to snap under the weight of the grief.

I lost connection with friends – who weren’t really friends at all.

I lost connection with family – who meant well, but didn’t understand.

I lost connection with my husband of 37 years.  We were both in pain, but grieving differently.  I had nothing to give when he needed to receive, and I was SO angry.

I lost connection with my hobbies, my pleasures, my sanity, my common sense – I lost connection with ME.

This broken ME became isolated from the outside world, and only existed inside my head – along with the monsters, the demons of dark thoughts.  My only connections were my spirit helpers – my animals.

I never fully lost connection with GOD, but the communication had a lot of static and reception was poor on my end.  Sometimes I just went through the motions – I said the words of my daily prayers, while my thoughts and heart were not connected.

I now understand, to heal on this journey – I must rebuild and reconnect.

First – I am working to rebuild, reconnect with GOD.  I know HE never left me.   Mathew 28:20 promises “I am with you always, even unto the ends of the world.”  I know this to be true.  Instead of simply uttering words, I am learning to sit still and listen.  I hear HIS voice in the breeze, in the chatter of the birds, in ME.

Next, I need to rebuild my connections to the world.

I do not wish to re-connect with some friends.  I will bid farewell to fair weather friends – and miss them not.  I have no ill will, just no energy to spare.  My circle of friends is much smaller, but the connections are powerful and strong.

My connections with family may never be the same, but I am trying to mend them.  We are all trying.

My connection with my husband is slowly improving – well, maybe that is not the right word.  Maybe the right word is evolving.  Our connection MUST be different.  We are different.  We are not only connected by our marriage, our love – we are connected by a terrible loss.  In the last few months, I made an effort to speak a little softer and listen a little more closely to my partner.  He picked up on the change and he is doing the same.  We are walking this journey together.

I am back in my craft room, painting rocks – I even have a sewing project started.  The monsters and the demons of dark thoughts still come – but now I am looking for the light.

If you are on a painful journey, I pray you will have spirit helpers and light.

I pray you can Connect.

Rays of light

Today was one of those “DARK” days – deep in grief, shrouded in devastating loneliness and sorrow.  I miss my son so much.  When the dark days come, and they always do, I find myself teetering between sobbing and raging.  Crying for my baby, and angry at the whole world for continuing to exist.

The dogs starting barking and wagging.  Someone was at the door.  Someone they knew.  When I opened the door, the light came into my world.  There stood my Spirit Sister, big smile and sunshine over her shoulder – she had a arm load of rocks for me!

A short visit – but enough to beat back the dark day and let in the light.

I think I will go paint rocks.

Take Two Steps Today

Take two steps everyday, please.  First, every morning, as you look in the mirror, say something kind to you.  Compliment you.  That can be challenging.  When I look in the mirror, I just think – YUCK.  This morning, all I could muster is “Hello me, I like your ear rings.”  That’s OK, because I made the ear rings, so it was something and I do like them.

Second, every day, make it a point to compliment someone else.  Make it a genuine, sincere compliment.  Remember, we are all carrying something, some pain, sorrow, hurt, worry  – something.  Your kind word may be the bright spot of that person’s day.

Maybe, their happy smile will be the bright part of yours.

So take two steps everyday, and a multi-vitamin.  You should probably take one of those too.  Oh, and pet a crittter.  Yep.  That’s healthy.

Casualties of Grief

Yes, that is my horse, Tonka, wearing a hula skirt!  Isn’t she lovely?

We would do some silly things, but always enjoyed each other – and the GREAT FATHER’s creation.  When my life was consumed with grief, I turned away from my horse.

I am slowly trying to turn back – back to horses and outdoors and nature – and GOD.  Let me plant a seed with those on this dark journey – PLEASE, hold on to the light, reach out for those things that bring you joy.  Find HIM and find your smile.  You don’t have to feel guilty for smiling.   Don’t let the darkness win.IMG_0362