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Hold It With Both Hands

I drink a lot of bottled flavored water. Yes, I know....that is a lot of plastic bottles....I try to recycle, upcycle, etc. You see, I moved to the farm a few years ago. I left the rat race, the game, the powers that be that change a life away from unforced rhythms of grace. We do not have city water so we buy water, have a well, and a cistern. I nearly always have a water bottle with me and there is a small problem with them.....I have small hands and I buy big bottles. The flavored waters tend to be bubbly (especially the cherry ones) so opening them can be super fun sometimes. I have to take my first drink holding the bottle with both hands because the bottle is just big enough that if I grab on with one hand I have to squeeze so hard to hold it properly that all the bubbly goodness joyfully overflows out the top and I have a mess on my hands. So, I have to grab with both hands and hold it gently to take those first few sips of my yummy water.

Life can get away from us too from time to time. All that stuff that seems so sweet can suddenly overflow leaving a mess on our hands. We aren't paying close enough attention, we trust the wrong people, we don't say "no" and our schedules explode, we try to do everything that is expected of us without doing what we need to do for our souls, etc., etc., etc. Artists need to create, builders need to build, musicians need to play, and so on. We have entered into a cultural time in which we have been thoroughly indoctrinated in doing as society expects us to do, to ask permission for our existence, dreams, thoughts, opinions. It is crushing us, making us sick, and forcing away rhythms of grace.

So, we all respond differently dependent on personality, generation, experience, etc. I chose to leave, to walk away, to go to the farm, to create a place of peace and beauty. I was so tired. I had been beat on, betrayed, abandoned, abused, blamed, accused, and scapegoated for too long by too many. So, I went to the farm. I said "no" to everything. I quit everything: jobs, positions, memberships, many relationships (some intentionally and some simply because I wasn't around any more), and all the rat race "things." I got chickens and put in a huge garden, a lavender field, a mushroom "field" (not the happy kind....sorry), and began making natural healing products.

Before I knew it I was busy again. Bit by bit, the world drew me back as I worked as a counselor, helped at a food pantry, then took a little church, etc. I am happiest at the farm with my feathered flock, greenhouses, field, and gardens.

Then I started getting messages asking me where I was. People began telling me that they missed my blogs and would I do a podcast about my journey, my perspective, my experiences and knowledge about mental health (as a counselor and pastor), my social justice work, etc. For about three years, I have asked, "Why does my voice matter? In a world full of opinions, arm chair professionals, professionals, pod-casters, and bloggers, what does one more voice gain?" My son talked me into it and then the ladies at the United Way added their voice. So I began to think maybe there was a place for me again in this never silent world. Maybe, just maybe, I have something to offer that might be useful, uplifting, and can help destigmatize mental illness, underscore the importance of a healthy faith, and in general try to talk about life and the things that matter, the things we get stuck on, the things that overflow and make a mess we were not expecting. The focus has shifted and now this comes from the farm (not from the church) so who knows what we might talk about or who might be joining us. There are people from all over town who come and help at my little farm. I run around with social workers, preachers, trouble makers, farmers, musicians, and strong women.

Everywhere I go, I have those yummy waters. The ones I have to use both hands to get the first few sips out of without being sticky the rest of the day. That is my life now too. I have grabbed on with both hands to sip what is good and to recycle, upcycle, or toss what is not.

So, here at the farm, we are launching "Matter Chatter," where we will talk about the things that matter.

Today's Matter: Grab to what is good with both hands, holding gently, and recycling the rest.

Today's Coping Skill: Take a break today. Sit for 5 minutes without tv, phone, noise, todo list, and silence the voices in your head - tell them you need 5 minutes - and just sit. Look up. Breathe. Take a break.

Today's Garden Thought: Every flower blooms when it's ready.

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Parkersburg, WV

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