Gratitude.

This morning I stand on my back stoop watching my old hound, Clyde, pee on all my trees, starting with the corner of the shed. When he has peed on part of our orchard he runs off to bark at a neighbor walking by with their dog. I count Clyde’s remaining doggie years to comfort myself. Ah, but I love that old codger deeply. He and I have been together before Bali, before boys, before we owned this house.

I can hear the woodpecker babies chirping in their little nest in the tree on the side of the house. I hear my coffee bubbling in the stovetop espresso maker and smell that wonderful aroma that says, “let’s start another good and productive day, shall we lady?!”

My two, healthy, wise old souls of boys are still asleep. I made sure to cover them and tuck them in well so they stay cozy and sleep in a bit. They are growing like crazy, eating like teenagers already, and filled with questions and opinions. I am beyond grateful for them. They are two boys I once gave up almost all hope of ever having. Despite that, I am also grateful for when they sleep in and I have time to ponder and write uninterrupted. I think I should change this title to “The Interrupted Writer”. I’ve written so many books since they were very little and I can write with many stops and starts.

When I stand on my back stairs from the laundry and pantry room, I look out on the huge back yard and I recall what it looked like a year ago.

A year ago it was barren with a fig tree, a pear tree that had decades of old and dead branches thick and unpruned. There were old pears and plums on the edges but the main yard was dirt and gravel and some rough weeds. There wasn’t much life either. Birds were quiet, no bugs. It was a forgotten yard and had little to offer. But Bali and I saw a garden and orchard. We saw a blank canvas of land waiting, waiting, waiting.

We moved up the month the world was shut down and quarantined. For some it was a very hard time, learning to be by oneself, being essentially locked in your own house. We were beyond blessed with the land and a house that needed a lot of work and love. We spent our year of semi quarantine having two huge dead trees removed, then planting a small orchard, plowing up 800 square feet and fencing it in for a kitchen garden, and painting anything that didn’t move.

This morning I look out on healthy fruit trees that are already producing natures treats and a healthy garden. Our yard is filled with bugs now and birds nesting and tending to their fledglings. Bugs are an important measure of whether your yard is healthy or not. I used to detest them and now I am glad to see bugs of all sorts, the good and the bad. My yard is filled with water and food for everyone. I know that by next year we will have even more birds. It takes awhile for the bird community to spread the word that there is an oasis in so and so’s yard. We have at least three feeding stations and two bird baths. The love birds are nested somewhere in the huge walnut tree in the neighbors yard and I hear them cooing to their young as well as the wood peckers nest of chirping.

We have an old house that needs some work but it is solid being built of old growth lumber some hundred years ago. The roof doesn’t leak, the plumbing and lights work. We have two old vehicles with peeling paint and ground in snacks. However, these cars are paid for and reliable. I expect them to last for years to come and if they did poop out on us, we can walk to town or take a bus that stops across the street from our house.

Times may get rough in the future. Times do that. They get rough to get us all back in balance. Then they gift us with abundance. Unfortunately, we go back to being greedy and over consumption on all levels. Right now feels like we have some lessons we are being taught. The housing market is out of control, we are printing up money like mad for stimulus checks because we must get people back to shopping right?

The near future could go two ways; we enter into a green and sustainable economy and create jobs to address the damage we have caused to our Mother Earth. We learn from this recent pandemic. We put the focus on life, nature, connecting to Source, and love…or we continue destroying ourselves, our planet and each other.

The housing market will go down as it is reaching heights that cannot be maintained. Things will recover in other ways. I only read Positive News and Future Crunch along with LiveKindly for my daily dose. I can assure you, although you won’t hear this on mainstream news, there are many, many good and bright things happening. There are grass roots groups making good changes, reforesting, conserving, and healing. But as long as the mainstream is filled with toxic drama and people plug into it, many will see the world as a lost cause.

I assure you, it is not. But we need to turn to the light. Turn off that news and the negative channels on YouTube. Don’t give them another penny. Every time you watch fear mongering you are increasing their wealthy and rewarding them for scaring you. There are sources that are encouraging and doing good in the world, find them and support those groups.

Turn on the music, brew the tea or coffee and get out in your yard. Think of how lucky you are. To have a roof of some kind over our heads. To have food, even if it is from the food bank or soup kitchen, it is food to nourish. Even if we only have one friend, it is a companion. Your job is blah, but it is a paycheck to use to improve your life. Your children make you crazy, but you have children to do this and that is wonderful, give them a big hug and kiss! A friend sent a quote that sums it up.

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I see other homes and want this and that. I love shopping just like the next person. I get bored and dissatisfied. It is natural. It is our souls way of keeping us moving forward. So when we feel restless, instead of trying to subdued the feeling with food or ordering things on Amazon, get to work on a project at home. Paint a room, plant some trees, spend the day at the garden nursery picking up supplies and tools to start your big ol’ kitchen garden. Learn to make pasta by hand. Take up painting, sewing, pottery…whittling?

I don’t know what the future holds for the economy. I do watch some channels such as Minority Mindset to understand what is happening and to come but no one has a crystal ball. I have been keeping our pantry organized, cleaned and stocked up. We spend all holidays, Mothers Day, and my birthday spending hundreds at the Garden Centers to stock up on more seeds, trees, and flowers. What ever happens, we will have a yard that is an oasis to all and will eventually feed us and others.

We have learned to live on very little. We make anywhere from $32K to $42K yearly and thrive. It can be done but you can’t live like the rest of the masses. We have learned to be content with what we have and create abundance on a budget.

We have old homes and old cars. We have panel board in the living room and major miles on the cars. You have to not care about appearances and create your own style when your working on a beer budget.

I’ve been finding all sorts of ways to decorate the house with what we have or really cheap. Thanks to a friend, I just discovered peel and stick wall paper and I’ll be doing some major decorating with that. It is amazing what you can do with very little money at your disposal. You can put in new floors and paint and wallpaper and make an ugly house into something very charming. Sometimes I peruse through high end decorating magazines to get ideas. You see such creativity and beautiful work in magazines such as AD (Architecture Digest) and then you can replicate them for some loose change. I get color ideas, furnishings, even how to set up our house. Then I hit the thrift stores, Craigslist, and order wall paper for the cost of a tank of gas.

We love organic food but it’s very expensive. I invest in fruit and nut trees and seed. We drive 45 minutes for premo horse manure, free. I only shop at Grocery Outlet and WinCo these days. I am SO grateful for these discount stores with all the vegan foods we love. Abundance!

Radio is free, Pandora is free. Many movie and TV channels are free with a Roku. We are so very fortunate in this day and age. To have all the free entertainment, bags of fantastic books from the library, free, free and free! We can decorate, build, garden and create for very little and sometimes for free. I can’t tell you how much free stuff I find on Craigslist.

We have wealth beyond imagining. It all depends on who your wanting to be and what you value and deem important. For us it is a simple lifestyle and health; both physical and mental well being.

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