“The Mommy Switch”

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I am a happy and proud mother of four children. One of the happiest moments in my life was when I became a mother. Upon becoming a mother, a switch turned on, the “mommy switch”. Life became centered around providing for, teaching, and protecting my children.

Time marches on, they grow up and become their own person. Each child starts their own lives, finding spouses and having their own children. In the process of each child growing up, and establishing their independence, I have learned to control my instincts and impulses as a mother to tell my children what they need to do, choices they should make and direct their lives. I want to protect them from making the mistakes I made, feeling the pain of those mistakes. As a mother, I still desire for my children to be happy with no pain or disappointments. My words at times is considered “unwanted advice”.

This “unwanted advice” or meddling can cause problems in the relationship with my children and their spouses. But I have not learned how to turn off the “mommy switch”. I keep my words to myself, but how do I deal with the desire to speak? I voice my concerns in prayer.

When things happen in my children’s lives, things I can not speak to them about, I pray. I take the energy of concern and put the words I desire to speak and focus them in prayer for my children.

My children are now parents. They have experience with the “parent switch”. They are starting to feel the desire to speak to their teenage children about concerns, yet also realize they have to make some decisions on their own as they are becoming adults. My children are learning the challenges of the “parent switch”.

My children learning the “parent switch”, they now understand my difficulties of when I said something they considered meddling at the time, to be the voice of a concerned loving parent.

Recently I was asked by one of my children of how to speak to their teenager about a situation. My grandchild thinks they have been bullied at school. When all the facts were brought forth, they and another student was competing and verbally “fighting” to be best friends with one student. We had a discussion on defining bullying. Then the discussion turned to what makes a friend. A person who chooses to be friends with one person at a time, does not know what friends truly are. There was no reason both of you could not be friends with the student at the same time.

Granny talking to the teenager, although it was the same words used by their mother, had a different effect. A useful verbal communication because of the “mommy switch”.

Living with the “mommy switch” is not easy. Being a parent is not easy. Being a grandparent is a little easier than being a parent, but still has challenges. The “mommy switch” is an important part of our make up in becoming a mother, carries over in being a grandmother. Learning to control the tongue with the “mommy switch” is the challenge.

Still, I love being a mother. I thoroughly enjoy being a Granny. And I look forward, although I hope not too soon to the adventures of being a great-grandmother.

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amtolle

Different Lifestyle

I realize the posts I publish exhibit a different lifestyle than most lifestyles of those reading the posts. I enjoy sharing parts of my life with others. I say parts of my life as it is very to post about the varied things I do in one day of living.

My life is multifaceted. I am a mother. Although my children are grown, when you are a mom, you are a mom forever. I am proud of my children and their families.

I am a grandmother. I currently have eleven grandchildren. I will have a granddaughter born in June. And the triplets will be born in September. Two of my grandchildren have graduated from high school.

My biggest passion is horses. I professionally trained horses for twenty years. My children grew up during the time I was training, raising and selling horses. I love the foals, and being the first to teach them about people and starting their training on the ground. Currently I own four horses.

My children were involved in 4-H. You do not have to live on a farm to join and receive the benefits of being involved in 4-H. My children showed horses, pigs, sheep, rabbits and poultry. But they also did rocketry, leather craft, ceramics, baking, sewing, and photography and painting. There are many projects a child can learn to do and exhibit that do not involve an animal or having to have a farm. I was a project leader of many of the projects my children choose to participate in.

4-H teaches more than projects. Youth learn proper rules and etiquette for council meetings and meetings of government entities. They learn to present what they have made and learned. Record keeping is also done and judged. There are local, regional, district and national offices the youth campaign for and are elected to by their peers. In my opinion, 4-H is a great place for youth being homeschooled, it provides a fun environment for learning and meeting others with the same interests.

I taught horsemanship clinics and judged horse shows, poultry shows, rabbit shows and even judged llamas once. I did not know much about llamas, I told the show management as much. But I was present and the llama judge was not. I was chosen for the position.

Working with others to learn to ride and the various projects I taught in 4-H, I realize people do not know what I am talking about at times. They do not know the procedure and steps to get an animal ready for exhibition or a piece of ceramic.

Currently, I am a sheep farmer. I love being a sheep farmer. Watching the lambs, talking with the sheep, and seeing my breeding program evolve bring me joy and completeness.

Be assured I care very much for my animals. They are living beings. Yes, I do eat my own sheep. I also am thankful to the animal, and there is a ceremony, that gives its life so I may live. I sit up all night with a sick lamb. I have sick lambs in my house, along with the unpleasant odor and mess.

I am willing to answer questions concerning my posts on things you, the reader, may not understand. I know the posts I read are from people who do very different activities and have different passions than myself. I am not afraid to ask a question. We gain knowledge by seeking, asking and listening.

amtolle

“Spark of Joy”

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“Spark of Joy” comes from Marie Kondo. I was introduced to Marie Kondo and “Spark of Joy” through a Netflix series named “Tidying Up”. In the series Marie Kondo assisted people in “Tidying Up” their homes. These people sought her help to make changes in their homes. During the visits to assist them, Marie Kondo talked about joy and harmony being created in the home. One example stated was when we come home from a busy day at work, we are seeking a happy place, a place with harmony away from the chaos we were in. The things that surround us as we come home should give us a “Spark of Joy”. I watched the entire series, and even viewed some of the youtube videos of her assisting others or teaching how to fold clothes and organize.

I do not travel to work, but I do enjoy a quiet harmonious place to relax at the end of the day. I have post traumatic stress disorder with the main symptoms of depression, anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares. I fight the depression daily. After watching this series, I decided to surround myself in my home with only those items that “spark joy” when I look at them.

I spent months sorting through each item, taking one room at a time. How does this item make me feel? Does this item create joy in my heart or dread? Sorting through took time and energy. Sometimes I would touch an item and get a flashback, quick answer, no joy there. Some items brought back a flood of pleasant memories, those items earned a front position of my eyesight. As the appearance of my home changed, I changed.

The process of going through everything in order to create a home of joy, harmony and peace, I decluttered my home and my life. There were things I had kept because someone gave them to me, feeling like I was unappreciative of their gift if I gave it away or disposed of it. Most of those items given that did not have pleasant feelings, the giver no longer is in my life. How would they know I had gotten rid of the gift? I was keeping things out of fear of offending someone that no longer came around. I had to change my thinking.

As I surrounded myself in my home with only items that brought joy, my depression lessened. I was not fighting a hard battle everyday to keep moving forward, the depression became an inconvenience that was easily moved aside as I went about my day.

Up until the time of watching the series on Netflix and changing my home, I had not thought I had to fight to keep my joy. I was of the thinking that you have joy or you do not. I learned to fight for the joy in my life and to keep it. I still fight depression, but the joy wins over most days. There is no cure for post traumatic stress disorder. But there are ways to lessen the impact and control this disorder has in my life, I just have to fight for it, and do some tidying up.

I took the tidying up step a little further than organizing a house and where I work in the barns and buildings. I applied it to activities I would do for others. I am a person who likes to help others. Sometimes when helping others there was no joy in what I was doing. I was good at the job, but there was no joy in helping the person. An example of one activity I stopped doing was making music cds for a friend who would lead the song services at church. I would copy their pre recorded song music in the order of the songs for the church service they were singing for each Sunday. This was very time consuming and I did not enjoy the work. I decided to really be helping a person as a gift, there should be joy in giving the gift, not what I was feeling. I gave my notice to the person that I was no longer going to do this for them. A huge weight came off my shoulders.

I still have to activities around the home that I do not much care for such as laundry. When I do the laundry, I am still looking for the “Spark of joy” as I fold each item of clothing and put them away.

Look for the “Spark of Joy” in your home and life.

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amtolle

Update to “Decisions Are Made”

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We make decisions daily, most are not major and have no major consequences or actions following the decision.

Late last night, actually at 2 AM today my time, I made a decision and posted “Decisions Are Made”, not realizing the events that would follow. I was expressing a decision concerning my adoption and the reasons for choosing not to pursue finding my biological family. There would be events from me posting my thoughts and decision on my adoption that I could not even dream up.

I appreciate all the comments and words I have received on the post “Decisions Are Made”. I appreciate those who follow my blog, and those I do not know who read my postings. A surprise greeted me this morning at approximately 9:30 AM with a phone call from one of my followers I was unaware of, the sister I was raised with.

When my sister called me, which is very rare, mostly we communicate through text messages, which is great as we are both busy people. I thought her call was to bring me bad news, the kind of news about family no one wants to hear. Instead, she wanted to talk about my blog post. She follows my blog, a happy surprise for me.

God does work in mysterious ways. We both knew one of us two girls had to be adopted. Sisters can not be 19 weeks apart in age, and both be born from the same biological mother. She had heard whispered rumors I was adopted, not a big deal. Last week, she ran into an person who our dad worked for and some how in the conversation came up about our dad adopting two children. My sister figured I was adopted, but the person insisted there were two children adopted. Then she reads my blog post “Decisions Are Made” at 4 AM in the morning of posting. She could not sleep, so she read my blog.

In the phone conversation she wanted to know what I knew about our adoptions. Who told me what. What was said. How I obtained my adoptions records. Where I had researched to learn of my biological parents.

I told her she was adopted first as a premature infant. Our mother’s mom, a nurse, was at her birth. I was adopted later at thirteen months of age. Our mom and dad fought over my adoption, my dad insisted, my mom did not want to adopt me. Raising two young children only 19 weeks apart in age with one being a preemie, would be a lot of work. Being the mother of four, with two girls 17 months apart, I can understand the reluctance of my mother concerning my adoption. Plus, I was not an infant.

I let her know our brothers who are natural children, both know of our adoptions. Our brothers had told my husband of my children I was adopted. She might want to start there since one of our brothers still lives in the same town.

I also told her of when I knew I was adopted and tried to get our mom to tell me. Mom was not going to ever tell me I was adopted, even though I let her know I was. Letting her know there may be some reluctance from our brothers to discuss the subject.

Many followers wonder why we were not told of our adoptions by family members or our parents. Talking to several family members, the younger ones were swore to secrecy with “beating until death” if they ever mentioned to us about being adopted. It was a very strict rule of silence within both sides of the family to never, ever under any circumstances reveal to either one of us about being adopted. Do not judge our family as these rules were held in place.

Every family has secrets, things that are spoken in whispers or not spoken of at all. This rule of silence was enforced so strongly, my cousin M who was the first family member to tell me, still feels badly about breaking this rule of silence even today.

My sister, 19 weeks younger than myself, for the first time learned she was adopted as well. My sister is wanting to find her biological parents and family. I wish her all the best. I know she will meet roadblocks trying to find information. I know there will be emotions on meeting the biological family. I am excited for her.

I am glad the light has finally shined on a this deeply hidden truth in our family. That was not the intent of my writing the post “Decisions Are Made”. I knew in the 1990’s I was adopted from the words of my husband at the time sharing that my brothers told him I was adopted. I put the information on a shelf. The information collected dust for many years. Then at the age of 48, I decided to dust off the information and see what I could find. On and off I have done research to find my biological parents. The recent research I have decide to end the searching. I was bringing a closure to the my search for biological parents. I am still writing a novel about the unwed homes and adoptions with a hint of my biological parents.

Yes, a white rose bush is so fitting for the remembrance of my adoption and biological parents.

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amtolle

Decisions are Made

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Some of life’s major events that affect us personally, are decisions made by others. I am adopted. I had no say in my adoption. The fact I was adopted was kept from me, my parents never once told me I was adopted. The grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my husbands were told I was adopted, even my parents’ two natural children were told of my adoption. I was not. My mother denied I was adopted when I told her I had to be adopted when I was 30ish years old. At the age of 48, a cousin finally admitted to me I was adopted. The big life secret about me was finally in the open. The need to deny and not talk to me about being adopted is baffling, but not my decision.

I was 48 when I requested and received my adoption papers and information, including an original birth certificate. I had an organization called Adoption Angels locate my birth parents. My birth mother was already deceased. I supposedly have some half siblings for both my birth mother and birth father.

Lately, after some comments from a previous blog I posted, I made a decision to look into the adoption process of the time. The one question that had always troubled me was why I was put up for adoption. Previous research I discovered the wedding certificate of my birth parents. My birth parents were married as teenagers. According to the laws of the time period they would have required parental consent in order to get a marriage license and be married. It was not a runaway to Las Vegas to get married scenario.

They were married two years before I was born. So why was I put up for adoption by a married couple?

Those are decisions made where I have no consent or influence. I live with the consequences, but they did also.

Currently, I restarted the research of my adoption to perhaps find some answers. Those answers are going to be a little difficult to find considering my adopt took place over 50 almost 60 years ago. My adoption happened during what is termed the “Baby Scoop Era”. Where young pregnant usually unwed mothers were sent away to have their babies and return home without the child.

During this time was the sexual revolution, breaking the bonds of no sex until after matrimony. After World War II, women were experiencing new freedoms previous generations had not been given. But, some of the old rules of no sex until marriage were kept in place, since the only legal form of birth control was a condom. Yet, according to society, it was the woman’s fault if she got pregnant out of wedlock. These children who were born out of wedlock was their mother’s “dirty little secret” and was to be kept a secret for a lifetime.

Photo of babies at an unwed mothers home

In my research, I discovered that the women who gave children up for adoption kept their secret for a lifetime. They never told future husbands, their children or other family members. The only family members who knew of the given up child, was the mother’s parents.

Along with my research, I came across organizations who try to help adoptees reconnect with their biological families. I read the testimonies, one woman who was adopted during the time frame I was, found her biological mother. She was able to meet her biological mother, but not her half siblings. The biological mother was not ready to tell her children about her. The woman also shared, her biological mother never told her biological father about the pregnancy.

These women who became pregnant, went to an unwed mothers home and gave up their child, kept the secret of giving up a child as strongly as my parents refused to tell me I was adopted.

My biological father was an United States Marine at the time of my birth. Today, he is 80ish years old. If he knew of my birth, that I existed, would he even remember? Would his memory be clear? He has lived his life, do I have the right or would it be right to disrupt his golden years with my discovery? What type of shock of emotions if he did not know I existed, to suddenly learn he had a daughter when he was twenty?

My biological mother is deceased, she died before I was 48 years old and seen my adoption records. Her children, my half siblings, do I have the right to put a mark on their mother’s memory? They by all reason were never told of my existence, do I have a right to disrupt their lives?

The most important questions are what do I gain, how would contacting them be helpful for me? Answer some questions about why I was put up for adoption, doubtful. Medical family history, probably not much help since I have lived to be 60ish, doctors feel if I was going to have a health problem was could be prevented by knowing my family medical history, it would have already showed up. My biological family medical history is not necessary information that I need at this point in my life.

I have and continue to live my life by causing no harm to others. Even if the person deserves to get a “beating”, I am reluctant to give the beating. Example, I kicked a cheating boyfriend out of the house by beating him with the couch cushions, instead of the cast iron frying pan he deserved.

I choose to live in harmony and to not disturb the harmony of others’ lives. I can only see if I pursue the research of finding my biological father and half-siblings of causing a rift in the harmony of their lives. The reactions to my existence and possible interaction may cause hostility towards me and disrupt the harmony I have in my own life.

So, for once and for all, I am going to make the final decision. I am not going to not pursue the finding of my biological family. My oldest daughter has expressed a desire to search out my biological family, a desire I will discuss with her as to what the consequences of doing so may be.

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I wish and pray for my biological family to have peace, joy and a good life. I will bury my questions under a rose bush in remembrance of my biological parents and family.

amtolle

P.S. I plant different rose bushes as remembrances of those were important in my life who are deceased.

It is DONE!

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Finally, after gathering numbers our tax return is filed. I do not like what in the United States we call “tax season”. The time of year when a person has to gather all their financial information to send to the government to make sure we pay the taxes owed.

I used to be a bookkeeper for others, but I do not like working inside. I prefer to be outside breathing fresh air and working with animals or playing in the dirt. But during each month I sit down at my desk and do our financial records, and once a year we file the tax information.

Financial records are important for the sheep farm. I need to know if I am making a profit on raising the sheep and what my cash flow is. A person can have many assets, but no cash flow. Cash flow is important as I have to purchase feed every month.

Bookkeeping is the necessary evil of having a business. There are advantages of being self-employed, I get to do what I love doing, taking care of animals and growing plants for food or pleasure.

One important task of being self-employed is to do the bookkeeping to know if what you are doing is making money or costing money.

The hardest part for me and others is treating the business like any other job. You have set times to work, and schedule certain tasks with a deadline. I have a schedule I keep in my planner on breeding dates that lead to lambing dates. I also schedule the deworming, vaccinations and hoof trimming times. The days in between are sometimes difficult to fill with tasks. There is always fences that need to be check and repaired, shelters to clean and other sheep care items.

During the scheduling of what to do with your time, there needs to be time off. The time in the week where you do something besides work. I find this to be the hardest time to schedule. There is always a long list of things that need to be done or improved upon.

The past two years I have learned I am more productive and my problem solving is much faster if I stay to the scheduled time off from work. Just like when working a job for someone and being there scheduled times during the week, when those days off come around you unwind, clear your thoughts, destress. It is the same when you are self-employed. You need time to unwind, clear your thoughts, destress, think of something other than your business to get refreshed.

Raising sheep is harder to get a day totally off, as the sheep need to be fed and watered. During the months when the grass is growing, they are herded to pasture and returned to the pens at night. They need care seven days a week all year long. But on my scheduled days off, I only do the feeding part of taking care of sheep. After the chores of feeding and water are complete, I have me time.

What do I do with me time. In the spring I plant flowers and a vegetable/herb garden. Or I might decide that I am going to paint or sew something. I do anything that is not related to the business that I can be creative doing. The most important is the activities of the day bring me joy, no pressure.

So, with the work of raising sheep and time doing something to relax, when do I clean house. I clean house on Sundays. I keep the house up daily, like washing dishes, etc. But the mopping the floors, laundry and what I call heavy cleaning is done on Sundays. Why Sunday? Monday through Friday other businesses are open, so if I need something to do a task, I am able to get it. Saturdays are sheep auction days, I am at the auction sale barn to socialize and keep track of the markets on sheep. Sunday is the only day left for the deep cleaning of the house.

The important decision is to make a schedule that allows you to get things done just as you would working for someone else. And stay with the schedule.

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The most helpful tool to being self-employed is an alarm clock. You set the alarm clock to get out of bed and start your day. No sleeping in when it is a day to go to work for yourself. You want to treat yourself as a boss, just as you would if you worked for someone else. Yourself deserves to have a good employee in yourself.

I had to change and grow to be a good employee for myself. The hardest was starting my day at the same time each day and not be sidetracked. I am still working on the side track. I do not always do the task I scheduled for that day.

Do you have the discipline to work for your self? Have you ever thought about working for yourself? What would your schedule be?

amtolle

Challenges of Blogging

I started blogging in August of 2021 about sheep and taking care of sheep. I wanted to share my experience and solutions with those starting to raise sheep. Then I had to get the house ready for our Christmas celebration, and did not have time to write blogs about sheep.

I joined Bloganaury and my education began. I read and seen what others were doing, rating their blogs and websites. I decided to have a different site to blog about anything and everything that came to me mind.

I started understanding what blogging is.. as I had not really taken time to read blogs. I actually like reading blogs. I have learned some new interests while reading others’ blogs during Bloganaury.

One challenge I found is photographs for my blogs. I really do not like using others’ photos. Perhaps it comes from college days and copywrite or giving citations for using others’ words. But using someone else’s creation for my own story or blog causes some discomfort. I know there are citations with the photos I use. And for some mind thoughts I will continue to use others’ photos as I am unable to get take the photograph myself. Such as at the top of a mountain looking into a valley. I do not live near mountains any longer.

Having time to take photos for my own blogs, is time consuming. Setting up the subject with good lighting can be a challenge in itself. Since most of my blogs involve some type of animal, getting an animal to cooperate is a challenge in itself. Photos of recipes, or steps in a process is a challenge, as most of the time I just do without realizing every step. I have had to slow down, and think through how I do something in order to write about and take photos. I am working on the photographs for future blogs.

It takes planning to do a blog with photographs and videos. Putting videos into the blogs will be another learning experience. I am learning to operate my cell phone photo and video capabilities, and I have seen improvement in my ability to capture a photo. Sometimes I get a good photo by total accident. Like the one below of my new ram. I took the photo threw a two inch crack in the trailer gate, pure luck in the photo.

I enjoy the blogging community. I am inspired by others blogs. I am encouraged to write by blogs and comments. My perfectionism has drives me to constant improvement on whatever I am working at learning or doing.

I have decided to step out into an area I am very unfamiliar with – writing a book. I have people request I put into book form my horsemanship program for youth. The program does more than just teach horsemanship, as with each lesson a child is taught respect, communication, self confidence, self love and love for animals as well as others. The horse is the instrument but not necessarily the focus of the lesson, the child is. The lessons can be taught with using horsemanship as a tool, but the horse does not necessarily need to be present. Children in towns and cities could still learn, even without the horse. I will be sharing parts of this book in my blog for feedback, so look forward to participation.

Blogging has taught me to slow down, think about the day, what I do and how I do things. Slowing down has helped me to communicate better verbally with others. My mind works very fast, putting things together faster than my fingers can type or my mouth can work out words.

Thank you for the likes and comments. I do read each one with apprecition.

amtolle

Me, Myself and I

I wear many hats during a day and have worn numerous hats during my lifetime. I was born and raised in the Four Corners area of the United States. I currently reside in north central Texas, United States.

I am the mother of four children, two boys and two girls. I have thirteen grandchildren. I am married and my husband has two children and six grandchildren. At times our house can be full of people, kids, and noise which is a lot of fun.

I currently work as a sheep farmer raising Dorper sheep. I enjoy being a sheep farmer. In the past I raised Appaloosa horses, the most affectionate and hard working breed of horse I have ever trained or ridden. I was a horse trainer and certified riding instructor, but my age now prevents the training of young horses. The training and instruction I do now is for pleasure not money. I ventured into herding trials with border collies, an activity since I raise sheep and use the dogs to work the sheep. I enjoy watching a border collie herd sheep, and I like the competition as well as the friendships at the trials.

In August of 2021, I started a website, grannys-homestead.com and started blogging about sheep, sheep farming and farm related writings. January 2022, I took on the challenge of Bloganaury from Word Press and have really enjoyed the reading of other bloggers writings as well as writing.

With this blogging I will share life experiences, opinions, craft projects and anything I feel like sharing to encourage others. Hope you enjoy what I share.

amtolle