New Ambitions for 2023

While participating in Bloganuary 2023, I made time each day to write a post. I am proud that I wrote a blog based on the daily prompt everyday. I realized that I should do the same with the books I am writing. I need to set aside so much time to write the books I have started. Not edit at this time, just write. Editing comes after writing. So, for February and March I am going to be writing my books.

I want to continue to write my blogs as well. I may not be writing everyday. But I will be writing posts a few times a week. Spring time is coming and I need to start my gardening plants and spring centered projects so they are ready. I want to share this with those who follow my blog. So, I will be taking pictures and writing posts concerning gardening.

We are also getting our home ready to sell. There are a few projects that would be good blogs. Information that others may want to do with their home. I will show some before and after photos as well, to show the progress of some of my home makeover. Since I only have a few rooms left to update, it will not be a total home makeover.

Some big ambitions, but I think I can get them accomplished this year. I will not be sewing as much, or painting pictures. I will make sure I fit in some time to go fishing and a horse ride once a month.

Of course I will still be caring for my sheep. I have several that are due soon to lamb. Plus, one of my livestock guardian dogs is going to have puppies soon. I have the two show rams and two show ewes to get ready for an April show. I have high hopes for the show.

amtolle

January Summation

January was a good month for me. To start the month, I was able to become employed. It is not a high paying job, but I need this job for more than money. I have not worked outside the home for thirteen almost fourteen years. When I applied, it was to provide some income into the home finances, since my husband was not working at the time. Now he is employed, and the small income I earn is not needed. Yet, inside I feel I need this job.

I know I am growing personally. Overcoming some of my fears concerning being around people. I also enjoy being away from the farm, engaging with other people. My job is interesting as I am learning how to become a meat cutter. Currently, I grind meat and I wrap meat. But there are other skills to be added once I master the ones I am learning. Perhaps it is learning. I get pleasure from learning new things.

I have a schedule to keep. No more are there days I do not know or even care about which day of the week it is. I have to know which day and the date of the week, as I do not work everyday. I plan more for dinner meals and household chores. One things I am proud of is the household and farm have not suffered with me going back to work. I am managing my time to be able to get done the things I did before I had a job. I had wondered if I would be able to keep up with the household chores and work a job. I would always make sure I took care of the sheep, as they are an labor of love and income.

The month of January I participated in Bloganuary 2023, a challenge hosted by word press. Thirty one days of posting blogs referring to a daily prompt. I am proud of myself as this year I posted on the day of the prompt without missing or being late. I was able to get some writing done on my books as well.

January was a good month for myself. I have faced some challenges and new adventures with a smile.

amtolle

February’s Beginnings

The second month of the year has arrived, February. I have lambs starting to arrive once more. A lamb was born yesterday, at the end of the freezing ice storm. The ewe is taking very good care of the lamb, and they are in a small area with a heat lamp. I do not look forward to February, as per my records of the last thirteen years, we always have freezing rain storms during this month.

The past three days has been mostly freezing rain with some snow and very cold temperatures. This morning as I was waking up with my cup of coffee, I saw the full moon. Relieved that this storm was over. When I went outside to do my morning chores, frost greeted me, crunching under my footsteps. I checked on the lamb, then proceeded with the feeding of the sheep and horses.

Today, was also a day I went to my other job, working in a grocery store. It was truck day, and a large order. During the storm, the store saw record sales. Monday the sales were twice the average daily sale. People buying food due to staying home for the next three to five days. Today, the store received a large order. I worked 7 hours putting food in the freezers and on the shelves. It has been a long time since I stood on my feet for seven hours.

I am tired, sore feet and aching back. I also received an award today for work done in January. I received a gift card for $1.00. When an employee works at the cash register and has no money over or under, or a zero off in the drawer. That employee receives a dollar for each time for being accurate. I worked the registered twice in January, and was zero off once. I was awarded the gift card.

I work various areas. Twice a week I am there to put food first in the freezers, then help where needed in the grocery area on the shelves. Today, I put away over 100 boxes in the freezer area alone. My manager told me she was very pleased with the speed and that I stayed with the freezer until it was completed before taking a break.

Today’s order received at the store was very big, since we had record sales on Monday through Wednesday due to the storm and people being told to stay home. Schools have been closed all week, meaning parents had to buy food for their children to eat, since the children were not eating at school. It is amazing how many people come to the little grocery store to shop, when the governor and everyone else is telling them to stay home and off the roads due to bad road conditions. Majority of the people came as they had nothing else to do but eat and drink at home.

I have six ewes that are ready to deliver their lambs at anytime. In a couple of weeks one of our livestock guardian dogs will give birth. I have my job and taking care of the sheep and household. There is a lot going on the month of February.

amtolle

Spring’s Arrival

For centuries people have tried to predict when Spring would arrive. In the 1600’s people gathered to have candles blessed at the church in a ceremony call Candlemas held February 1. Considering the only light people had was candles and light symbolized hope and life. In 1678 a poem was written by John Ray capturing the belief and hope of the era on when spring would arrive.

If Candlemas day be fair and bright

Winter will have another fight

If on Candlemas day it be shower and rain

Winter is gone and will not come again.”

Today, February 2 we await the prediction of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow, spring is on its way. This tradition was brought to America by the Dutch Germans who immigrated to Pennsylvania. The tradition began in the 1800’s and they used a groundhog instead of a badger to predict the arrival of spring. In Europe a badger was used at the predictor of spring on the second day of February. Today, the second day of February is an American holiday named Groundhog Day.

These myths or folklore were started when agriculture was the main industry everywhere. The importance of getting seed into the ground and starting towards a harvest were key to survival. Not only did agriculture provide income for the farmer, but was the food for the community. There were no grocery stores, therefore the survival of an area depended on the farmers and their ability to grow and harvest the food for winter.

Today, we enjoy the traditions of long ago. Our society has changed, but farmers are still needed to plant the seed and provide the harvest that eventually is set on our dinning room tables to eat. A farmer still would like to know when spring will arrive in order to get the seed in the ground.

According to CNN, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow. We will have six more weeks of winter. According to the Candlemas poem, my area will have spring soon, as we have received snow and freezing rain with no sign of the sun.

amtolle

Just Some Thoughts

Now that Bloganuary is over, I am going to have to create my own daily prompts or creative idea to compose an interesting bit of writing about. I was looking at what February celebrates. February is Black History Month.

One of my favorite speakers and preachers was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He spoke with such elegance and of the future. There are several of his sermons recorded and his speeches. I have read and listened to several of them. The most notable that many people quote is his speech in front of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, “I Have A Dream”. This speech was given at the completion of a peace protest march in the capital, Washington, D.C. Throughout his sermons and speeches he spoke of change without violence.

Today, in the news was the memorial service for Tyre Nichols. Such sadness as this is not a hate crime of color, as was with George Floyd. When watching the video, I thought of the gang violence in the cities. Gangs fighting and killing others belonging to a different gang is what the video resembled to me, an outsider of their culture. The only difference from watching gangs try to destroy each other is the men attacking wore a badge. What was the reason for such brutality? Cities and the way the culture among those who live there is unknown to me.

Change, everyone says they want change. But as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated change by uniting with a common cause without violence I have not seen. For violence only begins more violence. Violence brings division among each other. Change will only come when each individual wants to unite in peace together.

I still dream of the day when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words will be true for all mankind.

R.I.P. Tyre Nichols.

amtolle

Working My Job

At the first part of January I became employed outside of the farm. It was a necessity since my husband was dismissed from his job in November just before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, we both were busy looking for work.

I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with anxiety being a major symptom and depression. I am afraid of people, and especially of doing the wrong action or saying a wrong word around people. I struggle with social skills due to my mind being wired a little differently, Asperger’s syndrome. So I have a few things going against me in working outside of the farm.

I was careful where I sent my resume, and I prayed a lot about the right place to work. I was hired by the little grocery store in the small town where I live. The automoshere in the store has always been friendly, and I was comfortable with the employees before I went to work there.

Now that I am working there, I am enjoying. I still have a challenge every once in awhile, but thankfully I have been able to handle and work through those challenges. The challenges are understanding and dealing with others. Part of the challenge is identifying when they are having an off day, and not to take it as a personal response.

I do not work in one area. I am all over the place. I do however work two days in the meat department as a meat wrapper. I love this part of the job. Each day I work in the meat department is a little different. I have been learning to wrap meat, grind different meats, season meats, and cleaning. The meat department supervisor and I think a lot alike, and we get along really well. When I work in the meat department, the first part is getting my orders on what to prepare, package and put out on the shelf. After that I am on my own. Today, was a special day. I filled a customer’s request. I also learned I am going to start cutting meat.

There are two days of the week I work on stocking the freezer section when the delivery truck arrives. This is a busy, time pushed day. It is work as fast as you can to get the frozen merchandise out of boxes and on the correct space, as well as rotating the items. We rotate the items that will expire first to the front, and those items that expire later to the back. As I am stocking the food items in the frozen, I am also checking expiration dates. When I am done with the frozen department, I move to the grocery department and start stocking the shelves with the merchandise, until all is done. There are several other employees who start with stocking merchandise in the grocery department. So when I am done, I am assisting them.

Then I work one day, that I never know what I am doing until I show up for work. I might be stocking that day, usually I start with the freezer then move to dairy. Or I might be a cashier all day. It changes.

I like the changing duties as I am not bored. If I were cashier for five days a week, I would quickly become bored with my job and task. With the variety I keep an interest in my job. My ability to change positions and department where I am needed is a big help to the manager. There are some employees who do not want to work in the cold parts of the store. Meat department is always cold at 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Freezer department is even colder.

I know I am where I am supposed to be.

amtolle

Bloganuary Has Started

The prompt for the first day is: What is Something you want to achieve this year?

Write. I want to be more disciplined concerning a set time in my busy schedule to write. I enjoy the activity and creativity of writing. My occupation is a sheep farmer. I raise sheep for income. There are times during the year, especially lambing time, that I am very busy. I am a wife, grandmother, and gardner. Although I am busy, I still need to set time apart from everything else to write. I joined Bloganuary last year, I was able to put words into a post almost everyday. This year, one post each day is the goal.

I do not want to just write a post, but write posts that are enjoyable to read and interesting. I desire improvement of my use of words in describing feelings, places, and action. Not just put short thoughts to words, and call it writing. Grow my writing skills to communicate what I feel, see, smell and hear in the thoughts I am trying to put into words to share with others.

I am working at improving my use of grammar. This one is a little more difficult as I currently am the only editor, but I am discussing with two others on assisting me with this area of improvement.

All of these improvements is to lead to a main goal, get my novel finished and published. I started my novel this past summer, and the progress has been slow. I want to finish and have this novel ready for publication the summer of 2023, if not sooner.

A simple goal when put to words, a challenging goal with applied to my life.

amtolle

Resolutions: Yay or Nay

Recently I have read several posts on the internet from studies about New Year’s resolutions. They all said the same statistics that 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and on 9% of those keep or achieve those resolutions. I have always made New Year’s resolutions with the exception of last year. I did not make any resolutions for last year. I make goals for my sheep farm as part of a yearly business plan, but last year I made no goals or resolutions for me personally.

I read a blog by Dr.Shelly C., Success Strategies, in her post “TED Talk 2023 Public Quest: Would you Share Your Private Goals?” she listed others goals for 2023. One goal stood out for me, “Work on 2020 goals”. In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, and many of us lived day to day. The blog does not list what the specific goals for this person are, but the fact they still want to accomplish those goals show the importance of the goals.

Among my readings I came across many statements saying if you make a goal you need a plan to achieve the goal. In the past I have made resolutions for change with no plan at all on how I was going to reach the goal. Goals do not just show up, there needs to be a plan on reaching the goal. A person does not change their habits without a plan. The more specific the plan is increases the likelihood the goal will be achieved.

In 2021, one of my goals was to lose weight. To lose weight I needed to eat differently than I was and to exercise. I searched for healthier recipes, learned different cooking techniques and exercised beyond just the work on the farm. I lost weight, not all of the weight I wanted to lose, but I still lost weight and felt better. In 2022 I did not work at losing weight. I maintained my eating habits, but dropped the exercise. In response my body added a few, not many, pounds back. I still want to lose the weight, but I will have to be disciplined in exercise to continue with the progress I made in 2021 and reach my desired weight in 2023.

Another point that was made in my readings on the internet was if a person makes a resolution, besides a plan, they have to have a specific reason for the resolution. My desire to lose weight is not to fit into a bikini in the summer, but for my health. Lowering my weight will lower my risks for heart attack, stroke and other health issues as I get older. Since I do not know what my medical history of my parents are due to being adopted, it is best I take the best care of myself as I can. I want to be around for my grandchildren as long as I can, to share their lives. I want to see great grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren. In order to achieve those goals, I need to reach the goal of a healthy weight now.

I have a reason for my resolution of losing weight, and a plan. The statistics of me reaching my goal are good.

Perhaps there are goals you want, but not sure how to reach them. Such as “I want to travel more.” Look at your goal, what do you need to reach that goal? Then make a plan on reaching what is needed to be able to travel more. I spoke with a young man in Wal-Mart yesterday who said he wanted to travel more in 2023, make a few roadtrips. When I asked where he wanted to go, he did not know. If you want to travel, but do not know where you want to go, which direction are you going to travel to reach a destination.

Will you know when you have reached a destination if you do not know where you are going? I think this question sums up why we make resolutions, we want to reach some destination of personal growth as we travel life.

If you are happy with yourself, and your career, and all things about you, perhaps you do not need goals or resolutions. If there is something you wish to be better at such as time management, or organization, perhaps lose a few extra pounds or eat healthier, then perhaps setting a goal with a plan to reach the desired change is needed.

amtolle

Looking at 2022

It seems the more years I live, the faster the time goes by. I look back at all the events of 2022. Each year brings change, a mixture of blessing and sadness. What a busy and blessed year I have had. The year 2022 was not all joy and happiness, there were times of sadness. As we traveled through the year, we were able to meet the challenges with finances for what the occasion required. I am thankful for the blessing of our finances in the year 2022.

The year started with sadness as we learned my husband’s sister had cancer, and it was advanced to the condition treatments would not help. We were blessed in the fact he was able to travel twice to see her before she passed. He was able to attend her memorial and the spreading of her ashes. Most years our finances would not have allowed for the travel.

My oldest son finally procured a job he had been striving to obtain for the past two years. An opening came and he was hired. This job has different working hours which allows his daughter to be able to participate in school sports and activities. Prior, he would not be off work in time to pick her up after the activities. His wife does not drive. So my granddaughter could not pursue any after school activities. This year she has go out for every sport, and enjoyed them as well as some after school clubs.

The beginning of the year brought us the happy news of additional grandchildren to be added to our family. My son and his wife were expecting another child in June. In March, we learned my daughter was expecting, triplets.

April came in as most springs and the news my son and his wife’s baby is a girl. Girls are rare among the grandchildren (5 granddaughters, 10 grandsons ). In June, I was able to visit my daughter-in-law and hold my new granddaughter in the hospital, which is very special as I have not been able to make very many of the births of my grandchildren. While living in Texas has had many blessings, the one disadvantage is that we are so far away from family.

May is always a happy time for me. May is when I go to Colorado and bring my grandson, Mr. J, down for a few weeks visit. When Mr. J was two, he lived with us for almost a year, and each year since he has come for a visit. This year we fished almost everyday. I taught him to fish. Our favorite fish to try to catch, catfish. We have caught some large ones and this year was no different. Yet, my grandson out fishes me with more fish and larger fish. It is always a joy to have him visit. Then on the return home, we arrived when his little sister and my granddaughter was born.

July, my oldest daughter and her three children made their first visit to our farm. It was great to give my grandchildren horseback lessons and play with baby lambs. We visited my youngest daughter and her family. Enjoyed some really good smoked Bar B Q, as my son-in-law is an awesome cook. Played games and watched movies. It was a real blessing and time of sharing having both my daughters and their children under one roof having fun and making memories. A week does not last long, but we managed to create many memories in one week.

In September, I went and stayed with my granddaughter and son-in-law as my youngest daughter was hospitalized due to her pregnancy with triplets. My daughter was informed she would eventually have to be hospitalized because of the strain triplets are on the mother’s body as soon as July. She was able to stay home until two weeks before their scheduled delivery. They made it to scheduled delivery time and were not placed in the NICU unit, as the boys were healthy and able to breath on their own. A true answer to prayer as it is the first time that hospital has had triplets born that did not go to the NICU unit.

I was blessed with being able to stay with them and help for five weeks. I truly enjoyed the time with my granddaughter, Ms. E., taking her to and from school, sleeping with her and assisting with her homework. Ms. E. thought is was good her Granny was staying with her and thought it would be best if I just stayed and lived with them. But I needed to get back to the farm as lambs were soon to be born and Papa needed help.

With the birth of the triplets, I also was told my uncle had passed, just a few days before their birth. The last of my dad’s brothers and one I was close to. His health had not been good the past few years. I was unable to attend his funeral service as I was caring for my granddaughter and could not leave.

October brought my youngest son moving his family to Indiana. His home sold in Colorado for the asking price and in a depressed market, and he was able to move his family to where he is working, Indiana. It is good for a family to be together, and this move was good. Although he is two hours closer to where we live, it is still a long way for a visit.

November arrived and we were hit with the challenge of my husband being dismissed from work. We had planned on him staying at this employment until he retires in a five years, but things happen, plans change. Although he was unemployed, I was happy he no longer was working for this company. After a few days at the house, I had the man I married almost fourteen years, back. This job had created so much frustration and irritation to him, he would come home grumpy. He was grumpy and tired every evening. Now he has peace, laughter and joy back in his life daily. While we are living from a savings account, there is peace about our future. We are not sure what is ahead of us, but we have peace on where we are. Will it be a new business? will the sheep make enough income? or will the next employment be a job he really enjoys? Will we live closer to my daughter? All questions with very few answers, but peace all the time.

The year of 2022 has brought many changes to our family, most of those changes are blessings. While we will miss those who have passed, we have so much to be thankful for.

amtolle