I’m all ears

Last week it was six months since the fires. Six months since my Dad died. I chose not to write anything about it or even mention it on social media. A couple friends did and I just read what they wrote and kept scrolling.

I’m not going to lie, but it’s been hard. This year hasn’t been very kind to my family. I wrote something for my work blog and don’t really want to rehash it here, but it needed to be wrote. If you care to read it, it’s located here.

I offered advice to my readers about family farming disputes, and I honestly think my advice can apply to about any situation regarding family. The last paragraph sums it up pretty well.

Communicate. Plan. Discuss. Avoiding the tough conversation of who “gets the farm or ranch” won’t solve anything. Everything comes at a price. An open, honest conversation costs nothing.

My mother recently told me I need to help her clean out the closet I used during my years at home. I made an excuse—where am I going to put it in my own house?—and haven’t broached the subject again. I really don’t want to go through that stuff. I know what’s there. One day when I’m really ambitious, I will sort through my stuff. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.

I also made the same comment to my two boys that we needed to sort through their toys and gift some of them to my friend’s little boy. You would have thought I suggested giving their “baby horse” or “blankley” to him. Not what I was suggesting to them at all, but somehow I got them energized enough to clean the playroom enough to get it organized. One of these days when it’s too cold to do much outside, I will send them with their Dad and I will sort and purge. Then get the box of toys to my friend.

The debacle with the playroom and toys seriously made me consider not buying any more toys for Christmas and birthdays. I do think the youngest is too young to appreciate doing “experiences” for gifts instead of physical toys that will just take up space and drive his mother crazy. But I’m considering tucking away part of the money spent on toys and creating a fund for experiences. Trips to the zoo or amusement park; a family vacation or trip somewhere out of state; even a train or plane ride.

I’m a crappy housekeeper, and the toys just seem to multiply. Same with the dirty socks, granola bar wrappers and stickers. It’s just hard to keep up. If you have thoughts or ideas about curbing the overabundance of toys in my house I’m all ears.

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Five years

My blog will be 5 years old on Jan. 11, 2017. Initially, it started as a way to get out the many thoughts I had swirling around in my head. It helped me get through maternity leave when my first son was born in May 2011. Same with the second in February 2014. It helped me get through the death of my father-in-law and other family and friends. More often than not, I write about subjects that annoy me or make me think, and often times others share my same thoughts and ideas.

Last week before the new year, I decided to go back and look at the statistics for my site. In 2016, I had one of the most viewed blog posts ever, I’m a rural voter. It had 6,517 views. I was completely blown away when it got shared and shared and shared again. In the history of my blog, I’d never had that kind of exposure. It also made me think about the subjects I write about on my blog and how they resonate with readers.

In 2016, I’d only written 11 blog posts, but garnered 8,415 views, most because of the rural voter post. Previously, the most views I’d gotten was 2,922 in the first year of blogging. I’d written 78 posts. So, I guess you can say, I’ve learned that less is more.

Here’s the top 6 posts in 2016:

  1. I’m a rural voter
  2. January 21
  3. Out of my comfort zone
  4. Losers live forever
  5. There’s always something new
  6. Thank you

I’d like to thank those who have taken the time to read my posts, and/or comment on them. Its amazing when people can relate to my thoughts and ideas. If you have any questions or ideas for me, just let me know. I look forward to interacting more with readers. Happy New Year!

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Worldly possessions

I ran across a line this morning that summed up the thoughts I had last night as I rummaged through some stuff looking for a particular item. “It’s not what we take, but what we leave behind.”

What I don’t want to leave behind is a mess for my children and family to have to deal with. I don’t want them to have to sort through all the cards, pictures and miscellaneous crap I’ve managed to accumulate in my life. I don’t want them to have to choose what gets thrown in the trash pile. They really shouldn’t have to do that while grieving.

I always thought my Grandmother Orebaugh was strange for writing names on the bottoms of items she wanted her children and their families to have. It saved some strife in the trying days after they were killed in a car accident in February 1989. It was her way of making sure, in her mind, people got her prize possessions the way she wanted them to. I may not go that far, but I really should put some thought into it.

On a recent trip north of our house I noticed on a neighbors place they had the farm machinery lined up along the fence, almost like they were preparing for a farm sale. The owner was in a serious car accident last fall and has been in the nursing home since. At his advanced age, I really don’t see him returning to the farm. I don’t know if they’re having a sale, but from the looks of it, they just might be. And that makes me incredibly sad. The neighbor has worked his entire life for something, only to have it sold off to the highest bidder. I’ve written about farm sales and what they do to people before, so I’m not here to rehash that, but instead put down thoughts about my own junk.

I’ve only been on this earth 37 years and in that time, I’ve acquired more than enough “junk” or stuff I may or may not need. I hold on to something because of the memory it brings out. I still have my childhood blanket (tucked away in my closet) and up until I was in college it was on my bed. I have some of the first outfits my boys wore as babies. I still have the wedding shower, wedding and baby shower cards. I haven’t looked at any of them for quite a while, but I’d feel awful throwing them out. I also have clothes I probably won’t ever wear again, but hell I spent money on them and I may do something with them, even if my sewing machine is out of order and a project with them is saved for a long winter day.

But what I do know is I want to leave my kids the kinds of things most parents do. To know they are loved, to teach them to be kind and smart and not be assholes. I want them to have a sense of humor and know what it’s like to have fun. I want them to spend their money wisely, get an education and a good job. I don’t care if that job is cowboying, driving truck or writing and taking photos. If it makes them happy, I’m happy. But if they want my collection of rodeo photographs or my saddle and tack, I’d be happy with that as well.

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My sister tagged me in this on social media, and oh how it rings true!