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Thank you to all the readers who have checked out the new I Live on a Farm website. Today I posted some free Valentine eCards there ... in case you would like to take a look or send one. Fireflys Vintage Heart Made of ButtonsWe continue to enjoy a cold and snowy winter here. Each day more snow falls, if even for only an hour or so. I am more relaxed now when I go out in temperatures below 10 degrees ... I still feel the cold, but it doesn't make me tense up the way it did at first. I have had to, on a number of occasions, go outside early in the day to take the trash to the road or run an errand or such. I can get out there and scrape snow and ice off the truck in zero degree weather and not particularly think about the fact that it is cold. In fact, it is actually fun to face the elements and best a storm, when given an opportunity to. A week ago, we had an emergency situation after dinner one evening. It was snowing wicked heavy and strong gusts of winds were blowing. My husband drove us along, in white-out after white-out and got us to where we were going safely. The view from inside a moving vehicle when the wind blows snow so dense you can't see anything beyond your own windshield is frightening. However, I didn't feel frightened or scared even one time as he drove. He has lived here his entire life ... and he has skills. Afterwards, though I would have liked not to have had the emergency situation in the first place, I was grateful that something in life had gotten us out into that weather together. I came away with a warm and comforting feeling that he and I can indeed weather any storm, and best the elements together whatever life may bring. For several days in a row last week various elements of a difficult and trying situation needed to be faced and dealt with. In the beginning I felt tense and worn out, willing to face whatever had to be faced but wishing very much it didn't have to be faced. Fireflys Barns in the Community in the SnowA few days later though, I was driving along one of our pretty country roads, with beautiful snow everywhere, drifts blowing across here and there. As I drove I was of course thinking about the events of days and the day I was in. I started seeing the faces, one-by-one, of the various people who had helped in one way or another in the parade of difficulties I had been feeling enveloped in. Then my attention shifted from resisting a difficult situation, to thinking only about the subject of help. When I focused on that aspect of it, I saw several days of beautiful experiences, and beautiful people all pulled together in various ways to do one simple thing ... help. The opportunity to help one another brings out the best any of us has to offer. It is an interesting thing, because help benefits both the person receiving the help and the person giving the help. Helping someone else, coming to someone's aid and knowing you did something that actually touched another person, is one of the most profoundly simple and beautiful feelings that can be experienced ... in my humble opinion. Perhaps it is a divine pay off for doing that which you are best suited for. And I think helping one another is what we are each best suited for. What about you, do you think help is possible? Fireflys Barns in the Community in the Snow 2As I drove along I realized the emergency and subsequent "difficulties" were in fact a blessing, and that when I was struggling with it all and resisting and tensing up and feeling worn out, it was all because I wasn't getting it. Life had presented an beautiful opportunity to find resolutions and friendship and warmth from a somewhat broad range of people right here in this sweet community I now live in. It was all a good thing, and the entire experience was something I had every reason to be grateful for. How many times am I going to learn this lesson in life? I was sure it had already gotten through my thick head ... embrace life, whatever happens, whatever comes my way. It is all good, it is all a part of the adventure. Every bit and speck and piece and parcel of offers something to be sincerely grateful for if I maintain a healthy perspective. I am pretty certain I will learn the lesson again and again throughout my life. Many times I will keep this lesson learned in my heart at the outset of events, rather than remembering as I gaze through a rear-view mirror. Other times I will be thick-headed and cause myself stress and distress unnecessarily, and then later recall the lesson again through that ever clear rear-view mirror. That's cool. I can take it. And, now that I am no longer alone ... we can take it. We can best life's storms and thoroughly enjoy the elements, together. Fireflys Oil Painting of the Summer Vacation Spot in CaliforniaMeanwhile, back at the farm ... I knitted a pretty hat for my daughter last week and am working on putting together a kit so people could order the yarn and pattern together over at my new I Live on a Farm website. I will continue to design and offer free knitting patterns there, but I want to work up some kits as well. I also complete an oil painting yesterday. This is a scene from a family summer vacation spot in California, south of Lake Tahoe. I haven't given the painting a name as yet, but the name will come to me within a few days most likely. I painted this for my son; it is about 18" x 24". Here's to storms, and here's to love, ~firefly Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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