Sunday, June 30, 2013

Choosing Light

   I sat down this evening with the intention to write about the recent influx of pests in my garden. The past three or four days I have paid my potagerie very little attention, and now I'm paying the price. So I snapped a million photos of the insects that are thrashing my little speck of Eden and planned to share them and my attendant complaints about what each of them are doing to my personal happiness.

   Maybe, I thought, I can share some worthwhile information about organic pest control. That's the sugarcoating, my flimsy excuse to vent. Here's the ugly truth:  Maybe, I thought, I  can scratch this itch of rage by whining and moaning for a while, in gushing abandon all over my innocent keyboard. If I tell everyone how pissed I am (about this and other things) then surely I'll be happy again.

   Just scripting in my head what to say about bugs and loss and organic methods felt incredibly negative and, ironically, poisonous. The more I walked around outside, dwelling on the problems crawling at my shins, the less I could see the beauty around me. I saw only grasshoppers and forgot to celebrate yellow squash, straight, bright, and perfect. I saw only an herb bed full of grass and failed to notice until a while later that Dulcinea was running down to the pond, back uphill, and down again, splashing in the mud just for the fun of it. I failed to notice how many flowers have made colorful progress this week, despite my inattention.

   I cursed the mud on my bare feet instead of relishing the moisture.

   Then I came inside, made a desperate cup of coffee for dinner instead of food (Handsome and I are not sharing meals today), and started downloading the garden photos. My mean spirit was ready to spew a bunch of complaints and possibly even some vulgarity to the internet, thinking foolishly that getting it all off my chest will make me feel better. Not even caring what it would do to you. Or my husband.

   In those simmering, ugly moments I happened on this photo that I barely remember taking. The wild orange day lilies that flank my vegetable garden entrance are blooming heavily right now, and at this time of day when the sun hangs serenely over the pond, the most glorious light is cast over this scene.

The combination of a decades-old rusted bike with trumpet vine and day lilies makes me feels so at home.

   This is probably the only beautiful photo I took tonight. And seeing it took me completely by surprise. So I started meditating on a good bit of poetry or strong quote to pair with it.

   Do you know what I found, almost immediately?

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
Only love can do that."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

   Exactly what our book club has been studying lately, and what I have been gleaning from other good sources too,  in so many ways. The message is that combating my negative energy with more negative energy is futile. I have zero hope of vanquishing sadness and anger with complaints and cursing. That behavior will only make everything worse, for me and my loved ones. For Handsome. And dwelling on the weird things I fear is more likely to bring them to fruition rather than "prepare me for the worst," as my brittle ego declares it will.
   Obviously, tonight I am upset about far more important things than just garden insects. My heart has been dry and heavy. I was consumed with worry and shame, emptiness and just good old fashioned sadness. And I have felt weak, selfish, angry, sorry, rejected, indignant, and powerless to combat it this time. Tempted to shut everything down externally and just quit trying to be positive. Quit trying to matter and be so annoyingly buoyant. It's exhausting. And lonely.

   So the insects are kind of catching my wrath right now. Deservedly, I guess, because as small as they are they have the power to destroy my Eden. If I allow them to.

   As small as worries are, they can steal your joy. 
If you allow them to.

   I have a grip now. I remember that light is constantly available, and it is our strength.

   Light is in abundance, too. It's not a limited commodity. Darkness is powerless against it, so let it in whenever you have a choice. Which is every moment of your life.

   Thanks for listening, I hope I didn't inject a bunch of sadness into your world.

   And if you happen to have any organic gardening tips, send 'em my way! Find this blog on Facebook and post, post, post those ideas. I have a murderous week ahead of me.

   To my husband, if you read, this, I love you. To my children, if you read this, I love you.

   To my book club girls, thank you.



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Iron Goat 2013 (upping the ante)

   When your husband mows and grooms the back field path where you run, and he asks about your weekly schedule to help you find more time for running, and maybe he even comments on how you need new running shoes... is he calling you fat? Maybe. It certainly feels that way for a minute. Or, as Handsome recently said (rather defensively), he just knows that you're in a much better mood when you run regularly.

   He's absolutely right.


   It's high time for another Iron Goat, friends.

   Last summer I dove into this little fitness challenge with my sister-in-law's inspiration and the encouragement of lots of friends. It was so fun and fruitful! I first described the Iron Goat right here. Then I offered a quick update halfway through the plan. Finally, I wrote a recap several weeks later. Here are the quick nuts and bolts:

The Iron Goat training program is simply 
the gradual accomplishment of the Iron Man challenges,
spread over a month instead of one day.
This amounts to, over the course of one month, 
running 26.2 miles,
biking 112 miles, 
and swimming 2.4 miles.
Totally doable, you guys.

   It all sounded to me like a crazy amount of exercise until it was done. Now it seems light. Last summer was an experiment, a springboard to better personal goals. It served to get me moving, and I soon found myself hooked on a brand new running lifestyle. 

   This summer is more exciting, for two reasons: I know now that the running piece is not only possible but will feel amazing; and now I own a bike. An actual, functioning, hand-brakes, multi-speed, non rusted, rubber-tire having bicycle with a leatherish seat and a pretty baby blue paint job and everything. So I can actually complete the 112 miles-on-wheels piece. The swimming will again be pretty approximate, but even laps around our round pool are enough to get my arms and tummy burning.

   This time I am upping the ante a little. I want to double the running goal and accomplish the swimming and biking goals... In half the time. That's two full calendar weeks for me to...

Run 53 miles, bike 112 miles, and swim 2 or 3 miles. 

   Will you join me?

   The point is not just to do some slimming; it's to stretch some boundaries. Experience those feelings of accomplishment and transformation.

   The slimming will happen naturally because with that much consistent activity and challenge, your body will crave better food and more water. and you'll be shocked at what changes happen in two weeks.

   If not the Iron Goat, then what exercise are you seeking this summer? What are you doing to care for your body and your spirit? I have several girlfriends who are making concerted efforts to move and sweat every day, and they are such an inspiration! No matter how busy you are, you have time to be healthy. Activity and good food will improve your life in every sphere.

"Lack of activity destroys the good condition 
of every human being,
while movement and methodical physical exercise
save it and preserve it."


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Morning Meditation

   Early this morning, while my full household is still in a deep sleep,  I tiptoe outside with my first big cup of perfect coffee and notice a million wonderful things.

   Beach towels, socks, and tee shirts hang around the south lawn like gypsy caravan curtains. Wild birds chirp a lilting, effervescent soundtrack against the breeze combing through the oak trees. Romulus (our daddy llama) strolls through the shallow edge of the pond, splashing just a little. The sun begins to pour his molten blessings over the day, over every building, every tree, every fence post, every flower. Every thought and emotion.

   The same light breeze that combed through the oak trees now ruffles my un-brushed hair and delivers a slender blue dragonfly to my shinbone. I secretly hope that the sugar and cream in my coffee will attract more visitors, like maybe the hummingbird from yesterday, so I sit very still for a long time.

   The red wicker chair and footstool are for the moment the most comfortable seat in the world. The carrot ferns and potato plants are incredibly fluffy this morning. And behind me the squash vines have never been more lush.  My gaze shifts forward, past the lower edge of my vegetable garden and toward the pond. The pond is so glassy and content looking this summer.

   Suddenly but gently the thought occurs to me that without the recent years of drought I could not so fully appreciate the simple beauty of this overflowing pond. This small body of water would be common and unnoticeable to me instead of miraculous.

   Then the thoughts follows that without so many violent winds in recent months I might be less compelled to sit still on a Sunday morning and enjoy the stillness and drink in all of this mild and otherwise common beauty.

   And how can I ignore this next thought? That without the pain and echo of an empty nest, I might view two weeks of house guests as just extra work and thereby deny Handsome and myself the experience of so much wonderful pleasure and love.

   My arms and legs are heating up now in the sun, and my coffee cup is nearly empty. Roosters are finally crowing on both sides of me... ours to the east and north and a neighbor's to the west. A smaller dragonfly now hoovers near the yellow coreopsis at my elbow. It's definitely time now to rouse my temporary family and get them ready for church.

   But I feel like I have already had church here by myself.

   What abundance do you have in your life at this moment that you are able to more fully appreciate because of a loss or a previous difficulty? How many prayers have been answered in ways that buoy your hope for more?


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Love Never Left Us

   Last night our famous little Oklahoma book club, Dinner Club With a Reading Problem, gathered for another lively and loving evening. It was my turn to host here at the farm. To add even more fun to the story, the scheduled event fell in the middle of our vacation time with nieces and nephews.

Once again, this week and next Handsome and I have a house full 
of wonderful children who belong to other people.
I have not yet taken the time to stop and write about 
all the fun we're having with them this week!
So much. The farm is absolutely buzzing
with activity and laughter, love and memory making.
All my old fears about being adequate for a group of kids this age 
have dissolved in the fun soup of chlorine water and home cooked meals.
My heart is actually healing in unexpected ways, too.
And instead of stress I am feeling homesick already for when they leave.

   So last night my book club girls descended on us in their usual affectionate ways. They were, as always, armed with delicious edibles and intelligent remarks about the book we were discussing, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. More importantly, though, they brought compassion, insight, and wisdom. These are gifts we share with each other no matter what the topic; but with a title like A Return to Love that draws so much gritty, sometimes uncomfortable introspection, the gifts are a balm on open wounds.

    Have you read this book? It's brimming with inspirational but also controversial themes. Here I wrote about my first gut reactions to the book. The seven of us who gathered did not agree on it across the board. And because our group is so diverse and we all feel so free to speak our minds, last night I had the chance to see the book in a different light. I learned more about my friends, too, and feel even closer to them now for the learning. Whether we individually "liked" the book or not, one common thread between us was the timeliness of the material. Whatever each of us gained from reading it, whether glowing inspiration or painful personal challenge, seemed to be received at a time we really needed it. And sharing our thoughts and feelings with each other just kind of intensified the experience.

   Our fun lasted for several hours, from the heat of rush hour traffic to the moonlit dark of night. We grazed on good food, though perhaps less of it than usual; the summer heat has possibly zapped our appetites. We watched as two of my three resident teens, Sammy and Koston, made fast friends with Tracy's daughter Lauren and her friend Sophie. They swam and told ghost stories and seemed to bond as well as lifelong friends ever do. We welcomed my third resident sweetie Harley as a guest in our discussion. She is an avid young reader, eager to discuss things in depth, and has a craving to start her own book club. We purchased for quarters and dollars several piles of castoff books out of the trunk of Seri's minivan. We watched the llama family and tolerated the screaming parrot. Some of us played with frogs and jumped on the trampoline. Some of us most certainly did not.

   We shared fears about serious illness and the spider-webbing effects it can have on life. We talked a lot about parental relationships, both abstractly and intimately. My friends had good advice for me, and they cannot know how much I appreciate it. We talked about the human ego, the female tendency to berate ourselves while glorifying others, and the difficult power of taking long hard looks in the mirror. Somehow, probably because we all needed it, the talks kept circling back to the mechanics of surrender. Once you know you should turn something over to God, or faith, or Love, or prayer, however you express that yourself, how do you actually go about doing it? What does surrender look and feel like? What are the dance moves, so to speak? And how powerful is the imagination, after all?

   I'll eventually get around to writing a proper book review, but here are some of the quotes we shared with each other as among our favorites. All are directly quoted from the book and belong to Marianne Williamson:

I accept the beauty within me as who I really am.


That which is surrendered is taken care of best.


What we withhold from others, we withhold from ourselves.


We can't really give to our children what we don't have ourselves.


Faith is the acknowledgement of union.


We create what we defend against.


Sharing our gifts is what makes us happy. 
We're most powerful and God's power is most apparent on earth, 
when we're happy.

   I love my book club so much. I love every single woman here and miss dearly those who have moved on. I love the community we have built. I love the growth we enjoy. I love the recipes we share. I love our mutual addiction to books and reading. I love that we all get excited when we discover a young woman wanting to start her own book club at school.

   The downstairs of our house is still happily littered with crumb-dusted serving plates, stacks of used books, a bowl of grapes, and a few empty glasses. The Apartment is still full of sleeping beauties. The red wicker lawn furniture is draped in damp beach towels and errant socks. At midnight I filled the dishwasher and ran it but didn't have the heart to clean everything up. As always, the loving vibrations are too irresistible to swipe away so soon. I just want to wrap up in the feeling and find all of my people and wrap them up too. Especially my babies, my girls who are nearly women now. Please pray for them.

   Thanks so much for another invaluable night, friends. We have real love among us. I am still trusting that amazing miracles are in store for each of you. At the farm we are enjoying a return to love in so many ways, the biggest being the realization that Love never left us.

All You Need is Love



Sunday, June 16, 2013

And So It Begins...

   Tonight for dinner I enjoyed the season's first bowl of hot pasta topped with olive oil, garlic, and...


   And this is how I felt about it:

   The end.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Zucchini Secret Service

   Last night as the sun was sliding downhill, past the pond and behind where the coyotes lurk, I went to the garden to check our squash vines. Given the war I recently waged against the cabbage pests, I've been fully expecting to one day discover thousands of those flat, grey squash bugs devouring my third most favorite crop.

   Side note: I like to use the word "crop" when referring to my garden, even though all it really amounts to is "a few plants we eat."

   Anyway, imagine my surprise and delight to see not only this...

I <heart> zuchinni.

   ...a beautiful early crop of firm, bright zucchini, but also this:

I <heart> frogs to a slightly lesser degree. But I love that they eat bugs!

   ...two tiny green tree frogs!! And not a squash bug in sight.

   Dare I believe that these dime-sized creatures are eating the insects? Dare I hope to have a zucchini bumper crop this summer?

   Dare I stuck my arm in that thick vine forest to harvest said crop, knowing that frogs are nearby and might jump on me?

   I would honestly rather deal with the buffalo.

Chunk-hi, our four year old buffalo bull. We <heart> him completely.

   Happy gardening, friends!!

Frogs are scary, mmm-k???

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

13 Things We Do

1. When the garden hoses are already stretched across Kingdom Come so we can fill the water trough in the front field, we usually take that opportunity to spray down the buffalo. He loves it, especially if he's shedding like now. Then he wags his glorious wet mane at us and gets us all muddy.

2.  We collect fresh eggs every morning and sometimes again in the afternoon. If our hands are full, then we carefully slip an egg or two in the back pocket of our cut off jeans and go about the day. Then later we forget about the secret cargo and sit on the Talking Tree swing and end up with a smooshy, crusty back pocket that is glued to our posterior.

3.  We listen to Johnny Cash classics on our iPhone while doing outdoor chores, often causing us to break into a groovy little two-step, often causing us to get long awkward stares from passersby. Few though they may be, people driving on our road have impeccable timing.

4.  We paint stuff turquoise, chalkboard, or more recently... gold.

5.  We have so many pairs of flip flops all around the house, and all of them are broken.

6.  We speak to the baby chicks in pretend foreign accents, guaranteeing that not only will they grow up to be terrified of us; they also will have no idea what any human is really saying, ever.

7.  Declare to each other every other day that we will eat more cleanly. Go to fewer restaurants. Never buy bread again. Cook less pasta. Ignore ice cream cravings.

Tuesday afternoon edit, just as I post this: 
Handsome just called me on his way home from the office.
We're going out for dinner.
I had just this morning harvested great quantities of fresh veggies for eating.
These facts may or may not be related.

8.  We watch History channel and Discovery channel shows voraciously. Especially if they are about nature, Armageddon type stuff, or World War II.

9.  We pack our social calendar and generally over-schedule ourselves to the point of exhaustion. Then we take a breather. And immediately feel bored and as if we are missing out on something big.

10.  We groom the horses exactly thirty minutes before they had a pond bath appointment. This is akin to washing cars right before a big rainstorm.

11.  We consider it a noteworthy personal achievement to walk barefoot across the gravel driveway. This is exciting but necessitated by, of course, the broken flip flops.

12.  We play a made up game called "Name That Internet Meme." Handsome is an avid Reddit peruser, and I am an avid Redditer's wife. In other words, he watches the funny stuff and occasionally calls them out to me or posts them to my Facebook wall. I have gotten pretty good at identifying the meme just by its caption and punchline, with very little voice inflection on his part. This game is kinda hard to explain. If you "do" Reddit then maybe you get it. If we are friends in 3-D we can play it sometime. Super funny.

13. aaaannnnd... We watch llamas. We watch the heck out of the llamas.

The End.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Milestone, Miracles, and a Goodbye.

   Today was my sweet Momma's birthday. Her double-nickel birthday, to be exact. Handsome and I joined her and my Dad, my baby brother, our nephew and his friend for dinner in the City. We ate a Tex-Mex feast on a very sunny balcony. So very sunny. Really hot. Like lava. The sun set in a curvy line behind the biggest skyscraper downtown. My nephew was confused.

Feliz Cumpleanos! 

   We had the best time. We always do, really. I love my family so much, and I know I take them for granted. I feel nauseous sometimes to realize how many days have passed since I've seen them, or weeks. Or months in some cases.

   Tonight we teased my Dad about how many wounds and scars he has on his arms and legs at the moment. To say he is accident prone isn't quite right; it's more fair to say that he has an abject disregard for his personal well being and never ever stops working. Physical work.

   My nephew quipped, "Grandpa's not really a handyman; he must be in Fight Club." In addition to his numerous bumps and bruises, this would explain why Dad's not much of a talker. No worries, because the rest of us love to talk. Love it.


   Earlier today, before this heat and this laughter,  Handsome and I attended a funeral. A friend of ours buried his mother. She was older than mine, but not that much. She seemed too young to be gone, except that she had endured a long, difficult illness and her release was a blessing.

   Hearing our friend's grief to say goodbye to his Mom was deeply moving. It softened my heart in unexpected ways; and it certainly made the hours I spent with my own Momma tonight extra sweet.

   He and his brother both read beautiful poems they each had written to honor their Mom, and the whole room held our breath together then sobbed gently.

Me with Momma on Mother's Day last year.
She taught me to love gardens and gardening.
She has a carefree, affectionate gardening style, 
and this is one corner of her paradise in Oklahoma City.
Those blue and purple flowers behind us? Larkspur.
She cut them all and brought them to our farm in large buckets 
early the morning of the wedding we hosted last May.
That's how she is.

   I also exchanged some loving notes with my first born today. I cannot overstate what a miracle this is, this recent trend between us. And soon I want to describe the journey from despair to joy in full, but not tonight.

   That's all I really have to say. Just that life is full of reminders to love more deeply and appreciate each other more fully. I received my reminders today.

   Happy Birthday Momma, I love you so much!!

   And friends, please say some prayers for the peace and comfort of our friends Trent and Carrie and their family. Thank you!

Love your people.
Anticipate Miracles.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

A New Book & a Stronger Hold on a Locked Worry Door

   This month our famous little Oklahoma book club, Dinner Club With a Reading Problem, is trying something a little different. We are reading Marianne Williamson's A Return to Love, which I have just started and am already, well loving. Thank you sweet Stephanie for the assignment!

   For a while we all had been hearing nibblets of wisdom associated with this woman (perhaps so have you) and I had mistakenly thought she was the author of A Course in Miracles. Not so, She studied Course in her youth and became quite an accomplished student of its philosophies and teachings. She started giving lectures, which turned into speaking events, which grew into her book and subsequent wild popularity. I urge you to join us in reading the book if you have a little time.


   Since I've only just begin to tread A Return to Love and certainly have not yet read the Course, tonight I only have a little nibble for you. But it's a doozie.

   You know how for months I have been prattling on and on about positive thinking? Perhaps you have heard mention of the Secret from time to time, or at least you tune into the notion that counting our blessings is the way to go? Right. Also, the Worry Door. Were you a regular guest of this digital Lazy W when I wrote about that?

   If you have a couple of minutes, I would love for you to read what happened almost a year ago: I had a bonafide vision that has since guided me away from a worried lifestyle. It has been revolutionary for me, and slowly I am seeing actual, tangible results in my life, in my relationships, in my earthly circumstances.

   You guys. The repeated wisdom here is too intense to brush off as coincidence.

   This Return to Love is echoing all the best things to my heart, in just the first few chapters.

   It is either going to be one of those books I read in a single day or one of those books that takes me a month because every page, no, every paragraph, warrants note taking and essay writing.

   I know you have many good things to do, but please let me share something small with you. These are Marianne Williamson's words:

"I realized, many years ago, that I must be very powerful if I could mess up everything I touched, everywhere I went, with such amazing consistency. I figured there must be a way to apply the same mental power, then embedded in neurosis, in a more positive way. A lot of today's most common psychological orientation is to analyze the darkness in order to reach the light, thinking that if we focus on our neuroses- their origins and dynamics- then we will move beyond them. Eastern religions tell us that is we go for God, all that is not authentically ourselves will drop. Go for the light and darkness will disappear. Focus on Christ means focus on the goodness and power that lie latent within us, in order to invoke them into realization and expression. We get in life that which we focus on. Continual focus on darkness leads us, as individuals and as a society, further into darkness. Focus on the light brings us into the light."

   What do you think? Yes, a sentence up there smacks of humanism, but I am not suggesting a debate. Just an effort to see how much we all have in common. It's really both refreshing and terrifying to see the pillars of Christian faith expressed in such light-filled, inclusive language.

   Have you read The Secret? Or the Bonhoeffer biography yet? Or C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man? Speaking only for my own spiritual journey, I know these books have found their way to me for a reason, a complicated and wonderful weave of ideas and expressions. Now Return to Love. Wow.

   Positive thinking is powerful. Negative thinking is powerful. Our thoughts manifest. We all are members of the church, the body of Christ, regardless of man-made denomination. Love is the bottom line.

   I am listening, Universe.

"Worry is a Misuse of the Imagination."
~Dan Zadra

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

You are Loved

Happy Wednesday friends!
I hope you see love and feel love
around every corner.
I hope you find new ways 
to express it.
Be soft when you can.

You are loved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Senses Inventory: Sleepy Stormy Morning

Good morning sweet friends.
I don't know about you, but I am a little sleepy today.
Thunderstorms, lightning, and heavy rain woke us up in the wee hours, 
gripping the house rudely, slashing apart the sky, and rising the pond another foot or so.
I think I was already seventy-three or seventy-four percent awake when that started, though,
so my mascara-smeared eyes are about five hours short on sleep.
The dark, moody environment is beautiful but not exactly conducive 
to a chipper, energetic launch into activity. 
As I finish some excellent coffee and gather my scraps of energy
for today's work and projects...
a quick senses inventory.

See:  Blue-white twinkle lights draped on our fireplace mantle. Colorful living rooms furnishings around me and new artwork on a gallery wall to my left. Clean wood floor. Spiky houseplant adorned with a bright blue parrot feather. A lidded, blue mason jar filled with pens and pencils. Short stack of notebooks, magazines, and books to read.

Hear: Wind pushing angrily into the chimney. Crashing, rumbling thunder. Rain. Groaning doors and windows, like I am in a ship on the ocean not a house on the plains. Guineas alerting us to a raccoon caught in a live trap overnight.

Taste: Perfect coffee. Remnants of breakfast, which was a cheesy sausage omelette. Minty kiss from Handsome still on the front of my lips.

Smell: Coffee. Coconut-vanilla scented wax. Occasionally a waft of rain or the last trace of that wonderful toasted bread fragrance.

Touch: Air conditioning kicking on early today, slicing charitably through the humidity. Lace tablecloth at my wrists. Bare feet on a squeaky, shiny wood floor. Cuffed jeans I have now worn for three days straight.

Think: How do I measure up? Should I rearrange my schedule? Should I stop blogging and just write? Will my little cucumber sprouts survive the floods? I hope the herb bed fills in soon.

Feel:  Cautiously optimistic about some important unknowns in life. Grateful. Creative but sleepy. A little wistful to have said goodbye to Mortimer the garden-munching turtle. Homesick for my girls but so thrilled for their health and well being. Excited for the big things coming for each of them. Also still feeling extremely, shamefully romantic.

Thanks for joining me today! 
I would sure love to know how the world looks, 
smells, tastes, and feels where you are.
Have an amazing day.


Monday, June 3, 2013

I Love Having a Husband Who... dressed up all handsome and sharp for church and still spontaneously walks through damp grass to check on my turtle, give him extra water, and pull his terrarium to the shade. running a fever and battling a ferocious headache yet still musters the strength to work half a day chainsawing fallen trees, repairing buffalo fence, and patching a chicken coop after storms.

...would not hurt his Dad's feelings for all the Baskin Robbins peanut-butter ice cream in the world.

...prizes truth over tradition and joy over drama.

...has a way of making every one of his employees feel like a valued team member... maximized, appreciated, supported, and propelled into more than any lesser leader would dare dream.

...brags openly about my home-cookin' but when we are alone on the weekend begs me to get take out so I am not away from him for hours in the kitchen. He would rather cuddle when possible. Unless the menu is Alfredo pizza or fish tacos. The cuddlin' can wait just a little while.

...can make me laugh so hard when I feel like crying.

...hates to read books but supports my feverish bibliophilia and also makes generous space in our life for Dinner Club With a Reading Problem.

...has little personal interest in small scale gardening (his family is more into farming) but will happily spend an entire weekend building me fences, raised beds, trellises, canopies, and anything else I am foolish enough to mention off-handedly.

...and can grow an indoor plant like nobody's business.

...can shift smoothly from consummate professional to affectionate husband then to strong, capable animal tender and back to affectionate husband again. In a blink, no problem.

...collects childhood toys shamelessly.

...and also freely admits to having an insatiable appetite for buying and selling interesting cars.

...teaches our adult Sunday school class, infusing it with historical scope, reasonable thinking, and intelligence.

...begs me to write a book, just a fun story, so we can get rich and retire at the beach. The fact that he believes I can do it is terrifying but wonderful. to be an antisocial person but loves our friends as much as I do and is actually the life of every party we throw.

...happily encourages me to open the farm for visitors... for an hour, for a night, for a week.

...knows every bird at the Lazy W by name and personality.

...loves our baby llama just like a first time Daddy. She loves him back, too. This all breaks my heart in unexpected ways.

...looks at me in ways that make me want to protect him from the world then holds me in ways that make me know I am protected forever. the smartest, most ambitious and capable man I have ever met or heard of.

...endures my petty female jealousies.

...then flirts deliciously with women but never makes me fear for his loyalty.

...and then endures my petty punishments.

...and is ferociously protective of me if he thinks I am being flirted with.

   Mostly I am just so thankful to have this man love me. The longer I know him, the more we experience together and learn, and the better I see him for who he is in the context of this complicated world... the more I am in awe. Whether we are facing tornadoes and hail or the equally destructive storms of life and relationships, I know I am safe with him. I know that together we can accomplish pretty much anything and enjoy pretty much all the world has to offer.

   I love you, sir. So much. You deserve the best and a million dreams come true. Happy Monday.

Always, Now, and Forever.


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