Sunday, June 27, 2010

Someone Pass Me a Mood Ring

So this weekend has been an emotional roller coaster ride--from being so happy that I'm practically dancing while driving down I-270 to crying as I was driving around looking at farms and looking for antique shops. I'm such a sap-- a very homesick sap. (Someone pass me a mood ring.) While I cannot always control my emotions (I can be SUCH a girl sometimes) I don't have to let them control me.

Sometimes it's just nice to feel--anything-- after staring at a computer screen all week, worrying about other peoples problems and making it moment to moment--it is nice to feel emotional, like I've finally turned off autopilot or hit the brakes to turn off the cruise control. I can think and feel again. Emotions--happy, sad, elated, devastated-- remind me I am alive.

However, while all this "emotional being alive" crap sounds wonderful-- if you don't control where your emotions take you just like you practice self control in other areas of you life, you are going to be one miserable chicka blubbering on some winding back road looking at corn.

Yes, I was pretty pathetic Saturday.

The day had gone beautifully--I didn't get lost, found some awesome stores and had Rocky Road Chocolate Candy-(perfection!) but all of the sudden my crack-head, bi-polar emotional system went into overdrive and I remembered how MUCH I missed people back home--you know the kind of folks that you just sit around and shoot the breeze with--not even folks close to me. Well, the next thing you know I'm a blubbering mess, 800 miles away from home and my life sucks and wah, wah, wah, sob, sob, sob.

After, I got home, had some homemade chicken 'n rice and time to reflect--I realized that my overly dramatic sorrowful woe-is-me afternoon was self induced. I couldn't help what I was feeling--but I didn't have to let my feeling lead me around like I was a cow with a twitch in my nose. I thought back to what someone told me earlier this week-- "Attitudes are like flat tires--you won't get anywhere unless you change it."

So, I started thinking about everything going on in my life--since my move:
I have awesome co-workers and a job that I love.
I have hilarious friends from church that are more fun than Snipe hunting with a Yankee.
I am getting to do something I've wanted to do my ENTIRE life-- live "out West"-- and while this sure ain't Montana--it's been an amazing experience!
And God has provided a way to pay for all of this, given me a supportive family and fiance and answered my prayer SO MANY of my prayers this week--that it has given me hope--it's good to know he hasn't given up on me.

What right did I have to be sad?

That's right none.

Now, that that's all out there--here are some picture from my lovely adventures:

Corn--Jerseyville area--already has ear development and tasseling!

The river flooder the road ahead and was knocking on these folk's front door!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Down Where I Was Born Was Heaven On Earth

So the weekend has officially begun (it is 12:01 after all!) I'm planning on getting lost again this weekend and hopefully seeing some more beautiful Midwest country side. (By the way, last weekend's adventure--which will be posted soon--ended with me and my fiance completely lost in Southern Illinois. We did find the best barbecue known to man--and trust me I KNOW BBQ!)

Anyways-I was reflecting on the AG community and how lucky I was to grow up on a farm... and happened across this lovely note I wrote right after I moved to college. Figured I'd share--it's timeless =)

Happy Trails!

Down Where I was Born Was Heaven On Earth: Reflections from Home

Moving to Auburn has really made me think about how blessed I was to come from a little community in Jackson County, known to the locals as Dudley, and how much I miss the little things…

--Like the smell of the earth at night—right after it has been plowed.

--and ironically, the hot, humid air

--the feel of broke dirt under my bare feet

--and running between rows of peanuts.

--I miss driving like at bat out of torment—down sandy dirt roads

--and moving hay, even if the muffler had a hole in it.

--I miss the farm and Ma and Pa. I never thought I’d say it but I miss shelling peas too. =)

--I miss pickin’ blackberries and dewberries in the cool of the evening… and their wild, tangy taste.

--I miss coming home to Ma’s for dinner after working with the boys. How she could stand the stink of all of us—I will never know!

--I miss cows

--and whippoorwills and fox squirrels.

--I miss wearing flowers in my hair and dancing shamelessly in the wind

--I miss the sound of the wind in the trees late at night.

--I miss the smell of rain, slowly creeping up on the farm…the sound of it beating down on the tin roof…the way it looks peppering the earth…and watching lightning dance across the sky…

-- and driving ol’ blue.

--I miss being able to stand outside and know that all the land I see, from horizon to horizon, belongs to my family.

--Riding the four-wheeler under the irrigation and swimming in the creek.

--I miss the burst of moisture that hits you when you drive between two corn fields…

--I miss picking peanuts too.

--I miss being able to see the stars at night, without the interference of street lights.

--and being able to walk in our woods.

--I miss walking down the road with no fear

--and knowing everyone and their story… I have learned that inspirational people are everywhere… you have to open your eyes to see.

--And darn it, I miss having people wave when they drive by. I don’t know what it is about these Alabama folks that don’t wave!!!

--I miss rescuing gopher turtles… then writing my name on their shells!

--I miss chasing windmills with mama and night hunters with Wes (to AC/DC theme music lol…)

--Fresh GREEN peaches… and figs… and raw turnips.

--I miss my store family… and my community which was and still is committed to seeing their youngin’s achieve their dreams. It truly takes a village.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homesick? Not really...

It never ceases to amaze me how I can miss home SO MUCH one moment and fall in love with another place the next.

There are TONS of things I miss about home: peanuts, walking barefoot down dirt roads, the Chattahoochee River, the sound of the wind singing in the pine trees... there are a lifetime of memories living in the land, the land I was raised on. Some days I miss it so much I physically hurt.

This past weekend though, I had the chance to visit my roommate’s Illinois farm. It was there, standing on her back porch that I fell in love... again.

The land stretched out before me farther than any I had ever seen before--it was as if the sky was twice the size of the sky at home. The corn rows were never ending. Barely visible, in the distance, were wind turbines.

Yep, I was sold.

I spent the rest of the weekend dodging rain showers, hanging out with her family and enjoying Midwest delicacies (AKA Pork Burgers--why hasn't the South figured this one out yet?!) I realized that it wasn't so much that Florida dirt that I missed but the community and care of agriculture life; the knowledge that things are not as bad as they seem, especially when there's cake at home and family to laugh with. I missed knowing that people pay attention to what others do (yes, I suppose I miss small town gossip a bit) and truly care about their well being.

Let me just tell you folks, that can be hard to come by in the city... unless maybe you were raised there.

There's just something about farm life that makes living and growing up a reckless-safe adventure. An oxymoron, I know... reckless in the fact that you have the freedom to be innovative, to build a better mouse trap, to find a way to get just as much work done using a simpler method. Reckless-- because there is a whole wild world to explore and it starts at your back porch. Reckless--because life dependent on nature has to be, it's anything but reliable.

Farm life is also safe. I remember coming home so cotton-pickin' mad that all I wanted to do was go fast... and most of the time my grandparents (Ma and Pa--no one really has "grandparents" in the South) kept me grounded. I was hard headed and stubborn, but their love cultivated me into the person I am today. (Along with the rest of the "village") They didn't always understand my restlessness or my love for FFA or accept the fact that I enjoy driving tractors and showing cows... but they were always there. They always knew what to say (not always when to stop but that's a different story... =)

It was this weekend I realized why I was homesick. I missed the reckless/safe life I had been privileged to live at home. It has made me more determined than ever to return to it, and offer it as a gift to my kids one day.

So, to answer the 4,329 questions from Facebook: No, I have no big city notions. I like the farm just fine--and I hope to be back there for good in about a year =)

Love y'all all


Friday, June 11, 2010

My Rambling Brat

I figured it was high time that I introduced y'all to a few of my “rambling brats” (and if you didn’t get that literary allusion… well let’s just say I feel sorry for ya! You’re missing out!)

My Old Hairbrush

Faded and worn, my old hairbrush lies

Bristles broken,

At odd angles pokin’,

My scalp as it flies…

My hair is my glory,

(I’ll not lie—I’m vain)

These dark tresses mark who I am

And give meaning to my name.

Once long and silky, with hints of red;

Yes it charmed many a lad,

(Surprised most is still on my head!)

But time has passed,

(As time always has)

And my hair, I’ve noticed, it changing fast!

Grey flecks have taken over, where red use to be

It’s coarser now, it no longer defines me

As that sassy young girl, with boys all in tow,

But as a stoic old woman—Now eating her crow!


The Violent Hour

There is a mystery that blooms in the violent hour

When my hands are tangled in your long, sweet hair

And the air grows thin, til your gasping for air

There a sparsely covered tree grows, with long dark limbs

And on it booms a mystery scent from heaven

Scents that are rich like cedar and fresh rain drops

that taste like ash bark,

With a beauty like smoke on the wind

Here a flower blooms, for a short while

And is crushed in the fall


if i had a piano

if i had a piano

i’d play my troubles away

i’d play and play my piano

right through the break of day

and when the sun set low

behind pink and orange clouds

i’d play something slow, slow

On a personal note, I'm adventuring to Central Illinois this weekend! Pictures to come--farm pictures!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Notes from the Road: Illinois State FFA Convention

Greetings from Illinois!

I've had the AWESOME opportunity this week to work the Monsanto booth at the Illinois State FFA Convention... and let me tell you that when I say AWESOME I mean AWESOME!

FFA has always been a huge part of my life, in fact for several years in high school FFA was my life; and though I've been out of the program for quite a while now, I was reminded this week that it doesn't matter what state or chapter you're from the FFA knows how to build leaders.

So long for now! I've got a crowd of kids in the blue and gold waiting on Monsanto hats!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Midwest Adventure...

Looking over my previous posts, you would think I sit in my room and write all the time… totally not true ;)

Here are a few pictures from the begining of my Midwest Adventure:

Many more to come!

The Brokenhearted and Lonely

Over the past year, I have had the privilege to talk with several friends who were facing tough times; one was sorting out a rocky relationship, another was trying to understand why one of the girls she went to high school with was so sick and yet another was dealing with the loss of a child.

Why in the world they came to me I’ll never know. I couldn’t tell them that I knew what they were going through because I didn’t, I felt horrible telling them everything would be alright because I didn’t know if it would… I found myself in a familiar place again, the “dark place”, where you don’t know what the next step should be or what you should say.

It was from those experiences and the struggle to leave a mark on the world that I wrote the poem Change:

shallow words,

cast upon the deep sea of life,

make no ripples.

So it’s not the best writing the world has seen, but it helped me realize that empty words do not comfort the broken hearted. In painful situations it’s hard to know what to say, but I’ve discovered that most folks just need someone to listen, someone to reach out and hold their hand and someone to tell them they are not alone.

I have also realized in my moves to Auburn and STL, how important it is to reach out to others that are new to the church and to the community. You never know how much a simple smile and “What was your name again?” means to people. At least I didn’t realize it until I moved to AU where I didn’t know anyone.

So take a moment this week and smile at someone, not one of those casual grins either, a REAL smile—it could mean the world to someone.

And if you know someone that is hurting reach out to them, you don’t have to have the perfect words; just let them know you care.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NIV

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Restless Heart...

When I was in high school my mama told me I was a rebel.

And I just looked at her. Dumbfounded.

“Well you are,” she said “your stubborn, don’t listen to anybody and do things your own way. Well, I take that back, you listen but then you do what you want. You just have a mind of your own.”

This five minute conversation, long lost with the advent of my brother’s marriage and my graduation, has never been one I thought about a lot… until today.

Restless, that’s what I was as I meandered through the bookstore. What I really wanted to do was move, or dance, or ride or drive insanely fast—ANYTHING but walk around a bookstore.

I… was restless.

Or was I? Restlessness, I thought, produced renegades or cowboys or other such folks that stayed in trouble or chased the wind… I couldn’t really be restless.

As I walked around the store with thousands of titles staring back at me I realized that restless was the opposite of complacent, the antithesis of satisfied and most of the time the reverse of obedient.

I realized restless was what I wanted to be.

You see, restless people are never satisfied and they don’t conform easily… The Restless strive to experience things differently, to promote change, to do things that have never been done. Or at least things they would never dream of doing.

The Restless aren’t necessarily those riding bulls or jumping off the top of barns, but those who devote their lives to change.

Like the quiet writer who, even after his death, inspires readers to take the path less traveled

Or the passionate singers that took a country by storm and made people imagine a more peaceful tomorrow

Or the compassionate nun that in the pursuit of God and the blessing of service, left her home, family and the essentials of life to reach out to the destitute of Calcutta.

You see everyone is restless. We all have this aching in our soul to do something—to right wrongs, to charge valiantly into the fray, to defend our home and country… However most of us (including me) have been coddled and have lost our edge. We are like knives that, void of their sharpness, merely attack boxes and are disappointed when their contents fail to satisfy.

I discovered tonight that restlessness isn’t reckless. Restlessness is something that should spur us to action. It’s the joy of never having to quit, the pleasure of knowing that more can always be done if we are willing to move and the opportunity to achieve more and make a better tomorrow because we can.

Restlessness is miserable if you are afraid to make a move. I’ve been there and the lack of motivation will leave you wondering what you could have been and what you could have achieved. But a missed moment is not a prescription for failure; it’s an opportunity to get back up.

I chose this “blog title” as a play on words when compared to what I’m calling my collection of poems; words that I use to believe went hand-in-hand: restless and reckless. My poems, most unpublished thus far, truly describe who I am and how I see the world. They started out as a reckless attempt and turned into an expression of my restlessness; to share what I really am, to be who I really am in a world that may not care, to affect change through my words and to touch other searching for words to describe their pain and joy.

With this blog I hope not only to share my voyage into the literary world but also my life experiences and my love for agriculture.

I leave you with this, from Thoreau:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Happy Trails,