Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snow Days Mean Something Very Different for Farmers

     Who doesn't love a snow day?  

     It's not that I don't love them, it just means more work In the snow, instead of cuddling on my warm, comfy sofa with my favorite worn in blanket.  There is no all day movie marathons with hot chocolate and cat naps.  It means getting out there in the frigid weather and wind that literally bites ya in the bum and anywhere else it can sneak in under your clothing.  Winter zaps my energy to a point that I move at the pace of a disabled slug.  Farm chores can consume the majority of my day during these cold days.  Eventually I limber up, but I'm entirely too slow for my thirty-nine year old mind. 

     Snow days means our work is doubled or tripled because we do
not just feed or check cows once a day.  If you are afraid your cows will drop a calf on the wet, frigid snow and it is only eight degrees outside with a windchill of negative four, then you check your momma cows many times a day.  Should a calf be born, then we scramble to ensure it has the best chance of surviving.  What a way to come into our world?  Those calves leave the heated, snug cocoon it's mother has grown for them only to be spit out, wet from birth, blasted with glacial temps and then prodded to stand up and start walking almost immediately.  

     Snow days for myself mean that I must take even more precautions than I already do because of my handicaps. The cold steals my energy, strength and seizes my body from bending.  Finding it difficult to walk steadily on a flat landscape and not trip is quadrupled when it comes to frozen uneven terrain. My brows furrowed & my lips curled in distaste upon viewing this scenery on one terribly cold day.  Making my way across this frozen tundra of hoof prints looked like a woman with a fused pelvis and bilaterally fused ankles, worst nightmare.   Finding the best spots to strategically place each foot was a challenge while carrying a five gallon bucket of feed for my little heifers, myself covered in layers of clothes while white flakes fell around me.  

     Snow falling so quickly that by the time I made it to the feed trough, said a good morning to the young females, turned around to walk back, I heard Mother Nature laughing her little bum off as I
stood in flat out bewilderment at my obstacle course ahead of me.  Lips parted in awe, eyes wide with disbelief I gazed at this.

  What I thought was my worst nightmare became my worst nightmare.  Cursing Mother Nature, incredulously, I asked with a voice that got louder with the more words I spat out, " Are You Poopin' Me Right Now? Really?" My eyes rolled to the back of my head like the symbols on a slot machine.  It was laborious enough hiking across that when I could actually see the deep, unyeilding prints in the earth, now I must ambulate across them blind?  Concluding there was not an alternative route, I Found the bird that frequently fly's around our farm the last four years, smiled a small sarcastic smile, took an irritated breath and meticulously made my way over the course a second time.  Many close calls ensued, but I did not fall once.  A balancing act worthy of a circus performer is how I envisioned I looked out in the field trying to through the red gate.  

     This is the silliness that happens almost daily in my life.  It exhausts me and exhilarates me all at the same time. I am sent a lesson each and every day with the absurdity of my situations. 

 What did I learn from a field of deep, frozen hoof prints?

I may fall, but giving up would be my greatest weakness because those challenges can lead to beautiful destinations. 
 That even though the road may look extremely rough to cross, I will always try just one more time to succeed

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kaira Lansing:"Danielle's Body" Book Review

     This blog is something new for me, my first ever book review.  "How did that happen?" you may be asking.  Twitter!  

     Kaira Lansing Bio:   
I was born in the Midwestern United States where I grew up and later fell in Love and Married the Official GUY NEXT DOOR.
 (True Story)

I enjoy writing mystery, romance and sometimes throw some paranormal into my adult novels. When I'm not writing, you can find me out on dates with my Husband, scoping out restaurants in search of the best Ultimate Nachos. I also enjoy running; hate doing sit-ups; love to read and can’t stand winter.  Like, really … Can’t. Stand. Winter. I drink way too much soda and am trying to quit, hence my new passion for Brandy and Coke. I am famously known for my practical pranks involving: post-it notes, saran wrap, a toilet cake, and a surprise birthday party that almost burned down my house!

     Her adult novels and short stories concentrate on mystery, romance and crime.  Her young adult series concentrate on mystery, paranormal and romance.  Researching Kaira online, it seems she is rising to new levels each week with great interviews and ever increasing stats on Amazon.  I am excited to see where her adventures roam to next. 

     So how did we encounter each other?  Kaira commented on a few of my blog posts which captured my attention.  Switching to her Twitter account, I perused her feed to see what she was all about.  Becoming intrigued I began a short dialogue with her off and on over the next two weeks, then suggested that I could read a novel of her choice and blog my thoughts regarding it.  She readily agreed and that brings us to today.

     Reading has been a hobby of mine since I was a teen.  As I became a mom and business owner, there were years that I would read only a book or two a year.  That seems crazy to the average individual, but to those of us who have lived that life, you know precisely what I am speaking of.  I still like to go "old school" when diving into a new book.  I enjoy the thick parchment of the paper between my fingers as I physically turn a page, but the convenience of downloading a book, digitally, to receive instant gratification is pretty sweet. 

      Using my iPad as my new "book", I can still swipe the page and I do not have to wait for the hard copy to arrive per UPS.  Kaira's novels are listed on Amazon which links with the Kindle, so how do I download the stories using my iPad.  Well there is an app for everything.  Downloading the Kindle app to my iPad, then downloading the novel from Amazon, the book transfers directly to my Kindle book shelf. (on my iPad) 

     What novel did she choose?  Her most recent,

     This novel is just getting off the ground with being published in December of 2014.  Print or Kindle editions are available.

Lauren starts having nightly visions of her deceased best friend, Danielle. Lauren confides in her fiance, Mark, who insists her visions are stress related. When Lauren begins having brief mental conversations with Danielle, she seeks out the help of a medium, in hopes of a better understanding in how to further communicate with the deceased.

Lauren begins to piece together her brief mental conversations with Danielle and soon discovers Danielle's death was not accidental. With new evidence, Danielle's case is reopened and makes national headlines when Danielle's grave is exhumed and her casket is empty.

With the clock ticking, and the killer getting closer, Lauren must move quickly before she finds herself an accomplice to her best friends murder.

     Pleasantly surprised that the action started just pages into the story, I sat and read the first six chapters immediately.  Noticing right off, the manner in which the characters spoke was different than other novels I have read.  They spoke like normal people.  Their grammar was not always perfect, they cascaded from drama to being okay with their situation very quickly, ( which I have witnessed from individuals) and the characters were not always politically correct.  

     Admittedly, I did not read the description of the book before leaping into it.  I was caught off guard by the paranormal activity, but remained open minded.  Lauren affected me two very different ways.  I developed sympathy toward her but my conservative side said, "Girl, slow down between relationships!"  The same feelings arose with Miss Danielle.  Kudos to the author for directing me to feel something for her characters.  Drama and action packed scenes are a constant.  You as the reader, are headed one direction with the story line and literally the details take a ninety degree turn in a direction that was unforeseen.  Some scenarios were far fetched, but that is the freedom of fiction that the author holds in her hands and she used it well.  The ending, not what I anticipated and another moment of myself rolling my eyes at Lauren, saying "Slow down, girl!"  

If the reader is bored, the book is shelved without finishing and sold at the local flea market, I finished this book quickly and recently I downloaded one of Kaira's short stories: On Deadly Grounds that I will be finishing this week in between practices and doctor appointments.   

     I am interested enough to engage myself into her previous novels just to see where her mind will take me. 

   Kaira can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 
Her personal web page is 

     Good luck to Kaira and happy reading to you!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why Can't Catholics Just Sit Down During Mass?

     How many of you Catholics have been asked this question?

      Why do Catholics sit down, stand up AND kneel?  I have been asked this a few times in my youth and some in adulthood.  Unable to recall what my answers have been, I have not thought about this much.  Always being a member of the Catholic faith, I did not care. We have always practiced Mass this way and as a child I thought this was how  everyone participated in church.  Until I was twelve years of age, when I attended a different denomination with a friends family, I was like, "Hey, they get to sit the entire time?"

     Still unable to remember anything specific about why our faith practices this way, I did not think about this again until my third year of recovery after my collision.  At the point where I could begin participating at a slow rate, I was between the stages of "not quite, but almost".  I could not kneel and could not stand but for a few minutes at a time.  Then the congregation would sit and repeat.  Sometime during Mass I asked, "Who... in this world made the rule that Catholics cannot just sit through Mass and listen?  Was it God or some human being that decided on their own and none of us challenged that decision?"  That Sunday morning was quite annoying to myself and I thought it simply silly.  

     Hanging my head, I, of course, knew I was more irritated that I could not perform these actions to what I thought should be in my
capability than at the rules themselves.  There must be significance to all of this otherwise we would not do it.  Giving the thought some quality time, I feel as if I could make a good assumption.  Still I did not research on the reasoning behind this.  I now gauge my recovery progress on how well I can perform them each week.  Participating through the entire Mass is attainable now, I just fidget with how comfortable it is.  Instead of having to genuflect before entering the pew, I am able to kneel and make the sign of the cross.  Almost, I cannot quite get that knee all the way to the ground for fear of making a scene upon returning to full height, but I have that sign of the cross down pat.

     Over the past few months, I have piqued my own interest enough to really research this and discover for my own curiosity, why.  It is my faith and something I practice each week, so it is really a simple fact that I should know and be able to pass on to others as they question me, especially my children.

     Standing and kneeling have significance during our presentation of faith.  If we did not sit, these two actions would not have the significance that it does, so sitting is a kind of "base worship."  

     Standing is required when the priest proceeds to the alter.  The Gospel book and cross are also brought to the front of the church.  This shows the amount of respect we have for those three things as well as when the Gospel is read.  The Gospel is the words and actions of Jesus Christ.  All important things I would say.

     Kneeling is the ultimate gesture of showing our humility as humans.  We are not on the same level as God, we are his servants to help spread his kindness.  This also shows our obedience and commitment to Him and his visions for us here on earth.  

     Now ultimately all of this is up to the parishioner.  Each one of us has the right to sit the entire Mass.  Those with injuries, disabilities or old age are not required either.  I suppose at some juncture if a healthy individual attended Mass on a regular basis, but did not participate in standing or kneeling, curiosity as to "why" would get the better of us.  As far as I know, God just wants our attention any way He can get it and He does not care if you are lying on the ground looking at the sky or kneeling in church.

     Catholics are still extremely traditional.  A few things have been challenged and updated,but for the most part the faith still remains as it did when in its original venture.  This does not bother me so much.  I am somewhat of a feminist and do have disagreements about some parishes not allowing female servants near the alter, forms of birth control and female priests.  I alone will not change any of that.  Continuing to believe in Gods vision for us and myself, grasping the meaning of His words and genuinely doing my part is what I am more concerned about.  

     I will say that He is the only One I would ever kneel before, which show how much respect and belief I have in Him.