Confessions of an Almoster

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, June 2010 – January 2012]

Merriam-Webster defines “almost” this way:

ALMOST: adv.; very nearly, but not exactly or entirely.

And what does this have to do with this particular farmgirl and the past while? Well, go get yourself a cup of tea, sit down in a comfy chair and I’ll tell you a little story…

 

…the door that is “almost” finished…

Over the past few months I have been mulling over what has caused me, so many times in my life, to ALMOST finish things, ALMOST be on time, ALMOST do the job right, and ALMOST be the gal I know I can be. Has anyone else struggled with this strange sort of “almost-ness?”

…the pumpkins that “almost” got carved for Halloween…

I have been pretty discouraged over the past little while with how things have been going in my life – farm, home, finances, attitude… the whole shebang. I’ve been looking, reading, meditating, journaling about why that is, and why, really, I never actually REACH the lovely goals that I set for myself, be they for (ahem) blogging or for gardening, or even for taking a daily walk, for that matter. I seem to start out with a bang, and then somehow fizzle before I reach the finish line. Some folks call this kind of behavior “self-sabotage,” but I don’t like that term, it sounds somehow too extreme, or unkind, or something like that.

A month or so ago, my good friend and neighbor, Mrs. S, gave me a homemaking book from the 1960’s to peruse. I just love things like that. Anyway, this particular book (The Art of Homemaking by Daryl Hoole, if you’re interested. It’s religion-based, and I’m not necessarily, but she had written EXACTLY what I needed to read.) had a concept in it that hit my personal nail on the head. The idea of an “almoster.” Here’s a rundown of what her definition of an almoster is:

“…then there are the ‘Almosters.’ They just don’t quite make it, like the car brakes that almost worked or the man who almost caught the train. Their intentions are good, and they almost make it. They spend lots of time and energy, but they don’t quite reach their goals, they don’t quite get the job done. Their houses are never quite clean, their ironing is never quite caught up, they are never quite ready, or quite on time. This results in frustrations, wear and tear on the nerves, damage to the self-respect and failure to meet important goals and opportunities..”

…the pansies that ALMOST got planted before the first really cold snap…

Yikes. Is that me? If it is… (drumroll…..) WHAT THEN?!?!?!?

Well, after reading that, and recognizing myself in parts of the definition (although my house IS quite clean usually and I tend to be on time), I was sufficiently disappointed that I have wasted so much time just, well, ALMOST getting to where I want to be. Dang. I just turned 40 on November 3. Have I spent 40 years like this? Do I REALLY want to spend my next (and possibly last) 40 years ALMOST living the life I truly crave?

No. No, farmgirls, I do not. It’s time to take the leap – or at least babystep my way right up to the edge and throw across a ladder.

But then there’s the concept of perfection. I say “concept,” because I really believe that perfection is reserved for the divine. So, when I’m making my goals, I think I need to examine what constitutes a goal achieved. When is something “good enough?” When does something fall short? I think these sorts of questions can be mostly answered by that ephemeral thing called the “gut feeling.” I imagine that I will be able to “feel” when a job’s been well done, and I’ll be able to “feel” when I haven’t measured up to what I can do.

…and one of the two boys that are totally, COMPLETELY loved…

Whew. So, that’s what’s been on my mind, and I’m ready and rarin’ to go as I (an maybe even “we”?) examine what it’s going to take to move toward being the kind of farmgirls we know that we are.

What’s it going to take for YOU all to be just who you are? And, hey, I KNOW that some of you have this figured out already – and I can’t wait to hear what suggestions you have…

Big farmgirl hugs and happiness…

Libbie

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  1. deann says:

    Hi Libbie, I too am a farm girl raised in central Utah on a small farm. I have had many almoster projects too. My husband and I have used a method of breaking jobs into smaller goals and smaller disappointments to get things done. It has helped keep things going and eventually get-er done moments. We haven’t got it all figured out but enjoy our little piece of paradise.
    We have a large garden and greenhouse, two ford Jublie tractors. We like to be on the go so no animals right now. We love to build and create homespun furniture, quilts, etc.
    I love the dark night sky with the stars twinkling and the falling stars, the deer that slip into to the yard at dusk. I love the one minute drive to work(if I have to wait at the stop sign). I love our homey place built with our own hands and that of our family on a couple of acres of my parents farm. We work hard to survive here, but it is all worth it to live the county life.

    Obsessions: Husband Chris, Children, Grand children, Gardening, hot coco and the Warmth of fire, hearth and quilt. Quiet.
    Current projects: Piecing and Quilting, planting spring bulbs, and making gifts and decorations for Christmas. Cleaning up garden and the leaves one more time.

    Favorite home spun projects: Sticky Pine gum salve, Soap making.

    Messiest projects: Sticky Pine gum salve, Soap making.
    ( I think I see a pattern here)!

    Favortie farm girl memory: Riding along on the fender of the tractor( dad or husband).

    Happy Farm Girl Fall
    Deann

     

    Hi, fellow Utah farmgirl! I’m excited to "meet" you – what a cool thing! You know, breaking big jobs down into little ones is a great step. And if I can actually DO the things (is that the smaller disappointments part?) that would really help things get underway. Thanks so much, Deann, for your thoughts and for "introducing" yourself! XOXO, Libbie

  2. Vicki says:

    Libbie – it’s so good to "hear" from you again. I enjoyed this post. There are so many things I want to do, to be the farmgirl and person I know I can be. Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to those dreams and then realistically figuring out what I am capable of actually accomplishing. You know the beekeeping goal I have; well instead of doing four hives next spring, I’m going with one to start out. Sometimes the to-do list has to be written after something has been done; then we see what we’ve already accomplished – and they are big things.

    Vicki in West Haven Utah

     

    Thanks, Vicki! I am so excited to hear about how the beekeeping goes – it’s been "on my list" for a little while, and I love hearing about someone who’s DOING it!!! xoxo, Libbie

  3. Aunt Jenny says:

    Oh Gosh Libbie….I am a born Almoster..and I am alot older than you. You are awesome!!
    We need to get together sometime soon. One of those things I almost do is call you!!!
    Have a wonderful weekend!~

     

    He he! I’ve almost called you so very many times!!!!! Okay, so here’s to the call I’m going to make to you over the next week! xoxo, Libbie

  4. Debbie says:

    Welcome back Libbie! Seems like I just got started with MJF Beach blog at the same time you went on vacation. Let me start by saying I have always enjoyed your posts! And, it’s wonderful to see your words here again! The homemaking book sounds great! I love books like that too. Have you heard of Jean Tabor ? I’ve yet to find her books, but Susan Branch has written about her on her blog and they sound as if they might be along the same lines, minus the religious part. I wish I had some great answers for ya regarding making it to the finish line. I guess if theirs one thing I have learned it’s this. It’s harder to make it to the finish line when you’re running down more roads than your feet can carry you on. We as women and moms are all guilty of that aren’t we? My mom used to tell me: Life by the Yard is Hard, Life by the Inch is a Cinch… One of my favorites and so true! Good luck in your goal setting and reaching them too! And, be sure to keep the almoster in all of us posted!
    Farmgirl hugs,
    Your Beach blogging sister from the East!
    Deb

    Oh Deb! I LOVE the "…life by the inch…" quote! Thank you so very much for it. And, hey — WELCOME to the MJF world. It’s a wonderful one…. xoxo, Libbie

  5. MaryJane says:

    Welcome back sweet Libbie! Please know that you are COMPLETLEY loved by all of us at the farm. Good to have you back in the saddle again …

    …the difference between the rural farmgirl and the almost rural farmgirl is the difference between osculate and oscitant.

     

    Okay, MaryJane! You had me running for the dictionary at "osculate" So, here’s what I’ve found: osculate: to kiss; and oscitant: to yawn… Yep. It’s true – you DO do both of them with the mouth, but there’s just a WORLD of difference, no? Much love to you and ALL of the folks at the farm. xoxo, Libbie

  6. Susabelle says:

    Oh, I think there are more "almosters" than there are the other variety. I know I’m one too sometimes. I’m 50 now, and was laid off this year and picked up my family and moved away from the only place I’ve ever known to a place I know but and not used to (born and raised in MO, now living in Colorado near the Rockies). Since I’ve been here there are boxes "almost" unpacked, there was a flat of plants someone gave me that "almost" got planted but instead dried up and I had to throw them away, meal plans that weren’t followed, etc.

    It helps me sometimes to think about my priorities and what is TRULY important, and learn to let the rest go. There was a time in my life when planting things and watering them daily was important, and I always did it. Bu the last few years, I have not. Time to let that thing go, it is not important to me any more, obviously. I like to get all laundry done on a Saturday, but that means multiple trips up and down the stairs, and my surgically repaired knees cannot do that anymore. Time to let that goal of one-day-Laundry go, and instead do a load or two a day all week long. Not my preference, but setting the goal (done in one day) and breaking the goal just frustrate me.

    Set the goal lower, reset the goal, remove the goal, etc. Look at the things you constantly fail to completely, and decide if those are really really important, or something you are ready to give up. Put your energy and ability to complete into the things that truly matter or are important to you, and let the rest of it go. The world won’t end, and you will be happier and not so ready to beat yourself up about things. :)

     

    Wise words, Susabelle. Thank you so much… you all have such wisdom, and I’m grateful for it!!! xoxo, Libbie

  7. Amy says:

    I needed this today, thank you…
    Another almoster, yet always striving to finish more:)

     

    Amy, somehow it IS reassuring to be in good company, isn’t it? :) xoxo, Libbie

  8. ellen says:

    Libbie, What a wonderful, reassuring post to read. I am not alone! A lot of us must be surrounded by projects that are "pending". My problem is that there are so many great things I want to try making (quilts, embroidered kitchen towels, knitted scarves for the holidays), and decorating for the seasons along with keeping our house a home and working. As I have gotten older I’ve learned to ask myself how important some things are. Sometimes that means that we don’t have carved jack o’lanterns but a nice little grouping of pumpkins in a basket, one pot of flowers for the front porch instead of six. Be as kind to yourself with the almosts in life as you would be to a dear friend.

    wishing you contentment,
    ellen

     

    Thank you, Ellen. Reading your comment made me feel like we’re sitting her visiting – and it was reassuring to ME! xoxo, Libbie

  9. hobbit says:

    You’re just a baby at 40 Libbie,however I do feel that at least once a year you should take stock of where you want to be in the next 12 month and break those task done into attainable goals.Your most important project at this time is the raising of your family and focusing on them probably takes more out of you than you think.List of course play an important part in my life. I have a steno pad that I write on everyday and when the day is done I tear that page off and prioritize for the next day. The important thing is to keep putting one foot in front of the other EVERY day and not spend too much time wondering why you can’t get more done.Didn’t you know "a woman’s work is never done"?

     

    The steno pad is a GREAT idea! The annual "life review" idea is one that I can really resonate with. I’m a real "list" person, too, and tearing "that day’s" page off sounds so darn satisfying!!!! xoxo, Libbie

  10. Jewel says:

    I hear ya Libbie!!! I am a 60 yr old farm gal who lives alone (no Hubby, but 3 cats & doggie) here in beautiful MI & I frequently don’t make the almost grade, but I keep plugging away & dreaming & revel in the deeds done. I am so glad I looked at your blog for Tis real descriptive writing! I hope to figure out how to put some pics on sometime (I am not too puter savvy~just dabble)
    Sincerely, Jewel Ann of Irish Hills

    ps I got to meet Iris of the lavendar farm ~ a treat

     

    Are you trying to tell me that the 3 cats don’t help out around the farm?? :) Mine help by "supervising" from a safe distance. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and I, too, am going to start "reveling in the deeds done." Sounds like a little bathtime thinking routine in the making!!! xoxo, Libbie

  11. Joy says:

    Great ideal about breaking it into small jobs. My husband and I do that all the time, but I must say he is a pusher and will push to finish something. My personal jobs, I write down or at the least keep it in my heard till I can’t stand it any longer and I just do it. I know enough not to take on more that I can do. If it doesn’t seem like a lot of jobs done, you can take pride in the fact that, what was started at least got finished. Each year I try to improve on the garden, and there are always disappointments, I make it smaller until I can control it. Making quilts is an on going project. But at least work on it once a week. Read a little every night until that book you are reading gets finished and you can go on to the next. Stack the wood 10 pieces at a time until it is all stacked. If you didn’t get all your flowers planted in the pots,don’t buy so many next year. Did you ever notice the little plants that come up on their own each year because you didn’t have time to deadhead? Sometimes it not such a bad thing to not get something finished!Always take the time to reward your self, for finishing those little jobs,to set on the porch and have a pop-cycle with the kids.Good luck.

     

    You know, there really IS something to be said sometimes for lowering the bar… or maybe even changing "bars" entirely! xoxo, Libbie

  12. nameJackie says:

    I too am an almoster, but I do believe it’s now due to age. You see, when I retired, I left CA living and all the wonderful weather, sights, ammenitites and services, for southern IL where I could afford to have my miniature horses and a small farm – not that 3.5 acres is small when you do all the work by yourself. LOL I’ve been here 5 years now and life keeps evolving.

    I’ve found that with the limited time you can stand to be outside in IL (I hate heat and extreme cold), you just never quite get anything done the way you’d like to have it done. Limited finances and that fact that few people really want to work, prohibit hiring people to mow, mulch, weed etc. so I’ve had to come to accept that there will be, of all things, weeds in the many, many flowerbeds I’ve created. The leaves will not always be raked to perfection. I’ve had to establish priorities. The stalls in the barn are cleaned daily and the horses get turned out, weather permitting. The animals (5 sheep, a dog, four cats, a champion mini stallion and mare and finally 13 laying hens) get fed on time and their pens are cleaned almost daily. But in reality, the veggie garden will have some weeds and the house, when the weather is nasty which is often, may get cleaned if I’m not quilting, helping with my charity work or doing research as a new Master Gardener.

    But, most importantly, I do try to find time to sit on my back deck and enjoy the lush green, the massive trees and the marvels of nature in a land of 4 seasons. Spring is full of wonderment and instead of working in the yard, I often walk, coffee or tea in hand, around and marvel at how nature renews itself.

    So, in conclusion, no, life is not perfect and neither are we. You do the best you can with the resources available, but most of all you need to take time to smell the roses. My expectations for neatness and perfectness have really been lowered, but my appreciation for all that is natural around me has grown by leaps and bounds. Satisfaction comes from inside…. I did the best I could with what I had to work with…. do that and you’ll not stress yourself out seeking perfection.

     

     "I did the best I could with what I had to work with…" Now, THAT’s a sentiment that I can resonate with. We, too, have four seasons, and following the "seasonal" schedule with work is so very important. I just love what you are doing – way to go! xoxo, Libbie 

  13. carolyn says:

    I thik you are being way too hard on yourself. I too read Ms. Hooles’ book a long time ago, and it gave me a complex I still haven’t gotten over. I know I will never be good enough to meet the expectations of those perfect people around me. I just try to do my best every day, and thats all I can do.. I too live on a farm in rural Utah, and life gets pretty hectic and hard out here. Those pansys are alright. Its those two beautiful children that really matter. And I bet your are the best mom they could ever have. Hugs and happiness to you…

     

    Another Utah farmgirl!!! YAY! That made me laugh about the "Hoole complex!" Maybe I should just stop reading about how other folks do it all and just experiment with what *I* can do to be satisfied and pleased with what I do and how I go about doing it. Sound advice!!! (and I’m still chuckling about the "complex!"). xoxo, Libbie

  14. Joni LeBlanc says:

    Oh how I know of what you speak. We must be sisters. I also have unfinished projects. This past spring I got real excited about tire gardens and some friends brought me many. The Scouts from church came and filled them with dirt and I was ready to go. I did get some planted but some needed more dirt that did not get in there. I had lots of tomatoes and yellow squash but the rest was rather sorry. I have good intention for next year though. My big problem, I think, is that I am 75, recently widowed and overwhelmed. I have started to make 25 quilts for our family reunion next July and am doing pretty good so far. I think I need to pull out Daryl Hoole’s book. It does get me on track. I am an old farm girl that just started on it in 2000, but love being out of the city. We have pastures of cows grazing on Main St. and it just settles my soul to look at them. I have one cat and that is about all I can keep up with in the livestock department.
    Loved reading your blog,
    Joni

     

    Joni, did you say TWENTY-FIVE QUILTS?!?!?!?! I am so impressed and I also think that your family members will stand in awe when they see them. I love the image of cows grazing along Main St., also. I can bet you’re overwhelmed with all you have had going on – and here’s to farmgirl can-do-it-iveness. It will be such fun it sounds like to plant those tire gardens next spring. Just think – they’ll be ready to go!! xoxo, Libbie

  15. Eve says:

    Ohhh this really hit home L O L……I work a great deal…evrn more then "full time" and spend my off time playing and training my Doberman…..so ummmm my house is..lets say livable…..my den is also my office at home…..crafts (yarn…I seem to be a hoarder!) I have an "incredible sweater machine" that I haven’t even put together yet…because I needed the perfect table, found the perfect table…..ummm it’s still sitting in its box in my foyer……..sorry…..life always happens and I’d much rather be outside working in yards (we live in the pinelands…and I believe in "all natural v b g") or taking my dobe to obedience matches etc. each day you’re supposed to do small things…..well yes it makes a difference…but you know what…the house will always be here……clean or not up to Martha Stewart’s standards…..I "have" to work to make a living……but my doberman is certainly more important….V B G

    I did get a sewing machine, good intentions……..I like to use the knitty kniter…have everything the company makes, I think.

     

    It sounds like you have one lucky dog, so to speak! It’s true – it’s all in the priorities, isn’t it? xoxo, Libbie

  16. Cyndi says:

    I do understand the almoster and I am one also!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Smiles, cyndi

     

    Thanks, Cyndi! xoxo, Libbie

  17. Barb says:

    Libbie:
    I too am an almoster. Especially during the holidays, I pore over patterns and ideas for handmade gifts, and every year I find myself working my fool head off the night before Christmas trying to finish something up. I am looking forward to hearing suggestions from some of your other readers. I drive myself crazy!(Or actually walk there, crazy is pretty close)

     

    Hee hee! I think that I can walk to crazy from here, as well! As I read the suggestions, I am so inspired – and I’m guessing you will be too. Much love! xoxo, Libbie.

  18. SHERRYBERRY says:

    Dear Libbie ~
    I have been reading some of the blogs of Farmgirls for awhile now and have been moved emotionally by many and entertained by all. I’m not an official farmgirl member but I get the MJ magazine and website so I can read about alot of you. I’ve never responded to anyone’s blog but I just couldn’t help but reply to yours (even though I will now be late doing something else I need to be doing – almost was on time!!) But connecting with that inner farmgirl within myself gives me pause to ponder and consider many things that are happening now and that have happened to me in the recent past (very hard past 2 years). Reading your blog today hit me right between the eyes! I could have written this (and how did you get the pictures of my pumpkins and unplanted flowers??). Thank you for your sharing and insights and creating that connection, even over the electronic airwaves, that helps each of us to feel better about ourselves and that we are more alike than different. BTW, I think you’re doing just fine . . . I’m 62 and I think you’re only experiencing the ’40’s syndrome’! xo
    SherryBerry

     

    I am truly humbled by your words, SherryBerry! It’s true, I believe there is more about "us" that is similar than is different, and it’s so funny about the pumpkins and flowers. I have to say that to know that you have a few of those around you, too. It seems like you, also, have had a few rough years lately, and I am so glad that you’re "here." It’s comforting to know that there are real, understanding gals out there to connect with this way! xoxo, Libbie

  19. Barbara Perry says:

    Hi Libbie! Sure is nice hearing from you girl! I was beginning to worry.
    I really like this quote “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences” ~Eleanor Roosevelt~ However…..If you are like me I want to see and do it ALL! Sometimes I come home from a trip and am exhausted because I tried to see and do it all.
    I do not always do this …….. but I think the answer is to give yourself a pat on the back for all those things you complete and do well(I know there are a lot of them). I want to photograph, cook, can, garden, paint, hike, blog, write, sew, volunteer, and quilt (plus be a good wife, mother, daughter and friend). Wheeeew….. BUT I no longer try to "measure up" I work at being a true, authentic and sometimes "unique" person.
    I retired this summer and won’t be driving around to see what is growing in your fields anymore. I still might stop by for a cup of tea sometime. Hugs to you.
    Life is an adventure.
    Barb

     

    Thank you, Barb! I LOVE that quote, so much so that it’s now printed out on my refrigerator. YAY on your retirement, too – you know, now you’ll have time perhaps to come by and stay for a while, although I will miss you coming by to "check" on me!!! xoxo, Libbie

     

  20. Kathy says:

    Hi, Libbie,
    I’m such an "Almoster" it hurts. The past few years have been so full of things that are totally out of my control, yet need to be tended to. Your blog really struck something inside of me. It helps to know someone else struggles with the same problems. You posed the question, "What’s it going to take for YOU all to be just who you are?" That’s so simple, yet so profound. Who are we really, and how do we become JUST who we are? That harder do do than most of us realize. At the age of 58, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! "Almost" doesn’t cut it. We need to find the strength to DO what we’re called to do. Thank you for sharing your strength and insight. Your story has made a difference for me.
    Thanks, Libbie,
    A former (I hope) "Almoster",
    Kathy

     

    Oh, Kathy. YOUR comment has made a difference for ME. "Almost" doesn’t cut it, does it? Now, I’m not talking about being perfect, but, like you said, about being true to who you are inside. It DOES help to know that there are gals like you out there — accomplished, kind, compassionate, wise — who can share their thoughts with the rest of us. We’re all learning (and I hope to be learning for a good, long time!). It’s true. We do need to find the strength to DO, as well as to plan and to imagine. xoxo, Libbie

  21. Grandma T/Mama T/Theresa says:

    Happy Autumn Sunday to you, dear~

    Truth, be told, I do believe there are more of us gals like you than not. Nearly sixty years of trying to get-er done moments have taught me to savor the process these days.

    Projects, hopes, dreams, schemes can be monumental. It appears that multi-tasking should not be in my own personal life’s path. Nope, doesn’t mean that I can’t. Means I choose not to anymore.

    As I watch the pink whisper of morning’s hello, my feet on a cold concrete floor, my steaming hot coffee next to me, a hubby softly snoring in the front room, two grandbabes slumbering and two old doggies up for their morning fortitude of kibble, I sigh thankfully for this quiet moment and hope to accomplish almost farmgirl stuffs today. :)

    We live on a very small footprint of dirt, hence, the hydroponic gardens. We have two "older" barred rock hens, and eight newbies that hopefully, we still laying their beautiful soft brown eggs right around Christmas tide.

    Three assorted kitties keep the mice and snakes at bay. Shoot, we live in West Central Florida; these critters were here long before us~ :)

    We still can our garden surplus, bake bread, make our own laundry soap and try very diligently to eat locally if not all organic.

    Adore your posts, thank you for sharing~

    Happy Thanksgiving, dear!

    God Bless you BIG!

    Grandma/Mama T over @
    Tindel Den Cottage

     

    Theresa, it’s been so long since someone called me ‘dear!’ Thank you so very much. It’s early in the morning for me right now, as well, and I wish I were sitting with you sharing the coffee and sunrise. How peaceful. The vision is wondeful – and many, many blessings to you, as well! xoxo, Libbie

  22. Barbara says:

    Nice reading your post. My input would be that I would rather be an almoster then a nevertrier. I have lots of projects and a portion of them never quite get done. I try not to worry about it and just keep moving,lol.

     

    YAY, Barbara! I’ve never thought of a "nevertrier!!!" And, yes, I’d rather be an "almoster," too. There really IS something to be said for just deeping going sometimes, isn’t there? xoxo, Libbie

  23. jeanie allen davis says:

    I, like you, have many almost finished projects. I am 59 and probably used that same homemaking book in high school, since I graduated in 1970. But I don’t know that we should measure ourselves by what is not finished.

    I have a beautiful woven shawl I am cross-stitching in dragonflies and butterflies for a little girl’s birth. I think she turned 6 this year (and yes, I gave her another gift at the showe. It is almost finished. Her grandmother, my best friend of 45 years, asks about it occassionally. I assure her I will finish it before her wedding day. But I did transfer my grandson’s message to his father, teach him to embroidery over the letters, helped him machine-sew a fancy frame around it, sew it together on the machine, stuff it and turn it into a pillow for father’s day in just four days.

    I have cooked with three of my grandchildren and those projects were completed with much joy and a sense of accomplishment for them, including an apple pie made from scratch and our homemade pizza crust that someone decided complete with a cheese-stuffed crust when the dough was too big for the pan.

    And there have been those little disasters that won’t change lives like when we were making the Veteran’s Day meal for the vets in our house last week. We latticed the cherry pie and I grabbed the cinnamon-sugar marked shaker for the crust, not remembering that I had replaced it with cocoa when making tiramisu, and gave it to the grandson. You guessed it, over half of the pie was chocolate. We just added the cinnamon and sugar and ignored all the questions about it being burned.

    What I am saying is, the unfinished, embroidered Christmas table runner, tucked neatly in the sewing box, hasn’t kept us from having wonderful family gatherings and making beautiful memories. The table leaf that hasn’t yet been stripped to match the refinished table doesn’t keep if from holding our plates at a meal. And someday a guest will enjoy the antique tables I stripped but haven’t yet painted and they will never know I left them unattended for several years while I played with the grands.

    I send my husband out the door with breatfast at 6 and I have supper on the table when he gets home at 7:30. Inbetween those times, who knows what will get started and what will be completed. But there is a lot of love inside these walls and that is what matters most.

    Now that the canning jarss have been washed for the second time, and since I have had the food processor on the counter for a week, perhaps I should make the pear butter from this year’s harvest.

     

    Oh, Jeanie! I am learning so much from all of the comments to this post – it’s true, isn’t it about  the truth that "things" shouldn’t stand in the way of "folks" and definitely not in the way of love. "But there is a lot of love inside these walls and that is what matters most." That’s beautiful. Thank you. xoxo, Libbie

     

  24. Jan says:

    Confessions of another ‘ALMOSTER’! Did you know that I could have written your same thoughts!?!? I do not live on a farm, though we have a large garden in the backyard. Yesterday I darted out to pull up the rest of my mooshy tomato plants and just in time for a nice little blizzard and howling winds..What the heck was I doing a week ago when I could still catch a day of relative warmth and SUNSHINE?? I sure as heck wasn’t storing the rest of the garden furniture, or pulling the frost fallen flowers, or picking up leaves, or….I was trying to catch up with the interior of my home which I had conveniently ignored all summer!!
    My husband always tells me to FOCUS on one small thing and not the entire picture. For me, the focusing is the problem. It doesn’t seem to bother me during the summer when I can spend lots of time in the sun and puttering about the garden. I think that I am going through the period of mourning the loss of the summer and all of it’s pleasant bounty.
    OK, so now we will try to focus on one small area, complete that, and move on to something else…
    Good luck to you!
    Jan

     

    Yep, Jan, multitasking isn’t my forte, either. So, in the homemaking book that I referred to, she says that "flitting" around the house is to be avoided at all costs. I find that if I keep that phrase sort of rattling around in my mind, I can curb the "flitting" and follow my "to do" list. One thing at a time. And, yes, I can totally relate to what you’ve written. Focus on, my farmgirl friend! xoxo, Libbie

  25. Hey Libbie,
    I turned 65 on November 2 and I’m a Farmgirl thru and thru. I grew up on a small farm in Central Wyoming and went to business college in SLC. I make lists for each week and sometimes have to carryover things I didn’t complete the week before, but I find having a tangible list makes it easier for me to complete my tasks. I’m retired but still have things on the burner. My present project that is hanging over my head is a quilt for my newest Great-Grandchild which I need to have completed by the middle of Dec.

    Good Luck and hang in there. "One step at a time"

    Bytheway, the web site is my husband’s he writes historical novels, check it out.

     

    Yes, Esther, lists are a farmgirl’s friend, indeed! I really like the idea of a weekly list — then there wouldn’t be so much re-writing involved. Yup. The "one-step-at-a-time" thing is my new mantra! xoxo, Libbie

  26. Robbie Strahm says:

    Libbie: And I always thought I was a "procrastinator" – "almoster" sounds much more positive! I’m almost 60 and have frequently experienced "almost" issues. Part of me says it’s just because I have too many projects I want to do at once. I have managed to raise two productive daughters, am gainfully employed as a nurse practitioner, and have a wonderful (2nd) marriage to someone who finally got this farmgirl out of town and onto her own space in northeast Kansas. We look around and see so many things that need to be done on this long-neglected homestead, BUT one of the keys to staying positive is acknowledging those things that ARE completed. When we really recount what we’ve managed to get done in the past five years, it’s a pretty impressive list: significant clean-up, acquiring a small herd of goats and a bunch of chickens, returning pastures to native grasses and some actual work inside the house!
    As you know, your children are your greatest work in progress – there’s no replacing the time you give them. All that other stuff will be there when you get around to it. And be sure to give yourself credit for all the things you manage to do every day.
    Oops! My husband just stuck his head in the door to say "Don’t forget you were going to go through that stuff in the shed to see what we can pitch." Maybe I’ll get that done today!
    Enjoy this lovely fall.
    Robbie

     

    Robbie – you DO have a wonderful list of things you’ve done – in addition to two lovely daughters. I really am going to have to take the suggestions to heart to make a list of the things I/we HAVE done. I might have to refer to it daily for a little while!!! xoxo, Libbie
     

  27. Kathleen says:

    Hi Libby,

    When I was reading your post, it was like I was reading about me. I have a house full of things to finish and I am so tired of living that way. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves…I just can’t believe that another year is finishing and that my house is not what I want it to be, I haven’t lost the pounds I intended to lose this year, the sweaters I started to knit a couple of years ago still aren’t finished, etc. etc.

    I really don’t know what it will take to get things under control but, after reading Deann’s comment, I’m going to
    start with baby steps and maybe a timer, and I’m starting right now.

    Have a nice day!

    Kathleen

     

    Kathleen – isn’t is wonderful how we all inspire each other to live the lives that we hold in our hearts? I, too, am tired of "almost-ing" along, and you know what? I’m starting right now, too.  xoxo, Libbie

  28. Ok All you almosters. We are all ok.. I think it is our perogative as women to be almosters. I believe that we can not worry ourselves with unfinished things, like the one blogger said, at least we started it. One saying that has always stuck with me is, never compare yourself to someone else because you will always compare their accomplishements to your weaknesses, so you will always fall short. (or something like that) I almost got up to get the book where I had read it, so that I could write it word for word but then decided not to. HA! HA! I think a good practice is to get up every morning and think of something to thank God for that day even if it is just being able to get up. We are all so blessed that we even have almost to do lists still pending. Thank you Libbie for bringing to my attention that it is ok to be a HAPPY ALMOSTER.
    Be Blessed

     

    Oh, Vivian! What a WONDERFUL perspective you add! It’s true – in fact, last night I sat down and wrote a gratitude list. I decided to just keep writing until my hand started hurting. After a while, it took a second or two to think of things, but let me tell you — I never ran out of things to be thankful for… Thank you so much for helping me look at things from a different angle. You have to get a good view of things from all sides to get a balanced vision, huh? xoxo, Libbie

  29. Kathy says:

    Libbie:
    I think that anyone who knits or otherwise crafts is required to be an "almoster". The objective is, after all, to acquire a stash you could never use up in a lifetime! As a wife, mother, minister, and grad student looking for a job, I can completely understand that things don’t always get done the way we would like them to. I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: does anyone else even notice? If not, then is it important enough for us to worry about, or can we set it to rights some other time, after the kids have been played with and snuggled? My house never looks the way I would like it to, but it runs, and my family is usually pretty happy. Is my congregation as "seen to" as I would like them to feel? Never, but I am only one person. Part of the challenge is to help people to tend to themselves and each other, but not to forget how to love. Thank you for reminding us that we are not alone in our "almost-ness". Since the work is never done, we’ll always have some growing and enjoying the process to do! Be well, be happy, and rest assured that what you do matters to the people who love you!

     

    Kathy, that is so inspiring to me. And your words are very vivid. AND, yes, I think I also needed to be reminded of the actual objective of yarn shopping is – it made me truly laugh…as I went out of town this last weekend and came back with two lovely hanks of yarn…that I have no plans for…yet…I think… xoxo, Libbie 

  30. Nicole Christensen says:

    Hi Libby! So glad to see you back! This was such a great post, and has had me catching myself the last few days when I "almost" completed something! I am guilty of being an "almoster" at times, too. I like to think it IS because I’m also a perfectionist as well. Thanks for a great post, and so happy to see you back. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole, your blogging sister (Suburban Farmgirl)

     

    Hi, Nicole! Thanks for the kind welcome back, and I’m so happy to be back in the company of you fabulous farmgirl bloggers, too! Much love, xoxo, Libbie

  31. barb says:

    Libbie, what a relief to know there are a lot of almosters out there. I do have an idea that one of my friends at church came up with: Once a month she wants to have a UFO (unfinished object) party at the church in the evening. Everyone would bring an unfinished craft and work on it. Doesn’t that sound like like a great idea?

     

    Barb, LOVE the UFO night! I might have to create a personal weekly UFO night here at home where I take a project that needs to be finished up and, as the popular slogan goes, JUST DO IT. What a cool idea! Thank you! xoxo, Libbie

  32. Christie says:

    I am SO glad I read your bog this morning! I almost didn’t. I believe there are some good things about being an almoster. It’s a lot easier to relish those important moments that just "happen" when you are able to let go of the gotta dos. Happy Thanksgiving!

     

    It’s to true, Christie! In a lot of ways, I am more free to roll with the craziness that days with two little boys and a farm can bring. And it’s true, sometimes those moments are more satisfying than any to-do list can be… xoxo, Libbie

  33. Gail Butler says:

    Hello, Dear Neighbor! Libbie, I am so happy to see your posting! I’ve always so enjoyed your blog. You have a gift for words and writing. And, although living nearby I know much of what is happening on the Farm, I do so enjoy reading about it through your evocative writing style. Yours is one of my "happy" reads and favorite blogs!

     

    Oh, Gail – thank you so very much for the vote of confidence – especially from a great blogger/writer yourself! Much love, xoxo – Libbie

  34. Gail Butler says:

    Me again…I "almost" forgot part of my comment. You asked for tips on overcoming "almosting"…

    I read this in a magazine the other day (almost remembered which one!),anyhow, a study recently on people who were successful in dieting or starting an exercise program were those who visualized themselves doing whatever it was they had as a goal. They "saw" themselves doing it. The study found that those who mentally "imaged" themselves doing a thing had a greater likelyhood of doing it successfully.Of course, this study, was on diet and exercise but the technique may work for other stuff, too.

     

    Hey – I’m willing to give it a try! I actually spent my evening bathtime last night imagining what my ideal day on the farm would look like – and it really DID give me some great motivation. I think I’ll do it more often, now! xoxo, Libbie

  35. Robin says:

    I could not resist commenting on your insightful post as I am a part-time member of the "Almoster Club". Part of the time my projects get finished, part of the time my house is clean and tidy, part of the time my garden/beds get tended to…you get the idea. I always looked at this trait as a personality flaw; something I should work on and change or recover from. Until this past January, that is. My oldest son (12) was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh with severe pain in his left hip. For 2 wks prior we went back and forth with local docs trying to figure out what was going on – 3 different docs – 3 different answers. 1 kid in severe pain – 2 very scared and angry parents. Hence the whirlwind ambulance ride to Children’s. 4 nights on a hospital room couch, 30 docs(not exaggerating), lots of antibiotics, very strong pain meds, a radiographic hip aspiration later – we took home a smiling, happy, healthy kid. A miracle! Diagnosis: Severe pain left hip secondary to a viral infection – yep, new one to me, too. Fast forward to May. I came down with what I thought was the flu. With 2 kids in grade school it’s a regular event. 3 days in I could tell I wasn’t thinking clearly and hubby took me to the ER. Long story short, I had a serious bacterial infection due to a tic bite on the back of my right leg that developed into a serious case of cellulitis -probably acquired while working in my beloved herb garden. Left untreated for much longer and the bacterial infection would have killed me. 4 weeks of very strong antibiotics later I was healthy again. To me, another miracle!
    My point in giving you these personal details? Perspective. When you put unfinished projects up against a very sick child and almost lossing your life over a bug bite, you are suddenly VERY HAPPY to have unfinished projects smiling back at you. Now I tackle them one at a time, when I have time between normal every day stuff, telling my guys I love them every chance I get, and thanking my lucky stars that I’m still around to start more projects and get half of them finished!

  36. Barbara says:

    Just getting started with Mary Jane and the farm girls. I love this discussion of almosters. I feel so lucky – even though I am surrounded by things that are almost done. I am never at a loss for things to do, things to learn, new things to experience. I wake up in the morning excited about the new things I will learn today. Everyday is a learning experience and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to try something else. Will I ever finish everything? Actually, I hope not because I so much enjoy the ideas of the new projects that lie ahead. I love the suggestion of celebrating the finished things and I will start a journal this very day to keep those experiences fresh. Let’s not feel sad about things not yet finished. let’s instead be grateful that we have the wonderful learning experiences available to us every day. Thanks for this thoughtful post!

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