Live a Flexible Life


“It will never be perfect. Make it work. Accept the imperfections.”

Life

Note: I wrote this post in July before I headed out of town. It is especially relevant to my life right now. A few days after I wrote it, a car travelling at least 55 mph (maybe more) slammed into the driver’s side of my truck. T-boned me. I and my passenger would both be goners if it was not for the particular vehicle I was driving and a tiny millisecond of time. I was driving “Cupcake,” my big beautiful Teal colored 1994 classic F250 XLT truck. Gorgeous, and also a tank. I LOVE that truck, and it is irreplaceable. But even in that beautiful beast, if I had been a millisecond ahead of where I was in the road, I would have been hit directly in the driver’s door and me and my passenger would be on the other side of the dirt right now. I can’t discuss my injuries, but I appreciate any prayers, light, love, thoughts that you’d send up for me. oxo

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RIP Cupcake

I’m wondering how many of you have ever been in a car accident? Or even more than one? If you have time, leave a comment and share with us.

Now on to the blog post.

This started out as a post about hot tea. About how I used to be a coffee connoisseur (read, “coffee fiend”), but gave it up. The transition from coffee to tea was forced and not an easy one for me. But it had to be done. Coffee started bothering me in several unpleasant ways, so I realized that I needed to give it up. So that was my intent, a light-hearted post about teas and having tea and teacups and tea rituals and tea friends.

But when I came to the computer to write the post about tea, another post started writing itself. My fingers hijacked the post, and I just couldn’t seem to get the tea post written. Instead, these words happened that day:

It’s one of those things that (they say) leads to a happy life: adaptability. The ability to be flexible when things don’t go the way you planned, when life throws you a curve ball, or maybe you threw yourself one.

What’s your M.O. when life kicks you in the stomach? How do you handle it?

Maybe I’m correct, or maybe I’m delusional (or maybe I’m both), but I have always thought myself to be BENDY with the ebbs and flows, the kinks and curves, the unexpected life things that occur. Move, sway, even dance when the winds try to blow me over. The other possibly delusional thing I believe about myself is that I am adaptable. I can be happy, can find joy, in every circumstance.

Oh yeah, there’s an awful lot I could talk about in this regard. Many kicks in the stomach I’ve had, but I know two things. One, if you’re living, then you’re suffering some blows. Everyone does. Mine are no harder or easier than anyone else’s. And, two. People don’t enjoy hearing about problems and troubles.

Through-out my life, I’ve learned 5 ways to help me get through stressful, life-altering, sad, and difficult times.

1

Do the small things. Keep your daily rituals and routines the same. There is a calmness in the familiarity of your activities. Comfort is found there. Like, what is your ritual when you get up?

Mine is this: wake up; let cats out; take my pups, Strudel and Blue, for a walk up the driveway and down to the creek; open the chicken house and feed and water the chickens; come inside and put on the kettle for tea. While I am having my cup of hot tea, I do my best NOT to be engaged in any activity other than “thinking and drinking.” Thinking. Sipping. Thinking more. Sipping more. When the weather is lovely, I enjoy my tea down by the rushing creek. And that is how my days begin.

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Blue, the dog

and

Here’s our visiting fish this summer. I think it’s a Trout?

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And my beloved creek.

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2

Work to let it go. Move your mind onto something else.

By continuing to focus on our difficulties and challenges, we give them continued power and energy. We keep them alive and thriving. That’s the opposite of what we need to do.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ve mentioned before how much I love the band The Avett Brothers. HaHa, I know I’ve mentioned it a million times. Their lyrics speak to me; their music moves me. And y’all, their concerts are THE absolute highest energy, best concerts that I’ve ever been to. Ever. I see them as often as I can.

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Anyway, they wrote a song with this lyric:

“Give me strength to leave the sad and the wrong…Buried safely in the past where I’ve been living.”

The Avett Brothers

Those guys are right. It takes strength to leave the sadness behind you. It takes willfulness and action. Powerful.

We must stop ourselves from living in the past. The past is not a healing place to live. Rehashing and reliving the past keeps you from your true living place. The living place is where we live in the now and in joyful hope of a bright future.

Now, maybe you counselors out there are cringing about what I’m saying. Counselors say things like, “Face your problems! Talk about them! Explore them! Think about the whys and the wherefores!” I say no. Understand them to the extent that you learn and grow and then move off the sad and the wrong and the bad and the guilt. Leave it in the past as you move towards the present.

Focus on fresh paths. Look towards the future. Don’t meditate on what happened and why. Instead, ruminate on the possibility of the good. Seek it out. Keep your mind forward thinking. Certainly, don’t ignore the crapola you are dealing with, but don’t carry it around with you every second of every day.

3

Get outside more. Outside helps everything. Take in all the spectacular stuff around you. Notice what you see: the color of the sky, the shapes of the leaves, the wildflowers, the moss. Take some stress-less walks. Observe the beauty and miracles all around you. Everyday, it’s there, just waiting for you to notice.

Lay in your ENO with someone you love.

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4

Don’t complain and complain and complain and complain. It negatively affects both you and those around you.

Lily Tomlin once said, “Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.”

Have you ever lived with or had a good friend or roommate or spouse or parent who was a complainer? OMG, I have. Complaining does no good. I say, “Don’t sit around and complain. Get off your butt and do something about it!” It’s hard to keep your head above the angry waters of negativity, discontent, grumbling when you are surrounded by it. But you must learn to do it. For your own happiness and the happiness of those around you. I not only try to limit my interactions with complainers, but I also try not to be one.

This saying is spot on:

A thankful person is thankful under all circumstances.

A complaining soul complains even in paradise.

Ain’t that the truth? Ain’t that the honest-to-goodness truth.

Be the thankful person who is thankful under all circumstances. Count your lucky stars. Literally. One, by one. Think about the ways you are lucky and blessed. Consider what you have. Ponder all the goodness that surrounds you.

Dr. Seuss has a point: “When you think things are hard, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad…you should do what I do…Just tell yourself, Ducky, you’re really quite lucky! Some people are much more…oh, ever so much more…oh, muchly much-much more…Unlucky than you.”

You never have to look very far to see how your situation could be worse, how other folks’ situations are more trying and difficult than your own. Just look around and notice. You’ll see how lucky you really are. In so many ways. Lucky. I know I’ve shared my Grandma Teal’s quote before, but here’s what she used to say, “Sometimes it’s hard to tell our good luck from our bad luck.” I always think of that in instances that feel like bad luck.

The key is gratefulness, appreciation, perception.

5

Let go of the things you THOUGHT were supposed to be, to happen (or not happen) in your life. When Plan A fizzles or explodes, move on through the alphabet, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D. There’s always another plan, idea, method, way. Find it. Be ready to pick yourself up and come up with Plan B. And when that doesn’t work out, go right into Plan C. Be flexible, bendy.

If you are too stuck with Plan A, if Plan A is the only way you view things, then things are going to be harder for you than they have to.

Rejection? Failure? Obstacles? Find a NEW plan. Sure, you may have had all your eggs in Plan A, but the time comes when you might need to carefully take your eggs out of the Basket labeled Plan A and put them elsewhere. Don’t feel sorry for yourself too long about these unexpected happenings. Instead, rework your life.

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This is a found cat. His name is Mayor Hayes. He creates many obstacles when one is trying to walk. He just plops down in hopes you’ll bend down and pet him. What should one do? Jump over? Go around? Move him out of the way? Or reach down and pet him?

and a bonus one,

6

Bake cookies for the neighbor’s children. Well, mostly for the neighbor’s children, for also for you. I recommend peanut butter, chocolate chip, or gingerbread shapes with frosting (my all-time favorite cookie.)

Doing something for someone else during your time of crisis tends to change your point of view. There’s something magic in the giving to others when you’re feeling beat up, lost, hurt, whatever. Your focus is redirected.

Wish I had a photo of cookies to insert here. (Actually, more than that I wish I had some cookies. ha.)

But since I don’t, here’s a conversation with Siri. You know Siri? The computerized voice on iphones? Here, Siri is asked what 0 divided by 0 is. Her response:

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Won’t you share your thoughts with us? What have you learned in life when you were getting tossed around? How do you brush yourself off and pick yourself up?

Love y’all!

Until next time, My Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, Rebekah, The City Farmgirl

 

Leave a comment 29 Comments

  1. Ruth Merritt says:

    Oh, ART – I was afraid something was wrong when your July post was not there. I’m SO GLAD that you are back and writing so many thoughtful and TRUE things we all need to hear. You know that all my prayers and good thoughts are directed to you and for your speedy recovery. Thank God for trucks !!! You have always had great trucks and I’m grateful for that and your ability to bounce back from all life’s troubles. Hang in there.

    Love, Ruthie

  2. Jennifer says:

    Did you name Mayor Hayes after Lavon on Hart of Dixie? I love that show!

  3. Deb B. says:

    I am so sorry about your accident, sending prayers for quick healing in both body and mind. When I was a child my parents car was hit on my side and to this day I never pull out in traffic (even with a green light) before I check to see if anyone is coming. It never leaves you, that feeling that someone is going to hit you. It is one of the side effects of being in an accident, you never fully trust that people will obey the law such as stopping at a stop sign or red light. In Colorado running red lights and stop signs is an everyday occurrence so I wait.

  4. Lorraine Helferich says:

    So sweet. So true. So sad about your truck. Prayers for your healing.

  5. Jacqueline says:

    I was T-boned on the drivers side by a train, yes a train in a small town in PA. No signs, bells, whistles, bars. Just driving to work on a regular morning. By the grace of God, a seat belt and an air bag I was not seriously hurt other than a back injury.
    You just don’t ever know what life has in store for you!
    I am sorry about your accident and will say a prayer for healing!
    I am also so very sorry for the loss of cupcake as that is one sweet truck! I drive a pickup and love it!

  6. patricia carlson says:

    Beautiful and well thought out article. It soothed my soul this morning. I got up before dawn and made my coffee and found your post in my mail. Wonderful. Thank you.

  7. Denise Betz says:

    God Bless you Rebekah
    I am so sorry to hear of this, I hope you are ok and healing. I look forward to your posts and admire your compassion for life and understanding of what’s truly important.
    I find encouragement in you and a hope to one day follow more of my dreams and passion with your vindication.
    I am praying for you right now and will continue to.
    I have never been in a car accident, but many close people in my life have. (one was a terrible boating accident).
    It really seems to play on your mind, thoughts, and emotions.
    I pray that you heal both physically and also emotionally.
    Please keep your faith and continue to push forward and be grateful for all things, good and bad.
    All my best for you,
    Denise

  8. Zoe Siperly says:

    I needed to read this today, I needed the boost to get going and appreciate all the things that are around me in life. I can relate to so many of the examples you mention, I am sure that there are others that will respond. My cat Squirt can trip me up most all the time!!
    Thanks for sharing your words and what was in your heart. Blessings, Zoe

  9. Amanda says:

    Just what I needed to read at this very moment! Thank you! So very sorry about the accident, many prayers from me to you! I’m in the middle of a situation involving my daughters gymnastics team and a coach leaving last week, so the flexible part of the title made me chuckle! My daughter and I are able to handle this issue pretty well (unlike the others) by putting many things in perspective. And our family uses all of the ways you use. Just this morning after getting super annoyed with parents calling me for my opinions on what we’re doing over the gym matter I turned off my phone and went to my garden and pulled weeds (very angrily). After that with a clear head I was able to be a better help to them. And my garden looks better which makes me happy. Win-win!

  10. Sue says:

    You are right no one likes a complainer. That said I have been beat down by life more times than I can count. But that is life it is a rollercoaster ride. When things get really bad I try to remember what my dad said. “You know what success is? It’s getting up one more time than you fall down.” The other thing I find comforting is realizing that one must have patience with yourself and others. Things change that is one of life’s truths. It is no use fretting, try to make each day a good one even if you have to do it one minute at a time. Remain your positive self. Allow yourself time to heal. Things will get better.
    P.S. I have been t -boned twice. It is not something I wish to repeat but I got through it and you will too. I have faith in that. I have read your posts for years and you don’t quit.

  11. Marlene Capelle says:

    Best to you for your recovery. Was in an accident once, rearender. I never drive close to the vehicle in front of me. That’s a part of my past worth keeping I think.

  12. Carolyn Helfenstein says:

    Thank you for this piece of well written advice. I have been encouraged. Thank you

  13. Rodella Johnston says:

    Sending love , good thoughts and prayers your way! I can really relate to what you have shared here.
    Rodella

  14. Judith says:

    Pet the cat! Yes — I’ve been in accidents; hardly drove for a year after one and when I did I didn’t go over 35. I heartily agree about not dwelling on misfortune. Get up, dust yourself off, and get on with life. I had several years where everything bad happened. It got where I was daring life– “Bring it on — I can handle it!”. No matter how bad things got I lived through it. I have so much to be thankful for; life is good.

  15. Oh, my dear, sweet, lady, I hope you are ok. Sorry that your truck isn’t but she served you well and with love, it would seem. I so, so agree with your assessment. Just getting up and moving through the everyday things of life is what keeps us alive in every aspect. Being grateful for it all, and paying it forward!

  16. Mary says:

    How wonderful to get your message. I’ve wondered if you EVER received a birthday card and a Mother’s Day card from me?…Also, I fretted about WHO cared for all the creatures when you “went out of town”. I did not write because I figured you would be working through challenges that were staring you in the face. I’m so pleased you stayed true to yourself and waded FORWARD, not WALLOWED backward! What a great model for all your friends! Thank you!

  17. Marilyn says:

    Sorry about your accident. Hope you are feeling better soon. Prayers for you and your passenger for healing and strength. By the way, I do not drink coffee either. I am strictly a tea lady.
    Marilyn

  18. Diane Van Horn says:

    So sorry to hear about Cupcake’s sad demise, but so glad you aren’t on the other side of the dirt, pushing up daisies! Automobile accidents are so scary. After being in one, I always remember it in slow motion.
    Now for the post about tea…so glad you let your fingers take over. This post comes at a good time for me, you and probably many more. I know you have had some major changes in your life and not what you ever imagined. When life becomes a roller coaster ride, I try to climb into the front seat, throw my arms in the air and enjoy the ride! As for planning, I have gone from plan A to plan Z and back again, but have usually learned something along the way. These days I try to start and end each day with gratitude. It really helps set the tone for everything inbetween.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Ride that rollercoaster!

  19. Nancy Couden says:

    Sorry to hear of your trials–it is a mystery! But one day we will know … the clues are totally exposed for us to see. No more pain, tears, trials. Prayers for you and yours.

  20. Dianne says:

    I think life is hard. There are lots of people struggling it seems.I always smile at others and it is wonderful when they smile back. Sometimes I might comment and ask someone how their day is going like a clerk or waitress. I always try to remember that others may have more troubles than I might. You are so right about getting out in nature. Somehow, things kind of melt away. I am so glad to hear that you and your passenger made it out Ok, thankfully your truck saved you.

  21. mary ann says:

    My heart was touched tonight by your beautiful writing and your wise spirit. Thank you.

  22. Denise says:

    So sorry to hear about what happened with you and your beloved truck. I am hoping you and your friend have or will be making a full recovery. Had a Semi move over into my lane one time, hit my car in the front with his front set of wheels and then we served and he hit the back of my car with his back wheels. in the middle my sister and I were not touched, except I broke a finger nail! My Dad was driving behind us and witnessed the whole thing. to say we are thankful is an understatement, when as you know it could have been so much worse. once again, I hope you are healing in mind and body.

  23. Sandi King says:

    R.I.P. Cupcake. Is there no way to fix her? We are truck people. Love our Chevy’s. I actually have a van but she is used a lot like a truck when she is loaded down. My son has a pickup, which he loves. As for Mr. Hayes, I love him. We have one called Shadow and he also is under foot, in front of foot, right beside foot until he gets what he wants, usually a bowl of milk and some rubbings. He is our outside cat, lives in the garage and he came to us to live, one day a few years ago. I have 5 other cats in the house, 3 girls and 2 boys. One boy, Tyker, is always around my feet rubbing against me or in front of me or walking wherever I walk. My other little man is a foot cat too, but loves to rub himself against your feet, or bite your toes. I am a cat person and my son is a dog and cat person, in fact every cat we have in the house he has brought home to live with us, and the same for the dogs. Now for your recovery, you probably are feeling a lot better by the time you read this one, but I’ll say prayers for you anyway because I know about accidents; I have had two, one of my own making on a snow covered icy road and a too sharp turn on the wheel which sent me over a bank and into a tree. I was so bruised and hurt the next day because I had actually been thrown around inside the vehicle. The other one was a rear-ender by a lady who’s car had no brakes which hit us at a stoplight and we ended up hitting the vehicle in front of us so we kinda got slammed back to front and back again inside the vehicle. No broken bones in either one but badly bruised and sore for days. In both, there were no complaints about life. We were happy to be alive and able to walk away. I took it as a crossed off bucket list item. How to survive something you didn’t expect to happen. I still have a few more bucket list items to do, more pleasurable than these, like a train trip though mountainous areas with lakes, wild animals, deep forests and big blue skies; or winning the grand prize in a lottery and spending all the money on other people; or learning to paint like the masters or writing a novel that would inspire others to live a better life. Grand ideas and dreams. I love the way you look at life also. I have no regrets or complaints about my life but I have complained a lot about little things that people do or say or because of my own failure something that happens that was avoidable. Not for long. I realize life is so short for us humans and we should always be grateful for the time we have here and we should live it as best as we can with what we have and do for others as often as we can. My motto will be “Look on and for the bright side of every situation.” I am sure there is one.

  24. Veronica Nightingale says:

    Praying for you, Rebekah. That beautiful truck was a Godsend – and may He send you just the replacement you need when you need it. Everything you said was right on. Will pray for continued strength, peace and even joy.

  25. Denise says:

    My word Rebekah you’ve had a quite a time of late, I’m so so thankful you and your passenger survived such a huge accident. I really love reading your posts, always got a lesson in them with a happy uplifting vibe to them too. Btw I’m a tea drinker and am happy to have a chat over a virtual one anytime about all the yummy ones out there. I love chai but start the day with an English or Irish breakfast tea, with some lovely quiet time watching the sunlight awaken our yard with beautiful morning colours. Once I’ve had some quiet and ponder time then I begin my day prep. I always bookend my day with quiet.
    I was in a rear ended accident back in ’99, permanent whiplash injury to my neck, but I determined to do as much as I can for as long as I can, yes I’ve had to make some adjustments but as you so rightly point out, we have to in life or life becomes a very hard place to be. I’m usually a very adaptable person so long as I get to keep some of my essential routines in place, if I don’t then I can become unstuck very fast.
    But I keep on keeping on, keep dusting myself off and keep looking for the joy moments each day in the day. I keep a bit of a gratitude/blessings journal especially when my mood is heading down and it picks me up focusing on all the good things that I’m blessed with, and when i lost them, there are many and that shifts my mood quickly. Happy days and I hope that whatever you’ve suffered from this accident that it doesn’t steel the beautiful person you. Sending big hugs and big love to you

  26. Maureen says:

    I really needed your message today. I am going to print it and keep it handy. I was in an awful wreck many years ago. At that time, I realized that life is a matter of seconds and centimeters and I will take and every blessed one I get. Every day above ground is a good day.

    Many blessings!

  27. Deb Bosworth says:

    Oh Rebekah! I’m so sorry to hear you were in an accident. But, I’m so very glad you are here to write and tell us about it and your path to recovery. Life is full of twists and turns and things that force to be ” bendy” even when we don’t particularity want too. A serious auto accident is life altering, but as you say the only way forward is through the crapola. If anyone can do it, it’s you. You’re encouraging others while you’re trying to get well yourself!
    Classic Rebekah!
    Sending healing wishes and light to you my dear farmgirl sister.
    xox Deb

  28. Pamela deMarrais says:

    Hey Rebekah, what an inspiring post! It’s helping me to rethink my challenges. I always enjoy what you write about, or should I say how you see the good in everyday stuff.
    I will add that I was in a car accident when I was 15 and a bit wild. I went through the windshield and was thrown out of the car. I have scars on my face but they don’t stop me from smiling. I heard a great Christian song about thanking God for the scars in our life. It’s helped me to have compassion for others.

  29. Susie Heller says:

    Thank you for wisdom.
    I find myself at times, Malden over what life handed me. I feel lonely, abandoned, and thrown away. However, living in the above offers me no peace nor adventure. Of those two, adventure is the best
    Each morning my two small dogs rush outside into the backyard. They run from corner to corner and up the hill. Have they seen it all before? Yes. But do they let that stop them? No. They live with the hope that there will be change. Something new and exciting.
    I decided to follow their lead putting my preconceived ideas out of my mind. There is a whole plethora of new things to focus on. Where there are spent blooms on rose bushes, new buds are forming and will soon produce a riot of fresh color. On the ground ants hurry gathering microscopic things. Even the beetle lumbering along is busy.
    Why do we humans perceive the world as devoid of activities as we fall into a funk? We have lost the God given road to happiness.
    That happiness is all around us, everywhere. We just need to look with new eyes each days. If we are always looking back at yesterday, we miss the blessings of today and tomorrow. Yesterday is over never to return. Today is all we have. Do not allow yesterday to color today. Do not allow today to ruin tomorrow. For today find twenty new things you have neglected to notice. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. But today is all ours to enjoy. Seek the beauty of today. Forget yesterday and dreams of tomorrow. Live right now. Find peace right now. See the beauty God created just for today. You’ll enjoy a full and contented life by living for right now, this moment, before it becomes a memory. Susie Heller

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