Pull Up a Bench and Sit a Spell

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
Maybe it is the time of year, or maybe it is just me needing a rest, but I have been noticing chairs and benches lately, each of them coaxing me to come on over and sit a spell. I cannot even say that I am thinking while enjoy their respite; at least I cannot recall anything that I was thinking about while there. It is rather magical to be able to plant yourself in the middle of a scene and contemplate, well, nothing.

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  1. Debby says:

    Remember when the word "multitasking" was the buzzword? We could only sit if we were also doing three other things. We became just way too busy…my grandparents used to know how to be still, and just be. They had boundaries…there was a time for work, and a time to be still. We lost a lot when we began to disregard those boundaries…

  2. noeletta Cardenas says:

    We all need to find time to sit with ourselves! Not thinking about anything in particular, just sitting and being, breathing and relaxing, recouping and re-energizing! This is my wish for you for the new year. That you find the time to do just that. Love your blog! Thanks for all that you share of yourself. 🙂

  3. Debbie says:

    What a neat post! I love the pix you took of these wonderous places to sit a spell and just " be"… I feel exactly the same way about picket fences…I live in New England and they are everywhere…I have felt that same " pull" lately to photograph the ones that speak to me as well. Winter is approaching. What a glorious time to take pix of them snow covered, waiting for spring floweres to bloom around them! Keep up the wonderful posts!
    Love them…

  4. brenda says:

    I too find myself every now and then just sitting in a peaceful visual place…however my mind is trained to re-arrange it somehow and then I pop up grab the clippers, redesign the area…then I can sit more peacefully…maybe thats OCD?

  5. O'Dell says:

    Hi Rene’,
    I am reminded of the times when I was little, and we lived in an old farmhouse in CT. At times, I would leave the yard that was near the house, and climb to the top of our wheatfield, and lay in the sun, and just watch the butterflies. A quiet time for me alone. You see, by the time I was 5, there were 5 children in the family..so it was rather noisy. These days my favorite quiet times are when my guy and I are up in northern Maine..sitting by the lake, listening to the loons. I think we all need quiet time now more than ever in order to make any sense of all that is happening around us. I think it helps us to stay physically healthy too!
    here’s hoping we have calm holidays!

  6. Nancy says:

    Well said (and beautiful photos). Nothing beats just sitting in a beautiful place and gathering your thoughts, or clearing your head!

  7. DebbieSue says:

    Your Pictures are BEAUTIFUL….They are so relaxing just to look at! Thamks for posting them.

  8. electronic cig says:

    One thing that I find the most helpful is number five. Sometimes when I write, I just let the flow of the words and information come out so much that I loose the purpose. It’s only after editing when I realize what I’ve done. There’s definitely a lot of great tips here I’m going to try to be more aware of.

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  13. Dr. Stewart says:

    I love to sit outside and just think. The fresh air and sunshine makes it so much nicer than sitting in my la-z-boy inside.

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
I have been haunted the last few days by an email I received from one of the farmgirls. Not haunted in a way that compels you to flee, but rather in a way that begs you to stay and sit with it a while, facing those things that we all too often would rather not face.

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  1. Grace~katmom says:

    Thank you for touching our hearts and reminding is that the act of ‘Giving’ no matter how big or small, is the most wonderful gift.
    And yes, as you and and MaryJane both eloquently said, "Every woman has a story".

  2. Reba says:

    Hey Rene, I just witnessed (literally)in a courtroom: my sister on trial, to receive a divorce in a 40 year marriage. Hearing all about the abuse, adultery, and financial ruin was painful!! But she came out shining!! Like the comments, she is a "thriver." She consoled me afterwards, stating, "I’m alright, I’m going to make it, I’m free!!" She is so-o-o beautiful, inside and out!! It is wonderful and a blessing to have these kinds of people in our lives.

    A thriver indeed… 🙂

  3. Annika says:

    I am so touched by the stories of these marvellous women. I have been through and would rather not go into on a blog, some terrible things. I’m a survivor and I tend to land on my feet, so I guess I am a thriver too. It is the time of Thanksgiving, but in truth, each day should begin with a giving of thanks. Wake up and feel life and be thankful for your own inner core of strength. I pray for sweet Aria and dear Julia to keep up the fight and love life as they do.

    Giving blood is a precious gift to give. I hope that we, all of us, as sisters and farmgirls can reach out and give to a stranger in need.

    Thank you Rene’, for a wonderful post and a call to arms as it were to reach out and care.

  4. Rene`, Your column this week is one of the most thought provoking pieces I’ve read in a long, long time. I can’t think of anything else to say except ‘Amen’.

  5. Gary says:

    Thank You for this Bloggie Rene’, as it gives that much needed nudge to pause… reflect and Pray. This Thanksgiving Day I have so much more to be Thankful for than I do to lament, and it is good for the Spirit to pause and embrace the reality of that contrast.
    I don’t expect we will be hearing from you on Thanksgiving Day, so I shall wish You, your Family, and Critters a
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  6. Terces says:

    Such a powerful reminder of how we are all truly connected and how something as unconscious as our own blood can be such a gift to someone else. I’m looking all day today to see how can I contribute to someone else? Thanks so much. Terces

  7. Giving blood is a gift of life, my husband and I have given blood for years everytime we are able. We mark it on our calendar. Why not do it, Tis the season… to give.

  8. Forrest says:

    This has hit something deep in me, deep in my own story. To reach a little further to not just survive but Thrive. To Shine and be the light that falls upon the faces around me. The faces that look to me to guide them to thriving. Thank you.

  9. Rachel Rodriguez says:

    There are so many THRIVERS in my family…your story also made me pause and give thanks for all their encouraging examples. It is sad to to hear of the all the struggles woman face YET so uplifting to hear how they overcome daily. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are faced with pain each day and I will look to serve, like giving blood, as much as I can. THANK YOU 🙂

  10. karen bates (kpaints) says:

    I don’t know how you did it but you did! You topped last weeks column! Thank you so much for sharing and showing us another way to participate…..to help others!
    There are many of us, ‘survivors’ out there, many from horrendous incidents but I love the new name, ‘thrivers’. I am so glad to get a positive spin on it, thanks to you and Julia for all the encouragement you give to others.

  11. Mary Anne Komar says:

    Dear Rene, my husband and children, well grown up men all lived in the U.K. and Ireland for 5 years, so we can’t give blood because of "Mad Cow" disease, but there are other ways, some big and some small. We adopted 2 sisters from Russia, 9and 12 years old, now 16 and 19, now that’s a pretty big one!!!!But we have been blessed in so many ways! We’re both 60 and 61 now and still involved with teen agers. Thought I was done with girlie hormones, at least mine! Prayer, free smiles, and hope, sometimes that’s all we can do! Happy Thanksgiving, and love coming your way!

  12. Laurel says:

    What a great blog. Thank you for sharing. I would love to give blood but can’t as I also have cancer and am on chemo. I am 57 and considered a youngster in the chemo room. But then there is pediatric cancer. How hard to watch a child come down and go through chemo and radiation. I am thankful my children did not go through that misery. We had a neighbor with a little girl my sons age with cancer. She is a survivor (my son is now 23).
    I hope you have touch many people who will give thanks by giving of themselves.
    Happy Thanksgiving, Laurel

  13. Jeannie says:

    What a touching story that even had me in tears, Praying for this family and all others that are needing some uplifting strength

  14. Carolina Sarceño says:

    I loved the name "Sisterhood of Thrivers". There are days that you don’t know how to thrive, and then you read a column, or someone’s smile blesses you, or you may meet someone with a heavier burden than yours. We are thrivers, and it is a blessing. It is that strive to become the Proverbs 31 woman.

    New year resolutions use to be my habit, and a very unsuccessful habit at that. This past year of 2009, I learned so much through prayer. I did not look at the "end" of 2009 as a success or failure, but rather a journey, one that will be completed in 2010, 2011, 2012…God willing. I am learning to reflect back at my weak points and try to strengthen them in the future. I am not going to use the end of the year, but reflect back daily. Talking to God has helped me to realize that this short life that we are granted is a daily journey. It is to be taken in small doses, and to be lived for in humility. So good-bye new year’s resolutions and hello to daily reflective moments. I can change a day at a time, but a year at a time is too much to concieve. As I grow older, each day becomes more precious.
    I pray you too have time to reflect upon your day and strive for a better tomorrow!
    Happy New Year! Carolina


    Yep, I call it, "eating an elephant, one bite at a time". Happiest of New years.

  15. WillieNY says:

    You have great blog and this post is good!

  16. Lovely blog post. It touched me. It caused me to stop and think and pray. Thank you!

  17. TefeCaftger says:

    Very Interesting!
    Thank You!

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Hello. Anyone There?

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
Do you remember when children would make a phone by taking two tin cans and tying them to the opposite ends of some string? I recall doing this in elementary science class. We took two large paper cups or tin cans, punched a hole in the bottom center of each can or cup, then cut about 100 feet of kite string, pulled the string through both cups and tied it down. The key, of course, was to keep the string pulled tight, allowing the sound waves to travel across the string and into the other cup.

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  1. Cyndarella says:

    This is a "brilliant" statement on listening! Active listening is an art that is learned. If I could learn the art I would have many many friends. People love to know you are listening to them. Thank you for the blog.

  2. Reba says:

    What a great blog, Rene! And so timely. I was just thinking on that same verse this week and making a conscious effort to think of all the things that I felt were true, noble, right, pure, and lovely. As I did I could feel myself rising above the mundane useless things that sometimes weighs us down. I felt my spirit lifting and before I knew it, I felt like putting music on the stereo. It was amazing how the thought suddenly occurred to me that "there is so much to think of that is good and so much time has been wasted!" I am making an effort to keep those thoughts foremost in my mind so that as noise-makers come my way I do not let them steal my thoughts. Thanks for the encouragement that you have given.

  3. Carrie says:

    So true. As a music teacher I am always saying ,"Are you listening to what I am saying?" "Are you listening to what you are playing? What others are playing?" I probably say "listen" 100 times a week! However, often times, it is I who is guilty of not listening. I think we are so use to half-listening that we forget to truly hear.

  4. Gary says:

    This is a very profound and timely Bloggie Rene’, and you hit several "nails" on the head. I am also keenly aware when someone listens, and I find I must also practice the art of listening, as it is not a passive mental activity. It feels very fullfilling to be "engaged" in conversation, and unfortunately that doesn’t happen often.
    I also find fault with technology in the demise of interpersonal skills, which is rampant in our culture, and I place primary blame on tee vee. Most people aren’t used to reading and thinking and developing an idea or opinion. Viewers of tee vee are used to being "told", and what passes as conversation these days is more like two people swapping disconnected statements about the same subject, with one thinking of what to say next while the other is talking, instead of actually listening. It’s sad.
    On a brighter note, it is so refreshing and gives such a feeling of connection, when we do encounter a person like the Gentleman you describe, and we remember those moments, and look froward to seeing them again. Like a lone Daisy in a field of dry grass, those people look positively beautiful.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…
    in Tampa

    Very well said Gary.. see I am listening :)… and learning.

  5. Rene, you have done it again! This must be ‘hit home’ week. I started working intently on this very process in the last few weeks! And I am really enjoying listening to others. I have to catch myself when I want to interject my thoughts….way too much (old habit). It sure takes practise but I love the results. I even made a new friend and reconnected to an old one.
    This was a wonderful post and I loved every word. Thanks for sharing what and how you feel!

  6. Catherine says:

    Thank you for this timely and truth-filled post, Rene.

    It really does make such a difference when we take time to stop and really listen to one another.

    Oh, but that pruning part … that’s not so much fun, necessary but not fun 😉 . You are the second voice to speak that word this week … I must be in for it soon!

    And now, I’m off to make one of those phones, I’ll let my girlies play with it for a while and then find a place to put it as a reminder for myself. Thank you for the great idea.

    Bless you,
    Catherine 🙂

  7. Debbie says:

    What an excellent blog…I have been thinking some of these same thoughts myself….it gets harder and harder to feel "heard" these days. Thanks for saying it all so well.

  8. carla says:

    Your description of the gentlemen from your church, brings back such lovely memories of my dear wonderful late Aunt Dorothy. She was such a wonderful active listener, always making each one of us so special when having a conversation with her. She was also a letter writer. I treasure my saved correspondance with her.
    Thank you for the memory of her today.
    Active listening, letter writing, and better penmanships are all techniques that I am trying to better in myself, and I definitely need the reminder.
    Thank you.

  9. Tammie says:

    As always your blog leaves me inspired.
    I worked with young children for years and the magic that made it work was in believing in them. Children, and people in general, will live up to what you say of them. If you tell a child he/she is brilliant and smart and funny and wonderful…they are. (Unfortunately this works in reverse as well.)
    I can’t remember how many times I’ve told a parent that would be explaining to me how "bad" their child is… to be careful with what they say. The child will live up to it. So what is the worse that can happen when you tell a child he/she is brilliant and smart? There is no worse scenario there.
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  10. Raynita says:

    True, so very true:) My daughter and I have been discussing about how people can no longer "sit still". What’s up with this? We find that it is not only a problem for children, but adults as well. How can we listen to others or even be heard ourselves if we can’t be still? Like your son training his puppy, it takes discipline, something that seems to be lost in this time. Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God." How can we notice the "awesomeness" as we run through life?

  11. KDL says:

    I know what you mean, I watch people and it has become less of an art and more of a battle. Most people don’t really listen to what is being said, rather they prepare a rebuttal or redirect the conversation to something more pertinent to their lives. Conversation is something we are losing as a society. It’s being replaced with an electronic abbreviation. You’re right, text messages and emails have isolated us from the people we need. God created us for fellowship with others as well as with Him. These relationships are the heart and soul of neighbors and families. Society is becoming addicted to the ability to edit and prepare a conversation rather than to "perform live" with those around us. As a terribly shy person I have fought to stay in the mix, but it’s hard. I’ve tried to overcome my short comings with humor, that’s sometimes even worse. It’s much easier to resort to a well prepared email or text message.

  12. Nancy says:

    How right you are, most people don’t take the time to really listen, they are too interested in talking about themselves. My husband and I make it a practice to really listen to each other and other people. If one of us slips, the other one reminds.

  13. Susan Holland says:

    AMEN. Thanks for your astute real-time rendering of that great part of Phillipians and the quote also from Maya Anjelou. You rang some Christmas Bells, sister! Susan

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Who Could Ask For More?

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
In today’s world it may not be politically correct, but I grew up playing that childhood game of cowgirls and Indians, knowing full well that if you were to mix in a little gypsy girl with the cowgirl and the Indian, shake it, then bake it, you would have me: a rural farmgirl. I, like many of my farmgirl friends, do not really “fit” into any one mold. I am as eclectic in my thinking and in my interests as I am in the blood that runs through me.

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  1. Charlotte says:

    Rene’ – again you touch a special part of my heart! I hope to find my "badger". Thanks for the inspiration you give us every day!

  2. Teresa Pearson says:

    Dear Rene, I too am a mixture of heritage, with no one nationality to call my own. I have enjoyed reading your Rural Farmgirl Blog as I am a rural farmgirl myself. I have been having some struggles in my life the last year and recently finding MaryJanes Farm and your blog has helped me get through a lot of it. Thanks so much and keep up the good work. I will be watching for more help and inspiration.

  3. Gary says:

    Rene’… Thank You for this welcome break from the troubles of the day…
    You express feelings through words so very well, and this is a touching and poingnant Bloggie.
    Your writing captures a slice of life and transported my mind to that far away place… well done, and today… very timely.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  4. Reba says:

    It is a hard thing, to open our hearts for love, acceptance, and dealing honorably, to find hurtful things or words. But, it shows that you are open. I have found that I have to remain open and vulnerable or I cannot experience the joy and love of life. And that is very tough. But I make the choice to stay open. It is good to hear of how encouragement comes to others. I have had experiences similar to yours and have found at times that I needed those reminders sitting around for comfort, like your little badger.

  5. carol ashby says:

    Thank you to the "Great Spirit" for giving you the writers gift of the heart, insightful wisdom, humor and a forum to share this gift to those of us who need it most.
    I’m going to cut out a picture of a badger and keep it with me as a reminder that I don’t have to carry all the weight alone.
    – Thanks

  6. bonnie ellis says:


     I too am Native American. My totems have been herons, but lately they have been eagles and hawks. I don’t know the true meaning of these in Cherokee but it gives me strength and courage when I see them. I find comfort in nature. I know you are blessed by being able to write from the heart.


  7. O'Dell says:

    Hi Rene..I am also of mixed heritage..Portugese, French,Swedish, Irish, Welsh,native American going way back. When I was a little girl I often dreamt of doves. I did not understand why until I went into therapy in my late 30’s, to discuss my abusive childhood, and marriage.During this time, I started dreaming of the doves again, but also saw wolves everywhere. The doves seemed to be protecting me, and wolves gave me strength. I also believe they lead me to a better life..as I now have a wonderful man and beautiful grandbabies to love. I think your totems will help you thru the hard times, too. You seem to have a very giving heart….which will be a big blessing to all you gather into your life. Thank you for being here for us!

  8. Mary Jane says:

    Thank you (from a different Mary Jane that lives in FL)

  9. On another day, the little badger may not have been something you even took notice of, or he simply might not have been around for you to see. I don’t believe in coincidence.

    I needed to be lifted up some years back…feeling weary and discouraged. I didn’t want to ride, but we had to. While out I felt better in the fresh air…and then I spied the eagle feather and the verse about renewed strength…’and they shall mount up as eagles’ came to me in a whisper.

    I do know how you feel. Encouragement can come from any direction…just like love. shery jespersen

  10. suzy says:

    Both sides of my family are of Scotch/Irish and Native American decent. I am a true believer that people and things come into our lives for a reason. I have been really busy lately,but I am so glad I took time to read this blog. Thanks ,Blessings to you and Love to all, Suzy, Texas

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