A city girl learning to live off grid on a mountain in Montana with a country boy makes for an endless supply of funny stories, even if they weren't funny at the time. Lots of laughs and tears and love along the way. Enjoy! 😊

Friday, March 5, 2021

Interview With a Man Named Butch


Me - Ok, so since my readers seem to like you better than me (HARRumph) and since you have this surprisingly big following (tsk), I figured that our NON-discriminating readers would like to hear from their new favorite buddy Butch. 


Butch - Wow. Bitter much?


Me - I'm not bitter. I'm NOT. Anyhoo, people like your character because I've apparently done a really good job making you seem all likeable and stuff.


Butch (twinkle in his eye, little grin on his face) - They like ME, really? 


Me - Yasss, for some reason. So I've decided to give you your own chapter in the book by interviewing you, that way I can maintain control and not let you go off all half-cocked. Ok?


Butch - Why would they want to hear from me anyway? I'm nobody special. I just dew what I dew. Are you going to bleep out all the cuss words?


Me - Seriously? Of course! 


Butch - Then it won't be auth... authen.. It won't be real. I don't dew fake.


Me - (Sigh!) - Ok then, I won't bleep them out. (Liar!) Come on. It won't take long. Just humor me, ok? People just LOVE you. They want to hear from The Man, The King, The Butch! 


Butch - Oh, ok. Whale then... back eyin mah dayee.....


Me (aaahhh!) - No no no no! NO stories from your childhood, as funny as they are. That's a whole 'nother book. These stories are from our life since we moved to the mountain. 


Butch (disappointed) - Oh. Poo. 


Me - I'm going to INTERVIEW you. I ask questions, you answer, ok? Ok. So, how do you feel about your long-suffering, patient, beautiful, hard-working wife?


Butch - Which one?


Me - Wow. Man you are so in the doghouse. Next question. 


Butch - Wait. Did you bleep out when I said "Oh. Ship." a minute ago? 


Me - Um, well I wrote "Oh. Poo." That's close enough, isn't it? And I'M asking the questions here! Pay attention! So, why did you decide to go off grid?


Butch - You made me.


Me - I did NOT! We decided that together, remember? Geez. Ok, how do you feel about our mountain neighbors?


Butch - Haw! Talkin' about neighbors, there was this guy I grew up with named Slim Circles, or was that Cooter Brown? Hmm..... maybe it was Poo Hendrix. Anyway, this one time we were stealing these HUGE Black Diamond watermelons and running through this pasture in the dark and Cooter, or Slim, or Poo fell right down on his face and ...


Me - Sigh! OUR. LIFE .UP. HERE. BUTCH! 


Butch (pouting) - Oh. But that's such a great sto-rey! Dang it.


Me - What did you think about having your life immortalized in the watercolor painting our friend did of you?


Butch - Haw haw, I was peeing in that picture and nobody could tell! HAW! 


Me - OMG. Don't TELL people that!! It ruins the picture! Sheeeesh. So. What's your favorite season on the ol' mountaintop?


Butch - Winter


Me - Weirdo. Ok, what did you think when your thoughtful wife bought you a Ken doll that you always wanted when you were little? 


Butch - It was a G. I. JOE, NOT a Ken doll for Pete's flippin' sake. And it was ok.


Me - Just ok?? You played with that thing for two hours!


Butch - Did NOT. Next question. 


Me (snicker) - Why do you have so many dogs?


Butch - That's your fault. And why not? The more the merrier. I had this dog when I was twelve and ...


Me - Butch! Focus man! How do you feel about your wife being a writer and telling people that you were a Mr. Poopy Pants and telling all of your darkest secrets, wishes and dreams?


Butch - My whut? Oh, talkin' about poopy pants, there was this one time when I was twenty that .....


Me - SIGH. OK. This interview is over. One more question. Do you love your life here on the mountain, off grid with all these dogs and an amazing wife?


Butch - Oh HELL YEAH. And don't bleep that out either. 


;)



Thursday, March 4, 2021

Learning the Fine Art of Haggling

You know, when you make the decision to move off grid, on top of a mountain, in Montana for the very first time, you expect to be learning a lot of new things. A LOT. But one thing you do not necessarily expect to learn is how many things that you're bad at. (Oh excuse me, "how many things at which you are bad.")


For instance, I found out that I was bad at splitting wood, dealing with a real winter and going off grid on a mountain in Montana, but ... that's beside the point.


The thing that surprised me the most though was discovering how very not good I was at haggling. Because we were building our home on a shoestring budget, it was necessary to look for good deals and be able to haggle with the best of them. I turned out to be excellent at finding good deals (whoop!) but terrrrrriblllle at dickering, something which shocked and mystified my country boy husband who had apparently gold-medaled in haggling, who came from a long, illustrious line of champion hagglers. 


In the interest of making you haggling-challenged people feel better about yourselves, I will put aside my Scottish pride for the moment and offer a few (embarrassing) examples. 


My relatively new husband and I went shopping for a claw foot tub. We found some out in the country. The man gave us a price and as my husband was opening his mouth, getting ready to pull out the big guns of verbal dickering, innocent little me merrily exclaimed, "Wow! That's a great price!" Butch slowly turned and looked at me with his mouth hanging open and the tub guy snickered. The battle was over before it began. Butch gave me a stern talking to later on, which I didn't even listen to, so pleased I was at the great deal we just made!


We then went looking for, yes, used toilets. Which we found. When the toilet guy announced the price, I happily piped up, "Well that's great! We'd pay TWICE that at the store!" Again the look of utter disbelief on Butch's face, another battle lost and yet another stern talking to. But it was such a good deal! What was his PROBLEM? Tsk. 


We went to a garage sale and I found the perfect rug for our library at which I was completely tickled. It was only ten dollars! I sidled over to Butch and quietly asked (I was learning!), "Why do you think it's SO cheap?" Butch answered out of the side of his mouth, "I think maybe these people are selling their stuff, trying to raise some money." Well. THAT made me feel bad so I walked over and plunked twenty dollars in her hand. Butch later asked me if I haggled her down to five dollars and I sheepishly mumbled, "Uh not exactly." When I told him what I did, his head popped right off his shoulders and he pronounced me Hopeless. He said, "Your big heart keeps getting in the way." Well! I should hope so! 


I truly was trying to learn though, intently watching the Master at work and learning how to keep my mouth shut until we actually left wherever we were shopping, under a completely unnecessary threat of strangling. Hmph. 


I found an old coffee table for thirty five dollars at a yard sale and Butch told me to offer her twenty dollars. I wailed, "Waaa! I feel bad!" He said, "Ok just tell her that's all the money you have." I gasped and said, "I can't LIE!" He rolled his eyes so far back in his head I thought he'd lose them back there. He said, "Give me your money." which I hesitantly did. He then handed me back twenty dollars and said, "Ok. That's all you have now so it's true. Go. Haggle. Make me proud. "


I nervously got out of the car, walked up to the lady who owned the table and hands clasped in front of me in begging position, meekly squeaked, "Um, you won't take just twenty dollars, will you? I mean that's ok if you won't. I understand. It's a beautiful table. I'm sure it's really worth a hundred." I could hear Butch in the car behind me, beating his head on the steering wheel. 


The lady said, "Sure. I'll take twenty for it." I almost fainted. I screeched, "Really? You WILL? Are you SURE?!" And then turned around and made a fool out of myself by jumping up in the air, yelling, "OMG! It worked! Woo hoo!"


Butch did this little jazz hands "Yay" sign back at me then bonked his head on the steering wheel again. 


Ok, so fast forward fifteen years. I am now, I am proud to say, very good at haggling. I'll find something I want, swagger up to the seller, plonk down my prize while chewing on a piece of hay, squint my eyes like Clint Eastwood and confidently ask, "What'll yew take far eyit?" (Don't know why I have to SAY it like Butch does but whatever...)


So, see? You can get better at it. I did. I'll even loan Butch out to you if you'd like. All it takes is a little practice, a few nudges and thinly-veiled threats from Butch and before you know it, You TOO will be good at the Fine Art of Haggling! 😁



Monday, March 1, 2021

There's Room at the Table ♡

I always wanted more children. I had two beautiful healthy boys for whom I am very grateful, and who turned out miraculously well, despite my years of hit and miss homeschooling in a "Let's-make-it-fun!" free-style. (Actually now that I think about it, both of them achieving college degrees and becoming upstanding members of society was clearly in spite of my efforts and says more about them than it does me but hey, we did have fun!)


ANYhoo, because I enjoyed motherhood so much, I wanted a house FULL of kids but alas, much to my dismay, it wasn't meant to be. 


Later, after my two boys were grown, I got remarried to a country boy named Butch, who also had two grown children and who also had always wanted more. I unfortunately no longer had the proper biological equipment to bear children so we began talking about fostering and adopting because apparently going off grid on a mountain in Montana wasn't enough of a challenge. 


We, like most people, wanted a healthy baby. Apparently these are hard, nay impossible, to come by. We adjusted our desires, discussing what ages and particular health issues we felt we could handle, figuring in the fact that we lived off grid, far from medical care and were often snowed in for days at a time. We discussed how we'd raise money for this exorbitantly expensive procedure. We couldn't really afford to do this but we weren't too worried about that. We'd figure it out one way or another. 


I stumbled across a website of children who were waiting for their second adoption - they had been adopted once and given back. Well, THAT broke our hearts. I found another place where they had older children who were sort of classified as 'Unadoptable' because they were so sick or so severely deformed that no one wanted them and there was little hope for them to ever be adopted. 


I took this information to my husband with big crocodile tears in my eyes, showing him pictures and saying, "Look, look! Poor babies! Waaaa!" 


Butch took one look at those pictures and said to me, "Those are the ones we want, right there. The kids no one wants. Get as many as will fit around our table."


Well. Have you guys seen our table? Butch made it himself. It's wood, beautiful and comfortably seats eight, but could easily seat twelve. 


I said, "What? That would be like ten kids! How could we even afford that?"


He said, "Meh, we'll figure it out. Get the ones no one else wants, we'll give them all cool nicknames and teach them how to survive up here. They'll be the baddest kids around. They'll be known as the Fearsome Nelson Pack and no one will ever bother us. In fact, people will be afraid to come up here. The kids will rule the mountain. We'll be sort of like the Waltons but just not as nice. Yeah, that would be totally awesome."


I couldn't have loved him more at that moment if I'd tried. 


So, after fifteen years of trying to adopt, I still haven't been able to make it work out, but even at 56 and 62 we're still hoping. No kidding. 


This world could do with some more homes that are willing to take the unwanted ones and turn them into an awesome, fearsome bunch of amazing adults.


I'm not giving up either because after all, there's still room at the table. 


Stay tuned ... ;)



Saturday, February 20, 2021

Fancy the Terrorist Roo

We had chickens on the ole mountaintop here in Montana for three years. They lived in our 100 year old log miner's cabin with deep, fresh, sweet-smelling straw, lots of yummy corn, cozy nesting boxes, colorful toys and fun! hanging corn cobs. They were spoiled rotten by me, their Momma, who regularly went to the local sporting goods store and without explanation politely asked for "live maggots please". 


These thirty hardy chickens had no heat in their little cabin in the woods which caused their loving Momma no end of distress in the winter, but it didn't seem to particularly bother the chickie babies except for a few frozen combs and wattles. They laid eggs for me all year, cold or not. 



These sweet feathered friends were free range chickens, no fences for them! Strolling up and down our beautiful hills sporting big tough muscles (which we later found out were a bit of a challenge to chew), they were the masters of their universe, the lord and ladies over all they surveyed. 


Even though they lived in a place where bears, mountain lions, bobcats and hawks were close neighbors, they never had any problems, due in part to having 6 big dogs to protect them and also due to a little rooster named Fancy who did his job very well indeed.


Why 'Fancy' you ask? Well we named him Fancy because he was most colorful; he in fact looked just like a pimp from the 1970's. A little bling and a saucy hat would have completed the picture nicely. 



And oh boy, was he a good rooster. He watched over his girls, warning them if there was a hawk nearby, showing them where the juicy grasshoppers were, escorting them safely from place to place, fetching Mom when there was big trouble, and doing the Soul Train mating dance so as to woo them, not unlike Barry White. 


Have I mentioned yet that this bird was TINY? About half the size of a regular rooster, but way big in courage and attitude. 


And we were all good friends, living in harmony together, until the day I decided we had too many hens laying too many eggs and that half of his harem was going to live elsewhere with a big, black gorgeous rooster named Bubba. 


Well. This was apparently not to be borne. As I was gently scooping up his girls to transport them to their new home, Fancy seemed to know exactly what was going on, and he attacked his sweet Momma over and over again. He was indignant to say the least.


And he never forgave me for it either.


From then on it was WAR. 


Fancy's newfound aggressive behavior really bothered me because, well, it hurt my feelings. We had been such good friends! I had even saved his life a time or two! And he didn't have as many girls to take care of now! He should be grateful, the little Jive Turkey. But no. I was now his forever enemy. And even if he was small, he was very, very scary with those sharp spurs and pecking beak and flapping wings. And he was sneaky.


After a few distressing, well-planned, strategic attacks on my innocent person which left me screaming and running from my own yard, I went to my husband with my complaints, and who, to my surprise, did not believe Fancy was actually attacking me! Well! Come outside and I'll show you! 



Butch followed me outside, crossed his arms and waited for the alleged "carnage". I walked nonchalantly back and forth in front of Fancy waiting fearfully for the usual raging attack and ... none came. Raised eyebrow from Butch. Frustration from me. I walked closer to the little colorfully-dressed terrorist and ... nothing. I grunted in frustration. Butch and Fancy looked at each other. Fancy shrugged his shoulders and went back to casually pecking in the dirt. I swear I heard him snicker.


Butch said, "Yeah I can see why you're afraid of him. He's a real terror." And walked back in the house, snorting.


When Butch was fully inside, Fancy slowly looked at me with a wicked gleam in his eye and a smile on his beak. He then ran at me, head down, wings out, chasing me screaming and goose-stepping back into the house. 



I spent the next two years either hiding in my house from that bird or walking around constantly with a rake in my hand to protect myself. TWO YEARS. He stalked me. He peeped in my windows. He imprisoned me in their cabin one time. He even attacked my guests and friends. I had to get a "Beware of Chicken" sign to warn people! They thought it was funny ... until he came after them. 



So what is the moral of this story? When you have a tiny, colorfully pimped out, cool little rooster with a Napolean complex, the heart of a warrior and the moves of John Travolta, and you be messing with his women by giving half of them to a big, black rooster named Bubba, expect some payback. Even if you are his loving Momma. ;)



Monday, February 15, 2021

Cleaning the Way GRANDMA Did


I am married to a man named Butch - country boy, Army vet, cowboy, carpenter, builder, mechanic, Jack-of-all-trades, and surprisingly, a bit of a clean freak. From what I can gather, the clean freak part came from a combination of growing up with Grandma (aka "The Most Amazing Woman, EVER") and from his time in the Army, both of whom have spent time on my personal Poo Poo list for our marital discord on the subject of cleaning.


I've always considered myself to be a clean(ish) person but to be honest, I don't like cleaning. I'd MUCH rather be outside mowing, gardening, weedeating, shoveling snow, taking care of animals, picking up dog poop, anything. But since I do like a clean house, I get it done, grumbly attitude and all. And considering how much I dread that job, I was always pretty proud of myself in the area of housekeeping and cleanliness.


Until I married Butch that is. 


I remember fondly the first time we spring cleaned together. I could not believe Butch offered to help me clean our first house. Woo hoo! A man who offers to help clean? Wow! How awesome is that? This will be great. It will be so much more fun and easy with two of us working together. An hour or two at most then we'll head out to a nice dinner and maybe a movie! Yippee!


I got basic cleaning supplies out - paper towels, 409, a vacuum and a feather duster. That should just about cover it. May not even need the feather duster at all with the vacuum blowing air all over, dusting the furniture! Am I smart and efficient or what!


Butch then asks me where the rest of the supplies are. I suspiciously ask, "Why?" He snorts at me and starts bringing out buckets, mops, brooms, dust cloths, vacuum attachments, oven cleaner (what's THAT for??), Pine Sol, sponges, Clorox, furniture polish, rug cleaner, brushes, etc...etc... etc... 


I asked, "Um, heh heh, what are you gonna do with all of THAT? Heh heh heh." 


He furrowed his brows at me in confusion and then STARTS TO SWEEP THE CEILING. Then he says, "Follow along after me and mop where I swept." Excuse me?? People MOP their ceilings??!!


OMG. I got a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. OH. He wants to CLEAN, really clean like people did in the old days where they scrubbed their dirt floors and regularly polished their silver. He wants to clean 'like Grandma did', a woman who mopped every single day and whose house was apparently ALWAYS squeaky clean. Oh no no no. Who did I marry? 


I was standing in the same spot, mouth agape, looking desperately for a get-away car when I realized with a thud, there was no way out of this. Oh man. 


We cleaned the entire house, corners and all, the p-trap under the sink (ewww), behind couches, inside the tank on the back of the toilet, cleaned out the refrigerator, and even cleaned the self-cleaning oven! 


On the third straight day (!) of spring cleaning, when he asked me if I had dusted the vacuum cleaner, I threw down my rag and said, "Ok. That's it. Listen here Mister. We need to have a talk. I love you and I think it's very cool that your Grandma was THE actual Wonder Woman but that is not who you are married to. My philosophy is more like going for the 'Illusion of Clean'. If we are going to make our marriage work, we will have to compromise because there ain't no way I'm dusting the vacuum or waxing the lawn mower. You and your Grandma's ghost are just going to have to lower your expectations a bit. Got that?" 


He stuck out his bottom lip, putting on a serious pout, then asked me "Well will you make her sugar cookies with the edges perfectly browned, with exactly 3 pieces of pecan in each one? And her peach cobbler, fried chicken and biscuits? JUST like she did it?" 


OK. Clearly an exorcism was needed here. 


Which I performed in a way by making those very foods and filling the house with black smoke each time, chasing his Grandma's coughing ghost away and forcing my husband to finally accept his reality - he did NOT marry his Grandma. 


Well, time passed and we struggled a bit ... but luckily for me, he can't see as well as he used to so he has succumbed to the Illusion of Clean. And luckily for him, I'm happily willing to live off grid on top of a secluded mountain, split wood, haul water, shovel snow, keep the home fires burning and make him laugh all the while. 


I think Grandma would be proud.  ;)



Tuesday, February 9, 2021

TOLE You to Tamp Down the Snow

   

Let me tell you a story about snow. And about not listening to your husband. And the consequences thereof.

The first time I came up to our new mountaintop land was in January 2008 after my husband had already bought it. So exciting! Our very own homestead! The place was under a blanket of beautiful, fresh (way deeper than I thought) snow. Stunning! I had grown up in Houston, Texas so snow was a new, delightful thing to me. Little did I know.

 My husband Butch, my stepson Jay and I came up to the property to have a proper look around. We were tickled to find an old, log miner's cabin that had yellowed scraps of newspaper on the walls dating back to 1911. There were also signatures and notes on the walls from people who had visited over the years, some as old as 1913. Very cool!

After exploring the cabin, we all decided to sit down and rest for a bit - the trek in here on snowshoes had been long and difficult. I realized that I needed to pee so I told the boys I was going outside to potty, please don't come out there. As I was leaving the cabin, my husband quietly tells me, "Tamp down the snow before you go pee." Huh? Ok, whatever ...... I go on my merry way, whistling, around to the side of the cabin to the small berm of snow where it had fallen off the roof.

 Now to paint a picture for those of you who aren't used to being where it's very cold, the attire is this: underwear, two pairs of long johns, an assortment of about 20 T-shirts (layering!), a sweater, jeans, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of wool socks and one pair of cotton ones, scarf, fluffy cute hat, big warm boots, coveralls and large, clumsy snowshoes. Unzip coveralls and pull down, then the jeans, long johns and well, you get the idea. I am bare from my knees to my stomach and it's freezing! So awful having to go potty when it's this cold. Pretty much the only time I wish I were a man.

 I look back at that little two foot high snow berm and (mysteriously) think, "Ah, that would be a good place to go." (???) Long clumsy snowshoes still on, I balance myself atop the berm and tell myself, "OK. Go. Before you freeze." As I am concentrating and admiring the view, waiting for my body to do its thing, I feel myself slowly tipping forward and have nothing to grab ahold of. I am thinking, "Well, when I hit the snow I'll just put my hands out and stop myself." Riiiiiiight. You see, I had NO IDEA how deep this snow was.

So, to my utter surprise, instead of stopping me, my hands go right through the snow and I keep going until my whole head then plunges into the snow (Face plant!) and guess what? My bare butt is up in the air. And I'm stuck. Lovely. My snowshoes are still firmly on top of the snow berm, making my feet higher than my head, thereby throwing off my balance and keeping me from lifting my head up. To add insult to injury, when my head hit the snow, I gasped - and hey, did you know you could choke on snow? I am stuck, choking, freezing and desperately need to get my head OUT of there.

Bare butt sticking up in air.

Pulling my hands out of the snow, I put them back on top of the snow and push. All that happens is that my hands go right back down into the snow and my head moves not one inch. I am still choking, can't breathe and

Bare butt is still in the air.

I am getting fairly alarmed at this point by a few things. First I am TERRIFIED that my 25 year old stepson is going to come out and see what all the commotion is (I can't do anything quietly.). Second, I am wondering what my face will look like after they deal with all the frostbite. Third, I am not only choking, I am now laughing because I can see how truly funny this looks. Kind of like an ostrich except for the sand part and no feathers on my butt. And last, I am FREEZING!

Bare butt STILL in air.

STILL haven't peed yet.

I finally realize that pushing myself up with my arms isn't going to work and that I am going to have to fall over in the snow just to get my head out. Still in the same position, actually having an argument with myself.

"But I don't WANT to fall over in the snow. It's COLD!"

"But you will suffocate and DIE here if you don't. Is this really how you want to be found dead? With your naked butt in the air and your head planted in snow?" (as funny as that would be).

"Well, no. Of course not but I'll be laying semi-naked in the snow and it's just so miserable."

"Just DO IT!"

So, over I go and oh man, talk about COLD and gasping! I am however relieved that my head is finally free even though I am still choking and laughing and making quite a ruckus. To my horror, I then realize that not only are my snowshoes hopelessly entangled but that I chose to fall over facing towards the door of the cabin where my bare butt is still completely visible. "Please God, don't let Jay come out here. We'll never be able to look each other in the eye again!" To get my snowshoes untangled takes quite an effort - bringing them up off the ground (better view of my rear!) and thrashing away, hoping that they will just LET GO.

STILL haven't peed.

"WHAT is going ON out there?"

"NOTHING! DON'T come out here!!" choke, hack

I finally get the shoes apart and lay there just exhausted for a moment. I manage to stand up, turn rear AWAY from front of cabin and notice that I have snow in my collar, under my shirts, in my sweater, coveralls, long johns and jeans. I then notice that my butt is now a very pretty shade of purplish red and quite numb. (What if some of it is frostbitten?! Is that going to make sitting down an issue??) I also realize that

I still haven't peed

and say, "Forget THAT!" I don't even bother to get all the snow out of my clothes before I put them back on. I just want to get dressed and inside the frigid cabin which is less frigid than outside. My hair is completely wet and hanging limply at my face. Dragging myself to the cabin door, I lean against it, looking a bit bedraggled, totally worn out, sighing loudly, and my sweet husband quietly says,

"TOLE you to tamp down the snow."


Treasures Along the Way

 There is a walk I sometimes take here on our mountain that requires a steep ascent at the end (hence, the reason it is not a well-worn path). There are two ways to make this steep climb home - one is a twisty, turny, long, gradual ascent and the other is straight up and a bit of a hike, but it's shorter. I usually take the twisty, turny longer road, not ever being in much of a hurry to leave the beautiful, peaceful woods.


One day last summer, I was feeling lazy and hot and didn't want to take the longer, 'easier' way home. I just wanted to get there. So up I headed. This was a big hill, and very steep. After slogging along for a bit, I looked up at this hill and thought, "Egads. So far. Ugh." and wondered if I'd ever get to the top. It was slightly overwhelming. The climb was hard plus I had stumbled over a stump when I was looking up at how far I had to go. Hmmm.... maybe I should have gone the other way....


I decided to just watch the path and take one step at a time, trying to enjoy the slow climb as I went. Taking one small step at a time was manageable and not overwhelming. I kept my eyes on my feet and on the path so I wouldn't trip over anything else. And oh hey! Look! I found treasures along the way! What a nice surprise.  I found a sun-bleached, tiny snail shell, which is amazing because I have never once seen a snail up here in all these years. I found a glittery rock, a bright blue bird feather, a cute tiny pinecone and several pretty flowers that I gathered as I went. I had a handful of sparkly treasures that delighted me. 


I was so busy watching my path for pretty little things, that when I finally looked up, to my surprise, I was at the top. Well, huh! I hadn't even noticed the difficulty of the climb any more after I started to focus on one step at a time and looking for surprises along the way. 


As I was walking home, this all made me think of the times I have gone through grief and sorrow. How I realized that one step at a time is absolutely the only way out of it, having to slowly learn how to climb this impossible mountain of grief. I thought, "What a perfect example of how to walk out of the darkness of grieving. One small step at a time, don't look at how far you have to go or how steep the climb. Focus on this day, this next small step, not tomorrow, not next month or next year, or you'll be overwhelmed and want to give up. It's just too hard. But this hill has to be climbed so just focus on today, grace sufficient for this day, this hour. Trusting the Lord with each step and He will make sure you find treasures and blessings along the way."


 Usually what we find along the way is God Himself, the greatest Treasure of all, a closer walk with Him and interestingly, freedom. Pain can open our eyes like nothing else. It can move us from, "I knew You in my head but now I know You in my heart."  Pain and grief break the heart open for peace and joy to enter. It seems impossible but I have found it to be true. 


And now instead of pretty feathers, shells and flowers in my hands, I have peace, joy and contentment filling my heart. And such deep gratitude, that I never ever had before. Oh what amazing, wonderful, blessed treasures those are to find along the way. And I say, "Thank You Lord. Thank You for this path I had to climb and for all the treasures I found along the way. " ♡♡♡