Acceptance, Choices, Community, Courage, Down On the Farm, Emotional Health, Faith, Family, Generations, Grace, Gratitude, Grief, Hope, Kentucky, Letting Go, Love, Marriage, Neighbors, New Year's Day, New Year's Resolutions, Opal's Farm, Peace, Prayer, Recovery, Role Models, Self-Acceptance, Serenity, Simplicity, Spirituality, Stories, Thoughts From the Porch, What Can I Do

Resolution, Smezalution…

It finally feels like January here in Cowtown. It went from seventy degrees early yesterday afternoon to a wind chill eight degrees by midnight. This morning brought brilliant sunshine, calmer breezes, and crisp, clean cold air. I finally traded the shorts and t-shirts for sweatpants and long-sleeves as I sit here drinking my coffee. I may have to buy new thermals for the expected series of cold fronts coming this week. As it is I’m perfectly contented to look out the window whilst enjoying the delights of central heating…

The New Year is supposed to a time of resolutions. I’ve never been big on them. Most are broken before February. If resolutions are to be made, they should only be made for today. Several years ago, my mentor and friend Jim once suggested (Actually, he told me. I’m not sure he ever “suggested” anything…) that I take a piece of note paper and tape it to my bathroom mirror. The note should ask one simple question: “If you were absolutely positive that today would be your last day on Earth, would you be happy with the way you spent it?”

I followed his instructions. The note was placed on the mirror. I thought of it frequently until I didn’t. I moved several times since that day long ago. The note never survived the moves. It crossed my mind a few times, but I never put it on another mirror.

Sitting here this morning I thought of his “suggestion”. Maybe it’s time to remember that it was more than a suggestion. When Margaret and I bought our home several years ago I told her that the next time I move out of this house it would be in an urn or a pine box. I can’t think of a better place to put that note up again. It won’t get lost in a move…

My life is drastically different from the life I was living when Jim told me to do this. I was new to recovery. Addiction has its ways of hurting everyone I loved and even those I didn’t. It was a constant reminder that I didn’t have to live that way. I needed that constant reminder and I do now even though my addiction is in remission, and I’ve gone on to a life that I never could never have imagined possible.

Life isn’t perfect. It still shows up in ways I’d rather not have to deal with. I’ve learned what real grief is over the last year-and-a-half since my son Jeremy died. I’ve lost close friends. I’ve cried, been irritable (truthfully, I’ve been a real pain in the ass) and withdrawn from people close to me. I’ve often substituted work for the drugs – usually with the same consequences. “The more things change, the more they remain the same…”. Fortunately, they’re only moments now instead of a constant way of life. Jim also reminded me that life is about “progress, not perfection”.

When I get up from here, I’ll take my note to the bathroom. I’ll take a good look and think about how I can spend my day – not my year. I’m going to be more loving to my wife. I’ll spend some time with her. I’m going to pick up the phone and tell my friends and family how much I love and appreciate them. I’m probably going to be irritated that there’s dirty dishes in the kitchen but remember that the dishes are not what’s important. The person that left them there is – imperfections and all.

I’m going to think about Jeremy. I’m also going to remember the gift he left for me – three beautiful, smart, and in my book, perfect grandchildren. I’m going to cry if need be and let someone know I’m hurting. I’m also going to let those grandkids know how much they’re loved.

I’m going to love better and accept that I don’t always do that to the best of my ability. I’m going to find the joy in the little moments that every day brings – that is if I look for them. The glass of a calm river by the farm, the coyotes that visit every morning, the flowers blooming in the winter…

On the way to my Kentucky Home

I’m not going to be so hard on myself. One of the things Opal’s Farm has taught me is that nature has its own time and it’s not mine. I tell that to others all the time. Yet, I’m the first one to forget that when the “To Do” list is staring me in the face.

I’m going to find the joy in the little things that fill my day. I may or may not leave the house today. Joy surrounds me here…

Resolutions don’t quite cut it for me. I’m not sure they work for anybody – at least not those I’ve observed. However, I know that looking at what I can enjoy and do better on January 2nd does work. It’ll work again on January 3rd, on January 4th, and everyday after if I simply remember that simple question – If I was “absolutely positive that today would be my last day on Earth, would I be happy with the way I spent it?”

Climate Change, Community, Down On the Farm, Environment, Fighting Poverty, Food Equality, Food Insecurity, Food Justice, Gratitude, Hope, New Year's Day, Non-Profits, Opal's Farm, Persistence, Regeneration, Service to Others, Social Justice, Trinity River, Unity Unlimited, Inc., Urban Farming, Volunteers

Closing 2021 (Finally…)

This has been the strangest year I can remember. The ice storm in February and a frozen Trinity River, the downpours of May, a cooler than average summer, a sizzling Fall, and eighty-one-degree record high temperature on Christmas Day. I haven’t worn a jacket in a couple of weeks. It’s no wonder the plants are confused…

Confusion aside, the Fall crops are doing well, and we hope to continue our presence at Cowtown Farmers Market throughout the winter of 2022. We will not be there for the New Year’s Day market. We’re taking some much-needed time off, but we’ll be back January 8th with lots of winter produce for our you all. We can’t wait to see you!

A beautiful December Day!

We’d like to thank our awesome volunteers for all their hard work in 2021. This year has been full of hardships and surprises, but their persistence and commitment helped us finish 2021 strong.

We’d also like to thank the countless donors and supporters who’ve helped us through this rather strange year. If you’re able, please consider making an end-of-the year gift to Opal’s Farm. Help us grow in 2022 – both literally and figuratively! Go to www.unityunlimited.org/opalsfarm and hit the donate button. Even a dollar provides a meal for someone in Tarrant County.

We hope you all have a Happy New Year and let’s grow together in 2022!

Christmas, Community, Down On the Farm, Faith, Fighting Poverty, Food Justice, Gratitude, Hope, Neighbors, Opal's Farm, Quotes, Service to Others, Spirituality, The Holidays, Thoughts From the Porch, Unity Unlimited, Inc., Urban Farming

Merry Christmas to Each of Us…

It’s going to be a record-setting hot Christmas here in Cowtown. Shorts and tee shirts will take the place of tasteless Christmas sweaters this year! I’m fighting the urge to go work at Opal’s Farm and enjoy this beautiful day…

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from Opal’s Farm and good old Cowtown, Texas. The New Year is right around the corner and thanks to you all we have another great year ahead. We wish the same for you!

“Arise, your light has come! / Fling wide the prison door; / proclaim the captive’s liberty, / good tidings to the poor. / Arise, your light has come! / All you in sorrow born, / bind up the brokenhearted ones / and comfort those who mourn.”

Ruth Duck, “Arise, Your Light is Come” (1974)

Autumn, Awe, Community, Creation, Down On the Farm, Faith, Fall, Family, Gifts, Grace, Serenity, Spirituality

Indian Summer

The dictionary defines “Indian summer” as “1. a period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn; or 2. a period of happiness or success occurring late in life”. It’s the first week of December and I had my morning coffee on the porch wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt – check off definition 1. Success is subjective, but I feel successful, and it’s come late in life. I am blessed daily to be part of Opal’s Farm and Unity Unlimited. I have a home, and a family I don’t deserve and all because of the love of an incredible God who bestows grace upon grace despite me. All in all, I’d say that’s success. So, I guess it’s Indian summer in North Texas…

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com