If you hear a spooky scream in the distance, that sounds like an eagle swooping in just before it snags that little brown bushy-tailed squirrel thingy that keeps getting in my kiln room, it’s just us. By us I mean Julie and I. Tonight one of God’s blessed creatures rattled its hello as my 16-year-old stepped toward the porch. First big ole rattle snake ( 3,1/2 feet) of the year met its maker via a pitch fork in the hands of my hero cowboy husband. See that’s one of the many blessings of living in the country: A pitch-fork. You wouldn’t have one in the city unless your uncle the farmer willed it too you or you were a serial killer. And you certainly wouldn’t have a cowboy to joust with it in the city either. I’m talking about the kind with a farmers tan. The Real Deal.
There are many things you can do with a pitchfork besides make rattlesnake shish-ka-bobs. You can shovel hay to feed the horses, goats and cows. You can chase your little sister with it until your parents notice and put you into therapy. You can practice your pole vaulting skills or test the electric fence. You can clean the stalls and use it to corner the guineas in the pen( the remarkably ugly ones i spoke of earlier). It’s like a little jail cell if you get them just in the right place. And of course, if you live in the country you simply cannot take a wedding picture without it.
Pitch forks have come to symbolize a completely different way of life than I ever thought I would be a party to. It reminds me that there is no Starbucks, pavement or bookstores with 15.00 magazines sporting the latest craft trends out here so you gotta entertain yourself a little differently. It is also a symbol of the blessings that are in my life-like clean air, room to move and of course, Cowboy. It is a prelude to the most amazing sunrises and sunsets, new spring life and the laughter of a kid sliding off a huge bale of hay. It is also the representation of the work that God has done in my life since I showed up out here an angry, spoiled, gotta-have-it my way BRAT.
I still am a conversation stealer, a big mouth and a Bossy Betty. Sometimes I am incredibly self-centered. I still don’t do well in a crowd of people and I still don’t know how to wait my turn. I am so used to commanding the show that I have a hard time turning it over to anyone else including God.( that comes from parenting difficult kids I think …10 of them or so). But here are a few things that I have learned via one end of a pitchfork or the other.
1) Love matters more than manners.
2) BE Grateful .. above all else. It’s life changing.
3) Be prepared to change at any moment. Resistance if futile. Nothing stays the same forever except God.
4) Laugh your tail off. Life is funny. Oh How I wish i could post the sound of Cowboys laughter here. It’s contagious.
5) Accept love. Even when you don’t deserve it. Even when your too proud. Even when it’s not in the package you planned or from the person you planned on getting it from. All love makes a difference.
6) Love. Even when you don’t feel like it. It’s a verb.
7) Forgive. It’s therapeutic.
8) BE who God made you to be and don’t be so hard on yourself. Accept that you are not perfect and that the Creator of the Universe will not only give you the tools to create a better you, but will work on the things in your life your powerless to change if you are humble enough to accept his love and help. Feel motivated by the gifts and strengths you have. And Just Trust HIM to complete in you the work that He started. Relax and afford the people around you the same acceptance. Guide ; Don’t Condemn.
9) That little voice in your gut is not the green chili. It’s the Holy Spirit. It’s the voice that tells you something is not right or that it is. It’s the feeling you get when your suppose to do something or not do something . It inspires you to art, music, prayer, learning, joy and protection. Listen to it. Let it lead you. Believe in it. I’ve never known it to be wrong and I only regret not taking it seriously.
10) Don’t focus on what other people think. Most people will draw a judgement without ever having sat across the table from you one on one or ever asking questions. Accept it- most people don’t give a rip what you think either.
11) Some people won’t like you. Big Whoop. Sometimes God is just weeding out the ” not-good-for- you’s”. Sometimes He is telling you to work on problem. But don’t sweat it. There are those who will just click with you and love you for who you are.
12) You can’t hide from God. It’s not really a game of Hide and go Seek if he already knows where you are.
13) Friends matter. Fellowship matters. Mentors matter.
14) Grace is free. I can’t earn it. I can’t work hard enough to get it. I cannot purchase it. But I can certainly give it.
15) Cherish your kids, your parents, your siblings, your spouse your friends. You don’t want to look up one day and say If only.
16) Your past only gets to decide your future if you decide to live in it. Deal with it, learn from it, pack your tools and gifts from it to take on your journey and then let it go. Choose to change.