9 11, 2020

Creating an Attitude of Gratitude with a Gratitude List

By |2020-10-31T22:25:01-05:00November 9th, 2020|Monday Motivations|1 Comment

Gratitude is not most people’s natural disposition.

I understand.

It’s hard to be thankful when all around us is hurt and pain and disappointment and anger. It is 2020 and finding things to be thankful for seems impossible.

Gratitude doesn’t make sense, but it’s a needed discipline to push off negativity.

Being grateful is a choice. It’s not so simple to change our choices.

Developing an attitude of gratitude can take time and effort. One way to begin that change is to write a daily gratitude list.

I’m not saying it will be easy. On those Judith Viorst terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, it might seem impossible. A daily gratitude list can help with an attitude adjustment.

How do you start a daily gratitude list? What to put on your list? Here are some suggestions:

  • Write out a list of things you’re thankful for. The kinesthetic experience of tangibly writing is valuable for two reasons:
  1. The physical act imprints a feeling of gratitude at the cellular level.
  2. Handwriting is a slow process and provides more time for contemplation.
  • Begin with two or three at first and work your way up to whatever number makes you feel comfortable.
  • Chose simple things to put on your list. You woke up. In a warm place. The sunrise/sunset. There is so much to be thankful for, if we only have eyes to see.

Most important, you may have to pretend at first. So, fake it, if necessary, until the habit is established.

As your list making becomes habit, you’ll discover two things:

  1. Gratitude is all around.
  2. Gratitude grows the more you use it.
7 11, 2020

Something I Learned on Miller Farm

By |2020-11-07T07:12:29-06:00November 7th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I have learned many things living on Miller Farm. For example, I know how to tell a girl duck from a boy duck, also called a drake.

Girl ducks are actually louder when they quack.  Drakes make a softer sound.

Drakes also have a curl in their tail.

I guess it is the duck equivalent of really long curly eyelashes on human boys.

I’m not sure how useful this information is but it does make for interesting conversation while waiting in line at the grocery store.

2 11, 2020

Falling Back-Springing Forward: Yea or Nay

By |2020-10-31T22:16:24-05:00November 2nd, 2020|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

It’s November. Time to change our clocks off daylight saving time. Did you remember or were you an hour early to church or work or wherever you needed to be?

I’ve been an hour early or an hour late more than once myself. To help remember we change our clocks on Saturday evening after supper. We have lots of clocks and it’s a pain, but we haven’t been late since we started making the switch early.

The whole process makes me grouchy. One more irritation in a 2020 filled with irritations.

To me, the whole idea of daylight saving time is a waste. We’re not saving daylight. The hour we lose is gone forever. The sun rises and sets the same way it always has no matter what we do with our clocks.

Katherine Dutro, spokesperson for the Indiana Farm Bureau, says, “It is a gimmick that changes the relationship between ‘Sun’ time and ‘clock’ time but saves neither time nor daylight.”

I agree and I don’t think I’m alone being anti-DST.

These mandated time changes make our body and brain sluggish unnecessarily because our internal circadian clocks synchronize based upon the natural cycles of sunrise and sunset. Not some legislated time ordinance originally designed to make better use of natural daylight.

Statistics back up the concerns about DST changes. A rise in suicide happens around the changes whether we’re springing forward or falling back. Risk of heart attack rises 5% to 15% during the shifting days, and a walloping 24% risk increase the day after the big switches. More car accidents and more ER visits are also reported.

DST was established to save energy. In the 21st century we use energy 24/7 not just during daylight hours, the case when DST was initiated. Saving energy, I don’t think so.

A Lakotah chief once put it more succinctly: ‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.’

Crazy isn’t it? I’d vote to do away with DST and go back to sun time. How about you?

And, speaking of voting…if you haven’t already,

GO VOTE tomorrow.

30 10, 2020

Dressed for Work

By |2020-10-29T18:26:22-05:00October 30th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I have finally accepted the fact that masks are part of my daily uniform. I even put a clip on my name badge cord to hold my mask while I eat lunch.

What has been a harder adjustment is the additional equipment that wearing a mask requires.  For example, my ears are not quite big enough to hold a mask and my glasses securely.  I have a glasses cord that I wear when doing yoga so I’ve started wearing it to work.  Now I can beat the students at “who can sing head, shoulders, knees and toes faster” without my glasses flying across the room.

The other challenge came with talking and singing through the mask all day.  The singing happens outside so I found myself getting a sore throat every day.  Beekeeper Brian ordered a headset with a speaker that I can attach to my belt or wear around my neck.  It is wonderful.  The students can hear me and I don’t strain my voice. One of my students thought I looked like I was working in a fast food drive through window and tried to order French fries.  That was a middle school student – pretty clever actually.

So now every morning after I put on my eye make-up I secure my glasses with the cord.  When I get to work I put on my name badge and mask.  Then, just before my first class, I put on my head set and put the speaker around my neck.

Then at the end of the day, I reverse the process.

When I feed the chickens, however, I do not have to wear a mask, or a cord for my glasses, or a head set.  And for a few minutes each day, things seem “normal.”

26 10, 2020

Carving Pumpkins on Halloween

By |2020-10-26T10:30:36-05:00October 26th, 2020|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

carving pumpkinThis time of year, pumpkins with carved faces appear on porches and steps.

Ever wonder why we carve pumpkins on Halloween?

The tradition originated from an Irish myth about an old drunk called “Stingy Jack.”

It’s easy to guess why he was called stingy. He never wanted to pay for his drinks and always tricked his drinking partner into paying. And that little habit got him into big trouble when Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink.

Here’s the story…

Pumpkins replaced turnip jack-o-lanterns when waves of Irish immigrants came to America in the 1800’s to escape the Potato Famine. They quickly discovered that pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out.

And, that folks is how the tradition of carving and lighting pumpkins for Halloween began.

~~~A longer version of this blog  appeared on View from the Front Porch on October 12, 2013
23 10, 2020

I Love My Chickens

By |2020-10-22T20:25:01-05:00October 23rd, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I love my chickens and my chickens love me – especially when I feed them.

I was checking for eggs in the nest boxes this morning when one of the black hens started moving hay from one next box to the other.

I guess she is the designated interior decorator.

Meanwhile, Essie follows me around the whole time I am in the chicken yard.

In fact, I have accidentally stepped on her before. That hasn’t stopped her. This morning, she hopped up on the door to the nest boxes and watched the redecorating process.

She is the only chicken we have who will let you pet her. I guess I now understand how people can have pet chickens. But she’s not coming inside.

I know that is shocking to you, but this made me think of a song.

I have a chicken my chicken loves me
I feed my chicken on tender leaf tea
My little chicken goes bak bak bak
My little rooster goes cockle doodle doodle
doodle doodle doodle do.

Anyone else remember that one? This short video of a teacher singing for her class will jog your memory.

~~~This Miller Farm blog first appeared on View From the Front Porch October 12, 2012

19 10, 2020

Digging Ditches and Writing Novels

By |2020-10-19T08:29:12-05:00October 19th, 2020|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life, Writing Craft|1 Comment

I’m working away — in fits and starts — on the next novella in my Fitzpatrick Family series. But something’s bothering me about the story. The words aren’t flowing.

I attributed my lack of word flow to pandemic brain fog and put the manuscript aside to watch the drainage ditch being dug in our front yard.

Distraction comes easy when you’re stuck.

The ditch work on the main road in our subdivision had finally been completed. We live on a side street and, after three years, it was our turn.

I stood watching like an awe-struck kindergartner listening to his teacher read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel named Mary Ann. Written by Virginia Burton, it was my son’s favorite story book.

steam shovel, Judythe MorganThe shovel bucket started at the top of our rise then went down the slope adjusting the depth with each shovel load.

One scoop after the other. Not one scoop on our side of the street and another scoop across the street.

But one after the other down our side of the road. dump truck, judythe morganScoop – dump, scoop dump. Inching slowly  down the slope.

Scoop – dump, scoop dump. One after the other.

Kinda like a timeline when plotting a story.

As that thought flowed through my head, I realized what was wrong in my Fitzpatrick Family story. My timeline was out of kilter. I’d gone from one side of the street to the other.

Scenes were happening sequentially, but the reader would quickly figure out the passage of time I’d written didn’t allow enough time for what needed to happen.

Like the steam shovel ditch digging, I had to proceed one shovel width at a time to get a properly sloped ditch.ditch Or, in my case, a story timeline that didn’t confuse the reader.

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