Tears…

Blessed-are-those-that-mourn-by-StudioJRU

I’m going to get very real and raw this evening.  I am going to open up and share the tears behind my smiles, the ones that I work so hard to hide.

My greatest joy(s) have been the only that brought me heart wrenching sorrows.    On January 1, 2016, my greatest heartbreak happened, my first born son committed suicide.  He would have been 30.

For all that I have been through in my life, nothing has devastated me as much as that phone call telling my that my son was found dead.  No parent should ever get that call.  No parent should ever have to bury their child.  I remember feeling so numb and even after over a year it still feels like it isn’t real.  But it is.  I cry a lot.

Without getting into deep personal details, I will say that the only thing that saved me from darkness was faith.  I know my son is in God’s loving arms and that is what gives me comfort.  I know in my heart he is not suffering anymore.

I’ve heard others say they become angry at God when a child is taken away, whether from illness, crime or accident.  I suppose I was too.  But if anything it drew me closer to God.  My faith has grown stronger from all of this.  But more than anything it has created a desire, so strong, to help others that I can’t ignore it.  To let others know that they are not alone.  God is with us always, he is a very loving Father and he cries with us when we hurt and bad things happen.   It’s also helped me to understand that this living world is not our final home and I know I will see my son again, someday.  But in the meantime, I need to be an instrument of change in this world, there is so much to do.

It really doesn’t take much to change someone’s day, week, month, year, maybe their life.  Maybe that sandwich you give to a homeless person on the street gave them the energy to get to a place where they can heal and get help to help someone else.  Maybe, that smile and happy greeting you give someone at work prevented them from ending their life.  Maybe, just maybe, that hug you gave a child, helped them see hope in their dark world.  You don’t know until you begin to do God’s work by just being you.

And you know what, when you start doing things for others, your own clouds disappear. You heal.  Your heart may always feel “broken” but the funny thing is that we are continuously filled when we have cracks, because we always have more room to be filled up with better things.

I see my son in the eyes of others.  I never want them to feel alone, because they aren’t.

Just something to think of in today’s busy world.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Snapping Beans…

grandma (2)

Here lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Well, more like remembering, cherishing, embracing. I’m not really sure what you would call it exactly.

Between my Bible Groups and discussions at home and watching the world around me, I find myself thinking about my Grandma Inez & my Momma Kathy more and more every day. I find myself looking backwards with the thoughts about my forwards. I realize how blessed I am for all the skills they both taught me, but none more important that being happy with what I have and making good use of what I have.

As this world spins around us it has taken on such a fake and distant personality. Everything seems to be money driven and causing us to work harder and longer and never finding “happiness”. We leave everything that really matters behind us to only focus on what the world says we need and must have. In reality, we need very little and most of us actually have much more than we need. We tell ourselves that we deserve things, luxuries and all other things to try and justify embracing what the world tells us.

This is what I believe we need. Above all else, we NEED God and have an active relationship with him. We NEED shelter, food and clothing. We NEED to be safe and loved. We NEED our family and true friends. All the rest is just pretty much pretty little lies.

When I was a very young girl I spent as much time as I could with my Grandma and Grandpa on a dairy farm on Route 2 in Monroe County, Ohio. Some of my favorite memories are of helping Grandpa in the garden and in the barns and with my Grandma in the kitchen in the farmhouse. In the hot summer I loved riding on the wagon as my Mom helped with bringing in hay. I even found and helped save a nest of baby bats one hay season in the top of the barn, but that’s another story for another time. I loved baking bread with my grandma, it was because of her and my mom that I won a state blue ribbon on my breads when I was in Junior High for 4-H. I absolutely loved learning to preserve foods and listen to my Grandma sing in the kitchen. My mom taught me how to make pickles and sauerkraut. My mom also made some of the best cookies in town, just ask my husband. Where am I going with all of this? In short, very few people takes the time to enjoy these simple pleasures anymore. Everyone is too busy running around chasing other things. I miss those days. I miss snapping beans with my grandma on the front porch and I miss running barefoot in the grass in the yard catching fireflies and putting them in a mason jar.

More and more every day I find myself wanting to unplug and return to that life. Oh I know I can’t go back. My Grandma and Grandpa have long since left this world and gone home to be in Heaven. So perhaps I should rephrase that; more and more every day I find myself wanting to unplug and GO to that life again. Or at least slow down and enjoy this life on this planet. Perhaps passing down my knowledge to those who want to learn the old fashioned life skills. I want to sit on the front porch and look at the world the way God made it and snap beans and tell stories to those who want to hear them and learn something so they can pass a few things down.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

But I thought…

Written by: Bob Rice  (aka: 1eyedbob) 2/4/2017

Most of this is reprinted from a conversation I had with another forum member. It is all my account of my last week of deer season, here in Ohio. Please take into consideration that not only am I new to deer hunting in general but also new to crossbows. I’ve thrown a little humor spin to my story to make it enjoyable, but that’s who I am. Sit back and enjoy, as your own pictures of past hunts and memories fill the void that we like to think is filled with nothing but knowledge.

I’m finally back at home, sitting comfortably in front the fireplace. Yes, it’s gas and I only have to throw a switch on the wall, but I live in the city. Some modern luxuries are nice, but a little smoke and the smell of burning hardwood, would be nice.

This past Monday I drove out to my buddie’s farm in Southeastern Ohio, in a small town I went to school in during the late seventies and eighties. After I had pulled into his driveway, he came out and was on his way to work. We chatted for a bit and he took off. He did ask how the road condition was coming in because he didn’t want to chain up, as it had been snowing and there are some steep hills.

I grabbed my backpack that held a few things I always carry while hunting and retrieved my crossbow from its case. My wife had heard me talk about wanting a case for protecting my bow when travelling, so she ordered me a nice camouflage, soft style for Christmas. I had my sights set on a hard case for more protection but she didn’t know that. I am very loved, what can I say.

As I walked up and across the field that morning, I could hear an owl hooting off in the distance. This was going to be a great day, I could just feel it. There was a slight breeze blowing out of the West as usual, and I was thankful to have an enclosure waiting for me to sit in. Now these aren’t just any deer blinds, no sir. These have swivel chairs and a propane heater. An offer I couldn’t refuse.

As I came upon the first blind, I decided to walk on to the second blind. The second one has tags on each tree with the distance written on them. No need for a range finder. And I thought city folk had it easy. I began running through my mental checklist and procedure for entering the blind. That’s when it hit me. CRAP! I left my quiver in that fancy new case since it has its own compartment for arrows.

After cussing myself for not having any arrows, I turned around to hike back uphill to my car. Now I could feel the snow blowing into my face and thought how nice a heated blind would be. I had packed my toe warmer heat packs and fleece pants, but intentionally left those at my mom’s house to hunt the unheated tree stand that was there.

After retrieving the quiver and attaching it to its rightful position, I began the trek back to the blind. The wind had picked a little as had the snow, and for a brief moment I thought about just using the first blind since it was closer. But I’ve seen deer from the other blind and am stubborn at times, so I continued on. It was about then that I began to notice the sweat forming on my back and chest and was becoming more thankful for the awaiting heater and chair, in the confines of an enclosure.

As I approached the feeder station and blind, my heart warmed up a bit, just knowing I was there. I climbed the ladder up to the top of the double stacked scaffolding that the blind sits on, and remembered not to open the door too far or it would make an awfully loud, SQUEAK! I did not want to announce my presence to every deer in the county so I cautiously snuck in and closed the door.

While taking off my backpack and hanging my bow up, remember high class blind here boys, I began to get my bearings again. That’s when I realized that something was terribly wrong. I had my bow, arrows with broad-heads, skinning knife, pee bottle, even my Hotseat cushion, but where’s the heater? I turned on my cellphone’s light and scoured the floor under and around the chair. Hard to hide a heater and propane tanks in a 4’x4′ blind.

What?! You’ve got to be kidding me! How could my friend neglect to mention that he had removed the heater for the season? He ALWAYS made it a point to say, “Don’t overdress when you come out to hunt at my place, I’ll spoil you”.

Well it didn’t take too long for the chill to take over. What do I do, tough it out or bail? I’m wearing my 600 gram Rocky’s with two pair of wool socks and wool underwear, so I decided to sit it out for a bit. I think I started steaming a little, but that was because it was starting to eat at me. Anyhow, nine-o-clock rolled around and the feeder started whirring. Usually scares the crap out of me, but not this time, I was ready. Bring on the deer! I could picture deer running in for a meal like it was last call at a packed bar. But the problem was, there wasn’t hardly any corn coming out of the feeder. What?!! How long had this been going on? Maybe for days and the deer wouldn’t be coming in at all. I could feel my shoulders sink in a little as my day continued to look rather bleak.

I managed to wait and watch the wind and snow come in harder, which began to add to my shivering. At about 10:30 I got a text from my buddy asking if I had seen anything yet and that he was home from work early. Bad weather has a tendency to do that in construction. I told him no and mentioned that the feeder wasn’t really feeding anything. I expected him to follow up with something like, “I’ll be out to hunt the other blind”, or, “I forgot to tell you I took out the heaters”, but no.

Well, I’d had enough. I grabbed my pack and my crossbow, yes with the quiver attached, and headed back. It didn’t take long to see how fierce the wind was blowing across the open field, as my footprints had already filled in and some slight drifting was occurring. No more picturesque visions of rolling green pastures or the ominous hooting of a distant owl.

After trudging back to my car, discharging my crossbow, and putting my stuff in the back, I started the car and waited for the engine to warm up so that I could begin the process of thawing out. As I waited, I sent my buddy a text instead of actually walking in to talk to him, because I knew that my emotions would be easily seen. I let him know that I’d had enough of the cold and was heading out. Being a man of few words at times, he replied, Ok. Again, no mention or apology for not having a heater! Upon thawing out on the ride back to my mom’s, I had to laugh at myself for taking it so personal that I had expected things to be the way I had envisioned them to be. Boy isn’t that just like life at times.

My next day was not any better in the weather department of hunting. The ladder stand I was to use sits on a North facing slope that gets about one hour of sun at about two-o-clock in the afternoon.  The weather forecast called for flurries and light rain drizzle throughout the morning. Well, they pretty much nailed the forecast and I was wetter than yesterday and even more cold. Winds were gusting to 30 mph, which I was protected from on the shaded side of the mountain. Nothing was moving except the trees, my teeth on occasion, and the creek I had to cross to get to this little piece of paradise. Did I mention that the creek was up? I did my best to sit in the stand until I had to pee so bad that I might as well leave. Let me tell you, that right after having to expose just enough of myself to my frozen fingers that, well you get the picture.

Day two was a valiant effort, but even the deer were hunkered down. So I remained in the house plotting out my strategy for Wednesday. My wife had blessed me with the opportunity to hunt the last week of archery deer season and by golly I was intent on taking it. She also got a chuckle of out of my day’s events.

Wednesday brought about a change in the weather, and it was for the better. A beautiful forecast for the day and I had dispersed some cut apple and corn upon leaving the woods the two days prior. I finished my sausage and egg sandwich that I had made, and washed it down with the last sip of coffee. I dressed for the day, applied my, “deer cologne”, as my mom calls it, grabbed my bow with the quiver attached, and headed out.

I could tell that the creek was down a little because I had my little key chain light clenched in my teeth. It was still flowing enough to feel the force of it and the rock bottom was slippery. Once on the other side, I began my climb up into the woods. As I neared the stand, I broadcast more cut apple and could see that the deer had readily accepted my offerings from the day before. I began to get a good feeling.

I climbed into my perch and awaited that magic moment of daybreak. You know it is about to happen as the Chickadees begin flitting about and you catch the movement of squirrels from their nighttime hideaways. Soon the woodpeckers will be sounding out and the crows will be calling as they fly overhead.

At around 8:00 I caught movement from the pines, coming towards my area of observation. Of course, I knew it was my apples and deer cologne that had his attention. At least that was what I had hoped. As the deer got closer I could see that it was a six-point Buck, that’s a 3×3 for you Westerners. When he got to a point where he was hidden from me, I raised my crossbow to be ready. He continued to come in and I felt myself tighten up a little. Upon doing so, the cold metal stand made a slight metallic sound. I froze, but the Buck was aware of something out of place.

He continued to come in for the sweetness of the apples, but very cautious. I then had a dilemma. He was at 28 yards, a distance I am extremely confident of making a deadly shot from, but was slightly facing towards me. Although I consider myself a novice, I knew this was not the best presentation for a kill shot. As hard as it was, I had to let temptation give way to ethics. I think he sensed my struggle when he saw me blink and then bolted off. I can tell you that I slept well that night knowing I didn’t just wound him.

About two hours later I watched a doe and a late fawn come in to feed as well. Really? Am I being presented with another test of morals and ethics? Talk about soul searching. But I thought it would be different. You know, cut and dry. There’s a deer, shoot it. I never thought about being put in the position making a call to shoot or not, but I’m glad it happened so early in my new-found passion.

My last two days were uneventful as far as seeing any deer. The wind blew more and it never got even close to thirty degrees. The fact that I had taken a five-point Buck earlier in the season with my crossbow, not to mention my first deer ever, and a large doe in Michigan with a rifle, made it easier to draw my week to a close.

I consider myself a spiritual man and these experiences bring me closer to God. I’ve always loved the woods, even as a kid growing up in Amish country. My friends and I would spend countless hours in and around them. Climbing trees, building forts, making fires, cooking Sassafras tea, camping out, you name it. Oh yeah, and I always had a slingshot. Homemade out of a tree branch and a bike tube or one of those fancy store bought ones that actually came with steel shot. Boy those were the times.

The Season of Giving

The Season of Giving

 

 

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about the subject of ‘giving’ lately.  It started with an observation of our fast paced world, which moved to people “watching” and their interactions with others.  Observations moved on to journaling and praying, and then this morning on the radio I heard a commercial “It is now the season of giving!” A joyful voice rang out.  That was when the bell that went off in my head.  The emphasis is on the word SEASON.  Seasons are short periods during the year that separate moments in time, the seasons of life, the seasons of the year, etc.  Why does there need to be a “Season” of giving?  Shouldn’t that be a daily thing not a “season”?

The push to give money for every cause you can think of ramps up under the umbrella of this so called season.  This makes me very sad, for many reasons.  The biggest is why do we have to be reminded to “give” during one time of the year?  Why is it that all of a sudden everyone wants money, specifically.

First and foremost I am a huge believer, especially when it comes to organizations of any kind, that they should be budgeting and forecasting for times of greater need.  Just as we as families should be doing.  I have no sympathy for any organization that does not budget the funds they have and utilize talents and capabilities of raising their funds to help with giving.  Let me explain.  Growing up in the Ohio Valley of SE Ohio it was very common for schools, churches, groups to utilize talents to raise money for things they needed and things to give to others.  Bake sales, craft shows, talent shows, cooking competitions were some of just many ideas that were embraced and widely utilized.  And the prices were very low so everyone could afford the items.  My mom always made and sold her chocolate chip cookies at PTA bake sales for a nickel a piece.  I know many a kid in our school that had smiles because of her cookies!   Auctions and community garage sales were another big draw.  It wasn’t just about giving some money and forgetting about the cause, but instead, having an input and a passion for a cause which everyone could get on-board with.  There was also much less waste involved.  How many of us have saved toilet paper rolls, cardboard, used crayons and scraps of paper, cloth and felt so that groups can work with kids on crafts?  Now days it seems easier to just throw money on the newest craft supplies and not even bat an eye to it or to buy some new equipment because the old one isn’t the newest thing there is.

Personally, I miss bake sales, craft shows, raffles and auctions.  It’s not just about raising cash to do things and give more; it’s about the social interaction and finding out the talents of others.

But you know what?  Giving is not just in giving money.  It’s about giving of yourself and your time to do one simple thing: To make someone smile.  I truly believe every single one of us on the face of this earth has one primary mission;  To make this world a much better place by spreading smiles.  Giving is not just in money.  Giving is carrying books for a coworker, classmate or someone you don’t even know.  Giving is getting the coffee going first thing in the morning for someone other than yourself.  Giving is baking and sharing with others.  Giving could be as simple as a hug to someone who is having a bad day or giving your lunch to someone who does not have one.   Giving should be for the what it does for others, not to grandstand yourself or to meet quotas or to take part in a competition.  It should be straight from the heart and the soul of a person to make the world a better place.  There should never be guilt or pressure to take part in any giving campaign.

Just something to think about when you hear that this is the “Season of giving”, you see, the real Season of Giving starts when we are born and continues every single day until we go home to the Lord.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

The Daily Delay…

I have a confession to make.  I am a control freak.  Yup, there I said it.  I’m sure my kids are rolling their eyes and saying ‘DUH!’.  When I say that I am a control freak, I mean it in a good way, I like order vs chaos.  But sometimes it can get out of hand.  I tend to believe everyone should think or do things the way I think they should be done and in my time frame.  I have learned, finally over time, to step back break and say a little prayer to get myself in check.  When I feel like I am not in control, I get nervous, anxious and a tad cranky.  When I feel like something is not happening on the timeline that I want, I get anxious and pushy.

Here lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking on things on this line.  Why is it that I think that God should part the waters for me whenever I think they need parted?  Why is it that I become discouraged when God does not open the door that is locked in front of me?  The answer is simple, he knows more than I do.  Many times I need to be humbled and after pulling and tugging and slamming against said locked door, it will open.  Not usually in a good way and definitely not with the results I had in mind.

Patience.  Because this world does not run on my clock and calendar.  It runs on God’s design.  He built it, he knows the plans we (I) need to step back and enjoy and yes, even suffer at times, through those plans.

So when you are feeling impatient and wondering why you are stalled, delayed or not moving, consider it a blessing and sit and listen.  You are being delayed because God knows there is a storm waiting on the path you are insisting on choosing.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice