“..harmonious combination of words”

I am reeling from the chaos around me. I am stressed out. My heart rate is 99 – my resting is usually 63. I have this lovely residual from Covid – I get this tingling all over and it starts making me feel so agitated and restless and then my heart rate goes wonky. And to top that off, I am disturbed by comments around me, that I heartily disagree with. And the sound was loud and it was obviously meant to rankle me and it did what it intended.

Cacophony – a harsh discordant of sounds.

Euphony – the quality of being pleasing to the ears, especially through a harmonious combination of words.

Lexico – Powered by Oxford

I am finding that more and more, there are people around me who I believed thought like I do. I am learning, however, they do not. Oftentimes they do not offer a solution, just a comment meant disdainfully to bother me. And it becomes like noise. Absolute noise. Cacophony.

As this world spins (well, that’s a discussion for another day) out of control – as the euphamistic saying goes – I am continually looking for something to hang on to. LOL. My beliefs are challenged almost daily. Things I took for granted are being discovered to be all lies and made up to convince the unsuspecting populace to survive as just fat, dumb, and happy. They are waking to alarms and going off to jobs, working their brains to numbness, and going back home again, only to do it all the next day.

I listened to a posted tik-tok video the other day. The gentleman put forth the idea that we are all being farmed. Just like in the matrix, but it is for our time, treasure, and talents. We are raised with indoctrinated education, which steers us to a pre-set series of career choices, and then we are led to a specific job, meet the prerequisite spouse, and we procreate. Then we dump our kids into the system. It’s a never-ending cycle. We constantly supply fresh meat to our overlords.

Our time is stolen from us. We live where we live to make it easier to get to WORK. Not because we particularly like the area or housing choices – it’s that commute we mostly choose our living situation upon. We rent the apartment that is closest to the office so we are not on the road as much. We buy the house as close to town as we can get so those freeways are not too large a portion of our days. Lucky is the man who can work from home and have his home wherever he chooses – that is the exception and not the rule. Our time is stolen from us – do you think we are more efficient now we have computers for everything? I could disagree ad nauseam about that. We then are taxed on our wages – so many ways. Income tax, sales tax, inheritance tax, use tax…on and on it goes. Why do you think tax codes are so complicated it takes tax specialists to maneuver through it?? Look at how large the IRS has become. And it was supposed to be temporary!!! And then we get evenings and weekends. We cram hours of TV time in the evenings, enjoying program-ing! We listen and soak in all the media feeds us. On weekends we spend our days prepping for the coming week with laundry and groceries. We might try to clean the house. We may attend a little league game or dance recital for the kids. We crash on Sundays, perhaps squeezing in some time with God, and psych-up to start the treadmill of life again on Monday mornings. What is all this for?

Today was interesting because I just stopped. I mean, in my tracks. I chose to leave it alone, grabbed some Skinny Pop popcorn, and took a seat. Because I realized the cacophony of sound around me was not bringing me peace. None. And I longed for a euphony of sound…something melodic and pretty. Something to soothe the soul. I chose to (a) unload on my blog, and (b) open windows and revel in the sunshine and breezes. I watched my brother-in-law stack firewood he graciously split for us. I watched as my hubby reconnoitered a new drip system for our veggies; choosing how it dripped, calculating gallons per minute, as well as placement. And I began to gather that peace. It is that simple. You walk away from the chaos. You choose not to get involved by engaging. You let the others yell on social media, and you disengage.

Even though it’s program-ing, I am obsessed with this TV show. I know it is not a good choice for many reasons, but nonetheless I am still obsessed. It is Yellowstone and it is on the Peacock Network – free streaming. Kevin Costner stars as the patriarch of this ranching family, whose land sits just outside the gates of Yellowstone in Montana. The vistas are incredible. The characters suck you in. There is violence – lots of that. There is intrigue. Some sexual content, yes. Like I said, regardless of the reasons why I should NOT watch this show, I watch 1-2 episodes every night. There are 4 seasons and season 5 is now filming. I am on season 2. In season 2, there is a character named Monica. She is a Native American who is married to Costner’s son (in the story). She is a college professor, although most in the community think less of her because she is native. She is teaching a course to college students and asks them to meet her outside for their class. She arrives and they are all sitting around, no one talking to the other one, out in the beautiful landscape of Montana, on their phones. She chastises them about not even talking to each other. And she goes on to say something to the effect of: I can’t believe you think it is more important for you to like a photo of someone who you do not even know; and that it’s important they like your posts. You have no idea what is going on in the real world, and more than that, you don’t even realize it, and you don’t even care. I don’t know why I waste my time with you.” Sadly, she walks away and the kids return to their phones, like she never said a thing.

That scene keeps replaying in my mind. Why has our social media presence become so very important to us? What is with phones??? On Peacock, it is free, so you have commercials. I don’t normally watch Peacock (brother-in-law downloaded it for us) and am not used to commercials any more. Loe and behold! Commercial after commercial from different providers, all offering amazing deals if you just get the newest phone version. Why is that?? Why do they want us continually updating our phones? Why the built in obsolescence? I’m nursing my 8+ and my husband is nursing his 8 so we don’t get the new ones. We also blocked all the updates. There are so many monitoring systems on our phones, that I just don’t wanna play. I met a man last week, who was a guest speaker at our food sustainability group, who actually got rid of his cell phone. And he is a cervical chiropractor by trade. It’s only been 3 weeks but he was happy he had done it. My next step may be a flip phone – True Talk has some that look pretty cool. It would force my hand. My brother-in-law doesn’t have any apps on his phone. He can talk, text, and share photos. That is it. He does everything else on his laptop and he says it helps monitor his time on social media. I desperately want to do that, but I don’t know if I could. How sad is that?

Walking away

Many of our friends thought that when we relocated up to Alaska, that we were walking away. In some profound ways, we were. We left all our friends in the lower 48. We joined our son and his family, and brought our youngest son with us. So we were not alone. Some friends we have had for decades had moved here before us and were always encouraging us to come up here. For the most part, we are very happy we did relocate to such a remote place. Once you are here, you do not feel remote. We have grocery stores and Target, McDonald’s and Costco, even restaurants like Olive Garden and the Outback Steak House. LOL. We live in a housing tract. We drive regular cars. The list is endless in how we are like everyone else. We did not walk away, we simply relocated. And we are still the same people who used to live in CA and Washington State. But there are particulars that are unique to living here. Isolated in the sense that it is hard to get here, but we are united with emails, phone calls, and social media. The point is that you can never flee anywhere where you won’t find yourself, because you take you, and all your history with you. You cannot escape yourself. And we all seem to stay connected, if that is what we truly want.

I can choose to isolate myself in a myriad of ways. I am at home alone a lot. I can disconnect from social media and work in my garden. I can choose to disengage in the public discourse. I can refuse to feed their anger, their nasty comments. I can choose the better portion. I can allow the euphony of sound that can truly only be found in God, to envelope me and comfort me and be my portion. I can choose faith over cacophony. I can choose wisely. As can you.

The better portion – God

And in despair, I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth and good-will to men!” Then peeled the bells so loud and deep: “God is not dead nor doth He sleep; the Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, on the civil war

Stop having a love affair with the couch….ouch!!!

Palmer June 2016

One of the best things about living in a large state that is sparsely populated is that you get to meet some of the most interesting people, and see some amazing sights. This is a photo of a small town in Alaska by the name of Palmer. This was taken facing east, from the Pavilion in their downtown area. Downtown area. Full of traffic. Yeah, right! This is still something I am getting used to – a different definition of “downtown.” The wind was blowing (typical for that area) and we were attending their Master Gardener’s Annual Spring Plant Sale. My hubby and I had a date for the afternoon. We had so much fun talking to the gardeners and learning about what plants grow in what zones (how different it is from our last home in WA state, or before that in sunny SoCal).  One character was named Rex and he commented that his wife is the brains, he just lifts heavy stuff! I liked him immediately and after talking to him, we got two red raspberries for our yard, and one for our son’s yard. I love fresh berries!  We also purchased an Alaskan Tundra Honeyberry plant. If you love blueberries, you will love honeyberries!

Alaskan Tundra Honey Berry Plant

It is so interesting to learn new ways of doing old things, like planting, and harvesting. It is also great to stretch your taste buds now and then. I have come to adore Halibut. I can honestly say that cold water fish are a delicacy I had never really known, until I sampled fresh, Alaskan fish. I have developed a love of Halibut, even though I find the fish themselves to be gross. And it does not help they are bottom-feeders and have both eyes on one side of their heads. Ugh. But man oh man, when my daughter-in-law batters and fries that with some broccoli and cauliflower (also battered and fried) with her home-made honey-mustard sauce (I don’t like honey mustard anything, but I adore her sauce) and we sit down to feast with a locally brewed craft beer, it doesn’t get much better than that! Alaskan summers at their best! Thank goodness for fishing charters because at $30/lb in the stores, you don’t want to waste a morsel!

Fried Halibut

Another of my favorite things about summers in Alaska is the wildlife and the fishing (my hubby could fish daily, if he could figure out how to make it work!!! Ha-Ha). We have had black bears stroll down our block; we’ve already seen a mamma moose have a calf at the local Lowe’s parking lot; and the long days of sunshine. The wildlife, yes, is amazing, but so are the many gorgeous views of green everywhere! There is simply no better place, in my mind, than Alaska in the summertime. It is stunning. Flowers and wild berries, trees of so many shades of green. And if you have a hankering for water, well, we have over 1 million lakes! There is water everywhere! We live across the street from a creek and less than a mile from a river, and less than 5 miles from two lakes. The area below is less than 10 minutes from my house.

Eagle River Nature Center

I can get in my car and drive 10 minutes, and just 10 miles, up the road and gaze at this. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams to call this place home. And I readily share it. This year, we are expecting quite a few guests, some of whom will be back-to-back. The furniture stores seriously have these sales around Memorial Day where they promote “guest sleeping options” with sales on blow-up mattresses, futons, fold-out couches, Murphy beds, bunk beds…you name it. So many people have Alaska on their bucket list and I am more than happy to show them around our beautiful state. Below is a photo of the local Reindeer Farm. You can go there and pet them, feed them, and look at all the babies. It is such fun! I firmly believe everyone should visit here at least once in their lifetimes. You will not regret it. Promise!

Reindeer Farm.2016

There are upsides to a small community; there are downsides. This state is the largest in the union (sorry Texas) and has one of the smallest populations. We are rated 47th in population, while being #1 in size. And that is good, but also hard. We have hamlets (villages) of people across the state, but many are accessible only by plane or boat. My son recently worked on an island for two weeks, accessible by boat or plane. They flew in, but their food/supplies had to be barged in. The island is inhabited by seagulls, sea lions, and puffins. No people. That is not uncommon in a state like Alaska. The fact of the matter is that it is a hard place to live in. It is nothing like the home we had in WA – on the 14th green of a golf course. In CA, we lived in a variety of places, even on farms. But there was no wild. But it was hard to find true wilderness in such a heavily populated state. There was no real weather danger, either. There were stores 10 minutes away. We have stores within 10 minutes here as well, but oftentimes the weather is too severe to get to them. This life is not for everyone. I get that. I still love it.

monkimage

The same thing goes for how we choose to worship. My daughter-in-law described it to a neighbor by saying that we preferred a more “European” sort of Church. I guess that is true. But it is a little more than that. We love our Melkite faith. It is a different expression of Christianity. It is a much smaller community than say Roman Catholic or Pentecostal Christians. We are fewer in number and the form of worship is so very old and has not changed, nor adapted to more modern ideas of worship, making it as not well spread or known as others. (It is also historically an Arabic Church, from the Middle East). But the essence of it, and the root of it, is rich and full of our beloved Scriptures. In the early years of the Church, only the Holy Men of the Church could even read. To read was not something the common man could do. And that is one of the reasons the Icons in the Church became integral to people’s faith. They told stories of scenes from the Bible, and shared the lives of the Saints who went before us. And I love to share it with others. We have icons all over our home, and at times, it makes people uncomfortable because it is so different. It is like some of the road blocks I experience when sharing Essential Oils with people. They smell good, yes they do. However, their origins are ancient and the use of them is older than recorded history. But it makes some people uncomfortable, because it is different and people think it is a fad, or the latest thing. And it requires you to think differently about common practices in our homes and in our lives.

young-living-eos

When you have a treasure, you want to hoard it. Protect it. Savor it. Like Rumplestiltskin and his golden thread. But there comes a time when you have to open the doors and share. There are so many instances when the small communities we all belong to become warped and sick, and doors need to be opened, the air refreshed and new blood needs to be allowed in. And then there are times when you need to move on, to experience a new treasure; opening your minds, hearts, and souls to something that is “other” to your norm. Like making a bucket list of places to see. And for me, I am wanting to share. My home, my faith, my oils, my life. Is it scary to share? It is!

dog on sofa closeup_26205

I’ve been challenged lately to stop having a love affair with my couch. Now, realistically, I’m not in love with my couch. It’s okay, but not my dream couch. But I love being at home. I do. I have been a stay-at-home mom for most of my 31+ years of marriage. I have also homeschooled all our kids (our oldest son is 30). I am at home a lot. And I like it there. I got comfortable being at home. I am, by nature, gregarious. But as I have aged and been at home, I have discovered I like being alone a lot, too. More and more I enjoy the quiet of living in a more rural environment with the sounds of the winds in the trees all I can hear. Or being inside on a blustery, and very snowy day, with just the crackling of our wood stove to listen to. And to share what I want to share with others, well, that means I have to leave my house. I have to operate outside of my comfort zone. I also have to step outside of the small community I have developed for myself and stretch my social skills muscles. And it makes me uncomfortable…

get uncomfortable

There are groups that I need to get away from and out of, and that is also taxing. I am developing new contacts and learning to turn on those social muscles more. But I have to tell you, living where I do, it is sooooooooo easy to become isolated. So easy to see no one except my family on a daily basis. However, there is so much I want to share with others. I want to share this state with friends who have never ventured this far. I want to share my faith with those who have questions, or perhaps do not understand my Byzantine mindset. We are growing our vegetables from seeds in a raised bed garden! I would love to share that journey with people. And I very much want to share my healthier lifestyle since I have discovered Essential Oils and the many products I use, based on Essential Oils and the science behind them. I live pretty much a chemical-free life in what I use to clean my home, my dishes, my clothing, my teeth, my face, my body, my hair…all because of Essential Oils. Why would I not want to share all of this? Because it makes both me, and the person I am sharing it with, uncomfortable. Look, I don’t want to make money off anyone. I truly do not. So for the oils part, I just want to share how it has impacted my life for the better and how I have incorporated them into every aspect of my life. As for my faith, that, too, makes many people uncomfortable. I do not want to take your faith from you, nor do I expect you to “come over” to my way of thinking. It is just fun to share information and history and styles of worship. It’s fun to share new ways of doing old things…even eating freshly grown vegetables out of your own garden. The lotion you use – I make my own, using Essential Oils! Would you like to learn how? It’s time…I need to start…

comfort zone

Would you care to join me?