Surrendering to the Flow of Life

I have found myself tired and weary lately, mostly having set the bar way too high with expectations of myself for the work to be done on Ten-Acre Ranch. Mowing and gardening has started early this year – about a month ahead of schedule. Acquiring fifty-two acres of an adjoining pecan orchard last fall added an additional element to the workload. An orchard that has not been maintained in more than twenty years presents a lot of work. Despite acquiring a limb rake to help with cleanup, it still has not taken much to find myself feeling overwhelmed and hopeless about making progress. And now, spring rains have come and of course the mosquitoes arrived with it, and various weeds have begun to take over.  With all the wet weather of late, my outdoor work has been at a standstill for a while and will not resume until things dry up a good bit. Of course by then, the place will be a jungle of green. During these spring months, I really only have a short window of time to get wood gathering and burning done because, once the heat of summer comes on, I will not want to be in the woods – with the snakes – at all.

Rain water floods the north side of the house and driveway.
Much of the woodland bottom is a mucky mess and a mosquito haven.

And though Ronnie and Emma deer are, for the most part, doing well, Ronnie recently had a mishap of running into a tree or fence and injured his nose. For more than a week he had swelling along the bridge of his nose and seemed to have a bit of a concussion. Not to be outdone, Emma managed to get caught up in barbed-wire somewhere and skinned up her hind quarters. She also had a few puncture wounds and superficial tears of her hide. I have been thankful that, for the last couple of weeks, Emma and Ronnie have chosen to stay close to home while they heal up a bit, where at least they are safer from predators. Those two are always a worry for me.

On a good note, I have been adjusting to a much easier schedule in the house. On the dog front, it has been just Mr. T to care for, and he is still a fairly easy keeper. With Zoe and Bear gone, I have not had to run a hospice care for aging dogs – cooking special meals and cleaning up messes that could not be helped. Still, in some ways the adjustment was strange. I suddenly felt as though I had all of this time on my hands, but was not quite sure what to do with it. So I began by putting my time to good use by getting my house back in order and doing a lot of deep cleaning. I put away pee pads and I took down the dog gates that were no longer necessary. I put away all the dog medicines and supplies that Bear required, and only kept what I needed for Mr. T.

And then one day, totally out of the blue, FD came home with this:

I was not happy. This was not part of my plan. You know I always have a plan. And raising a puppy certainly was the last thing I wanted to do now. I was just enjoying a little freedom from dogs and deer. And to boot, I had always preferred the rescue dog route. I firmly believe in giving a home to a dog that desperately needs one. But I could tell FD was thrilled and happy, and I never have been able to deny FD of anything that makes him happy.

Lamenting my displeasure to my sister Juli, she reminded me that things are not always about us. She encouraged me to give it a chance and not overthink things. And then later, when I was talking to my mom, I explained that while this puppy was cute and hilarious, I just had not planned on having another dog, at least for a very long while. To this, Mom replied, in a most loving tone, “Well you know forty-some years ago we had a little surprise that we were not expecting at all. The news was a shock. But look how she turned out. What would our family have done without her? She was the little peacemaker and love bug that we all needed at the time.” My heart softened with Mom’s words. My baby sister had been the love of my life. The delight of my heart. For a twelve year-old girl, that baby sister was like having a live doll of my own. In fact, she has been the only real experience I have had in life with raising a baby. I adored her… and I still do. Mom’s words really spoke to me about my reaction to surprises in life. Why did I always tend to veer to the negative when something did not go along with my plans? Why could I not embrace the joy in the unexpected? How many times have I grimaced at taking on an orphaned animal or rescue dog, thinking of all of the work and changes it meant in our household, only to fall in love and find great delight in the experience. Thinking about it, these things have always turned out better than I initially anticipated.

This was taken on my thirteenth birthday. I am holding my baby sister Juli. My brother Dale is next to Juli, and sister’s Lisa and Jodi are to my left.
Orphaned Ronnie deer had a lot of injuries when we got him (being cut up by a combine during wheat harvest). What a joy he is today, doing well in the wild.
Orphaned Emma deer is my delightful, curious girl. She still approaches me every day to have a nibble on my zipper pulls, elastic toggles, or shoe laces. Oh, did I mention she ate a dangling earring recently? Nibbled it right off my ear!
Punkin, an orphaned squirrel we raised, showed up recently, after a three-month disappearance. She is nearly three years old now. She even allowed me to pull those two ticks off her right ear!

So I named my latest surprise Oscar, which means “friend of deer”. He is an Imperial Japanese Chin. And of course, like my sister Juli did so many years ago, he has stolen my heart and brought new energy into our home. Mr. T is acting like a youngster again. He and Oscar play together and they are often found lying on Mr. T’s bed together. And Oscar adores his big brother. Even Emma and Ronnie have gotten used to him too, though Emma ignores him for the most part and Ronnie is still trying to figure out what that little nipping creature is.

Oscar and Mr. T enjoying playtime on Mr. T’s rug runway.
Oscar and Mr. T taking a nap together.

I think maybe I have spent way too much time making plans and having expectations about how things should be. And in doing so, I have only managed to exhaust myself to the point of being weary and overwhelmed. Actually, life is perfect as it is. And surrendering to the flow of life does not have to mean we lose anything. Rather, it can be the best thing to happen to us – if we only let it…

Oscar is very smart! He knows the importance of taking time to smell the flowers!
Maybe Oscar will help me keep fit as the years roll by. He already has me thinking I’m a little out of shape… running with him is exhausting!

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


38 thoughts on “Surrendering to the Flow of Life

  1. Oh my goodness, I do believe you wrote this blog for me! I too “have spent way too much time making plans and having expectations about how things should be. And in doing so, I have only managed to exhaust myself to the point of being weary and overwhelmed.” I have always been the planner, the organizer, the one with all the notes and a full calendar, the one who never lets anyone down and has always followed through on anything asked of me to the point of exhaustion. Well life through me a curve ball, last week I found out I have breast cancer. It has stopped me right in my tracks, until I read your blog this morning, then I read ” life is perfect as it is. And surrendering to the flow of life does not have to mean we lose anything. Rather, it can be the best thing to happen to us – if we only let it” Thank you for this blog, it was just what I needed to hear.

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    1. Oh Sharee, that is some tough news to take on. I recently watched the docu-series, “The Truth About Cancer” and it really changed how I approach my health… it’s not just about cancer. I will be sending positive energy your way – it’s good to read that you are open to accepting all of the possible gifts that this journey may lead you to. A book that you might enjoy by Mark Nepo (who overcame cancer), is “Seven Thousand Ways to Listen”. There are also some great books by Pema Chodron that might inspire you too. “When Things Fall Apart” and “The Places That Scare You”. Love and hugs to you, my friend.

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  2. Oh ouch Ronnie & Emma. The puppers are so darn cute. And yes life and surrendering to its flow is a good point. But might I add, don’t forget to pencil yourself in. Have a good rest of the weekend and I hope some happy rest for you is in the works. ❤

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    1. Hello Paulette… yes, I am having a good, relaxing weekend. It rained again yesterday and is very cool today, so I’m keeping inside. 🙂 Enjoy your weekend too. 🙂

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  3. Oh! Now you had to know that I was going to respond to this post! I read everyone of your posts and was delighted this morning when I saw Oscar’s photo! Nothing like puppy antics to change your carefully planned day! I am still a volunteer with with JCCARE (for those who don’t know, that is Japanese Chin Care and Rescue Effort) and will always be a proponent of rescue, but I’m also not against purchasing from a good breeder either. Besides….can’t blame the puppy! Looking forward to lots more pictures of Oscar and Mr T.! Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. I had a strong feeling you would comment! Ha ha (Chin fans are so predictable!). Dale and Jane Martenson of Chin of Touche’ have been very helpful. And I have to be thankful for the break in outdoor work so that I could be indoors to make potty training and introducing Mr. T and Oscar to each other such a success. Those things take constant attention and a watchful eye. So far things are going well, and you can bet there will be many updates and lots of photos. Oscar has really given Mr. T new life. I always knew there was a puppy in Mr. T, but Bear and Zoe never wanted to play with him. Now he has a buddy.

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  4. Oscar! He is adorable. The way you felt about him when he arrived is the same way I would have felt. You and I are very similar. I am so glad you have softened to him. What your mother said was so sweet and your sister. Mr T does need a new bestie. When we were down to one cat years ago, Bill insisted that we go to the pound even though I protested. We came away with two precious kittens, brother and sister. Stanley, the elder, did enjoy the company, with initial reservations, of course. I have noticed that if is not my idea, I am not as receptive, sometimes downright pissy about it. Character defects to work on. We soldier on, right?

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    1. You said that very well, Kim. I am more open these days to change than I was when I was younger, and I am also very cognizant that it’s better to create something good from a situation, rather than react negatively. Mr. T has shown change with each companion loss. When we lost Zoe, both Mr. T and Bear seemed to perk up and seemed happier. FD and I never realized how she sort of ran the house and was the “boss”. Mr. T seemed a little depressed after losing Bear but quickly took over Bear’s food begging spot. Ha ha. Oscar has rousted up the puppy in Mr. T and for that I am thrilled. Oscar needs a big brother and Mr. T needed someone to play with. It’s all good… and I’m doing much better too. Oscar has brought us lots of laughs. And of course, he’s so darned cute you can’t help but adore him.

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  5. Lori, I have happy tears as I finish reading this. Oscar is the cutest thing ever! And isn’t it great to see how Mr. T has responded to him? I’m sure he must have been feeling lonely without Bear.

    Like you, I tend not to like it when my plans are disrupted. In my case, it’s because I have organized my life to have just the right amount of stimulation balanced with down time. I know what works for me and lets me enjoy my life the way I want and need to. However, I’ve begun to accept the truth of that old saying, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” We just can’t control everything that happens. And as you’ve said, if we can open our minds and change our attitude, things almost always work out. And we often get to experience wonderful things we wouldn’t have if we’d followed our original plans.

    Emma’s injuries sure do look painful. I hope she heals up well and quickly.

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    1. Emma and Ronnie have disappeared the last couple of days so I haven’t been able to check Emma’s legs. We have seen some very bad injuries on Daisy over the years and I’m always amazed at how she never seemed to act like any of them bothered her. They just move on and do what deer do – eat and rest!
      You made an interesting point in analyzing your organized life – “just the right amount of stimulation balanced with down time”. I’m not sure I ever thought about why I do what I do. I think I’m always so work driven that I just do what is in front of me. Until I have an injury or the weather stops my work, I don’t think about down time.

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      1. A wise old teacher would occasionally drop into our high school lessons a quotation from one or another Roman authors. The one that could have made my life easier, had I paid more attention to it, was from one of Horace’s poems:

        There is a mean in all things; in fact there are boundaries
        on either side of which right behavior cannot be found.

        Sadly , I remembered the Latin and the curious way that teacher would intone it, but I didn’t always remember to apply its meaning to circumstances

        “There is moderation in
        .

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        1. Should have deleted the unfinished line, sorry! Also, I meant to add how much I appreciated the photographs. The one of the dogs asleep is a treasure. And lucky you, to have a sister who knows about “overthinking,” and can listen as well as advise. I enjoyed the whole post.

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          1. Thank you, Albert. Your quote of the line from Horace’s poem had me pondering a bit. In high school, at least for me, the wisdom of such prose was lost on a teenager. It really wasn’t until I was much older that in having had my own experiences I could understand the depth of those writings. You are correct about teachers – however they present themselves in our lives, “could have made my life easier”. If only I had known the lesson to be learned, or even had been open to seeing and listening when I was younger.

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  6. I think the whole of life is about learning to surrender. I totally relate to your sentiments, frustrations, observations and thoughts. Not easy, but well worth it. It’s all about flow, and we can only go with it. I think it’s our own resistance that creates tension; not what’s actually happening.

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  7. Brilliant post but I totally LOVE Oscar! Believe me, he will perhaps be the best thing that’s happened to you (and to Mr. T) in a while! Such an adorable fellow. And the video of Oscar chasing Ronnie Deer is outrageously funny!
    Though we have Tyson and Chucky, we are seriously considering another one – a Pug, perhaps! You are sure to enjoy Oscar tons!

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    1. Thank you, Mandeep. I think a Pug would be an excellent addition to the family! I have known several pug dogs in my life and they were all characters! Their facial expressions can be hilarious. Oscar is full of himself and sure to be a major personality around here. He’s laying behind my computer chair at the moment, tuckered out on Mr. T’s bed. It’s fortunate at this age he plays hard and still sleeps a lot! 🙂

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  8. I’m sure FD knew what he was doing by bringing a puppy home and Mr T must be enjoying the company, after loosing his mates. As for yard work, if it’s not done today, it maybe tomorrow, next week ….. the plants don’t care 😆

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    1. True, the plants don’t care but they do tend to take over if we get much rain and then they are a real chore to deal with! But you are correct, there is little to do about it and it will be there to deal with when the time is right.
      Mr. T is LOVING his little brother. It’s as if Oscar has awakened Mr. T’s “inner puppy”. 😀

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    1. Yes, somehow that “adorable” face is what makes him irresistible! I’ll make it through this initial stage of house training and mess. I have never had such a small dog. Oscar is not supposed to be more than 5 lbs. He’ll be smaller than Zoe was!

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  9. Oh the dog dilemma! We lost our faithful pooches several years ago. They are buried in the back yard at our old house. Charlie was a lovable “bitza” (part sheep dog and shaggy German Shepherd we think transported from the UK) and Jill was a black and white collie with some kelpie. If Bolly hadn’t been walking his dogs on the beach all those years ago we would not now be married. I was heart broken when I lost my mate Jill. Living in the city we decided not to get another dog and ended up rescuing all the local stray cats! Now we have moved to the country with our two older, sedate cats Friskie and Rambo but I can see Bolly yearning for another dog in his life. I grew up with dogs being outdoor animals and he wants his dog inside. Our cats have not grown up with dogs so I’m not so keen. But like you I will probably need to concede! Keep up your wonderful stories and photos.

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    1. There is always something good and positive to be found in all experiences (how you and Bolly met!). Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I can just picture Friskie and Rambo! Ha ha! Pets are so much of the nurturing side of ourselves. FD and I both enjoy the wildlife rehabilitation that we’ve managed, and those relationships have gone on to be very meaningful for us. I need a break from that for the time, but I know one day again we will raise more orphans. When FD retires it will be something wonderful to share. For now we give Mr. T a continued good life, and we welcome Oscar to the fold. We still see Emma and Ronnie deer, and squirrels Punkin and Buddy. I hope we will see Daisy deer again one day. Life is good, whatever comes our way and continues to revisit. 🙂

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  10. All of us can learn from what you wrote here today. Thank you for the reminder to embrace life, to accept that it will not always go as we plan. Your dear mama offered you (and us indirectly) some great advice.

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  11. Hi, Lori. Your life has certainly been event filled in recent weeks. Life has a habit of happening irrespective of what you have planned so yes, expect the unexpected! It was interesting to read of your project to move on those things which you no longer need in your life. I think it is better that some one else gets to enjoy those things rather than they languish in a cupboard, shed or corner where they are no longer used or noticed.
    I hope you, FD and Mr. T get to have a long time to enjoy Oscar.

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    1. Margaret, Oscar is doing well and we are enjoying him! This past weekend I drove up to Wichita, Kansas to visit a niece and nephew and found that I really missed Oscar the few days I was gone. As much as I did not want another dog – and a puppy at that, I realize he has brought new energy and happiness to our home. Even Mr. T seems to enjoy having him around now! (He was grumpy at first!).

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  12. Love this. What an inspiring story! P.S. My horse is Oskar! And he came with unexpected lessons too that threw my “plans” in the air. That was 4 years ago and he changed my life in completely positive ways ☺

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    1. Thanks for posting this great comment! It’s so encouraging to hear from others about “plans” being disrupted in wonderful ways! Ha ha I love the name Oskar for a horse! 😀

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  13. What a cutie he is. And the black and white fur matches his brother so well. We have a black and white sheltie and a new black and white kitten with the funniest face I think I’ve seen lately. He looks like a musketeer or Zoro with his mustache and goatee. The kitty was a surprise as was our new puppy. They both came home uj’/`with two of our kids from college. Since we already have three dogs, a cat, two horses, we were not thrilled to add to the collection, especially knowing how fully time consuming a puppy can be. Boy is he. But, while the kitty is not a problem, our older cat is. She has expressed literally, her displeasure with the newcomers by wetting all three of our kids’ beds and two pillows in the living room. Point taken. She can stop now. I was doing bedding laundry until 3 am this morning. As I’m afraid to dry any of it and set the smell forever, the linens are hanging on every possible rail, hook, or door. Enough about that.
    I am shocked at the closeness you have with the deer nibbling your earring and removing the
    ticks from the squirrel. I’m so jealous. Anyway, I write often about our menagerie if you ever need new reading material. I’d love for you to stop by. I’m glad I ran across your blog. I look forward to reading more about your country life.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. It sounds like you have your hands full. I know the problem with caring for animals, and how much work it can be. For a couple of years I was caring for two older Japanese Chin with various health issues. I felt like I was running a nursing home. The last year of their lives, I was raising Emma and And with wild animals/birds, your home becomes a rehab center and normal housekeeping just goes by the wayside for a while. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. It’s been so rewarding being surrounded by both domestic and wild animals. I have learned a lot – and there will be more to learn as we continue our journey. 🙂
      I’ll be sure to check out your adventures at your blog!

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