The Barn at the Homestead

The Barn at the Homestead

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

All along the watchtower...

As the summer days move along, with heat and humidity, I am grateful for air conditioning and the discipline of Daily Office.  Every time I come across the Gospel for today (Mark 11:27-12:12--read every other year), I think of Jimi Hendrix and his rendition of Bob Dylan's All along the watchtower.  Perhaps it is because we are on the octave of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and I'm feeling a little nostalgic, or perhaps it's the summer heat, or the ever  constant "Breaking News" in our day, this song was a part of my day--all day today.

Jesus tells a parable: "A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press,  and built a watchtower . . ."  Feels like we're all on the alert for danger these days...watchtowers? We have more sophisticated equipment these days--but we watch all the same.  Time was when we left our doors unlocked at night and the screen door was rarely latched.  We've moved beyond that now with our security locks and cameras.  All along the watchtower, indeed.

I found this review interesting; I appreciate the compare/contrast between Dylan and Hendrix

Dylan "got religion" some say after this song...I say he always had it, but like with many of us, it had to be awakened in him.  Was it a metaphor for his life or something deeper within him?

As the summer comes to a close and our garden chores change from harvest to clean up, I'll likely continue to hum this song as I circle the perimeter of my garden space.  No watchtower here--but plenty of jokers and thieves around the place!  And I will continue to be grateful for the Daily Office readings and music--sacred and secular--that help me grow.

In case you want to listen to Hendrix, here is a link Enjoy...

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Goat People

Goats are hot these days!  They are on social media, in commercials on TV, clearing highways of vegetation.  And recently, many of my friends shared a cute goat post from Facebook--maybe you've seen it, too!  Goats seem to be everywhere!

From the time I was three years old, I wanted a goat.  I've never been entirely sure where the desire actually came from; perhaps it's because I am a Capricorn!  None the less, my attraction to goats has been long term.  After nearly some 60 years of dreaming, I finally became a goat owner about 5 years ago-- now the proud owner of four beautiful dairy goats--affectionately known as The Girls!  Miss Daisy was my first, along with her now deceased brother, Rascal--aptly named I might add.  Next came Miss Lovey--and she is such a love.  Miss Fiona is Lovey's daughter, and last year, Fiona gave birth to Miss Blossom who was born on Earth Day. We really should have named her Rascalina!  Did I mention I love my goats?

The goats have brought great joy and milk in my life.  We have made cheese, ice cream, yogurt and other delectable food items when we have milk.  We learn something new every day with The Girls.  They love animal crackers--my husband says it's goat crack!  They would do almost anything for one little treat.

But perhaps the greatest part of being a goat lover is the people it has brought in our lives.  Long before we owned goats ourselves, we befriended a family with 4 boys who participated in 4-H.  We met Dad and sons first; and their protective Mom later.  She was a bit suspicious of us at first--why are these people with no goats and no children in 4-H hanging around!  The boys showed us the ropes and were always eager to teach us something new.  That friendship continues today, and I can't tell you how rewarding it has been to watch the boys grow up into men.

Then there is a special family--we met on Facebook, but it was because I wanted goats and they had them! Ha!  That also developed into a deep and abiding friendship.  We continue to be a part of each others lives, even getting together for visits on occasion.

The young woman who moved near our area became a friend, too.  The trials and tribulations of life led her to something more simple--goats and chickens and turkeys!  She was a wealth of knowledge and we bought our first goats from her.  All because of goats--we became like family.

And, although I have felt somewhat like the odd ball as an Episcopal priest (now retired from active ministry), I have been blessed to find a few other priests who are goat lovers, too.  One has become a very, very dear friend--I have traveled to her home and even milked (attempted to) one of her goats.  I got pretty good at giving out the pretzels!  And there is the priest who really wants a goat.  Oh I do hope she gets her wish--her life will be forever changed.

And there is the author of many books--friends on Facebook, but also such an inspiration to me.  We have never met in person, but I do believe that our hearts beat goats together.

Yes, goats are everywhere, including in my barn.  I love them!  I love our life together.  But I simply treasure all of the humans my love of goats has brought to my life.  I am nearly always asked, "How are the goats?"  They have a special way of bringing a smile to my face... and to others.

And it's always a reminder to me of the Divine Being!

The God of All Things has brought amazing friendships and love to my life! Thanks be to God!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

What might have been

It's Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day; hope that those who are mothers and those who have been like mother's to us have had a wonderful day.  

This story won't leave me; the story of Adam Crapser.  A colleague posted something about it on Facebook.  For days I was arrested by my own feelings.
This story is a few years old, but there are some updates on other websites.  Adams is suing the agency that placed him in the adoptive home.

Adam's story is heart breaking; adopted at age 3 and raised in the United States, after living here for all of his life, he was deported.  It is indeed a sad story.  Made sadder for me by my own life circumstances.  You see, many, many years ago, my husband and I tried to adopt a South Korean child.  We were the next on the list to receive a child when something went terribly wrong.  The relationship between the South Korean Agency and the agency in the U.S. was broken and lawsuits were impending.  We, along with several other couples, never got our long awaited child.

To read Adam's story, the unsettling circumstances of his life, it is difficult to image the horror he experienced.  Abused by not one family, but two, he now finds himself in South Korea as his wife and children remain in the States.  It made me wonder--what if we had been Adam's family?  We were blessed many years later to adopt a child; but Adam's story made the disappointing outcome of my past come roaring back.  A son--oh what would it have meant to have a son! Would he have become an artist, a poet, perhaps a baseball player, or even a ballet dancer? Would he have laughed with us, celebrated birthdays with us, fed goats and chickens with us?

Today on this Mother's Day, I give thanks for the process of adoption that allowed me to become a mother and for the beautiful daughter with which I am so blessed.   I give thanks that as a priest, I have served as a spiritual mother for some.  But today, I am also thinking of Adam Crapser and all of the others who have similar circumstances.  What if Adam had been my son?  The story won't leave me; for now I pray for him. Letters will be in my future plans--to politicians, agencies and yes, maybe even one to Adam.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Purple Hearts

     Retirement brings needed time to sort through the material goods of ones life in addition to all of the memories collected.  Cleaning out, spring cleaning; no matter what you call it, it is the sifting and sorting of things.  My father was a decorated Navy Captain; he served in World War II, Korea and in Viet Nam.  Recently in sorting through some very old things, I came across memorabilia that was Dad's.  Beyond reminiscing, it set me to thinking:  about life, honors, and purple hearts.

Purple Heart
     I set to look up Purple Hearts as awarded to those in the military.  I learned a few things: the idea of purple hearts originated with George Washington, but it was on the 200th anniversary of his birth it was revived and given the name of Purple Heart.  It bears an image of Washington and is awarded those military veterans injured while in service to our country. On online site says, "A symbol of sacrifice."

     About the same time I found some of Dad's honors, I also discovered a pattern for knitting hearts.  I thought of all those who sacrifice in so many ways but never receive much notice: garbage collectors, stay-at-home mothers, teachers, clergy.  As I began to knit, I found myself drawn to purple yarn.  Yes, yes--others deserve a Purple Heart.

    My knitting is slow--but there are those in my life who are worthy of a Purple Heart.  It won't be one with Washington's image, but it will be in recognition of the sacrifice you have made on behalf of my life by picking up my garbage, by teaching little ones so well, by the prayers who have offered on my behalf.  Be on the look out...a Purple Heart, knitted with love may be coming your way.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Searching for Mayberry

It was one of those social media memes that caught my attention; it gave me a chuckle or two.  I grew up in the era of Mayberry RFD.  What a town--from my childhood perspective, everyone seemed pretty happy, everyone seemed safe, everyone seemed to care about one another.  It never dawned on me that everyone was single!

Mayberry--I thought it was just about perfect,  when I was a kid that is.  And in some sense (I think I am not alone), I've been searching for Mayberry ever since-- a place where everyone is pretty happy, everyone is safe, every really cares about each other.  A few years back, a friend was using a Bible Study Guide based on Mayberry; you can read about it here:
or here:
It isn't something that drew me in at the time, but the concept of the Mayberry of my remembrance continues to pull at my heart strings.

As I reflect back on Mayberry, there wasn't a lot of diversity.  It was a pretty homogeneous group--like lots of places today.  Yet, I think the people were striving at a simple, peaceful life.  I want that kind of life--with more diversity, because I believe that's the key in our modern life!  I want to be happy (well...maybe content), I want to be safe, and I want to live in a world where people really care about one another.  I believe it is possible--it begins with conversation and a reminder for me that Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Some of us have some work to do here! 

Whether everyone in Mayberry was single or not (and some days, it would be easier to be single--says she of a long-term marriage), with a few adjustments, Mayberry is still possible.  It may take a while, but I'm going to continue to search...

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Always we begin again 2.0

It's March, 2019.  Always we begin again--wonderful, powerful words from St. Benedict.  These words, like words from the Psalmist, are also forgiving.

February 2018 brought a new word to my vocabulary and to my world: retirement. There were good intentions to write something more often--but to be honest, 2018 was a very unkind year!

Create a clean heart , O God
    and renew a right spirit within me
                                Psalm 51:11

These words, like Always we begin again, are words of invitation.  And so, I shall begin again--to make an effort at this write more share the journey deeper into my heart as An Eclectic Episcopalian.