I'm feeling trust-y.

A few months ago I was a panelist at a women's luncheon featuring women in business who were leading from a position other than the C-suite. If you, like me, aren't aware of what the C-suite means, it's the suite of offices in a business that house the CEO, COO, CFO, and other important, accomplished leaders. 

I didn't even know what C-suite meant, so perhaps I did fit in well on the panel. I work for a non-profit nature center, am a blogger, and in general lead by getting dirty in the thick of the work - whatever that work might be. 

The luncheon was somewhat uncomfortable for me. I didn't feel like I belonged on the panel, let alone in the room with hundreds of other women in business. Many, if not most, were much more accomplished than me and could speak of their experiences doing hard work to contribute in their industry. 

Here I was, nervously picking at my lunch while the keynote speaker dazzled the audience. A new friend, Nancy, was sitting beside me, and as her lunch was placed in front of her she inquired to the young waitress if her entree was, as requested, gluten-free. The waitress didn't miss a beat, quickly said yes, and moved on to the next table. The response was so fast that Nancy and I looked at each other with expressions of doubt. 

"You must be feeling risky," I said. 

My beautiful, wise new friend said, "No, I am feeling trust-y."


All the doubt of feeling like I belonged at the luncheon, what I would say to make an impact on the group, all of it: Gone. Faded in into the background. 

"I am feeling trust-y." 

What does it take to feel trust-y? Oh, goodness. It takes so much. So much energy and thought, and at the same time the abandonment of thought and use of instinct. 


I, too, choose to be trust-y. 

I trust that this little cabin will meet our needs, day-after-day and year-after-year. I trust in the satisfaction I feel at having enough, doing enough, and being enough. 

I trust in the simple, satisfying life my husband and I built. All glory to God.

I trust that He will continue to shape and move our lives on the path He has set for us. He trusts us to work out the details.

I trust the companions, human and animal, that are by my side. These companions will help fill the empty corners of my soul. Those corners are where the anxiety and sadness hides. The bulk of my soul work depends on me. I trust my companions to call for me, grab my hand, and pull me along. I trust them to "sing the song of my heart when I have forgotten the words."

I trust our small homestead to feed us, nourish us, and nourish others.

I trust my instincts. I trust my ability to reason, calculate, and move forward. I trust John. I trust his motives, his ideas, his joyful spirit.

I trust this Earth, even though she doesn't trust us. We've done so much to betray her, that she is understandably skeptical. I trust that I have the confidence to say NO, or even YES, when tough decisions about environmental stewardship come my way. I trust that I have the words - close by, on the mere tip of my tongue - to inspire others to also steward our Mother Earth.

I trust that all I need is all I have.

I trust the woman I have become, all thanks and glory to God, whether I am a mother or not. I trust my body.

I am feeling trust-y. 

Winter Reads to Devour.

Winter is upon us. Last Sunday we had a few wet snowflakes fall from the sky. It was almost like the heavens opened up and decided to throw small, wet snowballs our way. 

Regardless, I loved it. 

I really, really enjoy winter. Well, I enjoy every season in Eastern Iowa, but I am fond of winter. At work, we have many acres of native prairie. When I have a moment to walk the trails I see evidence of fall on the way out, ushering in the new season. 

The grasshoppers and butterflies are gone. They've moved on, leaving a few spiders is all.

The woods are still alive with activity. Birds, squirrels, deer, and mammals of every sort. The blessing of being able to work in such a place where I can enjoy the change in the seasons is surreal. For the last 10 years I've observed the change in seasons from a window, or enjoyed it only on weekends.

Welcoming winter means enjoying fall. We participate in communal silent meditative walks with others, I pull my yoga mat outside, and John keeps busy with new chores.

Our Jotul wood stove is our primary heat source, and because this is our first winter in the cabin we have no idea how much wood we will need. John is splitting wood almost daily, slowing chipping away at the very large pile of logs that accumulated when we cleared a half acre of timber for our cabin.

Other preparations for winter include strategically stocking our small deep freezer with veggies from our CSA, chickens from a local Amish family, and beef from my dad.

I'm also stocking up on winter reads. Books to keep my mind sharp and stimulated, even when my body is cozy and more sedentary.  One thing you should know about my reading choices is that they are very eclectic, and I'd like to share some of my favorite odd-ball titles with you:

Enjoy this transition to winter, friends. We sure will.

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When I was 32 I Built a Fort.

One Saturday I got this guttural urge to build and create. Usually I head to the kitchen or grab a power tool, as the last year of our lives has been prepping and building this cabin. This time was different. I wanted so desperately to be outside in the crispy, autumn-scented air.

I built a fort.

Will I use the fort? Maybe. I don't know.

Do you remember building forts when you were a child? All of my favorite play spaces were outside as a child. My dad built a tree fort for us when my brother, sister, and I were children. It was simply a platform cradled in a huge tree in our cattle pasture. No guard rails. No roof. Just a sturdy platform and a homemade ladder constructed of 2x4s in which to ascend to our palace in the trees. While my brother preferred the tree fort, I drew near to a stump fort in that same cluster of trees. This stump fort was simply an old tree stump, roots intact, that my dad (or someone before him?) turned over. It laid just so, allowing me to have a window through the roots, a flat place to make mud pies, and a nook to hide away with flowers I found in the pasture.

When did I lose my playfulness? When did I lose my imagination? I know I'm not alone here.

Building a fort of branches and vines in the timber surrounding our cabin was one of the most fulfilling 'projects' I've done to date. My lungs were burning in the cool air and my heart was pumping hard as I searched the ravines nearby for the perfect long branches to serve as the foundation for my fort.

I have no idea if this fort will withstand the winter, let alone a snowstorm. I see it as a tribute to the childhood that I had, that we all had. Where we could be creative and dirty and build things and wonder and make something colorful from our minds come alive.

It's time to reclaim our spirits! It's time to find our inner child. It's time to say goodbye to the routine and procedure and system and order that stifles the fire in our bellies. Preoccupation and busyness for the sake of busy have no room here anymore.

It's time to play. Grab a chicken. Give her a snuggle. Talk to animals. Talk to trees. Build forts. Sing out loud. Make up rhymes.

Do it all because it feels good.

Then, like me, go to work on Monday and bring a small piece of your inner child with you. 

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