Grit Blogs > Red Pine Mountain

Needs? Wants? Or Enough? A Thanksgiving Reflection

A Red Pine Mountain LogoFirst, I'm pleased to announce the winner of the cookbook is Nadine Tindell. Please contact letters@grit.com to claim your prize.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, “To everything there is a season,” and as we head into this season of Thanksgiving and celebration, I’d like to share some thoughts with you.

I know you enjoy humorous posts and so do I but I’ve been in a somber mood. I sit down to write and nothing comes to mind. Nothing worthwhile to share, nothing to say so I don’t bother. Yes, I’m in a funk. That’s the truth. And if I’m honest with myself, it is because Mountain Man and I are entering our season of golden years where difficult decisions have to be made and all those aches and pains and medical problems start to clamor for more attention every day.

Our biggest challenge recently has been making the decision of whether we can afford to stay in Vermont for our retirement years. And the answer which we’ve discussed until we feel our heads are going to explode is “No, we’re not going to be able to afford to stay here.” We “want” to stay but it’s not realistic to think we’ll be able to stay. Mountain Man has dragged me kicking and screaming to this decision because I love this farm, but when he calculated how much it costs per hour just for the always increasing property taxes, I realize we are going to have to make some changes as we age.

What to do? We’ve grappled with this issue as well, and although we are still in the planning stages, we are most likely headed to the Ozarks next fall and will rent out our farm here.

This decision has left me downhearted and sad. I walk outside each morning, watch the sun rise over the mountains, see the horses grazing in the pasture, and ask myself, “How will I ever be able to leave?”

And while we have been making this life-changing decision, I’ve been coping with health issues; my eyes and most recently a cardiac problem brought about by having to stay inactive for so long. My doctor came right to the point and told me I have to find some new activity which I enjoy and get moving again. I started taking medicine which promptly made me sick causing me to fall into a deeper pit of despair. I don’t want to get moving again if I can’t do those activities which mean so much to me and which I enjoy. I want to do what I want.

It’s not me who has the answers. But the answers are always there; when I listen; when I engage in daily prayer. I’m never alone. Not really. So I say the words out loud over and over, a mantra: “Please Listen Lord God and answer my prayers. Make my eyes sparkle again.” Psalm 13:3.

And the answer was shown to me when Mountain Man returned from a trip to the Ozarks this week. He was out there building a barn for my horses, and while clearing brush, he managed to get covered in poison oak. It’s oozing, nasty, itchy. But it hasn’t stopped him. Oh, he’s fussed a little, he’s entitled, but he’s kept on working from dawn to dusk. He’s positive, moving forward, excited about new adventures ahead. And if he can be so positive, why shouldn’t I be as well?

I start walking again. And as I gasp for air as I walk up hills, I realize by focusing on my wants, I’ve been removing the joy from life. Kind of like a spoiled child, “If I can’t have what I want than I don’t want anything.” I’ve been hurting myself. No one else.

And I’ll leave you with this quote (author unknown):

“I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all (wo)men, most richly blessed.”

I know what I want, I understand what I need, but because of God’s ever abiding love, I have more than enough.

From our family to yours, Have a Joyful Thanksgiving!

mary carton
11/29/2011 2:55:51 PM

I was living in the city when Dad died. My house in Muscle Shoals City had been on the market for a year and sold three times and none of the buyers would qualify for a loan in the amount I was asking for the house (supposedly they were pre-qualified). I had planned to build out in the country some where closer to the farm. Anyway after Dad died I was talking to him telling him that if he wanted me to take care of Mom, I needed to sell the house. A week later, some one paid cash for the house. I bought 3.5 acres from Mom and built my house. Mom sold the farm and built a house beside me. Things happen for a reason. I now have my three hooligans and starting a small card & calendar, daylily, iris business on the side. The plants should be in enough quantity that I'll be able to sell them when I retire.


mountain woman
11/29/2011 7:44:26 AM

Mary, Sheryl, Dave, Chuck, Cindy, I want to thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts and your experiences with me. It means so much to both me and Mountain Man. Thank you again.


mary sebring
11/26/2011 7:05:17 PM

MW, previous post a trial - sorry. My man and I are in the same sort of situation in our later years, hard place to be at this time in life. It seems you are a woman of faith and you have remembered that is where your true joy is found. When our hearts are aching what a perfect place to run for comfort. I will be holding you up tp our Father and looking forward to reading about your new adventure. We are transplanted to northeastern Mississippi from northern Ohio and the weather is much milder, see a blessing already, unless you prefer cold


mary sebring
11/26/2011 6:50:25 PM

Aa


sheryl.renfrow
11/25/2011 8:15:34 PM

I don't know what to say-I'm sitting here thinking what I can say to encourage you and yet you've already provided the answer. You quoted a Bible verse in your post and one in Proverbs comes to my mind right now-"Lean not to your own understanding-in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." That's all I know, but over the years it has been enough. Sometimes the path took much too long and was way too narrow, but when I got beyond it, life was good again. Wonder who will be your new friends in the Ozarks, wonder what a sunrise and sunset will look like there?


nebraska dave
11/24/2011 8:37:47 AM

MW, with the recent event in my life I can certainly identify with funk. I can also identify with aches and pains as age creeps up on me. I know from reading your blogs that you have been fighting this eye thing for some time and as time drags on with health issues funks like to sneak up and drag us down in life. I know that you have faith and inner strength to over come these issues and become that person that you were meant to be again. You will be in my daily prayers. I am really sorry to hear that you will have to give up your Vermont home but I do understand about the rising costs of everything. The taxes continually rise here as well. I think they are up to about $200 a month on my humble home and small plot of dirt. Life just seems to keep gouging at us in our most vulnerable time. OK, let's get positive now. Every day I wake up is another gift of life. I many times ask as I'm getting out of bed, "God, what are You and I going to do today?" The phones rings and the day begins. Today, Thanksgiving Day, it was a joy to make waffles for the family's breakfast and watch the Macy Day parade. I'm finding that the simple things in life can be the best things. Just as your quote of the day indicates, we get so caught up in not getting what we want that we miss the enjoyment of what we already have.


nebraska dave
11/24/2011 8:37:19 AM

Sara, you are the best inspiration ever. Surrounded by life with ducks, chickens, turkeys, guineas, donkeys, horses, and what ever I missed, has to bring joy into your life every day. There is just something about watching contented animals and birds that soothes the soul. Yesterday, just the seeing of a flock of wild turkeys on my soon to be new property (Terra Nova Gardens) made my day. I'm sorry, but just for an instant, I thought, "Hmmmm, Thanksgiving Dinner." Then it left as the majestic Tom stood watch over me while his harem fed. There must have been about 25 in the flock. I was careful not to disturb their place of sanctuary while I walked over the property. I still feel that God meant us to have a connection with the land. Even if it's just pots on the balcony, there's just something about the growing of plants and the caring for animals that helps to overcome the bumps in life. What do you think? I hope and pray that you are having the best Thanksgiving that you can have.


cindy murphy
11/23/2011 7:55:35 AM

Mountain Woman, I'm sorry you've been going through such a difficult period. Mom (and many others) always said when one door closes, another opens. I believe from reading your blog here for close to two years now, that you'll walk through that door and appear on the other side with the grace, insight, and though you might not feel it now, the joy and humor that you've always displayed in the past. I'll be pulling for you. Wishing you and Mountain Man a happy Thanksgiving.


mountain woman
11/22/2011 12:38:15 PM

Chuck, Thank you so much for your kind comment. It made my day. I do believe you are correct when you say that sometimes the monkey wrench we are thrown proves to be right all along. I appreciate your thoughts so very much.


chuck mallory
11/22/2011 8:33:37 AM

Thank you for being so open about your thoughts and feelings. What a heartfelt post. Those who read your words from near and far will be rooting for you, whatever the outcome of your move. At least you have your faith, which will always with you and lifting you up. Sometimes I think life just throws a monkey wrench our way, it seems, and later we realize it was right all along. Maybe if you have to move to the Ozarks that's the plan. You don't know the good coming your way there, perhaps.