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Welcome to Rocky Oak Homestead™

A quiet, peaceful sanctuary from the chaos of everyday living in a world on the brink of insanity! A place where we prepare for the worst, but hope for the best!

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Unconditional love...really?

I ended my last entry writing of love so today I will continue there....

In our society today we hear all the time of love, loving someone unconditionally...it has become a familiar phrase from pulpits across the county....We hear it from our family members, from our friends, there is even much about it on the internet...But what does it mean?

The last couple of months of my dads life were the hardest, but also the most awaking to me, for me....When I decided to just "love" him with no expectations a change in me took place...What I began to realize is I can't love him with stipulations or love him in the past or in the future....I had to love him right then, right there....where he was...I had to be mindful....For me being mindful means being in the moment...present...present to feel, see, hear, smell and love...I had to love him moment by moment....If I tried to the love the man of the past I failed...why? Because in all my human-ness I had resentment, anger and bitterness over what had been to us all those years ago...but when I found a place, a way in which I could look at him in that moment and see him for who he was I could love him unconditionally....When in that moment the daddy I loved as a very small child and told my mom I wanted to marry when I grew up, the man that could do no wrong in that 4 year olds eyes, that man that played with me, took me on horse back rides and taught me how plant corn...yes that man.....that was the man I loved without conditions....I had lost that over the years as hurt, anger and bitterness took hold in the wake of horrendous abuse...But in the moment, that 1 moment frozen in time I found the means to love him again...When he would lash out, which was becoming fewer and more far between, I simply over looked it and looked beyond the words into the heart of dying and hurting man...I began to understand he too was full of hurt, anger and regret...he too had been a very abused child at the hands of his mother...he never figured out how to overcome and to love and be loved...Somehow I had figured out love is what he needed...and I was willing to just love and let it all go...let it be...there was nothing that could change the past, nothing that could right all the wrongs...nothing that could change any of it...but what could change is that in the mans last days I could make a difference...

What I didn't realize is that I began this journey to love him for him, but it is me it truly changed....it changed me to the very core of my being...I began to understand so many things....What it meant to really live in the moment....what it mean to love without boundaries....what it meant to love someone in spite of their shortcomings....what it meant to be present for someone in spite of whats going on in your own life...What it means to feel empathy when someone suffers...what it means to truly want the best for someone even though they didn't give a crap about you for most of your life....I realized the TRUE meaning behind the words "unconditional love"....it truly is love without conditions attached...

Now, this is not saying that you should allow yourself to be abused,exploited or mistreated...if you are in a relationship, church or even at a job where you are being abused, exploited or mistreated in a serious way...you need to leave that situation immediately and get help!.....I am talking about loving someone, maybe even from afar that has done you wrong...You don't have to live with someone or even have them in your life to love them...I DO NOT and will not advocate abuse of any kind even in the name of love...that kind of love is not a healthy love and no one should subject themselves and their children to such atrocities.

So, with that said....

Across our nation these words are shouted everywhere we go...preachers pound the pulpit weekly pleading with us to love our neighbor as ourself, we are to be selfless and love like Jesus did...While this is all very true, how often do we really see this? I was shunned from a church that preached love weekly, love the sinner hate the sin and how they were known by outsiders as the church that loved...however when I did not conform to their rules, and I viewed the world a little differently and when my discernment stepped on their proverbial toes I was thrown to the wolves and shunned and treated like a leper...So, where was the love? Their love, like most was based on conditions...they loved me as long as I conformed, they loved me as long as I didn't expose them for what they were, the loved me as long as I gave enough money and they loved me when it benefited them...

Our friends many time love us as long as were not to messy, or we aren't to 'heavy', they love us when we can be there for them, they love us when we believe what they believe is right, when we began to change, and grow and take a different path, or they misunderstand where we are or what were saying...the love changes and they set out on a mission to "fix us", mold us....they make sure we understand we need to 'get it over it"(whatever your it is) and move on...is this unconditional love? I don't believe so...

Our church family, pastors and preachers tell us Jesus/God loves us unconditionally....I have to ask...Do they really believe that? I'm not sure they do...here's why...

When I was walking this journey with my dad, nothing but just being there with him mattered...not the hateful things he said, not the past, not the future...not even the next 5 minutes...there was no wanting to fix him, save him, correct him, explain my feelings to him, we just were....in that moment, hanging on to every breath, every word, every glance...just that moment...I wanted his image and all that comes with that etched forever in my mind but most importantly my heart...I wanted that love I felt for him to stay with me forever....I want to share it, give it away....pay it forward...live it for others...When you love unconditionally I believe that's how it is...its loving without looking backwards or ahead....its right then and right there..it is listening to the words someone is saying without searching your mind for the right words back....as a christian it is listening without using scripture to hurt, harass, or whip into shape the person hurting...it is not explaining how sin separates from God and you are in grave danger of burning in hell...its not telling the hurting person you are responsible for the hurt inflicted upon you...Don't get me wrong, most christians are well meaning, but ill equipped...what do I mean? Let me see how to explain this....

Christians are taught the way to help a dead and dying world is to be a light...a light that lights the dark path sinners are on...So they do that by reading scripture and memorizing it so that when they meet someone who is not "saved" they can recall and speak scripture...We see christians in front of abortion clinic picketing, we see them holding signs on the road side about how if you have an abortion your going hell....seen that just the other day in a town near me...we are told if we don't turn from our wicked(whatever that may be)ways we are dammed to hell...Many, many well meaning christians use these tactics...I have said for years you can't scare the hell out of someone and you can't scare heaven in them....So my point is this....this is conditional love....God/Jesus loves you as along as you don't sin...don't lie, steal, drink, smoke, dance, wear clothing that is not acceptable, don't be a homosexual, or transgender, don't look at the world different than we define you should, don't go to a casino,don't meditate, do yoga or go to a holistic doctor.......If you were really saved you wouldn't/would do that, or this or read this or that or study this or that.....Don't swear, don't murder(unless its war and then its ok especially if our side is winning or the death penalty) don't be a democrat that believes in global warming, and I know some that says you can't be a democrat at all... don't worship idols, dont spend to much time on your cell phone...conserve water, but don't care so much about that earth that it becomes an idol...Don't educate yourself about any other religion or denomination other than your own and if you do read about it, you must your use denominations books to research ad the author must be of your denomination cause they have it all right....and the big one....DO NOT JUDGE...ok so some of these are silly and a bit off....but I think or I hope I  made my point...This is all conditional love...strings attached if you will...God/Jesus loves us as long as we don't (you fill in the blank). Is this not all judging...is it not judging to tell or even just think that someone is wicked and will burn in hell because they are different? Just because someone doesn't think like you, act like you, dress like you, talk like you, love like you does not in anyway mean they are going to hell...whatever hell really is....(more on that later)

Ok, so heres the simple truth...Jesus was not a Christian, he was not a democrat nor republican, he loved the earth God gave us, while he doesn't like many of things mentioned above, he loves us in-spite of ourselves...he doesn't judge us like our fellow man.....Just like I loved my dad and put all judgment and malice aside...I loved him for him, not because of what he had done or had not done....Its humans that put all these stipulations on love...I did it/do it and so do you, we all do...we like to fool ourselves into believing we don't...We will be there for someone until they no longer suit our needs, or believe something we don't or they find their self in a deep depression and we feel they just need to get over it...We are ill equipped to deal with people outside our box...outside our way of thinking...outside of how we were taught or led to believe is right or wrong...We are ill equipped to think for ourselves. Yes, I myself am included in that last statement....I was part of the organized church for most of my life and I thought like they did, because it was what I was taught to do and told was right and that Jesus loved me as long as I did not sin and if I sinned and did not repent I would burn for eternity in hell...So I had to ask myself...did I do things out of love for Jesus and all he done for me(dying on a cross a horrible, violent death) or did I do what I did for fear of going to an unimaginable place of burning and damnation...I'm still working in this one...more on this at a later date :)

This is not unconditional love....Unconditional love does not say....I will love you unless....I will love you if...I will love you when....No! it says I will love you in spite of...I was able to put 'me' aside and love my daddy in spite of himself and all of his shortcomings...I just couldn't hate the man laying in that bed reduced to only a shell of the man I had known all my life...

Because of all I have learned and am learning about myself through all the pain with my dad....I have become a better person in many ways...I am learning to embrace who I am, who I want to be and who I am becoming...others in my life aren't so happy with me...again...its about unconditional love.....really it is....

Until Next time...


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

No Regrets?

My dad died at home, which was what he wanted...he had not been in the hospital for a couple of months before his passing, so visits were always much more comfortable as far the setting was concerned. He had been pretty much bed ridden the last couple of months only getting up to shower(with assistance) or sit on the bed side potty. Certainly not the way my dad wanted to live, nor the way I wanted to see him.

On one particular visit on Christmas day 2015 he seemed 'reflective'...he would mention things from his past, things from when he was married to my mom some 33 years earlier....they divorced when he finally found another woman...on this particular day he brought up dying and how he thought he was a good dad...he thought being a good dad was providing a nice home, good food and nice clothes, but most didn't think that was adequate because everyone wanted the emotional bulls#&%...What do I say to this was the thought that instantly popped into head?....I calmly looked at him and said "Well, daddy I think at the end of all our lives we need peace with who we are and what we've accomplished, we want no regrets." He sternly looked at me and said "I have no regrets! I have a had a good life." Tears were stinging my eyes, but I was not about to cry and allow him to see that one more time he emotionally just beat me me..our visist was only around 20 minutes that day and we left...I just couldnt do it...I could not sit there and listen to such nonsense.....I thought about what he said when we left that day and it crushed me...how could he have no regrets? Does he not regret beating our mom to a pulp monthly for 17 years? Does he not regret beating his children and telling us we were worthless and would never amount to anything? Does he not regret not really knowing who the 3 of us are? Does he not regret cheating on my mom for their entire married life? Does he not regret how he screwed up us kids by putting us through all of that and causing us to suffer from PTSD? No regrets, NO REGRETS! Damn him, how does he have no regrets!?

I left that day with many questions in my mind, a heart full of saddnes and questions that could not be answered..I had given up most of my Christmas day to drive 1.5 hours one way to spend with him only for him to pierce my heart with his hatefullness......I pondered a lot from this point on about regrets. I certainly have/had a few. Don't we all? Well, at least if were honest...I'm not talking about the small regrets like I should've bought the blue dress instead of the red one...I'm talking the big stuff....you know, the relationship that ended and you never got over, the job not taken, the journey not started, not saying what you wanted to say, or wishing you hadn't have said what you said, all the misunderstandings that were never corrected...the really big stuff...the stuff that defines our life for many years...

I become very reflective over the next weeks...wondering who I was, what I wanted for the rest of my life, how to right the wrongs, what did I believe about life, God..... myself...I thought I knew and now, suddenly I am finding I don't know any of these things...my life had always been defined by others and their action or reactions....Here I am almost 50 years old and pondering what I even believe about life in general...I think this was a turning point for me on a personal level...I had vowed to not go back and see my dad the day he told me he had no regrets...I just couldnt deal with it....with him...but in the wee hours of the morning.... one morning in Mid January I began to realize he did have regrets or he would not have brought it up...but my dad, being the strong, stubborn, always right everyone else wrong kinda man was not about to humble himself and admit he had nearly destroyed 4 lives, he was not going to take responsibilty nor was he going admit he was wrong...but he knew deep inside was wrong, and he was hurting...I think this is the point where I began to see things differently...I began to soften and look at things/him from a different vantage point....I think this where the journey of loving him uncondionally began...but it wasnt for him....no, it was for me....

I guess in early spring of this year 2016, I began to see my dad as a human being and not a monster...I began to see a softening in his eyes and in his demeanor and in his interactions with others...dont get me wrong he still had his moments of being a a$$hole but there were those moments of kindness and even some love...

To Be cont'd....

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dropping in and a New blog

Thought I would take some time and let you all know I am still alive and kicking...been a long time since I was here....I wanted to let you all know that this blog will not be active anymore, but I did begin a new blog just today at: A Mindful Journey

It is not a homestead blog but a blog of just life happenings...it will be a hodge podge of entries...my thoughts on any given subject....hopefully full of insight and wisdom on things I have learned in recent months to things I will learn in the future...I hope to see a few of you there, if you stop by let me know and post a comment...a simple hello will do...Would love to have your for a visit!

A Mindful Journey

Beginning a new journey

The past few years have been difficult to say the least. 3 years ago we left the church we had been part of for 13 years, however I had known the pastor and his family for 35 years and loved them dearly. They were an "adopted" part of my moms side of the family and spent the holidays with us many many times before my grandmother passed away in 2001. The parting from that church was not on the best of terms and my hurt was deeper than anything I can express in words. I think this was the life changing event that set into motion of a chain of events that have brought me and my husband to where we are today. The church was a fundamental church so "rules" were just part of life. Looking back sin was more focused on that grace, mercy and love. I will not get into all the issues but even before the parting my husband and I had began to see some serious problems within this particular church...many of the issues could be called cultish. So with a broken heart and spirit we left. 

Fast forward....with all the pain I was still carrying from our experience in church my dad became very, very sick in December of 2015. He had been diagnosed with COPD many years early but he had entered the end stages. For 9 long months he was in and out of the hospital with a collapsed lung, a blood clot and several times with pneumonia...my dad was not a believer and was not interested in things of that nature at all. He was also a very abusive man and I grew up in domestic violence. My dad and I had very little of a relationship but I was determined to put the past aside and spend time with him before he died...and I did just that! I spent as much time As possible with him...it wasn't easy as  he liked to view the past through his own lens and it was quite clouded at times with his memories being way different than any of us kids remembered it...that was hard for us...but at some point in this journey it just didn't matter anymore...none of it...my daddy, the man that used to seemingly stand 50 ft tall and bullet proof, the man that would beat us because he had a bad day, the man that called us is horrible things was reduced to a mere 94 lbs and bed ridden...his heart became softened and even now I often wonder why this change wasnt made so many years ago...but it wasnt and noting can change that...On September 21st, 2016 he decided being an atheist was not a good choice and requested to see my brother.... Let me backup for a moment if I may....during this period of time I knew I was on a mission so to speak...I needed to show my dad unconditional love...trust me when I say this was far beyond an easy task....Speaking of God or the bible or anything of that nature was not something my dad would hear from me...my brother on the hand, well, my dad had a respect for men he didn't have for women...So my "job" ,the path set before me was to just love him....many, many times I would leave his house in tears because of the mean things he would say to me...I would swear I was never going back, but there was a drving force in me that would not allow me to stay away....it was God...I didnt realize this till sometime later...so back to the 21st....it was a Wednesday and I had been there for several hours that day...Daddy was weak, but talking and even laughing and singing(so NOT my dad)...when it came time to leave I kissed his head and told him I loved him and said I'll see ya Sunday...I was choking back tears...He feebly raised his arm and said come here...he wanted a hug...as I bent down to hug him...I said "Daddy" I want you to go to heaven when you die"...he sobbed...again I said I love you and I walked out of that room...I cried for hours that afternoon...I think it was tears from all the years of my life....all the pain of growing up like we did, the pain from being hurt in church...the pain of knowing my dad was dying....years and years of pain....I sobbed uncontrollably that day....he requested my brother after I left and when my brother got word he dropped what he was doing and went to my dads bedside...it was that day my dad prayed for forgiveness....it was that day he finally found peace after years of living in a private hell all his own...he found peace from the torture that plagued him all his life...he found peace with God.....That was on Wednedsay evening...my daddy died at 3:45 a.m. the morning of September 23rd, 2016....It was a Friday...

When my brother and I talked and he told me of my dads praying I said "Mission accomplished"....it was then the gravity and seriousness of the situation hit me full force...God, had worked though us to save a man that we believed was unsavable...I collapsed in grief, relief and thankfullness that my daddy saw the light and I collapsed from sheer exhaustion and cried for days and days after this...again....tears from years of pent up pain...

During this time of illness with my dad, I also became sick...for those that have followed me at my old blog know that some time ago it was thought I had MS(multibple sclerosis)
it turned out, with no doubt I have Systemic Lupus...So here I lost my church, find out I have lupus and my dad dies....Its been a hard year....

With the diagnosis of lupus and because I am photosensitve, I can  no longer spend time in the sun...My most favorite thing to do....I love gardening and just sitting in the sun enjoying the outdoors...We have been "homesteaders" for 16 years....Depression hit me hard....life seemed pretty pointless at this time....

We made the decision to sell all the chickens and turkeys since I can longer spend time outdoors for very long and my husband cannot care for everything alone and work too....soooo...we no longer have chickens, still have 5 turkeys to sell....Hubby still has his pigs....for now...

In October I also reached a milestone in life....I turned 50....*Sigh*

Im going to end this entry here for now...but will contiune in a day or so...