Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!


Have a safe and happy new year my friends!!

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for visiting this space and making it so special. 
Let's make 2014 even better!

Much love, Miriam
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Goals for 2014

It's the last day of the year!! Which means: time for new year's resolutions.
They have been floating around everywhere in the last few days, and I gotta say: I love it.  
For years I only had vague plans for the new year: the old "get fit/skinny/a workout-machine"-resolution of course; and then, in the last couple of years, I wanted to experience new adventures. Which is something I still try to remember whenever the call of the couch gets too strong - that couch is damn persuasive you guys!

But a lot of people are way more creative and ambitious then I am. I've read some amazing goals from fellow bloggers: try something new every week; cook every recipe in a cook book (so Julie and Julia!); focus on home decor; learn a new instrument; get better at what you do.
All these really resonated with me.

For years I didn't really have a hobby, apart from reading (half-heartedly) and being a crazy dog lover (is that a hobby?). 
But 2013 has presented me with a precious gift: a passion for photography and writing = blogging. 

Which leads me to my goals for 2014:

1. Become a decent photographer.
In 2013, I found out that I love photography. In 2014, I want to learn how to get better at it. 
To help with that I bought my first big-girl camera yesterday: My first DSLR camera! It's the cute little Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with a 18-55mm lens. It was important to me that the camera is lightweight and small - I know myself enough to acknowledge that I wouldn't bring a big heavy one along very often. 

So far I have just taken a few random shots inside the house of puppy and some furniture - and I'm taken aback at how huge the difference is to my old camera. The images are sharp! Not grainy at all! Vivid colours, very high quality - omg, I cannot wait to figure out how to work that baby properly. I'm frickin excited!

Also, in the next few days I will order a new cellphone (had my trusty Samsung Nexus for over 3 years), and I have decided to get the HTC One. It is supposedly one of the best camera phones out there, and I have a soft spot for cellphone photography. After all, without my phone I would have never developed a passion for photography!

2. Become a better writer. 
Writing has been such an unexpected joy and blessing in 2013. And with writing I mean blogging. It is therapy, hobby, relaxation, and bravery all rolled into one. Yes, bravery: some posts are scary. 
It is not easy to admit to one's faults: insecurity, petty thoughts, weaknesses. 
But you know what? It is so absolutely thrilling to do it! You feel liberated, free, and so much stronger! What a precious gift.
I want to continue doing it, hopefully branching out, evolving, and to keep getting better at it. 

3. Become a confident rider. 
Oh yes, me and my old companion fear. Fear is always around as soon as I climb on a horse. 
But my boy Nick is my buddy: I love him. I trust him. He would never run away on me (my biggest fear), he's way too lazy! For the new year I hope I can ignore that insistent devil on my shoulder, whispering into my ear all the terrible things that could happen. Instead, I will try to nurture the little angel that knows how much I enjoy spending time with Rich and our horses. And how exhilarating it can be to throw caution to the wind and just let go. 

2014, let's do this! This year will be about becoming. 

What is your new year's resolution?

Stay safe and happy celebrating, 

Miriam

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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Simplifying.

It's Sunday morning. I woke up early to let Lily outside, who turns out to be a wonderful puppy. I feel much like a new mom: consumed with my baby's bowel movements, constantly keeping an eye on her (re. potty training, and to make sure she doesn't hurt herself), and unable to go to the bathroom alone. She follows me everywhere and I love it! 
Currently she's chewing on my blanket, and rather than getting her to stop I decided to sacrifice the blanket as a trade for some quiet time. 

The days between Christmas and New Year's have always felt strange to me. After the crazy lead-up to Christmas, those days feel deflated. This year is better than most - I'm reflective, but not down. Probably due to Lily, who is so funny and entertaining that you can't help but be in a good mood!

I love all the round-ups that everybody is posting now. Taking stock of one's life, evaluating and making plans is so important. We need to stop once in a while, take a look at our life and see where we are at. 
If we don't, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and then wake up one morning 20 years from now and realize we didn't live life to the fullest. 
source
Looking at the past year, I feel very grateful and content. For the most part, I want to continue on this path I am on: Live close to nature, with our animals; work to live, not live to work; nurture my creative side even more. 

What I definitely don't want are these things: drama, gossip, negativity. 
One of the most surprising and dismaying truths I have learnt is that high school drama is never really over. You think once you are done with school, everybody is grown up and done with it. Because none of us really enjoyed it, right? 
But it continues in dorms, in the workplace, even in senior's homes I'm told. What a bummer. 
The good news is, we can choose if we want to participate or not. We are not insecure teenagers any more, unsure of who we are, desperate to fit in. 

I have participated in gossip. Been part of cliques where we talked badly about others. I'm ashamed of it. 
It seems to be alright when everybody else does it, and strangely thrilling. You feel part of a group, an insider. But a bond formed over badmouthing other people is not a good one. And it is fragile. Because you never know for sure: What are they saying about you when you are not there?

That's what I love about animals: they are honest. And trusting. If an animal is mean, someone has made it that way. 

So here are my goals for the new year: be a better person. Focus on the good in others, not the bad. 
Live a simple life. Do I really need a lot of stuff? 
Here in North America we tend to accumulate so much stuff. Buy, buy, then buy some more. It's crazy, really. I'm convinced that the more you have, the more it weighs you down. You worry about it: If you have an expensive car, you worry it may get stolen or damaged. If you own two or more houses you will always worry about the one you are away from. What if something happens to it?
If we buy too many things we lose track of what we have. A cluttered life leads to a cluttered mind. 

I always feel amazing after de-cluttering. Lighter somehow. 
source
Lesson learned? 
Less is more. Less stuff, less drama. 
I have some vague plans for next year, but they need a bit more time to gain shape. Right now they are still foggy, but I hope they will crystallize into something more substantial. 

What are your plans for next year? 

Love, Miriam

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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Dear 2013

Here I am again, at the end of another year, sitting by the rapidly d(r)ying Christmas tree, contemplating the past 12 months.
Dear 2013, we had a good run, you and I, didn't we? Outwardly there were no huge changes or challenges, but inwardly a big internal shift happened for me. If I could use only one word to describe this year it would be this: peace.

I feel like I have found myself. Know who I am and what is important to me in life.
A year ago, we seriously contemplated moving away. We wanted to go into the wilderness, live a cowboy life somewhere in a cabin in the woods, fending off the wolves from our back door. Gradually though, over the last year, we have fallen back in love with our farm. We did some minor upgrades, discovered a new favourite spot on the farm, and simply enjoy living here.
2013 was a good one, and here are my personal top 10:

My 10 best moments of 2013:

10. My knowledge of computers and technology increased ever so slightly. I know what an URL is. How to do a screenshot on the computer (and the phone, come to think of it. I just learned that last year as well). 
HTML still baffles me, but with copying+pasting, trial and error, and much cursing I can sometimes figure it out.
Due to my new laptop and joining Google+, I also get pictures auto-awesomed, and they (=Google-gods) made a short video compiled of photos from last year (see below). How did they choose them? I will never know. But I'm in awe of the technology and love these little sparkly gifts they leave on my desktop. 

9. 2013 was the year of the hair-growing-out project. After being a pixie-girl for basically all of my adulthood, I now want to give long hair a go. And I am proud to say, despite being severely tempted at least 10 times to chop it all off, I stuck it out! Braved the never-ending awkward stage to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Top knots are in my future!

8. One year free of depression. I have talked about it here and here. Not having this burden any more is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I know it's not gone; but it is being successfully treated, and I don't suffer from it any more. Even the fact that I can openly talk about it now without feeling ashamed is amazing - nobody should feel ashamed, it's a disease, not a choice. If you have depression or another mental illness, go and seek help! Please!! It will change your life. 

7. We had four glorious seasons this year. For a nature lover, that's simply grand. Can you do a repeat, 2014?

6. Farm life is where it's at. And I finally, finally get it. The relaxation Rich gets from it? I get it too! That he doesn't mind the work? I'm starting to be like that as well! (By telling myself it's a workout, taking pictures of everything, and singing to the dogs - but the end result is the same.)
To be completely honest, for a long time I sometimes resented it just a tiny bit. Especially when it was raining. Or I felt lazy. Or thought I need the mental freedom to be able to get away at a moment's notice. (We still do get away, but it involves a bit of planning and preparation.)
But somehow, in 2013, that has changed. And now I enjoy it nearly as much as my darling husband does. Would I ever have so many chickens if it was up to me? Hell no! But I enjoy having them around just the same.
Turkey-tude

5. Cellphone photography has become a passion of mine. It makes me very excited to do simple things such as going for walks or hanging about on the farm, because there are so many photo opportunities! In a moment of insanity I entered the mobile photography awards, which is a contest where one can only enter photos taken with a phone or tablet. How cool is that? They will announce the winner in two weeks. Eeks!
Here are my 8 entries:

4. I witnessed the miracle of birth. And trust me, as overused as the expression may seem, there simply is no other word for it. It is a miracle! Movies, youtube videos, eyewitness reports - none of them come even close in describing properly what it's like. Being in the same room, seeing a new human life enter this world, is absolutely indescribable. 
I was on a high for days, and simply happy. It makes you believe in miracles and fairy tales and everything that's good and magical.
I will forever be grateful to my darling friend who made it possible. I love you and your beautiful daughter!
This isn't them, obviously. Hen and chick symbolize the mother-daughter bond. (source)

3. That being said - it's not for me. The big decision has been made. Over the last few months I have found the answer to that nagging question that was in the back of my mind for about 4 years: "Do I want kids of my own or not?" Believe me, it's been a long road. Subconsciously, I knew for a long time that having a baby is not the right choice for me. I don't have the yearning. Don't feel incomplete. Need lots of alone time to function properly. Already have stepkids whom I love dearly and consider to be part of me. 

But still. There were the questions, friends getting pregnant, me getting older, Facebook, the comparison. The big huge fuss that's being made over pregnant women and newborn babies. The showers. The "Oh that's so exciting!"s. The repeated question: "Are you sure? What if you regret it one day?"
I felt guilty. Guilty for heaven's sake! For disappointing society. Not fulfilling my role as a woman. What a waste of a pair of ovaries, right?

But slowly, over the course of many months, I let go of that guilt. Stopped feeling defensive. Looked into my soul, into my heart, and found peace. 
I love kids. There are some cool little people around, and I enjoy them tremendously. 
For me? I am happy and complete with my amazing stepdaughters and all my furry little babies. 

2. I started this blog. How much more it is than I ever thought it would be! It's my hobby, my passion, a place I love to come to every day. It inspires me, challenges me, feeds a creativity that I didn't know I have. Through my blog I have gained more confidence, more perspective, and a whole new appreciation for all the good things in life. It makes me feel so grateful, and humble, and grounded. I love it. 

1. There is now a dog living in the house, on the couch. I never thought it possible. 

How was 2013 for you?

If you have gotten through this humongous post, congratulations! Boy it was long, I'm sorry. 
Do you feel crazy like us now?

The Lady Okie Blog

The Nectar Collective
Love, Miriam

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!


Very Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it! Thank you all so much for coming along with me on this journey over the last 9 months. It means the world to me! 
Santa came one day early to our house: Meet Lily, the latest addition to our family!
We love her already.

Much love, peace and turkey,

Miriam

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Monday, 23 December 2013

Weekly Wishes


You guys may not know her, and if you don't that has to change!
I'm talking about Melyssa from The Nectar Collective. She is an incredibly positive and uplifting person who focuses on the good in life and teaches other people how to be happy. Right up my alley!
She also runs a weekly link-up called Weekly Wishes, whose purpose it is to create manageable goals for oneself, encourage each other and create a community of women and friends. 
I usually pop over to read them, but only link up once in a while. 

Today's theme I couldn't pass up: It's nature! If you know me at all you know that nature plays an extremely important role in my life. I love being outdoors, with our animals, and I also enjoy taking photos of it. The above is from the fall, from one of my walks with Snowy. 

Since I didn't link up last week I didn't write down weekly goals, but I had a few and am pleased to let you know that I achieved them!
We had our family Christmas last Saturday, and it was a smashing success. No melt-downs on my part, only minor anxiety about the turkey (our oven is acting up lately, it gets super-hot, so it is a guessing game how long it takes to cook something - our 17 lb. turkey was done in under 3 hours!), it was full of harmony, and all the gifts were well received (at least I think so). 
It was a lovely, relaxing evening, one of the best Christmasses in a long time!

I also got my own domain! Did you notice? http://mivasophia.blogspot.ca became www.farmgirlmiriam.ca!
I've been wanting to do that for some time, but hesitated because I find stuff like that quite intimidating. But it worked (halleluja!), and now my blog name is in the URL which makes way more sense.

This week's wishes:
1. Reflect on 2013 and write it a letter for this link-up.
2. Eat something green every day. (Green icing on cookies does not count.)
3. Go snowboarding with Lea!
It's our thing, going nightboarding, and we have the best conversations when we do. If it doesn't work out for this week, then hopefully in the new year.

What are your goals for the week? Any new year's resolutions yet?

The Nectar Collective

xoxo Miriam
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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Social media, you fickle beast

Social media, I have to say
you have the power to make or break my day.
Mostly I love you, you entertain me so much
but sometimes you make me despair just a touch.

How do you work? What is your deal?
I find you slippery like an eel.
Is there a secret to be a success?
To get more followers without too much stress?

I would be lying to say I don't care
"What, only 5 likes for my Bear?
He's so fluffy and gorgeous and big
Come on people, give him another click!"

They say: "Have a strategy to get more likes"
but I prefer to post whenever the mood strikes.
I tried having a schedule, it didn't work out
it made me so frustrated I wanted to shout.

Use hashtags, labels, and SEO's right
and it may just bring you to a new height.
Isn't the obsession way too much?
As we like to say in German: "Was'n Quatsch!"*

Social media, you fickle beast
Will I ever understand you in the least?
But even if I don't, it doesn't matter
I thoroughly enjoy your crazy chatter. 

* What nonsense.

Just a couple things:
1. Rhyming in another language is hard
2. PMS had a lot to do with the creation of this "poem"
3. Numbers are evil.

Happy Sunday!
Poet Girl

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Friday, 20 December 2013

Snow day

As you can see, it really did snow today! It's all lovely white and very winter wonderland-esque. 
The dogs love it, they were rolling around in it, eating it and acting like little fools. It's anyone's guess how long it will stick around - snow never lasts long in these parts. 
Tomorrow is our Christmas dinner, so today I was busy with cleaning the house, prepping some of the food and agonizing if the turkey will be thawed by tomorrow - it can't take longer than 48 hours in the fridge, can it? Let's hope for the best.

I wish you a weekend free of stress, stay clear of shopping malls!

Love, Miriam

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Coziness

Oh the coziness in here is delightful...♫ 
By golly, it really is. I finished my C-related shopping today, including the turkey and all the fixin's. Because in 2 days from now we will have our main Christmas dinner with the kids and son-in-laws. I'm trรจs excited!

It's supposed to snow 10 cm overnight, and for someone who doesn't have to leave the house tomorrow that's music to my ears. Bring it on!
In here it's so cozy I want so squeal in delight (and I have). We had homemade potato soup with sausages for dinner, went for a walk (Rich walked with me! That's an extremely rare occurrence), and now we are drinking eggnog (him) and wine (me). I could stay here forever.  

Did you notice? Google Auto Awesome sparklified a few pictures again. I seriously love that feature.
That birthday balloon is still going strong 2 weeks after the fact. How long do they last?
Rich gets these humongous poinsettias every year, for customers and for our home. They are very luscious.  
He put on the Santa hat without my prompting! Rich and hats understand each other. 

I hope you are having a relaxing evening!

Good night, Miriam

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