As I sit here watching my two donkeys and a couple of cows graze right outside my window, there are several things that won’t escape my thoughts.
Life is so simple now. We have a tiny house that takes about an hour to clean from top to bottom. The very first house I owned was almost 1,000 square feet bigger than this one. To some people, I am going backwards according to today’s standards, yet I feel that I have made giant leaps forward in understanding the value of simplicity. There are only three closets in this house and they are tiny compared to what we just left behind, but I have realized that we don’t need all of that space and we especially don’t need all of that stuff. I know I mentioned it before, but when we moved to Green Acres, I was mortified at the number of items I had collected and horded over the years. We couldn’t even begin to fit it all into our old farmhouse.
I have also learned that animals do not need to have control of your life, schedule, or family. They are merely an addition to the family that should provide joy and entertainment. When joy and entertainment stop, you need to sell your animals. We have at least 60 animals on the farm, but at least 50 of them can actually survive on grass and bugs alone. We only feed them because we want to tame them. No other real reason. They are perfectly content, happy, and healthy munching on grass and bugs all day long. If they get processed feed or fresh hay, that is merely a bonus for them, but it is not necessary for their health as long as there are healthy pastures available. As far as the domesticated animals are concerned, we obviously watch and care for them more closely.
Fast food is not necessary. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence because I have always enjoyed eating fast food. We have one fast food restaurant in our little town so, if we have any cravings for something else, we have to drive at least twenty miles to get it. I have learned that I can live without it and save a ton of money in the process.
Beautiful scenery helps bring inner peace to my soul. On days when my junior high students challenged my patience, the thirty mile drive through winding country roads soothed my mind and heart by the time I arrived home. It was a wonderful way to relax each day. Anytime I am feeling anxious or tense at all, I take a walk around our property and immediately feel better. Having the space to do that is a blessing I do not take for granted.
Life in a small town is laid back and simple. Today, I had to do five different errands. I had to turn in my paperwork for my new school district, take my daughter to the bank to get some paperwork completed, go to the post office, go to the local store to buy staples, and drop our tractor tires off at the tire shop. When I was on the fourth errand, I looked at my clock and saw that it had been a total of 30 minutes since I left the ranch. We were literally the only people at the school district administration office when I arrived. I was able to meet several key individuals in the district, get my paperwork notarized on the spot, and turn it all in within a ten-minute window. I asked how many new teachers they will have in the district next year and they said 4 or 5. A far cry from the hundreds hired each year in my former school district outside of Houston. No wonder things are simple. I asked where to register for the summer workshops and the curriculum director told me that she had already written my name down on the list. Anyone who knows me knows that this is my kind of place. Then, we drove to the post office where we were the only people there. I have been there about six times and have always been the only one there and have had to ring a bell to call the Postmaster almost every time. It’s truly a different world, Folks. I feel like I have been dropped off in Mayberry. After I went to the post office, I took the tires to the tire shop about two doors down. The owner has run the tire shop on that corner on Main Street for 42 years. He is the nicest man. He got the tractor tires fixed for me in no time, but we also had a conversation about our children and how technology is such a distraction for today’s youth. I got to know the owner pretty well in our short visit and feel confident that I will see him again in our tiny town. Then we headed to the local store. I noticed that the two regular employees who are always so helpful and friendly were not there. I was concerned about their whereabouts so I will ask the next time I am in there. When there are barely over a thousand residents of your entire town, you get to know people pretty quickly. You see them at church, the auction, the store, the school, and other places around town. There are fewer people in my town than there were at the school where I taught in League City. That provides a real opportunity for developing relationships with the other people in the town.
Up until now, my entire fifty years was spent in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. I will always view Houston as my hometown, but I am so thankful that God allowed me to spend the first part of my life in the big city and the second part in the country. For me, the difference is spectacular and exhilarating. I honestly do not know how my two precious parents did it the opposite way. They both moved from tiny, country towns to the big city. I am so thankful that I get to experience the feeling of finally being able to breathe freely, relax deeply, and enjoy nature’s beauty daily.
Do not be afraid to make take a chance with your life in order to live a dream that you have always had in your heart. I know that not everyone has a job that is as flexible as teaching or safety management, but there are many jobs that are similar to yours that are out there ready for the taking. The Outdoorsman and I literally searched online for our jobs and our ranch and watched God work out details in an amazingly short amount of time. He can and will do that for you, too, if that is a part of His plan for your life. At this time last year, I had no earthly idea that I would be living on a thirty-acre ranch, raising cattle, and working in a tiny, central Texas town. Who knows. You may be living in Mayberry, too, this time next year.