One Wild and Precious Life

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I didn’t realize how much I was losing a bit of my soul these past few months. But I was.

Looking back, I should have paid attention to that brief moment in October when, after taking a few vacation days from my former magazine job, I felt a strange sensation that I didn’t know I had grown numb to. I felt true joy.

I wasn’t doing anything special to conjure joy. If anything, the moment was quite mundane. I was crunching through the autumn leaves when suddenly I stopped to drink in the earthy perfume Mother Nature was spritzing me with.

As I stood there silently, inhaling deeply, I heard a still small voice whisper: Go deeper into the woods. This is where you will find life.

When I shared this with close friends and family, a question of concern was always asked. “That’s great, Donna, but how will you make a living?”

And so, that powerful and profound moment in the woods passed all too quickly. I was soon back to an existence that looked good on paper and that the world stamped with its approval. But if I dared to listen, and listen carefully, I could hear the disturbing sounds of a soul being sucked. It is not pretty. Maybe that’s why we often try to ignore it filling our every second with shallow affirmations.

As many of you know, I am now free from that existence. And while the question of how will I make a living hovers over me like a storm cloud, I know that beyond that cloud is a rainbow waiting to appear. (Just maybe, too, that proverbial pot of gold!)

My days are now filled with wrangling in a rambunctious puppy and feeding the remaining four chickens (yes, I lost little Nugget the other day to what I believe was a hawk).

I am loving the mundane and no longer see it as failure to produce, achieve or earn. I still do fight the urge to “do” — to send out resumes, follow up on job leads, to search for opportunities. While I know I need to do that, I also know that the most important task right now is to “patiently wait for the Lord, who will put a new song of praise in my mouth,” as I paraphrase my favorite piece of scripture, Psalm 40.

Michelangelo once said that “genius is eternal patience.” As someone whose creative spirit has garnered a paycheck all her life, I take comfort in his words. Everything takes time — and trust — trust in the God who made us each unique and blessed us with gifts to bless the world. So we can’t rush genius nor all those beautiful God plans. Don’t fret. Something will take shape — in God’s time.

So I wait. And as I do, the realization that the only way to live is being true to yourself grows stronger each day. I have ideas. I have dreams. Many of them seem far fetched. But when you send the far fetched off to God, they no longer seem silly — or impossible. They suddenly start becoming doable divine opportunities that not only bring joy to your soul, but joy to others in this world so desperate to smile and laugh again.

Pulitzer prize poet Mary Oliver once asked a very important question in her poem, “The Summer Day.” It’s a question I believe we all need to ask ourselves not only in soul-sucking seasons of life, but each and every day. That is, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

For those struggling this day, wondering why you are not feeling “right” or feeling a heaviness in your heart, step back, breathe, pray…and take a hard look at what might be causing it. And then dare to make a change. Dare to start living your one wild and precious life.

For me, that life is shaping up to be turning my back more on modern society and all of its power plays and drama. Life is too short, my friends.

I am inviting that still small voice beckoning me deeper into those real and metaphorical woods to tell me more, for I am listening. I am listening to what makes my heart sing and my soul dance. My life is dancing again as I master churning butter, stenciling walls with 18th-century correct designs, hand sewing an 18th-century round gown, making candles and baking bread over a fire. But I am not done.

Just recently, I have added to my Colonial life skill dreams and goals — or what I am now seeing as the “real Donna” beginning to emerge — to include beekeeping, weaving, spinning and making cheese.

If all goes well, by the end of this year, I will be making bread in my outdoor bake oven, churning butter, aging cheese, collecting honey and eggs and perhaps even weaving a blanket for warmth on those bitter cold Vermont nights. (Stay tuned for my adventures in accomplishing these things, as they will be featured in our time together at Old Stone Well Farm. Videos will resume shortly!)

This is how I want to live my one wild and precious life. How these pieces of my soul that bring me joy will turn into a paycheck is in the hands of a greater power who has never let me fall. For now, I trust and relish the soft sighs of a contented soul.

What about you?

What will you do with the one wild and precious life God has given you?

Take a moment to just “be.” Pray. Ponder. And click the video below to perhaps guide you in a meditation moment…or as I like to say, to give you a “monk moment.”

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Banishing Our Sea Monsters

Are sea monsters troubling you? Keeping you from venturing out into unknown waters where are deepest dreams are yearning to come alive?

I invite you to pull up a chair and join me here in Vermont as I find inspiration from Celtic saints who modeled for great faith and how we can trust an unknown future to a known God. (I also find some wonderful greenery along Lake Champlain in which to deck this old 18th-century home for Celtic Advent, which began Nov. 15!)

Click on the video below, and then share with me how you banish your “sea monsters.” And blessings to you as the Thanksgiving preparations begin!

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The Remedy for Election Fatigue (hint: it’s furry!)

I’m so tired of the political rhetoric, and I know I am not alone. And so, I invite you to step away from craziness of the world for some election fatigue relief as well as to hear the announcement I promised I would share with you. As always, thank you for coming to Old Stone Well Farm. Your support means a lot to me — and the chickens. Click on the video below. Share. Subscribe. Like. And drop me a note. I love to hear from you.

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Look All Around, Grace Abounds

The wind has been blowing the leaves all around, but I discovered something startling about myself the other day as I watched some leaves trying desperately to hold on to the safety of the tree limb: I am also holding on tightly to what I know and what seems secure.

I realize when I look up and open my eyes, there’s nothing to fear. God’s grace is all around.

Have you been holding on to what you know lately — what is comfortable and seemingly secure? Are you ready to let go and enter a new season? What do you do when you need a bit more faith on the journey?

Come, join me here at Old Stone Well Farm. (And if you haven’t already, subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you never miss a visit.)

Click on the image below to start watching:

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Frights and Fears Be Gone

Welcome to a special midweek gathering at Old Stone Well Farm, where I have finally caught up with all my chores and rested from leading a women’s retreat followed by a Sunday in the pulpit.

Now it’s time to once again breathe in all the God moments, and today I share with you how I am observing Michaelmas this October.

Yes, the feast day of St. Michael is Sept. 29, but I like the idea of being mindful all throughout this month of how God’s angels are there for us. Frights and fears might abound, but God’s goodness shines.

Come! Join me. Click on the video below. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to this growing channel — and share with others. And let me know how you might weave in some Michaelmas celebrations this month! And who perhaps have been the angels in your life who have walked alongside you in trying times?

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Keep Climbing

I just came back from an opportunity to realize a dream.

I was in Florida speaking about and sharing with others Old Stone Well Farm Media & Ministry.

And so, this time together will be a short one as I need a day to hug my chickens, mow the lawn … and find time to be still with God and ponder what this recent trip means.

But during my travels I thought about what it means to “keep climbing.” (That was the tagline of the airline I flew…talk about a God moment!)

What does it mean to soar high? Am I really ready to realize a dream? Are you?

Come and join me today in seeking to climb and dream. Click the video below…and take time to comment. I love hearing from you. And share with others who might need to be inspired to realize a dream this day.

Are you ready to begin living…really living? I hope so, because I don’t want to do this alone. Join me in believing with God that all things are possible!

Blessings,

Donna

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Thank You, Mr. Buechner

Pastor, theologian and author, Frederick Buechner died on August 15, 2022. He was 96 years old. An ordained Presbyterian minister who never served a congregation has always been an inspiration to me. Rather, Buechner saw his writing as ministry.

Whether you are familiar with his writings or not, I invite you to visit with me at my 18th-century home here in Vermont as I share with you not only the words that have inspired my life — Buechner gave me the courage to say “yes” to serving a rural church. He also gave me the courage I needed to leave the church life to regain my identity as a writer! — but to take in all the beauty that inspired him.

And one of the God moments I share, is that I live, work, write, dream, right down the mountain road from this literary great. So, come and hear some of the nuggets of wisdom. Click the video below and ponder, pray, dream — and as Frederick Buechner once said, “Listen to your life.”

Blessings,

Donna

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Dreaming of a Little Log Chapel

Lately, I am right in line with the psalmist, who once asked why, o, soul, are you downcast? I thought a week away from Old Stone Well Farm would improve my spirit.

So, I went into the wooded area on the farm, up the hill named after a beloved Bernese Mountain dog who used to greet my day. I went to Sofie’s Hill to revisit a long-desired dream of creating a prayer area…perhaps, even a mountaintop chapel.

As I explored, I came to realize the reason for my heavy heart. So if you are feeling out of sorts today, or even if you aren’t, come and join me as I find healing in dreaming, pondering, praying and spending time amid the trees. Click on the video below. And know, that where ever your heart might be this day, you have an accidental country pastor, praying for and with you.

Blessings!

Donna

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Are You Making Life Harder?

This Accidental Country Pastor is getting ready to preach in Ballston Spa, New York, but before I go, I share with you how I have recently realized that I often make life harder than it has to be. Why do I do that?

Some interesting insights I discovered when I decided to explore this. We have to stop making things harder than they are. And we have to take comfort and courage and embrace the great hope we have knowing the God is near. God’s word is near — always speaking to us in so many ways.

I share these ways with you today here at Old Stone Well Farm! Just click the video below and enjoy your time in Vermont with me!

Blessings to you!!!

Donna

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Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The wild roses all around Old Stone Well Farm are beautiful, reminding me of bridal bouquets. Yes, June is a month of weddings — and anniversaries — and I can’t help but to remember how God answered my prayer for love in my life. But beyond that, I can’t help but to be awed as to how great God’s love toward us is. I invite you to take time, pull up a chair, sit back, have some sweet tea, lemonade or an iced coffee, and spend some time with me here in Vermont. And please take some time to like, comment — even subscribe to Old Stone Well Farm’s YouTube channel (that is, if you feel so moved.) 😉

Old Stone Well Farm is a fledgling ministry, one in which I do not know where God is taking, but this I know: I love sharing this life of faith with you, I am comforted to know I do not journey alone, and I look forward to sharing with you my little piece of God’s beautiful creation.