A Slowed Down Life:

Preparing the Heart:

Recently I’ve returned to my Orlando home. What we thought was a few days for spring break morphed into a two-month quarantine at our farmhouse. On the drive back to civilization and restaurant row, I realized I’d not driven anything but an ATV since March. I felt like a giddy sixteen-year old behind the wheel of my SUV. Furthermore, I’d not left the farm property in almost two months. I wanted to get home and bury myself in my office and studio. I also felt the overwhelming desire to grocery shop—but hey, I’d take any retail therapy I could get at this point. 

            But I’m a wishy-washy sort of girl and I know that after a month in Orlando, I’ll want to return to the farm.

            We’ve never stayed longer than a week or two since building the farmhouse. I’d decided while there I wasn’t going to waste my quarantine time.

 I homeschooled Bella every day. My family and I planted a vegetable garden and a flower bed. I created a sour dough starter and learned how to make homemade bread that would make you smack your sista it was that good! We created homeschool videos about farm animals for the kids at the girl’s schools to watch. We held Sunday worship with our farm families on a porch. I led a women’s Bible study on Wednesday nights via Zoom. I painted furniture and re-organized closets. We discovered wild blueberries in the woods and harvested them. We collected fresh eggs from the chickens and fed the horses overripe apples. I snuck away and spent time with the Father, reading and journaling. 

            I taught the girls how to see pictures in the clouds, and there were nights I’d sit on the front porch steps and gaze at the stars suspended over the pastures in awestruck wonder.

 There, 

The stars are more visible… 

The bugs sing louder… 

There owls whoed at night. 

 It’s funny how life can be so simple on a farm, but never dull.

            Before I left, my daughter Bella and I set out to collect different soil samples. My daughter loves any excuse to put her hands in dirt. Throughout the acres there are many colors of soil from white to reddish clay. Today, I began making pigment from them. I also collected ash and burned wood from our fireplace. I ground charred wood in a pistol and mortar and poured it through a fine mesh strainer. It created a rich, black, soft powder almost like talc. Making paint this way is a longer process…just as baking bread or planting a garden instead of running to your grocery store, but there’s something about doing it the harder way I find intriguing. Besides, I believe a painting made from earth tells its own story.

            Throughout it all I couldn’t help but think could this pandemic be a call to return to a simpler slower way of life? Why does life have to be so rushed and everything done quickly? Our culture has an addiction to immediate gratification. Instead of picking weeds, we spray our garden with poison, and where has it gotten us? 

            Sick.

            Instead of heating things up on the stove, we shove them in a microwave. It’s much faster that way, but a microwave depletes our food’s nutritional value by 70 percent. Did you know that?

            Instead of having to look up Bible verses in the Bible. We click them on our phones yet struggle to find the book of Proverbs if we ever had to use a Bible.

            We want to order things on the internet and get them tomorrow and if they’re not here we’re pacing by the front door. We no longer savor the wait, like waiting to open gifts at Christmas.

            We want to slap on the quick-fix while killing the possibility of finding joy in the process.

If anything we get out of Covid-19, it’s this should be a wake-up call and a time to reevaluate our priorities. There may be a day when we will need to know how to grow our own food and prepare our own bread. It might be sooner than later. Would we be ready? Or will we become dependent on those that are? 

            Something to think about…

            If I’ve learned anything from this pandemic it’s to savor the time of the process. Take time to plant the seeds and pick the weeds, stir the flour into a starter and watch it bubble, grind the earth into a soft powder before pouring it into jars. These are the days to gain wisdom, knowledge, and know-how. You never know when you’ll need it.

            I suppose once I complete my first earth painting I’ll have to share it. Well, if it’s any good that is. Stayed tuned to find out…

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” Proverbs 5: 6-8,10 English Standard Version.