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Miss Lucy’s Thoughts on Mental Health Week

Hello from the Farm!

Wow!  As I have gone through Facebook this week, I have seen so many posts about this year’s Mental Health Week. 

I love how so many people are authentic and want to reach out and help others.  One of my Facebook friends wrote candidly about her unsuccessful attempt at suicide a few years ago.  It was heartbreaking, but at the same time I was overwhelmed by her bravery to share this story with others who may be experiencing similar thoughts.

Mental illness is real.  My brother and I grew up in a house with two parents who had mental illness, but no one acknowledged it.  No one talked about things like this in the seventies and eighties, and I think people just assumed their actions were part of their general make-up. 

My brother and I watched our dad act out his OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) behaviors, but we didn’t know this was odd.  We did know that his behavior made my mother angry and frustrated and there was a lot of arguing about his inability to leave the house without going back five, ten, or twenty times to see if the door was locked.

My mother, on the other hand, lived in a state of mild depression with dips into deep melancholy.

For my brother and me, this was our reality.  And, I don’t want to paint a picture of a horrible childhood.  It was quite the opposite.  We were educated; we took fun family vacations; we loved one another; and there was never a time when either of us suffered physically from their mental states.  Today, my dad, brother and I are good friends and we choose to spend a lot of time together.  Before my mother became ill, we had dinner together once a week at my parents’ home.

I often think about how different our lives would have been had the subject of mental illness not been taboo.  What if my mother had received treatment for her depression?  What if my father had heard of a mental illness called OCD, recognized it, and been treated as a person in his twenties rather than a grown man in his fifties? 

I began treatment for OCD when I was in my early thirties.  It was my dad who explained the disorder and his success with the medication.  Within weeks of taking medication, my life began to change.  No longer was I trapped in a loop of anxiety and worry over basic life decisions and actions.  Over twenty years later, I still take my medication daily and I am able to live a life without the distractions caused by this illness.

Last year, I was diagnosed with ADHD.    For some reason, I had always associated ADHD with boys and young people.  Yet, when I researched, I found that many adults (both, men and women), live with this condition – some manage with medication; some manage with cognitive therapy; and some don’t manage it at all.  I choose to manage mine with medication and therapy.

One doctor suggested that many entrepreneurs have ADHD, and many live with Ferrari brains and bicycle brakes!  Personally, I like having a Ferrari brain, and I am gradually learning how to use the brakes.

My friend, John Ring, is walking across America to raise awareness about veterans’ mental illness issues.  This is a big deal.  Our veterans are returning with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), depression, and suicidal thoughts.  Our veterans fought for us.  Now, it is our time to fight for them.  You can follow John’s walk on Facebook at Buddy Watch Walk — Pier to Pier.

Your mental health is important.  You are important.

And, like my mama always said, “In the South, we don’t hide our crazy.  We put it out on the front porch and give it a cocktail!”

Feel free to join me for a cocktail any time-

You are wonderful!

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

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Owning Your Own Worth

Greetings from the farm! 

(Actually, I am in downtown Savannah twenty feet from Bay Street at a Starbucks, in the courtyard, sitting by a fountain.  The traffic is noisy, brakes are squealing as large trucks come to a stop at the traffic light, a motorcycle revs up around the corner, and the fountain is flowing.  Someone is using a leaf blower right around the corner at a hotel, and if I listen carefully, I can hear the faintest notes of jazz music coming from the coffee shop.  Tourists are walking up and down the street, the restaurant employee is taking out the trash, and the elderly man next to me is sippiing an iced drink and people watching.)

I am less than thirty minutes from Lucy Belle Farm, but the two locations are far from alike.  The buzz of historic Savannah is exhilarating.  There is so much to see and so much to learn here.  People come from all over the world to visit my hometown.  My oldest three children left Savannah, and they have all decided to return.  My middle two are already here and loving it, and my oldest will return this summer to work for a local law firm.  My youngest will head off to college next fall, but, it is my hope that he, too, decides to one day return to this place.

Moving to the farm was an unexpected part of my life.  I had never lived in the country, and I certainly had no knowledge of what country living would be like. Yet, my parents, my grandparents, my children and I made the move almost twenty years ago.  Eventually, my grandparents passed away, but not before my granddaddy told everyone he was the luckiest man alive to finish out his life living next door to his grandchildren.  And, being with my grandparents during the last few years of their lives was one of the greatest experiences of my life.   A short while later, my mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers, and she died just two years ago – right here on the farm.  She is buried a couple of miles away in my husband’s family cemetery. 

If I told you moving to the country slowed me down, I would by lying.  Over the last twenty years, I have helped in the care of my grandparents and parents. I have raised my sons, and I have worked a full-time job.  But, it has only been in the last couple of years that I have begun to question why I am living on this farm, next door to my dad, just outside of Savannah.  And, the answer always comes back to:   I love having a place for people to come and relax, rejuvenate and reconnect.  I love when people say they feel something special the moment they step onto the property.  I love hosting parties, weddings, celebrations of life, and retreats.  I love being able to support others by offering jobs.  I love being a part of a community.

But, it’s only recently that I am beginning to see my worth.  How many of us go through life without seeing our true worth?  Many want to say our worth is determined by our wealth.  But, I don’t think that’s the case.  Of course, I think we all want to have enough money to live a comfortable life.  I have yet to meet someone who likes to struggle.  But, money brings its own set of issues.  So many people with fame and fortune don’t feel as though they deserve it.  They have tried to fill a hole in their heart and soul with money, yet, that hole still exists.

If no one else tells you, I will tell you today and every day, you are worthy!  YOU are worthy!  That’s right, you were given your own set of talents and gifts, and you were given your very own place in the world to make a difference.  And, you don’t have to be a big movie star or a millionaire to make a difference.  You make a difference right now, right where you are sitting. 

My mom always said, “God don’t make no junk!”  and she was right.  We may make mistakes, but we aren’t junk.

If you are under the age of forty, it may be difficult to grasp this concept . . . but, all the stuff you’ve been through, all that baggage – it may really help you out one day.  That baggage gives you character, wisdom and experience.  So accept the baggage, and if it’s ugly baggage, I’ll get you some sparkly stickers to help spruce it up a bit. (If you are over the age of forty, can I get an “Amen”?)

Finally, I am seeing my worth as a business owner and an employer.  I am passionate about what I do, and I think it shows.  When people come to the farm, I want to welcome them with open arms.  Ever since I was fourteen years old, when I got my very first job at Burger King (where I wore the brown and orange itchy polyester uniform), I have loved the hospitality industry.  As a business owner in the hospitality industry, it is often difficult for me to justify charging people for something I love to do.  However, in discovering my worth and the worth of those around me, I have also come to realize that what we do does have a monetary value.  In order to keep people employed and keep the farm running, we charge a fee.  But, with that fee, comes a promise to every guest that we will do our best to make sure you feel like it was money well spent.  And, so far, I think we have kept that promise. 

Remember, today, to tell and show people that they are worthy.  And, remember, to tell yourself and show yourself the same consideration.  You matter.  It’s like the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” where George is given the opportunity to see a life without himself present.  Everything changes.  If you weren’t here, the world would be a different place.  And, I think you will find a lot of people agree that the world is a lot better place because of your existence.

I love Savannah, but I also love the farm-life which exists only a few minutes away from downtown.  You are always welcome to visit us, kick back and relax, and have a cold drink (it may be fall, but in Southeast Georgia, it’s still as hot as the dickens!).  You are worthy.  Own it.  Accept it. 

And, if, by some chance you work at Burger King – be thankful that you can wear a polo shirt and khaki pants.  And, if you see me come in the door, know that a whopper junior is still my favorite hamburger of all time!

You are wonderful!

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

P.S. I have a feeling if I go to the attic and plunder through some boxes, I may be able to find photos of me in my Burger King uniform, but let’s not do that. Lol. But, just to give you an idea . . . the image, which I googled, is an accurate depiction of how I dressed to report for duty!

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Disciplining a Butterfly

Hello from the farm –

My focus this year is on becoming disciplined.  My mother used to say I was like a butterfly – I flit and flutter, land for a while, then flit and flutter again.  Being an accurate description, you can safely deduce that being disciplined is not easy for me. 

Devon, our amazing director at Lucy Belle Farm, has a six-year old daughter in the first grade. Each day, her behavior, discipline, and accomplishments are depicted by a colored face – a blue face means she was good, a yellow face means she was average, and a red face means she has had a rough day.  For me, yesterday was a yellow day.  I did lots of good and interesting things (I met with a dj, wrote a speech, attended a book signing at a really cool wine shop, and toured a gorgeous wedding rental warehouse), but I didn’t complete the one thing I am supposed to do every single Tuesday.  I didn’t write and publish a blog.

Whether people are reading my blog or not, it is my goal to post one every single Tuesday.  (Like everyone else who writes a blog, I do hope people are reading it, and I do hope it’s worthwhile.  Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome).  It takes a lot of discipline on my part for me to do this, but I have made it a priority.  (And, I know I am twenty-four hours past my self-imposed deadline, but . . . it’s okay.  I am not perfect.  I am a work in progress!)

That’s right – I am a work in progress.  The blog is a work in progress.  The website is a work in progress.  And, Lucy Belle Farm is a work in progress.  Being a work in progress takes a lot of patience and it takes time.   My goal is to accept that I am a work in progress and to be disciplined enough to put in the work to make myself a better person and to make the farm a better place for our guests.  The minute we stop trying to better ourselves and our surroundings is the minute we no longer have a purpose.  So, whether it’s an actual place, project, or relationship, I hope you will continue to always strive to be making it better.  

The youngest of my four sons is a high school senior.  Our relationship is a work in progress, and in order to improve it, we make it a priority to spend quality time together.  Whether we play cards, watch Youtube videos or go out to eat, I understand that I must be disciplined enough to make sure this happens.  Otherwise, time will fly by and we will have missed opportunities to connect.

As you go about your day today, do your best to pay attention to the “important stuff.”  Maybe call or text your mom, dad, partner, kids, grandparents and/or a friend – tell them why they are important to you.  If you are supposed to write a blog today, do it.  (But, if you don’t get it done today, there’s always tomorrow.)

Life can get so busy so fast.  But, when we stop and realize what’s important, things fall into place.  And, what’s most important?  Miss Lucy thinks love and acceptance are the two most important pieces of the puzzle.  So, today, love and accept those around you.  Be disciplined and make a list of priorities.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Give yourself a pat on the back for all that you do and for your willingness to be a work in progress.

And, feel free to come visit us at the farm.  We’ll show you the new renovations and tell you about our ideas for the future.  Then, we can take some time in the present for the “Important stuff” – a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or a mason jar full of our Lucy Belle sweet tea.  We’ll also make it a priority to throw in some good conversation, a lot of laughs, and a very comfortable rocking chair.

You are wonderful!

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

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Embracing the Moment

One of the best things about Lucy Belle Farm is that we really try to be a “no stress” zone for our guests.  We encourage people to come and relax and enjoy the country.  Now, that we have the enclosed barn and the covered pergola, we don’t even have to stress about the weather (well, maybe a little, but not as much as before we had the enclosed and covered space).  With that being said, I admit that we start watching the weather forecasts a few days out from an event.  In Coastal Georgia, weather can turn on a dime, but we can still get an idea about preparing for a weekend by listening to meteorologists.

I can’t begin to imagine the responsibility and the weight on the shoulders of the people who make the call to evacuate people due to potential weather disasters.  With Hurricane Dorian sitting in the ocean, taking her own sweet time, officials made the call to evacuate Coastal Georgia and South Carolina.  Of course, there are residents who won’t heed the warnings and will stay and there are those that left town yesterday.  If the hurricane stays off the coast, citizens will be angry that they were made to leave town.  If it’s detrimental, then the evacuation could end up saving lives. 

We have this crazy idea in our heads that we are in control.  But, like the weather, we have no control over what will happen in the next few minutes or days or years.   

I am learning to live within the moment.  When booking an event, a guest may begin to worry about the weather.  We encourage them to accept that the weather might be awful, but then again, it might be great.  And, there is no point in worrying about it.  We may be an hour out from an event and have no idea if it will rain or not.  I can’t tell you how many times the weather forecast will call for rain and it will rain everywhere but the farm.  (All that worry for nothing).  And, it’s not the weather that makes or breaks a party – it’s the people and the positive attitudes (and a great dj, good food and a couple of adult beverages go a long way in creating a successful party atmosphere, too!) 

On the flip side, we also have brides that could care less about whether or not it rains.  If necessary, they purchase rain boots – cute rain boots, of course!  One of my favorite pictures is of a couple at their engagement photo session.  Minutes before the session started, it began to pour.  The photographer began to snap photos.  Rather than becoming dismayed, the couple embraced the rain and circumstances and had fun.  (I have included one of the pictures for the blog – these are my sweet friends, Justin and Sheena Covington.  Wendy Wells, the photographer, kept her cool and managed to capture the real essence of this relationship).

I hope Dorian stays at sea, and I hope the emergency personnel will take any of the grumblings of our residents with a grain of salt (that means they won’t worry about what people say).  And, if Dorian makes landfall, I hope the citizens will make sure to thank the emergency personnel who made the calls to evacuate.  Either way, we owe these people our respect and gratitude. 

Some of our best memory making moments come when we least expect them.  Over twenty years ago, we evacuated for a hurricane and ended up having an incredible time in a small town in Georgia.  The first book in the Harry Potter series had just been released and I spent my evenings holed up in a hotel room reading.  During the day, my mom and I went shopping and I bought a pair of magic pants (think “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” kind of magic).  The looked good on anyone who tried them on, and twenty years later, we are still talking about those magic hurricane pants.  We never have found another pair like them, but we were blessed to have experienced at least one pair in our lifetime.    

Embrace the day.  Embrace your unique self.  Embrace those around you.  Don’t be so in control that you don’t experience life with family and friends.  Enjoy your coffee, your book, your crossword puzzle, your drive to work, your shower (especially if you are a new mom), your own sense of humor, your thoughts and ideas. 

Our prayers are going out to everyone in the Bahamas and those in the storm’s path.  We are hoping Dorian stays in the Atlantic.  If she does decide to make a visit, we will be ready (thanks to some pretty awesome people who make some pretty tough decisions).

You are wonderful!

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

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Miss Lucy – On Being Kind

Hello from the farm-

This week we have been discussing the importance of kindness.  In today’s world, with all the technology and communication via mobile devices, I think we sometimes forget the manners we were intended to use with one another.  According to my mother and grandmother, “Good manners will get you far.”  They believed this, and they lived it out while they were on this earth.  I think good manners are just as, if not more, important today.

Manners are used to show respect and common courtesy to others, letting them know we see their value, their worth, and their importance.  Words such as “please,” “thank you,” “pardon me,” are words that bring us together and initiate a feeling of acceptance and togetherness.  And, don’t we all really crave that?  And, don’t we crave it in human contact? 

How often has my husband scolded me for looking at my phone and not paying attention to him?  The answer is “A LOT.”  Even Miss Social Etiquette, here, has her moments.  We get so wrapped up in others that aren’t with us that we forget to look at the ones right in front of us. 

The practice of banning cell phones from a wedding ceremony is becoming more and more popular.  The couples want their guests to be engaged in what’s happening and share in the ceremony and the importance of the vows that are being recited.  When hundreds of people are up taking photos, it becomes distracting and takes away from the couple of honor – especially when it’s an older lady, like me or an older man, who has no clue what he/she is doing.  The guests would rather watch the comedy routine that’s taking place than the serious event taking place in front of the room.  Don’t be that person, and if you are over fifty – you know better!

Being kind also means that you often need to put others first.  Sometimes, being kind can be as easy as listening, smiling, or engaging in a quick conversation.  It doesn’t take much, and it could be the difference in someone’s day.  Take a minute to reflect on your family and friends.  Are they kind and uplifting?  We have a family group chat on our phones for my four sons, their significant others, my nephew and me.  We share accomplishments, encouraging words, well wishes, and funny stories.  Every time my phone lights up showing a message from this group, I know it will be something fun or funny.  Surround yourself with good people.  Let go of negativity. 

And, remember, being kind also helps your own well-being.  Doing for others can lift us out of our own sadness and fog and make us feel better.  Volunteering gives you an opportunity to meet others and be a part of something bigger than yourself.  And, you can start in your own home – be kind to your spouse, your siblings, your parents and your children.  One small act of kindness can change a life. 

If you need some time to reflect and think about kindness, come visit us at the farm.  Rock in a rocking chair, take a walk, or kick back in a hammock.  Let us get you a glass of lemonade, a cup of coffee, or a bottle of water.  We hope everyone who enters our front gate leaves feeling they were treated well.  Lucy Belle is just that “kind” of a place!

Until next week, remember . . .

You are wonderful!

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

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“Just Say No”

Good day from the Farm!

I hope this note finds each of you well. 

I also hope that today there is not one ounce of stress, despair, sadness, madness, anxiety, etc.  Don’t laugh — I can hope this for you!  I can also hope it for myself – however, I am the first to admit that I am not immune to the realities of this world.

As people living in 2019, we seem to have so much to do.  We have more technology to handle more things, but the more we advance, it seems like the busier we get. 

Has this ever happened to you? 

You have twenty emails, ten texts, five messages, four people waiting to see you, your child’s school calling, and your spouse blowing up your phone because he forgot to mention you were supposed to be going out to dinner with clients tonight.  Oh, and the dog is at the vet, you now need a babysitter, your car is almost out of gas (this drives my husband crazy), and your mom just texted wanting to know why you haven’t called this week.  So you grab a candy bar and a diet coke (seems logical) and you keep plugging along, because you also have actual work to accomplish – whether it’s cleaning the house, managing a business, finishing a project for your boss, running after a toddler, caring for your aging father, etc. 

By the end of the day you are exhausted, worn out and dreading tomorrow when you have to do it all over again.  But, do you have to it all over again?  How many times have you ever responded no when you were asked to serve on a committee, raise money for a charity, or volunteer at a school dance?  And, if you did respond with no, were you able to do it without one ounce of guilt?  Without asking yourself what the other moms would think?  What your boss would think?  What your child would think?

If you are like me, the answer to the above used to be never.  I don’t even know if the word “no” was in my vocabulary.  It didn’t matter if I had two things going on or one hundred, I would smile through gritted teeth, agree, and then go home and fall apart.  Sound familiar?  The more I did this, the more I began to realize I wasn’t doing anything well.  All areas of my life were suffering because I thought I had to be everything for everybody.  Thank goodness for a wise woman who finally told me, “Girl, you can’t be all things to everybody.  Only God can do that.  And, you ain’t God.”  (Now, I get to be the wise woman and tell you the same thing.)

We weren’t meant to be all things to all people.  We have a limited amount of time in each day and we have a limited amount of time on this earth.  And, guess what!  You get to have control over how you spend your time.  No one else can control it unless you let them. 

My mama (God rest her soul) always said, “No is a Godly word.”  What good does it do anyone when we say yes, but we are stressed out, irritable, and ready to have a melt down at any minute?  And, saying no doesn’t mean that we won’t ever say yes.  I definitely have more time now that three of my four sons have moved out of our house, and I will have even more when the youngest leaves next year. 

Trying to be everything to everyone messed with me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.  When I finally realized the damage that I was doing to myself and to others around me, I re-evaluated.  Today, I have a priority list, and I do my best to stick to it.

It’s Elvis Week, and people around the world are celebrating his birthday, his amazing music, and his contribution to our world.  However, I have to wonder if Elvis ever told anyone no.  He died at a relatively young age, in poor health, and according to friends, he had issues with stress.

You are a fabulous person and you have so much to give the world, so please don’t deny us these gifts because you can’t get around to sharing them.  It’s okay to say no.  It’s okay to be less than perfect.  It’s okay to be you. 

Slow down, breathe, and relax.  And, if all else fails, hop in your car (make sure you have gas), and come see me at the farm.  We can sit in the rocking chairs, listen to the birds sing, and take guesses at who’s chaperoning the middle school dance.

Remember . . . You are Wonderful!

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

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Miss Lucy’s Week in Review: Figuring Out How to be Authentic, Acting Ugly, and Learning to Take My Own Advice

From the farm-

Wishing you a big hello and a magnificent day!

For those of you that know me, you know that I am a happy, joyful person most of the time.  I have been through too much “stuff” in my life to let the little things get me down.  But, last week, I had a moment. 

I had to get my picture made for our website.  We have a new vision, new ideas, and I am learning as I go — how to promote the farm and how to better get information to you.  With all of this, my wonderful and amazing business director, Devon, told me I needed my photo on the web page.  I am learning that if I want to connect with you and have you connect with me – then I have to be authentic.  Up until now, my blogs have been cute and fun and sassy (and I can be cute, fun and sassy), but they haven’t been authentic.  And, if you now take the time to go back and read them to see my sassy self, you will also note that there is not one picture of me on the website!  That wasn’t an oversight. 

Our photographer had been out to the farm and done numerous weddings and she had always seen the nice, sweet me.  Well, I shocked her and Devon with my ugly little mood.  I even went so far as to use a bad word.  (It is a rare day that I use bad words-well, in front of others!)   I was acting like a disgruntled two-year old.  Every picture she showed me, I was shrugging my shoulders and saying things like, “Whatever.”  If my mama had been alive, she would have said that I was acting ugly.  And, she might have even taken me over her knee and spanked me.

Finally, I told the photographer I just didn’t like the way I looked in pictures.  Once the words came tumbling out of my mouth, I had an “a-ha” moment – a moment where everything becomes crystal clear.  I realized that my bad attitude was a result of me having to deal with my insecurities.  I can preach all day to you and others about loving yourself and accepting the you God made you to be, etc., etc., but, I wasn’t listening to my own advice.  I was judging my appearance, my weight, my hair, the wrinkle spot between my eyebrows – you get the idea. 

Once, we figured out my issue, our very professional photographer (who had kept her cool this entire time), told me she had a few secrets up her sleeve.  She stood on a stool and took photos at a different angle.  And, then she told me something I am going to share with you (I don’t think she will mind if I tell her secret photo tip.)  – “Flat arms are fat arms!”  Make sure to leave a gap between your arms and your side when having your picture taken.  This will provide some definition, making your arms appear much thinner.  (Go stand in front of a mirror and try it – she’s right!) 

By the time we finished, we had photos I liked.  And, of course, Devon was fine with every picture made.  She is young and beautiful – and she didn’t even wear make-up!  On the other hand, I used every single trick I have learned from my friends that are experts, trying to highlight the good and hide the not-so-good. 

But, don’t we all try to do that in some way?  Highlight the good and hide the not-so-good?  Are we doing ourselves and others a disservice when we do this?  Wouldn’t we all feel better if we knew we weren’t the only ones with insecurities, fears, and troubles?    

Most people who know me have never seen me have a tantrum or heard me say a bad word, but now the world knows that I am not immune to acting ridiculous.  I am not proud of these moments, but I am also thankful that I have family and friends who recognize that it is a cry for even just a little bit of help.  They don’t turn their backs on me or judge me – instead, they roll their eyes, tell me to calm down, and laugh with me when I am breathing normally again. 

I turned 53 years old last week, and my goal this year is to be authentic, so that maybe I can help you, and maybe, you can help me.  I am trying my best to learn how to put together a website, a blog, and a weekly Youtube video.  It is often overwhelming, but it’s exciting and fun. I am looking forward to spending the upcoming year with you, as we navigate life together!

Remember, you are wonderful! 

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

P.S.  Hoping all of the changes will be up on the website by next week.  And, you’ll get to see the photos of me smiling and looking like I am always in control! 

In the meantime, I couldn’t resist posting this stock photo of a young girl, arms crossed and looking like she is mad at the world.  (This is what I REALLY looked like during the first twenty minutes of our photo shoot.  LOL)

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Age is Just a Number

Hello world! Miss Lucy woke up in a happy mood, just full of herself this morning. We had a blue grass band out at the farm last night, and they were just so good. Folks were tapping their toes and clapping their hands and visiting with each other and laughing and drinking and eating popcorn and dancing and just having a grand ole time.

It was fun to watch a two-year old twirl and dance. And, even more heart happiness was felt as everyone watched a well respected couple, both in their nineties, enjoying an evening of blue grass. Miss Lucy would have gladly paid that band out of her own pocket just to see the smiles on the faces of these two wonderful people.

After a good night’s sleep, Miss Lucy woke up this morning thinking about age. It’s just a number. Our little toddler, our two older timers, and everyone in between shared a love of music, friendship, fellowship and a good time last night. Age didn’t matter. What mattered was the love that was pouring out of each and every heart in that room.

And, here’s another thing that Miss Lucy noticed last night – it was family. Grown adults showed up with their parents. A grandparent came out to watch his grandson playing in the band. A beautiful woman who is a yoga instructor and musician was there to support her husband in the band. (She and her husband also play Indian classical music and left a cd – we can’t wait to hear it.) Two brothers sat and talked and laughed at the bar. Friends brought friends. People made new friends. And, at no point did it matter how many days a person had spent on this earth.

Miss Lucy is heading on up there in age, and she has a birthday right around the corner. But, Miss Lucy is realizing this is just a number. And, with each new number, life just seems to get better and better. While in Israel this past spring, one of the ladies in Miss Lucy’s group was approaching 80 and this woman could outwalk, outdo, and out talk all of us. She was amazing.

If you are alive today, there is a reason for it. You were made to be here. You were placed in your area, your family, your workplace, your friend group for a reason. It is up to you to open yourself up and figure out the reason. Personally, Miss Lucy’s goal is to leave this world better than when she entered it. The goal is to make everyday count and to make a change for the better each and every day.

And, if you are in a place that’s so dark that you can’t even imagine this as a possibility, know that we will be praying for you and that you are always welcome to come out for a visit. We enjoy just about everyone — like Miss Lucy’s mama used to say, “We love ya – warts and all.” That’s kind of a disgusting vision, but it’s the truth. Shoot, if y’all knew Miss Lucy’s past . . . Well, let’s just say some of you would be appalled and others would wish they had known her way back when. Most likely, there is nothing you can do that we haven’t seen or heard before. And, quoting mama one more time, “Your mistakes are what make you a real person! Ain’t no one wants to be around someone that’s perfect all of the time.”

So, if you’re person with a low number, know that when you are living life right, it just gets better and better with age – like a nice bottle of red wine.

And, if you’re a person with a high number — go ahead and uncork that bottle and enjoy it with a friend or loved one.

Or, better yet, bring that bottle over to Lucy Belle Farm. Miss Lucy would love to get out Grandmother’s fine crystal, make room on the porch swing, and enjoy a beautiful sunset with you – wonderful you!

Wishing you a fabulous day-

Miss Lucy

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A Good Laugh and A Lot of Love

Miss Lucy just loves to see happy couples on her farm. She loves laughter, smiles, and joy all around. Now, Miss Lucy also knows that sometimes life just gets in the way and couples may argue and fuss, but she’s always encouraging people to look for the best qualities in their partner and to remember what it was that made them fall in love in the first place.

A lot of people think of love as being all sweet and sugary, but Miss Lucy, in her age-old wisdom, has figured out that love is an action word. Sometimes we may not like what our partner is doing, but we can still choose to love. Once upon a time, Miss Lucy’s husband had cancer and it threw Miss Lucy for a loop! This means it was unexpected and a big surprise. In this case – not the good kind of surprise.

Y’all, if you have a partner that is sick, just let us know, and we will start praying for you daily. We know how it is — there are lots of people concentrating on the sick person (and they should be concentrating and praying up that sick person), BUT often times the caregiver gets left by the wayside. AND, often the caregiver feels guilty for asking for help or prayers. But, the caregiver needs lots of prayers — this person is running the patient back and forth to the doctor and the hospital, taking care of the household, rearing the children, and often times, working. The caregiver may feel exhausted and unappreciated. And, Lordy me, who can blame them? If they didn’t feel this way, they wouldn’t be human.

And, bless the heart of the partner that is ill. He feels awful and really does want to be well and more helpful, but he just can’t. This person is often struggling to stay alive. If anything will test a marriage or a relationship, it’s an illness.

Although it wasn’t always easy, Miss Lucy stuck by her husband and did everything she could to make life better throughout treatments and hospital stays. She didn’t always like him, but, she did always love him. And, don’t go getting all high and mighty thinking Miss Lucy is an ogre. When your spouse is grouchy and moody and throwing up all day – you still love them and you understand that it’s tough — but find someone who likes being fussed at after she’s cleaned up vomit for the third time in an hour, and you’ll be finding someone with angel wings, for sure. And, again, no one is blaming anyone for being grouchy. If it had been Miss Lucy sick and unable to be up and about, my guess is that she would have been intolerable!

Dear readers, remember, you have a choice. We encourage you to make the choice to love. It’s easy to love when you are healthy and happy, but real life ain’t always easy. Remember to forgive, laugh often, and be grateful for the one you are with. Don’t be jealous or greedy or rude or unkind. Instead, show trust and respect and give each other lots of hugs.

None of us are perfect. We are all human and we are all going to make mistakes. But, remember to forgive each other fast so that time together can be enjoyed. Life is short. Don’t waste it away by being fussy or cantankerous.

Instead, sit on the back porch and drink a glass of wine, grab a good book and read a while, go to the movies or take a Sunday afternoon drive. Like Miss Lucy’s mama always said, “Stop and smell the roses.” If you have a sweetie, make the choice to show them lots of love today. And, find something to do that makes you both laugh. A Lot.

Off to give my sweetie a smooch-

You are wonderful!

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy

P.S. If you have a friend or know someone who is a caregiver – say a prayer and reach out to that person with an encouraging word. And, if you can make the time – offer to be of service by driving the patient to the hospital, dropping off a casserole, or sitting with the patient so the caregiver can get a shower and a much needed nap.

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Walking With a Child

Proverbs 22:6-Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Y’all, there are some really good people in this world, and Miss Lucy has spent the day listening to people talk and gush and carry-on about their fathers. And, by now, you have probably figured out that a father-figure doesn’t have to be a biological relative. In today’s world, there are lots of kids who are raised by step-dads, grandpas, or just some really awesome guys. So, if you are one of these guys, “Happy Father’s Day!” and if you were lucky enough to have been raised in a loving home with the help of a wonderful “dad”, then thank your lucky stars.

There are lots of folks who didn’t have that opportunity – they either didn’t have a dad figure or maybe they did have one and it was just an awful experience. It doesn’t seem fair, but like Miss Lucy’s mama always said, “Where does it say that life is fair?”

But, all of us can take an interest and encourage children to grow up to be the very best versions of themselves. We love having children visit us at Lucy Belle Farm.

Last week, we hosted a flag football camp. The rain kept a lot of the kids away, but we ended up with a good group of boys and girls who were able to roll around in the mud, learn a few skills, play some bingo, eat some popcorn, and make new friends. One young player had cerebral palsy, and he was so excited to be at the farm. His enthusiasm was contagious, and everyone wanted to be his friend. Another young man was shy and reluctant to play with the other kids, but with the encouragement of the coaches, he made friends and was one of the first on the field throughout the week. Despite the weather, it was fun to watch the coaches and parents cheering on our group, and teaching them the importance of team work, good sportsmanship, and the gift of having fun.

One camper was heard complaining to his mom, “Why did Miss Lucy have to do camp on a week when it rained? That wasn’t nice.” Well, his mom, who just happens to be one of Miss Lucy’s good friends, told him that Miss Lucy didn’t have any control over the weather (and, even though our brides think we do – we don’t!), and she surely didn’t have any idea that we would have rain and storms all week long. But, she went on to say that it was up to him (her child) to figure out how he was going to handle this situation. He could make the best of it and play and have fun or he could sit and sulk and complain. Miss Lucy is happy to report that he was often wet, muddy and happy. He is truly a delightful child and the type of child Miss Lucy thoroughly enjoys.

We loved seeing our two coaches, who were both in their early twenties, influence these kids in such a positive way. There’s no telling what all was said on that field, but there was a lot of giggling and many high fives. These coaches were doing what they were supposed to do – helping to start these children off on the way they should go.

It doesn’t take much to have a positive influence on a child. When Miss Lucy was growing up, she had a true Southern Belle take an interest in her and her well-being. She taught her etiquette, encouraged her to apply to some of the best schools, and helped her become a better version of herself. This lady wrote letters and sent postcards from exotic and far-away places. Mind you, this woman was important and very busy, but she carved out time and made it a point to make a young girl feel important. Certainly, this woman had other more pressing things to attend to, and yet, she chose to make an impact on a life. Her influence and teachings are still in place forty-five years later.

You don’t have to be a Southern Belle to make a difference. You can be a twenty-two year old college student who’s willing to coach flag football. Or, a teacher who says, “Good job!” or a bystander that compliments a child’s manners.

Before camp one day, one of our campers grabbed her umbrella and a coach’s hand, wanting to take a walk in the rain. I reckon she knew her mama wouldn’t say no if a coach was going. Now, mind you, this young man didn’t have an umbrella, but he didn’t seem to mind. He just walked along side her and listened to her chatter. His selfless act was most likely impacting her life in a positive way. But, Miss Lucy likes to think, this young lady was teaching him a thing or two, as well.

Enjoy a walk in the rain –

Sincerely,

Miss Lucy