“Talk About the Day…
It began like any other day, although, any other day at the ranch is a rather extraordinary day. However, this day was truly a ranch day to remember.”
My first ranch story started with the above words. A detailing of the day’s events followed:
- a fire out of control
- a battle between a Texas-sized centipede and an agitated scorpion
- an encounter with a thunderous wild boar
- cave crawling among thousands of daddy long legs
- a touching moment with a brilliant red dragonfly
- discovering a peculiarly shaped Madrone tree
- sighting a ghostly white deer (later named snowball)
- and a sunset performance of ever changing scenes
That was over ten years ago.
When I wrote that first story I did not fully understand how experiences in nature would shape who I am, direct my energies, and guide me through joyous and challenging times.
Hello. My name is Karen Greenwood — a child of God; wife to my cherished husband, Jim; mother of two wonderful young adults, Alexandra and Jimmy; caregiver to my mom living with late stage dementia; sister to four siblings; volunteer in my community; and I hope a kind friend to my friends and everyone I meet.
To embrace the delight and demands from wearing each title, I pull strength from many places — my faith, family, friends and The Lost Madrone Ranch.
Do you have a spot where you celebrate, wonder, recharge, laugh, and learn? What frames how you think about your day, your relationships, your world and your purpose in it? Perhaps a backyard, park, home, church or office is the place where you draw strength? I find my answers in Comfort.
On the outskirts of Comfort, Texas, atop rolling limestone peaks of the Texas Hill Country, The Lost Madrone Ranch is the magical place where I walk — literally and figuratively. I visit the ranch to experience nature, seek respite, find inspiration, form ideas, renew my energy, work, create and enjoy life.
Welcome to Take Comfort, my blog where I share stories and pictures illustrating the beauty and strength found at The Lost Madrone Ranch.
At the ranch, I see power
I wake up and look out my window.
I walk and learn to look closer.
Nature reveals resiliency
and I recognize the grace in caregiving.
Creative inspiration abounds.
A dead walnut tree hauled to the mill, transforms into a bedside table.
Plant cuttings clipped from the wild, star as the Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Agarita berries whacked from thorny bushes, press into thick ruby syrup.
Ranch adventures stir my soul and they are the stories I’ll share.
Confession. Starting this blog is not comfortable for me. So why? Why now?
I’ve tinkered with writing for years. Writing is fun, a release, a way to record sightings at the ranch, capture my insights into caregiving, and document the thoughts and experiences that make me smile and cry. I have not mastered the craft, but I enjoy the pursuit to be a better writer.
Giving the words I write to others is another story.
How long have I dodged sharing my stories?
A few months ago I found an elementary school writing journal belonging to my son Jimmy who is now in college. The teacher gave this assignment to the student and the parent.
Past ranch stories were shared with a few close friends — friends with whom my vulnerabilities are safe. Placing my stories and inner thoughts in public space is scary.
I am not a social media participant (until now) — no Twitter or Instagram, a Pinterest account under a pseudo name, and a Facebook page with zero friends! My Facebook page was created to follow my middle school aged children, and within the year they both politely unfriended me. To my friends who I have not friended in the past, please take no offense. It was an across the board decision to stay anonymous on the internet.
Staying anonymous may surprise those who know me. I am not shy. Just the opposite. I will talk to any stranger, and I do, every day. I embarrass my family regularly when I strike up a conversation with everyone I come in contact with — people at the gas pump, in the check out line, throughout the grocery store, walking past me on the street… you get the idea.
I’ve reached out to people my entire life.
A family photo album has a picture of me, no older than six, on the front steps of the church where my father was the minister; my mom’s caption describes how each week I stood there and greeted the people coming to church.
Talking to strangers is my way to show kindness. And, more. I consider it my call to minister — to serve as a light in the world, to testify being Christian, to honor God.
The kindness shown is sincere, but the heart chiefly stays on the surface, controlled and protected, not exposing my deeper self. Writing about life calls to share inner thoughts — serious and silly — and exposes my heart and fears. This will be new.
So again, why write a blog?
Three reasons (for now): for my kids, for me, and for you.
1. For my kids.
This past Thanksgiving my daughter, Alexandra, chided, “Mom, just do something with your stories; I want my kids to read their grandmother’s children’s books.” A chord struck me. I remember asking my father to write a memoir because I wanted to know his stories and his theology. He was an amazing man, a father, husband, and minister to many. He was brave — leading churches through historical times, fighting for civil rights, standing up for women’s rights, speaking boldly from his pulpit. He never wrote the book. Oh, how I wish I had another moment to sit and talk with him. He will be part of my blog, as he remains a part of me, and I will share his thoughts from my memory and from his preserved sermons. My works in life don’t measure up to his, but my daughter is asking me to write for her and her future children. How can I not?
2. For me.
Years ago I had the opportunity to serve in a leadership role at a local non-profit. Alexandra was eight at the time and overheard me expressing hesitancy to accept the job. She marched into the room proclaiming, “mommy, if you don’t want to be the President, I’ll be the President.” It was the trigger that made me say yes. What was I modeling for my young daughter if I didn’t rise to the challenge? Taking the job was outside my comfort zone, but saying yes enriched my life. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities, skills, friendships and life lessons I learned from that responsibility. I am blogging to learn, grow and connect with new friends in new ways I am eager to discover. I am saying yes to the challenge, again. Thanks, Alexandra, again.
3. For you.
As I write to enrich my life, I hope to enrich yours. I’m not an expert, but I have a voice and an opinion, and I’m a keen observer and grateful thinker. I’ll soulfully share the wonder at the minutiae of what is around me and hope it motivates you to find wonder in your world. I hope to show kindness, make you smile when reading a story, or provoke you to think and ask questions along with me. I will carefully offer my thoughts on caregiving for my mom and maybe it will help you find courage when facing your challenges. And when I share ways I am inspired to be creative, I hope it spreads beauty, function, and fun.
How did that first ranch story end?
“My son Jimmy landed in bed without complaint. I went into his room to say goodnight and whispered, “If this day is not a day to “talk about the day” then I don’t know what is.” You see when his older sister Alexandra was a little girl we would put her to bed by reading and saying our prayers, and then she would say “talk about the day.” Beginning with waking up in the morning, I would recount the entire day down to every little detail. “Talking about the day” was a nightly ritual and an exercise that contributed to my leaving the workplace to become a stay at home mom. On the days when I was home with her, I would go on and on and on about waking up, and what we ate, and the walks we took, and the rocks she would pick up for me, and the books we would read, and the funny things she would say, and the new things she would do each day. On the days when I had to go to work, “talk about the day” could not compare. Our lives are
our days and how we fill them makes for the quality of life we have. I finished putting Jimmy to bed and told myself, “I’ve got to go write this story right now.” What a day, a ranch day to remember. What a life, a life filled with days of glory and wonderment, exploration and learning, sensing and feeling, a life filled with living each day to the fullest. Oh yes, a ranch day to remember forever.”
I may not feel comfort starting this blog. But, I am seeking comfort. Not the modern dictionary meaning of comfort — to soothe, relief, or a feeling of consolation. Comfort as in the Latin origin confortare — to strengthen.
Strengthen me, strengthen you, strengthen a small piece of the world we can impact? I don’t really know, but I am hopeful. I’ll give my best as I walk to find out. I welcome you to walk with me. Subscribe and join me, my family and friends.
Come and Take Comfort on The Lost Madrone Ranch.