All posts in Slice of Life

It’s a Starbucks Day

The downside of moving to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to a pristine 66-acre-parcel of land is that the nearest Starbucks is 35 miles away.


It keeps my adult children away. Or when they visit it’s only for a few days.

Because Starbucks represents civilization–the emblem of America.

Even Gibbs shows off his java on NCIS.

So my question for the day is; Is there life after Starbucks?

I’ve wondered that over the last 21 months.

Here are my conclusions…

Yes, but it’s way different. At Starbucks, people carry designer bags and wear grown-up clothes. They speak Starbuckian–an alternative coffee language involving 17 syllables to order one coffee drink. They conduct meetings around said coffee and order fancy pastries while composing spreadsheets on their computers and texting clients.

On the farm, I pull on the same clothes each day appropriately designed with red clay and often laced with chicken manure. We drink black coffee and conduct our meetings on the front porch, on the way to the dump, or at our rustic pine table.

It’s a simpler life. Presented with fewer choices of what to wear, (Tom and I share a small closet and my dresser sits in our living room since our bedroom is too small to house it.) clothes become a tool–useful or not useful. My Livestock Guardian Dogs don’t care what shoes I have on when I visit them. They are equal opportunity shoe ruiners. Their large paws often step on my feet, swipe my jeans, or end up planted on my shirt.

It’s a harder life. During the winter our schedule slows down immensely. It has to since our bodies couldn’t stand up to 16-hour-out-in-the-field-days. I gain weight but Tom doesn’t. (I’m kind of bitter about that.)

But when the time changes, our lives change, too. More light means more work. There are weeds to pull, animals to feed, crops to plant, markets to attend, eggs to collect and sell, and jellies to make.

Sometimes I long for a 9-5 job. Especially one with benefits. With lunch dates and coffee breaks.

So once a week I make the trek to civilization and drink black coffee. Starbucks isn’t the only reason I come since I attend a Bible study and visit possible customers. But it’s important to me.

Right now, I’m sitting by a gas fireplace writing and people watching. And I realize something, people are the same whether in Mayberry or Winston-Salem.

They work hard but long for a connection with others. Sometimes, it’s over a lunch date or movie. Or sometimes, it’s just over a cup of java. Whether it’s in a trendy shop with a gas fireplace, or my front porch.

Come visit. The view is marvelous! But could you bring the Starbucks?




Really Living

“We’re really living, Pauline.” Tom bent over the trendy restaurant table, smiled and took my hand.

I pondered his words. Moving to North Carolina with my 93-year-old mother and our standard poodle, Sam, starting a farm, building a house, purchasing and raising 75 baby chicks. Working from dawn to dusk and then some more.

Doing stuff I never dreamed of. Like shopping at the Tractor Supply store regularly and loving it, planting seeds and watching them grow, petting a chicken (having a chicken fly into my hair which I wasn’t too fond of), chopping a path through our forest, petting a donkey, gathering eggs, cleaning up after chickens, moving heavy timber. The list is endless.

Tom’s right, we’re really living.

It might kill us.

But we love it.

The Bible has a different definition of “really living.” I’m basing my life on God’s Word, not my own opinions.

God’s Word says in Ephesians 2:1-7:

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

So I started “really living” the moment I trusted Christ’s death and resurrection to pay for my sins, and then I turned from them. I was spiritually dead. Now, thanks to Jesus, I’m spiritually alive. I used to live according to the passions of this world and Satan was my king. Now—not because of anything I’ve done—Jesus is my King.

My hope and prayer for you this season is that you will “really live.” That you will be born into the family of God.

A blessed Christmas to you.

Some of our “first fruits.”

Dreams Can Come True

Tom and I are a lot closer to our dream.

Check out my Grit Magazine blog:

My pastor says that only babies like change. Mostly true. I’m looking forward to change, but hate to say goodbye. But when you’re cultivating a dream, goodbyes are necessary.

Spying at Starbucks

John enters slouched over, his backpack bouncing. His shirt displays an emblem I can’t read, but it’s clean. Almost seems pressed—better than mine.

He comes in daily for a coffee sample. The staff doesn’t know anything about him except that he might have a mental problem. Still they serve him and he’s happy. As soon as he empties his partial cup, he stalks out—head leading his small frame, walking to his next destination.

An employee takes his lunch hour at a table across from me. His meal consists of a blue can of tuna, (maybe albacore) that he picks at while he reads a red-colored book. It’s not a new title. I’m curious and think of asking him. Is it The Great Gatsby? It’s too small for Moby Dick or Les Miserable. Perhaps it’s an old accounting book he saved from a college education he never finished.

He’s close to my age and wears no ring. I wonder why a man my age works here? What is his life like? Where does he spend Christmas?

Another man sits in the comfy purple chair adjacent to me. He wears a jacket with black with red stitching—possibly a motorcycle emblem. Maybe he rides.  It’s doubtful with the shoes he’s wearing. They are black with lime green accents. His white socks rise up under clean blue jeans.

I’m people watching. I’m people wondering. What are their lives like? If I knew them, would they be my friends?

Probably. I once followed someone home from SAMs because I wanted to be their friend. I lost them on a turn. My teenage son was glad. My husband told me, “Pauline, you can’t be friends with everyone!”

But I can care about everyone. I can wonder. I can pray.

I’m going to try my hand at fiction soon. I need characters, so I spy on people.

I see a man staring at me. Studying. Wondering. When he notices that I notice, he looks away

I think he’s a writer, too.