The Mountain Farmgirl needs to B-R-E-A-T-H-E today … deeply, slowly, intentionally. Find out why, and use these tried and true techniques to help yourself center and be present in the moment, when you find that life’s rat race has become a super-marathon…

We humans are resilient … even when we think we have reached our emotional and physical limits, we often find that we can we can stretch ourselves a little further beyond the comfort zone. I’m not saying we always should, but when push comes to shove and  life demands more than we think we can give, it’s nice to know that there’s a deep-down inner reserve of strength we can count on to get us through the challenges to help us cope with it all!
That’s where this Farmgirl finds herself this week: Challenged … to the MAX!! Can anyone relate?  I’m sure you’ve all been there! While I can’t look into the future to see what may lie ahead in my life, I can say with absolute certainty that the past week, as well as the one coming up, are going to be the busiest, most challenging ones of my life thus far.  I’m heartily trying to keep it all together without becoming unglued. So far so good. Let me tell you what’s going on.
I should probably preface it by saying it is Sunday morning as I write this, and about 10 minutes ago I realized that this blog is due tomorrow. Lord have mercy!! Just one more thing to add to the mix, a bit like the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back! It would have been so easy to postpone it, and I certainly have enough valid excuses.  But the way I have been coping the last few weeks is by not getting overwhelmed by “it all”. Instead, I have been breaking everything down to one task at a time, which makes it much more manageable. This is blog time for me. I have the feeling that with school coming up, summer’s bounty to put by, and a million and one things still to do before summer’s end, others may feel in a similar bind.

So this is my life this week:
Our inn has had a great summer. We are VERY busy, which would suggest that the economy may be improving a little; we are full most nights. However, our one key employee has had some health challenges this summer and has had to take time off intermittently.  Our other loyal staff member’s 96-year-old father took a fall down a flight of stairs and she had to leave in July for New Jersey. She has been gone ever since, caring for him until his death last week. Now she must remain to settle the estate. This means that my husband and I have been filling in round the clock at the front desk, a daunting task in our busiest month of the year. The gardening here (flower beds on five acres) has kept me slightly sane, as it has gotten me out in the fresh air and sunshine, something I dearly need.
Remember I was contemplating selling my log cabin? We decided to put it on the market to test the waters. After a week I took it off, as I couldn’t bear to part with it. But my husband in his less emotional but slightly more grounded wisdom, felt it was the best move to sell, so we re-listed it with a real estate agent. Lo and behold, we had a buyer almost immediately. Then TWO buyers … and both cash deals with no banks involved!! If you want to sell a house, these are the best possible situations, as they start to bid against each other, checks in hand. The first won out in the end, and the closing is in 4 days from now.  That has necessitated a mass exodus of ALL our stuff (TOO MUCH stuff it truth be told, but that is best laid aside to talk about another day!). So in-between phone calls and checking people in at the Lodge, I am packing, sorting, moving, storing … a major task.

Our college son Noah has arrived home for a week from Baltimore to help. Chris, our oldest, recently married son, and  his beautiful wife Elizabeth arrived two days ago to help as well. They all leave on Friday, the day of the real estate closing, AND the same day that our only daughter leaves for her first day of college at the Maine College of Art in Portland!! Do you think we can pack any other milestones in there while we’re at it?! It never rains but it pours.


When we arrive back home on Friday night, summer business will have slowed down considerably; and we have a new employee who is absolutely FANTASTIC, to help us out at the Lodge! God is good!  Our apartment at the inn, where we will be living full time for at least the next four years, will seem really quiet and rather empty after all the older kids have left … (but there will still be those boxes to unpack and sort through!).

In the meantime, there are still 4 insanely, intensely busy days to get through –oops! -- I mean savor!  You see, it’s all how you look at it!  I’m really happy that business is so brisk; after all, our parking lot could be empty and we’d have all those bills to pay. God sent our new employee, Basha, to us at just the right moment.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so! She was working part time at the summer stock theater, and just happened into our lobby with a flyer to post.  My husband got talking to her, asked her if she would like a job, and after a very short time, it is like she has ALWAYS been here … she’s a natural! She is such a blessing for us.
All four of our children, and now Elizabeth too, are all home at the same time, a feat that will be harder to duplicate as time and circumstances will dictate in the future.  But for right now, we are all here together, working away at the tasks at hand this week, laughing, playing, reminiscing and loving just being in each other’s company. What more could anyone want? I admit I have been sad at times, selling my dream place, but emotionally I have moved on. New chapters, as yet unwritten, lay ahead with many new adventures in years to come.

Yes, I also admit to waking up in the middle of the night last week, unable to sleep with all the tasks looming large ahead of me ... and very nearly feeling like I could easily start to hyperventilate because of the pressure of too much to do in too little time …  But I nipped it in the bud by breathing d-e-e-p-l-y, and focusing on just one thing at a time. Whatever task it was, I tried to be present doing THAT, and not thinking of the 689 things that still needed to be accomplished that day. I can’t tell you how much these little techniques have helped me cope. If you find yourself in a similar place this week:

1. Be thankful for what you DO have – change your focus from the negative to the positive wherever possible.

2. Be present in the moment – as much as Farmgirls can multi-task brilliantly, when the stressful pressures of ‘too much to do’ overwhelm us, just concentrate on one thing at a time.

3. B-R-E-A-T-H-E!!!!!
Everything works out in the end.

Until next time,
Mountain Bounty, Mountain Blessings,



By: Shirley
On: 08/22/2011 14:54:52
Wow.. busy busy.. Why did you sell your dream log home?!?!? I can't believe it! ... your peaceful haven. Will you be building another one at a new location? Well keep breathing...and best wishes in all your plans
By: Vickie Guilliot
On: 08/22/2011 15:07:49
Cathi, I so need you today!!! We have different situations, but I so need to LEARN to breath. I am sitting here in my office trying to save our home that we have been in for 10 years. My husband has not worked in months, we had to shut down out Constuction business that we have had for 15 years. We have not be able to make a mortgage payment in 9 month. We have gone through one modifacation already and they came back ans said that we have to much equity. (really)!!! We only owe $128000.00 it seems so little but we just can't seem to find enough money to make it. Just at my wits end. We have always been hard workers and have worked for EVERYTHING we have, life just does not seem fair right now. I have 21 year old son that is still at home, but stiving for his dream of becoming a police officer and a almost 17 years old daughter that I (try):) and home school. I just want to keep my house and try and make it a home AGAIN..I feel like I can't because I don't know if I will have it next month or a year from now. Thanks you so much for your artical, It brought tears to my eyes. I also lost a best friend of 38 years three week ago so my emotions have been very unstable. Thanks for being you Cathi and I will keep you in my Prayers. Vickie (Farm Girl Name Myrtle)
By: Claudia
On: 08/22/2011 15:19:11
whew! I was tired for you just reading about your week! What a great thing to have your children home to share this exciting time in your life! Life is good and you are right to just breathe it in and slowly let it out! May you savor each day for the riches it brings!
By: Laurie
On: 08/22/2011 16:30:30
Thank you...thank you! It is so comforting to know that other women are feeling and experiencing a similar state in life. Thank you for your perspective. I was talking with a friend yesterday and commented that my overwhelming schedule is relatively minor when I think of all the blessings in my life. My family is all healthy and safe. I live in a beautiful, peaceful place. I have an incredible husband and marriage. All the other things in life are just that...other things. BUT they do need to be addressed and get done, as you said, one at a time. Great advice!
By: Debbie
On: 08/22/2011 18:56:51
Hi Cathi! My goodness you are going a mile a minute girl friend! Breath is exactly what you should be doing. Maybe you need some of MaryJane's oil to rub on your third eye to help keep you calm in the midst of all of your many blessings and excitement! Congratulations on the sale of your log home!
Onward and upward as they say...Great post and tips... as always!
love and farmgirl hugs from your pal,
Deb the beach farmgirl blogger.
By: Karin
On: 08/23/2011 11:13:57
Thank you so much for this reminder to breathe.
By: Dianne
On: 08/24/2011 07:59:02
Cathi: The best part of your news is your new employee and having ALL the family together. I'm sure you will savor it. I know what it is like to part with your kindred spirit home. We once owned my Granparents home in the Finger Lakes, and spent summers there. It will always be in my heart. There is this cute saying I have been seeing "Keep Calm and Carry On" Blessings to all your family. Dianne

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir