Being a new blogger, when I set up Manure Therapy, I followed the step-by-step instructions. “Write an About page.” I put together a basic bio summary. Check. (See the About page.)
A few posts later, and a little more savvy on the process, I added a Facebook page and started inviting people to check it out. And they did! Some “likes” and a couple of inquiries later, I decided it’s time for a deeper look into who’s behind Manure Therapy . . . me!
Who am I and why did I decide to write a blog? What makes me think I have anything to say that hasn’t been said, or that anyone would want to read? One question at a time, please. 🙂
My name is Michelle Pedigo, and I decided to write a blog after seeds were planted by several people over a number of years (you can see how I came up with Manure Therapy in “What’s This?”). In my moments of self-consciousness or vulnerability, I can easily think I don’t actually have anything to say that hasn’t been said. But . . .
What I know, and have personally experienced, is that the same thing can be said in a different way at a different time by a different person, and it can give a whole new perspective. Maybe a point is brought out that hasn’t been thought about before, or it’s all just approached from a new angle. And sometimes what I have to say is fresh and new and unique. As for anyone to read it, again there were several people who assured me that they would be interested in reading my writing and encouraged me to go for it. And you’re reading this now, so if you’re not one of “them” my readers are increasing!
I am fortunate to have lived enough years that I have seen and done and been through a myriad of things that make me, me. And each day new pages are added to the story. The many things I have learned and the wisdom gained along the way, through my book learning and hands-on learning and just living life, hopefully give credibility enough to share my thoughts, ponderings, introspections, daydreams, humor, and occasional opinionated venting.
So backing up…
I was born and raised in Colorado, the youngest of 3 children. For the most part, I grew up in the country on the western slope of the state, although we did hop into the city for a couple of seasons. When I think back over my growing up years, there is a warmth, and there are cold spots. Mom and Dad both lived with us, and it seems like it was a pretty “normal” life.
Religion was a culture. There was no problem with the theology. But although my father was progressive in his ways (considered a “rebel” by many) and allowed and even encouraged free thinking, being immersed in the church and private schools, I found it hard to deviate from cultural expectations and traditions. I had plenty of questions and disagreements, but it would be later in my adult years before I truly came to understand Christianity and my own relationship with Jesus Christ.
After graduating from high school at a private (church) boarding school, I complete two years of college and my first degree. I married, and a year later became a mom, then got rapidly immersed in being a family with two daughters in less than two years. The next twenty years could be a separate story altogether with dynamics and experiences, but in the end, there was marital divorce, and that, too, could be a separate story of dynamics and experiences.
During those twenty years, I worked at a variety of jobs and volunteered doing a lot of things (many noted on the patchwork quilt on the About page). Many fed my heart, while some did not. Seems like a pretty “normal” life. I did my best to take jobs that allowed me flexibility to be available for my girls and the activities in which they were involved.
I learned that being a rodeo mom was probably better suited to me than learning to dance, and little did I know that the time leading to being a rodeo mom would later be the beginning fertilizer that would become Manure Therapy. My younger daughter is my kindred spirit in the animal world, and when she was 10 years old started mucking stalls in exchange for riding lessons. Since she wasn’t old enough to drive, guess who got to help?! As for dancing, well, my older daughter was moving to music before she could stand, and her natural ability and love for dance propelled her into performance and choreography during high school. I had always wanted to learn to dance, but it was not allowed in the culture in which I was raised. So when my high school daughters decided they would help me learn in the safety of our living room, I was thrilled. It was short-lived, though, when part way through the first song, the girls looked at each other and then said, “Mom, don’t dance.” Ah, the agony of defeat! But, I continued to savor living vicariously through my daughters as they rodeoed and danced gloriously! Later, I would mount a horse for a short ride when I could, and I did learn to hold my own as a country dancer. And my girls, well, they went on to excel in their areas . . . the older one even helping coach high school girls after she was well into her career, and the younger one taking her love for horses into equine therapy.
The end of an (almost) 20 year marriage brought a whole new season. Introspection, grieving, surviving, learning, growing, emerging. Another separate story of dynamics and experiences.
One thing you find out during a season like that is who you aren’t, what you don’t need or want, and you get a pretty good idea of what you do need and want. And then I met Mark. Yes, another separate story of dynamics and experiences.
“And they lived happily ever after.” Well, not quite. We are living happily. But not in the romantic novel way. More like the definition that says “it is fortunate that.” It is fortunate that we have each other, because neither of us is perfect, but we are perfect for each other. And this is our journey . . . together.
We became an unusually “blended family.” Since my girls were on their own when Mark and I met, they did not live in our home (although the younger did boomerang for a few weeks a couple different times). Mark’s girls were earliteens and were with us every other weekend and some holidays and vacations. So along with unusually blending our daughters, we added into the mix some moments of “empty nest.”
The whole “step-family” dynamic wasn’t even what I would call “normal” in the sense of how I know many families live it, but there were (and are) plenty of situations that remind us it’s there. The truth is, Mark and I both see ourselves as having four daughters. You guessed it, a separate story of dynamics and experiences. (to read more of my thoughts on this, check out “I’m a Mom”)
About the time Mark’s younger daughter was going to be a senior in high school, some things had been happening that kept pointing us to adoption. We had never envisioned expanding our family and were perfectly OK with the idea that once all the girls were on their own, we could truly be “empty nest” and live happily that way. There’s that “happily” word again!
When hearts are moved, change takes place. (Insert separate story of dynamics and experiences here.)
Our family did expand through adoption of two sons, brothers, who were 10 and 14 at that time. Over the past eight years we have been on a bigger roller coaster ride than all the State fairs and Six Flags locations put together. We have talked, laughed, cried, sung, screamed and everything in between. We have loved, had our hearts ripped out, had our hearts enlarged, and had them ripped out again. Rinse, lather, repeat! (Insert separate story of dynamics and experiences here.)
I can’t leave out that along the way the expansion of our family has also included sons-in-law and grandchildren. Right now there are four grandsons, ages 2½ to almost 7, and one grandbaby in the oven (gender yet unknown). We love to spend time with each of them whenever we can, and we’ll visit with the parents, too, while we’re there!
The general information pieces of me (just the facts) include book learning and practical experience that have earned me pieces of paper (AAS in Medical Assisting, BS and MBA in Business, an EMT certificate, and an expired Firefighter certificate). I have a passion for people…working with them, playing with them, learning with them, laughing with them, crying with them. In my desire to be more empathetic, encouraging, motivating and be able to journey better with people, I continue my book learning and practical experience in the area of counseling and coaching, and . . . just being a friend.
Happily, (it is fortunate that) we are just plain, ordinary people. Mark works for a living. I still add things to my patchwork quilt. We are two individuals living together as one, holding on for the journey!