When Things Get Too Hard

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I finally got out of my “bubble”.

We had to travel to Ohio to pick up some seed. It was raining yet again. We had to have the seed so it was a “good” day to go.

“Good” day? Hard to use that word “good”.

It was a cloudy dreary day. The farther south we got the drearier and more depressing it became.

As we headed south we scanned the fields trying to see if the field we were driving by had been planted yet. Many had not. And, those that had been planted were hardly up and growing.

Then the standing water – worse than we have in our immediate area began.

Yesterday when I was merging hay there was a spot that I drove through a mud puddle. Our ground is wet but what we saw were bodies of water instead of puddles.

Mile after mile the land is under water. The corn that was planted is now drowning. The land that is untouched will stay that way much longer. It makes me wonder if it will be worked up at all this year.

As I watched farm after farm and saw farm houses and barns connected to the land I could imagine a farmer standing in the kitchen looking out the window or walking to the barn looking at the field behind the building with a sick feeling in their stomachs. Mentally calculating how many days there would be left to plant in order to get any kind of harvest. And, will it get done?

Some are tallying up their losses wishing they would have had insurance – one of the things they cut this spring because they were bleeding and needed that Band-Aid of one less payment.

The possibility of failing wraps it’s arms around the chest and makes it hard to breathe for some. The fear of “what will happen” robs sleep, sickens bodies, ravages emotions and wreaks havoc on marriages and families.

There are some farmers that are so worn out they just can’t function properly. Their mind is compromised and beaten down by trying to figure out a way to get seed in the ground that is too wet to walk on let alone a  10,000+ lb. piece of equipment necessary to do the job.

In that quiet desperation the anguish becomes too heavy to bear. The thought of being “done” with everything becomes inviting. The fight to continue has been fought and the only thing left is despair and hopelessness. The heaviness prevents rational thinking and that’s when the evil of suicide becomes a horrific action that can’t be reversed.

Please, please pray for farmers and ranchers.

Please go to their farm pages and personal pages and leave encouraging messages.

Please call them and tell them you are praying for them.

Please drop in and ask, “How are you doing?”

Please, please pay attention to them. Notice if they are becoming quiet or withdrawn. Ask them if you can help. Ask them if they need help. Offer to go for counseling with them. Call The Farmer’s Suicide number for help. Or go to this site for help https://farmcrisis.nfu.org/

Please if you are having hopeless feelings, call a friend and tell them.

We need you. This country needs you. You are part of a special tribe that can’t afford another loss. You are valuable. You cannot be replaced. Your family will not function without you. There is another way.

Following is information to call to get some help. Please, please make the effort to try one more thing – call:

800-FARM-AID – 800-327-6243 or National Suicide 800-273-TALK – 800 327-6243

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to my Grandson

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My first grandson graduated this year. I can’t believe those previous years disappeared into memories. As a grandparent we have an honor to sow into our grandkids lives. We have the ability to purposefully bestow blessings.

Perhaps you are in the same situation and need a jumping off point for your letter to your own child or grandchild.

Dear Austin,

 You’ve graduated! Your first real milestone in your life. I bet it feels kinda weird. Exciting, scary, happy and sad all in one.

I wanted to start this letter on the day you were born and add to it. Well, you can see that never happened.

I do remember your first days with us. You were a scrawny, all arms and legs piece of miracle from God. I remember we laid you in the sun – naked to get your bilirubin down to normal.

As a child you were so very strong willed. Just like your dad. And, that is a wonderful thing! Not so much fun when trying to direct you as a child, but now, your strong will can serve you in a powerful way as long as your will is right.

I’ve watched you grow into such a kind, strong, loving, God fearing man. I’m so proud of you.

As you close the door to one stage of life and get ready to experience the next part of your journey I have a few things I wanted to share with you.

1.      Keep God first. Seek his face and listen to his voice in your heart. One way I always can tell it’s God’s voice and not satan’s (because satan will try his best to deceive you) Is that God calls me by my name. satan never uses my name – I’m not sure if this is true with everyone or not.

2.    There will be crap in your life. There will be times of uncertainty and fear. Always remember you are never alone. God is right there beside you. And, nothing is too big, too hard or a surprise to him.

3.    Treat others the way you think would please God and how you want to be treated yourself. One man has no more value than another.

4.   Keep watch over your words. Negativity serves no one.

5.    As you travel through life and you realize you’ve made a wrong turn, just make adjustments. God can handle it all.

6.    Admit it when you are wrong.

7.    Ask for forgiveness.

8.    Say “I’m sorry”.

9.    Be the last to let go when hugging.

10. Be the person everyone hates to see leave the room.

11.    Speak life – I honestly can say it makes a huge difference. Find the good. Praise the Lord.

12.  Realize you can’t hide from God – which is a huge blessing because you are always protected. You can’t do anything too wrong that God won’t forgive. He knew you well before you made the mistake and loved you anyway.

13.  Politeness and kindness count.

14. Remember someone is always watching you – you never know how your actions and words will influence a person.

15.  Be quick to forgive and show grace. You don’t have to forget and allow that person back into your life but you must forgive Unforgiveness only hurts the one not forgiving and when you sow grace, you receive grace.

My door and heart are always open to you. You could never do anything that would lessen my love of you.

You have become an amazing young man full of integrity and have great character.

God has a wonderful path set before you.

I am so proud of you and love you more than you will know. Grampa loves you and is very proud too.

Now, go out there and conquer your territory God gives you.

 

 

 

The Watchers

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In the last few days I’ve spoken with three different women from three different states and the stress level is high. 

We normally hear about the stress farmers are under and those farmers are female too, but I’m referring to the female farmer that is also the mother or wife.

As a woman I think we are naturally nurturers (not saying guys aren’t) and in that role we seem to feel like we need to be the one who holds everyone together.

We watch our husbands worry over not getting the crops in. Or when the machinery breaks down and tensions are rising we women have an overwhelming desire to fix things or to at least help our guys feel better.

“Fixing things” is not attainable yet we strive to the point of dismay.

We see relationships between husband and son, husband and wife, sons and sons  . . . the list could go on – deteriorate with each passing day that field work is stalled.

We watch as tensions rise and words are quick and sharp when normally they aren’t present.

We see the body language change. The hand running through the hair, the rubbing of the back of the neck, the tiredness in their eyes.

We try unsuccessfully to be the buffer between our farmer and bad news.

This year with so much going against us it seems worse. We should be finishing corn planting yet we have not a single kernel in the ground. Too wet. Then yesterday we had a few hours where we could have started before the rain came again but the corn planter was down. It was a holiday and with all the high tech going on farmers are at the mercy of their dealers. So, today the planter will be fixed while the rain comes back.

Simple questions about a field between father and son, mother and son etc. becomes accusatory without effort.

Conversations begin and end with negativity.

Sleep comes but rest doesn’t always accompany it.

Whether we women are side by side working, in a supporting role such as bookwork, runner, cooking for the guys or whatever, we watch.

We watch and then we try to fix.

When we come to one and try to get them to see the other person’s perspective we usually get caught in the cross fire.

Sometimes we watchers just listen. A husband or son will slip in the sit at the table and let their frustrations with others go. It’s a good dumping place. A place where the tension can spill out and give them some room to breathe for a while. But, the spill is usually soaked up by the watcher/listener. You can’t let the spill sit on the floor.

There’s a lot of attention on farmers and their emotional stability as there should be. This is a tough time.

I just want to turn the attention to the watchers.

For you farmers, sons, husbands please consider the watchers in your life. Be careful not to dump too much. Take some time to be the listener. Ask her how she’s doing. Find something positive to say. Even if you have to state the obvious – “Well, another rainy day. We’ll just have to figure it out.” Instead of “I can’t believe it. Another rainy day. When will it ever stop? How in the world will get out crops in and with milk prices so low how will. . . . ”

Watchers are strong and study. Yet even the strongest trees will fall when the winds of adversity last too long.

To all the watchers out there – you are seen and cared for by the greatest Watcher of all. God stands beside you as you try to make peace and find an answer. He hears your frustration and sees your tears. He knows your heart and how divided it can be with the relationships you have. He watches as your mind spins and spins for answers. He knows. He sees. And he has one thing for you to know. You are not God. You are not responsible for everyone and everything. He watches and waits for us to take all our troubles and lay them down. He works better when we aren’t trying to “help’.

As a watcher, it’s a daily task for me to “lay it down”. We want fast, quick fixes but it doesn’t work that way.

As we daily practice to “lay it down” it does become easier at times.

Bottom line – watchers can’t fix. Give it all to the Head Watcher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Took Normal For Granted

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I was driving past a grocery store and saw a man with an 8-year-old or so walking out to their car. The boy was swinging a bag and the man (I’m guessing dad) was walking along side. They were chatting and laughing a little.

In my head I said, “I bet he just thinks this is a normal stop at the grocery store.” Actually, he probably wasn’t thinking anything about the incident but what was going to happen next – where they were going, what they would be doing.

Every time I see an adult with their child there is a sweet sadness that wafts over me. My most favorite time of my life has been when I was in the middle of raising my sons. I really can’t explain it other than I think that was what I was created to do.

The thing is, I didn’t realize it at the time. Oh, I was having a good time. I just didn’t put enough value on it. It was just normal for me.

It was normal to dig worms out of jeans pockets, fish jackknives from the washing machine, bandage miscellaneous body parts. It was normal to have to mop the bathroom floor after a bath. It was normal to break up fights, to wrestle one down to clean their ears, to tell them 4 or 5 times to brush their teeth.

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Normal came in so many varieties.

Leaving clothes lay around and not taking clean clothes back upstairs. Chunks of mud on the floor in zig zag designs from their shoes. Ripped jeans and stretched out stained T-shirts. Endless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the mountains of chocolate chip cookies made. The list could go on for a long time.

After the boys were all grown and left the nest I stayed busy in many ways. I was on my back-porch swing with one of my wigglies and I remember asking God if he could give me something great to do. I wanted to do something that would have impact – especially for him.

He spoke to my heart. “You don’t need something great to do. I have blessed you with so many things and you have much to do. It doesn’t have to be big. You need to pay attention to the everyday things put in front of you. Celebrate the Ordinary.”

Celebrate the Ordinary became my new life’s purpose.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I actually found a Bible verse to back this up.

Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah. Psalm 68:19.

Daily, ordinary, normal benefits that we lose sight of. 

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Young parents that are frazzled by the mountains of dirty clothes, homework, chauffeuring kids from place to place. The huge grocery bill for the bottomless pit kids, the constant correction needing to be given are all blessings. Don’t let these “normal” days and years pass you by.

The same could be said in every stage of our lives.

The newlyweds that laugh at each other’s not funny jokes, the spontaneous trips, sleeping in on the weekend – whatever it is that newlyweds do.

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Those with older parents that you are caring for. The constant doctor’s appointments, the reminding over and over, the frustrations of care giving. It will all be a thing of the past and you will long for one more conversation. These are precious blessings – not normal nor ordinary.

No matter where you are in life, chances are you need to stop and pay attention to the ordinary. Normal, ordinary are blessings from God. There is much more joy in life when you appreciate what God gives daily.

Purpose to not let the normal go unnoticed.

 

 

 

 

 

A Mother's Day Tribute

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There are four reasons why I can celebrate Mother’s Day. And this is in acknowledgment of them.

Son #1 – It’s a wonder he’s alive. The first one is the experimental, learning one. He came into the world backwards and caused the start of C-sections in my future. I will spare you the details other than saying it wasn’t the best bonding experience. Trying to do a spinal that didn’t work and waking up to a new baby - it was quite the initiation into motherhood.

He has all the first-born virtues. He’s like me when it comes to certain things – mostly all his good qualities. He now owns Anchorage Yacht Sales and jumping into one of his “boats” is a luxury for us. He will always hold a special place in my heart as being the first.

Son #2 – He came into the world during a blizzard. Also, C-section. This time I was awake and got to meet him sooner.

He has my softer, sentimental traits. He is also the one who has the best memories of incidents, lines from movies and odd randomness stored within his cerebral housing. He also it the MacGyver of the family. Give him duct tape, a little wire and you will lack nothing. He will always hold a special place in my heart as being the second.

Son #3 – He’s a mix between first born and the middle child. I waited five years between him and #2. He was the smiley, happiest of all the sons.

He is our techy guy. If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times – “did you google it?” – when asking him for help. He also is one that can spout correct information about the most random things. He’s an avid podcast listener and has a plethora of topics he has learned.

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He’s a lot like me when it comes to righteous indignation. We both can have a zealous streak every now and then – more now than then. He will always hold a special place in my heart as being the third.

Son#4 – My last hurrah. The others say he is spoiled. I prefer to think he was easier – by the time he came along I was on auto pilot and not much freaked me out with him.

He’s a mix of his previous brothers. I also think he tolerates me the most. Probably because he was picked on and called “the favorite” by three older brothers and I went to his defense. Well, not really, he could hold his own but they said I always intervened. He will always hold a special place in my heart as being the final one.

Being Mom to these four have been my greatest joy. I am proud of each of them and who they have become.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 89 to the Best Dad Ever!

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Today is a very special day – my dad’s 89th birthday.

 How is it that I was chosen to have him as my father? I’m not sure how God decides but I am so grateful I was chosen to be his daughter. 

From the very beginning my dad has been a big presence in my life. I remember “helping” him when he was building our home. He built my childhood home just about single handedly. And, it’s wonderful to be able to come home to that same house.

I remember him helping me to ride a bike. I learned to plant sweet corn with him. When we went fishing up north it wasn’t “we” that fished. It was me – he was continually baiting my hook, removing a fish or untangling my line.

On Sunday mornings before church we used to kneel and pray in the living room. I remember liking to be by his side.

He took me to piano lessons – which I totally felt was a waste of time.

He spent a lot of time building the church we went to. It was fun to see behind the scenes as the building was going up.

He was by my side at church when I accepted Christ and when I was accepted by my husband.

Growing up he always stopped in at bedtime and sat on the edge of the bed and told me how much he loved me.

Never do we say good-bye in person or on the phone without me hearing "I love you and I'm so proud of you."

My dad has been involved in my life and I love him so much.

This is hands down one of my top 5 favorite pictures. My dad with my sons in rapt attention.

This is hands down one of my top 5 favorite pictures. My dad with my sons in rapt attention.

Back porch swing wisdom.

Back porch swing wisdom.

Now, he’s also my kids’ Grampa. And all my boys are drawn to him and will sit and listen to his stories of how he grew up etc.

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 My dad is an avid bird lover and care taker. He is constantly redesigning bird houses to help the birds stay at the feeder longer.

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 My dad is tough – a couple of years ago he went through a year of medical treatments that were discouraging, time consuming and limited his involvement in life. He made it through fine.

And, all of this is a result in his relationship with God. That has always been the plumb line in our family.

Over and over again, my dad pointed out how God was working things out and that his Presence was responsible for all.

So, I want to wish my wonderful father a Happy Birthday, tell the world how great he is and I pray you all have a father or father figure in your life as wonderful as I do.

 

 

Who Is A Farm Wife and Why Does She Blog?

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With all my (notice I’ve claimed you as mine) newer followers/peeps, I thought I’d take a minute and introduce myself. Some of you probably have no clue about who I am, where I came from and why I am here. So, if you’re at all interested, continue, otherwise … 

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I’m a wife of 47+ years, mother to 4 wonderful sons, with 3 of the best daughters-in-law (yes, still have one amazingly handsome son available in case you’re interested) and 8 of the craziest, beautiful grandkids.

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We have a dairy farm in the West MI area where we employ about 15 great partners in ag. We milk around 750 Holsteins three times a day in a double 12 herringbone. We farm around 1200 acres. We have been rooted here for over 120 years. We still have those big tall blue silos which are great to look at but time and work intensive compared to other ways to store feed.

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Farmer, myself, Son #2, his wife and kids are the family members who now run the farm.

Those are the bare bone facts of the farm.

Some back story of myself -since I know ya’ll are on the edge of your seat.

I was raised on the east side of MI. My dad was a tool and die maker for General Motors. My life there was the complete opposite of what it is now. My dad was home every day by 4:00. We had supper every night. He was home on the weekends and we took summer vacations.

I graduated at 17 in June, turned 18 in July and got married in September. So, I walked down the city church aisle into the barnyard. OMGosh. What a culture change to say the least.

I was not prepared – probably because I was so in lust um I mean love with this dashing handsome hunk of a farmer I paid no attention to any other details of my life to come.

The first year or so of our marriage was getting used to doing things differently (me, not him). While it was just the two of us it was fine, I could work with late nights, no suppers around the table, no vacations etc. I helped with calf feeding and rode along in any and all farm machinery.

The hard part came when the kids came and I was a single mom with a husband somewhere within a 10-mile radius. Remember there were no cell phones, no texting. Not having the core family, I wanted was difficult. Farmer left before everyone was up and came home later in the evening after we had supper. Sunday dinner was the only dinner we had together as a family.

The farm became my enemy. I hated it. I hated everything about it.

For several years I was buried in taking care of the kids. School, sports, feeding them, cleaning them, clothing them, everything. Farmer was around but not always within if you know what I mean.

As the kids got older we all got more involved and that’s when the love affair began. I would take supper out to the fields and the kids would ride along falling asleep behind the seat – before buddy seats.

We learned the dance and at times it was as easy and as graceful as a waltz. Other times it was like a herky jerky.

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Other than my God, and my family there is nothing I am more passionate about than our farm. We are so blessed to take care of these critters and creation.

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What do I do for/on the farm? I take care of the books – and now will be transitioning that to my daughter-in-law. I help take care of the grounds – a whole lot of mowing, weed whacking and flowering over there. I also deliver – food and folks from field to field. I merge hay – my one and only field job (I’ve realized it’s best not to learn anything else). I cook for our guys, I run for parts, I help with vet events at the farm. I feed calves; I chase cows I do whatever I can when I can. I listen to farmer complain; I listen to son complain. I try to mediate and be the peacemaker at times.

While it is all hard work, I do love it. I enjoy having the ability to physically continue to work until it hurts (which comes faster and easier).

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My back porch and the barnyard are my islands of sanity. In the summer I migrate to the porch whenever I can. It’s a great place to quiet myself, listen to God, and connect with the quietness I desperately need at times. Walking through the barns with my BEBs (Brown Eyed Bossies) the shuffling, mooing, clanking all those small noises become a melody that calms my soul.

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I pray over my cows, I cry over my cows, and I dance with my calves. God knew what he was doing when he connected me with that cute farmer boy.

Next: Part #2 – Why do I do social media?

47 Sundays

We are short one person at the main table today.

We are short one person at the main table today.

47 Sundays – what? That’s approximately how many family Sunday dinners I make each year. 

47 Sundays – when? 1:00 PM – plenty of time for everyone’s church to be done and out.

47 Sundays – why? When I was raising our four sons Farmer was gone 80% of the time. The other 20% he was either eating or sleeping – at least that’s what it felt like. Sundays on the farm we only do the necessities.

When the kids were young he would go do chores, come home and we would all go to church. We would eat Sunday dinner together and he would sleep all afternoon until time to go do chores again. We would go to church at night and then maybe an hour or so hanging out as a family and then bed.

Sundays were the worst. He was exhausted from being at the farm all week and I was totally wiped out from raising 4 kids alone. Then on Sunday when I would have done just about anything to get someone to help so I could take a short nap, I was still taking care of the kids alone.

My kids didn’t nap. They hardly slept at night it felt like. For many years there was at least one or two kids who couldn’t be left alone so I could take a short snooze. I was exhausted for many years.

It was then that I decided that if I ever had daughters-in-law and if they lived nearby I would offer Sunday dinner. That way they would have at least one day to look forward to in order to have a break and little less they had to do.

If I would have known that for one meal a week I could walk in and let my kids loose and eat dinner it would have been heaven.

So, for too many years to count I have been having the pleasure of treating my daughters-in-law to dinner each week. They offer many times to help and I just want them to enjoy. I let them do the clean-up, which is nice. While they clean up I can sit at the table and listen to the guys talking and laughing and run after grandkids when needed.

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There have been many side blessings to Sunday dinners together as a family. It keeps us connected. Yes, over the years there have been more than one son working with us. But, it’s so valuable to leave the farm and come together as father and son, brother and brother and family.

Most Sundays everyone is here. There are weeks when one family or another have other plans. Especially in the summer we can have a family or two miss a few weeks, but usually the rest are here.

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Sundays are for birthday celebrations. Everyone is busy throughout the week so birthdays are saved for Sundays.

There can be a lot of laughter on Sundays and a lot of raised voices. To say I have 4 passionate sons is putting it quietly.

There was a rough patch we went through as a family. I don’t care how good any family looks on the outside there is always a time when things get sticky and ugly. When we were going through our rough time Sunday dinner was a day that forced (voluntarily – I never expect nor demand anyone to be here) us together. The worst thing to do when having difficulties is to separate and isolate. Sunday dinners we had to be nice – the grandkids were watching and at times my kids knew if I couldn’t have a short period of time where I felt all was right I would have a break down.

We’ve out grown tables over the years. Even now with my dining room table sitting 14 we are still short three places. Fortunately, when we remodeled it was done totally around the kitchen and Sunday dinners.

The dinner is put out buffet style and usually runs the full nine feet of the island. For birthdays, the guest of honor picks the meal and the dessert. The other Sundays I usually decide – sometimes I ask for suggestions and sometimes someone requests.

After dinner the “buffet” island is used for many other activities – making slime, playing games, baking cookies, etc.

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I am so grateful and thankful to my kids that they come most weeks. Even my grandkids hang around a while afterwards.

The stories we hear about “remember when . . .” and the comical run in with so and so and “I was so embarrassed when . . .” only come out around the table.

For me, Sunday’s are the beginning of a new week and an ending of the last week.

I would suggest everyone consider a Sunday family dinner – at least now and then. Coming together over food is a form of love like no other.

If you’re ever in our area on Sundays around 1:00, stop in. We’ll squeeze you in somewhere.

 

 

 

The Darkness and Heart Holders

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The dark shadow was back. The shadow swept over from the wings of the black object that flew over. Those who shared the same heart could see. They exchanged hopeless glances.

Every time it came it was accompanied by a sick feeling. No one new when it would arrive, how long it would stay or how dark it would become.

The first few times the darkness flew over it was brief and fleeting. Some even missed seeing it. Those the closest could feel the heat of the sun diminish.

The object of the darkness saw it coming and wanted to know from those who shouldered with him, his heart holders, if there was something to thwart the darkness.

There were a few weapons used and it did hold the shadows back for a while.

Soon the shadows while they may not have been blatantly observant, were constantly hovering nearby. The core that were connect through the heart saw the shadow advancing and then retreating, then advancing again. As days went by the advancement became more forceful. The boundaries between the light and the darkness were broken.

The heart holders watched helplessly as the sun became elusive.

Every now and then there would be a stretch of sunshine. It was such a light joyous feeling for everyone. And then like a summer storm the cloud would appear and block out the sun.

The heart holders are always on the lookout for the sunshine. They long for the sun to shine again but know that there is a limited amount of sun left to shine.

There are many heart holders out there that are trying to live within the shadow and pray for the light.

Taking time to recount the sunny days is a joyful, arduous task that takes work but results in some artificial sunshine for the heart holders and the victim.

From one heart holder to another, I pray you find some sunshine within the darkness and find joy even so.

While no one can conquer the darkness, heart holders can learn to have moments of victory even within the darkness of dementia.

The Farmer, The Police, The Farmer

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It was a beautiful fall day. Or maybe it was a summer day. No, I think it was spring. Anyway, it was a beautiful day and I was coming home from the bank. No, the grocery store . . . Anyway, I was coming home.

I drove through the beautiful countryside and was asked politely by light language to pull over.

I put my window down as the officer approached my vehicle. I’m thinking “Crap, I must have been speeding.” There was a time in my life I did speed - on purpose. Now, I truly, honestly try to follow the speed limit – with the given 5 -8 mph bump that everyone goes by.

Here’s the convo:

Officer: Are you in a hurry and where are you headed?

Me: No, not really just on my way home.

Officer: Did you realize you were going above the speed limit?

Me: No, I was listening to a book on CD and just heading home.

Officer: What are you listening too?

Me: This – I held up Sara Palin’s autobiography. I love to listen and read bios of anyone and it was at the time she was running for VP.

Officer: How is it?

Me: Very interesting.

Officer: Can I have your license and registration please.

Me: Sure, um, if I can find it. – The license part was easy; the registration was buried in the glove compartment with a lot of dead useless registrations.

Officer: Thanks, give me a minute and I’ll be right back.

After a short time, he came back and gave me my cards and said to please slow down and take it easy.

I thanked him and told him how much I appreciated him and what he did.

And, that was that I thought. I got caught but no one will know. I watched the few cars that went by while I was stopped and didn’t recognize anyone. Safe from Farmer’s chastisement!

The next Sunday at dinner Son #2 said “Did you get a ticket the other day?”

“Crap, he must have seen me” I thought.

Me: “No, why, did you see me?”

Son: #2 “No, I was running late going to the chiropractor and got pulled over. When I gave him my license, he asked me if Diane was my mother. I told him yes, why? And he said he stopped you earlier in the day.”

Me: “Did you get a ticket”? Part of me was wishing he did so I could feel and tell him how special I was to that nice police officer.

Son#2 “Nope, he just told me to slow down.”

So, while I thought I had escaped the glare of chastisement I was completely entertained by the process. We all had a good laugh.

Last summer Son #2 had his dog and litter of pups out in our yard when that same officer went down our road. He made a U-turn in our farm driveway and stopped to chat and see the puppies.

He and the other officer that regularly are in our area has stopped at the farm when Farmer was near the road. They stop and chat and ask how things are going occasionally.

Can I say how much I appreciate these guys? Not only the fact that they are extremely nice and interested in us but the fact that they put themselves in the path of possible danger every day.

I’ve always said it takes a special person to want to farm and put up with all the hardships as well as enjoy the blessings.

I think it takes a very special person to become a police officer. The “stuff” they have to put up with, the disrespect, the danger.

My niece and nephew are police officers in Flint. I have a grandson pursuing education to become a police officer. We pray for them on a daily basis as well as all police officers and military. I’m so grateful for what they do to keep my world as safe as they can.

I am especially thankful for our area officers that keep my “bubble” a great place.

As you go about your day, pay attention to the ease in which you travel and find a grateful spot in your heart for them. Pray for them. Thank them.

Also, perhaps we should think about and maybe adjust that 5-8 mph bump. Just sayin’

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Dear Mamas of Young Ones,

They say the nights are long, but the years are short. Very true.

Some of you may be so bogged down by your daily routine that you feel less valuable than you are. You may think it’s just one more sink full of dirty dishes, one more load of laundry, one more carpooling trip.

You are wrong! You are destinyingly wrong. Yes, destinyingly is a word (maybe only in my world but . . .)  – pertaining to destiny!!

First of all, you have been chosen to be these little’s mother – an honor worth recognizing.

I remember feeling just as I described. I kept thinking by the time my kids are grown I’ll be too old or too worn out to accomplish anything great. I mean, who doesn’t want to do something great?

One day as I was trying to match up the unmatchable, disappearing yet multiplying socks I felt God gave me a little something.

Instead of just folding those clothes, be a specific pray-er over those clothes.

I began to pray as I folded. Lord, bless the feet that these socks cover. Keep them on the right track.  As I folded pants – God keep them traveling along your path. As I folded shirts – Please keep them ever mindful of you.

As I continued my daily tasks, the purposeful prayers continued.

While making the beds I prayed God would cover them with his love and protection.

As I was elbow deep in dishes, I prayed I would be able to feed their soul as I did their bodies.

While cleaning the bathroom – it’s amazing where toothpaste ends up. I prayed God would strengthen them and be especially near to them.

As I hung up their clothes or picked up after them, I prayed that God would be a central part of their lives.

When we were in the car full of other littles, I prayed over them that they would all pick the right friends. I prayed for their friend’s family that they would love Jesus and be part of his Kingdom.

When they went out the door, I prayed out loud – I prayed God’s protection, love and companionship. I spoke words of blessings.

Your prayers have the ability to be destiny changing, life giving and future altering.

They say women can multi-task easy.

Let’s make our taskings worthwhile.

 

 

The Many Sides of A Farm Wife

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A Farm Wife Blog – what’s it all about?

As a farm wife I have many sides. Like a Rhombicosidodecahedron. (I’ll let you look that one up) Oh, and the sides, they are complicated.

If you follow me, you will know I write about many different topics. That’s because I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a Christian. I am a farmer also – I’m not just the wife of a farmer, I farm. I drive tractor, help deliver calves, feed calves, milk cows, help with medical procedures, do the book work, feed the help and the list goes on. So, you see there are many sides.

Because of this I almost feel like I am unfocused at times. I feel like I might disappoint the reader that wants just farm stuff. And, to be clear, I do write some technical farm stuff, but I tend to be better at the human aspect of farming.

I also try to get to the point quickly. I myself lose interest easily so I try to spare my readers.

Why am I telling you all of this? Not really sure, just felt the need.

Today I want to share where I am in life right now. Many of my friends are now retired, traveling, taking it easy. I or I should say we (Farmer and myself) are working just as hard for just about nothing. Honestly, I really don’t see the taking it easy or traveling in my near future either – because of the farm.

It all comes down to the farm. Well, really, who the farm is and will be.

We have one son that it still farming and has the desire to continue. I don’t think there ever was a stray thought that traveled through his mind to pursue any other profession. And, he is fourth generation. Being a generational business adds more pressure and pleasure. Nowadays it’s more pressure than pleasure. We have chosen to do this. No one is twisting our arm other than circumstances.

Farming has been a hardship – a crappy, hard, unrewarding, non-money making (heck, can’t even break-even) stress filed, joyless life for several years now.

So, why do we continue? Sometimes I wonder. Are we setting our son and daughter-in-law up for a life of hardships, a life of failing?

I’ve been trying to figure it out. Doing a lot of soul searching. I think we feel an obligation to continue the heritage. No one wants to be the one who stops a moving train, to derail it. It just feels like this train is going to run us over. So, we continue trying to stay head of the train and stay on track.

Why am I writing this? I’m really not sure other than the fact that when I started this blog, I purposed to be transparent. I am so sick and tired of the display of perfection in the media, the church, the business world, among humans in general. Your weaknesses and struggles help me as much or more than your strengths and accomplishments.

Some may think I want sympathy. We talked about that in a previous blog. Sympathy is the last thing I want. There is no power or help in sympathy.

My purpose other than being transparent is to be helpful. To encourage and up lift. So, how in the heck can this sad, moaning and groaning help? Maybe it will help someone not feel alone. That they aren’t the only one. That they are not a failure on an island. That their train isn’t the only one shaking and rocking when going around the curves of life.

There are a few things I know.

One – we are not alone. There is a God that has a plan and purpose and it may not look like it now, but he is at work.

Two – if our train derails and smashes down a mountainside, we will survive. We will just look for another train – maybe smaller or perhaps a whole different looking train.

Three – being vulnerable is hard, scary and embarrassing at times, but I truly feel propelled to do so, therefore, there must be some value in this.

This is what’s on my mind today. Tomorrow you may hear about a great new recipe, or something quirkily a grandkid did or how the cows got out, or how I found extreme peace in the middle of the barn.

My hope is that I have helped, given hope, encouragement or just plain “shaking your head” feelings. Maybe this has allowed someone else the freedom to be real. As I’ve said before Real = Results.

There is always the hope of tomorrow. And, I look forward with anticipation of better things to come.

Stay tuned. . .

New Year’s Suggestions for Mom

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I dislike New Year’s Resolutions because it just seems like they carry too much pressure. 

I like the thought of New Year’s Resolutions because we all need a restart now and then.

Therefore, I try to rephrase it as New Year’s Suggestions.

You may wonder why I would take the time to share or why you should even consider reading this. I’ve been there. I’ve done that – been a mom. I’m still a mom. And, I have four sons who have become amazing men and while I can’t take much credit, I can share some tidbits.

So, here you go – from my mom’s heart to yours.

1.     Relax. Oh, my, yes. Sit back, take a deep breath and relax. Loosen your grip on being the perfect mom. You will NEVER EVER achieve it. You WILL mess up. And, it will be okay. The voice in your head telling you your kid will need years of counseling because you might do something wrong is a lie. God created humans to withstand mistakes.

2.     Say “yes” more. Keep your “nos” to a minimum. When your default becomes no, it is usually for a selfish reason – you don’t want the mess, you don’t want to stop what you are doing, you don’t want the mess, you don’t want to be inconvenienced and you don’t want the mess. Get it? Kids make messes. Anyone who lives with or works with a person who says no before the question or thought is fully exposed knows how draining it is.

3.     Take time to make time. Find something you can do one on one. I know there are seasons in life when just keeping them alive is a major accomplishment. Find activities you can do together where it’s just the two of you. Two of my sons wrestled and did freestyle wrestling. Farmer was tethered to the farm so if they wanted to participate it was up to me. We wanted our kids to have the ability to pursue what they enjoyed within reason. Therefore, a baby sitter was found for the other boys and I would take my kid all over the area, spend the day in the gym watching him get twisted and take down other kids – all – day – long. It was the ride there and the ride back that was our special time. Get your kids in the car. They are trapped.

4.     Allow your children to make mistakes. Mistakes are some of the best jumping off places for greatness. If your kids are free to fail, they are freer to succeed.

5.     Praise your kid for who he is, not what he does. Kids should learn their worth is who they are. If their worth comes from the good they do, they will quickly become so entangled in performance and never find the awesomeness of themselves. God gives each of us places to shine. In the places we fail God loves us no less than when we succeed. Teach your kids that by example.

6.     As parents we throw a lot of money at things that will help our kids get better at sports, better at dance, better at scholastics. We need to help our kids improve at being better humans by encouraging, showing and teaching good character. Day to day show excellence in your actions. Pick up the empty cup in the parking lot, hold the door open for someone behind you, say please and thank you, tell the cashier they are doing a great job, pay for the person behind you in drive-thru – the list can go on and on.

7.     Purpose to have fun, laugh and be joyful. Think about it. Would you rather spend time with someone who is negative and stern or with someone who laughs easily, is joyful and finds the best in you?

8.     For me, the most important, is to use the name of Jesus throughout your interactions. By this I do not mean “preaching or shaming”. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe things happen for a reason and somethings are “arranged” by God himself. When you see something really cool like a special rock (for some reason kids love finding cool rocks) point how God did such a good job making it special. Show them the God details in life – look at how many different colors of green God created, watch how a bud turns into a flower and a flower into an apple. Teach that that didn’t happen by accident, that God loves us so much he makes things special. Stop and pray when a decision is needed. And always thank God for answers – even the little ones like helping you find that missing sock or whatever. 

I leave you with these few suggestions.

My goal is to help you find joy while IN THE MIDST of motherhood so that when you look back you can do so with a smile.

Blessings to you Mamas.

I Have a Problem with Keeping Christ in Christmas

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I have a problem with “Keeping Christ in Christmas.” 

Before you go all wonky on me, let me explain.

I totally understand the whole idea but for me it just doesn’t work.

We purpose to interject Christ in our everyday. We talk about him, we try to point out his blessings and we look for him in every situation. Jesus should be as easy to speak of and experience as a sunset, or rainbow after the rain. You need to expect and look for him and you will find him.

And, keeping Christ in Christmas – shouldn’t we let him out of Christmas and invite him into our daily lives?

If I make a huge deal about him on Christmas day it will feel like I need to save him for that day.

I also think that part of it is that we have never made birthdays a big deal around here. Oh, we celebrate them but there are gifts and celebrations of each other all year long. I don’t want to have to have a calendar dictate when I should be nice or appreciative of someone. And, I didn’t want my family to think they had to pay attention to Christ on Christmas and then could let him slide into the background the rest of the year.

So, while I get the whole idea, I’m not a fan.

I pray your Christmas Christ is acknowledged all year long and that you seek him, find him and celebrate him daily.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Dear Mamas,

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Sit with me a few minutes. Grab a cup of coffee, go into your bathroom and run the water in the tub so you can’t hear what’s going on with the kids. They’ll survive a few minutes. 

First of all, you just need to know that you are going to mess up. Many times. So, relax, accept it and leave it behind.

You are even going to “not like” your kids (Gasp!). Yep, you’ll want them to disappear for just a few minutes. Normal!

As moms we put so many demands on ourselves and even on each other.

We tell each other our victories – “Sally Sue was potty trained at 6 months!” Meanwhile, Vicky Mae didn’t care about it nor was totally trained until she was 3. Let me tell you something. Sally Sue wasn’t trained at 6 months. Whoever took her and sat her on the toilet was trained at 6 months. The most important thing – by looking at any grown adult or even any kid in school, can you determine when they were potty trained? Does it determine the path of their life? Does it make any stinking difference? Heck no. So, do your thing. Teach about the potty. Change the diapers. It will all work out.

We will be attending school and church Christmas programs soon. You can scan the rows of children in their decked out to the tee garb. I think it must be easier for mothers of girls to go a bit overboard. The clothes, the shoes, the hair. For my four boys I had all I could hope for to keep their faces clean, hair combed, and shirts buttoned on the right buttons.

Are all our efforts to adorn them beneficial? While I believe telling the sweet little girl how pretty her dress is and how handsome the little dude looks, is fine and dandy, shouldn’t we be finding a quality about them to praise?

And then, we must hit the stores night after night to find that perfect Christmas morning gift that will light up their eyes with joy. That light will fade within a few hours. The nights sharing the dinner table, cleaning up the kitchen, checking the homework, reading the books with them will last a lifetime.

Oh, and dare we not pull out all the stops to help our kids perform Olympic level sports. We will send them to camps, buy the latest, greatest and most expensive piece of equipment they need to be in line for the sport scouts to see. This is an easy one to fall into especially if your kids have a bent for sports. And, there is nothing wrong with supporting them. I had four sons that were sports minded and I did everything I could to equip them. And, once again there is nothing wrong with supplying the tools for them to succeed. It’s when the sport supersedes who the child is.

Then there’s school. The pressure put on kids today to “be their best”. Their worth is determined by a grade on a paper. Let’s admit it. There are some kids who will struggle their whole time in school. They will never make the honor roll. They will never have a grade point worthy of bragging. But they have worth. They have a spot to shine in this world. God drops something into each and every person. School doesn’t have to define someone’s worth or future.

Do we let them slack off and not meet the requirements of school? Heavens no. But, don’t hold your encouragement and praise until they bring home a grade you think is worthy of your words. That kid who will never made a grade above a C- may have the biggest servant’s heart in the whole building. He/She may be the one that will stand up to stop the other kids from bullying. That kid who sits at the table in tears because they “don’t get it” may be the one who brings joy and laughter when others need it the most.

We don’t need to push and propel our kids out into the world fully equipped for all of life’s circumstances – that’s impossible. Mama’s aren’t supposed to create that perfect life. Life is never perfect. With all your work to make your home nirvana you will have kids who will be slapped in the face with reality and may not be able to survive.

Let your kids see your failures. Let them know you can’t afford something, and choices have to be made. Let them know you love them whether they are holding a paper with an A or an F sprawled on the top.

When they succeed, whether at sports or academically, praise them for WHO they are, not what they did.

Mamas – create a home where all the kids want to come and hang out. Let your house be the messy house that kids can come and sprawl over the furniture, eat cookies at your table and relax. You be the place of rest. It’s amazing what you can learn when the kids are dunking cookies in milk at your table while you are in the background cleaning the kitchen or rearranging your spices over and over again, so you can hear the chatter.

Don’t try to be the “cool” mom. Be the fun mom. Be the mom that allows mistakes. The mom who allows messes. The mom who allows time to pass and relationships to be built. Be the mom who knows the value of being mom and not friend. Your friendship will come at a later date, but right now they have plenty of friends. They need a mom.

Before you get judgmental, being a mom is saying no. Being a mom is calling kids out. Being a mom is telling all of them to help clean up. Being a mom is setting boundaries when necessary. Being all of that will draw all those kids closer. That’s what they all need.

There is one goal that I think all moms should put at the top of their list to reach. Teach your children about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Speaking the name of Jesus should flow in and out of your conversations with ease. If we put as much effort into “Jesus training” as we did into academics and sports what a difference our world would be. Be sure you aren’t living a legalistic Jesus where they have to be good to deserve God. God loves messy people. God loves those who make mistakes. Let your kids understand that there is nothing too bad for God to love. That there are no surprises to God and there’s no point to hiding what we’ve done. And, there is NO reason to hold a wrong in their hearts for one second after asking for forgiveness.

Intertwined in all of this are rules. Yes, the ugly word – rules. But rules don’t have to rule. Consequences can teach louder than our pointing finger, head bobbing, tongue lashing sermons.

Love, love, love your kids.

Relax. Laugh. Enjoy – even the messy parts.

I always have a cup of coffee and a table available for anyone who wants to dump their burdens, cry about their messes or just want to compare notes. While I didn’t do everything right, I have four of the most amazing, wonderful, strong, God fearing sons. That alone proves that God makes up what we don’t provide as mothers.

Now, drain the tub and face those treasures God gave you.