farmers wife | limping forward.

Today is October the 8th, it’s 6:20 on a Monday night. I feel the need to make note of the time because this is a first for me. I am writing this as I sit in the café at Barnes and Nobles a stack of books to my right, a latte to my left and a clean slate staring back at me willing me to let the floodgates of my heart open. This is something I have always dreamt of doing. Yes, you read that right. I obviously have big dreams – dreams that consist of me sitting in a café drinking coffee while I rapidly type words. When I was younger I daydreamed on the regular, and one of those reoccurring daydreams was of me in a coffee shop, writing. Maybe that’s why I feel such a connection to coffee shops; why I am literally drawn to them, why I find myself invigorated with passion (and most likely caffeine) when the smooth rich scent of roasted beans pierces through the foggy veil of my daily routine. Until I sat here tonight I never understood my affection for such a commonplace establishment – it’s not about the coffee, though I have had some really wonderful lattes over the years, it’s simply because I am reminded of the girl who had a dream, a dream to write.

So here I sit, in a room full of people who share the same fondness for coffee and books. There’s a table in front of me I’ve watched as four elderly ladies made their way gingerly to the table, it appears they are part of a book club. The longer I observe them the more my heart swells. I see myself among them. I glanced up for a moment and caught the eye of one of them so I gave her my warmest smile in hopes that the wrinkles surrounding my eyes would convey what I wanted to say; “dear sweet lady, do not hush your giggles on my account; I am actually writing you into my story, so please continue with your contagious laughter.” I can’t help but wonder as I listen to their banter – that has gone way off the topic of the book – when they looked out the car window as a child where did their thoughts go? Did those dreams come true? Did life get in the way of all they’d hoped to accomplish?

Earlier today I was at the gym walking – I would love to lie and say I was running – but I will be fully transparent, I had zero desire to go to the gym today but somehow my car ended up in the parking lot so I drug my rear-end inside and mustered up enough motivation to walk at a brisk pace while browsing my phone with the attention span of a three year old. Not too long into my walk a beautiful girl in her early 20’s got on the treadmill, pressed the speed dial a couple notches then started walking, very slowly. It only took her one step for me to notice that she had a very prominent limp. Her left leg awkwardly took each step as her right leg took the brunt of her weight. It looked uncomfortable and painful and by her third step my empathetic button switched to on and my heart started to ache for her. I wanted to cheer her on, reach over and give her a high five or better yet a hug. Instead I just glanced at her out of the corner of my left eye trying to muster up enough courage to whisper what my heart was saying – “you sweet girl are so brave and inspiring.” But before my voice box caught up to my brain she finished her walk and moved on. I went back to my phone and opened my Kindle app. It was on the most recent book I’m reading Remember God by Annie Downs and the very first sentence I read almost stopped me in my tracks. It felt like it had literally jumped from my screen, it said  “maybe the limp is healing.” I can’t make this stuff up if I tried. It continued with a short story of a man in the Bible, Jacob, who formed a limp and then, THEN (here’s where I started looking over my shoulder for a bearded man in a toga) I read this – “He (Jacob) wanted a blessing, and he got a limp. Or maybe, the limp was his blessing.”

Ok God. Way to make your point clear. I left the gym and have thought about those words ever since. It got me thinking about my own limp though not apparent while I walk but so very evident when I chase after my dreams.

I tend to start towards my dreams at a dead sprint only to find myself stalled by my fears, my insecurities and my comparisons to others who are running in the lane next to me. I go from sprinting to limping because I want the blessing but not the difficulties and disappointments, and frustrations and failures that come between the start line and the finish line. Instead of pushing through and slowing my pace to a walk, I just stop all together.

I start the blog post, the journal entry, the outline of the book, the first chapter, but never put the period. I let people read my writing, I post it on social media, I vulnerably put it out there, only to edit excessively and count the likes obsessively fearing others opinions, before my cursor inevitably finds it’s way to the delete button.

I believe in miracles, pray for a baby, trust that God’s timing is perfect, and then I cry in the waiting room at the gynecologist, text my husband curse words and basically give God the middle finger because he’s blessed every other woman in that waiting room but me.

I start the diet, then I eat the ice cream. Ev-er-ry-day.

I show up to the gym, but I don’t really show up.

I wake up early and give myself time to drink my coffee, and cuddle the dog, and put lipstick on, and I set my alarm to do the same thing the next day then I hit snooze 39 times and have 15 minutes to make myself look like a human before rushing out of the house – careful not to spill the coffee on the dog or put lipstick on my teeth.

I sprint, I Iimp, I stop.

But the thing that God so blatantly pointed out today is that limping isn’t a reason to stop. Limping is a reason to keeping moving forward. It’s not a burden, it’s a blessing.

Because it is when we take the first step, He takes the greatest leaps.

Our steps may be uncomfortable, and awkward and downright painful, but when we move a little He moves a lot.

The proof of  this promise was evident in the beautiful young girl with the limp next to me at the gym, and the beautifully aged woman who limped to the table next to me at the coffee shop where I took a small, unsteady step towards one of my own dreams.

Here’s to limping forward.

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farmers wife | there’s a goat in my house.

Today I came home to a goat in my back yard. A cute little goat. He was sun bathing in the horses pen, and my first thought was “that doesn’t look like a pig” because we were supposed to be getting one delivered this week. And then my second thought was “awww my husband surprised me because he knows how much I love miniature furry things.” But then I called him and learned that the goat was not supposed to be there, and no I was not allowed to keep it. The goat was lost and it was my job to save him. So Munchkin and I grabbed some hay (do goats eat hay?) and started doing our best goat talk. Sure enough the sweet little guy came right to us and I scooped him up and took him into our mudroom. And it took all but 2 seconds, and 1 nuzzle of his tiny head and we were in love. Operation convince dad we need a goat is in full force.

Sometimes it’s the unplanned little moments that fill us with the most joy.

Yet, I oftentimes miss them in the rush of every day life. The constant hustle of getting from point A to point B, never stopping in between. Today I drove home from work making a to do list in my head—get home, throw a load in the washer, hurry and get dinner going, change into work out clothes so maybe it’ll motivate me to run while I wait at munchkin’s practice, get munchkin to practice (on time), then to church for youth group after, do I need anything from Kroger?— I called Kenz when I pulled onto our road so she could unlock the door for me, because for the love THERE IS NO TIME for keys! But as I turned onto our drive way she was waving me down and giving me the slow-down-you-maniac-driver signal. When I rolled down my window to patiently inquire why, she said “shh there’s a goat and I don’t want you to scare him away.”

Most of our unexpected moments aren’t always as obvious as a goat sunbathing in the back yard. But I bet if we slowed down more often and set our to do list aside we’d see that life is full of little moments just waiting for us to notice them, or pet them.

I’m so thankful for my daughters reminder to slow down so I didn’t miss (or scare away) this little moment. I didn’t get everything marked off my to do list but we smiled and laughed the whole way to practice talking about our unexpected house guest, and how we can’t wait to have one of our own (cough, cough, wink, wink!)

See, these little moments…. they really aren’t little 💗

*moral of the story – slow down, pet a goat, thank me later.

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farmers wife | preparation.

H E L L O M A Y ! And hello everyone that has been waiting patiently for me to fill your screen with witty wisdom. I can assure you I am still alive, and I’m doing rather well—I have simply been on an “eat-pray-love” hiatus— eating lots of ice cream, praying for lots of sunshine like we had today, and loving the heck out of my tribe.

I was reflecting on our past season as I rode shotgun in the tractor next to my husband today. He was field cultivating and my inquiring mind wanted to know why. His answer was simple, as it always is — he was preparing the ground for the seed to be planted. Because during the long winter months the ground takes a beating. Eventually the ground hardens, and forms a protective layer over its surface, preventing any growth.

I couldn’t help but think my heart is a lot like the ground.

When life hits us with unfavorable elements— heartache, frustration, disappointment, betrayal, jealousy, failure, death, disease…

Our hearts harden. Our protective layer thickens. And before long nothing can break through the impenetrable surface.

Except for a farmer. And since God made a farmer he must be one, right? 😜

He is in the business of growing our faith. But when our hearts are ridden by a winter season that feels like it will never end, we have to be willing to go through the process before he can grow His faith in us.

We have to let God prepare our hearts before he can plant His blessings.

And something I’m learning is Gods preparation work is oftentimes done through our difficulties, our impossibilities, and our unforeseen circumstances.

Maybe it’s through a waiting season.

Maybe it’s through the end of a relationship.

Maybe it’s through a doctors diagnosis.

Maybe it’s through that leap of faith that didn’t turn out the way you planned.

Maybe it’s through the hurtful words from a stranger.

Maybe it’s through the team we didn’t make, or the job we didn’t get.

Maybe it’s through a betrayal of a friend.

Maybe it’s through the sickness of a loved one.

Maybe it’s through God’s silence during a particular season.

Because maybe it’s in His silence that he is hardest at work—Preparing your heart for the coming season, for the blessing he’s been enthusiastically waiting to plant in your life.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever been as excited as I am for a change in seasons. For many reasons. But watching my husband prepare his land, and knowing that God is doing the same thing in both of our hearts right now is pretty awesome — getting to spend my day in the tractor with my husband with blue skies and sunshine isn’t half bad either 🙂

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life| strong.

I tend to linger on the thumbs up side of life… or at least I only let the world see that side. I pride myself in being able to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel instead of the darkness inside the tunnel. But some days aren’t always easy. Some things we face are uncertain, and scary, and painful. Sometimes the light feels so far away that you aren’t sure if it’s really even a light after all.

For those who don’t know, I underwent major surgery on Friday to remove a few rather large benign tumors in my uterus. In the process my doctor discovered I have endometriosis- how severe, how long I’ve had it, how it will affect my fertility? Those are all questions that remain unanswered right now as my recovery is my main goal. I would be lying if I told you that I sit here today still able to give a thumbs up. My emotions have faltered on unsteady ground the last few days. As I lay here feeling slightly like I got trampled by a team of horses, my outlook is rather weak.

My body is weak. My voice is weak. My mind is weak. My faith is weak.

But one thing I know is, in the midst of my weakness, there is a God who is STRONG. 

A God who will heal not only my physical wounds, but my emotional ones as well.

A God who will be beside me the day the doctors deliver the answers.

A God who is fighting to bring good from all of this.

A God who has a future and a plan for me.

A God who is covering me with His Grace, knowing that He is all I need.

For when I am weak, He is STRONG.

{2 Corinthians 12:10} ❤️

For those wondering about my recovery. It is going pretty well. I woke up from surgery in a very grumpy mood. I wasn’t the nicest patient, and wasn’t a fan of my post op nurse. The feeling was mutual I’m sure, but in my overly anxious mind I thought I was dying, and she wasn’t exactly being the most compassionate about it. My breathing wasn’t normal, thanks to the anesthesia and when you have anxiety, not being able to breath often leads to hyperventilation which then causes hand tingling and ones mind to immediately think death is imminent. I did not die thankfully, and I did so well in surgery my doctor let me go home that day. That, or my nurse paid the doctor to get rid of me.

My first day home, my mouth and throat were extremely dry which caused me to choke. Note to anyone who has surgery—do not try to eat saltine crackers, you might die. Subway is a choking hazard also. Soft foods is the way to go. Bananas are my best friend.  I did a lot of sleeping once I got home. I have 4 incisions- A small one on my left side, directly above my belly button, and on my right side, then I have a large incision above my right hip about 2 inches long. My doctor said trying to remove the baseball size tumors was the hardest part so I have quite a bit of pain on my right side. Thankfully, I have found I can get comfortable on my left side. My left ear is screaming in protest, but it pails in comparison to how my side feels. I am able to walk, although I look like I have osteoporosis. I feel like I’ve gotten a glimpse into the future, and I think I will be a very cute grandma, if I don’t say so myself.

Yesterday was a really rough day. I woke up extremely weak, and nauseated, and trying to throw up when your stomach has been ripped open is something I hope I never have to experience again. I don’t think I ate enough the day before and add in pain medicine, it wasn’t a pretty picture. I thought I was dying. Shocker. I lived to tell the story though so thank god for that! All these glimpses of death sure make me thankful for life. I spent all but I think 4 hours in bed yesterday, and went back to sleep at 7 and slept until 9 this morning. I woke up feeling pretty good and almost forgot that my uterus is angry at me—after a little burst of energy it quickly reminded me though with sharp kicks, and muscle spasms. So I have retired to the recliner, and willed myself to type all of this. It’s been a wonderful distraction, but it is time for rest. (Blame my bad grammar on the drugs.)

Please keep me in your prayers! I have a long road to recovery ahead of me, but I’m thankful that the hardest part is over, and I am trusting that God’s best is coming next!

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life | in the midst of the mess.

Last night I was feeling rather defeated by Christmas. My excitement for shopping quickly turned into stress, even though I had given myself a pep talk the entire morning, and had been repeating JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON in my head all day long, sometimes in between profanities, but nonetheless I was trying my hardest to be the jolliest version of myself.

Then my expectations for how the day was going to go veered sharply to the left, and I was the furthest thing from jolly. And then my mind started to run wild, and before you knew it I had convinced myself that nothing was going how I had expected this Christmas.

I’ve baked a total of zero cookies.

My presents aren’t wrapped.

I have no Christmas jammies.

I printed Christmas cards and still haven’t sent them out.

I forgot to buy gifts for the dogs.

I have yet to turn on Elvis’ Christmas album.

The only Christmas-y thing I’ve done is take my daughter and her friends ice skating on the coldest night we’ve had all month. I spent longer trying to untie their skates with numb fingers than they did actually skating.

I haven’t gone to see Santa once. Oh the shame.

Christmas at our house is doomed. I have Mom-failed so hard.

So 12 stores later, a few “accidental” shoulder bumps through crowded stores, and forced Merry Christmas’ through gritted teeth, I took all my baggage home—literally and figuratively.

I retreated to my room, and fought back tears as Satan filled my mind with lies about how this day should have gone, and how Christmas is supposed to look, and how I’m not good enough—because if I was, Elvis would be playing in the background and I’d be wearing snow flake pjs with eggnog in a moose glass, and my husband wouldn’t be wondering why I just bit his head off.

The thing about Satan is he attack’s when we are most vulnerable—after a bad day, after a stressful shopping trip, when things don’t go as expected. It’s in these moments we have to fight hard not to fall into his trap.

We have to believe that Gods truth about us will always win over Satan’s lies.

When my daughter stuck her head in my room with hands over her eyes and said “Mom are you wrapping presents?” I kicked myself because I should have been, but said “nope, it’s all clear.” And she said “good, I wanted to hang out with you!”

So I patted the bed, and she laid down next to me, and we talked, and we giggled, and I confided in her about my not so fun day, and she said,

well, if we didn’t have the bad days, we wouldn’t appreciate the good days.

And I kissed her oh so sweet and brilliant head, and knew that this was what Christmas was about.

It’s about each other. Loving and laughing, and sometimes crying with the people we love.

It’s setting aside our to do list, so we can do life with our loved ones. Not a perfect life, but real life—with all the mess and missed expectations.

It’s loving like Jesus. Forgiving, and letting go. Giving grace and mercy to our husband, our kids, and the cashier at Target.

It’s believing the truth about who we are. You are a good wife, You are a good mom. You are good enough. Your Christmas is good enough—because most importantly you know Jesus. And you know he doesn’t care if you bake cookies, or wear Christmas jammies, or buy the best present, or wrap your presents like a two year old.

He knows that you love with your whole heart the people he’s put in your life, and shopping and gift giving may not be your love language, but laughter is.

So when He looks down and sees you and your daughter belly laughing at 8pm, He knows that this Christmas will be the jolliest of all, not because it’s perfect, but because you chose to believe Gods truth in the midst of the mess.

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Life | confessions of one, almost crazy, woman’s journey through infertility.

I had intentions to write this post from my serious side, but then, as I started typing, my lip started to quiver and my hand started to involuntarily wave frantically at my eyeballs—because Lord help me if one tear falls I’ll be scuba diving in an ocean of tears.

And folks, I’ve cried a lot of tears during our three and a half year infertility journey, and at this point I deserve to laugh a little, and anyone who is reading this and is also in the throes of infertility you deserve to laugh too.

But please know that my humor is not meant to diminish the pain of infertility. Because sweet reader, I know the pain.

I know what it feels like to pray relentlessly and feel like your prayers have landed on deaf ears.

I know what it feels like to become physically ill with envy when you see another pregnancy announcement , or how impossible it feels to fight back the tears when your friend whispers “I’m pregnant!”

I know what it feels like to lose yourself. To become someone you didn’t know even existed, a person who is so blind by your pain that you’ve lost the ability to genuinely love others.

I know what it feels like to believe with every ounce of your soul that you are pregnant, then find yourself on the bathroom floor screaming at God because the test shows only one line, again.

I know what it feels like to blame yourself, to carry the guilt from your past into your present, to succumb to Satan’s lie that you don’t deserve another child.

I know what it feels like to lay in bed, with tears streaming down your face as you argue with God begging him to answer one simple question. Why? Why, if only He has the ability to take this pain away, why isn’t he?

I also know what it feels like to sit in a doctors office after 1,155 days of praying, and another failed fertility treatment and hear your doctor tell you that you can no longer do fertility treatments because if you were to get pregnant your condition would be unfavorable for a pregnancy to thrive—and to realize in that moment you are no longer in control, that the only thing you can do is surrender.

And I’m here to tell you,

that the moment I gave all control to God, infertility’s grip lost its hold on me.

I can see God’s hand at work in me, in my husband, in the doctors diagnosis, and in my barren womb.

And though my womb remains barren, my heart is full. And one day my arms will be too.

Over the years, we’ve done a lot of praying, we’ve cried even more tears, but now we get to laugh, and that’s a pretty awesome feeling.

So here, dear friends, are the behind the scenes confessions of one, almost crazy, woman’s journey through infertility.

I have a drawer full of baby items I’ve been collecting over the years, and one time I tried the items on my puppy.

Chlomid (an infertility medication) should carry a warning label that says : MAY CAUSE UNCONTROLLABLE WEEPING ACCOMPANIED BY ANGER THAT COULD CAUSE LASHING OUT AT LOVED ONES, AND POTENTIALLY RUIN A VACATION.

Once, when I had to give myself a trigger shot at 3am, my husband said “want me to do that? It can’t be much different than giving a cow a shot.” And I almost said “bend over, let’s see.”

We learned really quickly that fertility treatment should be left to professionals. The Stork Conception Aid was much cheaper alright, but when your husband is standing over you with directions, yelling hit the button and your yelling which button because you can’t exactly see down there, the only thing that remotely has a chance of getting pregnant is the bed.

I gave the silent treatment to my husband after the aforementioned evening. Because, he should have told me WHICH button.

One time I walked through the baby section at Meijer and touched ALL the clothes, maybe even sniffed them. Which is why everyone should always wash your child’s clothes before letting them wear them.

I drank decaf coffee for one month because I was convinced my coffee consumption was why I wasn’t getting pregnant. This may have been the month I wanted to slap anyone who looked in my direction.

I made a baby registry under a pseudo name. Anyone want to come to Bessie and Bills baby-Q? I may have planned a baby shower a couple years ago too.

One time I googled “is a tingling sensation in your left thumb a sign of pregnancy.” In case you are wondering, it isn’t.

I’ve almost asked a complete stranger if I could hold their baby. Almost people. I’m not that crazy.

I forced my husband to take a selfie in a parking garage at the hospital during our second round of fertility treatment and said “we can tell our baby, this was the day you were made!” He looks thrilled in the picture.

One month I was convinced I was pregnant, and so was my hub. We even talked to my belly. And then it talked back—fertility meds often times cause gas. It’s so romantic.

Speaking of romantic, when your husband says “want me to hold your legs up so you can do a handstand after”... you’re like awww, babe, that’s so sweet of you.

We met at Twin Peaks before our first fertility treatment. Something seems so wrong about that.

One time we got in an argument because my husband wants a hot tub and since I was told hot tubs kill your swimmers I was convinced he didn’t want a baby. Chlomid. See confession # 2.

Sometimes we hold our puppy like a baby. Ok, sometimes we pretend our puppy is a baby. Okay, yes, our puppy is a baby—just covered in fur.

Real life folks.

Infertility isn’t something I ever imagined I would be walking through, but one day we will be able to tell our sweet miracle that “mommy and daddy wanted you so badly we did some pretty funny and almost crazy things.”

And it was all worth it.

To those who are on this journey with us, we love you all so much. Your prayers, and encouragement mean the world to us. To those on their own journey of infertility, do not give up hope, God is at work behind the scenes, of this I am certain.

Posted in infertility, life

farmers wife | what love really looks like.

I read an article the other day titled “this is what love really looks like.” I’ll be honest, I initially liked this post. Before I had finished reading it, I shamefully considered forwarding it to my husband with the subject line take note. Then I read it all the way through, and I realized I was comparing my husband to what the author had stated a “knight in shining armor should look like” and the more I read it I started to realize that when it comes to love—should— isn’t a word I want attached to it.

The post was about how her husband rescued her at the grocery store with a cart full of groceries when she forgot her credit card, and the only words of admonishment were “you’re not supposed to be grocery shopping, I said I’d go this week.” O-K folks, lets get real, the last time my husband went to the grocery store without me was when I went on a ten day trip without him, and he bought every 10 for $10 item there was at Kroger – if anyone needs soup, pizza rolls, or frozen pizza we have plenty.

She went on to list a few other things “love looks like.” He made coffee every morning, he made late night milk runs for cereal in the morning, he packed everyone’s lunches, helped with homework, and did dishes so his wife could watch her favorite tv show. The more I read it, the more irritated I got.

Every time I read the phrase “this is what love looks like” I would shake my head back and forth and say no, no, NO.

Love doesn’t look like THIS. Because love is different for every single person. There is no ONE way love should look.

If I had a cart load of groceries and no credit card and called my husband, he’d probably tell me to put back all the frozen goods because it’s gonna be a while. When you are in a tractor, or a semi you don’t have the luxury of leaving whenever you want.

My husband doesn’t make coffee, I do. Every morning. Why? Because I enjoy knowing he’ll have a warm cup of coffee first thing in the morning because he worked his butt off the night before, and is going to be up at the crack of dawn to do it all over again.

If we run out of milk before I go to the grocery store, he says “eat eggs for breakfast, there’s plenty in the chicken coop.” You want to know what love looks like to me? It’s him going to get those eggs from the chicken coop because the last time I did, I got karate chopped in the rear-end by an angry rooster.

He doesn’t pack lunches, he never has. That’s alright with me. He gags at half the healthy things I pack for myself, and I enjoy writing embarrassing notes on my daughters napkins.

He does dishes every so often, usually enough time passes between the last time he did it that I forget how much I love the view of him standing over the sink, and I get really excited and put my arms around his waist and give him little kisses on his neck and say you’re the best husband ever. I enjoy getting to do that. If he did dishes every night, well I wouldn’t notice this small act of kindness now would I?

The thing is, love isn’t about what my husband does. It’s about what we’ve been through, the tough nights, the crossroads, the tears we’ve wiped off of each others cheek, the moments that have changed us, the daily choice we make to love even when it’s hard.

Even when my knight in shining armor does things differently than others. If my husband came to my rescue all the time, made coffee every morning, did the dishes every night it wouldn’t make me love him anymore than I already do.

Because I didn’t fall in love with a man that caters to my every need, I fell in love with a man that works his butt off every single day, who despite how many hours he’s worked still walks in the door with a smile on his face, ready to plant a kiss on my forehead. And if his dinner is cold, he still says it taste’s amazing – now THAT is love.

So listen up, young one. Love looks different for everybody. Don’t ever compare your love to someone else’s. There is a person out there that is going to love you with all they have, and it will be special in their own way. Maybe it’ll be the kind of love that bails you out at the grocery store, maybe it’ll be the kind of love that lets you vent to them about an article you disagree with when he stops in to say hi before heading back to his tractor.

Either love is yours and that’s the beauty of it.

There is no should in love —and that’s what love really looks like.

Posted in farm life