Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Unfriended

I’ve been thinking about this piece for a while now. I’ve mulled it over and over in my mind. Would I write it or not? How long would it be? How much background would I share? Am I willing to share so much of my personal faith? So here goes …

I’ve composed this piece in three parts:

  • The Background – a little about how I grew up and how my faith has evolved
  • The Incident – the seemingly harmless interaction that shook me to my core
  • The Result – how my faith stands today

Part 1: The Background

I grew up Southern Baptist, so Southern Baptist that our pastor was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. We didn’t dance, movies were frowned upon, and any music that wasn’t Christian, and preferably Southern gospel, was seen as less than ideal. In the ultimate irony, as a young teenager I had one poster of a boy on the back of my bedroom door, and took it down due to guilt over the potential to lust. Oh, what was the irony you ask? The boy was Kirk Cameron.

As one friend recently put it, “You mean you grew up like Footloose? That is a real thing?”

Yep, that was a real thing, and in many places it still is a very real thing.

There was a lot of pressure to stay in the lines. You showed up at church every time the doors were open – Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night. You wore dresses, and not just any dresses but nice dresses with giant floral patterns, bows in your hair, and the perfect giant curls. Yes, some of that was just simply the 1980s, but the point is that the lines extended to how you looked and dressed.

One of my very best friends was often ostracized because she loved to wear black, was little alternative, and marched to the beat of her own drummer. We were an odd pair – I followed every rule, terrified to step out of line, and she fought to be herself, even in the face of harsh judgment. She’s still one of my best friends, and part of our life-long bond is that we survived that crazy time in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some good memories, too. I loved to sing and play music, and we got to do that in spades. We had summertime rollerskating parties after church. There were secret moments where a boy you had a crush on would boldly sneak and hold your hand in a church service and your body would tingle with the electricity of something new, the danger of getting caught, and the simple power of a human connection.

And then time moved on … and literally my family and I moved on and away to Texas. Probably one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. We left that church.

We still went to church, but it was different. There was more freedom, less rule following, and just a general casualness. But I had spent my formative years learning how to live in the box really well, so while I occasionally dipped my toes in the waters of life, I pretty much kept decorating my perfectly safe and limited box.

Fast forward over 20 years, and my world has greatly expanded. There are things, that if my childhood friends who still practice that same form of devotion knew about me, would have caused them to write me off long ago.

Here’s my top 10 list of actions, thoughts, and beliefs that are wildly out of step with how I grew up:

  1. I married a Catholic. Not only did I marry Cowboy, I went through the entire conversion process, and we got married in the Catholic Church. Why is this a big deal? Because people I grew up with thought Catholicism was a cult. I was seriously stepping out on a ledge with this one.
  2. Cowboy and I have gone to all kinds of Christian churches – Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, non-denominational, heck we even tried the Cowboy Church trend for a while. Today we would tell you that we are Christians, and not so great at being joiners.
  3. I’ve got friends, like true-blue-do-anything for you friends, that are from all walks of life and all manner of beliefs. Now yes, lots of folks talk a good game here, but I mean I love these people for who they are. It’s not about tolerating them or spouting some “love the sinner” language at them. Some of my friends are gay. Some are transgender. Some are atheists. Some are Jewish. Some are Mormon.  Some Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some are Catholic. Some have blond hair, and brown hair, and red hair.  You get my point.  It’s ridiculous all the classifying of people we do.
  4. I listen to all kinds of music. I even sometimes dance – although admittedly I’m no Ginger Rogers so it’s generally more of a wiggle and a waggle kind of affair.
  5. I sometimes curse. Well, because sometimes you just have a moment.
  6. Cowboy and I don’t currently have a church. Sometimes we have church on the porch.   We are Christians, we hold our beliefs dear, but we also hold our love for others dear. We aren’t keen on signing up to belong to any group that is unkind toward any other group. We hope we will find a new church home someday, but for right now we are okay.
  7. I believe tithing doesn’t mean the money has to go to church. I believe it’s about doing good, and your gifts of time, money, and your talents can be shared with any group, cause, or organization that makes this world a better place. I don’t think God is keeping track if it went to a certified church.
  8. I believe women can be in charge, and can be leaders and pastors. That we don’t have to be relegated to childcare and women’s ministries. I also believe we don’t all have to aspire to motherhood. Ladies, if you want to be a mom. God bless you! It’s one amazing calling, gift, and job. But if that’s not your thing, that is okay, too. And out in the world, while women can work for men (no shocker there), men can also work for women. In my day job, I am the only girl on the leadership team. That means I work with a lot of men. I travel with them. Eat with them. Work with them. Some have even become like brothers to me. But don’t get me wrong, I’m still wildly devoted to Cowboy, and he is my one and only guy. You can do both.
  9. God’s greatest gifts to us are love and grace. That means, our greatest gift to others needs to be love and grace. “Now wait a minute. No one would argue that point,” you might say. You are correct. No one will argue that point, but my point is that we need not to just talk about this but LIVE IT.
  10. God can use anything to speak to you. It’s okay to read and learn and question. God can stand up to your questioning. We don’t need to run away and hide from other religions and see them as scary. If you take a minute to look and listen, you will see that we are really not all that different from each other.

If many of the folks I grew up with knew the real me as I am right now, I’d be added to prayer lists, seen as on the fringe, and dare I say, unfriended.

Which leads me to why I wrote this piece in the first place. I wanted to share an experience that happened several months ago that shook me, wracked me with tears, and caused me to do some deep soul searching.

Part 2: The Incident

A childhood friend, who knew me then and still subscribes to her deep version of faith, who even makes her living in the ministry, wrote me off. Now in her defense, she only knew the me of 25 years ago. Through the magic of Facebook we reconnected, talked over Messenger, shared Christmas cards, and voila our friendship was back in tact.

But here’s the thing. She didn’t change; I did. Her beliefs, her behavior were exactly how we were both raised. When we rekindled our friendship, her assumption was that I was how I had always been. Through the limited window of Facebook, she saw pics of the farm, of Cowboy and me, and read my stories about farm life. She was missing the context of who I really am.

Through Facebook I also learned that politics were somewhat of a passion of hers; they are not so much for me. And that over time her politics and her faith had become intertwined in ways I didn’t, and still don’t, fully understand. As a rule, I try to avoid politics, especially on social media. I’ve got friends on all sides, and I try to be respectful.

One night I saw a political post she made, and I responded. Another testament to why one shouldn’t Facebook at night. I don’t recall saying anyone was wrong, but more just sharing a different point of view.

And it wasn’t about anything earth-shattering; it was simply about all of the hubabloo about whether Pence would eat dinner with a woman who wasn’t his wife. (In case you missed this media circus, as I had before I saw her post, simply Google “Pence dinner.” You’ll have reading for the next week from all sides.)

If you’ve stuck with me this far, you know, from my comments up above, that in my line of work you sort of have to forget gender all together and just get the job done. I mean really, in most lines of work that is jut how you have to roll.

And what started as a harmless comment where I thought we were sharing ideas turned into an explosion. I desperately tried to go back and re-read my comments to make sure I hadn’t been offensive, but it was of no use. My comments were erased. Others who vehemently agreed with her, including her husband, where chiming in. And that was it. I was fully exposed for who I am today.

I sent a private message trying to make sure that she knew no harm was meant. I didn’t think she was wrong, I was just trying to share my point of view. Radio silence.

And then it finally came the next morning, the response. A scathing private message. At the end of the day, the tone of the message was what hurt so much. There was a moral superiority. That somehow she and her family were more faithful, closer to God, more devout because of their point of view.  I was free to have my point of view, but I was clearly less than.

I read and reread the note. I had no words, except simply reply to her that I appreciated her sharing her thoughts. And then in a flash, it was over.

I was unfriended.

This girl, who I had known since we were 13 and 14 years old, who had slept over at my house and me at hers, was done with me. I was written off in the name of God. And all of those feelings of having to stay in the box came flooding back.

I had very clearly stepped out of the box. I sent one more private message wishing her well, and expressing sadness that she had unfriended me. And there were crickets. Not a sound. Not a peep. It was over.

Part 3: The Result

I wrestled with how this woman of immense faith could cut me out. And then I remembered what I have always known. We, as humans, have an uncanny ability to misuse the words of God. That when churches and people of faith cut you out, tear you down, and look to break you, that is simply not God. It’s the farthest thing from God.

What breaks my heart is that my story is not unique. Heck, this is not even my first go-round with being shoved to the outside in the name of faith.  So very many have been hurt by the church. And for many, the church and God get intertwined in a way that makes the two inextricable from each other, and understandably so.

But what this hard lesson reminded me is that God is love. God is God. And while there are those that would seek to use God’s message to separate, to hurt, and to feel superior, there are even more of us seek to show God’s love. We’re often quieter and harder to spot, but we are here.

My Farmtastic Life - God is Love

God is here. God loves us, even when people disappoint us. God is ready to pick us back up again and walk beside us.

I realize this is quite a long post, and for those of you who stuck with me, thank you for letting me share my story. To those who have been hurt in the name of God, my heart breaks with you. But know, that those people do not speak for God. God is love.

P.S. As for my friend, I truly do wish her well. I don’t hold ill will or bad feelings toward her. I realize that she never really knew me as I am today, and when she caught a glimpse of the real me, it was frightening. If she ever reached out, I’d gladly answer her call.

P.P. S. We’ve all (at least I think) unfriended folks in our lives for different reasons, especially in the world of Facebook, if for no other reason than to limit who we share our lives with. Sometimes it needs to happen. This piece is far less about being unfriended and more about when you are cut off in the name of God and when you are seen as less than. To anyone in my past who may have experienced the feeling that I thought you were somehow less than, please accept my sincerest apology. I continue to grow and to learn, and I cherish the people in my life who allow me to call them friend.

Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Wear the Bathing Suit

Summer is upon us, and it is now the official start of bathing suit season. Yes, I know, women (and some men) all around the world are heaving a collective sigh of dread. But truly it doesn’t have to be that bad.

What do I mean?  Of course squeezing yourself into Lycra and spandex is bad. Of course trying to figure out high cut, low cut, two piece, one piece, straps or no straps is bad. Even the bravest of souls can have their ego crushed in a dressing room trying on bathing suits.

You know what I mean. We ladies are famous for trying on suits with skirts hoping for a little ego relief only to feel like a hippo in a tutu from Fantasia. We try the shorts, the tankinis, and any other ini we think can hide a roll, a layer, a bump, or a bulge.

But here’s the truth, it really doesn’t matter. We all have different bodies, and that’s okay. Now listen, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m what some call a curvy girl, as least that is the nice new marketing term for a plus size gal these days. Not going to lie, I kind of  dig the new term. But my point is that this love-your-body thing is not something that has ever come easily to me. I’ve spent years apologizing for my body and having some crazy unrealistic expectations for it. Bless my heart.

My Farmtastic Life - Bathing Suit Season
Bathing suit season is here, lord help us all. But what if instead of dread we found joy?

But seriously, just take a  moment to  stop and think about all your body does for you – it fights to keep you healthy, it carries you around on two legs, it has eyes and ears to see and hear and take in this amazing world around us.

And I know for some of us, our bodies feel like something we are battling or trying to tame, but give yourself and your body a break. Work with your amazing body – no matter its limitations and imperfections.

As the temperatures rise and the glistening waters of summer beckon, so many of us are busy worrying about how we look doing summer activities or trying to cover ourselves in giant t-shirts that we miss what is right in front of us. There is a whole season of joy and fun and movement to be had.

Imagine your summer if you spent it experiencing some out-in-the-sunshine joy moments instead of sitting on the sidelines. Whether you’re skipping rocks and splashing with your kiddos in your local rivers and lakes, hiking the trails with friends at a beautiful state park,  jumping in the waves at a dreamy beach, or swimming in the community pool for a family day out, there are adventures to be had.

So dear friends, I’m here to tell you, just put on the bathing suit. Don’t miss out on another summer. Don’t fret about someone taking a photo of you because you don’t look perfect. None of us do. We’re one big bunch of perfectly imperfect people, but we are oh so capable of feeling and sharing deep down joy.

When you look back on this summer, I hope you remember the moments of joy, the friends and the family, and the amazing ways in which your body carried you through. Because 10 years from now, I can promise you that you will not be looking back thinking about your bathing suit, but about your memories. So go make memories!

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Skunked!

My Farmtastic Life - Maybelle the dog gets skunked
Maybelle after one of her multiple baths from her skunk adventure. Doesn’t she look thrilled? Bless her little heart!

Farm life can be idyllic, and it can also be downright nuts.  This week definitely fell into the latter category.  After the high of getting to bring our mustang Smokey home after 20 days in the horsey hospital (more to come on that adventure), Cowboy and I were exhausted and decided to head to bed a little early.

Nightly chores under way, we were so close to crawling under the covers that I could just hear sleep calling us.  Last chore – let the pooches out for their nightly visit with mother nature before we all snuggled up in bed.

As I stood in the kitchen, Cowboy said, “Hey come here, something is odd.  There is all this fog in the air.”

I took one step toward the front door and yelled, “Skunk! Oh my gosh, Maybelle’s been skunked.”

Why did Cowboy not recognize this right away? Well because, bless his heart, he had the amazing timing of missing the only other episode we’ve had on the farm.  And because it literally just happened, the smell was strange and strong, but it took a few minutes to set in with that ewe-we-just-passed-a-skunk-on-the-road smell we all know and love.

Well in the less than two minutes of this exchange, Maybelle, in all of her glory, dashed in the house before we could stop her, flew up onto the sofa with the flare of a pole vaulter, and began rubbing herself up and down all the cushions in a desperate attempt to rid the  skunk smell.  All. Over. Every. Inch. Of. The. Sofa!

Oh my good gravy what a mess.  It was a three-ring circus  as we rushed to get all the dogs back outside and began doing the oh so fun job of sniffing them all to see who else made friends with Pepe Le Pew. Lucky for us, it appeared to just be Maybelle.

All of the sudden I became a drill sergeant and the orders started flying.  Take the cover off the sofa and get it in the washing machine NOW.  Open the windows. Light a candle.  Find that homemade de-skunk concoction on the Internet.

Thank goodness Cowboy is a patient man, and when I ratchet it up a notch or 20 that man just calms down and goes into action.

In less than 10 minutes we had mixed up the peroxide-baking soda-dish soap mix and were slathering it all over Maybelle.   Let’s just hope Google satellites were not taking nighttime farm pics, as Cowboy I were out on the front porch in our jammies, hose going, latex gloves on, and sniffing and washing dogs.  At one point, Cowboy even put Maybelle in the pool for a quick swim. Anything to make that smell go away.

In an effort to gain some modicum of relief, Cowboy opened the doors from one end of the house to the other and used fans to move air through the house.  Great idea, and it actually worked.

However, we have inside cats.  That left us parked outside the doors yelling, “Hey. Stop.  Not outside.” Cats, as I’m sure you can imagine, are not great listeners.  Cowboy had to hustle after Rhino the cat on more than one occasion.  Some choice words may have been said, but hey at this point who’s counting?

On the plus side, it wasn’t raining or cold and the stars were beautiful.  Trust me, there’s always a silver lining.

After much washing, mopping, and breath holding, we finally made it to bed.  And yes, princess skunks-a-lot insisted on snuggling me.  So I wrapped her in towels and held her and my breath. Yes, I’m a sucker.

After far too little shut eye, we work up at 2 a.m. (yes, 2 a.m.) to find the inside cats had knocked the screens out of the windows and were having a play date in the yard. Yes, the same yard where we had just hours earlier found a skunk.  Oh for the love of all things holy, I said a quick prayer that they had not found Mr. Le Pew’s cousin.  Good news on that front, they were just escapees – normal smelling escapees.

Grabbing flashlights, Cowboy and I sprang into action and played 22-cat pick-up in the yard. (Okay, it was only two, but seriously at this point we were darn near delirious.)  As soon as I got my hands on Shadow, the instigator, she promptly vomited, as evidently on her grand adventure she chose to eat dandelions.  Seriously?  She couldn’t at least use her time to track down a mouse or two?

And again, back to bed we went.  Dear lord, would this night ever end?

Well we are several days out now.  Maybelle has been to the vet to get all caught up on shots and to be checked out.  She needed eye drops as she took a direct spray to the face.  Sadly, our sofa did not make it, may it rest in peace.  So a new sofa is on its way to the farm, along with a new collar for Maybelle.  We’ve tried multiple solutions and slowly she is smelling less like a skunk, however she’s still far from smelling like roses.

The worst part? I’m quite sure if that little pup sees a skunk again, she’ll be right back out there on the chase thinking she’s found another friend.  On that note, for the foreseeable future, Cowboy will be doing skunk patrol prior to our nighttime chores.  Gosh, I love that man!

Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Easter Donkey – Take 2

Two years ago I wrote about our Easter Donkeys.  This year as Easter approaches, these sweet donkeys have even more meaning to me.  I’ve reworked the original story a bit an added in some thoughts on how this symbol of grace, compassion, and kindness touches me today.  Happy reading.

Easter is one of our favorite times on the farm.  The wildflowers are blooming, spring grasses are coming in, and all of the critters are feeling frisky.  In addition, it’s a time to reflect on our faith and God’s grace.

How do donkeys fit into that?

We’ve had our donkeys for nearly seven years. The first year we had them, a friend said to us, “Oh how exciting, you have Jesus donkeys!”  We were shocked and wondered what in the world were Jesus donkeys.  

A little Googling solves most mysteries these days, and it’s become one of our favorite stories to share at Easter.  The legend of the Easter donkey, as interpreted by this farmgirl, goes something like this …

A sweet donkey carried Jesus through town on Palm Sunday.  The donkey was in awe of Jesus, most especially his kindness and compassion.  One week later, that same little donkey was in the crowd as Jesus was crucified.  He couldn’t believe the cruelty and torture that had befallen his new friend.  

The donkey was broken hearted.  But he loved Jesus and to honor his friend he stayed until the end.  As Jesus took his last breath, tears fell from the donkey’s eyes.  The skies went dark, and the shadow of the cross fell across the donkey’s back.  

Forevermore the donkey would carry the cross as a symbol of his devotion to Jesus and as a message of God’s grace, compassion, and kindness.

Sure enough, our sweet donkeys have a dark brown stripe that goes down their spines and a matching horizontal stripe across their shoulders, forming a beautiful cross.

This cross reminds me of the crosses that we often wear as jewelry or on clothing as a symbol of our own faith.  I’m also reminded that in this time of immense turmoil and side taking that God doesn’t choose sides.  He loves us all.

Sometimes we’ve used the cross to send a message.  To shout our faith from the rooftops.  As the animals so often do around the farm, they’ve given me a different perspective.  The cross is truly a symbol of sacrifice, grace, and the ultimate compassion.

My Farmtastic Life - Sweetie Pie the donkey and her Easter Cross
Sweetie Pie shows off her Easter cross – a reminder of grace, compassion, and kindness.

Now when I wear a cross, I wear it not as a message to all that I am a Christian, but as a personal reminder that I owe my fellow man compassion and kindness, for the ultimate grace was shown to me.

As you celebrate this Easter and spring season, no matter your faith, we wish you comfort and peace.  As you think about the symbols that are important to you, may you see them not just for the story that they tell to others, but also for what they say to you.  
This Easter Sunday on the farm, we’ll be spending a little extra time with our donkeys. Remembering why our faith is important to us, how grateful we are for the grace we’ve received, and most importantly focusing on the kindness we owe our fellow man.

P.S. – A version of this post was published in The Glen Rose Reporter.  This farmgirl is delighted to serve as a community columnist.

Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Grocery Story Grace

I’m a girl who absolutely loves Amazon.  I’ve ordered everything from muck rakes to rugs to soup mix.  Heck, we even know our UPS man by name.  

Don’t get me wrong, we also believe in shopping local.  Our town is filled with fabulous mom-and-pop shops and stores where you’ll find adorable gifts, great eats, and make friends with the shopkeepers.

But back to Amazon.  We’ve recently considered using Amazon Pantry for all the everyday things like trash bags and cleaning supplies and dry goods.   But then this weekend happened.  

Usually, Cowboy, my better half, and I grocery shop together, so we’re wrapped up in our own conversation, and I generally fail to observe all that is going on around me.  I mean, the man is distracting.

But this Saturday I was out and about running errands, so I stopped into the local grocery to do some shopping on my own.  Armed with my grocery list conveniently available on a phone app, I headed into the store to do business. I was on a mission.

I was immediately struck by how busy the store was.  I got behind two ladies at the cart corral who were clearly happy to see each other and chatting up a storm.  I squeaked by them to get my cart, slightly aggravated, and headed down a random aisle to try to get around them.

I have to be honest, I was annoyed.  I mean really, I didn’t have time for this. Or so I thought.

As I went about my business, I passed an elderly lady on her motorized scooter.  She was decked out in a beautiful green suit and sparkly clip-on earrings.  As I shimmied past her, I apologized for being in her way.

She smiled.  She was gracious. She spoke to me. She seemed happy to be at the grocery store, which was clearly not an easy task for her.

And then it hit me. Slow down.  There is something special about shopping at your local grocery store.  People know each other.  They greet each other, share stories, and tickle the chins and pinch the cheeks of each other’s grandkids.

Yes, Amazon is convenient, but when it comes to the simplest of simple, food and basic household goods, there is no better place than your friendly grocer.

It’s rare to pop into the grocery store and not see someone you know.  The produce lady knows my dad, and she is always asking about him and greets us with a big smile.  The store workers know where things are on the shelves and are happy to help.  Even my groceries are cheerfully toted out to the car for me.

So to those ladies who I felt supremely annoyed with this Saturday, please accept my sincere apology.  You taught me a valuable lesson.  Life is not always about convenience.  It’s about community.  And I’m grateful to be part of this one.

P.S. – A version of this post was published in The Glen Rose Reporter.  This farmgirl is delighted to serve as a community columnist.

Farmtastic Recipes

Farmtastic Recipe – Loving Life Limeade

Spring is in the air at the farm and that means plenty of porch time.  And nothing goes better with porch time than the perfect cool drink to sip.  Cowboy is a fan of lemonade and limeade, and our local grocery had oodles of giant, fresh, juicy limes today so a fresh pitcher of limeade was on order. This recipe makes about a half gallon of deliciousness.

Give some limes a squeeze and let us know if this limeade hits the spot.

The Recipe: Loving Life Limeade

The Source: The original was a Southern Living recipe for lemonade, which we’ve adapted just slightly for limeade.

My Farmtastic Life Recipe - Limeade Ingredients
Limes, sugar, and the perfect pitcher. Loving Life Limeade here we come.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice, approximately 6 to 7 large limes
  • 5  1/2 cups cold water
  • crushed ice
  • lime slices for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large pitcher, stir together sugar and half cup boiling water until sugar dissolves. Tip: If you have an electric kettle or any kettle, it’s the easiest way to get boiling water in the amount you need and makes it easy to pour without spilling.  (Yes, spilling is my middle name.)
  2. Squeeze limes and add in lime juice to the pitcher.  Tip:  To get the most juice out of your lime, press and roll under the palm of your hand before slicing.

    Put a little elbow into it and roll your limes. This will make sure they are good and juicy when you are ready to give them the squeeze.
  3. Add 5 1/2 cups cold water to the pitcher.

    My Farmtastic Life Recipe - Limeade in progress
    When you are up to your elbows in lime juice and sugar, you know you are in for a treat.
  4. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with a lime slice.  Tip: I like to fill the glasses with about half crushed ice, which makes it feel almost like a dessert drink to me.
My Farmtastic Life Recipe - Limeade in a vintage pitcher and glasses
This just makes me smile and my lips happy. Sit on your porch, by the pool, or in your favorite chair and enjoy the flavors of spring.

Farmtastic Notes:

  • Serving this is an antique glass pitcher and using fun vintage glasses makes this simple drink feel extra special.
  • Any you have left over, keep refrigerated.

We’d love to hear what you think of this recipe, so give it a try and share your thoughts or post pics directly to our Facebook page.

Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Country Living Is the Life For Us

My Farmtastic Life - Cowboy Mowing the Pasture
Farm life – Cowboy spending 7 hours bumping along mowing one field. That’s a lot of seat time. Love my man on a tractor (and a dog in the field).

Neither Cowboy or I grew up on a farm or in the country, so this great big, wonderful farmtastic adventure we’re on is just that – an adventure.  We were children of the ‘burbs with neatly mowed yards, cul-de-sacs, and sedans.

I’m not entirely sure why we were drawn to the country life, other than the peace and quiet and limitless critter possibilities. (Okay, that one is totally on me.)  Truth be told, Cowboy does have what he affectionately calls a people limit, i.e. he prefers to be around as few people as possible as a general rule. (I still often wonder how I got so lucky to be his person.  Regardless, I’m grateful.)  So I guess all of those things together, combined with the fact that I simply believe God knows where each of us belongs, landed us in the country.

If you knew me back in my high school days, I would have told you I was headed for big city living, a high-power fancy job, and maybe someday I’d get married in my thirties. Holy Batman was I a little wrong.  Just a little.  The truth is I could not be happier to be wrong.  I don’t think any of those things would have brought me the true joy that Cowboy and I now share.

I am one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason and that God has a grander plan.  Now don’t get me wrong, things aren’t always peachy and the reality doesn’t always match the lovely Facebook photos that everyone shares.  Heck, I even recently heard that no one shares the B side of their life.  (Remember records and tapes?)

We’re all busy posting and sharing and cultivating our images.  And honestly, I love seeing everyone’s happy moments and sharing ours, too.  But it’s important for us all to remember that real life is messy, sometimes wonderful, and always changing. And often times not what we expected.  And that is okay.  Truly, it is okay.

Seven years ago this summer we moved into our barndiminium with grand plans of building a house.  The house never came, and we still live in our barn apartment and have found real joy in pairing down, focusing on our hobbies, and filling it with critters. (Again, that last one is probably more me.)   When folks ask if we like country living, my standard response is, “We wouldn’t trade it.  But it is more expensive and more work than we ever imagined.”

My Farmtastic Life - Fixing the Fence w/Duct Tape
When you have to fix a busted board and don’t have an extra one lying around, fancy duct tape will have to do. (Not gonna lie, for half a second I thought about wrapping all the fence boards in this. Maybe just a tad over the top.)

What are some of the not so Instagram worthy things on a farm?

  • There is always, and I mean always, a long laundry list of things to fix – from horse water troughs to fences. Seriously, what’s with the fences?  Guessing 1,000-pound equines are a contributing factor.  Who knew?
  • You must have a tractor and all of its implements.  Cars, schmars.  Tractors are where it’s at.
  • Critters are crafty and sneaky and smart, which translates to more broken things and more money.
  • There is always something to scoop.  Cowboy says no more things that poop are allowed on the farm.  Guess we are now limited to pet rocks.
  • Travel is limited – someone has to watch the zoo.
  • Weather – hot, freezing, or monsoon season we are out in it slip sliding away.

Are these things terrible?  Absolutely not.  They are just part of farm living.  Am I complaining? No way.  We are grateful and we know lots of other folks who would like to have the chance to give farm life a try.  So why share this?  To simply say this is not where Cowboy or I thought we would be, but we are grateful it is where we are.  It’s not always simple or easy. There’s tons of moments that are not social media worthy or appropriate.  But it’s our wonderfully wacky life.

Thanks for letting us share our story with you and for continuing to read and follow along.  We hope that no matter where you are, you can find the beauty of the moment and see something you never quite expected.