Author Archives: Oklahoma Farm Wife

About Oklahoma Farm Wife

I am first and foremost a wife and a mom. I met my husband, farmer Chad, at Oklahoma Baptist University in 2008 and we were married in 2010. We finally found our way to the family farm in December 2013. We had our first baby, Miss Eden Grace, in August 2015. She is our whole world. Along with learning how to farm vegetables and raise chickens, I am learning how to be the best mother and wife I can be. Thanks for joining me on my journey through motherhood, homemaking, and the simple, yet hardworking life on the farm!

“I Don’t Know How You Do It!”

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I’ve had several people recently say “I don’t know how you do it!”  What they mean is how do I stay on top of the farm (which includes several acres of produce, cows, wheat and soybean fields, 24 sheep and growing , 200 hens, & over 5,000 meat chickens per year), my ever-growing soap business, my almost 5 year old beautiful daughter (who I homeschool), & house/yardwork!  So many people think I’m a super hero, but what they don’t know is that I struggle daily with anxiety, mom guilt, and often feel out of control.  Don’t get me wrong…for the first time in years I can genuinely say I am happy. I feel fulfilled and like I have a purpose.  I was just telling my dad this week that I feel like my marriage is better than it’s been, well ever.  I love my husband and learning how to navigate as business partners has only gown our relationship.  We are a good team.

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The best business partners around…at the farmers market!

But there is A LOT to stay on top of.  I am currently reading Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-At-Home Mom by Tricia Goyer.  After beating the heck out of myself one day for not doing school enough that week and feeling like I didn’t give Eden enough attention I did a google search on work at home moms and found this book and it’s amazing.  Tricia Goyer is a Christian author who works hard, homeschools her kids, but most of all loves Jesus and trusts him to guide her day.

Mom guilt and comparing myself and my life to others is the devil…literally, he knows what tears me down!  I have to remind myself 900 times a day that I am not a bad mom and that my daughter has the best life.  I’m also an enneagram 1 (if you don’t know what the enneagram is look it up!), which means I am never going to be good enough for myself.  I could be Jesus and I’d still beat myself up!

I also struggle with comparing myself and our life to others…which is sooooo dumb!  How many other people do I know that live on a huge farm, homeschool their kids, and work from home?!  Probably less than 5!  I can’t compare our family to others.  We are us and they are them.  We are going to have to do life the way that fits our circumstances and it might not look anything like Susan down the street, but that’s okay.

As many of you know, I have been struggling with infertility for almost 4 years now.  On top of feeling guilty for being so busy, I often feel guilty for not being able to give Eden a sibling.  She lives out here in the middle of no where and has no one to play with.  But God whispers in my ear often that he’s with her and she’s not lonely at all.  He is holding her in his hands and shaping her life daily.  I compare our family of 3 to Susan’s family of 5 and it makes me a little sad.  But then God reminds me that he hasn’t forgotten our family either and that if we never have another child that’s okay.

 

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My favorite girl helping with morning chicken chores!

I feel like I’m all over the place today and this isn’t going the exact direction I intended, but I needed to get it all out.  And I’m not normally this churchy on here, but I guess the Spirit is moving today!

Here’s what I know God is saying to me. Insert you’re own awesomeness!  I know not everyone makes soap and farms lol!

First off, you are an amazing mother.  You work so hard on the farm and making soap, plus keeping the house somewhat clean and meals always on the table.  You homeschool your daughter 3-6 hours a week and often do crafts with her.  When the devil tells you you’re not good enough show him the Pinterest fairy house and the pirate ship you made!  Remind yourself of the board game you played with her yesterday or the movie you watched with her last week.  Stop beating yourself up!  Look at all the sight words she already knows.  And she’s not lonely.  I am with her all the time.  I have her in my hands and will guide her heart and soul.

Second, quit comparing your life and family to others.  I designed your life and your family just the way it is right now.  You have trusted me with so much, especially since you quit your day jobs and started farming.  No, you might not get to take vacations and go on shopping sprees but I put you on this gorgeous land and show you my presence daily in the sunset and in the birds and butterflies outside your window.  And you have no idea if you will have more children or not but I know your future and it is good and I will be here.  Right now, I have given you a beautiful daughter and a wonderful loving husband.  Focus on loving them and being present for them in the right now.

Thirdly, as for how to answer those who say they don’t know how you do it, tell them I help you daily.  I give you grace, energy, and passion to wake up every morning and do what needs done.  I guide your steps.  I have given you a husband to encourage you and to comfort you when you’re down and overwhelmed.

For the love, quit beating yourself up!  Quit comparing yourself!  Simply do and love and come to me. Love, Jesus

 

I feel like this was more of a personal journal entry.  But I think I’m still going to share it. I know there are so many moms out there who beat themselves up and who feel overwhelmed.  You are not alone.  You are not unseen.  But most importantly you are awesome and have been given GRACE by an awesome father who is with you every step of the way.

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My Whole30 Experience

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Y’all!  I did a thing!  I completed Whole30 last week, which is HUGE for me!  For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Whole30 is a 30 day diet that emphasizes whole foods and the elimination of sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy. It’s very similar to the Paleo Diet.

I feel like you need some background to understand how significant it was for me to start and stick to Whole30.  I’ve struggled with food my entire life.  I never ate healthy as a kid, and in high school I counted my calories to make sure I stayed a certain size and often ate way less than I should have.  In college I gained an insane amount of weight due to severe stress and depression.  I’ve dieted more times than I can count in the 13 years since I gradated high school.  I’ve done weight watchers and my fitness pal more times than I can count.  Since Chad and I got married almost 10 years ago we have struggled together.  If one of us is eating well, then the other is too.  If one of us is eating terrible, then the other is too. So we decided to do this together.  And he has been such an amazing support!

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My #1 cheerleader!!!  (Ignore the crazy hair and no makeup…we were outside planting ALL day!)

I believe 110% that food is medicine and that is affects us emotionally and physically.  I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in the 7th grade.  I also have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and am struggling with infertility.  I am also beyond tired ALL. THE. TIME. When I started Whole30 I weighed more than I have ever weighed in my life and felt awful inside and out. Something had to change.  I couldn’t keep living on this horrible rollercoaster of yo-yo dieting.

I struggle with not eating enough fruits and veggies and living on things like cheese, sour cream, and peanut butter, which is why I thought Whole30 would be perfect because I wouldn’t be able to eat those things any longer. And for the love of cheese fries…we raise our own meat and produce!!!  I have no excuse not to eat healthy most of the time!

During the 30 days I cooked a lot of new recipes.  I tried things in soups I probably would not have done before, like kale.  I tried cauliflower rice, arrowroot flour, coconut aminos, and ghee.  And I liked it!  After the first week I really started to feel better.  I meal planned like crazy.  I made soup on Friday night so we could take leftovers in our thermos for farmers market the next day.  It’s almost impossible to eat out on Whole30.

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Chicken & Bacon Alfredo Casserole (made with Primal Kitchen dairy free Alfredo Sauce)

The hardest part about Whole30 was finding food that didn’t have added sugar or other additives.  Bacon, salsa, breakfast sausage, ketchup, barbecue sauce, guacamole are just some examples of foods we had to look real hard to find without sugar in them.  And eating a burger without bread and cheese is hard, but I learned to use the lettuce as a bun. Instead of tacos with cheese and sour cream we made taco salads with extra greens and sugar free salsa. If you want it bad it enough it can be done.  We did make a shopping trip to Sprouts every week when we went into town for deliveries.  They have a lot of Whole30 options and a great produce section.  We love their fruit! I also learned that I really love kombucha and sparkling waters!

During the 30 days I lost 14.6 pounds and felt so much better.  After doing some research and listening to some of the “Food Freedom Forever” book by Melissa Hartwig (who created Whole30), I decided to extend it to 45 days before I gradually add food back in.  I felt like I needed a little linger to truly cleanse my body.

It’s important to add food in slowly so you can see how your body reacts to that particular food.  Chad decided to go ahead and add foods back in and he’s still feeling great.  I will have to be more careful with my foods because of my PCOS. Before Whole30 I was jittery and/or nauseous 75% of the time.  That has almost gone completely away, as well as most of my headaches.  I also gave up caffeine, which was probably the hardest part because I love coffee, but I put so much sugar in it and wanted to see if cutting out the caffeine made me feel better.

My hope and desire is to continue to eat Whole30 most of the time.  It’s going to be hard, but I know it will be worth it.  I know how I feel after I eat a greasy hamburger or a bowl of ice cream.  And I want to set an example for my daughter.  She will never learn to eat healthy if we are not doing it too.  But if the family goes out for pizza it’s okay to have a slice.  If I’m at a birthday party with chocolate cake, it’s okay to eat a piece.  I just have to ask myself if I really want it and if it’s worth it.  If it is then great, no harm done and no guilt.  It’s the constant junk food and lack of healthy nutrient-containing food that is harmful.

I’m excited to see where this takes Chad and I.  I know we can be better people inside and out when we choose to eat the food God has given us to fuel and heal our bodies. 

I have several recipes I plan to post over the next few weeks that have become some of our favorites after doing Whole30. Stay tuned for those!

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Chicken chorizo (from our farm), red potatoes, eggs, & green onions

How Covid-19 is Affecting Us & Our Farm

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When all this craziness started my first thought was “Oh no, they’re going to close down the market.”  We sell at the OKC Farmers Public Market every Saturday and a huge chunk of our income comes from there.  At first, I didn’t think too much into anything else.  I didn’t truly understand what was coming.  A week or two later and I began to realize this was serious.  People were dying.  Stores were out of everything.  And people were stocking up on our chicken and beef products like crazy.  We have not only been receiving orders on our online farm store, but through text, Facebook, & phone calls.  We were overwhelmed by all of the support for our little local farm.  But at the same time, we were running out of inventory.  We only have 2 chicken houses, which can hold around 350 chickens each.  We schedule our processing dates months in advance and only have the capacity to take chicken to the butcher about every 5 weeks.  We were trying to figure how to to raise more chickens…which is still in the discussion phase.  We also ran out of beef.  We only started raising beef (for resale) a couple years ago and are still in the early stages of growing that side of our business.  We didn’t plan on taking any to the processor until late summer, but we have one that will be going this week to help with inventory.  It’s exciting and a little overwhelming too.  We love that people are starting to realize local farmers are more reliable and that they are getting the community’s support right now.

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Pasture-raised chickens

In the past couple weeks farmers market has leveled off a bit and has been up and down some.  I think people are more afraid to get out.  The market is doing a great job at enforcing both vendors and customers to comply with cdc guidelines.  We wear gloves and curbside pickup has been encouraged. Most customers are wearing masks.  They are not allowed to touch anything on our tables, and only we can bag their items.

Unfortunately, our restaurant sales have completely stopped and one of our regulars in OKC had to shut down for the time being. I’m concerned that this will negatively affect our vegetable sales since we sell a lot of produce to restaurants.  Hopefully our local deliveries and farmers market will be an outlet for them, as long as market continues to stay open, which is a concern of mine.  My heart hurts for the local restaurants in our community.  We know a lot of the owners and chefs personally and this has been so hard for them.

But we are still farming hard.  We spent the entire day yesterday planting and making more beds for more veggies to go in.  We want nothing more than to be able to offer local and nourishing food to the people of Oklahoma during this time of crisis.  We’re not going anywhere!  We’re making adjustments and changes as needed and I think we are all in new territory…but at least we’re in it together.

Personal Life:

When this first began I was just thankful that we live so far away from everything.  We are already very isolated living 30 minutes away from the closest town.  We raise our own food and we are mostly self-sustainable. We already homeschool our daughter so we’re good to go in that regard.  But as this has continued it’s getting harder.  Eden and I go to story time at our local library every Thursday and that’s canceled.  Dance class is cancelled and I had to tell Eden her recital will not be happening next month.  When we do have to go to the grocery store, I go in and leave Eden and Chad in the car.  Eden throws a tantrum every time because she loves to go into the stores.  She’s been staying at her Nana & Papa’s on the weekends because we don’t think she should be going to market right now.  Every time we tell Eden she can’t do something she asks if it’s because of “the sickness.”  It’s funny, but not funny.  Her little 4 year old mind just can’t comprehend the situation.  We’re trying to add in some extra fun things, including a hike and camping trip on the property later this week!

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Oh ya know…just painting our door for fun! 

I’m trying to not let fear have a hold of me.  I’ve stopped watching the news so much.  It’s scary to think that a loved one could get this virus and die.  It’s overwhelming to think of all the elderly people across our nation locked in their homes so lonely.  And the medical staff working so hard.  All of this is unreal.

But this small local farm is still here, planting and feeding animals daily, and our family is doing the best we can with our current situation to keep on keeping on.

 

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.    ~ John 14:27

 

 

Homeschool Life

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Painting with Animals! Then she got to take a bath with all the animals to scrub the paint away! 

Homeschooling is getting more and more popular and there are more options and opportunities than ever before. Growing up I only knew of one other family who homeschooled, and now most of our friends were either homeschooled at some point in their education or they are homeschooling their kids.  The education crisis in Oklahoma has only increased the amount of families who homeschool.

For our family I almost feel as if the decision to homeschool Eden were already made for us.  For one, we live 30 minutes away (6 miles of horrible gravel roads plus 6 miles of terribly paved roads before you even get to the highway) from town.  I just do not feel good about putting Eden on a school bus and sending her away to school from 7am-4:30pm, especially as a small child.  And I don’t have time (nor does it make sense for us) to drive back and forth from the school all day.

I was already staying at home to help on the farm so why not just add educating my child to my list of responsibilities.  The thought of being together as a family everyday literally warms my heart.  We get to do chores together, plant in the field together, watch sheep be born together, and so much more.  The family unit has sadly been turned and twisted into ways God did not intend.  The way we do life may seem weird and counter-cultural to some, but we are doing all we can to get back to the basic roots of what a family is supposed to be.

Chad and I both firmly believe children should play more, not sit at a desk for hours on end doing busy work.  I know that’s not all they do in a public school, but it is so important to us that Eden is able to farm and do life alongside us throughout the year and not be restricted to a classroom all day.  There is so much about our education system that we do not agree with, but I will not get into that on this post.  Sheltering Eden from the world has nothing to do with our decision to homeschool.  We have a strong desire for her to have a broad worldview, and to be educated about the world.

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 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:7

Eden is only 4 so we are just now diving into the homeschool world, and it can be very overwhelming at times.  There are so many different types of schooling…or unschooling. (At this point I don’t even care what specific type we are…I am just trying to teach my kid to cut and paste and learn her ABC’s).  There are a bazillion curriculums and co-ops too.

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Counting to 17!

At this point we try to make every moment a learning opportunity.  Just last night when I was making corn bread Eden was up on the stool helping me measure out all the ingredients.  She learns so much on the farm too.  She knows more about farming than I do!

When Eden turned 3 I started doing about 60 minutes a day of structured learning/craft/activity time.  I’m doing the same thing this year and using the same lessons from the Playing Preschool curriculum by The Busy Toddler.  It was actually a facebook advertisement, but I’m glad I clicked on it because I love it and it was very inexpensive.  Every 2 weeks we get a new topic and poem, song, and letter to go along with that.  We read books and  do basic activities and crafts that go along with that topic.  It’s super easy!  I’ve added ABC Bible verse cards and a daily devotional too. More than anything it gives me and Eden an hour a day to sit down and have some structured time together.  With our life there isn’t much structure and things can get pretty hectic, so our school time is crucial to both of us.

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Instead of connecting the dots, we are connecting our ABCs in order!

This week she is learning about solids and liquids.  On Monday we mixed bubble bath and water with my blender and made foam and today we analyzed several different types of liquids around the house to see what was similar and what was different about them.  Somehow her barbies always end up in the middle of what we’re doing and covered with whatever we are using that day!

She will be in kindergarten next year and I plan to use a more in depth curriculum, but still basic enough that neither of us will get burned out.  Homeschooling is more about teachable moments in everything we do than what curriculum we are using or how many minutes per day we write our letters.

And for those of you who worry about her socialization…she is just fine.  She goes to story time at the library every week and started dance class this year, plus she is around kids when she goes to church with her Nana.  In the next couple years we will be looking for a co-op where she can be with other kids probably one day a week in a learning environment.  Co-ops often go on field trips together too.

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At our local library! 

People ask me all the time how long we will homeschool or if we will do it all the way through.  Right now we are taking it one year at a time.  So much can happen in life or she or I may decide public school is what is best for us at that time.  I know homeschooling will come with it’s challenges and there will be days where I will think I can’t do it anymore, but the benefits of it will be worth it.  I can see us homeschooling all the way through, but we will just have to wait and see how that story unfolds.  Until then,  this is the road God has put us on at this point in our lives and we are very blessed.

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“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Barbecue Chicken Meatballs

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Our goal this year is to eat healthier and to cook more with the products we raise right here on our farm.  Last week I made these barbecue chicken meatballs with our ground chicken and we could not get enough of them.  Even our 4 year old devoured them and literally said they were “phenomenal!”

These would be great as a meal with some veggies or put into submarine style bread to make a meatball sandwich.  They would also be a great and healthy  appetizer for any party!

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Barbecue hicken meatballs made from pasture raised chickens in Oklahoma!

 CLICK HERE to see the recipe over on our farm website!

Happenings on the Farm

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My Ectopic Pregnancy Story

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I have been trying to write this post for many months. I’ve deleted and started over many times now. Today is the last day in 2018 so I’m putting this out there so I can leave it in the past and share my story and my raw emotions. From the time Chad and I got engaged I imagined having four to five children running barefoot through the house. It took a little longer than we would’ve liked to get pregnant with Eden. My doctor told me if I wasn’t pregnant by Fall she would put me on some medication to help and I just had this gut feeling to hold off and I found out I was pregnant on December 1, 2014. I had a wonderful pregnancy and delivery. I loved being pregnant and my delivery was so easy. I nursed Eden until she was almost two and decided to stop when we thought maybe that’s why I wasn’t getting pregnant with number two. Chad and his two siblings are one and a half years apart and he wanted that for our children, and so did I. I finally went to the doctor in October 2017 and was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). 10% of women have it and it can affect your fertility. The medicine my doctor put me on made me sick so I had to quit taking it. My doctor ended up going on maternity leave for several months so I felt like I had to be my own doctor. It was very frustrating. And every time I got on facebook there was another woman (often younger than me) having her third baby. I started feeling guilty because it was so hard for me to be happy for others. And I often felt guilt because I had Eden. Why can’t she be enough? And what about all the many many women who are trying so hard to have one child?

On May 17, 2018 I had a routine check-up with my doctor about my pcos. She said she would refer me to a fertility doctor, but he may not do anything until I lose weight. Lady, I have been trying to lose weight for 11 years! I gained an insane amount of weight in college due to severe depression and anxiety. My doctor says PCOS makes it very hard to lose weight as well. I decided to hold off on the fertility doctor and try to lose weight…again. On the way to the doctor that morning I didn’t feel well. I was having some stomach pains, but I didn’t mention anything to my doctor because I thought it was nothing.

By the time I drove the 45 minutes home I couldn’t hardly walk from my car to the door. Thankfully, my father in law was in the house watching Eden. He talked me into going to the ER. By the time we got there I was in so much pain. I had taken two pregnancy tests the week before but they were negative. However, the blood test at the hospital came back positive. I refused the pain medication because if it was a viable pregnancy I didn’t want that in my system. After all the tests came back the doctor said they couldn’t exactly tell for sure what was going on without going inside and if they did that and the pregnancy was viable it could end the pregnancy. Of course, I refused. I had hope that I was pregnant. I had been trying for two years and was finally pregnant again. For about 9 hours I had hope. I am so thankful I didn’t know I was pregnant sooner. I think God was really protecting my heart. It was close to midnight when the pain was unbearable, even with the pain medicine. The doctor came in and said we had to do the surgery right then. Chad couldn’t believe how calm I was. I guess I was in so much pain I didn’t care what anyone did.

I overheard someone talking about it as I was trying to wake up. It was an ectopic pregnancy, which is where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, normally in the fallopian tube. If you don’t catch it in time it can rupture, which is what happened in my case. I had lost over three pints of blood, which was in my stomach. It was a very good thing they operated when they did. I lost one fallopian tube, but I still have both ovaries, which the doctor said looked very healthy. They also removed a very large cyst as well. The weeks following my surgery were full of anxiety attacks and sleepless night. It all happed so fast and was very traumatic. I felt so alone in my experience. Every time I closed my eyes I replayed the events of that day in my head. And if you look up ectopic pregnancy online it tells you it’s more likely to happen again if it’s happened before, which doesn’t help my anxiety. Every month when something feels off with my cycle or I have a weird pain I go into a panic thinking it’s happening again.

My due date would have been December 26. I’ve always wanted a Christmas baby. Knowing it never really was a fetus helps. At the point it was, it was just a bunch of cells in the wrong place. But still. If it would’ve been a normal pregnancy I would have a newborn right now. I would be nursing a baby again. It hurts so bad. Eden is three and half and I want her to have a sibling. Chad yearns for a son. And I am so passionate about pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. In another life I would have totally been a midwife. I could talk about those things all day long. But right now when I talk about them there is sadness deep in my soul. I long desperately to nurse a baby again.

But I have HOPE. I know it’s cliché, but God truly does have a bigger and better plan than my own. I have a huge heart for fostering and adoption. We aren’t at a place where we can do that right now. We live on almost nothing financially because the farm is our baby right now in a sense. But maybe in some years God will allow my heart for those things to be fulfilled.

Im telling my story because I know there are so many women struggling to get pregnant. As I mentioned above, I feel guilty for being upset because I already have a perfect and wonderful little girl. I am already a mommy. I once had a therapist tell me that I have my own story. There will always be others in a worse situation, but that doesn’t mean yours isn’t still difficult or insignificant. And I have a dear friend that often reminds me that when those people say “Well you should just be thankful you have one” and “Count your blessings” to just ignore them. They obviously haven’t been in your shoes. So whether your trying for your first child or your third, know you are not alone. The childbearing years for many women are just plain hard.

Going on from here I’m going to try really hard to focus on my mental and physical health in 2019. Spending time with Jesus, eating healthy, and exercising are my main priorities. I’m going to focus on the positives in life: loving on Eden and my supportive husband, homeschooling, and growing our farm. Goodbye 2018…you truly sucked. Here’s to 2019…whether you bring Eden a sibling a not I’m determined it is going to be a great year!

Thank you God for my 20’s.

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Today is my 30th birthday.  I had every intention of writing all about how thankful I am that my twenties are over and that I get a new decade to hopefully have amazing and wonderful years (like I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m a natural pessimist).  Yes, my twenties were rough.  College was not what I thought it would be.  I was a straight A student in high school and barely made C’s and B’s in college.  Then I went to cosmetology school, which was the worst decision I ever made.  Several traumatic events happened in my family over the last 10 years or so, including the divorce of my parents.  I fell into a severe depression in college of which I am still fighting daily (I have a much better handle on it now though).  I gained a lot of weight in college probably due to all of the above, and have lost and gained weight several times through various diets in the years since.  Though I love my husband dearly, our marriage hasn’t been an easy one.  Getting pregnant has been a challenge and in May I suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, which led to the loss of my Fallopian tube (possible post about this in the future).  There was at least one wonderful thing that happened! The BEST part of my twenties was the birth of my baby girl when I was 26…she definitely helped make the last 3 years of my twenties pretty wonderful and helped to make up for the years before she was born!

I’m saying all this to let you in on a well-known secret: life is hard and sometimes it really sucks!  So many people see my instagram or facebook posts and think my little life out here on the farm is perfect and that I don’t have any struggles.  If I could pick one word to describe my twenties it would STRUGGLE.  I sound pretty ridiculous listing all the bad things that happened like I’m the only person in the world having trouble.  I know there are so many people in much more dire circumstances.  But in saying that, in those moments I felt despair and anguish and loneliness.  Depression is real, and it’s really lonely.

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Makeupless Birthday Selfie 🙂

So…this is where I was going to leave this post: “Thank you God I get a new decade!  My twenties sucked.  I’m throwing myself a pity party.  Bye!”

Well, God had other plans for my heart today.  This morning I woke up extra early and Eden was still sound asleep so I decided to go ahead and do my devotional and pray for our day.  This year I have been doing the New Morning Mercies devo by Paul David Tripp (I highly recommend it!).  I was reminded in it that “life is war.”  Tripp asks what the war is about and he answers by saying that “it is the great war for the rulership of our hearts.” Thankfully, God has equipped us with the armor of God to fight this “great spiritual battle.”  Tripp says,

“We are tempted to have more excitement in the things of this world than we do with the reality that we have become children of God.  We still complain when sanctifying trials come our way and we still tend to credit God with faithfulness only when things in our lives seem to be working.”

Ya’ll!!!  That is so me!  I struggle to see the hardships in life as sanctifying, and I definitely forget that I am not alone in my hardships because I am a child of God.  As I recently read in Eden’s devotional, I’m reminded of the Israelites wondering in the dessert grumbling against God, creating false Gods, and giving up on him.  God rescued them, and though they had to wonder in the desert for quite some time, He had great plans for them and even through the desert HE WAS WITH THEM AND HE PROVIDED FOR THEM.  For ten years I have been just like the Israelites grumbling and complaining, but the Lord has been with me every step of the way.

In reading through my devotional and scripture this morning, my heart started to soften and I sat in my kitchen and I actually thanked God for my twenties and I truly meant it.  Yes, a lot of those years truly did suck and a lot of bad things did happen, but God was with me the entire time.  He never left my side, and he was using all those events to sanctify me and to give glory to him.  The trials I went through in my twenties have made me the woman I am today, and will continue to shape the woman I become.

Thank you God for my twenties.

If you’ve made it this far through my reflective rambling remember that no matter how hard things get, God is with you.  Life on this side of Heaven is war and there will be a constant battle in our minds and in our hearts.  God never said life would be easy or that there wouldn’t be hardships.  We have to be strong in the Lord and persevere.  You’re not alone in this fight.  Be thankful for the years God has given you and brought you through because even when you think they were a waste God has a plan for every moment.  He will bring you through the dessert and hold your hand and mine as we continue to fight this war.  And for that I am very thankful.

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Take It For Granted

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Okay y’all…I know I am spoiled rotten!  I am truly blessed to have my in-laws around to help take care of Eden…well and basically everything.  Sometimes I’m even embarrassed at how much they do for us, especially in our culture of independence.  I honestly don’t think God intended for families to go their own separate ways as they do in American culture.  I am very thankful I have a wonderful relationship with my in-laws, because I know that’s not always the case.  But more than anything, I am so thankful Eden has them to love on her, teach her values, and to make unforgettable memories together.

So Miss Eden Grace did not stay they night with them or anyone else until she was 26 months old.  I had horrible postpartum anxiety (though I didn’t realize it for many months after she was born) and I nursed her until she was almost two.  I didn’t want to leave her with anyone…ever.  But Chad and I were planning to attend a farm conference out of state and Eden couldn’t come so on Thanksgiving 2017 I let Eden stay the night with my in-laws for the first time…and the rest is history!  No but really…she has stayed almost every weekend with them sine then!  I have a mix of mom guilt, gratitude, and liberation.  During the week I pretty much take care of Eden all by myself, so it’s such a blessing to have the weekend to be alone and get refreshed…and actually get things done.

I don’t know if any other moms are like this, but when Eden isn’t home I get some kind of extraterrestrial burst of energy.  I am like the energizer bunny on steroids!  (She rode in the tractor for two hours yesterday and I went crazy working in the yard!) On Friday evenings Chad and I normally get things ready for farmer’s market, eat dinner, and sometimes watch a show, and then go to bed early.  (We have a secret: Eden still sleep in our bed…shhhhhh…don’t tell anyone…but it’s nice to have the bed to ourselves on the weekends…our backs definitely hurt less when we wake up).  On Saturday Chad leaves the farm at 6:15am to get to farmer’s market and my father-in-law helps me do all the morning chores.  It takes two people to do our chores since we move the chicken houses every morning.  After chores, I normally clean house, pay bills, and fold and put away all the laundry that piled up on my kitchen table during the week (that’s when I turn into the energizer bunny!).  This morning my father-in-law and I mowed the yard too.  It also takes two people to mow our yard.  One person mows and the other moves vehicles, tractors, and Chad’s large collection of pallets laying around the yard (insert eye-roll here).

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Selfie with the hens! Farm hair…don’t care!

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Our pastured chickens!  One person pulls the house to fresh grass with the tractor and the other gets inside the house and shoos the chickens forward so they don’t get ran over.  This is one of our two houses.

When Chad gets home from farmers market he’s normally pretty exhausted so we do evening chores and then we try to make Saturday evenings our time of rest.  We got obsessed with reading and watching Outlander so we got the shows on DVDs and watched three seasons over the summer!

Eden always has a great time with her Nana and Aunt B over the weekend.  They go visit her great grandparents in the next town, go to the park, and on Sunday she goes to church with Nana (on the Sundays I go to church I pick her up and bring her to church with me).

I know my in-laws don’t mind keeping her most weekends, and I know Eden LOVES every moment of it.  However, I feel guilty.  I know there are so many moms out there who don’t get a break.  I know my mother-in-law is tired from working all week (though I’ve asked her to make sure to let me know if she wants me to keep her).  I don’t take it for granted that I get the weekend to myself, and that Chad and I can get some alone time together.

When I loaded her up in my father-in-law’s Tahoe yesterday evening I was trying hard to fight back the tears.  I asked her if she was sure she wanted to go.  It’s not always easy to send her away for the weekend.  I miss her snuggles and wildness, but I know the break makes me a better mom…and at least my house is clean for a few hours!  I know I need to relinquish the mom guilt and simply have a grateful heart for her Nana and Papa and my time of rest…or productivity! 😉

 

Fun Family Evening Out

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Fun Family Evening Out

Farm life often makes it hard to do things as a family away from the farm.  We get lots of family time working outside, and we eat dinner as a family just about every night.  However,  it’s not always the easiest to get the three of us together to go out and do something fun and special off of the farm.  Chad makes deliveries three times a week and barely manages to stay on top of the responsibilities of the farm the days he is home.  On Thursday evening we had an opportunity to do something together and we took it!  My wonderful mother-in-law helped to get us a membership to the Tulsa zoo a while back.  Normally Eden and I go by ourselves but the zoo had a special event so they stayed open until 8pm.  Chad delivers our chicken, eggs, and produce to Tulsa on Thursday afternoons so he met us at the zoo when he was finished.  We had such a wonderful time as our little family of three!  I was so incredibly thankful that even though we’re all tired and really needed to be at the farm to work on things that we decided to take the opportunity for a little bit of fun and family time!  Sometimes that’s more important than getting things done! 🙂

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Off to the zoo to meet daddy!!!

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Oh my heart…I’m so blessed to have these two.

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She took Chad’s hat and put it on.  So cute!

 

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Daddy’s little girl.

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3 going on 13!

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Man, I love this man!

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Family selfie on the train!

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She has to take a picture on this rhino every time we come to the zoo!