Family · Perspective

Thoughts from the Tractor Seat

While raking prairie hay and being launched against my tractor’s seat belt, I cursed how rough the pasture meadow was – pockmarked here and there with a coyote den or other abandoned hole. Then I backtracked. How blessed am I to be in that position?! On land that’s been in my family for over a hundred years, working with my husband, in sturdy steady equipment to get the job done. I felt like I was necessary.

view from tractor

I also thought it humorous that it has been met with incredulity (even by my own children!) that YES, I was driving the tractor. Yes, this sorority girl and cheerleader was the main operator for this rig.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not some version of bad@ss farmer or anything. I’ve done the labor for farming and ranching for the majority of my life on my family’s farm alongside my dad, mom, and sisters. My dad didn’t have any boys.

I guess this is where my own version of feminism comes in. I am perfectly, as is any other woman, capable of most of the tasks on the farm, in the hills, in the pasture, and in the field. For the heavy stuff, you bend your knees, straighten your back and team lift.

It’s actually only been in the last few years since I had children that I haven’t been hands-on farming somewhere. I miss it. It’s in my blood and history. Thankfully, it is also in my future!

Life changes and heat related fatigue (thanks MS) have altered the way I am able to work. If I don’t want to fight numbness and tingling, I have to watch the thermometer. This means I get a tractor or combine with air conditioning. No wheat truck for me this year at harvest. When I get overheated, I’m dragging for a couple of days – like heavy arms and legs – exhausted. Avoidance is key.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful picture of where I worked yesterday evening. Flyover country is truly breathtaking.

God's Country

#farmgirl #independentwoman #hardworkknowsnogender #hayseason

Faith · Fitness · Health · Love · Parenting · Perspective

2 Steps Back and 5 Forward

5F2B2 Steps Back and 5 Forward: An effort to get to know yourself and who you are made to be, deeper than the outward reflection shown in the mirror.

A local women’s group did a short exercise with the ladies who were present. It is a Christian non-denominational group for new, seasoned, young, and older. A lovely mix of women.

*I follow online because although it is God-centered, it still isn’t a Best Yes for my time when I add in the driving to town and back and how it disrupts my family’s schedule.*

The exercise asked the women to say or describe two things about themselves that are negative.

  1. I overshare details and stories… then spend anxiety-ridden time mentally re-hashing all the oversharing moments that just spewed forth from my lips. Ugh. Thank goodness I don’t publish on here every thought I actually say out loud. Awkward!
  2. I get extremely frustrated during transition times with my kids. Daycare pickup is the absolute WORST. I’m overwhelmed. They’re talking and arguing over each other for my attention. We all end up with our feelings hurt when I have to SHUT IT DOWN.

^^^ It honestly didn’t take much to come up with those. ^^^

The exercise then asked the women to say or describe five positives. I’ll take this one step further, in honor of the book I’m currently reading – Walking with Purpose, and say it can’t be about my job or my duties as a mother or wife.

giphy4Ummmm…. Hmmmm… Maybe…. ?

  1. I am compassionate for ALL things. I catch spiders and release them outside. I don’t want anyone to suffer. If it has to be the end for a living creature, I want it to be quick and painless. Hungry? I want to feed you. Confused? Let’s figure this out.
  2. I very rarely rush to judgement. I like to gather my own research before forming an opinion. I have friends from all sides of the political, geographical, and faith spectrum. Discussions, when respectful, are thought-provoking and enlightening, even if I disagree with the other parties.
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  3. I am determined. Four years and two babies ago, I decided if I ever wanted to get in shape and feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally, I had to make it happen. No one else could do that for me. It was MY job to exercise; MY job to make devotion time; MY job to figure out where my life was going. Yes, I have a husband, two littles, a job, a pet, family, friends, etc… but what was my path? my goal? Was I just supposed to feed small people and handle advertising from my computer? No.

    I have a bigger purpose. It is one that is constantly evolving and coming into focus as I make another trip around the sun.

  4. Honesty. I told my children that if they ever ask me a question (which they do 3:1 for every statement – truly, I counted), I will ALWAYS tell them the truth. Don’t want to know about Santa? Don’t ask unless you want the truth and history behind Ol’ Saint Nicholas. What happened to Nana & Papa’s old dog? It died because a body gets old and unable to heal. NOT that it went to live on another farm with other old dogs…. Right Mom and Dad?

    I really think honesty is key here. We sugar coat too much to the point where the next generation won’t understand reality.
    giphy6

  5. Love. Love for my family. Love for my friends. Love for people I don’t even know. I am unconditionally loved by God and want to share that love with those around me.

    I separate love from “like” and “enjoy” and “happiness.” Sure, those are comfortable feelings, but in the uncomfortable is where we grow, support, and care for one another. It’s easy to give a high-five or a smile at the end of a game. It isn’t as easy to sit with a bestie after her engagement ends or know what to say when a friend miscarries, but those are the places that love illustrates beauty. Spending time volunteering to give a hand up to the less physically fortunate or going to an elder care facility and touching a frail, lonely hand, that’s love. Parenting with grace (so hard sometimes!) is another form of love.

    We don’t all “do” love the same way, but think of the world if we all “did” real uncomfortable love in SOME way for somebody.

So there it is. My five positives and my two negatives are out there. Time well spent looking a little deeper into myself.

Much love — Jen

Faith · Perspective

Energy

*sigh*

Some people just suck the energy right out of you. Physical, emotional, and social energy is siphoned off like taking a big draw of iced tea thru a straw.

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Instead of drowning in the bottomless void these people leave in their aftermath, I’ve chosen to earnestly pray for them. I pray for their heart, mental and physical health, and our interactions going forward. And it takes work.

Work on my heart. Work on my thoughts. Work on myself. God can change anyone.

A person in this category is still God’s creation and has His love if he/she accepts it. It is of this that I remind myself.

I approach with caution, guard myself, pray before going into these encounters, and carry on. Not always successful at this, but we’ll call it my game plan. Psalm 5:8-12.

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Looking forward to a more positive post on my next entry!

Family · Parenting

Sister Tact

My sisters. Oh the honesty that flows from their mouths. With tact occasionally, but not always, I know that I can trust them for an unbiased commentary. I appreciate that. Always.

Speaking of commentary, they both agreed with my opinion on bodysuits.

Thursday, my younger sis and I declared a road trip day with our kids to see our older sister. She’s only two hours to the south, but throw two jobs/ schedules to juggle and four kids into the car and it makes the trips less frequent than we’d like.

My younger sister has recently added screen printing and shirt design to her resume at a local shop part-time. In honor of her newfound talent, she designed and printed shirts for us. Then she proceeded to make us try them on, model, and take a picture.

IMG_1768‘Herd That.’ Get it? We grew up on a farm. Each of us have husbands in some form of the agriculture industry. Two of us are dipping our feet in as the 6th generation of farming. Pretty cool. It’s a new challenge- one that we are extremely grateful for!

Love the shirts. However, when trying them on my sisters noticed something…

Have you ever seen Bridget Jones Diary (1st one)? As I switched into my new blue customized shirt, my sisters burst out laughing. It was like that big tan panty scene.

This is a direct quote: “Where did that bra come from? You look like someone who’s been locked in the woodshed since the 1800’s. That’s awful. Literally like “hey honey, are you in the mood?” – lifts shirt – “Ummmm not now” – mood killer bad. Did you pay money for that?!”

giphyWe laughed until at least one of us snorted and there were tears all around. I tried to defend said one-size fits all, nude, sports, uni-boob bra, but to no avail. They were correct.

Sometimes as moms, we let ourselves go. It is so much easier to just grab something, throw it on, and put something nicer on the top. I mean seriously, how often does ANYONE see the underlayers? But then, sometimes you have to swap shirts in front of your sisters… and you get snapped back to reality- back to the days when you wore pretty underlayers just because it made you feel upbeat even though no one else saw them – back before you’d visited the Mommy & Me store for something that snapped easily for nursing.

giphy1Fine. You got me. I’ll buy something that actually fits and isn’t my same shade of pale.

Creativity · Perspective

Bodysuit Commentary

My mom firmly instilled in me that if you have nothing positive to say then say nothing at all. But…

The new fashion “thing” is to wear a bodysuit – as an adult. Yes. These are exactly like the onesies I put on my babies – only bigger. Ok… well, my babies didn’t wear anything with a plunging neckline or cutouts, but the basic design is similar.

It’s like wearing a swimsuit that snaps in the crotchal region under your jeans or shorts or whatever you choose to cover your derriere. If it isn’t one of the snap variety, then you have to pull the entire thing off each time you use the restroom. Or I guess, you could try to pull it off to the side and not wet on your own hand?

Honestly, I’m close to being speechless…

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A few thoughts:

  • If you enjoy these things, you must not have lived through them when they were “in vogue” previously. Some things are best left as fashion history. From humble beginnings as a leotard in the 1950’s (think dance, gymnastics, and fitness videos) to a torture device in the restroom for both mothers and daughters in the 1980’s, these contraptions have evolved to again reappear in modern day apparel.
  • These do make edgy, curve hugging costumes for stage performers, but I don’t need anything sequined riding up while I’m at the office or out to dinner. If I was the main attraction at a concert, I’d likely give it a whirl for the hour I needed to do handsprings across the stage singing with perfect pitch and looking blingy.
kelsea-ballerini-acm-awards-show-2017-billboard-1548
Photo credit to Billboard magazine online
  • I know I’m not deep in the fashion world. I rarely dress to be edgy. I’m nearing my mid-30’s. My running clothes make up half my wardrobe. But really? Bodysuits have returned from the 80’s for us regular folk?

If you read my blog frequently, you are likely shaking your head at the fluff I just typed out. This is quite the departure from my normal entries. I couldn’t help it. Other than my Color Run for Cancer 5K t-shirt, I haven’t bought ANYTHING in the last few months. It all seems so absurd! I promise my next post will be something more thoughtful.

Much love to you and not wearing a bodysuit,

Jen

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Forever a Book Lover

I’m not sure who is more excited that we are almost done reading the Magic Treehouse- Afternoon on the Amazon book. Me or my son?

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Why only an afternoon on the Amazon? Because vampire bats. See? Even exciting stuff in a book written for 7 and 8 year olds.

We take turns reading pages. It’s a fun evening ritual. However, the book worm in me gets impatient to find out what happens! No peeking!

With only four pages left, he was exhausted and drifting off to sleep.  The conclusion will have to wait… so until tomorrow night, Jack and Annie are still stuck in a treehouse in the Amazon.

Goodness, I love a good book of any level! From Fancy Nancy to the Magic Treehouse series, I’m thankful my children’s reading and listening levels are increasing. Don’t get me wrong. Go Dog Go has its charms, but it’s nice when the plot thickens deeper than party hats and dogs racing to a large tree.

I’ve been immersing myself in quite a few self-improvement books, faith commentaries, personal blogs and a smattering of other articles. It may be time for another good light-hearted piece of fiction!

What or who do you recommend for a good book?