Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This and That and Please Join the Fun!

Do you ever feel like you are just "out of it"? The other day at a track meet one of my dil's mentioned airbrush makeup. My response was "Huh?" I've never heard of such a thing, and I probably desperately need it!

As I was reading blogs the other day, one of my favorites, Flowerpatch Farmgirl, went old school and posted a list of sentence starters. I loved reading her answers and some of the comments, as well. I learned about some new this and that, so thought I would play along here.

Please share in the comments or post a link to your own blog so we can all learn from one another. Help me get in the loop of popular culture!

Reading: I've got a whole stack of books in progress. I used to read only fiction, but now I'm reading mainly nonfiction. The two on top are Yes Please  by Amy Poehler and Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus. SOOOOO Good!

Playing: We usually play a card game called "Hand and Foot" several times each winter with my aunt and uncle, but card playing season is over once the time changes. Now, my guys work until dark, but I am teaching myself how to doodle and to do hand-lettering, so that is the game I'm playing!

Watching: Brad and I are always behind on TV series and often just start watching right before the final season. We did it again this year. We have laughed uproariously this winter while having marathon sessions of Parks and Recreation. (See Amy Poehler above.)

Cooking: Just made a batch of Cinnamon Granola with real Maple syrup collected from local maple trees by a group of neighborhood men. It is DELICIOUS, and I love that these guys spend days and days every February making it.

Eating: Too much! Blech.

Drinking: I am now officially a coffee drinker, going this winter from an occasional cup in the morning to 2 cups, always. My favorite is either French Vanilla or Hazelnut light roast from Aldi. It is DELICIOUS, people. Try it. How about at my house?

Pinning, Crafting: I'm not spending a lot of time on pinterest, but when I am, I usually pin things for Holy Yoga or my new obsession-doodling!

Doing: I'm preparing to lead a new series for our Friday morning small group. We are doing Fight Back with Joy, and after watching the first two videos and reading a couple of chapters in the book, I know it is going to be just what the doctor ordered. I would like to make some graphics for everyone, but do you think I can teach myself graphic design by Friday? Heehee! You might remember JOY is my word of the year, and it just keeps popping up for me!

Going: Nowhere too exciting for a few weeks, but I did just get back from Holy Yoga Touch training in Memphis. And we took Pearl, our vintage airstream, and stayed on Blue Suede (I think that was its name) street at the Graceland campground. Fun!

Loving: Holy Yoga TV-It is a very reasonably priced monthly subscription to some great Holy Yoga classes. This month we are working on Bird of Paradise pose. Yowzers. I may never be able to do it! But it doesn't matter because it's not about the yoga.

Hating: That our lawn looks like a hay field because of all the rain we have been having. It has been way too wet to mow twice a week so it needs to be raked. That isn't going to happen because-5 acres. Hate is way too strong a word for this, so I'll say it is annoying.

Discovering: We are way more alike than different. Last Sunday evening, we had a Baptismal Renewal Service at our church. No, we didn't get re-baptized, but we did share how we came to the Lord. It was beautiful, and so many of us shared similar stories.

Enjoying: Evening gator rides with my husband. It is so fun to journey on the road less traveled with the air in our faces and our eyes wide open to the beauty of nature!

Considering: Last night I heard a tip that I may just adopt. I guess in Mary Kay, sales people are told to make a list every day of 6 things that you want to accomplish. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Thanking: I am so thankful for the beautiful cards on my windowsill, and that I have lovely friends who took the time to send them to me.

OK, friends. Now it's your turn. Can't wait to read your responses!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to Take a Sabbatical

Back when I was a much younger person and dreamed of an “As the World Turns Life” minus any personal drama, I briefly imagined I might teach at the college level. I had no clue what I would teach, but I liked the idea of the life of a college professor.  Doing research, writing a syllabus, and having office hours sounded great. Taking a “sabbatical” every few years to study something new or to travel or to rest and rejuvenate sounded so sophisticated and la-di-da to me.

Now, the idea that a college professor needs to take a year off to recover from his hard labor seems hilarious. I think farmers need a sabbatical to rest from their 18 hour days during the busy season and their sleepless nights during the rainy or drought season and the heartsickness at the “God has blessed us with a big crop and now the prices have dropped to nothing and our inputs are through the roof” season.

Or maybe you are in the 3- kids- under-5 season and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in so long you can’t remember, and the baby wants to breastfeed 24/7, and your house is a mess with caked on oatmeal on the highchair and dried milk splatters on all your kitchen chair legs that won’t come off no matter how hard you scrub because they have been on there too long.  (Can you tell I was there once?)

Or the what-am-I-supposed-to-do- with –my- life season when you look around and everyone seems to be settled in and content and doing exactly what they were created to do, while you bumble around trying to do everything or hide out at home doing nothing.

Or the I-retired-so-why-am-I tired season with unlimited opportunities to serve others and the inability to say “enough is enough”.

I could go on and on and on, and if I haven’t acknowledged the season you are in, forgive me.  The point is many of us need a REST from the madness that our life has become.  It is no wonder that so many of us feel disheartened, worn out and unsatisfied. We are forgetting to participate in one of God’s great gifts to us-the Sabbath. 

There are many references to Sabbath rest throughout the scripture, starting with God on the 7th day, continuing to the Israelites during their wilderness travels, and Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. The Sabbath was such a part of the life of the Hebrew nation that by the time Christ began his ministry, the Pharisees had developed an entire list of “do’s and don’ts” surrounding the practice of it.  Remember when the religious leaders scolded Jesus for healing on the Sabbath?

Can you relate to the Pharisees and their rule-loving ways? I sure can. I like to follow rules and I’m learning that I also like to make them for others. That is one of the things I need to take a “rest” from.

I’m no expert on observing the Sabbath, believe me, but I’m willing to learn. Holy Yoga has taught me that I can be still and calm and restful in the midst of a busy day by coming back to my breath and refocusing my mind on Jesus.

As some of us are working our way through Breathe by Priscilla Shirer, I’m struggling as I usually do in the midst of any kind of group Bible study, trying to dovetail what I’m learning with what I thought I already knew. For me, the work He is doing in me isn't all that much fun. It’s more like a raking or flossing of my heart as He keeps drudging up areas of unbelief or lack of love for Him or others.

Just how much ugliness is buried there?

Honestly. It would be easier to get back on the treadmill and anesthetize myself with work, possessions, exercise, food, a full schedule. But there is NO FREEDOM AT THE END OF THAT.

So, I’ll stay in the “WORD” even when I want to run the other way, and RESIST THE URGE TO CONTINUE doing things my way.  God wants to transform and restore my heart and mind-and yours.  And in that transformation and restoration, we are FREE!


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Friday, March 20, 2015

Farmwife Fashion -Packing for the Beach Edition

We are at the beach this week and the weather has been perfect. I've been wearing shorts which just seems crazy since we had 8 inches of snow a week or so ago,  and have spent a lot of time in my swimsuit.

Once again, I drug way too many clothes down here. It is no big deal, but I spent too much time putting it in the suitcase and will have to hang it all back up when I get home. That is just a waste of time and effort.

I'm lazy like that.

I like clothes and I enjoy putting outfits together and looking my best, That doesn't mean dressing up or wearing expensive clothes. Maybe that is why my mind often goes totally blank when I pack for a trip. I tend to drag way too many shoes and enough separates that I probably could go for a month without repeating.

It is silly because MANY times, I wear the same 3 or 4 outfits over and over and over.When most of the day is spent in a swimsuit and we go to different places to eat, and we don't really see a lot of people we know, repeating is just easier! And we have a washer and dryer, so I DO NOT NEED TO PACK A FULL SUITCASE.

So, I think I need to create a "Florida" capsule- that I can repeat and tweak. I'm going to base it on our vacation routine.

Maybe this will help you, too.

Outdoor Stuff-We normally spend most of our time here outdoors-biking, hiking, walking on the beach. For those activities, I need a comfy pair of shorts (my favorites are drawstring knit Dan-skins from Walmart), a loose fitting t shirt or 2 (usually free ones from some event or another), socks and walking shoes, and a sweatshirt.  All of that stuff I can leave down here.

Beachwear: I have 2 swimsuits that are 5+ years old and 2 cover-ups that need to be replaced, so I am in the market for those. Boo. Does ANYONE enjoy shopping for a swimsuit? If so, please tell me what I need to do differently. I also have a couple of hats that I look ridiculous in and some cheap sunglasses. All of that stays.

PJ's and Such-I leave all that stuff there, so not packing any of that.

Yoga. I usually just practice in our condo or somewhere outside, but I also enjoy visiting at least one studio class per week. I need actual yoga clothes for that, so I'll leave some here. Some comfy slip on-y shoes- something with arch support. I NEVER want to have plantar fasciitis again, thank you. I need a new pair because I've been wearing my Uggs all winter.

Shopping and Lunch-There is great shopping on 30A and I generally spend at least one day out and about. I want to be comfy but not too "fussy" so I can easily try something on if I want to. For this, a nice pair of shorts or jeans will usually do the trick. Here is where I start to go cra-cra, throwing way too much into the suitcase. For a week, I bet two bottoms and 3 cute tops will do the trick. A pair of wedges in a neutral color will go with all.

Dinner and Music-There are many great venues for listening to great music or for watching theater. Nothing fancy is needed but, I like to have a fun outfit to wear. I can also wear this to church. I am a skirt fan, and a white jean fan, and a shift dress fan so ONE of these would be appropriate. I can add a statement piece of jewelry, a cute belt, and fit in. My cowboy boots usually work for this.

Have you heard of the Fashion Rule of 3? 

I read this somewhere. Put on your outfit and add one more thing that elevates your look a notch: a scarf, statement jewelry, jacket or cute sweater. I've been following the rule and it works!

To summarize for my future reference:

Shopping List:

cute hat
yoga pants to leave
yoga slippers to leave

Packing List:

jean shorts
boyfriend jeans
white jeans
3 tops
one other OUTFIT
statement necklace
cowboy boots
flat sandals

All of that will fit into a carry on bag and take about 10 minutes to pack and unpack.

Goodness. I feel better!

See you next time. The beach is calling.....


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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

One Little Word.....JOY

Have you heard about One Little Word? It’s a project that has been popular in the blogging world for several years and one in which I have participated. The idea is to choose a “word” that will be your focus for the year. 

Last year, I chose LEARN as my word with a goal of trying to learn a lot of new things. I even had a charm stamped with my word on it to put on one of my many bracelets.

I guess I should have made a large banner instead, because as is my all-too-frequent habit, I started with big plans and then promptly forgot all about it. I did learn new things, but I didn't focus on the enjoyment of the learning process like I intended.

The New Year brings a new chance to start over, so I did. Back the first of December, I decided my One Little Word for 2015 would be JOY.

I had a feeling that our family was going to face some hard times, knowing our sister, Amy, needed a kidney transplant and her husband, Robert, was the best match. I imagined long hospital stays and many doctor visits and the need for quite a bit of care-taking. She had walked the transplant road before, so we knew it wasn't going to be easy.

However, I wanted to FOCUS on the JOY not the struggle.

God had other plans for Amy, and she went to her heavenly home and total healing on January 3.

The irony of my OLW has not been lost on me.

However, I haven’t forgotten or abandoned my word even though this has been a very sad time for all of us.  I am learning about JOY in a different way than I imagined. Now, I’m learning there is a big difference between being happy and being joyful. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit not a result of my present circumstances.

Joy is a gift that I choose to receive.

When I awaken each morning and face the fact that Amy is no longer physically with us, I am understandably sad all over again. But, I am trying to make the choice to be joyful anyway as I look for the blessings God has for me this day.

These beautiful blessings have come in many small ways- in nature, kind words, the perfect song at just the right time, comfort from scripture, the sweet release of tears, hugs, and peace that can only come from my Heavenly Father. I have had glimpses of JOY in the midst of grief.

I don’t know the struggles that you are facing, but I am sure you have some. Want to join me in choosing joy in the midst of them?

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”      Galatians 5:22-23

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Farmwife Fashion: Episode One-Cute but NOT Cheap

Well, it isn't really episode one, but I'm too lazy to look back and see how many times I actually have posted Friday Fashion Fun, so we are starting FRESH today with a new little series with a new name!

(Isn't blogging fun? I can imagine all of you (5? 10? 1?) smiling and saying you are fine with that as we rub our hands together with the excitement of pretty clothes.)


I got a facebook message the other day telling me I should share some clothing that I think everyone should have in her closet. I was shocked and flattered that someone wanted fashion advice from me, but I also thought it would be fun. So here we go!

My Current Fab Fashion Finds-Pricey Edition..........

ONE......The Blardigan

I learned about this little jewel (stay with me here-it's a 6 degree of separation thing) from one of my best friends who received one from her daughter who read about it on the great fashion blog Pinterest Told Me To. Debbie told me I HAD to have one the first time I saw her wear hers. 

It is a little piece of fashion-heaven here on earth-versatile, comfortable, cute. The only draw back is the price. It is an expensive little thing but I think it is worth every penny because you will not want to take it off. I have worn my gobs in the month or so that I have owned it. 

I even had to set boundaries for myself.....

Susan-You CANNOT wear this half blanket/half cardigan every single day. 

The cost per wear will be a negative number before it is worn out. So see. It's basically free!

This cute blogger is wearing it very well!

I got mine from Nordstrom in white/pewter ombre.

Two........The booties

I started seeing these cuties on fashion bloggers and knew I wanted a pair. This was my first time wearing Sam Edelman shoes, but once again these pricey booties are worth the price to me. 

They are more fashion forward than the tall boots everyone and their dog (including me) has been wearing and wearing and wearing.

And they are comfortable-wear all day comfy, the first day out. Adorable with cropped and rolled jeans, I also think they will look great with a skirt or dress that is the right length.

Here they are in this little outfit which I am totally going to copy tomorrow.

I ordered mine from Amazon with free shipping and no tax. But now Illinois has changed all that and we are charged tax now. Thanks, Springfield.

Three......J Crew Military Jacket

I have pined for this jacket for several years, but I just couldn't justify shelling out the dough. I didn't know how much I would wear it and how versatile it would be. 

I finally bit the bullet when I found it at a J Crew outlet store with an additional percentage off. I think I paid around $75 or it. You can buy it 25% off here. If you look, you might find something similar at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I bought a similar sleeveless vest at a reasonable price at Marshalls that I have worn a bunch, too. 

And I am so glad I did. I have worn it several times and love how it ramps up an outfit and it is warm. So far, I have mainly worn it as I would a blazer, but I know I will enjoy it a lot this spring and fall as a lightweight coat.

I love the way this fashionista paired it with a skirt. I haven't done that yet, but now I will.

Four.....Black Leather Jacket

I bought a vegan black leather jacket at Marshalls last year and have worn the heck out of it. It keeps me warm and adds an extra sumthin' sumthin' to whatever I wear it with. I have worn it over dresses, with jeans, with skirts, blouses, sweaters, t-shirts. It is really a 3 season jacket for me. 

You need one!

Love this cool outfit from whowhatwear, don't you?

I really like this Topshop number and it is under $100 and is soooooo cute. 

Five......Gingham Shirt

If you don't have a gingham shirt, you must order one ASAP. They are the cutest things ever and for me, they are a neutral that can be mixed and matched with just about anything.

Mine is navy J Crew Outlet, but I think any color would be great. I've had mine for probably 3 years and it still looks great even though it has been laundered many times.

Don't know what to wear?

 Gingham Shirt + Just About Anything + Cute Shoes=READY!

I follow Mindy Mae's Market on Instagram. Do you?

I haven't ordered anything yet, but have been sorely tempted, especially by this.....

If you search pinterest for gingham shirts, you will get tons of outfit inspiration.

BTW-Look for me on insty under vintagefarmwife.

Well, ladies, that is it for today. I'd love to hear what you think about the five pieces I love from my own wardrobe that have become  go-to items. 

What are your closet favorites? Please share in the comment sections. 

Let's help each other avoid the frump and fashion-up! You can catch up with my other Friday Fashion Fun posts here.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Theology of Anne Shirley

Nature comforts me.
 It is hard to believe that it has been well over a month since our dear baby sister went to be with Jesus, but time marches on. You can read a little about Amy's amazing life here.

I've spent a lot of time the past 30+ days thinking and grieving and processing what happened and I know I am not finished yet. All of us were given great advice by our cousin, Ted, who preached her service, when he told us to grieve as long as we needed, but let grief lead to gratitude for the time we spent with her and acknowledgment of God's grace through it all.

Grief. Gratitude. Grace.

I've been experiencing large doses of all three. Brad has taken wonderful care of me and I've been nice to myself, too. I've eaten Comfort Food and read Comfort Books.

I've picked up and discarded many books during this season, trying to occupy my mind. Some of them I would have read all the way through previously, but now they just seem stupid.

Or too preachy.

Or taking an outraged stand against something that just isn't that important.

However, being an avid reader, I needed a book to read, so I turned to an old favorite, Anne of Green Gables. I have loved Anne ever since first reading and discussing the whole series with my grandma. That was when my boys were small and I needed an escape from their escapades! Granddad had recently passed away and Grandma needed an escape too. 

I felt then and now that Anne and I were Kindred Spirits. She makes me smile.

Little did I know this time in my reading, I would discover the theology of Anne Shirley. And I like it! Her adorable ways of wording things were like little hugs for me.

Here are just a few of my favorite word hugs from book one as Anne begins to learn about her Heavenly Father:

Hug One-Her first prayer after being instructed by Marilla to thank God for her blessings and ask Him humbly for the things she wanted:

Gracious heavenly Father, I thank Thee for the White Way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters and Bonny and the Snow Queen. I'm really extremely grateful for them. And that's all the blessings I can think of just now to thank Thee for. As for the things I want, they're so numerous that it would take a great deal of time to name them all, so I will only mention the two most important. Please let me stay at Green Gables; and please let me be good-looking when I grow up. I remain, "Yours respectfully, "Anne Shirley.
Such a sweet trusting prayer from a little girl, don't you think?

 Hug Two- Anne's declaration about Diana's mother after the unfortunate incident when Anne accidentally got Diana intoxicated and tried desperately to apologize for it.

There is nothing more to do except to pray and I haven't much hope that that'll do much good because, Marilla, I do not believe that God Himself can do very much with such an obstinate person as Mrs. Barry.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have had similar feelings about people. True confession.

Hug Three-God really spoke to Anne through nature, just as He does to many of us.

Oh, Matthew,isn't it a wonderful morning? The world looks like something God had just imagined for His own pleasure, doesn't it? Those trees look as if I could blow them away with a breath-pouf! I'm so glad I live in a world where there are white frosts, aren't you?

Hug Four- Remember the night Anne saved Diana's little sister from croup? Diana's mom changed her opinion about Anne after that and decided the two girls could be friends again.
I assure you Marilla that I feel like praying tonight and I'm going to think out a special brand-new prayer in honor of the occasion.
Hug Five-Anne's take on the human condition....

There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne, it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting. 
Hug Six-and on their new young minister....
I liked him because his sermon was interesting and he prayed as if he meant it and not just as if he did it because he was in the habit of it......Mrs. Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister's family.
I laughed out loud at that one!

I would love to have a conversation with the author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, who must have been quite an astute person-studier. She understood people from the inside out. I recognized parts of myself in many of the characters and my friends, family and neighbors in others.

What makes people tick  never really changes. We are basically the same in our hearts whether we lived years ago or in the present technological age.

And that is why I enjoy reading.

I learn so much from observing the actions and words of others.

It makes me wonder the story my life is telling. Is it the story of a judgmental, self centered person or of a kind, warm-hearted person who brings out the best in others?

With God's help, I pray there is a little bit of Anne Shirley in even me!

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Friday, January 9, 2015

How to Live with Cystic Fibrosis

Our sister, Amy’s obituary gives the nuts and bolts of her life, but it doesn't begin to describe the real Amy- the daughter, sister, wife, aunt, or friend that she was to us.

Amy’s life started in a special way with her birth on Christmas Day, 1964. She was a beautiful healthy baby with parents and 2 sisters who were totally delighted with her. Unfortunately, early on it was evident that she was not the healthy child we all assumed her to be. After being ill many times, Amy was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 6 months, and our world was turned upside down. Doctors and nurses became not someone only seen for a yearly checkup, but a constant presence in her life. Often times, they became close friends that she stayed in touch with through email and Facebook.

In many ways, Amy was the perfect patient. Even as a very young child, she didn’t fuss about taking the nasty medicine she had to eat mixed in with applesauce or mashed potatoes before every meal or sleeping in her mist tent every night.  Her sweet personality served her very well as she followed the advice of her health care providers and did whatever they asked her to do.

CF was a very real part of her life, but it didn't define her. Mom and dad could have put her in a “bubble” but they ddidn't They allowed and encouraged her to live a normal life. She played summer ball, was in 4-H, took piano lessons, rode her bike, swam in the pond, had play dates with her friends, rode the 3 wheeler, and was active at church.  She even played the flute and marched with the band. Most people probably had no idea what a miracle and blessing it was for her to do all this because she never complained when she didn't feel well or used her illness as a way to avoid things she didn't want to do.

A sweet, nature- loving boy entered her life when his dad became the preacher at our church. Sparks flew early on between Robert and Amy and by the time they graduated from high school, it was evident they were a match. They were married June 14, 1986, and Amy could not have had a better husband. Robert loved her so well! He encouraged and supported her in whatever she wanted to do and we never heard him complain once as he became, not just a husband, but also joined Karen as her primary caregivers when her medical condition worsened.

He helped her live a fun and exciting life as they traveled all across the United States, including tent camping across the west with Karen and Kim and, most recently, gator riding with Brian, Melissa, and Cameron in the mountains of West Virginia this past summer. She even went parasailing once, something her scaredy- cat older sisters have never done! They spent many happy weekends camping at camp “Could-a-Guy” with the Griffeths and Kellers. Robert also shared her willingly with her closest friend, Amanda, as they antiqued and shopped till they dropped.

Even though Amy and Robert were unable to have children of their own, Amy was a baby magnet. She was crazy about her nephews, nieces, and the children of her friends, and the feeling was mutual. Most recently, she showered love and attention on her 4 great nieces and the Carr grandchildren.  I’m guessing she is rocking babies in heaven now.

A book could be written about her medical history, and we’re  sure her doctors learned much through her struggles that they will use to help others.  God brought her back from the brink of death many times and we are so grateful for the extra time with her that He granted us. She was eternally grateful to the donor whose lungs she received almost 19 years ago.

Amy was a walking miracle and such an encouragement to others suffering with medical conditions. We saw her smiling face and kind words uplift others many times. We are comforted and delighted that she was able to donate her eyes and someone else is seeing the world through them today. We hope God uses them to make a difference in the world.

Amy’s life is an example to all of us of how to wring the best out of the good days and face the difficult ones with dignity and strength.  She was dearly loved and will be sorely missed until we join her in heaven.
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