Following our Shepherd

2 But he who enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep.3 To him the gate-keeper opens. The sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.5 A stranger they will not follow, for they do not know the voice of strangers….9 I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go out and find green pastures. 10…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

There is a puddle that forms right in front of the gate of our barn every time it rains. It doesn’t even have to rain much for this puddle to form, so you can imagine what it’s like now, with the “extra” rain we’ve been receiving this last few weeks.

Sheep don’t like wet feet. AT. ALL. (They also don’t like going through any gate that’s not their “regular path.” They truly are creatures of habit.)

Each morning when I go out to lead the girls to pasture they jet out of the barn…only to come to a halt right before the gate. Crippling fear and confusion grip them at the sight of that puddle. They want SO badly to get to that green pasture…. but the puddle.

Most mornings they eventually tip-toe/ leap through it to dry ground as quickly as possible. But there are some mornings where 1 or 2… or even the whole flock panic. They come to that puddle and hit the brakes. They know where they need to go. They know where they want to be. They know the puddle isn’t that deep, that, in the grand scheme of their “journey” it isn’t much- but still they stop. They run back to the barn, then in circles around the pen trying to find another way- ANY way that doesn’t include a puddle- or a gate they’re not familiar with, I’ve found. (Insert eye roll here) They’re lost- they can see where they want to be. They can see the way to get there. They KNOW they can do it, that if they follow me, I will lead them on the driest path… but they just can’t make themselves have the faith to get there.

For me, it’s frustrating. (Usually because I’m trying to get this done before my kids wake up- and each second I spend trying to coax the girls out a stinkin’ gate through a little water is a second my toddlersaures rex’s have to wake up and begin unattended mayhem.) But recently, while trying to coax one girl out of the gate (actually 3 different gates)… the thought occurred to me…..how often is our shepherd trying to lead us to green pasture, a place we want to be, we NEED to be, but the only way there is through the puddle.. or an unfamiliar “gate” so we freeze. We panic. We refuse to step in the puddle- to follow through the gate and around the barn. How often do we miss out on the green pasture because we haven’t got enough faith to do what we are called to do, what we •need• to do because it’s not comfortable? We might get our hands a little too dirty, or take a route no one we know has ever taken before? How often, once we finally work the courage up to take the trek do we think to ourselves “oh this wasn’t that bad.” Or “it could have gone worse!” And once we get to that green pasture we find ourselves thinking “I’ve been missing out on all of this?!”

I know I have. I know I will again. I know I let my fear of the unknown or my disinterest in having “dirty hands” slow my progress- hold up my journey. I know what I need to do, I know where I need to be, but I find myself praying to God for another way- an easier, cleaner, more comfortable path. We all do- but this journey? It isn’t our own to choose. (Sorry inspirational quote makers.)And if we will allow our good Shepherd lead us- to follow His voice when He calls our names- we will find our own life of abundance in our own green pastures.

Have you been listening to the Shepherd?

Passage from John 10: 2-10

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Ham and Cheese Pockets

A harvest time and cattle work day favorite around the Dietrick house has always been hot ham and cheese pockets. I originally got the idea from these hot sandwiches the cafeteria at school used to make. They were always my favorites, so I started re-creating them.

They’re so easy to mix up and change up to whatever your own tastes are.

 

 

Recipe

bread dough—(my go to dough recipe here)  or 4 cans Pillsbury artisan pizza dough

deli meat- your choice (I use ham, obviously)

Cheese slices- your choice

1/2 stick melted butter

make dough according to recipe or open cans (I’ve been known to do both depending on what time and energy allows.)

roll fairly thin because the dough will rise while cooking.

Cut dough into apx 4×2 rectangles

place meat and cheese into dough (works best if you roll them together)

Roll dough around meat and cheese like a burrito and pinch ends closed

bake 350* until bread is a nice golden color

brush with butter as soon as they come out of the oven

serve hot or cold.

(Can roll in foil and pack in an insulated bag and they’ll stay warm for hours)

 

makes about 20 rolls.

 

 

 

 

HarvestHER- A Weekend to Remember

I’m not a social person. I never have been. In a situation where I feel like I am at the mercy of others and not in control I get awkward, quiet- or even worse, way too chatty. I laugh a bit too loud and sometimes at the wrong time. The lead up to events where I know I’m going to have to “hold my own” so to speak- my anxiety goes through the roof.

So- when I (aka: my husband) signed up for this Lifted and Uplifted HarvestHER retreat in January, it was a little surprising. To begin with I was really excited. I had met Kylee at another harvester association’s convention and we just clicked. She invited me- at that convention- to join her at a retreat in March. I had made a friend, AND been invited to a weekend women’s retreat with her. GO ME!

But the closer the weekend drew for me to head to Nebraska, the more nervous I became. I almost backed out several times. I prayed for a good excuse not to go. I had myself all worked up. “these women all already know each other. these women have all been doing this for so long- they’re experienced and I’ve only been an active “harvest participant” for one season (and know next to nothing about most of it). There’s no way I will fit in. No. Way.” I’m feeling that anxiety creep up just typing this paragraph.

I guess by now, everyone has figured out- God didn’t let me off the hook. I packed my bags- met Kylee in Woodward and headed north. The longer the ride with her, the more at ease I felt. We picked Amanda up in Kansas and I found that I really enjoyed her company and conversation just flowed with the two of them so easily. (Not really normal for me.) Before I knew it we were pulling up the drive to this beautiful “Mansion on a Hill.” Queue the nerves again. My heart felt like it was in my throat. It took me a while to settle in- but each new person I met treated me with so much kindness. By the end of the evening, I knew this weekend was going to be okay.

I won’t go over the details of the entire weekend. That would be a lot. I will say, though, I learned so much. I learned about myself, I learned about the industry, and I learned about the women in the industry. I shared a ton of laughs and a few tears and built relationships with women who “get” it- women who have been where I am at one point, women eager to share a laugh, a smile, or an encouraging word. I’m glad God didn’t let me off the hook. I’m glad He guided me into and through the weekend. As I’ve been saying for the last few years- and even more so this last few months, Where God guides, He provides. How he provides.

Last, but not least, Thank you, Tracy, for planning and putting on an amazing weekend. YOU- you are a rock star. You have the most beautiful servant’s heart and I’m so happy to have met you. And thank you, Kylee, for taking the chance on me back in January and inviting me- for driving to and from the event, and, whether you know it or not, being my “home base” during the weekend. Thank you to each lady this weekend for accepting this newbie, for the laughs, the tears, the hugs, and the encouragement. I went in scared and feeling a bit alone- I came out of the weekend empowered and with a community. I look forward to seeing each of you and following your harvest journeys. Because- like it or not, I think I’m in this for the long haul, guys.  

 

(Featured photo credits to Laura Haffner)

HarvestHER1
“Mindful Morning”

I’m Back. -With a Little Humor

I’ve been MIA from here for a while, so I thought I’d welcome myself back with a little humorous story.

(Did I mention I started raising sheep? Hah. Well, yea, I have.)

During lambing season everyone is sleep deprived, grumpy, cold probably, did I mention tired?

So it’s no surprise that Saturday night I was trudging to the barn for my 2:00 am baby check. As I approach the barn I hear a bit of a ruckus, my initial thought in my sleep deprived trudge is “ope, ole girl I’ve been watching is finally doing it.”

The closer I get, the more it sounds less like birth being given and more like the barn trying to implode on itself.

I open the door to a scene that is best described as a bar(n) room brawl. 11 heavily pregnant ewes beating the ever living crap out of each other. I rub my eyes trying to wake myself up, because surely, SURELY this is a dream.

But alas, I’m not dreaming.

The closest Scenario I can come up with is this- they were all laying around gossiping about whatever sheep nonsense they gossip about at 2:00 am when Stephanie the sheep casually mentions how dearly she misses Dorset Don and the grand few weeks they had together, which fires Patricia up, because SHE and Dorset Don also had a grand time that EXACT SAME few weeks. How dare these hussies be messing with HER man.

Now the old gals, they’ve been around the block a time or two and know the drill.

They all share the same few men once a year. So they watch on in amusement at Patricia and Stephanie beat the hell out of each other.

Well things start getting out of hand and one ewe hops up and in an attempt to get out of the way of the original brawl, steps on Francis, who pretty much already hates everyone and everything… and so would begin a chain of events. Now all but 2 ewes are fighting.

Peacekeeper Pam is in the middle yelling “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Please stop, love your neighbor! This really is silly!”

When all of a sudden that glutton Gertrude who’s passed out in the corner (presumably grain drunk) the entire time wakes up, sees the action and wants to join.

She comes barreling through the crowd right into peacekeeper Pam.

This light’s Pam’s fire and she’s out to shank every black headed, black footed, gnarly, heavily impregnated fluffball in the building. Literal fire comes from her nostrils as she takes aim for any soul who dare come near her.

The two in the lambing room can only hear the commotion, their pawing the fence and chanting “fight! Fight! Fight! While secretly thankful they’re in those tiny lambing crates one more night.

Enter me. Standing there in amazement. Praying to the Lord above this is not an omen for the rest of my day (by the way, it was, but that’s a story for another day) and trying to develop a plan to stop this madness I have walked in on. After I separate everyone into 4 pens, I trudge back to the house still halfway thinking my real alarm is going to go off and I’m going to come back out to a completely normal, quiet, sleeping barn of ewes.

It didn’t.

While I’m not sure what caused those girls to go into such a frenzy, I did walk into a barn full of 11 angry ewes… and that was just the beginning of my Saturday morning.

I’ve never been so happy for a Monday in all my life.

God’s Plans- Not My Own

God has a funny way of wrecking plans in the most beautiful way, doesn’t he? A year and a half ago, if you had told me I would be a mom of 2 boys today I’d have laughed in your face (and probably told you to F off, honestly) After MONTHS of crying and freaking out because this was not part of the plan I had specifically lined out in my head, here I am- a mama of a 2 year old and a 5 month old- and I have no idea how I ever lived without my second. He’s honestly the happiest baby I’ve ever seen- even his “grumpy days” are most babies’ good days. He’s the perfect image of joy.

Fast forward to today…

If you had told me 5 days ago that I would be packing up my house and getting ready to move I would have laughed at you.

No. Really.

We have been talking for a couple years about getting ready to build on the property we currently own. We had really starting moving forward with plans in the past couple months. We’ve spent so much time fixing up the property that we’re on currently. (It still needs TONS of work, but its a far cry from what it was when we started.) Thursday evening, those plans all changed- and I couldn’t be more excited!

Thursday evening a house on a property that we have admired for years came up for sale. It’s everything we want in a property. The house is cozy, cute, and sturdy. The shop is amazing, there is a barn with enough corrals to work our cattle in, a pond, garage, she-shed (Come on, don’t tell me that’s not worth being pumped about!) acreage, and only a couple miles outside of the town we spend probably 50% of our time in, in the school district we have always been set that we want our kids to go to eventually. Friday afternoon we went and looked at the place and by Friday evening we had put a bid in and by later that evening, we had already sold the home we are currently living in. I don’t say this often- and in fact, after stress and grief from my last few months, I found myself really flailing and struggling with where I stood with my beliefs, the recent HUGE growth in our custom ag business, this house? All of it? It’s a God thing- It has to be.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been a bit stressed- a struggling a bit with letting go of all of the visions I had for our current property. Though we still own the land surrounding our house, I’m still feeling sentimental about leaving the property that we started our life out on- the property that we took from an abandoned, and overgrown place into a home. fortunately, the excitement is far outweighing the stress of the situation.

I can’t wait to share our new adventures!

“God’s plans for my future are far greater than my fears.” 

 

 

Catching Up

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus since having baby #2.

 

A lot has happened in 4 months. There have been a lot of ups. There have been a lot of downs. There has been a lot of self doubt and an unimaginable amount of tears. I was so looking forward to coming back to work. I love my job and the people I work with. I love the atmosphere of the office and the ideals that we strive to share with our community. Be it by force or by choice, these women have become friends.

So when unspeakable tragedies in their lives came rolling in one right after another for the first few weeks I was back, obviously it was hard. Really hard. There was a lot of weird guilt on my part for having a healthy, happy baby while two of my co-workers had lost theirs. There was a lot of anger- a lot of questions. How could a loving God allow such an exciting and happy prospective only to take it away at the last minute? Why did this happen to them? The why’s, the how’s, all of it. There was a lot of awkward “do I text or call?” “Should I go with the others to visit?” There still is, honestly.

By nature, I’m a worrier. I worry about everything. I know I shouldn’t- but it’s my thing and I can’t help it. I’ve become a crazy about my children. By this point in Gage’s infancy I had moved him to his own room. Easton is still sleeping in the pack n play next to my bed- with 0 plans of moving him anytime in the near future. A sniffle or sneeze sends my nerves into overdrive from either of them. I’m slowly getting better about this. So far both boys are doing wonderfully. Gage has warmed up to being a big brother and Easton adores him. We’re all learning together.

Speaking of learning… I’ve always known the importance of taking time for myself. I’ve been aware that in order to properly “fill my family’s cups” I needed to have a full cup of my own. I’m learning how to do that better. Learning to appreciate the small things and quiet moments more as well as when I need to take a break. Learning that it is absolutely okay to get a babysitter while I go grocery shopping or to lay down and nap while the boys are napping. I’m learning that my kid’s are different. They have different personalities. Different quarks. Different things that make them tick. I’m learning that my two year old is going to be a very dominant personality and that traditional “bust his hiney and make him mind” ideals really don’t even phase him- having to find different ways of discipline…and I’m learning that that’s okay! (yeah, I said it, it’s okay, come at me) I’m learning to accept what is and be even more flexible when it comes to planning (I already was because…farm life.) I’m learning that I will never stop learning.

SO… yeah, working mom of two life has been a whirlwind thus far. But we’re making it. And we’re doing great.

Hands for Larger Service

Marathon County 4-H

This would be a great project for a club, or maybe even just Cloverbuds.

Grass Hand Print

Seems pretty straight forward.

Take some disposable pie tins, poke a few small holes in the bottom for drainage.

Fill with potting soil.

Make hand print in dirt a few centimeters deep.

Carefully sprinkle grass seeds in hand print.

Sprinkle vermiculite over grass seeds to cover.

This will allow the hand shape to still be seen until the grass starts to grow.

This could be kept on the window sill or even outside when the weather turns nice.

Make sure to keep it watered.

Send pictures of the process!

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