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”
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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.

I’m Officially A #Boymom x 2…

11 days since Easton arrived.

11 days since I officially became a “‘mama of 2.”

11 nights of almost 0 sleep (though I can’t remember the last time I slept for an entire night anyways.)

Countless diapers, pull-ups, loads of laundry, an obscene amount of coffee and tears. So. Many. Tears.

Tears from the baby.

Tears from the two year old.

Tears from me.

I’d be lying if I said I have enjoyed the past 11 days. They’ve been hard. Really, really hard. Newborns are hard. Two year olds are hard. Being home alone with one of each is hard. Watching my husband walk out the door at 7 am and not seeing him come back in til 7-8 pm every night is hard. Letting him sleep in the guest room so (in theory) he can get more rest is hard. I’ve spent most of my showers (that I haven’t shared with my 2 year old) a puddle on the floor crying.

“I haven’t done enough today.”

“What is wrong with me.”

“I miss my husband.”

“I miss Gage.”

“Was I too hard on Gage today?”

“Did I spend quality time with Gage? With Easton?”

“Am I making the right choices for my kids?”

“Am I doing everything I can to make this house a home for my kids and my husband?”

“Am I serving my husband?”

“Are my kids healthy?”

“Oh gosh, they’re not getting sick are they?”

“Why did my big boy stop sleeping through the night? Will he ever sleep again?”

” Will I ever sleep again?”

“Will I ever look like anything other than a sleep deprived zombie again?”

“How many more episodes of Blaze and the Monster Machines can one watch before going insane?”

“Will I ever stop crying?”

But the love. The love is so much stronger. The love I feel when I look at my sleeping 2 year old or how much my heart almost bursts when he hugs my neck and kisses my face and says “love you mommer.” (His new term of endearment for me because I call him Gager.) the love I feel when I look at my newborn’s sweet face or feel him snuggle up into my neck and fall asleep. The complete and utter love I feel when I see the excitement my husband and my two year old have when they see each other after a long day. The way my husband loves on and hugs and plays with Gage. The way he lays Easton on his chest to rest or cooes and talks to him and rubs his little belly as he’s laying on the floor. The rare, but oh so sweet moments when Gage loves on his new brother.

It’s not easy. I’m learning even more to depend on the Lord for my strength and to get me through each day.

It’s messy. It’s exhausting. Sometimes it’s lonely. But our home is full of so much love. And some day I’m going to look back and miss the toys scattered around the house, and the endless amount of bottles and laundry to wash, and sharing my showers with a two year old, and the sweet baby snuggles I get after each night feeding…

Xo,

Amber

P.S.

This morning I saw this video and blog post on Facebook as I was laying in bed with a newborn on my chest and a toddler clinging to my waste as he had all night. I hadn’t even been remotely asleep since around midnight. And this video just hit me like. Ton of bricks.

https://www.facebook.com/HerViewFromHome/videos/1749770068377073/

It’s “That Time” of Year Again…

This morning as I was getting ready for work, my husband says to me “I’m probably going to be late tonight… and tomorrow night… probably the next night too.” I knew it was coming. It’s “that time of year.” But it never fails- I always get just a slight sense of disappointment- and annoyance.

I know- and knew coming in to this marriage that there would be a lot of late nights and early mornings. A lot of times he would go to work before I was out of bed for the day and wouldn’t be home until long after I had gone to sleep. Deep down I know that’s just part of it- part of this glorious life we live as farmer’s and rancher’s wives. It’s hard sometimes.

As a farmer’s wife with a town job, it’s easy for me to forget just how hard my husband works to make everything work. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to feel like I’m doing more or that my workload is somehow unfair. It’s not. When I’m running late in the morning because I had to get myself and my child clothed and fed and out the door by 7:30 (that rarely happens) to be to work by 8 it’s so easy for me to complain in my head about how if someone would just help like put clothes on the tiny human or something, how I wouldn’t be running this late. Or when I get home from work and there are piles of laundry to be done, a floor that needs swept, mopped, or vacuumed, supper to be cooked, dishes to be cleaned, trash that needs taken out, pets that need fed, a kid that needs bathed, teeth brushed, and put to bed. And not always willingly- do any one year olds actually purposefully fall asleep?  And a million other things that really need to be done- my “poor me” attitude always shows itself. When I fall into bed and shoot him a quick goodnight text and he doesn’t respond before I am ready to go to sleep, it’s so easy for me to take on my bratty self and think to myself “well if I’m not important enough…”

It’s easy for me to forget he’s busy too. While there are days he spends the morning getting the coffee shop gossip- he makes up for it with the days he’s out on the sprayer long before dawn or on the tractor long after sunset. He spends days running here, there, and everywhere because- let’s be honest- if ever a day comes that everything goes exactly as planned on the farm…what witchcraft are you doing, and can you share? He’s planting, or spraying, or checking fields, or working on equipment, or making sales calls, or delivering product, or hauling water, or tending to cattle, or building fence, the list could go forever. It’s easy to picture a farmer as some old guy who just sits on the tractor all day going back and forth, back and forth across the fields or just sitting in their pickup gawking at their cow. It’s easy to forget that as much as farming is something they (usually) enjoy, it’s also their job.

“Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man”

-George Washington

So, while I may slip from time to time more often than I’d like to admit I’m doing my best to remember- and be grateful for just how hard my farmer works

Good Friday Ponderings

This morning I grumbled as I got up to come to work- on a holiday. I cussed the county offices for being open on a holy day. I’ve grumbled since I’ve been here about various things that just hacked me off. grumbled about parents who just can’t seem to get it together and about the lady at the bank who didn’t even double check the rather large fundraiser deposit I took today. Grumpy because my husband went on down to my grandparents’ this afternoon and I’ll have to drive there all by myself at 5. It just hit me that today- of all days I am grumpy about everything- I’ve complained at almost every single turn. But if 2000 years ago this day didn’t happen- I might not even be here. The course of the world would have been so much different than it is now. 2000 years ago- My Jesus was beat and tortured and hung on a cross so that I could have eternal life.

It took nearly all day for it to hit me- I’ve been so caught up in my own selfish feelings that I have forgot what today even is. Furthermore, I have let my contempt get in the way of showing basic kindness to those I come across. I’ve been terrible today.

The beauty of all of this, though, is that because of what Jesus Christ went through on this day- I am forgiven. No matter how terrible I have been- how much I have complained, how hateful I have been to those I’ve been in contact with- I am forgiven. Jesus carried every sin I have ever committed and  every sin I ever will commit to the cross with him. He suffered unimaginable anguish- not because he couldn’t escape it- but because he loved me and you so much that he wanted us to someday be with him in Heaven. Wow. That is love.

“My God, My Savior has ransomed me, and like a flood his mercy rains- Unending love, Amazing Grace” 

I can’t change my behavior earlier in the day- but I can for the rest.

Have a safe and Happy Easter, all.

Jesus loves you.

Amber

Mamas, It’s Time to Get it Together

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant I have realized how fierce and downright hateful mothers can be to each other based solely the differences in decisions and lifestyles chosen. By differences, I don’t mean neglectful- I mean the decisions each mother is faced with from the point of conception. To have an all natural birth or to be medicated, between vaccinating or not, breastfeeding or formula feeding, to be a working mom or a stay at home mom, – the decisions that each of us has a fundamental and almost moral feeling either for or against, the decisions that divide us.

Personally, I was induced and had an epidural, my little Gage has been in daycare since he was 2 months old, has been (and will continue to be) vaccinated on the CDC’s recommended schedule, and was formula fed. I personally know people who have done everything from the get go exactly the opposite of me- natural births, no vaccines, breastfed, and have never spent a minute in a full time child care facility. I know others who are somewhere in between those two extremes. Our children are all beautiful, wonderfully smart little beings who are developing right on schedule.

The point is, While I may adamantly disagree with people who do not vaccinate their babies, others will adamantly disagree with my choice to formula feed or send my child to daycare from the get go- and we each will defend our decisions with passion. We each made every decision (I assume) based on hours upon hours of on our own research- be it by parenting books, Pinterest or internet searches, etc. –  advice from families and friends, questions to our doctors or midwives, financial reasons, or based off of personal experiences. We toiled for months on how we were going to make every aspect of our baby’s life the healthiest and safest we possibly could. And when it comes right down to it, each of us made the decisions we felt in our heart was the absolute best for our child as well as our family.

By all means, advocate for what you believe to be true and right, share the information you have and the experiences you’ve had. Just do so with the understanding that we’re all doing our best- we’re all in this together. As long as your child is well fed, appropriately clothed, and most importantly well loved- everything else can be worried about later. We are raising our future together. Lift each other up, love each other, encourage each other, support each other even when you disagree. 

Small Talk- Weather in the ‘Handle

I had a lot of things that came to mind to write about today, but I decided to stick to my original plan and talk about the weather. I was just a little too stirred up to be able to write my feelings on the other subjects that came up today in a tactful way. You’ll hear about those soon enough though, don’t you worry!

I thought in order for me to really be able to share my life, you would have to understand weather patterns (or lack there of) in the Panhandle. So, if you’ve made it far enough to read this part, thank you! I will do my best to make it worth your time!

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The picture above is from a little over a month ago. We were headed towards a drought so bad we weren’t sure if we were going to even have wheat to cut or enough grass to graze our cattle. On March 3 the winds came a howling- with approximately 40 mph sustained winds and well over 50 mph gusts that day. we watched as dust turned the sky brown. and listened intently as wildfires ravaged a 4-state area burning just over 1 million acres in total. I could write a whole blog on just these fires, but I will leave that for another day. Now back to the sky being brown with dirt. That happens often here, in fact, a day that the winds are less than 25 mph is generally considered  fairly “calm.”

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You see, people in my little region are praying people. Even if we don’t attend a church service every Sunday or even really know if we believe- everyone seems to pray. After those fires, everyone prayed- not only for comfort and healing for the families, but for rain. We pray for rain out here almost every mealtime and bedtime prayer anyways, but after those fires- we prayed hard, even those who don’t pray often- and, I truly believe God heard. In the past 2 weeks we have received nice, soaking, slow rains a couple times a week. So far my house has received just over 4 inches of much needed rain. Our Wheat is finally popping up from the dirt, our pastures are finally starting to get a little hint of green to them. The spirits of everyone, not just the farm and ranch families are much more jolly- but we all know and understand, that we are just one windy day, one month of little to no moisture from being back in the same boat we were a few weeks ago. It’s our life- and strangely enough, I’ve grown to love it.

 

Now to the fun part. While a month ago we were fighting a losing battle against the elements, 90 degree weather, 40 mph wind, blowing dirt, and terrible fires- and now we’ve been blessed with rain and snow… yes, you read that right. Snow. I know it’s not uncommon for it to snow in April, but where you live is it ever 84 degrees on Monday, snow an inch and a half on Tuesday, be warm enough in the night that all the snow melts before 7:00 am Wednesday morning and be back to almost 70 degrees by Thursday? Well here things like that happen almost all the time.  Living in the Oklahoma Panhandle is kind of similar to living with a pregnant lady (or at least me as a pregnant lady). One second she’s happy and farting rainbows and when she sings the little forest animals gather around and all is perfect- the next second she’s literally the Devil’s wife out to destroy you, your dog, and steal the leftovers you were saving for yourself (If you don’t think that is the work of Satan, I don’t know if you should be on this blog), then the next second she’s crying happy, beautiful gentle tears. Living in the Panhandle is an adventure- because each day you have no idea what you’re going to wake up to (and don’t even rely on the meteorologists- they’re as bad at guessing the weather as the rest of us, they just get to do it on regional TV.) Pictured below are photos of our Tuesday snow and screenshot of today’s temperature.

Continue reading “Small Talk- Weather in the ‘Handle”