Blessings this Week: 01.29.2016

(Again, I wrote "2015" the first time, and I had to edit. Goodness.)

Counting my blessings helps me change the narrative in my mind from "I don't have enough" to "Look at what God has given me."

It fosters contentment even in circumstances that don't seem full enough.

And it makes a difference in my heart.

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Our Long-Distance Relationship was Super Awesome.

Trevor and I spend a lot of time together.


We wake up together, we drive to work together, we have lunch together, go to staff meetings together, drive home together, go grocery shopping together, watch TV together, go to sleep together, and then wake up and do it all over again. Together.

There usually isn't an hour in the day that I don't know the general whereabouts of my fella.

I love it.

It wasn't that long ago, though, that we did life pretty well separately.

hand embroidery decoration cute heart home lettering long distance dating

Trevor and I went to colleges 500 miles apart, and with busy schedules and limited finances, we only got to visit one another about every two months or so.

It was a two hour El ride, eight hours on a Megabus, and then two more hours to get to his place. Most of the time, we spent more time traveling than we did actually spending time together.

Even after the weekend we got engaged, I went back to college and he went back to college and we knew we wouldn't see one another for a couple months.

It sucked. 

But safely on this side of history, I can say that it was hard, but it was so good for us.


Featured Farmers: Meagan's Story

Today's Featured Farmer is Meagan of Novelties and Trinkets.
Welcome, Meagan, and thanks for joining us!

1. Tell us a little about yourself! 

My husband and I and his family grow tobacco and own a cut flowers and greenhouse business in our hometown in Western Kentucky where we sell floral arrangements and potted plants. The tobacco is our main source of income that we use to fund our greenhouse, cut flowers and florist dreams.

I sell my flowers by the stem, in arrangements and through teaching floral workshops.

 My husband has grown up around agriculture. He grew up raising tobacco, helping his dad here and there with their small dairy and helping raise and sell homegrown vegetables at farmers markets. This is where his passion for owning a business and farming stem from.

Both my husband and I are students at Murray State University. My husband will graduate this May with a degree in Agronomy. I will graduate in 2017 with my degree in Middle School English Education. We will both pursue our masters degrees in the years to come- mine in literature and his in biblical counseling. We have loved our season as students, but it has been incredibly difficult to tackle entrepreneurship and degrees at the same time.

We hope to expand our greenhouse business in the future and to continue raising tobacco to help provide for this endeavor.


Blessings this Week: 01.22.2016

True story? I totally forgot today is Friday.

This week went by so quickly.

Sometimes, a week going by quickly is a sign of a week that was full of joy- like how a week of vacation seems to just fly. But sometimes, a week that goes by quickly means that it was full of stress and demands on time, and that feeling like you're doing everything and accomplishing nothing.

You know what I mean?

This week was the latter, unfortunately. And I'm finding that it's weeks like these that it's hard to find those blessings, to count the gifts.

So today, I'm counting my blessings as a way to remember all the beauty in my life this week, and to thank God for all the gifts He's given me.

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This electronic temperature gauge that I really thought we didn't need. Trevor convinced me to buy it, though, and I'm so glad we did. (So, also, a husband who knows what is a useful thing to spend money on.) 

And yes, that does say -17-- that was on Sunday. I put on two pairs of socks, two coats, two pairs of pants and a face mask before taking Bear out to do his business. 


Planner Power: Or, Why I Lug Around My Binder Everywhere I Go

Paper planners are all the rage- but why do they matter, anyway? This post explains why paper planners are really super awesome- and how using one can help you organize your life!

Need a pen?

I've got one.

What were the dimensions of the bathroom ceiling? Lemme look it up a minute...

When was that doctor's appointment again?

Gotcha covered.


The Reading Wish List

book list christian books book list

As a little girl, my parents would punish me (usually for not doing my chores...) by putting my book on top of the refrigerator.

It was the worst.

I would often make up for those hours by staying up late with the door open just a crack to let the light from the hallway into my dark bedroom so I could finish just one more chapter... 

I spent hours curled around whatever book I was reading at the moment, losing myself in the story, the adventure. Even with the TV blaring or my sisters playing loudly right next to me, the allure of a good book tuned out all the noise.

I'm still like that.

Although, now I don't have to sit with the door open, breathing quietly so Mom doesn't catch me reading late at night. Now, I just turn on the lamp next to my bed and prop up pillows to block the light so it doesn't wake Trevor.


Blessings this Week: 01.15.2016 Edition

(Full disclosure- I totally typed 2015 the first time. <Sigh>) 

Finding the blessings (even the speckled ones) and in turn, finding joy in the every day. 

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Frigid temperatures this weekend (we're talking -20 or so), meant our little farm stayed pretty quiet last Saturday and Sunday. The peace and rest was needed- we hadn't been home for a whole weekend since before Christmas!

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It also meant that the winter-wonderland look is ongoing... 


A "Den" Fit for Bear

Since Bear joined our little farmstead, things have changed pretty dramatically around here.

Mostly in respect to my morning routine. I now have to, get this, wake up on time and act responsibly toward the care of someone other than myself. I know. I know.

But, besides my new morning walk-and-water schedule, life with this big old boy named Bear has been pretty smooth sailing. He's such a friendly dog that it's easy to forgive his few faults- like how he's always very excited to see us (read: jumps up sometimes), and how he doesn't really understand the concept of "Come," and the slobber.

Oh, the slobber.

The slobber is one (of several) reasons that Bear is an outside dog. Yes, an outside dog. That means that Bear doesn't come in the house. He comes into the entryway at night to sleep, but he stays outside for most of the day, where he can sniff and dig and slobber to his heart's content.

To get ready for Bear, we needed to make an outdoor shelter of sorts to protect him from the elements during the day, and also he's really old and likes to sleep a lot, so we wanted him to have a place to be comfy for his morning, mid-day, and afternoon naps.

Luckily, our farmplace has ninety million buildings.

(That's an exaggeration.)


Featured Farmers: Amber's Story

Today's Featured Farmer is Amber of For the Love of Cows.

Welcome, Amber, and thanks for joining us!

1. Tell us a little about yourself! 

Currently I am a senior social work major at Northwestern college and getting a degree in social work and theatre. My husband and I live in northwest Iowa, where he is the herdsman of a 700 cow dairy.

 We are currently trying to start our herd in hopes that some day we will have our own 150 cow dairy. We currently have four dairy cows of our own. On the weekends and when I don't have to work or go to school, I actively work alongside my husband. My favorite part is working with the calves and the maternity pen.

2. How did you get started in agriculture?

I grew up in town, but was familiar with the agriculture and dairy industry, because my grandpa and grandma milked cows and my dad often talked about it (as he also milked before I was born).

I never had an interest until my husband and I went to college and needed to figure out a way to pay for college. We started filling every spare moment with milking shifts and eventually began raising our own calves in our backyard. This became not only a way to make money, but something that we enjoyed doing together.


Blessings this Week: 01.08.2016 Edition

This week, I'm reminded of the big blessings and the quiet, small ones that are found in the most unexpected of places. Our God works in some mysterious ways- bringing His goodness to us when and where we least expect it. 

"Cousins-" we spent the weekend at Trevor's folks', and Bear got to meet his "dog-cousin" Woody. It's so fun to have such a friendly dog in our lives. He gets along with everyone!

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Sledding behind the four-wheeler


"Seamless": A Study Review

A review of the Bible study "Seamless" by Angie Smith

I am so blessed to be part of a church that puts an emphasis on small groups. Three years ago, brand new to the area and a newlywed, a lady I'd only just met came up to me after the service one Sunday and asked if I'd joined a group yet.

Being the socially awkward person I am, I picked at my thumbnail and tried to get out of committing to anything.

Luckily, the small group study they were working on was a couples study... so I could hide my odd extroversion-but-sort-of-shyness in Trevor's self-assured friendliness.

Three years later, here I am, just finishing up co-leading a group study myself! Yeah! I know! Crazy.

To be sure, it wasn't until we started getting involved with a small group that we finally started branching out a bit in our new town and making some non-co-worker friends. And we've been so, so blessed by the friendships and studies we've done.

Long story short, don't pick your fingers awkwardly. Just say yes and get involved in a church. You need it.


Grave Clothes and a New Year

Grave Clothes and a New Year: Being made free in Jesus, no longer bound by sin. A devotion from The Speckled Goat

I don't remember the exact day I began following Jesus.

I don't really have a great memory for dates, to begin with, but I know that I was young.

Following Jesus has been a very real part of my life almost as long as I can remember, but intertwined with that saving grace is a feeling of frustration.

As a young girl, I tried so hard to be "good." I tried to follow the Ten Commandments, worked to be kind to those who were unkind to me, magnified the little light in my heart to reach those around me... but so often, I felt like it didn't "work."

I messed it up. All the time.

My clumsy attempts to witness were met with raised eyebrows and a change of subject. I got upset with my sisters and lashed out in anger at my parents. The other kids in my Sunday School class always seemed to have it all together, while I screwed up constantly, royally, consistently. And I wondered, was I really a Christian? Because if Jesus really lived in my heart, then what was wrong with me? Why did I keep on sinning? 


Blessings this Week: 01.01.2016 Edition

Ah! Can you believe the New Year is here? I certainly can't. (And I'll be writing and then crossing out "2015" well into February, if last year was any indication...)

With Christmas last week, I was too busy living my blessings to count them here on the blog- so I'm going to be playing catch up again a little today, if you don't mind!

What a way to start out the New Year- by counting all the ways that God has been good to me in the past few weeks!

Popcorn in church, and seeing our talented cousin's work on "the silver screen." We had a great time hanging out and visiting with our cousin and his super sweet girlfriend!

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This man of mine, his heroics, and how much he loves our nieces and nephews. (Uncle Trevor to the rescue! The hair pretty is on it's way!)