faith

Faith for the Long Haul Involves Trust in Your Path

This morning on my drive into work, I started to reflect on some of the big changes that have happened in our life in the last year, and how much faith plays a part into success.

These past six months have been difficult for various reasons. It is a season in my life that I’m sure one day I will look back and see it as a small stepping stone and a time of profound discovery about my strength as an individual, a wife, a mother, and as our own little family unit.

I have quickly learned to adapt to changes – to rework – to think on my feet. Part of that is probably why I have enjoyed my roles in project coordination, management, and events, as there is always a fire to put out somewhere, a misstep to fix, or tasks to plan ahead on as part of an effective prevention plan. I continue to be convinced that hard work will win over a handout any day, and that work ethic plays a stronger role in the success of business deals, connections, transactions, and negotiations than anything else.

We will have been living in our little farm site for a year when May arrives. I sometimes forget how far we have come when I think about where we started with it. The big things that weren’t so fun that we did were a new roof, a new septic, new electrical, some new plumbing, and spray foam insulation throughout. I often forget about those major things we had to do first, when I see all that still needs to be done. I often catch myself wondering what our neighbors think of our poor yard or the weird front part of our house that we had to fix foundation on and remove a tree that looks so ridiculous…which it will for a while. I also tell myself, we can only do so much, especially when we are paying cash for all the updates, including the major ones. Uff-da. It definitely slows down progress. I see some beautiful renovations done in a month, and I’m just getting a finished kitchen ceiling a year later…not to mention the countertops still waiting to be installed.  It can be easy to feel discouraged when it seems as if we take one step forward with the house and then two steps back, but I try to tell myself, we are making small baby steps towards progress, and someday, all the trim will be finished…hopefully.

Where we started – no walls, completely gutted – and where we are today – a toilet, shower, tile, trim, and cabinet (and we do have a full sink top on now too!)

Our upstairs bathroom has undergone a significant transformation in the past month. I even had to remind myself at where we started with it. We completely gutted it and installed new walls, a new shower, new toilet and a new floor. I redid the solid oak cabinet that was in the bathroom – a good scrubbing and some paint later and it looked completely different. We are still searching for a few items to complete the bathroom (like a mirror and light fixture), but hopefully in a month or so it will all be tied together. Harper really loves having a big bath again needless to say!

We have been working to develop a plan for our farm-site that exists in 5, 10, and 15 year time frames. That often seems like forever when we could use it all right now! Our major things happening this summer are repairs to our shop and burning down the barn. We finally got the official “go ahead” with the fire department to use the barn for training. It will be interesting as my husband is already throwing out things like “water curtains,” “tanker stations”, and other firefighting terms. We are rearranging some of the critters to new homes to protect them from the smoke. Luckily, we have some amazing friends that will take the horses in temporarily during it all, and another friend busy building a small hog shed for us. The chickens will also be moved into a new building as we arrange the driveway a bit differently in the future. The plan is to reach some bigger goals of an office addition, some fencing for livestock, and reworking another shed for livestock in those 10 and 15 year plans. We have some amazing people on our team that believe in what we are doing, tell it like it is, and definitely build up our confidence that we can make it all work when there are plenty of days that seem to tell us differently.

I have really started to refocus my trust in Him. Sometimes it takes an infinite amount of strength to realize that He has a reason for what is going on in these various seasons of my life. When I seem to be saying, right now…He tells me to pause and wait. After a phone call to my sister a few weeks ago where she really stressed that I needed to give it all to God and truly trust in His plan, because later on, even though it may not seem like it now, it is the right path, and the right steps to take. Her words hit home. That I needed to remember who was in control of this crazy mess of a life I lead.

This is one of my favorite songs – Trust in You by Lauren Daigle – and I listen to it often.

Our journey has never been easy – we’ve had plenty of people tell us we should write a book with as much stuff that has happened to us before the age of 30, but like so many, we just keep plugging along. Hard work matters, even when it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. So when you feel like throwing the towel in, like you are getting nowhere, remember where you started, how far you’ve come, and all the hard work you’ve put in. That fire, that passion you first started with, is still there, it might just need some rekindling every once in a while. So for now, I won’t forget where to put my trust, and let Him fan the flame – it will all be just fine.

-Sara

When Life Gets Crazy

How many of you sometimes feel like you are sinking? Surviving on coffee? Your hair has been dry shampooed for the 3rd time this week?

I’m raising my hand right there with you.

When Mark took his new job, we didn’t realize it would take him away from home so much, but with a company just breaking into the US market, his territory has been GIGANTIC. I mean, 4 states worth gigantic. It has been a daily, weekly, and monthly struggle with never knowing if he will be home one night or gone mid-morning for a week-long trip. It has been frustrating, challenging, and frankly, very lonely. It probably hit home the most when Mark wasn’t able to make it back for Easter. There are days where I feel like I’m barely surviving between chores, trying to renovate a house, pay bills for 2 places, take care of selling our other house, and making sure Harper’s needs are met, all while still being a solid employee at work. I am thankful for my boss who has been very understanding as my schedule has flexed to accommodate our crazy schedules.

Our house renovation has been as slow as traffic on 494 during rush hour. There are days where it feels like we will never get anywhere. We made the decision to box up all of our stuff and move to our camper to live until our renovations are complete. Camper living is a game changer that I’m not sure I can fully describe unless you have actually done it with a 1 year old. We have all the plumbing fixed thanks to one of Mark’s talented friends, the roof is done, walls are ready for new electrical, and waiting for drywall. Tile has been purchased, a new shower/tub unit is waiting, and the vanity top is ready to go on the cabinet. I have the paint color picked out for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. Still working on paint colors for the rest of the house. Paintable wallpaper by the way, is my saving grace for some of this house. We have “new” to us appliances thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who graciously gave us their set waiting to go in the garage. We do have to do a modification to the ceiling in the kitchen, and are debating if we just try to refinish all the hardwood floors at once and pull up all the vinyl. I also still need to paint all of the kitchen cabinets and get new hardware…it never ends. If you know anyone that likes to paint, we pay in honey!

Speaking of which, we started a really awesome new Pollinators Superhero program with our honey! We  know not everyone is into keeping bees, and frankly, we all shouldn’t be due to lack of forage out there and disease, but we know people like to help pollinators and learn about honeybees, so in 2016, you can actually sponsor a hive. You will receive a photo of your hive, details about it, a 1lb jar of honey, and a chance to come visit us during extraction! There’s even an opportunity to be able to paint a hive the color of your choice and engrave it! What a unique gift idea for that hard to buy for person in your life! You can find out more here.

There have been plenty of days of craziness in our household. I have also realized that it is okay to go to bed at 8pm if you need it. Really. It won’t be the end of the world if the laundry stays on the couch for the week unfolded. I swear it. If you don’t have a chance to shower in the morning because your husband is on a fire call and the baby is up, just use the dry shampoo. No one will notice. If you have to wear boots covered in dirt and plaster dust into a restaurant to have a quick lunch because you forgot to pack sandwiches, just do it. No one minds. Don’t feel bad if you need a Dr. Pepper at 8 at night because you have to stay up late finishing your own homework. Be proud of yourself for continuing your schooling.

Hope anchors the Soul

At the end of the day, my prayers are often for strength. Strength to get through each day, and strength to be able to find contentment in what we are physically able to accomplish at the house, rather than the lack of what is getting done. I also try to pray for faith in my future and not fear of the unknown. Putting it all in God’s hand at the end of the day, but also knowing he has given me the ability to work and work hard, to provide for myself and my family, and with that comes hope. Hope for the kind of future we want for Harper, as well as for our personal farm plans. That things will come together, slowly but surely. It might not always look pretty, but we can say at the end of the day, we did it ourselves. We didn’t have anyone giving us it. Someday, we will probably look back on this time in our life and say, man did we survive on a shoestring. Surviving sometimes seems like all we do in the midst of chaos and living in a camper. In the meantime, I reflect on this verse…

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

May you also find that hope anchors your soul in the midst of the chaos we call life. May we still find time for snuggles and bedtime stories, 8pm Dr. Pepper’s, and still be able to laugh at each other when all is said and done. Hope anchors the soul, and you were made to thrive…

-Sara

 

Leap of Faith & New Beginnings

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

This is a quote on the background of my laptop. I’ve been looking at it every single day, reading it, reciting the words in my mind. Yet, I was a hypocrite.

I didn’t love what I was doing. My heart was telling me that this wasn’t what I was meant to do. I felt as if the time being spent in my office wasn’t being spent where it should be. So after agonizing over it for weeks, late night discussions with my husband and countless tears, I quit my job. Yes, I’m a new college graduate but I was at the same hospital in one capacity or another for over five years, so it was like leaving a family. I had a good job with a nice title there. However, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. My passions were elsewhere.

My passion has always been there, waiting for me to grab it. Most of the time, it was slapping me in the face, saying “Hey, right in front of you!” Agriculture.

I want to make a difference in agriculture. I want to be a voice of reason. I want to create a way for others in agriculture to market themselves to their consumers. I want to be a voice of passion. I am a voice of passion.

Threshing weekend with the cousins. We farm the old fashioned way once a year for nostalgia purposes. My job- make sure the oats don't overflow the wagon.

Threshing weekend with the cousins. We farm the old fashioned way once a year for nostalgia purposes. My job- make sure the oats don’t overflow the wagon.

Promoting agriculture as the 2009 Rice County Fair Queen. I did a lot of 4-H ribbon ceremonies and barn living that week.

Promoting agriculture as the 2009 Rice County Fair Queen. I did a lot of 4-H ribbon ceremonies and barn living that week.

Agriculture has been my life from the time I was little. In fact, I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a sheep, chicken or rabbit hanging around with me. I’m sure my mom appreciated having them in the house with me from time to time. If you ever meet her, ask about my lamb following me around our fireplace room before it was finished while I rollerbladed around it. Yeah…sorry mom! It has just taken me a while to realize that is the career path I was meant to take. So now, I’m building my foundation.

Gizmo. My lamb that ate fruit loops & got to come in the house routinely.

Gizmo. My lamb that ate fruit loops & got to come in the house routinely.

I was accepted to Kansas State University for their online AG*Idea program to complete my Masters degree in Agricultural Education and Communication. For the summer, I have taken an internship with the Minnesota Farm Bureau working on the Ag Cab Lab. Lastly, I’m working on amping up this blog to inspire, to motivate, to teach, to be a voice, to lead and to make a difference.

Last night I sat around the dinner table with my husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law discussing the impact of new government programs on our agricultural business. I talked about using a new farming application on our cell phones. This wasn’t just a casual conversation. It was business, but business with family; and I can’t imagine not doing it.

So I’m taking that leap of faith. To better grow and serve myself and my family’s needs.

Grain bins seem to make good backdrops for photos. Ready to take the next step!

Grain bins seem to make good backdrops for photos. Ready to take the next step!

I am so thankful to have a husband who is behind me 100% on this new, beautiful, challenging, risky and what some might call crazy, journey I have embarked on.

Are you ready to take this journey with me? I sure hope so. Your words, ideas, suggestions and encouragement will all help me grow on this crazy ride.

So get out your wine glass, and open up a bottle of Pink Truck and make a toast with me.

Here’s to new beginnings.