Tuesday, August 30, 2016

An Exceptional Life in Moderation

*Disclaimer: I realize that I made a sweeping post about how this blog had to be on hiatus. Some eat their feelings. I write mine. Lucky you.

My Grandma Mary lived 102 years on this Earth.

102 years.

In her years, she saw so much advancement. The highway that now cars zip past over 60 (or more) miles per hour, was once a dirt road where she and her sisters played tennis.

Lying in twin beds with my brother, she used to tell us stories of her getting a ride in the sleigh to church or school on winter days, pulled by a HORSE. A HORSE! The eight year old Emily freaked out at a HORSE taking Grandma to school. I was also the kid who had to be told what the window cranks in a car were. #firstworldkid

When a cousin of mine was trying to convince Grandma of the importance of the Internet and its impact on the world, Grandma answered simply, "Can you imagine something else making such an impact? Electricity."

Mic drop.

She headed to college during the Depression, wanting to be a school teacher. She did it bit by bit, coming home to teach in the country school alternately, saving money for the next semester's tuition.

She was a third grade teacher, most famously, in the local school district. While her world was small (never having lived any place for too many years but the home her father built when she was born), her reach was broad. When I moved back to the area and would reference her, there were so many former students who expressed their gratitude and love for Mrs. Shortness.

She was kind, understanding, level headed, smart, and soft spoken. Where I came from, I have no idea. However, this woman is exceptionally organized, one of my better qualities that must have come from her genetics. There are empty closets in her home. She has labeled everything. My girls each have a quilt from either Grandpa or Grandma's families. They all have a tiny white bag (that she sewed) with a note on a small piece of yellow legal paper explaining who made the quilt and sometimes for whom. No fluffy story, no long explanation. Just the important facts.

That's Grandma Mary.

She is an exceptional woman who lived an exceptional life, but exercising exceptional moderation.

She believed in exercise, working in her garden, walking the farm, playing sports as a young (and somewhat cavalier) lady. However, when I took up marathoning, she asked me if that particular distance was necessary. When I explained my reasons, she remarked, "Everything in moderation, Emily."

Duly noted.

When dinners were served at Grandma's (and by dinners, I mean lunch), it was an affair. A main dish followed by colorful sides. Always. Potatoes, fruit, veggies...a cheese and pickle tray. Her homemade rolls. Pie for dessert. However, in typical Grandma Mary manner, she always ate slowly. Not because she was overly chatty, just because she enjoyed small servings of all the dishes slowly. Pie was usually the dessert of choice, and if you were Grandma, you'd truly enjoy it because you had room. You ate everything in moderation.

Except ice cream.

And pop.

Those were the things she despised, but never made a stink about it, just said no thank you and moved on.

Oh these stories make me miss her. I am so lucky. Grandma was something special. She was so influential in my decisions. When I would do something ridiculous in college or even now make some smarty comment, I feel remorse when I think about what Grandma would feel if she knew about my actions.

She set an example that was good and a bar that is high. I'm hoping to achieve that.

There are so many more stories and happy times I could share, but I know that you all have memories of loved ones that are similar.

I will leave you all with this perspective. In a world where excess of stuff, loud voices, extreme opinions and craziness are celebrated, a life like Grandma's, one in moderation, is one that should be highlighted. This was a life that was lead in a way that the world should look to. I am so lucky to have had such an influence in my life, one that was shared in my children's life, and one that I will always cherish.

Thank you, Grandma Mary for teaching me to live a life in moderation, but having loved me in abundance for 38 years.
Grandma and Amelia at the first of their many shared birthday parties.

Grandma holding Amelia just after she was born. She drove to our house that day at age 95!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's Not You; It's Me

Hey friends.
Remember me?
I'm Emily, your resident farm wife.

Hi there.

Well, it's been a summer of change. I know, shocker. We seem to love change around here!

Just to catch you up, at the end of the school year, Joe stepped out of his teaching role and walked back into farming. He is working for a farm as the head herdsman. While teaching will always be a passion for Joe, cattle raising as a profession trumps all others in his book. Well, almost all. I would like to think raising cows runs a close second next to helping raise our family. I'm sure that's true. ;)

But besides Joe starting back into farming, I have stepped into a full time working role. Yep. You read that right. I'm working. A real, paying job with deadlines and everything.
I know. I'm so excited!!! But, I have heard it all: you're so busy with your kids, why work? You'll have to balance so much, why work? Aren't you happy as a mom? Your kids will grow so fast, there's plenty of time to work.

Yes, I understand and appreciate and ROLL MY EYES at all the folks who think they understand our family dynamic.

I may be crazy.
I might be stressed at times.
I may be busy.

However, for the past five years, I have felt unrest. I have felt like I have more to offer. I felt like God gave me these talents, and I wasn't using them. I'm not saying that mothering isn't a super important and worthy job, there was just a little voice inside of me that kept nagging to be heard. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that I felt sometimes that my soul was dying a slow death thanks to an overdose of grilled cheese, laundry and Daniel Tiger.

That's why I started this blog. It's why I podcast with Holly. It's why I accept speaking engagements.

I'm a worker, friends. I like working. I like challenges. I love the chase of balancing it all, working on a schedule. I thrive on deadlines and lists. Even in my at-home mom days, I made a list of things to do, kept my running mileage on my calendar, crossed things off I already had done. I like accomplishing things.

It's not that I'm not happy being just mom to my kids. There's a huge trend to slow down, enjoy life, figure out how to do less.

That's not in my nature.

So. Here we are.

Luckily, this position I accepted is a work-at-home opportunity. It's flexible. It works with my people connecting skills and is based in my home county. So far, so good.

But here's the deal, people. I may have to press pause now and again with my blog. I love this space. I love you especially my dear readers. I get a little emotional thinking about the friends I have made through this blog. I love the voice I have created and the stories that I have written are way more detailed than the empty baby books my last three children have. Thank goodness for this space!

I love the brand I have created, even if I STINK at marketing myself. I am proud that Confessions of a Farm Wife is mine. I am happy to be known as Emily the Farm Wife, even if "farm wife" is sometimes thought of negatively.

In reflecting upon the seven years I have written, I have pretty much laid it all out to you: the good times, the gross times, the sad times, the crazy times, the funny times. You have read my life like a book, only I still haven't really written one yet. YET. You have been with me through the births of three of my kids. You watched our house lift up off its foundation. You cried with us during the sickness and end of life of dear family members. Your words of kindness made the ick of walking away from farming less sad.

Lots of life changes have unfolded in this space, and the way you readers have supported my family, I am so, so thankful.

You will never know how grateful I am for this space. Often times, social media can get a bad rap. It can be fake. It can be judgmental. People use it to promote weird agendas. People lay out their lives in perfectly placed Instagram filtered ways. People edit. My life, however, is not perfect. There are lots of filters used, but it's generally to hide the fact that the wood floor underneath the cute child is so dirty, you can see where footprints have "cleaned" some of it.

Life is not perfect or pretty all the time, and yet from my view, it's just as beautiful if you keep everything as real as possible. I have tried to maintain this belief through this space. I have tried to always be true to myself, our story, our life on this platform. It's ironic I talk about organics in a smarty tone around here...I couldn't be any more organic of a blogger! I'm still on a blogspot platform. This is about as pure and simple of a blog following as you can get!

Because of this organic, true following, you readers gave me the confidence to step out of the realm of just mothering and agriculture. Your kind words and response to my writing, speaking, everything fueled my unrest in a good way. I knew there was more for me, and I feel like this new opportunity is a chance I had to take.

But with new chances, new roles, new opportunities, comes a time of transition. It's the end of summer here (CAN I GET AN AMEN??). The kids have not had too many changes thanks to loving in-home care babysitters who have allowed me to work quietly in my bedroom as they play and take them to the pool. However, as school starts and my deadlines come closer, I am sure that there will be stories to tell, but hardly any time to tell them!

So. If it feels like we're breaking up, we're not. We're just becoming "friends," It's not you; it's me. I need space to grow. I need to find out who I am...what other bad break up line can I drum up from my really crappy dating history?

Regardless of my frequency of posts, friends, I love you. Truly. I just need time to figure this all out. Harvest will be upon us soon, and with that will come the end of a season. Maybe by then I'll have this figured out. But for now, stay with me on Facebook and keep up with us on Instagram. Life will continue to march around here, just following a different set of marching orders.

Thank you again for your support. It's been really, really fun, and I can't wait to see the read the rest of this story.