Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Farming Seeds and Weeds

I am a farm girl. I grew up driving tractors and riding in the combine with Dad and learning how to grow crops and raise animals. I was the county pork princess in 1992. While I enjoy putting on a pretty dress like any girl does, at the core of my heart is a girl who does not mind getting her hands dirty, loves country music, rocks the blue jeans, works hard and enjoys the outdoors. Farm life is a part of me that will always be deeply seeded in who I am and how I grew up. And I wouldn’t change that for a moment. I love my farm roots. I learned valuable lessons because of my farm girl roots. Being a farm girl at heart  means I have a better understanding of how crops grow. I can remember one year, Dad asked me to run the planter. What I mean is, I was the one driving the tractor, running the machine behind it which planted the seeds in the ground. I was 13 or so...
   When dad asked me to do that, all by myself, it worried me a little, because that was a very big job. Planting seeds must be done right, as the planting of the seed is the start of the years crop, which was, in essence, a large part of our family income. 
But how exciting to be a larger part of that, other than riding alongside my dad this time. 
  When a seed is planted into the ground, it takes time to see results. In farm world, spring (usually April timeframe) was when crops were planted. It would be June before we would really see the crops sprouting well. The crop needs rain and sun, both to grow and produce as it should. It takes time. The crop also has to be tended to for weeds. Weeds can ruin the crop if they overgrow. It’s why farmers have sprays that kill the weeks. 
  In our own lives, we plant seeds all the time. We also have weeds that grow. 
  Those seeds can be a variety of things and how we plant those seeds vary as well. Seeds can be good: God’s truths, love, laughter, joy, sweet memories. Those seeds can also be bad: lies, bitterness, anger, hurt. Many times, the weeds are what go unrecognized until the “plant” has grown so much it is really difficult to pull up the roots that seeded it. 
  For each person, the weed looks different. Pulling the weeds of bitterness, anger, hurt, and lies or whatever the case is,  will take time because the roots of these weeds can run deep. But with much care to ones heart, just as a farmer would tend to his field,  the heart can become clean again. Those weeds that have crowded the good crop can be pulled and uprooted and gone forever.   The heart has  to keep watering the seeds of truth He has given. 
   Often times the weeds can be confused with what the plant is. The farmer has to have a trained eye often to recognize the difference
 We can be the same way. What's right or wrong can be clouded. We can get confused. We have to keep watering the good crops to in order to keep the bad weeds out.  If we lose sight of that, the weeds can grow in sneaky ways.  And once a weed has a root, it can be difficult to uproot. 
   Pulling weeds can be painful at times. For a farmer, those weeds can cloud the crop and not yield as good of a harvest. For me, the weeds can make it hard to be the person I am supposed to be, created to be.  
  As I walked through the county fair last night and remembered the plethora of good times, I had growing up as a farm girl, I thought through the many lessons I learned simply because I had the privilege to grow up in that environment. My dad, the farmer, taught me to work hard, to rely on God, to tend to crops, to pull weeds, to never give up, and when there is a bad crop, you keep going. The lessons go on, and while some would say I did not have a normal childhood because I spent much of it farming, I would say I wouldn't trade it for anything. 
   So, one day at a time, like a farmer tends his crops and works hard to keep weeds out and his income alive, I am tending to pulling weeds, to the best of my ability. To thriving in who I am as I grow. And remembering the lessons taught to me without even realizing all I was learning in those years. By His grace. Some days easier said than done, but it's all about one day at a time. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

she is 12. I am 32.

She is 12. I am 32.
   She is the daughter. I am the mother.
      She teaches me. I teach her.
 We both wear glasses, love to read, and love to write.
She writes stories. I write life lessons.
  We are both, in different ways, learning to love ourselves and express our life desires, though on different levels.

I listen to her chat on about helping out with VBS at church. My quiet, shy little 12 year old is caught between her inner child who loves to imagine and play and laugh and be crafty and the blossoming young woman who has experienced far too many trials for her 12 years already. She is learning who she is. I am learning who I am.
  How can a 12 year old and a 32 year old be learning the same lessons?

I thought about this much last evening, as I picked her up and listened to her talk about her nerves of stepping out of a comfort zone of quiet and into a zone of helping out in a room full of hyper kindergartners. I love watching my daughter grow into trying new activities outside of her typical zone. She is beginning to do what I want for her: she is beginning to try new things, open up herself, step out of her zone a little and grow.
  "I'm sorry I'm so chatty, mommy. I just can't stop talking right now... I feel excited, mommy. I don't feel nervous anymore."
 Those were her words to me on the way home last night.
"Are you kidding me? I love listening to you talk and see you excited, " I said. "I want to hear all about it...."
  She is learning to try new activities, even if she is afraid.

I am learning it is better to try, to step out, and to fail, than to be too afraid to have tried at all.
  2 lessons, 2 "girls", shaped in a different manner, but growing at the same time.

As she is growing and beginning to discover more of who she is and what she wants to be, I am doing the same. I have had countless conversations with her about accepting with who she is, that beauty is from within, that God has made her unique and special, as I do not want her to grow up with the insecure struggles that I, myself, have battled much on daily basis.  That many of us women battle. In embracing those, she teaches me to practice what I, in essence, am striving  to teach her.

 She is caught between wanting to play and wanting to be older; I tell her you can grow into yourself and be who you are, and have a great imagination and use that as a gift, even as a "grown up".  How do I know? Because at 32, I am finally embracing that.

 I am caught between dreams and realities at times. What is right to pursue, what is right to abandon?

I sing and laugh and dance in my kitchen because I am enjoying the growth of life. I am not stifled by it; I am learning to embrace it. And that is beautiful.  She plays her guitar, welcomes the new girl in church and pushes to become more involved. She is embracing her growth. She is teaching me without her even knowing it.

It is better to try and fail and know at least you gave it a shot, than to spend years wondering if it could have been....and who knows? That "try" could become a great success.
  Like the success of starting a 5K and scholarship in memory of mom
   Or like the fail of trying to plant flowers
  Or like stepping out of my zone and moving into a new career
    Or the fail of attempting to cook an amazing meal that looks good as a recipe but turns out as an utter fail and pizza gets ordered instead.

Or in her terms,
 Like stepping out of the quiet zone to help with 15 hyper 5 yr olds
    or trying out for student council, but not getting it.
  Or learning to play the guitar but perhaps not mastering the singing aspect

She is 12. I am 32. But we are both navigating our way through change and growth and loving who we are as we grow.
 She is the daughter. I am the mother.
  She is quite honestly a spitting image of my mom at that age. I hope to become the beautiful woman my mom was, beginning from the inside.

She is 12. I am 32. And we are on the journey of a lifetime, growing, one day at a time. Different life lessons, and yet somehow holding a parallel.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A thankful Heart

Last week I did a post of things for which I was thankful. And I enjoyed that, so I found it good to keep going with that a bit each week. It makes me realize even more profoundly the good things and moments I have in life. And Makes me happy just to remember them and write them down. Some more simple, others more profound. So, week 2 of a thankful heart....

  - Sharing glimpses with my 10 year old son and laughing over the stupidest commercials on TV that no one else understands why we are laughing, which makes us laugh harder.
  - Laughing hysterically with Lisa over a random comment thrown into the conversation that made no sense unless you were following our chat. That belly laugh felt wonderful.

 - I am all about heat, but I will say I have enjoyed 2 very rare cool July days this week

 -Shopping for books with my 12 year old daughter and having a very grown up mother/daughter moment . Motherhood is shifting.

- Baking a perfect cake on my first try.

- Talking to runners all day. It makes me smile. Even when the conversation is the same with each person, I don't get tired of it.

- Squishy Nike flip flops. A perfect fitting running shoe. Michael has always been the shoe junkie of the family but I may be inching my way there.

-A random text in the middle of the day that lets me know I'm thought of.

- Photos. I love to look back at old photos and remember. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. I must agree.

 Lastly: see below.

Who says Ohio can't be or isn't beautiful? My morning runs are becoming moments where I look at my watch far less and look at the scenery far more. Some of the sunrises are breathtaking.

  Just a few of the moments or things which have brought smiles in recent days....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Taking a tumble....

Yesterday, I re-geared my morning routine to add back in strength training. I have not done that in some time, and I felt inspired (or something like that!) to get back to that aspect of exercise. It hurt, and yet it felt so good at the same time. That being said, I missed running that morning, so I used my lunch time to go out for a quick jog.  However, at the beginning of my jog, I had a rare experience. Somehow, my foot misstepped as I went from sidewalk to pavement, and I completely skidded across the gravel patch.  I caught myself on my hands, and managed to leave the experience without bloody knees, but I did have quite the bloody palms. I picked myself up and kept going.

   As I continued to run, I thought about my fall as I looked at my bloody palms and picked small pieces of gravel out of the skin while I jogged. Life is often like that fall. It can happen as we shift from one place to another. Or it can happen as we take our eyes off the right direction. Or a fall can happen simply out of nowhere, catching us off guard, leaving us with scrapes and bruises and possibly even scars. But every fall has the potential to teach us lessons.

 My first reaction when I fell was to quick look and see if anyone else witnessed the event. For my prides's sake, I was glad no one had. But as the day went along, I began to admit that I had taken a stumble. The scenario became a bit humorous, if I allowed it, to a point of even laughing over being asked if I needed the curb painted for me. But again, this brought me back to comparison to real life.

 How many times when I make mistakes do I try to cover them? Or look around to see if anyone noticed? Yet when I can be humble enough to admit to my mistakes, my falls, I can learn to laugh about it and learn from it better than if I just sat on it and said nothing. Falls/spills/mistakes, are meant to help teach us to grow; To pick ourselves up and keep going. And sometimes the scars that remain after the fact help us remember not to make the same mistakes. The scars that remain afterwards can be beautiful reminders to redirect our steps more appropriately. The scars that remain after mistakes can be used to tell a story- one at which we may never laugh, but we can humbly use as helpful reminders to others in our lives to be careful of their steps or to take more caution in where they go or what they do.

 My son asked me that evening, upon examining my oozing palm, if I cried. I said no. Then he asked if I quit. To which the answer was also No.  "I'm a runner. I got back up and kept going and didn't look back...."  He seemed satisfied with that answer. For me, though, that answer became much more about life than a run. I will admit I am a crier when it comes to hard times. But I cry and press on. I don't quit. I keep going and (try) not to look back. It's good to have a scar or a scrape and to remember. But it's even better to keep going and not give up. It's good to see the scar and know that "Oh yeah, remember that one day I fell? I survived and kept going, but I have to remember to be careful."

 We can react so many ways when we fall. We can quit. We can cry. We can get scared and not go back. We can hide and not share our scrapes/bruises/scars. But the best thing to do is to get up, pick out the gravel, and keep going. And use that fall as a lesson for the future. Tell the story- perhaps someone can learn from it. (or paint a curb for you to help you not make the same mistake). Let your fall help you grow.

 My palms are fine, by the way. They are tender and scraped and bruised, but the moment of that fall became a good life reminder for me.  And quite honestly, the tumble is now quite humorous. And the run turned out to be a beautiful one, just as a fall in life can become the same story, if I choose to keep going.... one day at a time.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thoughts of Thankfulness

Funny how it works that when I don't have time to write, I have a million things thoughts I want to write down and share...
   And when I do have time, I sit in front of a blank screen trying to put my thoughts together and yet come up with nothing.
  But as I sat at my computer screen thinking this afternoon, what was really coming to my mind over and over I finally decided to write down, even if it seems quite random.
  And that is thoughts of thankfulness.
  Life has seasons for sure- I've talked about that. Some seasons are spring- great and pretty and full and wonderful. Other seasons are winter- dark and gloomy and really a time you just want to end.
  For me, I am in a spring season. And my heart feels full and I have many thoughts of thankfulness. So, with a moment of nothing profound to say, sharing my thoughts of thankfulness seemed appropriate. and perhaps it'll inspire you to think of things for which you are thankful for as well.
  1. A refreshing walk on my lunch break, to be finished off in the pouring rain. I actually  delighted  in  the smell and feel of the hard rain on my back for the last quarter mile. Taking walks on my lunch has become something I savor and enjoy.
2. A strong cup of coffee to follow that walk.
  3. My job. I cannot say enough how very much I love the job I have been given. The timing of it was perfect and it is quite clear to me I am where I am supposed to be. I am learning and growing and loving what I do. I feel like a kid on Christmas at being so lucky to have found this position here (Well, really, I believe God knew all along it was where I was supposed to be, and it was just a matter of the timing).
   4. Guitars. I don't play, but I enjoy listening to others do so. There is something soothing and so enjoyable about it. I love music. I especially enjoy guitar music.
 5. A good book. I've found time to read again :) And have thoroughly been enjoying the pleasure of a good  book.
   6. New friends. I'm a people person. I love learning about others and having long conversations (or even short ones). I enjoy being around people. I have discovered new friends lately. And have been able to re-bond with old ones, too. It makes me happy to have those moments.
     7. Mary. My new running buddy. Sometimes a season of running alone is necessary and good for the soul. I still enjoy my alone runs. But for a person like me, having a running buddy is also a big blessing. And Mary is that for me. A big blessing. She's younger, faster, thinner, and can go way longer than I can....but who cares? We don't.  :)
    8. Rain storms. Many of these have occurred lately, and I have enjoyed opening windows, listening to the calming sounds and the fresh smells of the rain, along with the cool summer breeze to go with it.
      9. Baking. I am not a chef (or a baker?) But I really enjoy taking the time to bake goodies from scratch. Often times with the kids alongside me. Not to mention I enjoy eating the goods as well. 
10. July. It's my favorite month. My siblings and I are all born in July so it is a time I have always enjoyed. I love July. We eat a lot of dessert and laugh often and remember much.
     11. Playing games. I really enjoy playing games. Of all sorts-card, board, physical games (like hide and seek...) and my son is my game player in my family. This weekend I taught him a new game and we laughed as we played and just had a good time.

  It's the simple things, really. And I have been enjoying rediscovering some of these very simple things again.
  Perhaps "Thoughts of Thankfulness" should become a regular post....
        Perhaps it might make you smile in the process or think about things for which you are thankful as well.
  One day, one thought, even, at a time.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Here's Your Sign, Superwoman

Sometimes I pretend I'm superwoman
  Come know you do it, too. Maybe just in a different fashion .
 I decide it's a great idea to increase my mileage in runs at a ridiculous percentage instead of being smart with it.
   Then I put on my supermom cape and try to help my 11 year old (pre teenage in all fashion) daughter conquer her emotional world.
      Throw some laundry on and pack a lunch and make breakfast all before even stepping out the door for work.
   As the day goes along, at work, I conquer projects and process new information and love that, all the while my mind turns over crazy ideas for dreams I have for the 5K/scholarship and life in general, so when I get home, I then spin my superwoman web of ideas for anyone who will listen.
  Play with the kids, fold the laundry, so on and so forth.
 The list could go on, but that's really not the point of my writing.
  The point is sometimes I think I'm superwoman. And then I get knocked over the head with the "here's your sign" kind of moment.

      Savor the moments.
It's ok not to be the fastest, longest distance runner out there. (Insert my cringe here, the competitive part of me wants to be that)
   Not one mom has ever conquered all their pre teenage daughters emotions. In fact, it is part of their process to learn to do it themselves.
    And it's okay if laundry sits for a day.
Some things are just more important.
  Like soaking in the sun. Or getting a full nights sleep. Or having a good conversation on a long run with Mary instead of worrying about how many miles are being fit in. Or taking a walk at lunch, instead of sitting inside. Or swinging with the kids, jumping on the trampoline in the rain or seeing a movie with Michael.
   Sometimes those moments NEED to trump my superwoman ideas of what should be accomplished.
After all, in complete honesty, who is really going to remember if a shirt is washed, but will remember we jumped on the trampoline in the rain??
 But sometimes the "here's your sign" kind of moments (ahem, when sickness creeps in on me because I'm trying to be superwoman) remind me to slow down and savor the moments.
So I'm okay with trading in my superwoman cape for a while for a cup of coffee and a good memory being made.
   and if it takes being hit over the head occasionally to remember this, then I accept that. And hopefully will have to be knocked over the head less over the years as time goes along.
Really, being superwoman isn't found in all of those activities anyhow. It's found in the truest, quietest moments within. when those are found, then the real superwoman can shine through. But she has to slow down to discover that.
    Here's your sign, superwoman. Slow down. It's really quite beautiful.