Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Farmer's Wife.

Time on this planet, in this life, is so fleeting. Already we've passed our second month of marriage and left it behind somewhere. I stumble to catch up with the changes and all the thoughts that crash around in my little mind. Some days, I feel acutely how slow I am to adapt.

We came home from our honeymoon and the snowy streets of Leavenworth around the middle of January. We came home to our little house on the farm, next to the dairy. The little house was lonely, dirty, and waiting. It was waiting for us to come live in it and make it a home.

Those first weeks in January were full of washing, scrubbing, organizing, painting, and trips to Ace Hardware. Thanks to the help of my darling family, all our walls are fresh and cream-colored, our kitchen cupboards are yellow like my Mommy's, and I now have more 'paint clothes' then any one person should. I even have paint shoes. If the surface is somewhat flat, wood, metal, plastic, already painted--I paint it. And even with all this painting, I still manage to get quarts and gallons of the wrong color. I have a quart of "Red Dragon" paint that is most definitely hot pink. If you know anyone in need of pink paint, do send them my way.

The first weeks of January the fog was relentless. I began to wonder where they kept the stars and the blue sky in this part of the country. But weather patterns and days never last forever. The fog did eventually lift and we got to see the sky again. I always miss my sweet family in Eburg, but some days are more full of missing than others. I'm so thankful for texting and hours of phone calls though. What a gift to still be able to stay connected. I'm also SO thankful we don't live states away. It's a 90 minute drive, but when you know the way, it's an easy drive.

Slow and steady we've brought order to the chaos in our little home. One of the first big steps was moving into the freshly painted bathroom. Which made it less of a hunt to find our tooth brushes at night. Another big step was buying enough white hangers to move all our clothes into the small closet and off the floor. A huge accomplishment was moving into the yellow cupboards of my tiny kitchen. Cream dishes are stacked in the cupboards. Red pots line the shelves. Moving into the kitchen, I found I had a plethora of pie plates. When I say plethora, I do mean plethora. I mean 15+ pie plates. Just let that one sink in for a minute. I also found I had no measuring cups or spoons, and no balloon whisk. The measuring utensils weren't to mission critical since I don't measure much anyways, but no balloon whisk! That one was much harder to live without. And since I refuse to use silicone whisks, it's taken till this week to purchase an honest to goodness stainless balloon whisk. Now I can whisk my egg whites the right way. I'm relieved, and Julia Child would be proud.

But all home-improvement and moving-in talk aside, married life is something incredibly special. It's something sacred, intimate, and something for every day. I'm finding, we can't be married just on our good days, or just on our best days. We're married on the bad days, the home-sick days, tearful days, stressed days; we're married for all of them. It's one thing to know that, it's another to live it. To wake up every morning and roll over to give a good morning kiss after some sleep, or little sleep, or dreams of planting new crops, or wakeful hours thinking over all that needs done. To roll over each morning and hold on tight to each others hands and pray. To lift up our praises our needs, and our fears. Praying for the day, the week, the month, the year. Praying for what we can see, and for what we can hardly imagine. We give it to Him who already know it all.

All the stuff of life we pray for, makes me feel so out of my depth. But praise God, His love is so deep we can never be out of His depth. Our Savior draws us both into His sacred presence in the pale light of sunrise. Brian's deep voice rises and falls, filling the quiet peace of the morning.

And I'm thankful. So thankful.

I'm thankful I married someone who is just as out of his depth in this life as I am. I'm so thankful I married someone patient and tender, someone who waits for me, someone who hears me when I need to talk. He holds me when I cry, he washes dishes when I'm tired, he prays when I'm afraid. He tells me I look cute when I'm in work clothes and an old hat. I'm thankful I married someone who comes in the house smelling like diesel and covered in dirt. He's a man for the long sweaty days of harvest, and the hours of numbers in the office.

He's a man for the every day stuff of life. And I am so thankful Christ saw fit to twine Brian and I's lives together.

I'm so thankful to be the Farmer's wife.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

His constant Grace.

The stars above us don't really move. They appear to slide across the night sky from the east horizon where they rise to the west where they dissapear behind dark hills. But in truth, they're not moving from one horizon to the other.

It's our earth that's moving. The ground beneath us is a sphere, spinning in space. One complete rotation is one 24 hour day. We stand outside at night, looking up at the sky and we think the stars are moving, but we're really the ones who are moving. 

It makes me think. When I feel like I've dissapointed Christ one too many times; when I feel like I'm too broken to be used, or like I've somehow overdrawn my account of God's Grace, it's because of where I stand and how I stand looking. It's because I'm changeable and so fallible. 

This life is not always what we expect or what we want, or what we're comfortable with. Our perspective of God and life is always changeable, and often inconsistent.

But He's not. He's infallible and unchanging. His well of Grace never runs dry for you or I. 

This Thanksgiving day, I'm so thankful for His grace. His grace that saturates every part of this life of mine. His grace forgives me, washes me, redeems me. His grace has brought me to this season; placing me right here, right now. His grace numbered and shaped all my days before there was even one of them in exsistence. His grace has brought countless people in and out of my life, each one for His purpose. 

How blessed it is to rest in His constancy.

This is cause for thankfullness. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014


It was July, July 12th of this year to be exact. In the broiling heat of summer, we walked on a grassy knoll near a cool lake. Our faces were hot, kissed by the sun. He went down on one knee. He asked and I said yes. Yes, yes, yes! I said it a handful of times, as if once was not quite enough. It happened in minutes, this decision to spend forever together.

My fiancé is the tall farmer with dark hair. His hands have hard work callouses; he wears old leather boots and plaid shirts. He has this smile that crumbles my defenses.

For some reason I thought engagement would be really easy. As a girl I pictured getting married not living engaged. This season is long and short all in the same breath. It's sweet and bitter in the same moment. The truth is, it's a tumult of emotions. Like giant sea waves pounding and pouring over the sand. You just can't imagine what those waves feel like till you're under them.

Sometimes I'm in my little room and I feel homesick for my home, but I haven't even left home yet.

Other times I just wish he was near; that we could sit together and talk about everything for as long as we wanted to.

I wear this beautiful diamond ring on the fourth finger of my left hand. It's made of so many tiny diamonds that are cut just so. They glisten in the bright sun, and in low light they glimmer. It's crazy for me to wear a ring like this. I milk goats, dig in the dirt, wash dishes, do laundry, make bread and clean toilets, all with a diamond ring on. It makes me think of God's beautiful, constant grace. He gives it to us and we wear it in spite of all our humanness.

It's all my humanness that scares me sometimes. I'm doubtful, afraid, and selfish. I'm forgetful of God and prideful in my own wisdom. And in this next season of life, I will be a child of God with new roles to fill. The roles of wife, and Lord-willing, mother. But I am so inadequate! I'm so ill-prepared. I'm not enough.

But I know the One who is enough. The One who is sufficient.

But he said to me, "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9a

It's so difficult to comprehend how my all-sufficient Savior can use my utter weakness to perfect His power.

It's also difficult to understand why the Farmer wants to spend the rest of his days married to me. 

This season of engagement is almost finished. It's nearly December and winter is here in earnest. Snow veils the hills around our farm. Wind blasts fierce and icy from the north and east. Rain pours cold and heavy. That day in July seems life-times ago.

Today, tonight, there's just 41 more days. Just 41, 24 hour days till the day the Farmer and I vow before God and everyone else that we'll love and live in all our humanness together. The day we vow to live fully aware of our weaknesses, but also fully aware of HIS GRACE. 

Just 41 more days till the day we start forever

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Because He lives.

Rain is spilling from the sky outside. It's peaceful and soft. It smells like wet garden dirt. The goats are milked and now I'm inside my little room. I have a mug of hot chamomile tea, my books are stacked all around, and my finished moon painting is now hanging on the wall.

Christ has made my heart thankful. In the deep, abiding way that only He can.

This last week we've read through the Gospel accounts of Christ’s death on the cross. It’s a miracle that can never be told or read too many times over. Jesus, fully God and fully man. He had all power to carry out His own will, but He didn't. Instead, Jesus was completely surrendered to the perfect will of His Father. And yet Jesus was still fully human. The Creator of the Universe clothed in frail flesh.

After He was delivered to be crucified, He was scourged till the blood ran. Jesus’ body was weak and bowed with pain, in the midst of the jeering crowd.  He stumbled beneath the weight of the cross. The Roman soldiers impatient to be finished, grabbed a man from the crowd to carry the cross.

His human body felt every lash. Every thorn. Every nail. And yet He controlled the moment His spirit was yielded in death. No one took His life. Christ gave it in perfect obedience. He gave it because He loved us, the sinful, jeering ones, with perfect love. The Sinless One was slaughtered for the sinful. His Holy blood was spilled to cover our foul stains of sin so that we could approach the Holy God.

Easter was a blessed day, remembering this miracle of Christ's perfect love. It began with a pale blue sky and His glory in gold sunlight. Hymns sung all together in our little white Church. Eating sticky cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Me, dropping a whole cup of hot coffee. The scalding liquid splashing all over the floor, my leather shoes, and Mary's Church clothes. {unfortunate for her, she was standing right next to me when I dropped the cup} Mom thought I dropped the coffee because I was too excited about getting to eat food again. 

She's probably right. I was pretty excited. Sticky, leaven-laden rolls, cream in my coffee. It was all lovely. I'm thankful I chose to give-up for Lent. And I'm thankful to be on this side of it. I now know it's possible to live without things like butter, bread, and cupcakes. It's hard. But possible. 

It makes me think of how many times I look at something hard and I say it's not possible. But what if it actually is possible? When I see the impossibility of something it's because of my perspective. I think, I'm not strong enough for that. And that's very true. But I don't need to walk this way alone. I don't need to be strong enough. 

Because Christ lives. 

Three days after His death, Jesus rose from the dead. His work on earth was done. The debt was paid once, for all! The debt you and I owed, but could never pay, Jesus paid it for us. He made the way for us to live a new life; an abundant life in Him. 

And the Abundant life begins in a thankful heart He creates.

Because HE lives, we can live too.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Reckless Surrender.

For me, surrender only comes after the storm. It doesn't come before, and it certainly doesn't come in the middle when the fight is hardest.

Yet again, I'm faced with the ugliness in me. The ugliness that rails against the Creator of the Universe, throwing my fear and doubt in His face. I crash around hurting those near me with my selfish, stubborn heart. And I'm all-consumed with making myself heard. All-consumed with asking why? 

I talk myself into feeling like it's all too much. I tell myself, it's just too much. As if my Savior made a mistake in what He's sent my way. As if He could put me in the wrong place at the wrong time. I sit on my bedroom floor pleading with Him; sobbing my doubt out loud.

His voice, though not audible, comes like something tangible. It's a breath of air I can feel. It's like the glowing orb of moon in the dark sky outside my window. He asks me, "do you love me Grace?"

Through the sobs I nod, "yes, of course I love you."

"Do you love me Grace?"

I answer hurried, like Peter did. "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."

And Truth starts to take form.

If I really love Christ, then I would follow HIM. 

If I really love Christ, then I would surrender ALL to HIM. 

But I always fight surrender, because I hang on tight and I don't want to let go. It's frightening, no it's terrifying, to release my hold on my will; my plans. Because this world we live in, makes you feel that you're reckless and careless if you don't make plans. And so I make plans, and all too soon I realize that I'm thinking I control my future, but I don't. I realize that I'm thinking of this life as mine. But it's not.

He paid dearly for my unholy soul. He spilled His blood to wash the crimson stains of sin away from my robes. And He died and rose that I might have life abundantly. 

"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Abundant life comes when I bend and yield to His will. It comes when I open my hands, releasing my strangling grip on all that I want; all that I think I need.

I can live abundantly when I'm willing to be changed and transformed by His Spirit. When I'm willing to be still before Him, or when I'm willing to step forward without seeing the next step.

When I'm willing. 

The Lord is so patient; so gentle. Though I am so unwilling, He draws me into the peace of surrender. 
He quiets my reasoning, my questions, and my fears. He softens my hardness to hear His voice.

He "upholds me with a willing spirit," {psalm 51:12} so that I might abandon myself in a reckless surrender to His will. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Feast Day.

During Lent, traditionally, Sundays are 'feast days.' On those days the fast can be broken in some way. So far I haven't taken advantage of the feast days because I thought for sure it would make it much harder to go back to fasting. 

{feast day: coffee with whip cream. fasting: just black coffee again.}
{feast day: butter on hot crusty bread. fasting: carrot sticks again.}

Just saying. It would be harder. 

But then Lew's birthday came and I made raised doughnuts with chocolate glaze and sprinkles. I decided I would have a feast day.

I'm not sure if doughnuts were created for coffee, or coffee for doughnuts... either way, they're the perfect couple. The perfect couple. 
I can't remember making doughnuts before that were quite so wonderfully amazing. They were so good, they made me use an adverb to describe them, and I almost never use adverbs. Seriously, they were that good. Especially with the coffee. 

After consuming one, {and photographing all the others} I walked out into the clean air to milk the goats. This incredible sense of well-being washed over me. It could be partly due to the sugar and caffeine racing through my veins, but not entirely. 

This last week, God has sent encouragement my way. He's sent it in bursts like the Spring rain. This refreshment has come in words, written and spoken. Loving, truthful, words. It's come in prayers. It's come in singing old hymns. In smiles. In morning coffee with Dad. In old pictures.

And it came in a feast day, with doughnuts. 

It was hard, this morning, to ignore those doughnuts wanting to be chomped. But, coffee is still wonderful alone, and I'm still thankful I took a feast day.

I'm thankful to be basking in the bursts of encouragement. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Giving up.

Giving up is not my usual stance. Because I tend to hang on till my knuckles are white, rather than letting go.

March 5th was the first day of Lent. Lent can be a tradition, a ritual, a mere formality. But to me, Lent is an opportunity to conscientiously give something up. An opportunity to choose to let go of something that's easy to hang onto.

I love food. I love to create it, photograph it, smell it; eat it. I love everything about it. And so, for my first Lent I'm giving up some of the foods I love best. Butter, bread, cheese, all leavened things, refined sugar, and meat. {I'm keeping coffee and chocolate, because I feel that it's important to remain somewhat sane throughout this time of Lent}

Starting out, I felt overwhelmed. Second-guesses ran through my head as I baked crusty loaves of twisted bread. And when I made a beautiful batch of citrus cupcakes topped with perfect meringue frosting, I began to think this whole Lent thing is pretty over-rated. 

But now. I'm crossing over into my third week of Lent and I hold a bit of perspective. It is in fact possible to live without the full scope of beautiful food. It's not easy. But then again, I wasn't signing up for easy, and I knew it wouldn't be...but I don't think I knew how hard it could be.

I'm a baker and a cook. A passionate baker and cook. And let me tell you, to not taste my cake batter goes against every fiber of my being.

Every single one.

But, it is possible to make cupcakes and not try the batter. It really is. I would have never known that, had I never tried.

I have to smile at myself, because in the grand scheme of things, my giving-up for Lent is pretty small. 
It really is. Because a few continents away, there are thousands, maybe millions of people who've never tasted butter cream frosting. Not even once. They're thrilled when they get to eat a meal. And I realize, the number of gifts I take for granted, is staggering.

I give-up for Lent, to gain perspective and grow in thankfulness. But I also give-up so that in some very, very, small way, I can try to emulate the perfect example of my Savior who gave up everything for me; for you.

I'm still counting the weeks left till Easter morning. And there are still mornings, and afternoons, and evenings when I crave a hunk of bread with butter.

But I'm thankful.

Thankful to be in the third week, and thankful for a chance to give-up what I thought I needed.

But mostly, I'm thankful for Christ, my Savior. I'm thankful for His abundant grace that seeps through every crack of my life.