Winter Thoughts and Ramblings:
Winter is usually the hardest season for me to endure. I’m not a fan of the cold, don’t really like to drive in snow or ice and get tired of bundling up in 17 layers of clothing twice a day for chores. Then you add in the darkness factor. Dark when I leave for work, dark before I head back home and this sun loving girl feels all out of wack for months on end.
This winter seemed especially long for some reason. January alone was excruciating. 31 days felt like 178 and they were consumed with ice filled water tanks and tubs, frozen spigots, numb hands and chilled spirits. I spent as much time as possible capturing pictures of sunrises and sunsets, to have something beautiful at my fingertips to remind me that the winter months too shall pass.
I love being at home. Our home IS my favorite place. But for the most part, Monday through Friday I am not there. I hate it. Each day I’m just trying to power through the week to get to my Saturdays and Sundays. It’s almost impossible to tear me away from home for those two days. This winter the weekends were my own little retreat time. Time to fill 48 hours with long conversations with Jesus and enjoy what some might consider an ordinary life but to me it was overflowing with simple pleasures that make my heart melt with happiness, even when riding out the frozen tundra of winter.
Seasonal Depression: I still suffer from seasonal depression and this winter it left me feeling extremely lonely. The ironic thing is I prefer to be alone so the contradiction isn’t lost on me. I know I am not actually alone, but man does my mind and the devil try to convince me differently when I haven’t felt the sun on my face for weeks on end. Since I was 19 my schedule for the most part has revolved around my kids. The house was loud and chaotic and we were constantly busy. But now I am an empty-nester while most everyone else is still changing diapers, living out of mini-vans with multiple kids in tow while running from practice, to games, to conferences and meetings while staring exhaustively at jammed pack schedules. The kids departure from the farm has left me feeling empty. I assumed that feeling would pass much quicker than it has. My spirit has felt heavy and weak since fall and I’m constantly reminding myself I’m not just a bag of broken pieces. I am so much more then that. So I spent a lot of winter nights sitting in a rocking chair, staring at the fire, working on stilling my mind, praying earnestly for what the next chapter brings and learning how to enjoy the silence for once.
Birds Of A Feather: My crazy bird lady fever has compelled a massive amount of conversations with people. Years and years ago when we started out with a few chicks and ducks I had no idea about things like chicken math and how quickly it can snowball from there. I have handed out an enormous volume of free farm fresh eggs, explained where colored Easter eggs come from, talked shop about breeds of chickens, ducks, turkeys and various ailments. I’ve discussed the difference between the eggs, size of eggs, frozen eggs and egg bloom. I’ve explained what a Rooster’s role is, what an actual hen is and even laughed through weird conversations about ducks mating. It’s a rare occasion when I run into someone that they don’t start handing me egg cartons they have saved for the next time they see me. I love it!! I enjoy it just as much as I adore all my birds and being able to share my eggs with everyone. We purchased new chicks 2 months earlier this year than normal. I don’t know what my crazy brain was thinking since they have to live in the house but listening to their chatter in my office for a couple cold months has helped boost my spirit as well.
Farm To Table: Growing and cooking our own food makes me feel marvelous I have learned. This girl LOVES to eat but learning how to cook using our own farm raised meat and produce has been very satisfying. The words Farm to Table actually mean something to me now. For the most part I don’t mind that it takes longer to cook every meal at home. This winter I did give myself a little pat on the back knowing just how far I’ve come. When Tom met me I bought everything from a store and cooked it in a microwave…I mean everything. Now I prefer castiron cookware, farm raised beef and cornishcross hens, fresh veggies from our garden and and an endless supply of canned goods processed each year. It’s brought a fulfillment to my life I never knew was possible. This year we will be adding honey bees to the homestead and will be attempting to butcher our own chickens and turkeys as well, maybe even a duck or two. I’m excited to work side by side with Tom learning new skills around the farm. That and of course avoiding the grocery store as much as possible!!
Oh Charlie: I lost our August bottle calf the first week of January. It felt like a swift, sudden kick to the throat as I wasn’t expecting her death at all. I keep telling myself her short life on the farm was full of love and that’s what matters. It had been many years since I had an actual calf to take care of and of course just as with the last ones I fell in love with her. Charlie reminded me I still embody a heart that is capable of breaking easily. Since Evan’s suicide in 2014 I have tried to not sweat the small stuff as much but have also become calloused and can usually mind over matter loses on the farm. Charlie may have only been an animal but my love for her was enormous. I learned I can grieve another loss and not go insane again. During chores I miss her like crazy and my mind tends to wander to the places of If Only but I am capable of not lingering long in those thoughts. There’s another calf that was sick this winter that occasionally comes in the barn looking for treats but she doesn’t trust me at all and I definitely do not trust my emotions yet so we are keeping to ourselves in safe distances at the moment and I will NOT be naming her.
Jesus and The Kitchen Sink: I spend a lot of time over my kitchen sink. This is the place where I tend to my soul. Cleaning, washing, soaking. Planting, crushing shells, watching little miracles happen while basking in the glow of the grow light over freshly dirt covered seeds for this years garden. I hate to admit that through most of the winter I barely read my Bible. It’s after March and I had to literally drag myself to church the three times I’ve even made it this year and I even dropped out of the minister search committee. (Thank you Jesus for a husband who just lets me be me through some rough seasons and doesn’t judge me for my choices good or bad!) But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been talking to my Savior every single day and having a relationship with Him and the One who put breath in my lungs. We’ve had some long, gut-wrenching talks lately. There’s a million things we as humans always want to change about ourselves but this year there are a few things I honestly do have to change. Change starts within and I needed these few months to draw Jesus back into my heart, in a place that drives out the fear change tends to stir in me. Fear is a liar but facing that devil down is some days and seasons easier said then done. So I’ve been standing over my sink with Jesus by my side singing old hymns and reminding myself it is well with my soul and I do truly want to surrender all. I’ve spent this season of cold winter rest trying to just listen and discern His will and plan for my future. I’ve been cleaning and washing and soaking myself in Him, while He’s planting seeds that will grow in my heart. I’m excited for this next journey and to fill my life to the brim with even more rich, simple pleasures with my Savior beside me!