Monday, February 27, 2006

What is a modern woman?

I like to consider myself a modern, independent woman. The kind of gal who can "bring home the bacon & fry it up in a pan." Yes, I was of an impressionable age when that Charlie perfume commercial was airing every night of the week.

My mother (and maternal grandparents) raised me for 11 years without having a father figure around. I had responsibility at an early age and learned how to take care of myself.

My mom worked hard, played hard, made a lot of mistakes (what parent doesn't)...but she was fiercely independent with a spirit that seemed unbreakable. And then she married my step-father (J). This guy was 19 and my mom was 29 - - quite the small town scandal. Despite these challenges, it seemed that they had a near-perfect marriage. But history now reveals the repressed truth that they were actually a co-dependent nightmare: blame, resentment, mistrust, maturity, lack of Christian fellowship, etc. My mother had become emotionally needy, unmotivated, and physically fragile.

After 20 years, the marriage ended in a bitter divorce. In the wake of this tragedy, I am left to sort out a lot of feelings that I can't quite understand. J has moved on and moved in with another woman and her 3 year old daughter and has left a mountain of debt and bitter relationships behind. Some of J's family still want to maintain a relationship with me, DD, and DH while other members of his family do not (including J himself - - in our last phone conversation he said I was just too much like my mother). Trying to balance this kind of relationship is unbearable, and I try not to let on. But lately, it is getting the better of me and is creating a wall that separates me from living my life as God intended.

It's affecting my relationship with my DH. Even in the smallest matters, I refuse to be dependent upon DH, and he can't figure me out (as if...). But if I'm really honest with myself (and DH), I truly do need him. I need him in the way that God intended when He put DH and me together: as each other's helpmate, to minister to each other, to defend our marriage and family and Christian values. I need DH to be the head of the household and to make the decisions (upon prayerful consideration, of course). I want to give DH that gift as his wife, but how does a "modern woman" balance this dichotomy? Can I be independent and still be a Godly woman?

These thoughts consume me.

Thankfully, my mother has regained some independence, but I fear that she will never trust again. We cannot re-write the past, but we can ask God to be part of our future.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What a week!

Photos from the past week:
DH is trying his hand at sewing together squares made from old jeans and flannel shirts -- the finished quilt will be incredibly warm and durable. I give him a lot of credit for embarking on this project (and he only asked for help with the sewing machine once!).Gramma Kay bought this funky rasta-fari-looking hat for DD on Sunday (the attitude was added at no extra charge!). She puts it on every night when she gets home and practically struts around the house...too cute.DD wanted to wear a dress to school Wednesday, so we took the opportunity to capture a few good photos "all dressed up" (Tucker wanted in on the fun, too).Card sharks: DD and my mom are trying to beat DH, my gramma, and me during a game of Skip Bo before dinner last night. Mom left for Alabama this morning and her dog is staying with us for a couple days (Tucker is more than happy for the "playdate").
Icicles at dusk.
Can you tell that I just adore my new camera?!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Strange Request

Made a trip to Osage yesterday for a meeting, lunch, and then spent some time with Kelli. We always have a nice time together and I'm so thankful for this new friendship. When I was about to leave, I made what some would think to be a very strange request: "can I visit your chickens?" Kelli happily obliged and played "tour guide" around the farmyard pointing out the different breeds of chickens, cattle & hogs. I love the sweet smell of the barnyard and the soft cackle of the chickens made me feel at peace. I brought home a little sunshine with two dozen of the most beautiful eggs I have ever seen - - they are worth way more than you charge, Kelli!
It wasn't so long ago that this kind of barnyard was a common scene throughout America. We've really lost something very crucial to the balance of our lives. We don't understand where our food comes from. We don't have a relationship with the land. We don't really know our neighbors. We're losing small communities because we're losing farmers.

All is not lost, however. We can reclaim the economic health and quality of life in our rural communities by purchasing goods and services from local merchants, listening to our neighbors, and buying locally grown/raised food. Is this a strange request, too? I don't think so...we all win in the long run.

[Edited to add:] There must be something in the moon, because Between Plow and Wood had a similar post today...or is this what they call a "revolution."

[Edited to add:] On the way, I came upon a field with at least 100 wild turkeys - - beautiful sight!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I Am of Here

by Jan Libby
[from WFAN newsletter]

I am of here.
Here is of me.

When I stand on the land,
I feel myself as a brush stroke
of the earth swept into my being.

My life and family are a groundswell
of this place.

It has raised us, formed us.
Our life's rhythm breathes with the
rhythm of the land.

I am of here.
This land is alive.
I feel it in the wind that kisses me
with spring's awakenings,
warms me deeply with
summers intensity
and nips me
with winter's sharp edge.

I feel it with the people that are my
family far beyond my family.

I am of here.
Here is of me.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Snow Day!

I love snow days! Aside from the fact that I had a meeting at work at 7 am and the weather was just starting to get nasty then. I got my work done by about 12:30, picked DD up from daycare, and headed back home. Finished up my last seed order, made paper pots, got three loads of laundry done, snowblowed the driveway, and enjoyed a nice cup of hot cocoa with my DD.

When DH came home, he made his famous (and delicious) homemade pizza. Yes, we ate most of it...

This is the quilt that I made using DD's old baby clothes. Although it's difficult to tell from the photo, the quilt is about crib-size. I still need to put a yellow flannel border around the front and the same yellow flannel as a backing.

The roads were clear and dry this morning but it was -2 degrees - - BRRRRRRRR!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day, DH

My DH is my constant friend, my sounding board, my moral compass, my punching bag, and my biggest fan. He is a wonderful husband (even when I don't treat him like it) and the best father my little girl could ever have. Love you so much dear.

1 Corinthians 13
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.

True test of a marriage

When I dare to tell people that we have remodeled four houses in the six years we've been married, they cringe and look for the nearest straightjacket to put us in. There's certainly some strange motivation for destruction in me and an urge for creative renovation in my DH.

When I say remodel, I mean total gut jobs - - kitchen, bath, refinished floors, etc. I've learned a lot in the process - - mostly that I don't know a lot. My DH is generally patient as I try to explain my ideas and then he has to figure out a diplomatic response as to why we can't do it the way I want. But we're still married, so I guess that says something about how well we work together.

It's been almost a year since our last large project and I guess I'm going through a bit of withdrawal. So I got my "fix" by looking through the photo album and reminiscing about our last two projects.
Owatonna kitchen before: seafoam green walls, harvest gold appliances, horrific lighting and flooring, blonde oak cabinets.

Owatonna kitchen after: cherry custom cabinets, copper hardware and lighting, tile floor, can lighting, black appliances . . . cool!

Gracious Acres kitchen before: built-in/falling out cabinets, vertigo stripe wallpaper, worn linoleum, four doorways

After: oak cabinets, brass hardware, tile floor, lots of counter space, one less doorway and one happy farmgirl!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Oh, what a beautiful morning

This is a shot from the front porch of Gracious acres - - the sun is strategically hiding behind the center column. The morning light in our house is just magical - - this might make me a morning person after all.

See the sunlight in the dining room bump out? It's a delightful spot to curl up and soak in the sun!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm late for a very important date!

Lately, I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland - - hurrying, scurrying around but never really accomplishing much.

Late to meetings, forgetting things at home, forgetting things at work. What's going on?!

Could it be a little "spring fever?" The recent spell of cold and snow after a long period of warm and sunny days has my internal clock all screwed up.

Can you see that I finally figured out how to post pictures? Thanks, Kelli!

My new camera has been a lot of fun so far - - here are a few photos. Enjoy!

Grace after spending a very fun day with Gramma Kay.

Neighbors and friends enjoy the Super Bowl at our house.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh, Joy!

My DH finally gave in and bought a digital camera! What fun we will have now! It's a Pentax *istD. Sounds fancy for a very user-friendly SLR camera with a large screen. Plus, my mother-in-law has several lenses from her Pentax 35mm that she's willing to let us borrow. Now if I can only figure out how to get the photos from there to HERE! Any advice?

Super Bowl Sunday was fun with neighbors, friends, and my mom joining us for food and funny commercials - - and, oh I guess they played a football game, too. DD was so pooped that she went to bed at 7:30 . . . with a house full of people (you KNOW she was tired!).

Finished up my seed order yesterday - - I was thrilled to find many heirloom varieties in Gurney's, Shumway, and Jung catalogs. Yes, I do have the Seed Savers Exchange catalog and a long "wish list" for them, too. But I think I need to take a "road trip" to see it all for myself - - so much to choose from! I also have a wish list for Murray McMurray - - stay tuned!

A beautiful sunny day, but cold(6 degrees when I left for work)! I understand that Robert Karp will have a farewell tomorrow in Ames. He has been an amazing asset to PFI and I wish him all the best!