FINDING PEACE WITHIN THE HEART

Hard times reveal strong people.  At least that’s what they tell me.  Do I believe it?  Well, I know I have made it through some pretty tough times.  Am I stronger having gone through those times?  Yes, I believe I am.  Does that mean I believe I can get through EVERY hard time…..some days yes, some days no.  But I do know one thing…..

tumblr_n169p5rTQW1t3kcg2o1_500

How do you find peace within your heart when at times you’re not even sure what your heart is feeling?  What do you look for?  What do you feel?  Can you find it alone or with someone?  And what exactly IS peace?  I’ve discovered that peace comes in many forms.  It comes when a happy memory puts a smile on your face at the most random times.  When your kids are telling you a funny story and you end up in tears from laughing so hard.   A call from your pastor.  Or simply a friend saying “I was thinking of you today and I’m here if you need anything”.  Peace is not just one thing….it’s several wonderful things that calm your heart.  And I am learning to embrace them.

you-cannot-find-peace-by-avoiding-life

When life gets hard you have two choices: Give up or…..try harder.  One is a lot easier to do than the other.  But with God and the right circle of friends and family…..anything is possible.  I have learned that  hard times reveal who truly needs to remain in your life and that the people who are always around are not necessarily the ones that are always there for you.  Surround yourself with positive everything!!  Positive activities, positive thoughts, positive words and most of all positive people. 

Ego say “Once everything falls into place you will find your peace”  Spirit says “Find your peace and then everything will fall into place”.  Thank you to a special group of ladies who encouraged me to write.  Your support means the world to me.

Advertisements

HEADED HOME: Another harvest complete

20141119_143531

The road less traveled……this is NOT it.  The guys have been keeping these roads hot for many months now.  It seemed like a very long harvest and talk of being done before Thanksgiving was almost a joke.  But here it is.  My husband driving the combine home today….for the last time this harvest season.  

The guys, and a wonderful mother-in-law, are tired, worn out, cold, relieved and ready to move on to something different.  On the agenda?  Hauling grain.  Working ground (if the ground thaws at all).  Fixing ruts.  Cleaning machinery.  It never ends.  There is ALWAYS something to do.

Winter, although not official by the calendar, has arrived in northeast Missouri.  The temps are below freezing.  The wind has been blowing every day for more than a week.  And yes, the dreaded four letter “s” word has even appeared a time or two.  SNOW!!!  It seems early for all of this but then again, farmers tend to judge the weather by harvest and planting seasons. 

20141119_145600

If there is one thing I have learned being a farmer’s wife it’s this.  There are no “off” days.  Not for birthdays, holidays, basketball games, softball games, sports banquets.  If it’s not blowing 70mph, raining like cats & dogs, 4 ft. of snow on the ground…..then it’s “working” conditions.  Which means the times you do get together with family and friends is that much more special.  Thank goodness harvest is done before the first big holiday of the season.  For those farmers now yet done with harvest, I hope you are done soon and get to spend the holidays in a warm house filled with loved ones.  I wish you all very blessed holiday season.

20141119_145715

STICKS & STONES: THE LIFE OF A KINDERGARTNER

Tags

Being six years old isn’t what it use to be.  At least not compared to when I was that age.  Kids these days know so much more than most of us ever did as a kindergartner.  And if they have older siblings than it is even more so.  Due to social media they are exposed to a whole new world.  The way they do schoolwork, listening to music, watching t.v.  Unless that child is completely isolated, the world is at their fingertips.

Having two high schoolers I learned, from experience, that the first place your child starts to learn things is……the bus!  Wow!  The stories I have heard.  Some are quite comical.  And whether or not the story is getting told EXACTLY the way it happened….from a kindergartner….it’s funny.  The enthusiasm my Kindergartner has when telling a story just keeps you on the edge of your seat. Hands moving all over and words spilling out of her mouth at approximately the speed of light.  She is one that wants to fit in but will still stand up for herself.  Her older sisters taught her that part.  Thank God for older siblings.  They’ve been through it recently so they get it.  They know what to tell her and how to help. 

Along with the stories on the bus also comes a not so funny part of the bus ride and school in general.  Bullying.  It happens so quickly.  On those bus rides, in the classroom, recess, lunch.  When your child is crying right before bed, tears rolling down her face and all of a sudden those dreaded words leave her mouth….”I don’t want to go to school”.   Instant heartbreak.  For a parent…your world stops for a moment.  You collect your thoughts and you think.  You must find the perfect words to make her feel better.  But what ARE the perfect words? 

It doesn’t matter how many children you’ve had.  This part of school never gets easier.  Of course it’s different for every age.  A kindergartner is hurt by the fact that someone doesn’t like their clothes or is told their hair bow doesn’t match their outfit.  For girls, three is often a crowd.  One is left out this day and tomorrow a different one is left out.  For boys it may be comparing.  For instance…my dad is cooler than your dad because he killed an 8 pt. buck and your dad only killed a 6 pt. buck.  This all falls under the definition of bullying.

2014-10-31 09.26.46

As I said, finding the right words are near to impossible.  We, as adults, know that things will, in fact, get better some day.  But my beautiful, tear soaked six-year-old does not.  So many years ahead of her.  So many heartaches, trials and tribulations.  As parents, maybe we try to offer the same advice our own parents taught us.  Just ignore them and they will leave you alone.  Or as my dad use to tell me “they are just looking for a reaction so just don’t react”.  My daughter usually tells me what she says in response to some of the things that are said to her.  She sticks up for herself.  Does that make it better?  Or worse?  To some bullies I believe it doesn’t matter.  Some kids just want to pick on other kids.  And although my young one may stick up for herself at school….on the bus ride home she is obviously stewing over the events of her day that it all comes crashing down at home.

148e394326e87c8f43c0e891ac40ea7b

Love your kids unconditionally.  Listen to all they say……and don’t say.  Read their body language, mood changes and never take anything they say too lightly.  I’m not saying overreact but don’t assume that it’s just kids being kids  Keep in contact with teachers and school administration.  Make sure they inform you of any changes in your child at school…ex. grades, participation, moods.  Don’t teach them to retaliate but teach them that it’s o.k. to stand up to bullies.   Once they learn they are strong enough to stand up for themselves they will find it that much easier to stand up for others that may be bullied.   And that age-old rhyme of “Sticks & Stones……” will take on a whole new meaning for them.

2014-09-21 13.33.21Miss Lillie Jo Penn 

IT’S NOT A TWIN THING…..IT’S A SISTER THING

20141014_111915-1The words, when I first heard them, were both terrifying and exciting all at the same time.  What words you ask?  The words “Congratulations! You’re expecting twins!”.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, can prepare you for that.  How do you prepare an expecting mother for that kind of news?  Besides the fact that I had been having just a little bit of trouble during my pregnancy which is what led us into the emergency room that night, everything had been perfect.  No sickness whatsoever.  No weird cravings.  No aches or pains.  Nothing!  I should have been more suspicious, I suppose, when the technician that was doing my emergency ultrasound nonchalantly asked me “does twins run in your family?”

Jessica(BABY A) and Rebecca(BABY B) were born 6 weeks early.  I had gone in, for what the doctors thought, were kidney stones.  When they decided things were o.k. and there were no kidney stones they sent me home.  That evening my water broke.  I ended up in the same room, same bed and had two beautiful baby girls at 10:18p.m. and 10:20 p.m. by C-Section.  Both babies were breach.  Fortunately, that WAS something I knew was going to happen.   I was not able to hold the girls for a few days as they were life flighted to a Children’s Hospital due to their size.  Jessica was 5lbs 6oz.  Rebecca was a tiny 3lbs 5oz.  Not getting to hold your newborn babies for three days….that will remain on the top of my list as one of the hardest things in the world.

Night and day.  That was and still is my number one answer when people ask me if they are identical.  Nope!  They are night and day.  While one would be sleeping soundly in her car seat the other would be screaming at the top of her lungs.  While one was always content the other never was.  One would sit there while the other would “inchworm” laps around her.  One was a picky eater, one was not.  Then as they got older….one cared about clothes, the other cared about hair.  One can’t stand tomatoes and olives, the other loves both.  They do not look alike and never really have.  Although people would always tell me they couldn’t tell them apart, I really think it was just a matter of not “remembering” which one was which.  To me they just look like sisters that happen to be born on the same day. 

The girls have never really possessed that “twin” thing. They have never had their own language and no secret handshakes or anything.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  These two have done a few things that have made us go “whoa, that was weird”.  For instance, a few years ago.  I had one of the girls with me and we were headed to town.  Michael had the other girl with him.  Just driving along, Rebecca says to me “Mom, I just heard Jessie say the word ‘Mom’ “.  I asked her what she meant and she repeated what she had just said.  Well folks, let me tell you. I was instantly intrigued.  So I called up my husband and asked him what he and Jessie were doing.  He said that his brother had just got there and asked where Becka and I were.  Jessie replied “Becka is with MOM”.  I about dropped the phone, no lie!  Goosebumps ran up my arms and I then explained to him what Becka had just told me.  We’ve had a few experiences like that.  As babies and toddlers I dressed them alike.  Of course, as they got older, that was definitely NOT cool!  They each have their own bathrooms.  One upstairs and one downstairs.  They don’t even see each other until it’s time to run out the door to catch the bus.  However, there have been a couple of days when they meet each other at the door and they have on the exact outfit AND exact hairstyle.  They just look at each other and say “you’ve got to be kidding me”.  And out the door they go.

You always read that twins can’t stand to be away from each other.  I will say that is true with these two girls.  They can fight like cats and dogs but when one goes somewhere without the other they can’t stand not knowing what the other is doing.  The one that stays home will ask me “where is…..” and “when will she be home?”  And as for having each other’s back…..ALWAYS!  They have been through some very rough times and some pretty great times together.  They fight and bicker.  They steal each other’s clothes.  They even pretend to hate each other at times.  But trust me when I tell you….don’t mess with either of them or you’ll have an angry twin to contend with.  They are, in fact, each others best friend. 

Twins are pretty amazing.  As they get older they are becoming their own, individual, beautiful person.  Not that they haven’t always been but as toddlers they were always classified as “twins”.  People would say “you’re the twins mom”.  Now I have become “Jessie and Becka’s mom”.   They tell me they which colleges whey want to go to and they aren’t the same!  What?  You’re NOT going to the same college?  They look at me weird…..until the tears come to my eyes.  Then they say “Ok mom!!!  O.k.  We’ll go to the same college just please don’t cry”  Although I know they are just humoring me…..I’m not sure how I will deal with the day they actually DO go their separate ways.  That thought can be put on the back burner for 3 1/2 years.

As I mentioned in a FB post recently, after my daughter’s softball team lost a difficult game, her sister was the first one to hug her and let her cry.  My caption for that picture was “Through the good times and the tough, these two are each other’s biggest fans.  It’s not a twin thing….it’s a sister thing”

2014-10-11 17.18.17

Sometimes that first step is the scariest………….

Well, here we go.  Something I have wanted to try for quite awhile……a blog.  Am I a good writer?  I guess that depends on who you talk to.  Will I be good at writing a blog?  That, my friends, is anyone’s opinion.  All I know is, this is something I have thought about doing for a long time and they say if a thought never leaves you then it’s worth pursuing.

Those who know me know who and what my world revolves around.  My family! My husband, Michael, and I have been married for 7 years and live in rural Edina, Missouri on 35 acres.  We have three beautiful daughters and  I have been a stay at home mom for almost 3 years now.  Before that I had a full-time job for 20+ years.  My husband, a full-time farmer, row crops with his dad, mom and three brothers.  We made the decision that I would stay home to chase(and yes I do mean chase) after our three very active girls.  Our twin daughters, Jessica and Rebecca, are almost 15.  They are involved in everything from sports to FFA to raising and showing show pigs for the past 6 years.  Our youngest is Lillie Jo and she just turned 6.   Although not as active (not by her choice) as the older two, has also shown pigs for the past 3 years.  She also enjoys t-ball, basketball and trying her hardest to keep up with her sisters.  I am pretty sure I could write a post EVERY day about something in the life of these three girls.

It is safe to say our world revolves around our daughters but that’s not to say there is not always something going on outside of their activities.  As I mentioned, the girls all show pigs which we raise ourselves and have for almost 4 years now.  That will be a blog post all its own at a later date.  It’s been quite an experience.  We attend our county fair, NEMO fair and State Fair every year.  And each year just keeps getting better.  As we have always tried to teach the girls, it’s not about the winning, it’s about the memories.  And boy the memories we have made!!  Priceless!!

As I mentioned earlier, I literally seem to be chasing after the girls.  So in order to keep up I am into keeping fit.  I may, from time to time, post about my running or workouts but that is not what my blog is about.  I wanted to start this blog to show, as the title says, our “Life in General” is a constant moving, never boring, fast pace, full of family, friends, farming and fun adventure.  And I hope you will enjoy reading my blog and joining us on this ride.