The Weight of Glory

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I remember sitting at my desk in August of 2013 when a school official called me to explain new school transportation rules.  This phone call ruined the plans that I had struggled and worked so hard to make for my son.  I was a single parent of a soon to be kindergartner, building a house, selling another, a widow, a Christian.

I thought this call would make my life so much more difficult.  It didn’t, this call was another example of a change in direction that didn’t seem great, but it certainly turned out for the better.

Henry’s school is K-3.  I just got home from the third grade clap-out.  Parents lined the halls as the third graders walked through and we gave them high fives.  Henry was one of those third graders.  He made it!  Despite the phone call that I feel like I just hung up from and several more trials in between…he made it!

I shared some feelings with my husband a few days ago and said, “I hope I don’t end up rolling around on the floor and crying at school.”  He replied, “Well then you could be a YouTube sensation.”

3rd grade clap out

I love that we handle serious conversations with sarcasm, but I want to share that I walked in the house just now and cried.  I cried because I saw the faces of so many people that got Henry and I to this point in life.

Back to the phone call in 2013.  I took that struggle and shared it in my Sunday School class.  One of my friends and classmates thought out loud and said, “Well I suppose my daughter is old enough to get Henry off the bus.”  Her parents both work, so other family members brought her to our house just before the bus arrived.  I saw one of those family members today.  She is one of the many faces.  She’s spent time, travel and effort that she could’ve used elsewhere on Henry, on helping me.  She didn’t have to.  I’ve given her nothing.  She had no obligation.  I didn’t even know her 4 years ago.  She is one of so many.  More people than I can count or know that have served us.  This is God’s glory at work here on earth.

The tears roll again and that’s the weight of glory.

I can easily think of things Henry could do better.  There are many things we could all do better.  Today instead of seeing those gaps.  I see the grace that has covered those gaps and gotten us to this point.  We’ve come so far.  Amazing Grace has brought us so far.

I feel peace in my soul and that’s the weight of glory.

That girl that was just old enough to start babysitting almost five years ago drives now.  She’ll be babysitting Henry’s infant sister this summer.

Our life is so rich and so full of God’s glory today.  I pray that you may be able to step back and experience glimpses of that in your own life today.

Ohio Farm Life – May 21, 2017

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The same week precious brought home a book from the local library with the words “Agricultural Pollution” on the cover I came across litter in the field.  The trash was two empty plastic bags of lawn fertilizer.  #Ironic…in so many ways.  I haven’t seen many finger pointers win, that’s not the goal here, I just couldn’t resist sharing the irony.

Filling the drill with soybeans is a family affair.

That’s an empty plastic bag of lawn fertilizer, just past my reusable water bottle.

Working ground. #Felfie – that’s a farmer selfie

A couple gentle taps got the job done. He is getting really good at replacing worn shovels!

Do I stay or do I go?
Big decisions are exhausting.

Ohio Association of Nutrition & Dietetics in downtown Cleveland. The attendees had a lot of great questions about farming.

Life on the Farm – 5/15/17 – Happy Mothers Day!

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So many decisions about where to put the pens in an existing barn with walls, a roof and concrete.  “Thank goodness the house was already built when Joe and I met.”  The thought did cross my mind a couple times as our family worked together to make a spiffier place for 4-H pigs and calves to live.

It’s never too soon to learn how to use tools…or provide a spot for them to rest.

Team work makes the dream work. Especially when the dream is still young and people are patient!

Move over calves – the pigs are getting some of this space now.

He seriously said, “I wish I had a self ratcheting thing.”

Assembling the cup waterer and napping.

The Little Farmer changed two shovels. He removed them himself.

He got some help to squeeze the pliers and tap the new shovel on. Team work makes the dream work…especially when you find good people for the team!

Life on the Farm 5-7-17

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Last weekend we made a big pen for the two Holstein calves that the Little Farmer got for 4-H projects when they were a few days old.  He’s bottle fed them in individual pens, and now that they’ve grown we put them together.

dairy bull calf eating

The little farmer got pretty excited about this big feeder for his calves…so he gave them a LOT of feed.

DIY treehouse

Then he had an hour, so he quickly built the tree house he’s always dreamed of that we’ve never provided. #DIY #HighDesign

After a self taught crash course in becoming a builder why not build something legit?

The thinking shot

The action shot.

Checking on the fair pigs which are about to out grow the nursery barn.

Life on the Farm – April 30, 2017

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He noticed a loose piece and got the tools to fix it himself! He said he could be Luigi on Cars 3

I’m glad somebody can keep us Plowing Through Life 🙂

Chore time

A good man working to keep fuel in the tractor and food in the fridge. He’s knows regular maintenance is just as important on equipment as it is in the marriage. True and dedicated!

The girls are fueling up this time. The little turkey is checking for broken or missing bolts, shovels, etc.

We had to do some work so we pulled the tractor to the grass. Our first #FarmHer selfie!

I asked for help, but all she did was try to eat some grass.

#LikeAGirl #LikeACEO #FarmHer #GetErDone  Where are the boys now?

A Legacy full of corn. Do it cheap!

Keep costs down.  Measure and mix yourself. 2 buckets of corn, 1 bucket of supplement, 2 buckets of corn and mix with the shovel.

Making and moving piles of calf manure and raking and hauling grass clippings in his wagon are his favorite self-chosen hobbies.  I so desperately want to coach him to be WAY more efficient, but I also love that he’s elected to be outside doing something.

Pilot. Pile it here…

Pilot. Pile it there.

Life on the Farm – April 28, 2017

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Bunny ears…on Easter…haha

Black N Gus’ Mowing Services

We’d much rather the kid learn to handle electricity than mow the backyard ourselves!

Lean in & hurry up. The mowers will be MOOOving our way soon!

I had a hose for 3 seconds and somehow sprayed myself in the face. Ugh!

She heard some people over cook pork.

Fueling up. So they can keep PlowingThroughLife…

Instruction time.

Getting in position to apply what we’ve learned.

The automatic grease gun Joe’s always dreamed of.

Life on the Farm – April 16, 2017 – Happy Easter!

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I got a baby and a 4-Her in the same winter.  I know how the baby showed up, but I’m clueless about how the little farmer got to third grade already?  He bottle fed two Holstein calves that are two months old.  We are working on training them to walk with us.

I hope we’re better at taking care of this calf than taking selfies!

See me wearing the baby? She and the calf are ON AN ODYSSEY…lol

Now boarding the #StruggleBus

Compliance training fail #54…for calf and baby.

Poop happens. Somebody’s gotta clean the barn, might as well do it in your own style. #Fashionista

Loaning out the farm hat is a consolation prize for having to stay inside with mom and work.

My Grandpa is a farmer too. He was born in West Virginia.  #MyRoots  #NuffSaid

The little girl shrieked louder than the air brakes when I turned them on and off to test them for Joe.

#Troubleshooting #Maintainence And then I over heard one brother say to another brother, “Even an IDIOT trucker knows that.”

I’m pretty sure somebody stopped by just to get my father-in-law worked up and try to make him feel behind. #RelaxPeople

Some people say the line that “Barns protect animals” is just big ag rhetoric.

Where eggs are made the eggs at hunts are hard boiled. #ThrowBack

Life on the farm can be noisy. Live prepared.

Life on a farm – April 9, 2017

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making feed for fair calves

Mixing feed by hand. 80% whole corn and 20% supplement. Applying the fractions learned at school to feed the fair calves!

Lately I’ve been really excited about finding more farmers to share pictures and stories about life on the farm on the internet. Yet I live on a farm, have pictures and haven’t done a great job at sharing myself. Let’s see how long this lasts 🙂

The calves are learning to wear a halter and walk with humans. Compliance training for all.

32nd birthday

Happy Birthday to the best turkey farmer we know. When you get this old you celebrate with a big cake and milk 🙂

We kicked off our visit to Joe’s family farm with a delicious birthday cake made by his mom.  In the background you can see some of our stuff.  We are at the stage where packing and unpacking may take as long as the trip.

That’s the youngest brother, looking on as the adults put a long auger back together.

The little farmer climbed a ladder to watch the auger rebuild from the roof. Then one of Joe’s brothers took away his ladder.

Baby princess in a farm shop.  It’s never too soon to learn how to do maintenance work.

First Gator ride

Shut yo mouth boy!

 

How to Remember Loved Ones

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I’ve been asked a few times lately for ideas about how to remember someone who died too young?  How do we pass on their legacy, their personality, their character, to children who are too young to remember them?

I appreciate friends who got a nice journal and asked people to write down stories for my Little Farmer.  He was only four months old when his biological dad died.  I appreciate the family and friends that wrote a story about Mark, a way that he interacted with them, a special memory, something that Henry can learn from, and see in himself when he is older.  Pictures, memories and special belongings are the only things that we can give.

I know that it was difficult for most people to participate, but I’m truly grateful for those who did.

I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to marry Joe.  He comes from a large, loving family.  Right around a year ago he lost his young, healthy, cousin to amniotic fluid embolism during the birth of her first child.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know her very well, but she made a positive impression on me and I want to share that story with her son.

Here is a story that I will write in a journal and give to her family this holiday season.  I’ve been praying for them, but I also want them to have a tangible reminder that she is not forgotten.

how to remember loved ones

Dear William,

I am so grateful that that I had the opportunity to meet your mom.  Even though I didn’t know her well, she made a positive impression on me.

I come from a small family, so going with Joe to large family gatherings was a bit overwhelming at first.  Your mom was one of the people that would always go out of her way and make a point to say “hi” to me.  She always welcomed me with a warm, friendly smile.

The example and effort that she put into being warm and welcoming to strangers is what Jesus calls us to do.  That’s how He asks us and shows us how to treat people.  I’m so grateful you have a Christian foundation to build your life upon.

I understand that life isn’t fair and often doesn’t go as we expect that it should.  I know that it will hurt to learn what you’ve lost, but my prayer for you is that you will focus on all that you have.  You have a biological mother that really wanted you and loves you dearly.  You have a family here on earth that loves you deeply.  And most importantly you have a Father in heaven who loves you more than words can express.  Put your faith in God and He will guide and help you as He has Henry and me.

Love,

Jennifer

How to Make Toy Round Bales of Hay

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Our Little Farmer loves to carpet farm.  He loves activities and making his own supplies for the farm.  So, when we visited an older friend who has a farming set-up that little boys dream of in his basement we knew we needed some homemade round bales of our own.

how to make toy bales of hay

Our friend gave instructions to buy a wooden dowel rod.  We purchased a 3/4″ dowel rod and another one that was 11/16″ or 5/8″.  My recommendation is to take a plastic bale that is the desired size with you to the store and match it up to the dowel rod of your choice.

We cut those dowel rods to the desired length.  We made sure they fit inside the small round baler before cutting the entire rod.  Then the Little Farmer and his dad sanded the corners of each bale.

The most difficult step was finding the Krylon “Make it Stone” paint.  Our friend had found some at a local Ace Hardware.  We learned that even if the product isn’t on the shelf, some stores can order it for you.  We also learned there are at least a few shades of green in this special paint.  This paint really gives the bales a more realistic texture.  Even little farmers know real bales of hay aren’t smooth.

Krylon make it stone spray paint

Krylon make it stone spray paint. We found ours at Ace Hardware.

making toy bales

We talked about how to spray paint and I gave a demonstration before the Little Farmer took over.

spray painting hay bales

He might have missed a few spots, but I believe that you learn by doing!

Henry had fun painting the bales on his own.  He missed a few spots, but he got more practice painting and he enjoyed “making hay.”