Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dear Bottle Feeding Momma,

I get you.
You are a great mom!

Now, if you’re on social media you may have noticed so many post about
Breast Is Best
Normalize Breast Feeding
Boob hats.
Breastfeeding  sit ins
How women who breastfeed are warriors
Women feeding their babies with blankets on their own head
How is natural and wonderful and amazing and such a bonding experience.

Not for all of us and quite frankly I am sick of seeing the posts about it.
Because it just exacerbates the mommy wars.
It makes us bottle feeding moms feel just like those breast feeding moms claim to feel.
As moms we put so much pressure on ourselves and we don’t need other moms shoving their breasts in our face.
We don’t.
We are all warriors.
Motherhood makes you a warrior.

Here is how breastfeeding worked out for me.
It was awful and heartbreaking and I hated every single minute of it.
So did my kids.

The Farm Manager cried so much.
Like 4 hours one night in the hospital.
He couldn’t latch on and if by some miracle he did latch on nothing came out.
Keep trying they said.
It’s so important for your baby they told me.
Here use this broken off syringe to attach to your nipple and suction it until it feels like it will rip your skin open both by jagged edges and by suction.
Then drops, but not enough to sustain him for any period of time
We went home.

I kept trying
He kept crying.

I pumped every two hours around the clock without fail.
I took brewers grain. 15 capsules a day.
More advice.
I would pump more.

It would go like this.
Set up pump, get cleaned catch bottles, connect tubes, turn on.
Rrrrr rrrrr rrrrr
The pump would hum
drip drip drip
For 30 minutes.
Less than an ounce.
My body wasn’t doing what came naturally.
I had no milk.
My baby was only weeks old and I already had failed him.

If I was a cow I would be sent to the feedlot.

2 hours later I would do it again.
Meanwhile, I would feed The Farm Manager what I pumped plus 3 oz of formula.
He was hungry ALL THE TIME.
He cried a lot.
I cried a lot.

When Jer would leave for work I would be pumping, when he came home for lunch, when he came home from work.
If he woke up in the middle of the night.
Each time I would pump less than an ounce.
One time I set the bottle of pumped milk with no lid on the counter while I got myself back together I turned
And knocked it right off the counter.
I cried.

Another time I called Jer at work bawling begging him to come home because I couldn’t feed my own baby.

I know I know,
“how could a women with such large breasts have no milk”
Because from the looks of me I could nurse a small country right?
Nope, I can’t.
I can’t even sustain one single baby.
Not for lack of trying.

After two weeks of this I gave up and switched to formula full time.
What a relief!
It changed everything.
My baby cried less once we figured out which formula worked best for him.
Costco brand soy formula.
That's right.
Generic formula!

We could leave the house!
No longer would the whir of the breast pump fill our house for hours a day.

Fast forward a few months.
I was at a candle party.
A room full of moms one of them nursing and my baby was hungry.
I went to feed him a bottle in the kitchen.
I was so ashamed.
How could I feed my baby a bottle in plain sight.
These moms would know I failed my child.

I didn’t fail him.
I didn’t
Jer and I made the decision that best suited OUR family.
A happy full tummied boy
Bottle or not
Things didn’t go much different with The Fancy Farm Girl either other than she knew how to latch on.
No milk though.
She got generic formula too.

Our kids are healthy and no more of a germ factory than any other kid.
They are bonded to me like rubber cement.
Sometimes I feel like they would climb back inside if I would let them!

I don’t think being bottle fed has wrecked them for life and in no way does it mean I failed as a mother.
Believe me when I say you will often feel like you’ve failed them for one reason or another, but bottle feeding doesn’t equal failure.
They may end up in therapy because of the things we make them do like stack wood, scoop poop, pay for their own things, don't let them have cell phones and occasionally hand washing a sink full of dishes, but not because their nourishment came through a rubber nipple.

We mothers can be on the same team!
We can be supportive and realize there is more than one right way to do things
and we can come to a truce! 
I wont shove my kids bottle in your face
 and you wont
shove your breast in mine.

Breast might be best for some and bottles for others, but  think we can all agree that fed babies are best.

Blessed Is Me..

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's My Highlight Reel

I love meme's.
Seriously, whoever invented those is a genius.
So hilarious 
Except one.
There is one I loathe.
It pops up in my news feed sometimes and I hate it everytime.

Wait. What?
Pretend or just share the highlights?

I just share-or overshare- the highlights of my life.

Do people really want to know the real life?
Like the dirt.
Like the hard heavy stuff.

This is what I think some of those posts would read like. 
Some of these are even what my actual real life moments have been in the last two years. 
I'll let you decide which ones are mine and which ones are made up.

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"I'm worried that there is more month at the end of my money and I'm not sure I will make it to pay day"

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"My marriage is on the brink of destruction"

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"I've been sitting here staring at this bottle of pills and things would be so much easier if I just swallowed all of them. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow"

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"I'm gay and my parents will disown me if I tell them"

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"I wonder where my husband is. Is he dead in a ditch?"

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"I laid on my bathroom floor last night drenched in sweat with a dry mouth heart pounding gripped with anxiety. I felt out of control and today I'm exhausted, but my kids need me to care for them."

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"As the hot water pounded against my skin and my tears wash down the drain I wonder if she thinks about me as much as I think about her."

Facebook "What's on your mind?"
"I drank my way through a 5th of whiskey every day this week because life is too hard to deal with. I don't want to, but I've become an addict."

I mean is this really what people want to read? 
Do they want to see the pictures of what this looks like or do they just want to enjoy the highlights?
Do people care that this is real life enough to reach out to love someone?

Oh and if this is really what people shared then there would be the meme about 
where your dirty laundry goes.
You know. 
Not on Facebook.

Can we all just agree that Facebook, Instagram and wherever else we share the parts of our lives
are the highlights.
The best parts.
The good stuff and just
enjoy it.

Blessed Is Me...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree

I used to be the person that had a perfect Christmas tree
with matching ornaments that were perfectly spaced lights that covered each branch never missing one.
It was delightfully beautiful.
Then we had kids.

Now, I have a tree with no lights at the top, burlap ribbon that's bunched and twisted some closely spaced and some widely spaced.
I have store bought ornaments with our kids names scrolled on the bottom and I have paper puppy ornaments cut from paper and colored as precise as a 4 year old can.
I have wooden ornaments scribbled with marker and gorgeous glass balls with just the right amount of glitter.
I have clusters of three ornaments per branch so heavy they drip to the floor.
I never move a thing.

It was decorated with love by our ever growing kids who just wont slow down.

When decorating day came, the day before Thanksgiving, I came in from work and
 The Fancy Farm Girl couldn't wait to show me
"momma do you love it?"
 I do, I really love it.
It's perfect..

I love how the soft glow fills the quiet of our living room when everyone is still snug in their piles of blankets.
I love looking at the ornaments the kids made and remembering their tiny chubby hands and rubber band arms.
I love how much they love it.

I don't love that these are fleeting moments that will soon be no longer.
I know that the days are coming when I will just have one of my children doing the decorating because they other will be too old and too cool
for silly decorating or ornament making.
He will probably do some of it just because he knows I will want him to.
Soon after that I will be handed back the task of decorating the tree
without the kids.
Then I will have my tree with perfectly spaced ornaments with loads of lights even at the top, but it'll never be like it was when tiny hands filled with love placed decorations in just the right spot.
Those littlest Linders are what make it perfect.

Blessed Is Me...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I Am Martha

Who's Martha?
She's Mary and Lazarus' sister.
Her story can be found
in Luke 10
The Bible 

I've been thinking a lot about her lately and how I am just like her.

Mary is the girl who sits at the feet of Jesus gazing at Him
while Martha busies herself with all the things that need to be prepared for.

I have beautiful friends that are Mary's 
quietly, prayerfully, gracefully gliding through the day.
I picture them with little birds swirling around and baby bunnies following them.
It's magical and beautiful and sometimes I wish I could be like that
but it just isn't 
who I am.

I am a front row sitting, boots on the ground, problem solving by action and talking kind of girl.
Talking, so so much talking.
Usually too much talking.
Clanging, banging and making a lot of noise.
no birds or bunnies because I've scared them all away and not what might be considered magical
When I see a need I try to fill it whether it is through fundraising or delivering a meal or whatever I can do to physically help.
Sometimes even when I don't want to help I can't help myself.
Sometimes it even means my kids and my husband don't get the best of me.

I fail at sitting and prayerfully waiting.
Oh, I pray; I do.
When I wake, throughout the day, when something strikes me, when clients sit with me, when I put my kids to bed, when someone asks me to pray,
but I never sit and pray quietly.
I've tried and this is what happens.
Thoughts of what I can do
"should I stop and give someone a hug today"
"I'll bring them dinner"
"What should I wear today"
"I wonder if they know how much I love them"
"I need to call my mom"
"Oh ya I was trying to sit quietly and pray"

Recently this has really been on my heart and I was sharing some other feelings with one of my dearest and she said something profound.
"it's ok to be who God made you to be"

The words knocked the wind right out of me.

God made me a
problem solving
big loving
big hugging
goody baking
farm loving
mother of everyone
He made me a 

It's ok to be Who God made you to be because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
It says so in Psalm 139

Blessed Is Me.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our Excellent Euro Adventure!

Jer and I just returned home from an amazing week in Austria and Germany, hosted by Pottinger, a company that Jer distributes for.

They build rakes, tedders, mowers, loader wagon and all sorts of farm equipment.
It was a week filled with factory and city tours, eating so much, beer, and Agritechnica.

We got to tour a Case tractor plant that can build more than forty tractors a day, two Pottinger plants, the Voestalpine steel company-this was my second favorite tour and they employ 10,000 people-, a city tour in Linz Austria- my number one favorite-, Agritechnica, and a beef farm. 
We missed the beef farm because we were trying to rebook our flights that had been cancelled due to a flight attendant strike which turned into a 2.5 hour on hold and 2 disconnections.
There was also the option of a castle tour and shopping day, but we didn't do that one because it was the day of the farm tour and flight rebooking.

Agritechnica is the worlds largest farm show for machines and equipment.
It was an amazing view of all the machines and some of the products that go into farming.
In three days the show had already had 200,000 visitors with 3 more days to go!
I had no idea how many different types of machines there could be nor the cost.
Did you know you can get a manure sprayer that hold 6000 gallons of manure? No?
Well now you do and so do I!
I loved watching Jer's amazement in the machinery and his knowledge of so many things.
I think at times he knew more about things than the salesmen.
 He worked a little at the show making contact with companies and looking into different machines that could by marketed in our area.
Farming is no joke and these men and women are invested in their craft.
Some of the farmers were third generation and raising up a fourth generation.

We joined 71 other dealers and/or farmers on the trip.
We traveled by double decker bus.
Conversations started like this
"Where are you from?"
"Are you a dealer or a customer?"
Then ensued a conversation about the type of farming or equipment the whats and whys of the operation.
We met people who know people we know.
There were organic farmers and non organic.
I got to sit at dinner twice with a farmer that grows GMO crops.
What and eye opener.
He voiced his frustrations over how people like him are vilified by people who don't have a clear understanding of what they are talking about or what GMO truly means.
The key to these types of conversations is listening and being willing to hear what they have to say.
We chatted with dairy farmers that have 60 cows and with farmers that have 4 dairy's with 4000 cows.

My favorite couple was the Griswalds.

They are dairy farmers in their 70's.
Their crew milks 1200 cows 23 hours a day.
They were the CUTEST and boy can they hike!
We did a lot of walking and many times they led the pack.
Mrs. G was so funny too.. one night at dinner she told us she makes better soup than the restaurant!
I have no doubt about her statement and I bet she wears an apron while she does it.
I wonder if she cooks with lard!?

The food was abundant.
I can't even decide what my favorite meal was, but let me assure you the basket of bread that you get with every meal is perfect.
We ate at one place that offered a traditional Austrian dinner of meats, cheeses, pickled vegetables, beer, wine and schnapps made in house.

All the meat we ate was grown on their own farm that shared the property.
Smoked pig tongue was on the platter and now I wished I would have been brave enough to try it!
Most factories have giant lunch rooms that serve lunch to employees.
A real home cooked hot lunch and the company pays about 50% of the cost.
Their view is that it adds to the value of the company that happy employees make better employees

The beer flowed like water and the water tasted terrible.

Every place serves beer even McDonalds and the factories!

Many places allow a beer at lunch and a few beers after work.
The water came in "gas" and "no gas" or "flat"
Gas is sparkling
No gas or flat is mineral
They don't drink tap water and consider it on the same level as toilet water.
All drinks come in glass bottles

The coffee came in perfect little cups on saucers with tiny spoons

even at the farm show it came that way with a paper cup and plastic saucer and spoon.

Sugar filled large latte are no where to be seen, but you can get cappuccino

In Wels, Austria the lamp posts are chandeliers.
These are my people!

Smoking is common place and happens inside the restaurants, right outside the doors of places and there are cigarette vending machines everywhere.

What there isn't is cigarette butts anywhere!
Swear, the only place we ever saw cigarette butts was in the ashtrays.

Sometimes you just see tractors in the middle of town on a busy street!

Public bathrooms were interesting.
You have to pay to use them.  Prices 0,20 to 0,50 euros is what we experienced.
One had a man sitting in a hallway between the mens and womens rest rooms collecting the money on a plate another at a truck stop gave you a ticket that could be used to purchase coffee in the store.

They were SO clean.
Never did we see paper on the floors or mess of any kind and the stall walls go all the way to the floor.

Truck Stop in Europe.
Be still my heart!

Hotel rooms were interesting.
Twin beds pushed together with separate single down comforters.
No sheets.

No coffee pots in the rooms, but one has nespresso which I thought was terrible.

The room key had to be put into a slot to turn the lights on.

In Wels, Austria we went out to a bar/club.
They play American music and the smoke was so thick I had to quarantine my clothes including my only rain jacket.
Get a farmer off the farm and away from the responsibility of chores and he can get down.
I called it "Farmers Gone Wild" without nakedness though.
Oh the stories the next day had us laughing so hard.

Some things we noticed were:
Everything was tidy.
No garbage anywhere.
Homes had simple yards, but not mess.
Every person is well put together.
No pajamas, sweatpants or messy buns in sight.
I did have 3 Croc sightings...
No one is overweight.
A lot of people walk or ride bikes and they eat real food including lots of bread, noodles and sauce which we call gravy.
This is the food offered in the Hanover airport

No junk cars
We didn't see even one and no bumper stickers.
When you walk by someone and smile at them they don't smile back.
It's odd.
When eating at a restaurant they don't come back to the table to see if you like your meal or need anything else.
If you need something they expect you to ask.
Homes were mostly white and yellow. Cars were mostly black.
I'm not sure why.
At a restaurant our waitress had a tattoo in English
Faith, Hope and Love

We watched the sunrise above the clouds

and from our tour bus.

It's beautiful anywhere, but my front yard is still my favorite place to watch it.

It was a wonderful very full week and we feel very fortunate that Pottinger invited us giving us an experience we could never imagined.
Next time we will do it different.
We are also so fortunate to have the Grandma's and Papa's so eager to take our babes so we could go.

Cheers to new friends, experiences and for the love of farming.

Blessed Is  Me...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I Am A 4h Mom

We are prepping for the 2016 fair.
All of the pens have been long cleaned.
New lights going up in the barn.
A new pen is being set up.
Our first 4h meeting is today.

This year Fancy Farm Girl is making her fair debut.
Her lamb, Daffy, is off at Farmer Bill's farm with the ram.
We will pick her up in December and are hoping for twins!
One to show and one to breed next year.

The Farm Manager has a list going
He plans to show Missy his breeder goat as well as her offspring in the produce and market classes.
He has two steers picked out that are currently still with their mommas.
They will be headed for the barn in a couple weeks after weening. He isn't sure about showing Molly, his heifer, for a breeder next year.

 Both kids are also working on building their own herds to have 4h animals to sell.

Being a fair mom is rewarding, exhausting, frustrating and worth every second .
My car is always filled with shards of alfalfa, straw and hay; even when it isn't the smell permeates.
It is a sweet smell.
I've mastered the skill of carrying bags full of grain on my shoulder because it seems to always need to be done before The Farmer gets home.

At county fair I am the one with baby wipes and brushes in my arms, poop on my shirt, hair a mess and eyes heavy with bags closed in prayer.

Because I didn't grow up as a fair kid it is all a learning experience for me too.
Shearing goats and lambs.
Figuring out feed amounts.
What to do when they stop eating.
What to do when they're eating too much.
How to properly put on a halter.
The Farm Manager rolls his eyes at me everytime I try because I always do it backwards.

Did you know animal hair has a growth pattern and needs to be brushed a certain way for it to look it's best?
It does.
The Farmer is quite good at teaching kids how to style their cows hair!
They also need haircuts and pedicures.

I believe the 4h program raises the bar for children.
It teaches children how to work hard, be dedicated and care for something.
It isn't easy to feed and water animals twice a day, clean pens, halter break and all the other things pertaining to having animals; especially when they have more than one.
It is also a huge confidence builder!

It isn't easy for parents either.
Our kids are expected to do all this themselves.
The Farmer and Papa Moo help with the steers halter breaking at this point because the cows are quite large even just after weening.
We help out when needed, but the 99% lies on the kids.
They then know that they put in the time to reap the rewards of show times and auction night.
It makes for better showman and people.

Our moments aren't always shining either.
Kids get tired and we get tired.
They don't want to go out and work in the barn with its pouring rain and blowing sideways.
Frustrations sometimes become bigger than our patience can handle.
One of my really shining moments last year was when
The Farm Manager didn't want to exercise his naughty goat.
After numerous requests for him to get down to the barn my patience were thiiiiinnnn
and I yelled
"Get in the *bleeping* barn!"
I shocked him and myself and later had to apologize.
Sometimes I kill it at parenting!

All that aside.
I love 4h and county fair.
I love the week we spend at the fairgrounds even though it leaves me with a fair hangover.
I love the friendships that form and flourish in the barn.
I love the energy in and around the barn.
I love watching the kids support each other.
I love watching the kids become competitors inside the show ring and friends outside.
I love seeing dads swell with pride and eyes well with tears when their boy receives the grand champion handshake and purple ribbon.

I love seeing the comfort, but tough love when their best wasn't quite good enough
I love watching the big kids mentor the little kids.

Oh, I also love fair food!
I mean who doesn't love fried batter?

You don't have to live on a farm or know the first thing about animals to be involved in 4h.
If your kids are interested there is always someone to help answer questions and be of support.
If you're kids are interested I highly recommend finding a club to be a part of.

273 days until Clatsop County Fair 2016

Blessed Is Me..

Monday, October 19, 2015

How Popular Are You?

Every morning I get to take The Farm Manager and Fancy Farm Girl to school.
Those 10-20 minute rides sometimes include very though provoking conversation like the one we had a couple weeks ago.

We let our boy sign up for social media.
Highly monitored
Rules in place
Ipod gets handed over when we ask no questions asked
Three strikes and you're out. 
This wasn't an easy decision, but I'll be honest I mostly love it.
I love to see life through his eyes.
I love when he posts pictures of his dad with #farmerfriday and the videos he puts together.
His first selfie included a giant pile of unfolded laundry behind him.

Then this happened on the way to school..
"MOM! Jameson got 40 hearts on one of his Instagram posts. He's popular!"
"I'm not really popular"
"Yes you are you got 40 hearts!"
 "Whoa, whoa, whoa" I said 
"getting hearts and likes doesn't mean you are popular or not popular"

We then talked about what being popular meant and we made a list of what was 
than being 
family, being friendly to EVERYONE, unique, loving, healthy, obeying, having fun and being kind
were a few on their list.

We talked about self worth, value, morals, and being good people.
A lot of information on our short ride to school.

This brought me to doing some reading and chatting with friends about social websites and there are far more than I knew about from
Facebook and Instagram
tumblr and who knows what else.

There is an app that lets you know if you've been unfriended/followed and rates your popularity.
Guess what it says?
I'm sorta popular; 35% in fact!

Guess how much I care?
However, I am almost 40 and have moved far past the desire to be popular.
If you haven't unfriended me on Facebook yet you know I have opinions that aren't always popular and I share them.
I have zero desire to do or not do things just to be popular.
I hope our kids eventually feel the same.

There are so many social media sites I have never heard of until I dove head first into finding them.
Thankfully I have a self professed "nerd" friend and she gave me some tips!

 The worst in my opinion is
It's horrible, vile and disgusting.
It also has the option of being anonymous.
People can ask you question and then you answer them
Some of the questions I ran across were:
"Who would you bang, kill, have anal sex with"
Boys referring to girls as "peaches" which is a sexual innuendo
"peaches and cream" "proud banana" are others
Urban Dictionary is a whole new world of word meanings!
There is rating of who is hot and who is not.
Requests to "hang out and watch Netflix"
which doesn't mean what you think it means.
That is what it means.
There was also a lot of cussing which I know is done for shock value.
It makes them feel cool.

Did you also know girls refer to each other as
It's a term of endearment.
Would you call your friends whores in front of your parents even in jest?
Where is the respect for parents and themselves?
To all that I say
What. In. The. F$$$
Where are these kids parents?!!!
Are these accounts not being monitored?

Then I found out about an app that kids are using to hide their social media from their parents.
Looks like a calculator app except it has a percent sign next to it.
Click that icon and it opens up a whole hidden world!

What are we missing here?

HOW are we going to keep up with the change in technology?
HOW are we going to keep our kids from the thinking that their value comes from hearts, likes and who gives you a good rate?
 HOW am I going to keep from choking kids out who post things about my kid!?
HOW am I going to keep from choking out MY kid for the things they post?!
HOW am I going to help guide my 9 year old that already worries about being
popular, included, excluded, what she should wear and not wear, if she is too chubby, if shes too skinny, too tall too short?
At 9 she already feels the pressure no matter what sort of wise words I share.
HOW do we explain to our boy why some kids wont "follow" him and name call him at fair with their group of "popular" friends but by the end of fair after seeing how well he does want to come to our house?

The rug of our children's childhood is being pulled out from under them via social media and we are in  uncharted waters.
We don't have an older generation of parents to ask advice.
Although, we do have each other.
I give my permission to tattle every single time on my kids when they are doing/posting something online that they shouldn't be.
We have to communicate hard things with our kids like
porn, predators, what is appropriate and inappropriate.
Speaking of predators.. I happened upon some pages that had very personal information.
All for public view!
I know nobody wants to discuss porn with their kids, but lets face it they have it at their fingertips and sometimes happen upon it by accident.
We have to let them know that just because they are watching harmless videos on
youtube that the next suggested video may not be appropriate.
We have to be open to hear from other parents that our kids aren't always the angelic little beings we would like to believe that they are.
We have to be aware that things could be and are happening right under our noses.
We have to find balance in trusting our kids, but also not be played for a fool.
As one of my friends suggests "Education is key. Teach them what is acceptable and not acceptable"

Thank goodness the mistakes we parents made as children weren't held in the permanent record of the internet filled with screen shots and shares!

For the love.. snapchats DON'T always disappear!

I desperately want both my kids to know that their value doesn't come from others opinions of them or how many hearts they got on a post,
that unkind words even when they are typed out can cut like a knife
and that they don't have to follow the masses to be "popular"
I want them to know that the heart they have is meant to be shared with others overflowing with love and kindness.
I want them to be a kinder more gentle person than I ever was.
I want them to know that even when they think I am being the
that I am doing it because
I love them more than they will ever know.

Blessed is me...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Why

I just arrived at 21 years in the hair industry.
21 years standing behind a salon chair
11 years holding the key as an owner.

Simon Sinek is one of my favorite go to guys for business.
He is a smart smart man and if you have 20 min this video will get you thinking.

I've known my why for a long time.
At least I thought I did.

Why did I want to be a hairdresser?
Because when I was 11 I walked into the salon my aunt worked in and I fell instantly in love with the smells, the sounds and the happy women with smiles on their faces.

Why did I want to open my own salon?
Because I wanted a professional atmosphere to work that filled people to the brim with love and great hair.
I wanted a place people loved to come and hated to leave.
I wanted to help other women feel as passionate about it as I did.
I wanted the biggest best salon.
I wanted to be the best hairdresser in town.
I wanted to make a lot of money.

This weekend I spent two days with 5 of my teammates and we worked through 4 different classes;
one being a business class.
I love business classes hosted by Eufora because they get you really thinking about your
I realized that have I lost sight of some of my why and that  it is evolving just like me.

Society tells us that our success comes from how much money we have in the bank, 
how big our house is, 
how much stuff we have.
That isn't success.
That isn't our why.

Our why shouldn't be filled with self doubt or anxiety.
Our why should bring joy and fulfillment.
Our why should change as we change.
Our why should be about us and only us.
Our why is personal and heartfelt.
 Our why is our story that lets us soar beyond the clouds.
My why is now that people would see that their value lies in so much more that what we see on the outside.
My why is that I never want someone to leave our salon feeling unsafe that we would share what they shared with us.
My why is that I want every single hairdresser/nail tech/esthetician/massage therapist I meet to feel welcome to come and sit and chat with me about their own why.
My why is that I want the 8 girls who work with me to know what their why is.
My why is my two kids who meet me with open arms.
My why is my guy who loves me when I am not very lovable.

My why  no longer has to do with financial success or being the biggest and the best.
Maybe it never truly did.

Blessed Is Me...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Love 4h and County Fair

We just wrapped up Clatsop County Fair 2015.
It was wonderful, exhausting, emotional, exciting and dirty.
My car is a disaster inside and out.
I am sure there is enough hay, alfalfa and straw inside of it to make an entire bale.
It smells terrible inside and it appears to be brown on the outside instead of grey.
Our travel trailer has socks, clothes, dirt, hay and loads more junk stretched from one side to the other.
The beds were left unmade all week and a pile of boots were always by the door.
We woke up early at the fair and went to bed late at the fair.
I am sure I will be blowing dust out of my nose for the next week.
I loved all of it.

I didn't grow up as a 4h kiddo, but The Farmer did.
It is something I love, a lot.
I want every single kiddo that I know to experience it.
I honestly believe there is nothing better for kids than 4h.
The sheer number of adults, some of which no longer have kids in 4h, take a week off work to volunteer their time is amazing to me.
They "vacation" to pour into our kids.

I believe the lessons these kiddos learn will be with them for a lifetime.

Parents aren't allowed to help their kids during fair week unless it is a safety issue.
Kids help each other.
Carrying heavy water buckets, scooping poop, moving animals you name it they help each other.

Kids who raise steers generally get them in October.
For 10 months they
feed, water and care for an animal.
They also have to halter break them which isn't easy.
Most other animals are aquired in February.
Believe me when I say it isn't always sunshine and rainbows.
We have had our fair share of arguments about getting out to the barn to feed and water
especially when its dark at 5 pm with driving rain and blustery wind.
It's dedication for the kids as well as the parents.

Profit and Loss:
In our house The Farm Manager and The Fancy Farm Girl, if she chooses to participate, are responsible to buy their own animals and feed.
This year The Farm Manager tackled 5 projects and didn't have enough money to fund all the them so we  loan him the money for the animals and the feed.
When he receives his auction funds the first order of business is paying his debts.
Then he gets to decide what amounts he wants to spend, save, donate and invest.

Our 4h group is lucky enough to have Cloverbuds as part of our group.
These are kids from kinder to 3rd grade.
They get to participate in fair on Friday and can show what are referred to as pocket pets.
Ducks, chickens, cavy's, rabbit and even cats.
These little kids look up to the big kids.
They want to be just like those big 4h kids.
This year our club, Melville Livestock, had what we called "Clover Buddies"
A 4h kid, grades 4th- 12th, partnered up with a Cloverbud and spent a couple hours one day with them during fair week showing them the ropes.
The Farm Manager had Sam as a Clover Buddy and it was great Sam LOVED it and so did Jameson.
The Fancy Farm Girl was Miranda's Clover Buddy and spent time learning about her hog.
Morning Meeting:
Every morning after stalls are cleaned and animals are fed there is a meeting where all the kids gather to hear what is going on for the day, what needs to be done better and they recite the 
Pledge Of Allegiance 
and the 
4h Pledge
every morning 
I wish this was more common.

Builds Confidence:
Participating in 4h can't help but grow your confidence.
Showing off your animal in front of an arena full of people takes courage.
Marketing your animal and talking to potential buyers can be very intimidating and requires practice. You never know what those buyers are going to ask you!
Wondering if your animal is going to behave and 
pulling a steer into the ring that weighs more than 12x your weight requires guts.
Sometimes when your animal acts naughty and you're just not sure your confidence gets rebuilt in minutes just from someone having a hold of the end of your rope.
 We (parents) are in this together. We want the best for every single kid participating in fair and are willing to do what we can to help.
It takes a village.

Learning to lose with grace:

Not every show ends with a blue or purple ribbon.
Sometimes it ends with a red or even a white.
We are striving for kids that never give up in the ring.
You never stop showing until you are out of the ring.
You save your disappointment for outside the ring.
When you get beat you seek out the winner, shake their hand and congratulate them.
This year The Farm Manager earned his first red ribbon when his lamb got away from him.
He was disappointed, but he never gave up.
Losing is important
It keeps you humble
It always teaches you a lesson and makes you strive to do better.

.. and win with grace.
Winners should also seek out the other showman and congratulate them.

There is so much more I love about the process and one single solitary thing I dislike.
I hate walking out of the barn after auction.
It breaks my heart to see kids laying in their pig pens on their pigs crying.. to see kids sitting outside on the grass crying.
Even knowing going into the game what the end result is I doubt it will ever get easier.
Losing a friend

Last night as I tucked The Farm Manager into his nest and he cried... I cried too.
I knew it would be hard for him, but what I didn't know is that it would be hard for me also.
It's hard to be a farmer

We are now on vacation from fair for the next 60 or so days.
Then it all starts again and I can't wait!

Blessed Is Me..

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Will Always Wonder Who You Would Have Been..

So much time has passed that I don't even remember the day.
I can only remember the deafening silence as the ultrasound tech rubbed her wand over my belly and the feeling of hot tears rolling down my face as the doctor guided the needle into my swollen belly drawing out 3 tablespoon of amniotic fluid.
Will my baby that I want so much have Trisomy 18?

Then the waiting
Time ticked so slowly
The way my stomach lurched and my heart pounded every single time the phone rang
I worked as a purchasing agent at a manufacturing company and
I was sitting in the accounting office when I got the dreaded call.
Yes, my baby has Trisomy 18

Two choices
1. continue with pregnancy with risk of death to me-which I now believe to be untrue-and the almost guarantee of a funeral for my baby before it's first birthday if born alive.
2. terminate..

We had 2 days to decide.

We chose

This has been heavy on my heart the last couple weeks.
REAL heavy.
It's been in my dreams.
It's been on the radio.
It's been on Facebook.
It's been playing over and over and over in my head.
The continued nudge to write it all out here.
I don't know why?

It's a story that I am no longer ashamed of, no longer carry guilt, no longer feel condemned about.
The reason I no longer carry it as a burden is one fate filled Sunday I sat in Church at Coastline Christian Fellowship where Pastor Michael taught about forgiveness and showed this video about Eliot
a boy born with Trisomy 18.

There is absolutely no way Michael could have known about my own story.
I had only been attending church a few months and it wasn't a story I shared with many because of the burden I felt.
This video is one I sometimes still watch, but this week everytime I close my eyes I see it.

While I no longer feel shame and guilt sometimes I do feel sad.
This last couple weeks I have felt more sad than normal.
Most weeks come and go without another thought about it.

Maybe because of all the Mother's Day talk.
I"m sad that I'm missing a noodle necklace from that baby like I have from The Farm Manager and The Fancy Farm Girl.
Sad because I never got to hold that baby or even know if it was a boy or a girl.
Sad because if given the choice again I would never make the same choice knowing what I know now.
Sad because sometimes momma's just get sad.

I know abortion is a hot topic.
You are either on one side of the fence or the other.
One side is filled with finger waving "you shoulds"
The other side is dark and lonely
I've been on both sides.

I was made to feel like I had no other choice and only days to make a decision.
A decision that would be the final straw in my already failing marriage-yes, I was married before The Farmer,
a decision that would make me feel like I was carrying the weight of the world all alone for

Feelings would burble up and the absolute worst times and there was usually no containing them.

Last Sunday Pastor Andy at New Life talked about how
Good things can come from bad.

While I know that it wasn't in God's plan that I terminate my pregnancy I see  now that some good has come from it.

I know what it feels like to ask for forgiveness and receive it.
That forgiveness has given me back my power to not be ashamed.
I no longer have to keep a deep dark secret.
I feel free to talk about it.
Maybe, my willingness to talk about it can help someone else.

If you're carrying a burden like I was it's ok to lay it down at the feet of Jesus and leave it there.
Leave it for Him to carry.
He loves and cherishes you.

If at this moment you're caught in a decision you're struggling to make
scared and feeling alone.

You aren't alone.
My heart goes out to you and
I'm here for you.

I wish I could go back and have a do over, a mulligan, more time, more research, ask more questions.
I wish I could have for a moment held that tiny life and whispered in his or hers ear
how much they were wanted and loved.

There will be a day when I meet that baby face to face, but until then I will continue to look for the good that came from bad
will freely talk about all of it
so maybe another momma
can release the heavy burden from her heart.

Love and prayers to all the hurting mommas
Blessed is me..

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When Depression Steals Everything

Everyone has an opinion on it
"you just need to buck up"
"how is your walk with The Lord"
"why don't you just stop being sad"
"you don't ever look sad"
"what do YOU have to be sad about"
"what you NEED to do is.."

Don't say any of that.
Not a word.
If those words are on your tongue, bite it.

Depression is real and it kills.
It isn't always sadness.
It isn't always super bad, but it can be.
It consumes your every thought.
It makes dark days seem impossible.
It makes you stay in your bed to tired to get up.
It makes you a prisoner in your own head.
It makes you self medicate with drugs and alcohol just to get things quiet.
It makes you lose sleep and struggle through the day exhausted, but still smiling.
It makes you sit by your daughters crib waiting for her to stop breathing.

It has consumed me and yes I really did watch over my daughter waiting for her to stop breathing.
She was born 20 months after my first by scheduled c-section.
She was perfect with bright eyes, black hair and sweet kissable lips.
She never cried and she slept 6 hours on our first night home.

What did I have to be depressed about?
Two kids
One boy
One girl
A hot husband.
1 house, two dogs and an itty bitty salon.

The carnage that ensued in the days after we got home from the hospital
was horrific.
The gates of hell flung open!
The Farm Manager got the stomach flu
Puke everywhere
Then The Farmer
Then The Farm Manager AGAIN
It made its way throughout our families
Puke, puke and more puke
Oh, there was poop too
Lots of it.

It was NOT awesome and I am not kidding when I say I am sure I have a touch of PTSD from that week.
Mention the words
"I have tummy ache"
"I threw up all night"
and you will see me on the verge of or in full fledged panic.
It isn't pretty.

Then the word "SIDS" started rolling around in the back of my head because a local baby died in the weeks after my baby was born.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
I read about it.
I made Dr. appts to ask about it.
I KNEW my baby was going to die from it.

So, I sat watching her.
Watching her  breathe and
waiting for her to stop.
Unsure of what I would do if she did.
Her breathing was weird and she would hold her breath for a few seconds then start again.
I could hear every breath pulled into her lungs and every breath let out of her tiny body.

I ordered a sleeping pad for her that would sound an alarm should she stop breathing.
Our Dr. informed me that if she did have SIDS that if she stopped breathing and he was standing over her that he would be unable to save her.
I called him a liar
I was riddled with anxiety.
I was exhausted.
I suffered in silence never sharing how I truly was feeling not even with my husband.

2 C-Sections in less than 2 years and back to work after just three weeks.
In a salon you don't get to be sad or overwhelmed and let people know about it.
You pull up your big girl boots and get to work leaving your personal garbage at the threshold of the business.
I spent my days making people feel better and I would walk to my car at days end

I held it in and suffered in silence until it burbled up and I couldn't contain it.
I didn't want to let it out.
I didn't want people to know all the crazy going on inside me.
I didn't want people to think I was weak.

The night everything changed will not be one I ever forget.
We were at Char's having a game night and Fancy Farm Girl needed her diaper changed.
It was a poopy one and it wasn't what I considered "normal"
I freaked.
I know this seems like an odd thing to break down over, but I had heard rumors about the baby who died and how his/hers diapers had changed.
It might sound silly, but my fear was real.
I was losing it.

I told The Farmer we had to leave.
Right Now.
We have to go.
Confused he agreed.
It was the longest drive home ever.
We got home and I started to cry.

He told me he would get The Farm Manager to bed and feed Fancy Farm Girl so I wanted to go to bed.
I burst into tears and said
"I'll feed her because it's going to be the last time I get to"
Shocked and wide eyed he asked what I was talking about.
He just stared at me.
I told him I knew she had SIDS and was going to die that night.
Looking back I can see how crazy that sounded, but they were very real feelings.
Horrific empty desperate feelings.

Well, obviously she didn't die and my silent struggle was no longer silent.
 I sought out some medical treatment for myself.
It is hard to reach out when your struggle is viewed as
not real or you fear how others will view you.

I still can't sleep with her because of the way she breaths.
If she comes in our bed during the night I go to the sofa.
It isn't that I don't want to snuggle up and sleep with her I do.
I just can't.
It makes my heart pound and I become restless.
It makes those long sleepless nights come rushing back.

I feel sad for people who struggle with anxiety and depression.
You can't always see it.
Some of us are really good at covering up what is really happening inside our heads and hearts.
For awhile anyways.

It kills.
Your spirit
Your marriage
Your zest for life
Your ability to do more than just make it through one more day so you can fall into a pile of desperation in the safety of your own home only to do it again the next day.
Sometimes, it literally kills you when you can't see anyway out other than to take your own life.

And let's face it some people can be real jerks about it.
They say it isn't real, that you just aren't reading your bible enough, that you just need to stop being sad.
To that I say
It is dark and hard and it just layers on more and more everyday.
It consumes you to the point that it is the only thing you can think about.

What people who are suffering need are hugs, love, prayers and support.
A dinner made, an offer to take their kids, a coffee delivered a friendly reminder that they are loved, desired and cherished.
No more condemnation.
If you notice that people are closing down, not answering your calls and texts, not leaving the house.
You might not know what to say and that's ok just being there helps.
It's awkward and uncomfortable, but sometimes people need help breaking the silence.

Don't offer solutions, but instead offer
abounding love
Be sincere

Friends, you aren't alone in your struggles.
You aren't
I promise
and there is ZERO shame in suffering from
It is time that we feel free to talk about it just like we would any other illness.

If you or someone you know is suffering in silence
seek out help
I would love to pray for you.
Feel free to message or text me
No questions asked, not condemnation.
Whenever you need.

You are loved, desired, cherished.
You are stronger than you realize.
Yes, you.

Blessed is me..