Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday's List: 2011's Gifts

Admittedly, I’ve had many experiences when writing is quite easy.  I know.  Hate me.  The laborious process of pre-writing, editing, revising, -shampoo, rinse, repeat - has been unnecessary.  It’s like I get a download of a complete piece-content, format, and editing already done.  I don’t pretend that any of it is perfect, and it’s even less publishable, but during my academic career it was good enough for the grade.  And, now as I’ve endeavored to write a semi regular blog, I do have the same experience-sometimes.

I don’t share the above to brag or be arrogant in any way.  In fact, it somewhat shamelessly indentifies a certain kind of sloth.  As I home educate our children, I’ve had to learn alongside them that writing takes time, effort, and a certain kind of grit to stick with it, and produce a final product that can stand on its own.  I wish I was a more disciplined writer so I could, with greater understanding and insight, assist my offspring as they hone their craft
You’ll note that I did put a limitation on how often this download type experience occurs-sometimes.  Lately, I’ve had so many ideas, words, potential posts rattling around in my head. I want a set of internal noise canceling headphones.  My thought life is too raucous and I am struggling to get any worthwhile material from the grey matter into this white (well-sandy colored) space.

My desire has been to in a coherent and concise fashion write about two things in particular.  First, and this is the least of the two in my tiny thought life, I wish to write a synopsis of the year 2011.  People we met, books we read, events we shared…and although I’ve captured many hand scratched notes in my personal journal, I can find neither the organization or craft to manage the scope and sequence of such a post.  So for now, splotchy marks on the page will have to suffice for my personal records.

But, because I want to share with you some of the highlights, I asked my family to join in my endeavor and while we enjoyed a beautiful Sunday New Year Dinner by candlelight we spoke of what 2011 brought us:

  • Weekend Farmer Husband was nervous about our livestock ventures.  He is much more confident of our ability to produce food for us and others and is looking forward to expanding on what we learned in 2011 and apply it to 2012 and beyond.
  • First born son was given social gifts.  He has waited long for significant friends whom he trusts and who prove themselves trustworthy.  He has been exceedingly grateful for a group of young men in our church who have extended sincere and caring friendship and who accept him for the quirky, old fashioned, conservative, theologically gifted, history and military buff that he is.   Additionally, as a young man establishing his path in this life, he is specifically grateful that God provided steady and productive employment for him as well as academic progress.
  • Most of us at the table thought that Second Born Son would identify a skiing accident and the subsequent surgery and recovery as the most significant event of his year.  But, we thought too lightly, because when he answered the question, we found ourselves saying “Of course, that’s totally him.”  He and I had the awesome shared experience of attending one of U2’s 360 Tour concerts this summer.  It was my Mother’s Day gift.  Sweet, huh?

  • First Born Daughter has been working hard on some therapies to assist her in proper body mechanics, and is learning all over again how to walk, stand, maintain posture, and develop overall strength.  In addition, she’s been involved in rigorous speech therapy.  Talk about starting from zero-learning to walk and talk all over again!  She’s a trooper I tell you.  And, she’s gracious because 100 times a day, (and it’s possible that I’m NOT exaggerating), I repeat what the therapists have told her as she works to overcome old habits.  That’s GOT to get old, but she is never snarky with me.  Bless her.  And, she will forever remember when she had chicken pox.  That nasty pox defined her summer in many ways, and in spite of how limiting it was, she has kept a sweet spirit and never complained. It is interesting to me that she defined 2011 by her physical experiences.  Obviously she’s putting a great deal of effort toward change.
  • Third born son has thoroughly enjoyed having so much life around him.  He was the first to mention all the animals.  It means quite a bit more work for him when we have hundreds of critters we’re responsible for; however, he’s learning that it has its own reward in terms of increased income.  And, when he’s done counting his cash, he’ll admit that the blessing of work and the satisfaction of a job well done is enough, and that he’s gaining an early glimpse of providing for a family and stewarding resources.  He is beginning to demonstrate a steady, deep, and consistent manly strength.  This mama sees her baby boy slipping away.  That’s good.

  • Now, the youngest daughters are really a trip.  They are both wildly creative, tender hearted, energetic, and completely random.  So, they’re getting bunched together, which will be satisfying to me since this is likely the only place they can remain together for any time without a great deal of talk, regular outbursts of delight, and/or wailing and gnashing of teeth from some event-often perceived simultaneously in opposite ways.  Their greatest observation is that Christmas is very different when you go to church first before opening presents.  They offered no further commentary, so I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions.

  • And, finally, (993 words later…if you’re still reading), we get to me, The Unlikely Farmer’s Wife.  I am most impressed by the impact of staying home full time and what a blessing that’s been to me and the entire family.  This year was the first year in 22 that I've not had employment outside the home.  The differences are notable.  I cannot adequately express the JOY I have in being fully present at home and having only to answer to my husband and family for execution of responsibilities!

Did you forget?  I said there are two things I’m particularly struggling to write about. All the preceding wordiness dealt with only one.  I want to put to words the story of Liberty Farm.  So many have asked “How did you do it?” quickly followed by, “That’s our dream!”  I don’t know if I can write with adequate depth the miracle of what God is doing.  Maybe I’ll get another download?

Monday’s bring the opportunity to join a community of gift chroniclers and so it’s been my practice to link to Ann Voskamp’s blog, Holy Experience.  I’ll do so again today.  You may have grown accustomed to my list following the body of my post.  Today the post is the list- with these additions:

  • My father continues to suffer painful and distressing side effects from chemo.  His struggles make me keenly aware of my hands and feet functioning as they should.  My kidneys are working well.  I am not inescapably fatigued.  My physical world is larger than a hospital room.  Dad, prayers for you have given me much greater appreciation for my many comforts as you live hard eucharisteo.
  • A lovely field trip to view Christmas Trees and Nativities from around the world broke us out of our routine.  We love to visit this place.
  • Extra days off for Weekend Farmer Husband and First Born Son due to holidays.  Hours at home with all 8 of us are so sweet.
  • Baptisms at church-evidence of the Holy Spirit’s active role in the community we share.
  • Movies, games, sleeping in, time with friends and family-gifts of a break from school.
  • Beautiful sunshine causes me to reach for the camera capturing shadow, light, contrast and the wonder the Creator has given me eyes to see.
  • And still, busy fingertips tapping away, capturing, chronicling, and pouring into this cup of contentment.  


  1. break from school- such a sweet gift! we are reveling in that too! blessings on your sweet family this new year!

    1. Awww-thanks for your kind words. The break is long over but the year is still fresh!

  2. Aw, I love this post! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Tiffany, it's embarrassing to say, but I don't remember a "reply" function in Blogger when I first got started...and, now suddenly, a way to reply in a thread. Hmmm, wonder what else I'm missing?
      Just wanted to say thanks for your encouraging comment. You KNOW how lovely feedback is and how welcome the chance to meet and spur one another on.