I am so thankful…
For the season of guests! I love July!
For sitting around in pajamas with strangers, now friends and sipping tea.
For staying up way way late with cocktails and friends
for my son who loves to milk in the barn with me
this baby who tells me to “Suss Suss” with her finger to her mouth as she rocks her doll.
for new elderberry plants
for reaching the bottom of the seasonal zucchini drawer
for ice cream o’clock shared with people from Oklahoma, Kansas, Virginia Beach, Australia and South Africa all in one day.
for miraculous healings all weekend long
for the miracle of food that never ever runs out no matter how many show up
for dresses on sale… so nice.
for little girls who play “Fake church” on the hill…. their little voices singing high and heaven laying low
for expansion upon expansion upon expansion in the guitar business
We are all looking for it.
We are created for it.
We were created for a Garden to rest in.
To walk through and have relationship in…
To rest in….to know our way around….
It shouldn’t be a foreign language to us.
Rest is an act of faith.
Faith in what was done…
Faith in how it will carry on in our rest…
Faith that we are not the final component in success
Rest is a confidence in something outside of ourselves.
Years ago I worked at a convenience store. We lost power over night and came into work in the morning to find the ice cream a bit soft. My manager told me to throw it out…all 35 boxes. It seemed such a waste… he permitted me to take it all, in lieu of throwing it out. So I raced it all , on my lunch break, over to my grandmother’s pool where all my cousins (all much younger than me) were lounging poolside on a 90 degree July day.Much to no ones surprise 35 boxes of barely melted icecream was spirit lifting….as if kids spending their summer eating Tastycakes around a grandmother’s pool with not a mother in sight needed spirits lifted!
I guess that joy has always been stashed away within me.
The other night at a unique gathering of women, my sheep milk ice cream was requested in attendance. I will tell you I fussed over which flavors to bring. I fiddled with flavors.If you follow me on Instagram you know I am constantly working on new flavors. I begged opinions and criticisms. I settled on four favorites. The Meadowmint because it pairs so well with blueberries and tart raspberries. I have the most decadent Chocolate Wine sheep milk ice cream , it is hands down a crowd favorite. I also brought a cream cheese cinnamon ice cream again because of how it compliments fruit which was to be in abundance. I also brought my vanilla bean sheep milk ice cream… it is just over the top simple perfection and I don’t think I can make it any better. I was surprised when the guests wanted me to explain the flavors and where the ingredients and ideas came from. This is my current passion and this was the first time I had exposed my little beauties outside of my home. My nervous heart flipped happily as everyone crooned over my little pints as much as I do.
The guest of honor turned to me, “What made you choose ice cream “
I felt like a nervous nerd as blurted out words tumbled over each other in a mad dash before I could pull them back, “Well,… I am really good at making cheese and have been making cheese for over a decade… but when you bring cheese people like it… maybe even love it… but everyone is very pinned up about it… but when you dish out ice cream, ” I sighed out as I gestured about the room to all the smiling spoon licking sparkly eyed people, ” people ohh and smile and laugh.”
She smiled wide, “Ohh.. I get it …you like making people happy.” She smiled happily spooning up a melty of so rich chocolate wine which by now had swirled beautifully with the vanilla bean speckled glory taking care to herd a raspberry onto it.
I smiled with my mouth a bit dumbly open,”I don’t know what to do with that, ” I laughed nervously. “No one has ever said that about me… but… errr… I mean… you are right….I do,” I barely whispered it. Then some where in my heart a small glowing healing happened.
The guy behind me in Costco looked at my 4 daughters in line with me and said, “Woo wouldn’t want to be you…What do you do with your free time,” he finished sarcastically. The woman behind him , or with him, was very uncomfortable. My daughters, like a small flock of meercats were all eyes on me.
I tried to just laugh it off…. ,”Oh this is just half of them.”
“Oh man, I bet you have no free time”
well…ya know meercats and all… I had to answer..
“hmmm… my free time? Well for starters…
I do photography.
I make toys.
I have a website.
I lead a community based group each week which I also cook everything for.
I make artisan ice cream.
I run a micro dairy.
I read….hmmm…I am sure there is more, I just can’t think of it all just now…” I admit my one eyebrow was a bit higher than the other as I long looked him.
“Oh you farm,” he said with disdain. He said it as if that explained it all. Almost as if that nullified something. But this is Coscto and I don’t care how rude someone is or how flipping hot it is outside… I have a 20minute race to the exit I try and keep. I mean, I have standards (smirk).
The woman behind him was a nervous laughing wreck, “hahhahahaha he said your ‘free time'”.
All the meercats were at full attention.
“Oh I heard him… my ‘busy time’ is a whole different story….
Funny moral of this story I noticed at the very last second as I was handed my receipt:
People should not give looks of disdain to women who proudly lead strong lives….These same people should not judge or question what I do with my free time when all they hold in their arms is a Costco sized box of Preparation H. Maybe our free time isn’t what we should be discussing in that moment.
My garden has never looked better. Last year we dealt with a lot of crap from the past many years. Years upon years mucked out. Living this life there is always more being dished out. It all went into a garden. Now this season, after years of collecting this crap… it is going to good use. Who could have imagined, as the layers built up again and again, that it will all lead up to this?
We couldn’t be here in this place … collecting this harvest … tending this growth … sitting back and resting in it’s continual growth…
We couldn’t be right here in this amazing thriving healthy life if it weren’t for having been dealt all that crap.
I putter around this farm with a baby on my hip …
…watching little girls have tea parties under the big willow…
…following my husBen out to the bees as he tries to keep up with their honey flow …
…haying the sheep and scratching them behind the ears …
…checking the angora rabbits nest boxes for babies due any day …
…looking up and across the field as my older kids come running home with stories (and bellies full of cake) …
…making batch after batch of new ice cream flavors …
…going out to meet friends who stop by all week long, not just on Sundays anymore …
…pouring fresh milk into jars from my healthy ewes …
…listening to this HusBen of mine make me smile all day and night long …
…watching this new lamb (Stache) bowl the chickens over and run to hide behind his guardian, Garden….
… as I tie up pea shoots onto a trellis I am thankful…so thankful to all the contributors of the crap that we had to go through just to get to this place…. this growth.
not just growth… but this amazing life.
Don’t discount the crap you go through … because in a new season, maybe when those animals are long gone , you will have the most amazing growth.
And to think…. This is just the beginning
I gathered my keys and camera. Said my goodbyes and kissed my best friend.
A good night.
A night of celebrating good legacy … one that has overcome it all. One that doesn’t always make sense to anyone but Him. Either way it’s still 60 years.
sixty years isn’t something to walk past without cake, ice cream, songs, love and friends.
We ended the night sitting around the table with the ones who helped to get them this far.
The ones who traveled through the shadow of the valley of death with them….we all sat together flanking them.
We shared stories about what our lives had looked like in the past few months.
All the stories were for the love of family. I don’t know if anyone noticed the theme but it wasn’t lost on me. When all the hub bub of party was simmered down… and only the ones who had been there every day sat around the table… the theme was love.
My restless tired baby announced that it was late…. much later than I had realized.
I gathered my keys and camera. Said my goodbyes and kissed my best friend.
Across the table I heard him…. and in him I heard Him. I know His voice, yet still new to his voice I couldn’t make out the words. I could feel the hand of Him reach through the flesh of this world. I could feel it reach out through it … through this man. I could feel the Jesus in him reach out towards the Jesus in me. Like a magnetic pull I turned toward the draw of it.
“I am sorry what?” The table was engrossed in new stories. Did anyone else see it… at least feel it?
“I appreciate the story you shared….”. He motioned to where I had sat when I cracked my chest wide open and told of my very best day of my life. I had told them the good , the bad and how I had overcome it all…How He had overcome it all… How He had made my heart soar. I had nervously murmured as I ended the story ,” and it was the very best day of my life,” as I had reached to the ground to pick up a baby toy. I had shared it after this man had shared his heart. His heart for children…. not biologically his. His eyes had beamed at their accomplishments. He had bragged of normal every day things that most parents overlook. I had welled with tears as he had spoke of loving kids fiercely who others would deem “not his”. This man who runs multiple companies… who wants for nothing… he is undone by kids who call him by his first name. He has never allowed a title to get in the way of his family. His love for them was never a conjured thing… it is effortless. His heart had once cracked open and forever let them in. The blood of one never rejecting the blood of another.
“I appreciate the story you shared…. ‘ the best day of your life’ … thank you for sharing it.” He motioned to the chair I had bared my love in.
I stammered…. about how his story had changed my heart…. and there we stood… with our Jesus just hanging out in front of everyone.