The Tractor

The pieces begin to fall into place.

A house in contract, a closing date set.

We found ourselves on the hunt for something to mow our fields

And, as it sometimes happens, the right person found us.

A man named O’Neil had a 1950 Ford 8n tractor to sell.

The farm taking shape as we stood one Saturday admiring the machine being entrusted to our care.

With the tractor came O’Neil’s stories;

an upbringing in Kentucky, a wife met at the roller ring and the 62 years celebrated together.

Decades spent working hard, loving the land and living a life of service to God and country.

“Live in Joy, O’Neil counseled, “not happiness, Joy.

His words now woven with ours.

His tractor, his story, now a piece of this life we are building at the farm.

The Day

It began in this way.

The iPhone notes an accurate depiction of life in my new world.

The coffee runs. The routine needs.

The mundane moments of this day.

The growing happens hidden in these highlights.

No longer running to meet deadlines, now rushing to meet needs.

So I change.

Adapting to these new days.

Wondering constantly if this present is meant to be the future or if I am marking time waiting for the next new day to unfold.

Giving up on the guessing.

I am here.

Just looking to answer the call- “What would you have me do today?”

The answer open ended-

be here now.

Persist

Months of heartache have trailed us.

The job loss, the pandemic, the struggle that seems to have us always in the waiting.

My love, I can’t imagine these trials without you beside me.

When this world has been turned upside down,  I find myself grateful that you came along. Your presence makes possibilities endless.

I long for days when porch swings and miles up mountains fill our moments.  But until that day is here, as we raise young women and watch the everyday beauty unfold, I will feel more hopeful then blue.

I will find peace in our persistence.

Old Houses

Old houses carry baggage.

Years of abandonement mean aches and pains that must be treated.

We know her war wounds and trust that this is where we are meant to be.

She will require years of hard labor.

Days will be spent digging and grating and hauling away the signs of neglect.

Who better to rebuild a broken space then those who understand how scars become beauty marks?

As we manage the unending waiting game of will we or won’t we get an offer on the place we live today, we will be content with our dreams about the day that old house gets to welcome us home.

Buying a Farm

Our life has circled the edges of it.

The horse we own, the husband whose work is with the land and the children who desire to live outside more then in. Yet we remained in our beautiful suburban community, in all 3700 square feet of a house we really didn’t “need”. We have stayed because it is “comfortable”.

Like many, the weeks at home have found us contemplating things that mean the most to us. We began to dream about what life could look like living with those things at our center.

That is how we found ourselves one beautiful Sunday afternoon walking through the doors of a farmhouse for sale.

As we explored the house, the two barns and the 17 acres of farmland, forest and stream, all eight of us felt joy settle deep in the soul.

We offered what we thought was reasonable and now we find ourselves in contract.

There are steps still left in the process, a house to sell in a beautiful suburban community, but we are hopeful in months time we will have a new place to call home.

Syd at 13

Dear Syd,

I love you but I don’t get to claim you.

You don’t come from my gene pool.

I don’t know what your cry sounded like at birth or what your favorite baby food was.

I missed first steps, first days of school and five hundred other firsts, but I am grateful that I get to be here today.

Watching you transform into this confident, funny and thoughtful young lady is one of the greatest gifts of my life. I can’t take credit for a single second of who you are becoming, but I get the profound privaledge of watching life unfold for you.

I know sometimes our relationship must feel awkward. I am this woman that walked into your world at 10 and upended life as you knew it.

Thank you for forgiving me for my failings. For understanding when I don’t say the right things or how I sometimes serve raw meat for dinner. Thank you for teaching me that love comes at different times and in many different packages.

I am so happy we get to do life together.

For your thirteenth year I wish for you more late nights laughing with your sisters, more inside jokes and crushes on boys, more stargazing, more growing in grace, more tiaras, more tutus and less worrying about what others may be thinking of you.

I get prouder of you with every passing year.

Happy birthday beautiful girl. I love you more then words can say.

Love,

H.

Momma.

P.S. Can I say I am patting myself on the back with this year’s pick? Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Miles

I found my way back home on its belt.

25 miles a week over ten years means 13,000 miles of treadmill runs logged.

While little girls slept she showed me I could soar.

Today she stopped working.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I wondered if it was a sign.

As 43 lurks around the corner was someone whispering that this body was better suited for pilates and the occasional pavement run?

While standing in a pool of my silly tears I realized I was being reminded that I could find myself again in the run.

Tomorrow at 7am when the forecast calls for 34 degrees and partly cloudy skies, I will fly.

Here’s to 13,000 more on the open road.

Lost

The job gone.

Position altered, choices made.

The whole of a adult life wrapped up in the climb. Each job over the next defining self worth.

And, in the midst of the fog, catastrophe strikes, one only Hollywood could dream up.

So we sit.

While the world waits, I wait with it.

Giving up on asking questions, knowing the answers will be reached in his time, not mine.

Living in the limits of twenty-four hours. What would he have me do today?

Be here.

Sit with them.

Steer the ship through this storm.

Navigate what is new to all of us.

Grace

The house silent.

The quiet can be felt.

Where most Monday’s from 9-3 would feel like this, today is different.

Girls working, me left contemplating the days ahead.

Whispering prays for protection.

The challenges ahead unknown, but wasn’t that truth the same last Monday as it is today?

Forced to live in this moment, grace will grow.

Roads

There was a former work colleague who lived a life of faith.

Invitations extended to daily mass, philosophical debates about the eucharist and eternal life, all while sipping coffee at Clementine’s.

“So I should thank him for you and I meeting?” Matt spoke last night.

Instantly reminded of the role others played in leading us to this life lived here.

The connections that covered me in love and brought me a husband and three more beautiful girls.

In a world that teaches us to wear independence as a badge of honor we ignore the truth- it is only by walking with others that we are able to understand who we are called to be.