The other day I looked out on the deck and saw a scene that made my heart swell. My 6 year old son was sitting next to his grandpa talking and talking (I assume about cattle), and his grandpa just sat and visited with him about it. Grandpas are amazing aren’t they? So patient and loving; taking time that moms and dads often can’t because of work and other responsibilities.
I had a grandpa who always took time: time for talks, time for stories, time for driving lessons, time to remind his grandkids how much they were loved.
I hope you and your children have grandpas in your lives who take the time for the important things like cattle talks, fort planning, and story telling.
Life is short, and as a mom I need to take a cue from grandparents. It’s not always about what work needs to be done. Much of the time it’s about sitting on a deck and simply listening.
Good and gracious God, thank you for the people in our lives who bring us joy and love, especially grandparents. We thank you and praise you for the gift of daily bread provided by those around us. In the name of Jesus, our Savior, we pray. Amen.
Living in rural America has its challenges; one of which is purchasing reasonably priced groceries, clothing, and household items. Something I have noticed, is that it is super easy to make assumptions about other people, especially the way they spend their money. As a seminary student, vicar of a rural parish, and busy mom of three, I have to be creative about the way I spend my money. Thankfully, my husband and I are both frugal, and we have worked together to make this wonderful life we are living.
Here are some ways that we save and manage our money:
Wal-Mart: If you have kept up with my blog over the years, you know I love Wal-Mart. Their children’s clothes are amazing! They have cute styles at very affordable prices. My newest favorite thing about Wal-Mart is their grocery pick-up service. This allows me to pick out everything I need ahead of time and simply pull up to the delivery bay without going into the store and purchasing things I don’t really need.
Buying local when possible! I know there are some rural mamas who make their weekly trips to the bigger cities to purchase groceries and things, but I have found that it is much cheaper for our family to buy what we need locally when we need it. Traveling 100+ miles to the bigger cities costs money, plus it usually includes going out to eat and purchasing snacks for the trip. When we do shop at Wal-Mart or Target, it is because we are already making a trip through the city for another reason.
Second-hand stores: We have a great local thrift store. It is run by the ministerial association, and the profits support various ministries throughout the community. In addition to the great things the store does for the community and those in need, it is also a great place to purchase low-priced goods. For example, I recently purchased 2 brand new photo albums for $.50 a piece! Thankfully I had not hit the “Buy Now” button on Amazon, because the album I had in my Amazon cart was over well over $10. There is also a great consignment shop in Bismarck called Clothes Mentor. They sell name-brand, gently-used women’s clothing. I have found great deals, and I love the idea of reusing clothing instead of adding more clothing waste to this already full world.
Because of the ways my family saves money, we have been able to pay down our debt, pay off student loans, and make home improvements without building up credit card debt, all on our modest incomes.
I am so thankful for this world God has created for us to live in. I pray that you are basking in His love and creation without the stresses that finances can add to life. If you have stories or tips of your own that you would like to share, please comment below.
My boys are growing up in the biggest playground imaginable. They get the privilege of living in a small town where they can cruise up and down the sidewalks on their bikes. They’ve got friends and tball buddies to spend time with and three parks to choose from. It’s a pretty sweet deal. But then, when it’s time for work or Grandma and Grandpa Time, they head to the ranch.
The ranch is a magical place where the food never runs out, snacks abound, and adventure awaits at every turn. It helps that this is also where Grandma and Grandpa are. Today we semen tested bulls. I use “we” loosely because I took a nap and wandered up for the last few bulls, but the boys got right into it. They learn so much while playing and having a good time. We all love the ranch so much.
This week we’re at camp. It’s becoming a tradition, as traditions usually begin: one year at a time. Outlaw Ranch is a beautiful place. That’s an understatement actually. And, it isn’t just the hills, rocks, trees, and water; it’s the people. Gosh dang it, the people are amazing. I’d like to just stay here all summer, but the real world is already calling.
I’ll be leaving camp early for a funeral. There is Sunday to prepare for, too. There are always things to do, right? So here I sit. I’m on a deck above the beautiful green where my boys are playing camp games with the “big kids.” I have a Jack Reacher novel on my lap, and I’ve actually had to talk myself into reading it. I feel like I should be working or something. But, I’m going to take these hours, because they won’t last. That’s the gift of camp, isn’t it? Time away in God’s creation. God speaks to us through his Word, but it sure is nice to simply sit in his creation for a bit. Thanks, God.
I pray, truly, that you can take some moments this week. Take some time to simply be. The dishes will still be there. The cows will still get fed. The things will get done, but they don’t need to be done this second. Take a moment.
I believe most everyone has a real life and a perceived life. I see some people and am amazed at how awesome they are. One of the gals who does my hair is one example; she is cute, stylish, and never seems to have an “ugly day.” Most people seem to have the self that the outside gets to see, like the Instagram-self, yet they also have the real self – the version of themselves that isn’t plastered all over social media. I wonder if my adorable hair gal is like this? I have my doubts; she’s pretty awesome.
A few weeks ago, my boys and I had our photos taken. It was a blast. Jamie Simon Photography in Groton, SD, has done such amazing work for my sister that I jumped at the chance to have her take pictures for our family. The session was like a fairytale. She had a beautiful gown for me to wear, and she found the most gorgeous location for the setting. It was so much fun. Of course, some of the photos ended up on social media. The comments I received were kind, generous, and uplifting. But, let’s get real…that lady in those photos isn’t me. Well, it isn’t the real me.
This is the real me:
1. I wear what’s comfortable. At 100 months pregnant that means thrift store overalls, because nothing else fits.
2. I don’t wear makeup unless I’m doing something special.
3. I wear sweats or stretch pants whenever possible.
4. My boys work and play alongside John and me, and it never looks like the scene in the professional photo.
Living in an imaginary world is kind of fun, but it isn’t real. Maybe that’s what makes it fun.
I hope you aren’t afraid to let the real you shine, because this real life is pretty dang wonderful. Maybe some day I’ll write something more about this and the lady with the eye lash cream.
You are my boys. I holler out the door, “Boys! Time to come in!” When it is time to eat, I say, “Boys, come and eat.” I think your fart jokes are funny. You have taught me that kids are washable, so dirt, mud, blood…whatever, none of it bothers me too much anymore (except broken toe nails…I probably won’t ever be able to stomach that). You are so rough I can hardly believe it sometimes, but I have also learned you are tougher than I used to believe. You eat almost constantly. You don’t care what you wear. You prefer your hair messy [and unwashed]. You make everything into a gun or weapon. You ride your bikes too fast. You are my boys.
We are about to welcome a little girl to this family (at least that is what the ultrasound gal tells us), and I am not so sure what to do. You boys made me a mom, and it is my favorite thing in the whole world. Did I ever tell you that when your dad and I first met, we asked each other what the one thing we each wanted in life was? Your dad said he wanted cows, and I said I wanted to be a mom. How lucky are we that our dreams came true?! But truly, I had no idea what this motherhood adventure would entail, none of us moms ever do. You both know me well enough by now to know I prefer to be inside with books, but you have gotten me out on more adventures than I could have dreamed of. The idea of being a girl mom, makes me a little uneasy. What will we do?! Hopefully you train Junior to like picnics at the park, nature walks, checking cows, and playing outside. Otherwise, your sister and I are going to be stuck inside with our noses in books while you boys are out doing who-knows-what.
I know you two will be the best big brothers around, because you are already good brothers to each other. You are smart and caring, and I know you will take good care of a little sister. I just want you to remember what I said about moms’ hearts. God makes moms’ hearts in the most amazing way, because there is always room for more love. A mom cannot just love their child with half of their heart; they love with their WHOLE heart. Even if a mom has 13 kids like great grandma Nora, she loves each one with her WHOLE heart. So I promise to love you and Junior with my entire heart, always and forever, even on your grouchy days.
Happy birthday, Gramps! It’s been over 7 years since you’ve been gone. Today would be your 88th birthday! Crazy, huh? I just thought I’d write to share what I did to celebrate your birthday today.
Today was the 2nd day of the SD Synod Assembly. I spent the weekend at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in one of my favorite places: Sioux Falls. I’m into my 3rd year serving as vicar. I didn’t know what to expect when I began this journey, but whatever I imagined, this is better. I spent the weekend surrounded by pastors and church friends. Many of the folks I get to share my time with now are old friends of yours. Of course, everyone remembers Pastor Ike. You’ve left BIG shoes to fill, Gramps.
Today, I sat on a rock outside OSL and ate a sack lunch with a dear friend. We talked about things other than seminary, and it was wonderful (not that systematic theology doesn’t get me all kinds of jacked up). I also got to just sit and talk with friends and colleagues that I generally only see in passing. By the way, your good buddy Lee has another son being ordained! The legacy continues. But the best part of the day was sharing in the celebration as Constanze Hagmaier was elected bishop! Did you get to know her? She’s absolutely marvelous.
I wish I had some good pictures to share, but I got too caught up in the hustle of the assembly. I miss you and love you and just wanted to say “Happy Birthday!” Oh…and thanks for planting the seed. I give the credit to you.