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Thursday, November 27, 2014

He'll Take You When He Wants You

I have always known that.....
"He'll take you when he wants you."

But when he does, sometimes it is unexpected.  And not all unexpected things are great.

My dad died 5 years ago today, November 27, 2009.

Unexpected and not so great were just words that feelings can't express.

But as dad would say, "that's just part of it."

It is part of life and something that you just have to deal with.

I can hear him now, "stop mopin' around about it and go do something.  
Stop thinking about it, you think to much.  It's just part of it, Katie."

So as we celebrate Thanksgiving today and spend time with friends and family, we celebrate him.

We celebrate the athlete he was and tried to make me be.....as he told me to run the hills of our country road.  He instilled teamwork and a passion for winning and a respect for the lessons learned in losing.

We celebrate the fun-loving, crazy guy he was at my mom's 8th grade birthday party.
(Do we think he is trying to impress her with those moves and that hair?)

And we celebrate the party animal he continued to be as he "grew up".

 We celebrate his strength.......and sarcasm.

The strength he had physically, mentally, for his family and friends, for his work on the farm and the land and his love for Christ was a force to be reckoned with.  Don't forget the strength he had to have in order to share a house with three passionate women!  His strength was an example of how to live your life, and still is.

(Look at that farmer's tan!)

We will celebrate the fact that he met these two guys in college and remained friends with them until his death.  Among their differences and very different backgrounds, they were friends and taught each other things throughout their lives.
(We can only imagine what's happening in this photo......)

And we celebrate the fact that even though one lives on the east coast and the other on the west coast, we still get together and share stories of dad.

On this Thanksgiving as I lay down for my nap in my "spot" at grandma's, I will celebrate that sometimes in life we are in sync with one another like dad and my sister, Sarah, always were.  Being in sync and alike are great at times.

And sometimes we are out of sync with each other like dad and I always were with each other.  This is okay too.  I think our differences made us stronger.....learning from each other and pushing each other to be better.

So when I heard the guy I was dating say those words, "he'll take you when he wants you", well I knew he would be my husband someday because that's exactly what dad would have said.  And we were in sync about the way we thought about life and death.

God took him when he wanted him because he can.

And it wasn't great and it still hurts but didn't we always know that?

So today we celebrate, just as he would have wanted because
"that's just part of it."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Farmer & Fancy in Paris!

After one week away, I'm back to share more about my fancy in the country lifestyle.  
Except today it will be about my fancy in Paris trip. 

My wings took me away last week across the pond with the farmer to enjoy a post-harvest trip.
Remember, it's important to have both roots and wings.

Well our roots brought us home and the jet lag just got to me on this Tuesday so today I will share some photos and highlights of our trip.

We stayed on the Ile St. Louis which is one of the two natural islands that are in the middle of the Seine River.  The other is the Ile de la Cite which is where the Notre Dame is located.  This is one of four bridges that connects the island to the banks.  It was our first sighting of the Eiffel Tower on our first walk in Paris.

Instead of a hotel, we stayed in an apartment and decided to live like Parisians.  This is our beautiful front door on the island which really felt like a village.  More on the small, cramped, we couldn't stand up in the bedroom apartment later.....

Cheese.  It really could be considered an addiction.  We took a cooking class and went to the market to buy our supplies.  While we were there, we picked up some cheese for our french dishes and learned about "forbidden" cheeses in the United States.  This orange looking cheese is called mimolette.  This is a craggy, hard cheese that has kind of a citrus flavor to it.  Why is it forbidden?   Well....cheese mites are present during the aging process and then removed one it has ripened.  However, sometimes there are some left behind in the weathered rind.  The FDA didn't really like that though......therefore forbidden cheese that I made our chef buy so I could try it!  We loved it!

The Louvre Museum is a must on a trip to Paris.  It's collections and exhibits are unbelievable and intriguing.  The farmer loves history and art that teaches us something about our history so he could have been there for days.  My favorite part about the museum?  Finding an art class and standing close enough that I could hear the instructor speak about the masterpieces.  Yes...I was that creep.

Yes, I am on a carousel.  When I studied abroad in London in college, we took a weekend trip to Paris and stumbled upon a carousel on our first day.  I mentioned this to the farmer and how I love carousels and how they remind me of my childhood (and Mary Poppins).  He found it and gave me a coin to take a ride.

The Shakespeare and Company Bookstore was a highlight of the trip for us.  Lovers of literature could spend hours in this old bookstore filled with all the great works.  Everything is in English, don't worry.  We were there for a few hours on two different days.  The guy in the green jacket in the distance?  That's the farmer headed to the history section, I lost him most of the time we were there.

Leave it to the American farmer and hunter to find the Museum of Hunting and Nature located in a random neighborhood of Paris on our first day of the trip.  It was pretty amazing and one of our favorite things.

 Another one of our many walks lead us to find this group of young musicians playing under an arch near the Place de Vosges in the Marias district.  It was a nice place to stop and listen while the rained poured down.  As they played, the farmer said, "look up to the left, see the etching on the wall?"  

It was wheat.  When we are away, flying our wings, our roots, agriculture and the farm, are still with us.

Our view of the Notre Dame on the first day and our first walk.

 The Sainte-Chapelle is more magnificent than most other cathedrals I have seen. While it is not big, the stories it tells are better than anything you have seen.  The stained glass windows tell the stories of the New Testament.  

When in Paris, you must eat escargot!  And the farmer did just that a few times.  Delicious! 

And on the last night, we had the most beautiful sunset as we walked the Tuileries Garden and walked towards the Champs Elysees to find some wine and do some last minute shopping in the Christmas shops.  

And when we returned home this weekend, the farmer started cleaning his guns and I cleaned my make-up brushes.  Oh the difference our priorities are in this fancy in the country life.

Our wings were good to us on this trip.  However, we are obviously back to our roots and still loving it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Unspoken Lesson from the Farmer: Roots & Wings

Dad used to shake his head at me a lot.  I mean.....a lot.  
It was like he didn't get me or something (which is what some people say about me).  

But looking back now, I realize that he didn't always get me because we were so different and that was okay.  He raised me to be different, but to appreciate where I came from and where I was going.  

Unspoken Lesson from the Farmer:  Have roots and wings.

I pretty much grew up tall and grew up right with that Indiana corn on those Indiana nights.
And  I have always appreciated it.

But these days I see a lot of this, our nation's capitol. And a lot of cities which I also appreciate.

It was my parents that taught me to appreciate both; the roots and wings of my life.

They kept us grounded and let us run around barefoot to feel the dirt between our toes.

But it was my parents that let us spread our wings and fly. 
It wasn't just their words but their actions that supported our roots and gave us wings. 

And for that, I shall always be grateful.

Secretly, mom would have kept us all around forever and ever.  
Making us her famous homemade meals and sugar cookies while dad, Sarah and I sat around and watched "The Last of the Mohicans" was perfection to her.

Dad on the other hand, well dad tried to ship my friend Leslie and I off to mining country up in Canada when we were in college.  "There are lots of boys up there, you guys could have your pick!  Katie, there are no malls but they have money so there you go!  I can hire someone to take you guys up there."  

Oh thanks, Tim.  Some special wings you want to give us.  I think he wanted to ship us off because he wanted us to stop spending his money and to go and spend someone else's.

But he didn't get rid of us.  
Instead, we stayed and danced many nights away with him at weddings and drank beer with him around the fire.  Secretly, I think he wanted it that way instead of us in a random mining town with a bunch of boys! 

Dad used to always say, "there are too many cars around here anymore.   Too many people.  I am moving out west."  And I used to always tell mom, "when I am rich someday, I am going to buy dad a small ranch out west, in Montana."

Well, dad never got his wings to move west.  But he did get his wings to fly up to heaven 5 years ago this month.  

My friend Lindsay, over on Jeans Boots Blog, and I took one of our grounded gypsy trips west one fall.  
We went to Montana.  
And for my next birthday I received this.

Dad rode along on our wings during that trip.  Believe me, he was there because we ran into some pretty interesting characters and still made it back to our roots here in Indiana. 

So while he was always country and the center of my roots, I was his fancy and the wings that flew him west.  

And tomorrow I leave for Paris.  
And I guarantee you he is shaking his head at me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tales of a Harvest Widow: Her Critters & Her Washer

It's been a long harvest this year, but the end is in sight.  

In fact, I think I just made my last sandwiches for the boys' lunches last night.  I think I may only have to make cookies and muffins every so often from here until the spring.  

But what is not ever going to end are the critters and the laundry in our house.  

Let's be clear, I like certain critters.  
Especially when they serve two purposes and parts of them go in our freezer and other parts go on our wall to fancy things up.

But I do not enjoy little geckos that cross my feet at the table while I work.  But lucky for me the candy dish was close and I dropped the top of it on the gecko and kept a close eye on him until the farmer arrived.  Then he, being the smart man he is, concocted a way of capturing the gecko to get him out of the house!

Then there is Henrietta who stares at me while I do laundry.  Somehow she helps my husband with some of his hunting excursions, but yet somehow she got into my house....

.....and onto my vacuum!  Every time I turn, I see her and jump a little.  She always surprises me even though I know she is there, watching me do the loads of laundry.

When I married my farmer, I knew there would be lots of surprises.  
However, I didn't know there would be so many in the washer.

Like this baler twine that I found this summer.

And I always find lots of coins and random things like a paperclip.  And he ALWAYS forgets to take out his headphones.  I have found anything from a pocket knife to batteries to a memory card for his hunting cameras.

Looking back I should have known better.  I should have known that when I married a farmer, I knew I would experience lots of surprises.  I knew I would at least find some corn and soybeans in the washer.  My mom found lots of them in her washer from my dad--from her farmer husband.  

And I think she would say, "Tim, look what I found!"  
Just like I say, "Brett, look what I found!"

Even though it secretly ticks me off because he can't check his pockets or shake off outside before he enters the house, I always end up smiling and shaking my head.  Surprises are sometimes just funny.

The surprises in the washer and the critters watching on are something I have always known and will always love.  Just like the surprises life brings to me every day. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Celebrating the Harvest with My Sister

Today I dedicate my blog to my sister, Sarah.

My younger, sometimes annoying, passionate, smart, caring, thoughtful sister who got the curls and the old soul and who educates our kids.  

She started a blog, Sarah Sums It Up, long ago about telling the story of her simple, wonderful life and sharing the story of agriculture.  

Together we write articles for our local hometown newspaper about our farm lives and share the story of agriculture.  This week, we wrote about the harvest and how we should celebrate the harvest all year long.  

"Celebrate the Harvest" is featured over on  Sarah Sums It Up.  Please visit Sarah's blog to see our feature story and we encourage you to always celebrate the harvest! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Can We Keep It?

It was November 3, 1992 and I was a first grader.  My parents were building their dream home at the time so we were living with my grandma for a few months while we were between houses.  I heard my mom and dad leaving for work when I ran down the stairs, stopped myself on the old, farmhouse banister and yelled, "Mom!  Dad!  Who are you voting for?!  George Bush, right?  You should really vote for him."

My dad shook his head and walked out the door.  And I am pretty sure mom said, "I can't tell you.  You aren't supposed to tell anyone who you vote for."

When people ask me how I got started in politics or what sparked my interest I really can never put my finger on it.  However, I remember this day very vividly.  I don't exactly remember what I was wearing (which I usually do), but I remember being an articulate, honest and slightly demanding young lady at the time (wait, was that then or now?).  

Mom tells me she doesn't know where I heard about the election or how I knew who was running.  "You might have talked about it at school or heard it on the commercials."  Really?!?  First graders don't talk politics, but maybe I did?  Or maybe I overheard my parents talking and my mom's comments like the one above just made me more intrigued?   
And to this day I am still intrigued and am still telling people, or educating people, how and why they should vote.  Today is Election Day, have you voted?!

Because you do count?  Many dismiss the fact that they matter or that they "count" in elections these day.  We have to realize that so many elections have been won by few votes and you better believe every single one of them "counted".  

When Benjamin Franklin was leaving the Constitutional Convention back in 1787, he was asked what sort of government the delegates had created.  His reply, "A republic, if you can keep it."

A Republic is defined as "a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch."

So can we keep it our republic?
Are you going to express your freedom and vote today?

I am going to and at the end of the day I am going to drink an ice cold beer to celebrate.

And maybe I will practice shooting my gun in my backyard on the farm because I have the freedom to do so.

I feel blessed as an American and I want to keep it that way.  I literally get to walk through amber waves of grain, so the least I can do is go and express my freedom and try to be a part of keeping our republic!  You can too.  
Happy Election Day!