Compromises, Second Glances, & Window Treatments


MVJV collage 2

The differences between my husband and myself are ones that after fourteen years of marriage can still be seen.  At least by us.  There has been a meshing of sorts with some of them but some just will not break down and come together.

When we built our home a few years ago  I found out my husband wasn’t a fan of curtains.  (Or tree lines to block the winter storms.)  He likes his wide open spaces and clear views of the world outside.  He prefers to be outdoors as well. Now I’m a little different creature.  I like to close my blinds at night and keep the happenings of the interior of my home to my family.

He won the battle of no curtains or blinds except for in the bedrooms.  I can appreciate his perception and why the man I married is the way he is.  I even recently moved my sewing machine to the room where I get the best view of the sunset and my memory flower garden. He has rubbed off on me folks, it just doesn’t always show! ūüôā

But he only won the battle for six years.  After my recent experience I think he can understand why I have him measuring the large front window and I’m shopping for just the right blinds for them.  Is this a drastic move?  No I don’t think so, I think it’s a compromise for the sake of our marriage. Both sides willing to give in and mesh together.  I won’t have them shut during the day, he won’t keep them open when we go to bed.

The experience I’ve mentioned but not totally explained is one that doesn’t have me running to the therapist or wigging out in front of our daughter.  But it does have me putting things in place that make me, my family, and perhaps even others more comfortable in our home.

As the outside world becomes dark I find myself taking double glances and looking behind me as I walk through my own home.  I listen more acutely to the sounds being made and keep my families whereabouts in check. I wasn’t a slacker to begin with in these areas but I am more on point now.

With each passing day I am better.  With each passing day I find myself thinking less about what happened and more about what is in front of me.  I’m continuing my process and I appreciate the fact that my spouse is allowing me to find my “comfort zone” even when he may not like it.

Until next time.

Julie

 

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The Ugly Parts


You know that thing going around Facebook, the Love Your Spouse Challenge? ¬†Well I was cringing every time I got onto Facebook because I figured one of my friends would nominate me eventually. ¬†It happened. ¬†I’m on day 3 by the way. ¬†Until today I didn’t post anything gushy with the picture, just the facts of when it was taken. ¬†In fact, I didn’t get real gushy today but it was more wordy and the truth. ¬†It’s a start, right?

Anniversary Trip ARKANSAS
See a happy time.  I wanna go back. I loved that trip!

Oh sure. ¬†I could have just not did it but then the facade of our marriage might be in jeopardy! The view of my life from the outlet of social media in danger! ¬†Don’t act like you don’t think this way (on occasion). ¬†We want others to think and believe that our lives are beautiful and picture worthy and that the ugly never enters. ¬†It does. ¬†The ugly makes it appearance and it brings you to your knees. ¬†To the point of “get me outta here!” ¬† Which in reality means get in my car, go for a long drive, and turn up some Aerosmith or Zac Brown Band or something of that nature.

Disclaimer here – I love my husband but it takes more than love to make a marriage work. ¬†Divorce isn’t in our language so don’t go telling others our marriage is over please. ¬† Just wanted that documented.

Struggling times, problem times, hiccup in the road times. Whatever you want to call them ¬†– happen in marriage. ¬†It’s the ugly truth and hiding it I suppose is the “norm”, sometimes I just wanna buck the norm! ¬†Sometimes I don’t want to feel alone in this struggle after 13 years of marriage.¬†The frustration. ¬†The loneliness. ¬†The anger. ¬†The sadness.

I’m an expressive person where my husband is not. I don’t necessarily need to share my dirty laundry with the world. Or perhaps I do since I’m blogging here today. ¬†Maybe I’m angry at the world because sharing your dirty laundry is frowned upon. ¬†Then again that would make me a hypocrite cause when I see some of the things posted on Facebook I want to reach through the computer screen and smack the person that posted it!

Do I seem a little feisty today? ¬†Yes I am but it’s milder than it was two days ago I promise. Perhaps snarky is a more accurate word. ¬†I don’t want depression, marriage issues, struggles, and grief to be something that people shy away from when seeing it in others. ¬†I don’t want to feel uncomfortable or have them uncomfortable. ¬†But I am.

When a couple of friends have reached out, I now feel embarrassed and ashamed.  I feel like by now I should have it back together.  That I should be happy with the newer house, the healthy kids, the hard-working husband, the easy job I have, and so much more.

They’re right. I should. ¬†This darkness won’t go away though. ¬† The heaviness that I feel is not dissipating. ¬†Although hearing God’s word yesterday did help. ¬†Then again this morning reading and writing in my prayer journal. ¬†It’s a start right?

Whether it’s depression or marriage issues or work issues or family issues hang on. ¬†If you are struggling out there know you are not alone. ¬†Others in this world are in the midst of something not so sweet and beautiful. ¬†The point is to move forward. ¬†Right now I feel like I’m stuck in a spot of mud but I know in the back of my mind I will get out. ¬†I will move forward to a better day, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe in an hour. ¬†I don’t know when but it’s coming.

I’m pushing to the light of grace.

glow
See the light in the corner? ¬†It’s there and I’m heading for it.¬†

Julie

Marriage – It’s Not for the Faint of Heart


Farm Wife - I married a risk taker

 

There are times in marriage where one might feel it’s time to give up. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. This post was in my personal Facebook feed one morning. It was a morning that I, myself was struggling to feel this marriage thing was all worth it.

I read the long post and at times was shaking my head in agreement, other times in awe of information provided, and then not in awe at all at sections.  I shared it with my spouse as well.

I’ve been divorced once in my life and it did involve two children. I can still see both their faces when we told them we were divorcing. I can still feel the emotions each time they headed off to the other parent’s for a week or month. It’s not an easy path, but my ex-spouse and I worked hard to make the best situation for our kids we could after the divorce. If there is something to be proud of in the grand scheme of things of our divorce it’s that. That with the help of our current spouses keeping us calm, helping communicate, we were able to put our children first.

I’ve been married to my current husband for 12.5 years now and another child is in the mix. ¬†I’m different yet the same as that younger version of me in that first marriage. ¬†I’ve grown, and in that let go of certain perceptions and behaviors, among other things. ¬†I’ve gained a few qualities and found that simplicity fits me best to name a few.

The Handwritten Letter Story

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, my marriage still has it times of disarray and heartache.  There are things I fell in love with in my husband that today drive me nuts.  There are boundaries, expectations, and God plays a substantial role in our daily life.  We are not a totally conventional married couple either. We still have our own mindsets and are two different personalities with our own needs.

Wedding Anniversary

JV

In the times of our marriage that are difficult, where we are still dealing with the same issue from long ago, and fall back into that vicious cycle , I usually do not know what to do. I feel as if I am pounding my head against a wall. ¬†Eventually I find myself ¬†on my knees and praying. ¬†So as to not feel ¬†alone. ¬†God will encompass me and listen to my cries, He will send the Holy Spirit to help me. ¬†It won’t fix everything and probably not very quickly, but that’s ok. ¬†His plan is best. ¬†God is there in my marital joys as well!

40-50% of marriages end in divorce.

I was at a recent seminar where they shared demographics for our area.  It showed that in the study area only 18.3% of people felt it was important to attend religious services. *

Makes ya wonder if the two are connected somehow, doesn’t it?

My marriage is not stellar every day.  In fact, we still struggle after 12.5 years of wedded bliss.  I fight hard though for various reasons.  Some of which are, I still love this man, God wants me to stay married, we have a child, stigma of being divorced again, and our marriage is worth it.

If my child were sick or dying I would do anything to take that away or ease their pain.  I would pray and fight and hold them.  I would gather strength to protect them.

So in the same manner isn’t my husband/marriage worth just as much? ¬†I shall get on my knees if I need to and look at myself to see what I can do to help him be a better husband, make me a better wife, and continue this marriage.

Won’t you join me?

Grace is a gift,

Julie

marriage

*US Census Bureau, Synergos Technologies Inc, Experian, Decionnsite/MissionInsites

Farm Wife Reality – I Married a Risk Taker


One of the biggest risks I ever took was marrying a farmer. ¬†I was oblivious to this reality on our wedding day in 2003, even though we had dated the year before. I didn’t really understand or know the realm of things in farm life. ¬†

Farm Wife - I married a risk taker

 

Perhaps it took that long for me to realize it because the first part of our marriage he worked full time in construction, farming was the second job. ¬†Even when those roles switched, I still didn’t realize the depth. ¬†I believe it was because I worked full time outside the home. The “safety net” so to speak.

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I grew up in a farming family until I was 11, I honestly didn’t know what the reality of farm management was. ¬†Then I lived as a “city folk” for the rest of my life until 5 years ago. ¬†That’s when we actually moved to the farm.

#1 Question
Honestly, we should have moved long before that time. ¬†I believe the reality of living “on the farm” and being more involved in the farming operation has brought about a better understanding for me. A better marriage as well.


When we moved to the farm, I grieved the life I had and even the house we had in town. I recall sitting with my spouse looking out at the same field I am right now. It was during the building of our farm house.  Together we sat where our fireplace is now, without any walls built.  I remember having a mixture of sadness and fear about leaving behind the life I had come to know for so long. Fast forward to the present. 

 

My life is better for being where I am, more meaningful, and yes more difficult at times. With my change of occupation from working outside the home to stay at home it has brought a time of transition.  It has been almost a year now.  In that time I have participated in the farming operation in different ways. The farm books, paying the farm expenses, watching how many bushels of grain we have, organizing information for insurance and government offices, not to mention tax stuff.  Including some physical labor too!

irrigation farm work

Due to my more active involvement, as wheat harvest arrived a few weeks ago the need for a good wheat harvest came into my view clearly. This year I found myself more committed, interested, and involved than ever before. ¬†I’ve been a partner in this farm operation for 12 years, but I don’t think I ever understood most of it. It’s starting to really click now!

I married a risk-taker. A man of risk. ¬†Those of you that know my husband may be laughing right now, but I’m right. ¬†Farming is a huge risk.

Milton

It’s no wonder he loves it, he has to, because if anyone didn’t, no one would last long in farming. I feel any man or woman that can depend on the seed, dirt, fertilizer, chemicals, hard work, and mostly the weather is a risk-taker. ¬†Which means if I married him I must be one too! I can now add that to my resume, right?¬†

My husband waited a long time to get to this point in his career, he deserves every good crop produced, every sunset he sees from the tractor, and the opportunities he has been given. There will be successes and failures in this farm life, but he knows this.  He is OK with that, and knows the following.

We are sustained, not by the work of our own hands but the abilities that have been given to us. We are not able to stand firm in our moments of risk without the abilities that have been created in us.  The farm would not function if not for God.   I think many need to remember this, the farmer is just the steward of the land.

Psalm 373

 

 

Momma (Self Needing) Breaks


As most of you know, I worked full-time most of motherhood.

Professional photo

I became a stay at home farm wife/mother last August.

pv and i 2014

Our daughter is seven so she was in school until the end of May. ¬†I found myself lonely at times while she was in school but it also gave me a chance to have time to figure out some things in my personal life I needed to. I’m grateful for that time and the ability to finally after so many years replenish.

Now that my daughter has been out of school about a month and has spent basically every day with me I am feeling I need a break. ¬†First, don’t judge me. ¬†I am a good mother, I do work hard for my family, and yes my daughter is not a toddler so I should be fine. ¬†But I know myself and the irritability that is making an appearance that should not be. ¬†I know at least some of my limits. ¬†I know that right now I am going through a change that factors in on my reactions. ¬†I know that admitting I need a slight break, just an evening out with friends or time alone away from home is needed. ¬†It’s also not the end of the world. ¬†In fact, I’m pretty sure my daughter will benefit from the “momma break”.

For those of you that have children at home, whether you work full-time or stay home, ¬†do you feel you need a break periodically? ¬†Do you factor these in on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? ¬† Even when I worked I would need “momma or self refreshing breaks”. ¬†I just didn’t take them enough because I felt it made me look weak.

There is a balance in my life that I am coming to finally find and apply. It a slow but sure process. One of dedication to my family, one to dedication to myself, and primarily my dedication to God.  Recently a friend of mine repeated several times in conversation how things should be to the Glory of God.  Every thing we do, whether it be picking up the toys, figuring bills and paying them, farming, doing laundry, hugging our child, taking them to piano lessons, or any other thing.  I needed that reminder and I like that God used this particular friend to do just that.

As a mother and wife, I do almost all of the household and family things in our home now.  I also have been the lucky wife that had a spouse that split more of the household duties and baby/child duty.  Either way I needed a break from time to time.   I am not embarrassed by this any longer.  I will step away so as my family can bask in my refreshed mindset and gratitude of them.

Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.
Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.

Glory be to the Father!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

The Story of Two and The Handwritten Letter


A long time ago there was a man.  A man of quiet like tendencies, loving the land all the while, but a missing part there was within his life.  He dreamed of taking a wife, a partner, a person to share with. Someone to help lessen that loneliness within.

He prayed for that someone.

Circumstances arose and come one day, after much waiting, he met a woman.  A woman who was as opposite as one could be from him yet he intrigued he was.  Simple gestures, simple words, his calm ways, all would overcome the heart of this woman. Her life filled with much more than simplicity, she became enamored by his presence with each passing day.

The hiccups in the relationship were present but their closeness grew after each time spent together. ¬†Guiding the path wasn’t really these two, the Father of all was in control. ¬†He took them down a path of questions, uncertainty, kindness, and pure sweetness.

A day came and the man received a handwritten letter in the mail.  After a long day working, he sat down to read it.  As he read this particular letter something came to him.  Something that would change his life, her life, and the way they thought the world would go for them.

He felt a rush in his chest and a change in his feelings and the following came to him.

He loved her. 

He truly was in love with this woman. Never feeling this before, he found himself happier than he could ever remember. No matter the things that cause strife, just knowing he loved her was enough.

As he shares this very personal reflection with her later, she finds herself full of glee!  For she knows this admission was not an easy one for this gentleman.  For many years she requests he tell the story over and over to her.  So she can feel the delight and never forget the gift that was given to her by him.

The love of a simple man.  The love of  someone who brought calmness, clarity, simplicity, and God further into her life.  The path they took had bumps and potholes and smoothness wrapped up with laughter and love.  They desire to have years together, they have hope, and they find grace in each day.

Their story isn’t over. ¬†Still continuing, without ¬†knowing what lies ahead, only that their love endures forever.

The Handwritten Letter Story
This story is husband approved by the way! ūüôā

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Filling the Gap & Apologizing


Today I spent the morning sifting through all the stuff I purged from my attic a couple of weeks ago. ¬†I’ve decided I will be donating a large amount, sold a tad online, and trashing other stuff. ¬†Only 3 boxes went back up in the attic and a few items I totally forgot about came into our home.

My husband was gone running errands this morning and so I was on my own in sifting through the array of items.  There was anything and everything! Craft stuff, kitchen stuff, books, home decor, magazines, clothing, toys, and so forth. You get the idea!

I came across what seemed to me quite a few items I thought “I had to have” at the time of purchase. ¬†Only to find them now tucked away in a box and not touched for at least four years. ¬†Pretty sad. ¬†I have¬†come to realize I am one of those people who spent a great deal of money on material items to fill the gap within me. I won’t say I never do that now but I have changed quite a bit. ¬†Especially in the past nine months.

As my husband made his way into our garage this is what I said to him. ¬†I’m sorry for spending so much money on stuff I thought I needed but didn’t. All while trying to fill what was missing in me. ¬†He hugged me. ¬†I never bought expensive purses or designer clothes or shoes, but I would buy a lot of little things along the way.

So today I found myself apologizing to my spouse, realizing how far I’ve come, and that it’s ok to live simpler. ¬†I still shop and buy nice things, I just ask myself a question prior to purchase.

With each new day at home I find I need less. ¬†Having food on our table, money to pay the bills, and quality time with my family is what fills me now. ¬†I’m grateful for the spouse I have and the children that understand the changes within me. I pray that it continues for the rest of my life.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Fall day at the park

My Husband Lets Me Stay Home


The title probably has a few females feeling an increased irritation. ¬†I was that type one time long ago. ¬†But today, I’m ok with being with this statement.

When I wanted to become a stay at home mom it wasn’t like “oh honey I’m quitting my job and not getting another.” ¬†It was, and I am not exaggerating at all, seven years of prodding, hinting, wanting, talking, and finally it happening.

For those of you that know my spouse and I personally you are probably thinking there is no way I had to spend that number of years talking my spouse into it.  I did. You can ask him.  Yes in our marriage I tend to be the dominate one but there are a few things that my husband holds his own on.  Topics such as his farm career, the building and designing of our home, hunting annually, and the subject at hand. We came to the conclusion together at the end with the pros & cons list.

Although this was a major decision we made together ultimately I wouldn’t have done it without his consent. ¬†We are a partnership and I value his input. ¬†He can see things objectively that I can’t on many subjects. ¬†He’s my go-to-guy when I need to know if I am being over dramatic or thinking too much one way or not seeing how another may feel. ¬†He is simple but straight forward with me.

I think if you asked him today, he would say that our choice for my career change is one that is for the positive for our family.  He says I am calmer, more at peace, and I know that it has kept stress off of him.  I do well with the child rearing, organizing, planning, and financial side of our lives.  He does better at providing, having family time outdoors, and working physically.  We each have our own strengths and weaknesses.

This transition hasn’t been the simpliest or the easiest, but it’s one that we both are glad we took. ¬†If I find myself in a position where I work, so be it. ¬†For now we are focusing on the summer months with our daughter, wheat harvest, and planting fall crops. ¬†The times ahead are chalked full of memories and ones that I’m grateful the Lord has placed in my journey.

Have you made a life change?  Has your mindset changed over the years on particular topics?  Is there something you have tried that was a success or how about a challenge/mistake?  Both my husband and I fail and succeed on a daily basis.  We just have to choose which ones we want to focus on and move forward with.

No matter what, we will do it together.

 

MVJV collage 2

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Time for Connection & Nature – Arkansas


As I write this I am sitting on a balcony of the Inn we are staying at.

Pratt Place Inn & Barn

 

Pratt Place inn

The April weather is lovely although a tad chilly in the shade. ¬†My husband and I ventured into vacation time for a couple of days to celebrate our 12th anniversary and re-connect. ¬†Our time together didn’t really have anything scheduled other than the dates and place we would be staying.

PRatt Place Inn & 2

We made our way to Arkansas and stayed at the Pratt Place Inn & Barn. ¬†This particular Inn was out of our price range but we didn’t feel so bad after getting a Living Social deal on our stay. Now that I’ve set foot in the location, it truly was worth every cent.

PRatt Place Inn & 2PRatt Place Inn & 2

Although the beautiful dwelling is filled with antiques, rugs, and other items from Europe and Asia I felt comfortable. ¬† I didn’t feel since we are common farm folk from Kansas that we didn’t fit in. ¬†The staff was superb and so very friendly. ¬†Their hospitality was definitely the best thing about the place.

We enjoyed the wrap around porch, wooded trails, admiring the horses, delicious breakfast in our room, balcony view, comfy bed, lovely barn, and ease to reach our destinations in the city of Fayetteville. ¬†This Inn sits a very short distance from the University of Arkansas but you would never know it. ¬†Seriously. ¬†It’s like in its own little world.

Anniversary Trip ARKANSAS

We chose to take our trip on a Sunday through Tuesday and that made it so we were the only guests.  That was nice but I bet there are some very interesting people who stay here.  If you are ever in the search for a place to stay with no children and you just want to relax this is your place.  They truly are hospitable and they will take very good care of you.

Do you have a special place you have traveled?  Do share, we usually try to get away once a year alone, and I love personal recommendations!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

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Different Post than Planned


I had another post created for today, but after waking and feeling the romantic side of things I decided to go with this one. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Today marks twelve years of marriage to my spouse. ¬†That’s not a huge amount of time but it is a good chunk of my 44 years I do believe. ¬†In that time, I have become a mother 15 years after the last time, adopted, attempted gestational surrogacy, became a mother in law and grandmother, moved to the farm, lived through having my spouse build our home, grown closer to God and love the church family I’ve bonded with, found one of my niches in outreach, changed occupations, after that¬†became a stay a home farm mom, got a dog, bought chickens, then bought chickens again, stressed over income, rejoiced over income, cried lots, but laughed even more. Realizing the simple life is becoming more of what I desire and letting go of certain mindsets is OK.

All while being married to this man.

Wedding Anniversary

 

Our marriage isn’t rosy all the time, in fact it’s pretty simple, plain, and my moodiness and outbursts of singing are what brings the excitement to the partnership. ¬†Those moods aren’t always the best but this guy, well he is pretty patient. ¬†Seriously. ¬†He really is. ¬†Or tolerable, but let’s go with patient shall we? ¬†He has brought many things to my life and I to his. ¬†We started out as complete opposites but now find we are more alike than I ever anticipated us to be.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of our marriage brings. ¬†The bumps in the road will strengthen our marriage and bring us closer to God, and our smooth sailing on the open highway will help us to live in the moment. ¬†Together.

Happy Anniversary Milton.

MVJV collage 2

Grace is a gift,

Julie