The bummers, the babies, the years.

MOm & I
A few days old with my mother.

Fourty-seven years ago yesterday I entered this world as the fourth child of my parents.  The last they would have.  My father was watching a football game, of course, while the doctor barely made it into the delivery room from what I’ve been told.  I was ready to hit the ground runing!  Lucky for us there was a nurse right there with my Mother!

A few days later when I came “home” it was to a cattle feed yard in McPherson County. From what I’ve been told, my grandmother was waiting on the scales that used to weigh trucks and there were cattle out. My welcome home had to wait but my nickname was given the moment my Dad found out about the cattle.  As told by him, he said, “what a bummer.”

dad and i

Fast-forward a few years and I started Kindergarten thinking my first name was Bummer, not Julie.  (In today’s age people would be horrified by such a nickname.  They would worry about the low self esteem, meanness of it all, and how it would harm that child! )

Every cowboy, farm hand, feed lot employee, extended family member that I can recall from that time didn’t call me by Julie.  Only Bummer.  That was it.  I survived it too.  I have to admit when I was a teenager or young adult it did bother me some. By then my world had moved away from the feed yard and  was only spoken when I would run into people from that time in my life or by my Dad.

I woke up the morning of my birthday with the thoughts I just wrote in the first couple paragraphs.  A few times over the years I recall him saying, in a joking tone, “my bummer.” I suppose that is what gave the nickname a sweeter tone to my ears.

More thoughts from the last few days are…..

tashley baby 00122

Thirty years ago I was carrying a child, my first.  I remember receiving a blue sweater for Christmas and wearing it, my hair was pulled back.  Not long after that picture was taken I began wearing maternity clothes.

Kassidy baby pic 00122

Twenty-five years ago there was a one month old infant sitting under the tree and a four year old right next to her.  I had went from being a mother of one to a mother of two little girls.  Now I have a front row seat to watching them both be mothers.

PV 2008

Nine years ago another baby was making our Christmas time more fun.  I’m so glad this particular baby made her way into our home.  She’s my last baby.  In nine years she will be heading out the door and creating a life more on her own then with us.

So many babies, so much time, so many lessons, so many changes.  I can’t recall a time in my life that there wasn’t a story to tell.

I like to think of story telling encompassing  memories of life.  They cultivate the generations.  They are intertwined with tears and giggles, with a dash of surprise.  The stories are heartbreaking and also joyous and ones we will never forget either way.

The bummers, the babies, the years. So much to reflect on in 47 years of living here on earth.  Bittersweet some days for sure. But I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.  Thank you to those that have played a part in my life, my story, my memories.  Whether you called me Bummer, Julie, Jules, or something else.  🙂




Bringing It Down – Diabetes #6

Written Mid- July 2017

I find myself realizing that just six months ago walking .83 of a mile took me 30 minutes or possibly more.  Today I am able to walk that same path in 18 to 20 minutes.  I’m no runner and I never want to be but I’m pretty proud of this.  I sometimes have to break my walks up throughout the day due to my schedule.  I feel bad when I look at my fitness tracker and see less than 4000 steps by 1:00 p.m.  But there are those days.  I’ve made some improvements in the physical part of my health, a ways to go but I’m headed in the right direction.



This week I decided I might like to try riding a bike.  I have this old Schwinn bike that was my parents. I think it’s kinda cool.  But the tires on it are not made for country roads and with my balance issues it’s quite possible I’ll end up on the ground more often than not.  I’m hoping to try my husband or oldest daughter’s bike to decide if this is a new thing for me.  To see if the addition of bike riding will give me a little variety in life so to speak!  If all works with that adventure,  I might just have to trade my old Schwinn for a newer country road tire bike! 🙂

This week I noticed that when dining out I made good choices so to speak.  Did I still eat a hamburger and fries and even a chocolate shake.  Yes.  But the good choice for me was not picking the combo meal that had the largest size of those items.  I was enjoying my meal even though I didn’t stuff myself.  Then one evening my husband had brought home a piece of  homemade cherry pie.  (In his defense, he asked the diner if they had sugar free.)  I took about 3 bites and decided it was too sweet and I really didn’t want it.  Perhaps that was his plan all along……   🙂

One of the things I dislike is having my blood sugar level go too low, for a couple reasons.  I feel bad and then when I do eat it shoots up which causes other uncomfortable results.  So balance is really a key item in this game of controlling diabetes.  I can tell when my body reaches about 95 to 90, the too low symptoms begin to show.  If it makes it to 70 I need help!  But most of the time I keep it around 105 – 120 area before meals and after meals varies from 125 to 145 depending on what I eat.

I am still in the obese section for BMI.  I’m still in a size 18 and the scale hasn’t moved in a couple months.   I continue to love sweets and I do eat them.  The goodness for me is that I am taking the time to pay attention to my body.  I am sure if I had a trainer I would be even better off but that isn’t going to happen or the home chef.  Contentment with where I have come so far is important, moving forward is key as well but for now I’m okay with just settling into this new way.

Until next time,


Generational Parenting – Pull Yourself Up By the Bootstraps


One of the repercussions of being raised by two “tough” and”strong” individuals is that when a tribulation arrives in one’s life and you feel weak for feeling alone in it, too quickly the guilt seeps in.

There are moments or days when my emotions seem to get the best of me regarding the latest loss in my life. Then shortly after it begins, I find myself thinking “mother would hurt but she wouldn’t necessarily show it.” That’s the guilt. I feel alone yet torn because I should just pull myself up by my bootstraps and move on.  Sometimes this task is so very difficult for me.

My parents were not heartless, they were just strong because of the things that occurred in their lives before I ever arrived. Then there were the things after their fourth child arrived that created the hardened exterior that was their armor in daily living.

mother and daughter

Like most children, my parents hurt me periodically.  As I’ve mentioned before it wasn’t a Norman Rockwell kinda life.  I have always felt that our parenting is generational and comes from things that were taught to us or seen by us while growing up.  Some of us, make a conscious effort to change those “less than stellar” qualities when we are granted children of our own. Unfortunately, in my parent’s generation this wasn’t as common as it might be today.  Although,  later in life my Dad seemed to reflect, as a lot of us do and apologize for his actions. And Mother treated her grandchildren with love and dedication and it wasn’t just a “grandparent’s right”.  I’m glad she was able to enjoy her grandchildren and see her children grow into who they became.

Dad & MOM

Some people may think this is a parenting bashing post and very disrespectful of the upbringing that my parents provided me.   Don’t get me wrong, my parents provided us with food, shelter, and taught me to be strong.  Which being strong has come into good use a lot in my own life!  They loved me how they knew best just as I do with my own children today.

As an adult that has lost both her parents now, I can appreciate what they did provide for me.  I can be grateful in the the gifts that were given, whether in a soft manner or slightly rough one.

Grace is a gift,



365 Posts Has Arrived

The experience of writing here at Pushing Forward with Grace  has given me many things.  A place to write about topics that lie deep within me, grow personally, grieve openly, share the Word of God, and hopefully inspire others to name a few.

When I started this blog I knew I needed to sharpen my writing skills and write about more personal things.  It gave me a place to give a voice to things in my mind and heart.  I wasn’t 100% sure what I would be writing on any given day but I’m happy with the past year.  I feel my writing has improved and some of the comments that were made brought me strength and comfort.  I am thankful for those things.


You might be interested to know that the posts that received the most views were the ones with these categories. Honesty Days, God, and Just Me.

There may not have been many comments throughout the year but to me this blog became a place to write for myself.  It brought a daily place for me to write my feelings, my aspirations, my sadness or happiness, and share with the readers what was ultimately me.  Having a place to write my thoughts was therapeutic most of the time.

I’m not sure what will happen now that I’ve reached my 365 days writing experiment.  I plan to take a break to focus on other opportunities and relax. To rest my writing brain and my wrist.  Please continue to follow via email so when something is published you can be the first to know!

Thank you for following me on this journey and taking time to read words I’ve written.  I would very much like to have some feedback regarding the writing and subjects you read this year.  What touched you primarily and how I can improve my writing.  Thank you for your help.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and I hope we visit in the future via the computer screen!

Grace is a gift,


Just (parts of)  Me!

A year later in review farm wife Braving the cold JV blood donation Combine driver Child Julie 1972



A Year Later – In Review

It’s a year later and although there are many things still the same, there are changes.  Primarily within me I think and it’s a continuous journey.  I want to share the thoughts, changes, and what the future looks like from my view today.

Professional photo

My life as a working outside the home woman changed a year ago.  I left behind a life of what I thought at the time more stressful, risky business, and more time away from home than I liked.  It was also a place of security, although not as much as it was the 17 years prior.

I feel that God moved me into the agent position as part of a transition into this new position as part of his plan for me.  HE knew I would never just walk away from a secure, good paying job I was pretty good at.  He placed me in a position that made me feel out of comfort, happiness at times, proud and miserable all at once.  It wasn’t about the actual position, it was who I am and who HE made me to be.

I stepped into a new position August 2014 of being a stay at home farm mom and wife.  I had some training at it, but never full-time. Although one might think it’s an easy position it brings about new lessons that one only knows if they are living it.

pv and i 2014

At the beginning I was taken away from my family time due to my father’s illness before his death.  I believe this was another of God’s plans and I have no regrets in the days I spent away.  Once things settled down a routine began for our family.


The routine included our one daughter still at home attending school and my days being mostly alone.  My thoughts went back and forth feeling guilt for not working and how to fill my days.  She was six and did a mother really need to be home full-time, but I wanted to be.  I felt my physical and mental self-needed a break.  So I took it.

Various feelings made their appearance depending on the day and they still sneak in on occasion a year later.  The ones of how to pay the bills with less money,  dealing with changes in our farming operation, learning to still socialize with the outside world, focus on my God, and more activities with the six-year-old to name a few.


Through the year, adjustments were made in my marriage, my mothering, and my life.  It’s taken a year to feel a normal routine and the summer has been one of the best ones of my entire life.  There were some pretty harsh moments but spending the days with our daughter and even helping my husband was worth those moments.

irrigation farm work

School will begin in a couple of weeks and I am wondering how I will do with my helper away all day.  I have various things in motion to fill my time, and I need to get moving more to care for me.  Taking time to step away from the computer and embroidery and walk for better mental and physical health.

fall beauty - Copy

One of the major things that has been upon my mind lately is how I no longer intermingle with adults much.  How I feel when I am presented with opportunities for interactions is sometimes hard for me.  I was never a real extrovert but was fine in my work environment and most situations.  I find it interesting that anything associated with my church I feel comfortable with yet other things I struggle a great deal.  Introvert?  Losing my social skills?  Nothing or something?  This will be another balance to find in my life.  Another process and much time in prayer for guidance.

God's word samuel

I have to admit, I’m afraid to write this next paragraph. That I might jinx it but I must admit it for others should know.  God has provided for our family.  HE has presented opportunities for my spouse to work outside the farm to replace income no longer there.  God has shown me/us what is valuable in this world and what is not.  God has created a path that I am not as afraid to take as I was before.  On the days I am in fear, I know WHO is the only ONE that I can rely on in truth. He’s also available 24 hours a day which is good for me! GOD.

This change in my life after so long, in my 40’s, could have come along for any sort of reason.  To bring me closer to God, raise a child better, support my husband more, know more about farming, do more church work, find who I am really intended to be, or just leave behind the insurance business, no matter the reason, I find myself grateful a year later.

A year later in review

Grace is a gift,



The Walk To Clear The Mind

As I walked between wheat and corn fields in the early morning some things became easier.  This walk wasn’t for exercise.  It was more for clearing my mind.  While walking, a rendition of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” came across my playlist.  This very song helped calm me.


New life fields

Wondering thoughts and feelings of being unwanted lay present but with each step were slipping away.  As the breeze blows they go with it.  I look back and the sun is there.  A new day is here and it holds so many blessings although I am in a state of less than worthiness. Conflict exists in this Christians demeanor.

“You Raise Me Up” makes its way into my ears and I remember the only one whose love really matters.

God’s.  Unconditional, life saving, and more of a gift than I deserve.

My soul is feeling restoration once again. Slow but sure, like seeping into my veins like the smooth gliding of each wheat head in unison.  Dancing away the morning blues as if they were destined to grow together.  I am as well, in Christ.

I turn to walk back the morning sun shining upon my face.  The corn only beginning to grow is to my left.  They are all just beginning their own dance together.  They will bring nourishment to the world as Christ does to me.

This walk didn’t bring complete calmness but one never really feels that on this side of Heaven I presume.  I will make my journey as I must and take each step one at a time.  The days that start difficult and the days that start brilliantly will co-exist as I live this thing called my life.

Grace is a gift,


Cloudy Days

I’m really tired of these cloudy days.  I hate to say it, but sunshine is a must for my mood.  Luckily yesterday was one of those days, so I got a boost.  Today its gloomy, cloudy, and rainy.  As a farmer’s wife I hate to complain about rain(ever).  But as I said, sunshine is needed in this home!

What do you do when your mood seems to be going down?  Any suggestions for this sunshine needing Momma?

There isn’t much else to report here on the blog.  I did do a kettle ball workout yesterday and find myself not able to sit too long today. If I do it’s quite difficult to get up. Aka sore muscles!  That’s a good sign right?

I  hope you have a wonderful Memorial day weekend!

Grace is a gift,


Expectations – The Correct Level

Twenty years ago my expectations of people was higher than it needed to be.  I now know that it was an product of things that occurred in my life as I grew up.  I still struggle today with pushing my high expectations off on others.  I also have high expectations of myself and feel quite the failure when I am not good at something.  I’ve been told I’m harder on myself than I need to be.

Although I believe there needs to still be a degree of expectation, especially when raising children, there is a level that should be maintained.  In exceeding this level I have found myself unhappy and also the one I am placing such high standards upon is unhappy as well.  No one is benefiting from it. No one is happy and to be honest, no one changes unless they want to.

A friend reminded me recently of how true this really is.  The fact that we have expectations is why we are unhappy.  If we have no or less expectations, we are content with how life is. This can be in a marriage, friendship, work environment, congregation/clergy relationship, and many other types of situations.

I’m still a work in progress but I hope in twenty years I have made a change. The only reason that change came about is because I wanted it to.  Looking at oneself is good, not easy but can be a growing experience.  It can also be a long road, odds are the change within will be slower than one wants and failure is bound to happen a few times.  But remember this…..

Don’t set such high expectations upon others or yourself.  Evaluate the situation, each individual and circumstance is different.  No two are alike.  I hope in writing this post it helps me to develop better expectation skills.

Do you agree?  Did you find this post interesting, inspiring, or what?  Please comment below.

Grace is a gift,




Scents & Smiles

On the country road where dirt flies and winds gust there is an old sporadically blooming bush.  After four years of living here I just now noticed this bush along the roadside where my in-laws live.  There were three clumps of  branches with purple buds beginning to bloom.  This image took me back to many years ago when I was but a child.  A time when we lived in the “house on the quarter” and all the way down the driveway there were huge lilac bushes.  I can recall making my way to fetch our mail and loving the scent in the air on a spring day.  When I smell lilacs today it takes me back to that treasured time of my life.

After a few moments I found myself back to reality and collecting the mail.  I couldn’t help myself.  I made my way to the bush and picked a lilac, shut my eyes, and a smile appeared upon my face.  I was seven again and just drinking in the goodness of the sweet smell of lilac.  All the way back to my home I continued to smile and smell this beautiful scent.

Unfortunately, the sad thing about lilacs is once they are picked they don’t last very long.  Perhaps that is part of what makes them special as well as the scent, only here for a short time.

Grace is a gift,


Seven Years Ago – God’s Plan

Seven years ago this week I was buying plane tickets and preparing to leave my two older daughters in Kansas.  My spouse and I had received the news that our third daughter would be born on March 28th via c-section over 1100 miles away.  We were thrilled and scared all at once, and when I think back I can still feel some of the feelings.  

To hear the entire story you can read my post over at In Between the Sunsets of Life and several other stories about adoption.  I wrote a long one there and since then have promoted adoption through a series on that blog. If you know anyone interested in participating in our 2015 Series, please let me know.  I’d be happy to visit with them and explain what we do.  We do it every November.

Mother Daughter Adoption

I wanted to post today how in seven years I have changed as a person. I wouldn’t say the entry of my youngest daughter was the sole reason for my changes but she has had a large influence.  Children bring many things to our lives and I believe we need to value them as individuals in the whole scheme of things.  I didn’t always have that opinion unfortunately but in raising three daughters I have learned a few things!

  •  Trust God more.
  • Surviving colic for several months does really happen.
  • A person can share their knowledge about something they experience to bring help to others and inspire them as well.
  • The image I saw in the nursery will change how I feel about fathers and daughters forever.  That image helped me deal with my own issues.
  • It’s ok if there is a room in your home that is filled with large cardboard boxes. It means the child is using their imagination and they are normally free!
  • Playing games on weeknights is better than TV.
  • Car rides to school bring out the most interesting questions and conversations.
  • That even though she cute as a button she still needs discipline and taught how to do things.
  • Legos all over a table in the cardboard room is better than on the floor where one can step on them!
  • Nightly devotions are a must as a family, bringing God into the conversations of daily life are essential, and listening when she teaches me about all things bible is important too.
  • That living on the farm with  a child teaches a whole different realm of things from the kids I raised in town! 🙂
  • That even if the child didn’t grow inside my body I can’t love her any less than the two I did.
  • God’s plan was so much better than what I had planned.
  • Watching her get off the bus, the dog run to her, their little ritual, and her dashing to the porch makes the long day alone so awesome.

Our daughter turned 7 today.  I can’t hardly believe how it seems the years have went so quickly.   I feel happy and somewhat sad as well.  For I know with each day of her getting older she will change, I will change, we will grow, we will conquer new adventures, and sometimes that won’t be easy.  Perhaps I am more emotional this year because I am finally at peace with my life and in such a place of joy with being home more.  I pray my seven-year old has a life full of joy, peace, and solidarity, and when she does have struggles, difficult times, or uncertainty she will call on the Lord to help her.  That’s one of the main goals in my life I want to accomplish.  I grew up without that security.  I think we have a good start.

So I thank my now seven-year old for the lessons she has and will teach me and to God I am grateful for making this all happen! 

pv and i 2014

Grace is a gift,


 Photos are owned and copyright by blogger of Pushing Forward with Grace Julie V.