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.  🙂




The View from the Rear

I was really feeling good about myself until I saw this recent photograph of myself.

The width of my backside brought me to a place of …. well……. “maybe I haven’t made as much progress as I had thought.”

Then  my eyes moved to the little girl behind me. The one that is following me.  

That follows my actions, my perceptions, my lead.  She will look instantly to me before answering someone.  (Not sure that this is a good thing but we’ll go with it)  The one that if I am not careful will say she doesn’t like a food because I don’t.  

At this point in life, she doesn’t care what I looked like from the backside.  She only cares that I was there. That I was participating and engaging with her. That I was taking her on an adventure and spending time with her.

Now, don’t get me wrong, she is very interested in my health. Each time I take my blood sugar she instantly looks at the monitor screen or asks me what it was. Which in turn she gives her response depending if high or low or “not bad.”  I have even let her be the one to poke me and test it.

We both love cucumbers, watermelon, chocolate, Dad’s chicken fried rice, upbeat music, cuddles in the church pew, and walking in nature. This child of mine doesn’t care about the width of my hips just that I’m using them to enable me to guide her.

One day, in the not so distant future this little girl will want to take her own path.  She will be the one leading someone, whether that be her own child or not.  This makes me become aware of how I share with her the perception of my own body, my own beliefs, my own guidance. One generation to another carries something with them from the past. I can only pray that her hip width is not something she lets run her life but maintains a healthy lifestyle physically and mentally.

Wrapping up, I have all but forgot the width of my hips and am basking in the joy of watching a child grow up in my home.  A child that I didn’t plan to have following me around but am very grateful it came to be.

Until next time,

Stable Force – Motherhood

Spring has arrived and it came in with quite a lot of busyness!  Our family grew by a couple more humans via my daughter and son-in-law.  Our youngest turned nine.  NINE!  I can hardly wrap my head around that one folks!

As I’ve spent a few days in March cuddling newborns it takes me back to each one of my own daughter’s births.  All three had a unique arrival into the world, only two from my womb, but all just as precious.   I’ve also been reminded of the absence of my own mother.  She would have unwrapped the swaddled babies and inspected their tiny toes counting each one first thing!  She would have given advice from her own days of  being a mother to an infant.  I find myself doing that with my daughter  too, only I’m trying really hard to just step back.  Allow her to experience what she has before her, in her own way.

Mom and Daughter

I’m quite a bit more emotional than my daughter the new mother. Writing is a way for me to commemorate an experience all while locking it in, (for I know the days will come I’ll forget).  So, here goes.

I’m writing today because last night the simple act of dressing a newly bathed baby made my chest fill with warmth and pride burst from me.  And I wasn’t even the one doing it!  My daughter was.  Witnessing our children doing things in life always has some sort of effect on us, doesn’t it?  Whether it is a musical concert, sharing at playtime, a fit in the store, dropping a toy for the 100th time, or having them display their own parenting skills.

All these little nuggets in life bring forth different emotions and each have their place in our lives.  I think, in my own opinion, being a stable force in my child’s life is essential to a relationship.  Raising my children has not been always sweet moments with bragging rights attached.

There’s been times I’ve wanted to hide under a rock, scream from the street corner, and throw my own kind of fit! My hope if my daughters were asked they would say that Mom was there, even when she was mad at me or vice versa.

I hope I have raised my children with a good combination of love and discipline.  If I haven’t, then I think I failed as a parent.

(Disclaimer: I am not a parenting guru nor think that I am!)

MOther Daughter Wedding

jv kvh

Farming Grace Daily

When I became a mother at 17 I knew nothing, although my mindset was different!  My first child was a practice run so to speak. 🙂  Then the second one came along and she was completely opposite of the first one.  By the third it’d been so many years I almost felt lost and quite unsure again (at first).

But as I sit here today I realize that the gold nuggets of this life as a mother are not always wrapped in beautiful boxes with big bows or grand gestures.  Sometimes, it’s just the act of saying no, using a somewhat firm voice, cuddles, or talking it out later. Or that the third piece of candy is fine or getting a C on a paper isn’t the worst thing in the world.

That stable force is built on combinations of strength, discipline, tenderness, and care. My wish for my own three daughters is that they are able to display this in their own motherhood experiences.  That the example they were given was worthy.  I love you girls!

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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,



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,



Influence – Family

I hear my words, but not from my mouth.

I see my actions, but not from my body.

At times these bring joy and at other times a cringe.

I am in the process of raising my third child.  A total of three females have been in my presence since their birth.

That means my words, my actions, my choices have been one of the main influences in their life. I’m not saying this to make myself seem number one, others have just as much influence.  Perfection is not the goal, acting responsibly, making good choices, teaching while loving all are factors.  I have not and will not always be the best influence but I do try.

I have found myself looking back and seeing the mistakes I made but also the accomplishments as a mother, all while watching my children live their lives now.   A couple in adulthood, another still a child.  I’m lucky I think, for I have been given three people to love, teach, and watch grow.

This life here on earth isn’t forever but the gifts we receive while here are in abundance.  Even the bad days can be turned around by the little things from your children, whether they are big kids or little kids.  Whether they are of your DNA or born of your heart.

I just wanted to say today that I am thankful for my daughters and the opportunity to be one of influence to them.  I pray for them daily, sometimes that is all I can do for them.


Grace is a gift,


Writing Prompts – Write About a Moment When…

I was scrambling to write a post for today.   I opened my writing prompts book for help.  This is what I chose for today. I hope it helps someone. The strength is present, just dig deeper for it.

Write about a moment when you felt proud of yourself.

It was May 1989.  I was 18 years old.  There was a large crowd of people in the stands, most I didn’t even know.  But there was an almost two-year old little girl in the crowd.  She’s part of why I felt so proud of myself.  See it was my high school graduation and that little girl was my daughter.  Walking across that stage meant many things to me.  The journey to that day is one I’d like to share. 1987-88

Walking the halls my junior year of high school, with my stomach growing each week wasn’t as much of a proud feeling as walking across the graduation stage.  There were the stares, the talk, the questions, the scandal, the rejection.  There were supportive and nice folks as well, some that stepped up changed not only my life but my daughter’s as well.  I’m grateful for all of them.

I didn’t get in this circumstance by myself but I did take responsibility, even if it was a struggle a lot of days.  Having a large high school full of students and teachers know daily what you did with someone else  at such a young age wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. But I did it because life mattered.  That child I was carrying mattered.

I wasn’t a martyr, I wasn’t good at it, and I didn’t deserve a medal for continuing high school while pregnant.  In fact, I wasn’t the first and I wasn’t the last pregnant teen there. I wasn’t the only one that year either.

My gift was not only delivering a healthy, beautiful little baby girl in June 1988.  One of my gifts was the ability to finish high school, walk across the stage to obtain my diploma, and show that two year old it can be done.  That there is strength within, even during the hardest of days.  Also that dwelling on the mistake doesn’t make life better, but learning from it does.

One of the proudest moments in my life was walking across a stage to accept a piece of paper that I worked hard for.  That gave me and my little family opportunities that I might not have had if I had quit high school.  I had good support that I needed during this part of my life, that made a huge difference.

So.  If you are reading this and you are a young teen that is pregnant or know someone that is a teen mother, or are one yourself I want you to know something.  That life within in you or sitting on your lap matters, and so do YOU.  You matter more than you know.  Take the time to find strength, ask for help, stop and take deep breaths often.  Don’t dwell on your mistake, but learn from it.  Love your child.  Love yourself.  I’m praying for you and your family.

Grace is a gift,

The Father I Live With Today

This day represents a time to celebrate fathers.  My father is no longer living so I  chose today to blog about someone else.  The father I live with.  My husband.


This man became a father at the age of 36 when he married me.  I had two daughters by my first marriage.  He not only moved in with all females after living with only one his entire life, but became a father figure instantly.  Twelve years later he is a trooper and there are reasons it worked well for our blended family. More on that in a moment.

The father I live with today

To be honest, my husband had not had much interaction or time spent with children prior to our marriage.  He worked in construction and was a farmer.  His only interaction was basically when his niece and nephew were visiting.  He grew up in a household of four boys so all things female in 2003 might have rocked his world just a tad! 🙂

I think part of why it worked so well is my daughters were already half grown and had an active father in their life. They were 14 and 10, so when we married things were pretty set.  My husband brought to the family a patience and quiet support.  He helped me make decisions but mostly he has been a father figure with knowledge most girls may not have the opportunity to be aquainted with.  He accepted his position and filled it with grace I feel.  I am grateful my daughters have him in their lives and that he respected me enough and them to be the good example he is.

The Father I Live with Today 2

In 2008 he became a father of his own child. Although she is not of his blood, he could not love her anymore than if she was.  He endured loss to obtain the joy of fatherhood through adoption and rose to the position of Daddy.  In my books he could perhaps disipline more but honestly he does so much more for her as a father than I could ask for I suppose I could make an exception.  🙂   Since I was lacking an interactive father most of my life the opportunity to watch my husband be a father has become a joyous experience.  The time he spends with her, the knowledge he shares, and the love he gives is good.  She is a lucky little girl.  I hope she grows up to know that.

So, the father that lives in my house is a man of many things.  He provides for our family, aids the older girls with questions and advice, teaches the youngest to hunt, play, farm, and about God.  But mostly he loves his family with a whole heart.

The Father I live with today 3

I thank God for showing me a different side to the man I married via fatherhood.  May he know daily how thankful I am.

Happy Father’s Day my love!

Grace is a gift,


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.

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,


I’m the mom

Hi I’m the Mom that does the following no matter what my seven-year old says.

I’m the mom that tells her too many times in one day I love you.

I’m the mom that tells her no and demand please and thank you.

I’m the mom that still lays with her on my night although she is seven.

I’m the mom that surfs the web and checks Facebook too much while she is in the room.

I’m the mom that makes her still sit in a carseat.

I’m the mom that watches her expressions, listens while she plays, and makes her sound the word out while reading a book.

I’m the mom that prays for her daily.

I’m the mom that doesn’t let her watch the dvd player every single time we get in the car.

I’m the mom who will, on occasion buy her something that isn’t on the Walmart list.

I’m the mom that becomes a barracuda when she is hurt or reality tries to bring her down.

I’m the one that doesn’t let her play the surfing game all the time on my phone because it drains the battery so fast.

I’m the mom that eats McDonald’s with her but doesn’t always let her get mac & cheese at Applebees.

I’m the mom that makes her practice piano and spelling words daily.

I’m the mom that listens when she is upset and tries to repair the damage of the hurtful words from so-called friends.

I’m the mom that teaches her about God all while learning too.

I’m the mom that does game and movie night and has yummy snacks in the cabinet.

I’m the mom that taught her how to ride her bike and not to quit when she wanted to.

I’m the mom that falls asleep before she does some nights.

I’m the one that taught her how to relax and enjoy a bath.

I’m the mom that sets rules and expects them to be followed.

I’m the mom that fixes supper and asks about her day. The one that cleans out the book bag and cheers to no end.

I’m the mom that expects her to do more than one thing at a time just because I do that.

I’m the mom that questions the less than stellar actions and grades.

I’m the mom that says no to pop.

I’m the mom that worries she will doubt herself and not stand up for herself.

I’m the Mom that sometimes says bad words, gets mad at her dad in front of her, takes the dog she loves to the vet and fixes her hair for her.

I’m the mom who didn’t carry her in my womb but instead my heart.

I’m the mom that even though I didn’t carry her in my womb doesn’t love her anymore or any less.

So, if you are visiting with my seven yr old, just remember, whatever she says, there’s more to me than that! Both positive and negative!:)

Grace is a gift,

pv and i 2014