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.  🙂




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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Triggering Memories – Teen Pregnancy

It showed up on my Facebook feed one day.  A friend of mine had liked the story.  Right there, in front of me, and it took me back to when I was 16 years old.  That happens sometimes, the simplest thing will come into eyesight or cross my path and it will take me back 26 years.

Back to a time, when I thought I knew it all, yet felt desperate and rejected.  A time when something was growing inside of me and I never once thought abortion was an option.  Not because I was of Christian faith and it was a sin, but more that it would not be allowed and if so the guilt would kill me.  I was raised when we mess up, you dealt with the consequences!   Those last couple lines, they might shocked those that know me now, but didn’t then.  You know my heart, you know what matters.

It was a  time when I felt more love from my Mother than I ever had and more disappointment from my Step-dad than I thought I could bear.  Most days were spent with all eyes on me, as my stomach grew and I walked those High School halls.  Oh, I felt determined and somewhat snotty  I was going to finish school and graduate! No stopping me!  It didn’t matter the stares or some shame filled days I felt, or the difficulty of passing the  “sperm donor” who acted as though I didn’t exist.  The people that never gave  me a minute of time before, all of a sudden were very interested in  little ol’ me and my bundle sweetness inside me. Not everyone was like that, but there were some, I’m not naive.  The child growing inside of me, I grew to love with each passing day.  By the way, I did graduate the following May with my class and I did attend both my proms!

The 16 year old pregnant unwed teen.  That was me in 1987, my Junior year.   I recall it was Christmas break and I started wearing maternity clothes.  Mostly hand me downs from my oldest sister from when she was pregnant.  No fancy trend clothes for me!  Sadly, that year, I wasn’t the only one.  I think there may have been 5 or 6 pregnant girls, I can’t recall exactly now.  We had a support group, with a good counselor.  That was a wonderful thing to have let me tell you!

Either way, the creation within me, was birthed on June 21, 1988.

God's beautiful creation
God’s beautiful creation

I could give you a list of reasons why I found myself pregnant at the young age of 16, but I am not going to. Instead I will tell you sometimes I feel guilty.  Guilty because it seems like I live a very different life and have different beliefs now.  Perhaps they were always in my inner core, I mean I did choose life.  I knew life was the choice, no matter the hardships that lie ahead.  I chose to have sex and I needed to take responsibility! That was engrained in my head from birth I do believe.  I’m grateful for that because it got me something pretty great, my daughter.

It wasn’t easy being a pregnant teen or single Mother,  but I had a supportive family, friends, and God was always there.  I wasn’t appreciating that last one at the time, but I do now.  I have repented of my sin, and know that choosing to bring this life to full term was meant to be.  I know I made the right choice.

I haven’t written on this particular subject before.  There may be periodic posts regarding being a teen Mother. All I know is, perhaps, even 26 years later, I can help someone see that life is a gift, even if it was created outside of marriage.   That life is sometimes hard and lovely at the same time and that forgiveness is within reach.

Psalm 139:13

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.


Grace is a gift,