Be Bold

Today was an…interesting day. I use that term loosely. I went to bed last night filled with anxiety. (Let’s be honest, that whole time change has NOT gone over well and I wasn’t going to make it until the eleventh hour!) As I awoke, I laid in bed with my eyes shut, willing my phone to say what I had been hoping for. I had set my phone up so as soon as I turned it on I would see “the results.” I took a deep breath, flick on the phone and… my heart sank. Not what I was hoping for. Not what so many that I love and care for were hoping to see. Not what most of America was hoping to see… I still don’t understand how the electoral college is still a thing. As I wandered out of bed, my head already spinning, I started to pray. Praying for guidance. Guidance not just myself, my family and my community, but for our next President as well. Never before have I prayed so immediately and strongly for our President. And I realized, that’s not good. This man is our next leader, why WOULDN’T I pray for him?! While the election result was not what I had wanted, now was the time to pray for this man and all those he works with. No matter who you voted for, we are all still Americans, working toward our own American dreams. I am still a #ProudAmerican and I will continue to work towards LOVE. Because no matter who is the leader, HE is in charge.

I had such a wonderful day. I’m going to treasure and remember THAT today.

My kids and I were able to meet my husband out to lunch to one of my favorite spots in town. Then my wee three and I went to the park to soak up the beautiful weather and sunshine. For dinner tonight we made a fire, got in our jammies, roasted hotdogs, had hot chocolate and snuggled under blankets while singing songs until the small ones started to fall asleep. Perfection. Not often, in Northeast Iowa do you get to spend most of the day outside on November ninth without 17 layers of clothes on! I held my kids lots today. I gave them extra kisses and squeezes. I loved them up. I held my husbands hand. I made memories to last a life time. Memories I will cling to, no matter how great or hard life gets.

One of the songs I sang for my kids is one I learned at Bible camp that seemed very fitting for this day. It is also exactly what I want to share with, teach and grow into with my family.

Be Bold. Be Strong.

For the Lord, thy God is with thee.

Be Bold. Be Strong

For the Lord, thy God is with thee.

Be not afraid. Be not dismayed.

Walk in Faith and Victory.

For the Lord, thy God is with thee.

Be Bold y’all. Happy Harvesting,

Leah

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#IowaStrong

I am blessed.
I am blessed to raise my kids in a place where fresh air, clean water and green grass are bountiful.
I am blessed to put my children to sleep in warm beds with full bellies, and lots of kisses from their mom and dad.
I’m blessed to live in a town that is truly the definition of community. Where I know my neighbors. Where the waitress, owner, employee and attendant are friends. Where I am called by name and respected.
I’m blessed to live where I am protected and honored as a woman, mother, and human being.wp-image-743032213jpg.jpg
I am blessed to be surrounded by love, beauty and kindness.
Today, the horrors and terrors of the world got a little closer. My beautiful state felt the hurt that too many feel too often. Two of those who devoted their lives to protect ours, gave them.

 

It’s not ok. It is NOT ok. What is happening? Why have we come to accept that lives are exchangeable? Difference are allowed to divide? Illness are defined by a book and not by the care needed? Name calling is a norm and negative attitudes are common place. Why are we living like this?

Some days I want to board up my windows, drop off the grid and bury my family in a hole. I don’t want to raise my children in a world filled with so much hate, anger or pain. But I can’t do that. I won’t do that. I will be the world I want to see. I will teach my children to care, to respect, to always show love.

I will do more. I won’t stop at my family. My doors will be open to my neighbor, to my community, to the world. I will give, support and care for. I will be the change I want to see in the world.

I will not be shut down. I will not be forgotten. I will be closed off.

The world needs more. More kindness. More faith. More love.

Life is a gift and I want to treasure it.
I am blessed to be an Iowan. I am proud to be an Iowan. I am Iowa strong.

Friends, let us, together, dig deeper. Let us do better, be better. Don’t get swept up in the bad of the world and instead be the good. God is good all the time.

Happy Harvesting,

Leah

Into the Universe

Sometimes you just have to put it out there. Into the universe. Let the world know what’s up. 

Rolling hills of Iowa

Intentions. Goals. Plans. Ideas. Passion.

It’s the question that both haunts me and motivates me: What are you doing with your life? 

There are the obvious answers; mom, wife, homemaker, farmer (kinda), employee, business owner. 

But what am I DOING??? 

I’m making small steps. And I’m living while I do it. I’ve recently come to the revelation that I would love to own a small tea shop. A place to come for a sweet treat or light lunch that was filled with art and crafts and music and life and people overflowing with passion. Now this plan is many years away. I have babies to raise and money to save before it becomes a reality. But I’m starting. I’m taking the steps to learn and grow and develop.

So there ya go world, my intentions! Live in this moment, treasure it too. But don’t ever let your roots hold back your wings. My roots are ground deep. And my wings are still small. But I’m growing.
I hope you will join me in this journey. I’m going to need ideas, advice, input and someone to test my recipes. Come with me. 

What is the passion, idea, goal that seems so big now but yet something you WILL accomplish??

Happy harvesting,

Leah

Sun beams from heaven

Indulgent Why

Have you ever gotten to a point in your life when you feel like you can see your path, you know your direction? You’ve got a handle on life and things are figured out? Yea… I’m not there. I haven’t been there for a LONG time. About five years ago I thought I was getting close to that point, then this boy started hanging around… oh boys. (sigh) We got married, I moved to the middle-of-no-where Iowa, became a farmer’s wife, had three babies and lost sight of all the goals I once had replacing them with a brand new view on life.

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Swings are our favorite!

My goals have changed. My priorities are different. My directions have gotten mixed up.

I’m now five years into this ultimate journey. I call it ultimate because it is MY family (the one I created) and a way of life that I’m rooted in until the end. I’m living my happily every after, even if it isn’t always so happy.

I’ve needed to rethink every thing I’ve ever thunk 🙂 I needed a new path.

Recently, I started a coaching program based on women in business.I’m only 2 weeks into the 6 and it’s already been remarkable in opening my way of thinking. I’m working through finding my passion, to find my purpose, to find my vision and what I want in life.

My priority is my family, both in providing for their physical needs but more so their emotional, mental and spiritual needs. I want to be there for the important parts of their lives, from football games to spelling tests and first dances. I want to be present for a lifetime of memories, little and big. But I also need to be fulfilled beyond my family. I need to have self-worth and freedome. I need to be creative and creating. I need to be giving and needed. I must be able to balance work, family, play and passion.

As part of an assignment I was asked to find my ‘Indulgent Why.’ This is what makes me do what I do so I can have what I want. My Indulgent Why is BALANCE. I want to have it all. And I can… eventually. It’s still a process. I’m learning everyday what works and what doesn’t.

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My beautiful model helping Mommy create unique advertising!

Today, I’m focusing on my Paparazzi business- a direct sales endeavor selling beautiful jewelry for $5. I would love for you to come and take a look.

Down the road I have bigger plans that I’m still working out. I’m learning now to make big things happen. I have goals made and goals in the process. I want you along for the ride.

Happy Harvesting,

Leah

The Sounds

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I’m laying in bed, all I hear is the sound of my husband deep breaths and the hum of the ceiling fan. The house is quite. All are sound asleep in their beds. I can’t help but be thankful for the yelling and screaming the just a few short hours ago filled my house. It wasn’t the only noise there was crying and laughing and babbles and coos and chatter and singing. This all went along with the running, jumping, twirling, dancing, rolling, swinging, climbing, hugging and snuggling that little people do so well. We don’t have alot of money. We don’t have alot of stuff. But our wealth runs deep and wide and strong and true. I’m not just lucky. I’m not just blessed. I’m so much more than that. I have a family I never could have imagined and they are absolutely my definition of perfection. I never knew I could love four people as deeply as I do. But man, do I ever.

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They’re the greatest.
They drive me crazy. They break my things. They make me want to pull my hair out. They make me laugh until I cry. The hug away all my sadness. They love me hard.
And they are the greatest.

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Happy Harvesting,
Leah

Photo credits to Brittany Todd of Photography by Brittany of Decorah, Iowa. HIGHLY recommend!!!

3 under 3 for 3

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Beautiful photo of Northeast Iowa by Von Collins. Check her out on Facebook, she's amazing!

Many of you know I recently quit my full time job to be home with my family more. It had been a HUGE blessing for me and my family! I’m loving what we have going on these days.
So I thought I’d give you a little family update and advice on a couple things I’ve learned so far.
We are three months into bring a family with three kids, ages 3.5, 2 and 3 months. It is crazy around here! Here are my top five tips!
1. You’re doctor and their nurses are your new best friends. You will spend just as much time with them as anyone else in your life. In the last two weeks, BOTH Josiah and Charlotte have had stitches… Seriously, BOTH!!

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Josiah got 3 stitches and Charlotte got 5!

2. Simplify the socks. My genius mother told me to get two kinds of socks, black and white. Other than that, everyone wears the same type! The laundry is NEVER ending. Do anything and everything you can to make it easier.

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The worst thing about motherhood

3. Make peace with the mess. If you come to my house, there will be toys, dirty clothes and a huge variety of crumbs on the floor. But you’ll also (hopefully) find happy kids. But I’m not worry about the mess. I haven’t had enough sleep for that.

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This was what I found under my couch after four days... 4!

4. Group showers are a must. Sorry if this is to much information… But the only way to get my kids clean and not COMPLETELY destroy my bathroom is if we all get in together. So much easier!
5. Continually, never ever stop thanking, supporting and loving your husband (or spouse, significant other or best support system). There is a zero percent chance that I could be doing all I am, while being as happy as I am without my husband. Be husband and wife together first, before you’re mom and dad together. Just like caring for my kids is not a choice, neither is caring for my husband. He’s my number one priority.

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Date night with my man!!!

Happy Harvesting,
Leah

She Yelled At My Child

Recently I had a friend visit us at our home. Josiah was being his typical, three year old, misbehaving self. I had disciplined him several times already during their visit. I was getting tired. So the next time Josiah misbehaved and didn’t listen, my friend yelled him. Not a big, forceful yell, but definitely enough to get his attention.
And I could not have been more thankful.
Parenting is full a challenges. Kids need boundaries and discipline. They need consequence and rewards for their actions, big and small. And it’s constant. Never ending. All day, and sometimes, all night. Being a parent is the most rewarding experience of my life. And the most exhausting.
There are times when I think, “Do I ignore the behavior so I don’t have to deal with consequences or do I give empty threats?” My patience runs out and so does my motivation. Those are the times I need my village.

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Snack time with cousin Ellie

I love my friends and family who aren’t afraid to step in and say what I can’t at that moment. It is such a burden lifted.
I love that these same people also take my children to do special things so I can get a nap in. I love that they don’t judge my dirty dishes, unswept floor or third-day-hair.

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Fun in the spring sun

Being surrounded by people who love me as I am allows me to be the best mother, wife and friend possible.

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Starting to feel the effects of the morphine. She didn't want to rest at all! She's a tough cookie!

Today, at church, Charlotte took a bad spill that resulted in five stitches. As my husband, Ross, and I rushed to scoop her up and attend to her, I was able to fully rely on my church family for help. Someone grabbed Josiah, another attended to Eli. Ross took Charlotte to the hospital and I stayed at church with the boys. After church friends brought the boys and myself to the hospital and stayed with us until Charlotte was ready to go home. What a beautiful blessing. We have family in the area, but having a family of friends is such a great gift. I was able to completely lean on these people in my moment of need, and knew they would support me in all that they could. I also know I would return the favor in a heartbeat.
We need relationships that complete us. Relationships that make us strong. Relationships that make us better and want to be better.
Thank to my friends who strengthen my weak spots and assist in my time of need.
Thank you for yelling at my kids, and loving them so greatly. My kids are going to be great people because of you!

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Happy little guy

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"I'm stacking hay bales Momma!"

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Such a talented kite flier, or not! She just wanted to walk around with the string

Happy Harvesting,
Leah

It’s coming!

Just wanted to share a happy little post about spring on the farm. It’s coming!! It will be here soon! We were able to get outside and play today. I even had the windows open for a bit. Feels so good. On this farm spring means calves, foals and chicks. We are expecting a foal in about a month, and the calves should start shortly after that. We will incubate eggs this year, so we’re preparing our chickens and their coop for that too. Spring also means lots of mud… Atleast I tell myself that’s what it is 🙂 We hope you are enjoying the coming of spring too!
Happy Harvesting,
Leah

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Kids on the farm

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The beasts sunning themselves

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The lions are out too!

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How else would you transport the eggs than in a wagon?

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Cozy little polar bear

What’s right?

Recently I’ve spent ALOT of time trying to figure out this family of five thing. My husband has a pretty demanding job that includes alot of responsibility. He also farms. This takes alot of time. Plus there is the every day needs of a family. The dinner to make, the laundry to wash and the toys to put away. And most important, the time my babies need. They need snuggles and tickles and kisses and love. Lots of love.
So I’ve decided to quit my job. I currently work a full time position, 40 miles from my home. By the time we get home its dinner then bed time. Our weekends are spent trying to play catch up. It’s not worth it.

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Preschool registration. This momma isn't ready, but this boy was pretty excited

My time with my kids is too valuable. We might never get to Disney world. We may only have second hand clothes. Dinners out might be limited. But I’m going to know my kids. And they are going to have a life time of memories with their mom and dad, their family together.

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Snuggles needed tonight from my babies. So much love right here!

I’m going to be present for the first day of school, tee ball practice and the school play. I will be present.
I was starting to wonder if this whole thing is crazy. Then I did the chores tonight, which my husband usually does, and realized how much my three year old knows about the farm. He’s growing up so fast! After dinner he wanted his jammies on and snuggles. He’s not going to want to crawl up on my lap much longer. It was the perfect reminder that everything I do for them is the right choice. Every sacrifice will pay off. I’m so blessed to have this amazing family.

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The only time all three have ever been snuggly at the same time. And likely the last...

Thank you to my husband for continuing to support us. Your strength and leadership for our family are the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. Thank you for being a loving husband and caring father. We love you forever and always!
Happy Harvesting,
Leah

The Moments

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The view out my front door this morning.

Today is my last official day of maternity leave. My heart is in mourning. This is my last leave if this nature. I’m not sure I’m ready to rejoin the “real” world. I’ve enjoyed the days of pajamas, mid-day naps, and day time TV. I’ve loved the extra time I’ve gotten to spend with friends and family. But the greatest gift has been building the bond with my fantastic four.
I’ve gotten to witness the silly sense of humor in my daughter. I’ve seen the genuine kindness of my oldest. I’ve watched the immense strength of my husband. And I’ve held the tender life of my baby boy.

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Tired momma with a sleeping baby in the Baby K'Tan

I’ve let this tiny body dictate my days. I’ve let him keep me ‘nap-trapped’ cuddled under a blanket. I’ve awakening at every hour of the night to sooth his crys. I’ve given him my hours and my days. I am so lucky to do so!!
It’s the littlest moments that mean that most! You never know how fast time can go until you become a parent. I’ve been working to focus on the little things. Sometimes in life we get so caught up in the ‘busy’. We are plugged into so much. And I am so guilty of it!!! I’m working hard to live in the moment, savor the details. I want to be present. I don’t want to waste any of this valuable time I have. I want my memories to be strong and their memories to be happy.

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Blue nails as a reward for letting mom trim them!

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Built a fort!

When my daughter crawls in the sink as I’m putting on my make up, I share in her giggles. When my son needs help zipping his coat, I grab the extra hug. I pack a love note in my husband lunch box. And I hold that baby all day long. We dance in the kitchen and make “turkey sandwiches” out of mom, dad, and kiddo in the middle. Enjoy each moment. Love each step and stage. Tell them. Touch them. Hold them. Never let them forget.

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Silly faces

Every night growing up my dad would tell me, “I love you all day and all night, everyday and every night, forever and ever”. I tell my own babies this. I am loved. They are loved.
Share your love.
Happy Harvesting,
Leah