Answers to Your Questions About: the Farm, Writing, Priorities and Goals

So, it’s been a few months since I’ve written anything for the blog. The last post, Little Girl, Get Up, was such a hit (in my writing world) that I developed brain freeze, convincing myself that I had to write AT LEAST as good if not better. Nothing staunches creativity like the pressure to perform for an audience you cannot see nor have any control over. Unless, of course, it’s the blinking cursor and a blank page. 

Anybody else get in their own head and freeze? I’m working on it and have friends and family who encourage me AND tell me to stop thinking about it and just do it! (Thanks Martha and Mace!) 

I thought it would be an easy breezy way to start August out with a little Q and A, not because I’m so fascinating, famous or fun but because I need to work the kinks out of my rusty fingers and knock the dust off my keyboard! 

Let’s get this first one knocked out quickly. 

I was wondering……who your favorite kid is. (Submitted by Macey Phillips and Mackenzie Crumpacker) 

Everyone knows the baby of the family is the favorite and can do no wrong. Just ask their older siblings. But seriously, none of you and each of you. You all bring such unique gifts and perspectives to the table that there is no favorite. I am proud of you and often wonder how God has blessed me with such amazing humans! 

About the Farm:

I was wondering……when you first decided the farm life was for you? (Submitted by Jennifer Pearce) 

I endearingly call where I live a farm but should probably say farmette or mini-farm because it’s just shy of three acres and not a farm in the sense that we have a lot of animals. But I love it!

I grew up about two hours northeast of the Cincy area and just south of Columbus in a very rural area of Ohio. I was raised by my grandparents who had a garden big enough to eat on during the summer and supply our food for most of the winter as well. Some of my best friends had farms, real honest to God farms like Henderson’s dairy farm and the Ritchy’s farm that raised and sold steer for meat.

My very dearest and best friend’s grandpa had a farm where she raised a cow each year to show at the Fairfield County Fair. I got to spend a lot of time with her as she trained and took care of her cows through the years. She taught me that cows are big, yes, but also so sweet natured. I would have a moo today if I were allowed to! Molly also taught me to respect the rooster who thought he owned the property that existed between getting out of the car and the door to her house. You learned to run fast or be flogged at the Young’s house! 

Our first flock of chickens came about 11 years ago as a project for my husband and youngest daughter to do together. He was spending an exorbitant amount of time on the internet, researching how to build a chicken coop. I snarkily told him I didn’t know why he was wasting his time because he’d never follow through with it. The next thing I know, wood and supplies are in the garage and up goes the coop! (I don’t tell him this anymore!) 

I love having the chickens now! Farm fresh eggs are the best and you always have something for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

My love for gardening and growing my own food comes from my Granny. There is just something about putting seeds in the ground and seeing the fruits of your labor on the shelves after harvest that satisfies my soul like no other. Not to mention walking out to the garden and gathering enough things for a fresh salad for lunch. Nothing tastes like an off the vine, out of your garden tomato! They say store bought tomatoes taste like disappointment. I have to agree. 

I’ve slowly expanded our garden area(s) over the years as the kids have gotten older and on their own, and as I’ve gotten better at it. I’ve recently started growing medicinal herbs as well. It’s so fun to experiment! 

Growing a garden teaches you so many life lessons and I love to share those here on the blog!

Thanks for asking!

About Writing

I was wondering…when and what inspired you to start writing/sharing your thoughts? (Submitted by Janice Dobkins)

I started out as a speaker at women’s retreats and different events like Mother’s Day brunches and Christmas teas. But when Todd’s travel schedule started to pick up, I had to put that on the back burner because of having a younger family and both of us not being able to be out of town. 

I missed being able to encourage people and share a message of hope so I started writing devotions that I emailed to a list of people. Back in the day, you could only email 100 people at a time (this was before blogs…or at least I didn’t know about them or MailChimp) so I copy and pasted the same message three times and clicked the box beside each name to send. It was quite the tedious task! 

I started blogging in 2014 but not consistently until these past couple of years. I still don’t consider myself a writer per se (those words get stuck in my throat!) but would say, I’m a sharer of thoughts for sure! I’ve come a long way but still have so much to learn! 

I was wondering…how/when did you know it was God putting words in your head? (Submitted by Patricia Warfield) 

Oh gosh, I’m never 100% sure my thoughts are God’s words….that’s a little terrifying to me! But I do write what’s on my heart or about a concern I have or a lesson he’s teaching me or if something ticks me off pretty good. 

To be completely transparent, most of the time, I think my writing is too simple, too silly, too obvious. That’s so boring! It wasn’t until I was talking with Todd one day, when he told me that he likes my posts because it makes him slow down and see things differently. He no longer sees a garden but a plethora of lessons in those seeds planted deep in the soil. I had no idea other people didn’t see what I do or think like I think. 

Then I thought I was really weird, I mean who thinks like that…obviously not everyone….so I hesitated to share…again…but for different reasons. 

Something I have accepted is that I probably AM really weird, but these are the gifts God has given me and I will use them to his glory! (And if it encourages, helps or makes you laugh along the way, then I’d say that’s a bonus! Even if I hesitate to hit the publish button every single time!) 

I was wondering…if you’ll write a book? (Submitted in a private message) 

I’ve had a handful of people tell me I have at least one and probably two in me. I’ve been learning more about writing memoir as well as figuring out my style these past couple of years. 

I am currently in the very wee baby stages of writing something that is part memoir, part wildflowers, part Bible lesson and part challenge to the reader. If nothing else, it will be something my kiddos will have forever. 

Thanks for asking!

About Priorities/Goals

I was wondering…how you prioritize your life? Because you seem to be super- human! (Submitted by Paige Braley) 

That last part made me LOL! Honestly. Most days I feel anything but that! 

The way I prioritize my life today looks way different than it did when all the kiddos were home and in school/sports/music/youth group etc. Most of those days were spent trying to remember who to pick up at which school, what time and on which days. (I have five kids in case someone reading this is new to me.)

I worked full-time for a season, then part-time for a few years then stayed at home once Carson was born. In each of those periods of time, my priorities looked different. I didn’t have time for any personal extracurriculars and considered it a success if everyone got picked up and dropped off on time as I high-fived Todd when he came home from out of town. 

(I am that Mom who left her week old baby at the soccer field in the arms of another Mom (thanks Theresa!) because this Mom forgot it was picture day and didn’t have the two older girls wear their uniforms! This Mom could run back to the van way faster without said newborn in tow. How’s that for prioritizing? Everyone was safe. Pictures in uniforms were taken. No one needed therapy for that particular event.)

Now that I’m in my mid-fifties(!), life has slowed down in many ways but also is a little crazier. My adult kids need me differently. Grandkids are playing sports but I’m not the one getting them to and from or having to remember picture day or the half-time snack schedule. I can show up with my chair, cheer their efforts, get tickled at their antics and come home to work in my garden. 

I believe we prioritize what we care about, are passionate for and brings us joy! For you it may be music or performing or helping women be their best. For me it’s planting things that grow, dabbling in herbs, also encouraging women and writing. (It’s still my family, of course, but in various other ways.) 

Something that has been an unchanging, undisputable priority for me is my morning time with the Lord…for as corny as that sounds. When that gets put on the back burner, life is less manageable, I’m more anxious, angry and out of sorts. Even that looks different now than it did years ago. It’s less “check-the-box-and-get-it done-like-a-good-Jesus-girl and more grace filled. I can talk more about that if anyone is interested! 

I find that different seasons bring different priorities and as I’ve aged my priorities have also changed as you’ll see in the next “I was wondering…” spotlight.

I hope that answers your question! Thanks for asking!

I was wondering…how your goals have changed over the years? (Submitted by Mark Taylor) 

This one has got me thinking!  

In another moment of transparency, when I first started out on the speaking circuit, I was going to 12-14 events per year with anywhere between 40 and 500 women in attendance at each event. I thought, wow! Move over Beth, this girl is an up and coming! My goal was to fill stadiums, speak to thousands and become famous. 

Boy was I young. And dumb. 

I will state the obvious here: that did not happen. 

Scripture tells us to fan into flame the spiritual gift God imparted to you… (2Timothy 1:6NLT

Somewhere along the way, in those early years, I forgot the “L” and tried to fan into fame those gifts God so graciously gave me. 

Al Andrews says, the human soul isn’t made for fame. We become our #1 fans. That’s simply obnoxious. 

John the Baptist tells us that Christ must increase, I must decrease. (John 3:30NIV) This has been my goal for many years now. While I don’t do it perfectly and the “L” gets lost on occasion, I am more and more aware that this life is not about me, but Christ in me and even more, Christ alone. 

I do still enjoy writing and teaching a Bible study but it’s not about how good I am but how good and gracious God is. 

I do still love to encourage women, but it looks more like one on one than one full stadium. 

Something I’ve learned over the past 20 years is that people want to know they are seen, heard and loved by God. I can sit across from one woman and let her know that she is all three of those and THAT can start a fire like we’ve never known! 

God fans into flame my gifts so I can then fan into flame someone else’s gifts.

Those moments put the “L” back where it belongs! 

Something I wrote for my welcome page on the blog sums it up perfectly about how my goals have changed through the years: 

“Over these past few years, I’ve come to realize the mountain top experience I’ve spent most of my life searching for is actually found in the ordinariness of every day. Perhaps in my fast pace run of reaching for more, I’d simply missed the joy of that which surrounds me.

I needed to become a noticer of the here and now and stop living in the if and when. I needed rest that was rooted in the acceptance of Jesus’ invitation “come to me”. It’s not always easy to do in a world that screams for our attention is it?”

I bought into the “big faith for big dreams” for the longest time. Now my goal is to simply love the person God puts in front of me today. 

Being in the second half of life puts things in a different perspective. You begin to think about, not what you do necessarily, but what you’ve done. What legacy am I leaving? My spouse. My kids. My family. My friends. How has what I’ve done impacted them? What do I need to change to leave a legacy that pleases God? 

If you would have told me that I would be writing about ordinary things like my garden and be known as “the chicken chucking lady”, I would have laughed. But here I am and that’s fine with me. 

Here’s to 56!