{Unedited} The Character of Choice

f4be95b4f800c0714836d669e221d962

We fought through a history of co-dependence. Of family overreach and lack of self to instill in our children that they get to not only choose who they want to be as they grow but they get to choose the people they allow to influence their lives.
The voices that speak into it.
I have been proud, and grateful to watch them one by one choose kindness, compassion and a growing respect for those around them.  The kind of respect that is given first from a place in their own character regardless of capacity or differences, and then continued as a testament to their value of another as they come to better understand the character of those receiving.
Both are important in a healthy life.  Both are important in a healthy community.
We want them to think.  To educate themselves and come to an understanding outside of our own opinion.
We want them to make choices that they feel solidly in their heart, and we want them to do that at their own pace.
It can be an uncomfortable thing, this leaving them to their own understanding while they grow.  We don’t always agree, and when this happens we’ve worked hard to teach the respect that comes with a grateful heart and a sound mind.  Both our and theirs.
We challenge them to see others as the individuals we hope that they each have the courage to be.  To be comfortable with the differences they might represent and see the value such relationships can bring to their life.   And then we hope, with all that we are, that we have taught them each how to voice their own differences.  The disagreements within perspective that ring true at their core.  Truths that are sometimes lonely.  We hope that we have taught them to raise their words not their voice.  The clarity of their argument, not their defenses.
We hope, that in a world of offense and passive aggression we have taught them how to speak clearly, with kindness and accept the response that is returned with compassion.

Compassion for each other.  Compassion for their neighbor.  Compassion for themselves.
Tonight I  witnessed the reward of parenting by faith as I sat and listened to my children express their concern for those who have long been the voices in their life.  Tonight I saw the uncontrolled authenticity of teaching my children to listen with an open heart and reason with a fierce mind.  A mind filled with the understanding of Grace and what that looks like in practice.  Tonight my children taught me when they kindly asked my opinion on how to let go of comfortable influence that no longer taught or grew.  In a country where bitterness is reigning my children, these tender and firm individuals who I love and support as the adults they are striving to become, taught me about boundaries.  About the way love looks when someone you love is causing harm.  Tonight my children taught me saying no is sometimes still saying yes.  Yes to a right mind and a loving heart.  Yes to freedom and the truth of belief.

Tonight my children taught me about the grief of differences and the acceptance in letting go.

I accept your right to believe the way you do.  I accept my right to not make your words a part of my life.

In our damaged and angry world it is easy to fight for ourselves.  To argue and strike at those around us, those away from us, with bitter words and defiance. Indignant over the injustice of our own space.

In our damaged world we seem to be at war.  As a nation.  As a tribe.  As a people.

Sitting in the quiet moment of truth stretched by earnest words and the clarity of a well-grown youth, my children taught me that I can be at peace.  The battle is already won.  In their struggle.  In their understanding.  In their boundaries.  In their incredible capacity to walk in the Grace that has spent a lifetime being worn.  A Grace that offers power.  A Grace that offers freedom.  A Grace that reminds us of right mind and the gift of compassion.  Of letting go because I AM, and Love.

{Unedited} More

blurred-lights-2

I was recently taken to task for carrying too much weight in my marriage.
It’s not an uncommon conversation. Our life is unique.
By choice, we carry a heavy load. Not because there is something to prove, but because we are not built to do differently.

Less doesn’t bring peace. Drive is wired that way.

Ours will always be a life of more.
More work.
More reach.
More growth.
More reward.

Our portion always 100 percent.
100 percent of him. 100 percent of me. 100 percent of everything there is to invest without concern for what comes next. We rest deeply in the knowledge that we can.

Fall in, let go, be still.

For some that is…unreasoned.
It is uncomfortable.
Often discomfort is interpreted as something to be changed, when in reality our discomfort is simply the exercise of a pliable body and a willing mind.

It is conditioning.
Strength being formed.

A learning curve that requires stamina. Stamina developed in the exhausted moments.
It is practicality that requires stewardship. Stewardship developed in the midst of strain, knowing what seems important changes when there is no energy left.

Clarity.

A learning curve of self care and accountability.
Body as tool. Mind as resource. Emotion to be decided.
Not for a delayed tomorrow, but for a fully lived today.
There is no 50/50. No your turn and then mine. There is only all.
For better or worse. In sickness and in health.
All.
‘Til death do us part.
One-hundred percent.

{Unedited} Sweet Nothing

6b7a3c66eb47f77d92aa28858588440e

I woke this morning with an arm hooked around my waist, pulling me close into a comfortable shelter that is mine to enjoy.  Tucked safely away from expectation and the bite of morning.

A soft heart beating gentle monosyllables.

Eyelids brushed with a stubbled chin.

A wet towel left on the hook rather than the floor.

Coffee in hand I’ve been kissed goodbye.  A clear I love you spoken with the sharp aroma of breakfast nectar steaming in the pleasing glow of a new kitchen.

Always the heart of our home.

Thirty eight years on this earth and this will be my favorite celebration of the day.

Half a dozen words spoken in the span of an hour.

The quiet nothing that anchors the rhythm.

As my household starts to rumble I will be enveloped into another man-sized chest, this one I birthed.  That little catch in my heart fascinated by the miracles of will and body.  This will be the first time I hear the words.

“Happy birthday”.

Spoken in a deep voice from a tender place.

My eldest son, the emotionally naked one.  So much like his mama.

The man-child who healed my heart.

Later there will be cake.

Female children pay attention to those details.

The inevitable squabbles of living close hushed by a reminding voice that today is my day.

My first-born seeking to protect.

These hours are meant for peace and content.

It won’t last, but the idea is a kind one and I will enjoy it.

Evening will come, bringing rooted gifts.

It is tradition.

No dead flowers for me.  Something with the will to grow.

Orchids and lilies. Lavender and sage.

There will be other gifts.  Baubles and mementos but my heart loves the spicy, clean scent of the green and bloom that will sit on my counter while I cook dinner.

And yes, I cook my own dinner.

After all it is my day, and I enjoy the texture and ritual.

Comfort food prepared in the happy buzz of my life.

A table carefully set in the nicest of ways, a gift from my youngest in a love language I happen to speak.

The conversation over knives and forks is predictable.

My tiny warrior intent on making sure I am seen.

To my husband “Today is mother’s birthday.”

“Yes, I know.”

“Did you tell her happy birthday?”

With a quiet look my long time friend will enquire from across the table.  Smile in place, understanding the ritual. “I don’t remember…did I tell you happy birthday?”

And as always the answer will be

“Daddy always tells me happy birthday.” And in his own meaningful way it’s true.

They each do.

I know I am loved.  Celebrated.

Through rhythm and heart.  Care and attention.  In the challenge of remembrance.

All the beautiful, sweet nothing that makes life worth living.

Today I am thirty-eight years old.  Full of heart and younger than I have ever been.

The End Of Editing

abcRare day off courtesy of my eldest….what can I say, I raised a badass. Playing a little catch up on dishes and laundry. Wrote the worlds most beautiful menu and shopping list. Considered tackling the chicken coop…that may still happen, we’ll see how motivated I get.
Coffee, bacon & peanut M&M’s (which I will absolutely pay for later but feels incredibly indulgent right now). My schedule lately is challenging my focus and pushing me to decide what I am going to choose to do with my time.

I know that Urban Grace Farms lends itself to the idea of a farm blog.
Gardening. Food. Livestock.
And those thing will always be a steady part of my life because, well…they are the way of life I’m accustom to, but I have to admit that I find it challenging to maintain a creative focus on the parameters of that subject alone. I find myself motivated to write about a wide range of things which any good business coach will tell you is the death knell of online development. Know your market.
Pick an area of expertise and develop a following from there.
Here’s the thing. I’m not an expert in much of anything other than being comfortable with the idea that I really don’t know much.
The older I get the smarter I get, and the smarter I get the more I realize how little I really understand.
I suppose that could be frustrating or depressing but let’s be honest, I’m an optimist….my cup isn’t just half full at the idea of having a lifetime of learning ahead of me, it’s overflowing with the joy of it.
I love waking up and seeing the world in a new way.
And in that excitement I want to write…okay, what I really want to do is talk but since I’m a slightly reclusive workaholic with introverted tendencies living hundreds of miles away from family and friends and my husband has a limited capacity for word absorption…I write.
So the question then is this, is it possible to productively develop an online presence without a focus?
Today I may want to write about work life balance.
Tomorrow let’s share a song or a recipe.
Next week can we shift to politics or what it really means to live in grace, experiencing the emotional movement of the moon cycle, and drinking copious amounts of black coffee while I slather myself with blended essential oils intended to stop the miserable hot flashes that are destroying my sleep schedule. Pouring over seed catalogs knowing that I’m already a couple weeks behind my ideal timeline for market planning and deciding how exactly it is I’m going to cut my hair.
Can I write one day about how much I miss having a milking schedule. The relationship of it. The barn. The fresh dairy…really, the fresh dairy. And then the next about food service as a ministry or how much I hate my purse without any focus other than pure self expression?
Can I quote scripture and Rumi and know that they are both capable of teaching me something?

“let yourself be slightly drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ~ Rumi
“…I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.” ~ John 10:10.

Life in its fullest measure. Words without worry.

‘nough said?

Beekman 1802

beekman2I love me some Beekman boys. No, I’m serious. I have such a heart for their story, which is, I suppose, a little stalker-ish, stalker-ie….weird?? Not exactly sure what the appropriate term is here but I think they are adorable and wouldn’t say no to drinks on the front porch of the elegant old house they call home just outside Sharon Springs, NY.

I’ll admit it. They had me at “Three men and a baby goat” and in my imaginary life we’re already friends and I eat dinner there on Sundays.

I’m farmer crushing. I know, that’s a little cheeseballs but some days I just can’t help myself.

Speaking of cheese. These boys make some awesome product (smooth huh?).

The perfected Beekman 1802 Blaak (an artisanal goat milk cheese) pretty much rocked my world.

To be fair I’m not much of a cheese maker so I can’t truly appreciate the intricacies of process that went into what I happily put in my mouth but I’ve been blessed with a friend or two who completely geek out over the art in artisanal and they’ve successfully educated my palate and encourage my preference for the nicer things.

Beekman 1802 Blaak is definitely one of those nicer things.

Not a cheese fan? They offer a smorgasbord of soul satisfying (Yeah, I have an emotional relationship with my food) delicacies, household treats & pamper yourself luxury products. All wrapped up in a charming make you smile kind of way.

The Beekman 1802 Mechantile is awesome.

You know what else is awesome?

I just found out from the good folks over at Modern Farmer that these boys are kicking dirt & taking names, and I mean literally taking names when it comes to small scale farms all over the country. With a focus on offering a helping hand Beekman 1802 launched their line of  Mortgage Lifter Tomato Sauce, promising 25% of the product’s profits to help stabilize hardworking small farms during the turbulent start up process.

To hear tell, after struggling to keep their own fledgling farm afloat they have a understanding sympathy for farmers who have good ideas and a solid business plan — but don’t have a solid cash flow yet.

Aww, as if a farmer crush wasn’t reason enough to make my heart flutter, we’re going to toss in a healthy dose of good guy respect. Man I love people who give back.

And don’t be calling it charity

“This is not just a handout,” says Brent Ridge, one of the two boys. “We’re not trying to save a failing farm for the short-term only to see it go bankrupt next year.”*

Ridge and his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, are hoping to encourage success stories like their own through the efforts of this new-ish venture. Last year they raised $13,264 to offer some “lifted bliss” to four small farms and this year is looking like they’ll have even more to share. With Beekman’s notable attention to quality helping to land their products on the shelves of large distributers like Disney theme parks, sales are on the incline and it’s a safe bet that they will be sharing the Beekman 1802 love for years to come.

Want to get in on a little Beekman 1802 lifted bliss?? You can find their Mortgage Lifter line of products at the Beekman 1802 online mercantile as well as by taking a peek to find a retail store near you.

Or better yet, for those farmy types out there. Give the boys a chance to help your own small farm out. Drop by their application site and find out how to let know who you are. They will be announcing next years Mortgage Lifter recipients in April 2015.

beekman ML

 

*http://modernfarmer.com/2014/06/fabulous-beekman-boys-want-pay-farms-mortgage-tomato-sauce/