2017 Picture Show

Winding down and gearing up.

Finally finished tweaking my 'End-of-year' video and it's posted below, but let me take this opportunity to tell a bit more of my story.

We're all gonna leave and we're all gonna leave a legacy. The legacy will reveal itself in a myriad of ways, some of which we'll be privy to, but most revelations will come in future generations and we won't be around to write about, learn from, or participate in those joys and sorrows.

We'll have moved on.

We must move on.

There is no going back.

One of my favorite verses is Luke 9:62 ~ But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God."

Quite often, in the New Testament, Jesus spoke in parables. He told stories. This one in Luke is about  farming. When you head down the field with your plow, you must fix your eyes on a spot ahead. You can't keep looking back at where you've been because you will make crooked rows and the harvest will not be as plentiful.  In this biblical scenario, once you make the decision to follow and love God wholeheartedly, don't look back at what you've left behind.

Which brings me to another favorite verse,  Philippians 3:13 ~ "So let us not exchange our spiritual calling to something temporary and physical. Therefore, let us do our best in forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead!”

This is exactly where we found ourselves, this year, at almost every turn. The video tells most of the story. But not all of it.  Our saddest (and frustrating, and maddening, and harrowing) story is told on our daughter's blog: Before And Africa. But God's stories never end in ashes and Moses and his rightful family will always be a part of our story!

And so we move on.

And then we moved back.

Another segment of our year that really isn't included in the video (maybe 2018 EOY picture show)

So what IS in the video? Mainly, my version of the story. The story of leaving the farm. There are 3 little lines in the lyrics of each song which demanded they be included in the video.

"Get lost and get right with my soul" 

This is my moving on story. And once again, I use the end of the year, beginning of the new year to resolve to return to my first love. Love God, love others and love myself. Not sure about how all the logistics of "getting my soul right" will play out. Maybe in the written and spoken words or unspoken ways. But I gotta get this right. 

"This is us and our memories"

Just as in the adoption story, this was not only my story to tell. It was a generational farm and it is a generational story. Emotions were all over the map. Whether or not we were all on the same page, it was time. 

We'll always have Remington.
"Tis grace"

I am thankful for His amazing grace and the blessings which flowed from the farm on the edge of town. I am grateful for a mom and dad and brothers and sisters who love the giver of all good gifts, the land, and the life it afforded us. I am overwhelmed with a heavenly father who loved us more than we'll ever be able to fathom. I am anxious to move on, but I will always cherish my past and recent memories and will do everything in my power to keep the story alive.

Someone else may own it now, soon another family will, most likely live there so head's up ...  Someday (if it's still there, in a hundred years from now, the grey barn may or may not hold a handful of ashes) because somehow my legacy will always begin and end there.

Another favorite verse is etched into cement at the entrance to the party shed. Psalm 89:1 ~ "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, with my mouth will I make known, thy faithfulness to all generations.

Without further adieu ... "Because I'm The Mom Productions" proudly presents
 "This Is Us" 2017

Drone credits courtesy of Deep End Films
Music by: Rodney Atkins, Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris, Sufjan Stevens


Grey Barn Gone

This one is going to be hard, but who said life would be easy?

Somebody bought the farm. Ha! Not in, as the cliche goes, but as in, my parents sold the farm.  Well, I guess they didn't really sell the farm land, as much as they sold the barns and farmhouse.

It was getting so hard to stay there.  But it would be hard to leave, as well.

Choose your hard.

 I've been dealing with the logistics all summer long ... even planned a sort of "retirement" party which turned into a wonderful celebration of the farm, faith, and family legacy.  We also held a household auction which turned into one of my fondest memories ~ thanks to my daughters, my niece Ariel and her husband Matt with the one "great" who made it to the auction!!

And here, I'd like to thank my sister Ruth (and her family) without whom, we simply could not have done all there was to do.  Thank you Ruth for your trips, your wine, your work, and most of all, your friendship. You are the best!

As I look back now, my fondest memories are times spent together there with our children and grandchildren. And this is where my heart started to crack. In early August, we celebrated one last time in the party shed, The tears spilled for a spell, as they pulled out of the drive and waved thru their own tears. Tears for their grandparents hearts, tears for their childhood nostalgia, tears for their children whose memories would soon fade, and tears for the children yet to be that will not share those memories.

So then we moved mom and dad into town and us back to Michigan.

And then it hit me. It did not help that amidst the boxes and tubs of our packed life, I sat down to go thru some pics for this blog post (and to disperse to extended family) and Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, and James Taylor thought they needed to chime in on my emotional reverie.

In a hundred years from now
I know without a doubt
They'll all look back and wonder how
We made it all work out ~ Look At Us ~ Vince Gill

Once the decision was made to sell, the next big problem was what to do with all the "stuff".  It all seemed to fall on my unwilling and minimalist shoulders. To purge or not purge, that was the question. 
I leaned through it all that I am, by no means, a minimalist. 
Before you judge me, think about "taking down" your whole household! And then think about "taking down" your parents whole household. 
It was hard. 

Choose your hard.

“Somewhere down the line, the accumulation of stuff from generations before will be too much for one to carry.” No Sidebar's post "A Guide to Letting Go of Sentimental Things"

After all was said and done came the hardest part. Saying goodbye.
I woke up early most mornings just to watch the sunrise one last time from over the lawn and shed where we danced at weddings.
I stayed up late to watch the shadows lengthen fast on the generational lawn where I laid under trees to read, asked Jesus into my heart, played kick the can as a teenager, taught all my children how to swim, and shared the wonder of trains with my grandchildren.

I sorted, cleaned, and then took pictures of the empty rooms and a clean barn, all the while wondering why my heart did not hurt more.

My head has known since the first of the year, when the young farmer called and said he'd buy! But the dam finally broke yesterday when my heart realized I would most likely never return to that space and place in time.

This farm will always be where my stories originated and I will NOT change the name of this blog ... "Grey Barn Stories"
This was my home and family and I loved the first 18 and last 7 years I spent there. But extended family is elsewhere and my Michigan family has been calling me home.

It was MY childhood home and farm, but it was JUST a house and some out buildings.

I walk the floor and wonder what went wrong
I'll have to find a way to carry on
Why don't you leave before the heartache starts to show
Take your memory with you when you go. ~  Vince Gill

Though our pathways have parted 
To your memory I'm true 
Guess I'll stay broken-hearted 
How's the world treating you?Chet Atkins via ~ James Taylor & Allison Krauss

Coming soon ~ Photos put to music ...
And you know me, I'm struggling here for song choice
Home Where I Belong ~ BJ Thomas
Come Home, It's Suppertime ~ Joey & Rory
Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome Here ~ The Sisters
Take Your Memory With You ~ Vince Gill
Blessed Assurance ~ Third Day

Or maybe I'll go with a something a little more recent and truer to the story I want to tell ..
Maybe a little ... Zach Williams, Eric Church, Maren Morris, or Jordan Feliz

It will be hard to put this montage together, and it will be hard to watch it roll.

Choose your hard.