Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are you waiting to do what you want to do right now?

Are you waiting to do what you want to do right now?

Do you find life just slipping away? Are you living for Fridays and Dreading Mondays?

Do you catch yourself with a bad case of the "If Onlys"?????  I used to hear my own if onlys until I shoved them out of my head. still have to fight them)..  If only I were stronger, if only I were younger when I started doing this, if only I had more money, if only I had a veterinary degree, were not afraid of driving antique tractors, could work more than 10 hours a day consistently etc.

Yes, I who adore farming and the goodness about it tried to argue myself out of farming while still yearning for it with a passion and had lots of folks to try to discourage me in a "helpful way". 

Little comments like  "at your age, you need to be enjoying life and not work so hard",   "honey you know you are frail", "no one will buy anything because they grow their own produce",   you'll go broke,   you don't even know how to can or preserve.   My favorite was "well, you know you can't teach an old dog new tricks".   I realized these were either folks who had given up on their own dreams or just really thought dreams could only belong to the strong, young, rich or famous or were just eaten up with negativity.  I quit trying to explain and just "plowed" ahead with the farm dream.

Get a grip folks.   Only God knows the number of hairs on our head or the seconds in our lives.  I really believe this.  If you have really prayed about your dream and really believe in your heart and soul and mind, that it is valid and God wants this for you, I vote yes.  I have some quick advice. Although most of what I write about refers to farm, it would apply I think to most dreams.

Do you have a dream but in your dream vision, you can only see things only one way.... Do you say, I want to have a farm, I need to borrow or have $500,000 to do it. I must have a minimum of 50 acres and  fully stocked with every imaginable animal - oh say a few hundred or more.   It must have a modern house with all the conveniences.   I will not be in a leaky, drafty, old farm house.  Okay shake that plan away, dust it off and get real.   If you have $500,000 to invest, lease a farm for a year and get it out of your system and move own.   That way you can not be stuck with a huge mortgage and not be earning dividends, interest etc.& have a 800 feed bill for animals.  Also $500,000 won't buy the 50 acres and nice huge modern house .   A $5,000 plus monthly payment frightens me.  

When I was so eaten up with the "dream of the farm", it took many forms,  First the out of control suburban farmer where the farm overran the inside and outside and front yard of our subdivision with plants, trees, flowers, a few bunnies, fishpond, etc.  I tiptoed with bare feet to be able to reach and pick 100+ tomato plants compactly planted...And then I started dreaming at night and in the day, of green grass and fields and open land and bees and more animals.Then the farm dream reshaped as we look for a real farm. So I suggest having several dreams - one that might be short range, longer range, alternate #1, Alternate #2 and then the dream that God answers for you. 

But why don't you try on your dream first for size?  If you don't really have any planting space where you are, not even a huge barrel so you can plant a tomato, cucumber and a pepper, let's get some dirt under our fingers!  Go work on a farm .... We do take volunteers and can occasionally pay in produce or real money too.   And be sure and also work when it is rainy, blowing cold, suffering hot, icy, no running water.....  Don't just do this on a sunny day. Take a really long gruesome day, a typical farm day.....  Pick really bad weather and then run for the endurance.   Can you really work outside in the rain for 6+ solid hours - not warm rain, but cooler temps that make you shiver?   Farming has its uncomfortable moments.

Are you willing to make sacrifices for your dream?   Monetary, routine, time, social, physical, emotional   Are you willing and eager to be a life long learner? To fall and fail and get up and do it again over and over?  To admit that you know a lot but that what you know is NOT enough.   You will become obsessed with learning more. You will live, eat, breath, and research and ponder much if you farm.  Your life and previous freedoms will really disappear if you are a farmer and especially if you include animals.   You cannot just up and leave for any period of time without extreme planning.   Are you willing to always be last?   If you are hungry and thirsty, are you willing to wait hours while you do emergency animal care - as in delivery assistance, or while you water your plants, or cover a crop before a storm.  You may find yourself very short of sleep and energy when your day is over and in about 5 hours you take another go at it.  Your friendship circle will shrink.  Many do not understand your new dream and why you cannot just hang out or go to this event or another.  Farmers are friendly and farmers love people.  That's part of why we farm.   But a farmer is a very different kind of person where our hands and feet are still the main instruments no matter how much technology or tools we have.  Small farmers become mechanics, make doers, recyclers, etc.

I have said before and I will say again,    Farming is the lowest paid, hardest work I have ever done.  The rewards are great but they are not monetary.   It is the love of the land, the smell of a newborn goat, the satisfied smile of the customer with that strawberry in their mouth, the person I got to teach how to make real corn muffins from real ground meal from our farm,  it is the taste of the first tomato, the eating of safe and good food, the sharing of farming knowledge with others.  It is the adventure.

But the best reward to farming, is the closeness to God because in farming we are so dependent upon His protection, benevolence, guidance and Direction.  Days are begun and ended with prayer, and when we pray over our food, it is different than prayers I had before I farmed..Songs are played that are uplifted to the plants, etc, etc,..Prayers during the day to God for direction on what to do with an animal.  And yes He has provided insight into farming situations that otherwise made no sense.  Years ago, we had poultry over drinking water and literally drowning their systems drinking the water.  They were suffering from kidney stress!! Vets called , etc, etc, healthy birds drinking 4 to 5 times regular amount of water.  Finally God literally spoke to me in a dream and said EAT THEIR FOOD.   I did and it tasted like I was licking the salt off a pretzel.  Calls were made and sure enough, there had been numerous similar complaints and it was a huge commercial mill that was apparently NOT cleaning between making minerals and chicken feed and our chicken feed was toxic with salt.   Even before we made those called, we grabbed the food away from the poultry and substituted another brand, and within 24 hours losses began to slow and finally stopped. I could tell you hundreds of examples like this.   So I literally ask God to show me to speak to me about how and why and what?  It is beyond intuition, it is things I have never read about or experienced and He literally shows the way, as clearly as the lighthouse in a storm to a boat.

Well, I hope this blog has been of interest.   In the writing of it, it has given me great joy as I have reflected over much about the farming.  May God bless you and guide you and always be with you as you examine your dreams.   And most of all I pray that you bloom where you are planted.   You may well be in the training grounds RIGHT NOW for your dream! And later in that next stage of your dream you will have an AHA! moment where you know that the office situation helped you know how to break up a hen fight.  But that's another blog ............Until Then....