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Finding Rest

I believe everyone could say their world is vastly different today than it was five months ago…. I mean honestly, doesn’t the world, some days, feel as if it’s literally turned upside-down?

For us, at Serenity Valley, the structures and animals of the farm still chug along almost untouched by this new way of life. But as I sit and reflect, I believe deep down, that our hearts will look back and review this as a big life-altering dot on the timeline of our life. (You know what I’m talking about???? …..Those timeline projects that everyone has to do at some point in school where you start from the day you were born and label the big events….. “lost my first tooth, had my first piano recital, lived through a global pandemic served up with a side of riots and political chaos”…….)

It’s true….there is so much going on right now: The virus, the civil unrest, the deaths of so many through both….. (Those are huge and not to mention gut-wrenching……) Then, there’s also the hiding of smiles with masks (and the fight that we see everywhere regarding whether they’re a good idea or not), the isolation, the separation of extended family, the political agendas leaking out at every opportunity, the social media dramas…..and the list goes on…..

They’re all so hard to wrap our heads and hearts around……And, I really have no answers… just lots of prayers offered up for EVERY ONE…on ALL sides of each issue……

But today, I’m sitting here on the porch listening to animals, looking at the garden, urging the cat off keyboard for the 9th time, taking time for a coffee break with my husband, hearing how our daughter’s first in-person college class played out, sticking ice down our son’s back for fun, and finding a bit of rest and retreat from the voices that try so hard to drown out the one voice that matters the most.

And, I’m taking a moment to remember that He’s also the One that ultimately has His hands on what is happening right now…..Going further: I’m trusting that He will make beautiful from the ugly that is attempting to have it’s own way during all of this…..

But, also in the midst of the global changes we see happening, my life personally is changing as well…… Prior to the pandemic, I was working in the field of drug and alcohol recovery, working with women at a most vulnerable time in their lives to offer hope, love, healing from trauma, and parenting support in order to help them start breaking free from the generational chains that have bound their families. Suffice to say, it was an honor to be a part of such great work.

But, as the pandemic hit, changes to schedules had to be made, and I, glad to have some time with my family, took a furlough and began to stay at home here on the farm. To be honest, I know these events were an extra sweet detail from the Lord because I would not have been strong enough make the decision on my own.

But, over the months prior to the pandemic, my health had progressively been, shall we say, “acting up”…… I went from working and then being active with the family on the farm after work… to working and coming home to rest on the couch for the entirety of the evening…..my family and the farm were starting to only get the left-overs…. And, on top of that, also prior to Covid, my husband took on a new role in his company which changed from part-time travel, to “most of the time” travel.

And, all these progressions of life totaled into some much needed decision-making as I just wasn’t able to keep up anymore. So we ultimately, a month into furlough and after much prayer, made the decision for me not to go back to work in order to be able to travel with my husband as it looked to resume shortly.

But, as seems to be true in most cases in life, God had different plans. My husband’s travel didn’t pick back up….(and honestly I’m super glad to have him home still). And my health didn’t get better. It’s gotten worse. I have good days and bad. Last week, I was able to be up 4 days in a row. Then the last two have been spent in bed in pain…… and some weeks it’s the opposite.

I have been working with a great doctor and hope to have more answers soon. But even without answers, the Lord is teaching and comforting so much.

When we first moved onto this farm, I overwhelming felt God’s voice giving us this farm and letting me know that this would be a place of His rest for others. And, He also gave us our farm verse.

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 NIV

I always thought it meant that God would provide opportunities for us to be able to offer others His rest ….and I still hope and pray for that all the time.

But for now, as I sit on the porch, thankful to be out of bed this morning, and understanding that He may provide healing to my physical body (which of course, would be AMAZING)……. but also recognizing He may not, too. I once again read our farm verse, this time in the Message version:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

Matthew 11:28-29 MSG

The mental battle right now is difficult. I’m not going to lie.

When I’m in bed, I keep telling myself what a drain I am on my family. When I’m up and being productive, I tell myself it’s not enough. I look around at the farm renovations that could be happening if I had more energy and think what crazy people we must have been to take on this big of project…… and so on…..

But, my sweet hubby last night reminded me that he finds joy when I rest. He said it makes his new role even more worth it to be able to provide this time of healing and that I don’t have to live up to any expectations right now.

And today, the Lord reminded me that He is offering me this time to “recover my life”….which may or may not mean a healthy physical body. But, it does mean rest….true rest in knowing someone way bigger and stronger will carry the load in order for my heart to be light. I don’t have to be “productive” according to the world’s standards right now. It means that since God loves me, I am enough. He sees something redeemable in me….not just on the days that I can clean the house or be up and about. He loves me.

And, in fact, He also says:

But, if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Matthew 23:12

Well, myself doesn’t have much to offer right now. But, maybe that’s what makes this time so beautiful…. because God is promising that we can shed all the personas we wear, the acts of pushing ourselves to be like others, or pushing ourselves to be productive by others’ standards in order for us to “feel valuable”….. it’s not needed and in fact just another weight to drag us down…..

I don’t have to be anything other than God’s child, now when I don’t have much physical strength, and also later when by God’s grace, I heal back up. My life DOES matter because God has created me for His purpose. And in being myself, right where I am, He’ll make that beautiful too.


My prayer in sharing this story is to offer hope to someone who might also be struggling with worth and value.

We are bombarded with comparison living on so many levels everyday which, if we let it, carries a weight that we weren’t meant to carry. Galatians 5:13 states that we were “chosen to be free”.

God wants so much for us to live freely, not measuring our worth by anything other than being His child.

And my prayer is that if you are struggling to find answers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Him who cares….but also to us, here at the Farm because we care as well. We are glad to pray WITH you and continuously FOR you. Feel free to click the link below to get in touch.

Click Here to Contact Us

And, as always, we’re so thankful you are on this journey with us, and we’re sending you many

Blessings from the Farm!!!

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New Members of the Family

So, this has been a busy week for Serenity Valley with the birth of our first Pygmy baby and the addition of 3 more goats from another farm.

As of now, these will be permanent members of our family, but we’re so excited to share their pictures and welcome them to our home.

Minnie

She stands all of 6″ tall and is full of energy and spunk.

Giselle

We think she looks like a Gazelle and is about 12 weeks old.

Maude

She is Giselle’s mother and super friendly!

Dixie

She is very tame, sweet, and could also be a twin with our other goat Poppy.


As always, we are blessed to have you all along with us in the journey of farm-life. And we wish you many:

Blessings from the Farm!

Front Porch Farm Gatherings

The previous year has been a challenging journey for so many of us. We’ve pretty much all had to look at the world in a new way and change our day-to-day schedules. We’ve seen some beautiful moments of people looking outside of themselves, and yet we’ve seen also many examples of humankind at it’s worst.

But through all of this, we seem to still long for and maybe even hang onto Hope!

Why is that? And really, what is hope?

Well, for a long time I’ve heard this word and had a surface understanding, but over the last 9 months, it has come in my heart in a different way. I believe it’s the message the Lord has been sharing with me and hopefully in the future through our farm as an offering to others in their lives as well.

So, with much prayer, we’re going to move forwards in faith to unfold a new aspect of Serenity Valley because:

In His name the nations will put their hope.

Matthew 12:21
AND,

Hope after suffering means we have learned to trust God in a new way.

Holy Yoga Instruction

So as we put our hope in the Lord and rebuild from a year of so much suffering, let us celebrate learning to trust God in a new way!

And, with that in mind, we’d like to announce the opening of what we lovingly will call:

Front Porch Farm Gatherings

We have prayed all along and felt without a doubt that God would use this farm to offer a place of peace, rest, and hope, and we pray that this new addition will be a way to do just that.

So as our first endeavor, we will be offering a completely interactive Zoom Women’s Group (we’re working through Zoom since the pandemic is still not quite supporting in-person groups….and to be honest, our gathering space is also not quite finished).

Our Women’s Group will meet once a week to discuss and share scripture. But also, the one thing I always loved about watching farm shows growing up (a.k.a Little House on the Prairie….lol) was the camaraderie the women shared. Life was not easy, but all the women seemed to know how important it was to take time to build each other up, to connect, and to support. It was part of their survival. And, in this day and age, I believe people still are truly longing to be heard and to connect just the same as they were long ago. So, we’d like to offer this space to do just that.

And, as much as I’d really love to host you all with a cup of coffee, sweet treats, and porch-sitting face-to-face, we know that God honors our efforts even while they are not perfectly ideal. So, virtually in-person will be a great start.

We’ll kick off the first meeting the week of March 7th. (Exact Date and Time TBD once we have a feel for how many women will be signing up and find a good time for everyone).

And, there will be no charge, we just ask that you sign up, show up, and have a heart ready to connect with the Lord and other women. Also, coffee or tea are optional but encouraged. 🙂

If you’d like to sign up or find out more, please feel free to message us on Facebook, Instagram, or click here to connect through our “Contact Us” page.

We are so thankful to have you on this journey with us. And, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any thoughts, questions, concerns, prayer requests, etc. We are always glad to hear from you!

We look forward to getting to know you through our Front Porch Farm Gatherings, and we wish you many

Blessings from the Farm

So Much Going On…..

Over the last few months, a lot of things have happened, and as I don’t always take the time to read lots of details elsewhere, I thought everyone may enjoy the abbreviated picture book version of life here on the farm.

So, here goes:

Farmhouse Updates

Work is progressing here on the farmhouse. My wonderful hubby and son (as pictured here), helped put new walls and woodwork in the kitchen. We also refinished countertops, painted walls, and updated cabinets. All that’s left now is the flooring. But, we’re excited to see the improvements!

Finished Product

I absolutely LOVE these walls!!!

Wedding Plans

Our daughter got engaged, and we couldn’t be more excited for her and her fiancé. They will be getting married in a couple of months, and we’re in high gear planning for a wedding!

Stella the Kitten

While we are not typically indoor pet people, little Stella literally stole our hearts at the shelter. And, we can’t imagine how a little fur-ball can bring so much joy…..BUT SHE DOES!!!!

*Also, she plays fetch…which I’m pretty sure isn’t normal….but HILARIOUS!

The Real Traveling Chicks

A good friend and I, who is also a chicken aficionado, started The Real Traveling Chicks, a weekly social media video show. We’re not sure if it’s silly, informative, or hopefully a little of both, but we’re having fun and hoping it brings positivity to others along the way.

Click Here to Check Out our YouTube Channel!


3 New Goat Babies

Comet and Nick were twin bucklings (the two with brown markings) who were born on Christmas Eve right before it snowed 4 inches. And Noel (the black goat) was born December 26th. We couldn’t not have asked for better Christmas presents this year!


So, I believe that encapsulates the “big stuff” happening here on the farm, but as we all know, the best stuff happens in the day-to-day.

And, those day-to-day things involve slowing down, recognizing the important over the immediate, spending time with family, not taking minutes with friends for granted, and celebrating all the beautiful things God has given us even in the midst of challenges. And, to be honest, we are enjoying every minute of it!

So, as we begin this new year in a fresh way, let us cling to what is important, and let the rest fall away!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17

And, from all of us here at Serenity Valley, we’re sending you……

Blessings from the Farm!

Bittersweet Moments…


Having made a career of sharing with others that it is not just okay, but healthy to recognize and fully embrace our emotions in constructive ways….. I make terrible practice of it. It is WAY easier most days to stuff down uncomfortable feelings than deal with them.

But today was different. I could NOT sit still. Some weird emotion was nagging my heart. And, what I wanted to do was snuggle with a cup of coffee, watch a happy show, and pretend that I didn’t feel anything except positive feelings.

But that didn’t work. And, so I questioned myself and the Lord. “Shouldn’t I just be happy?”

You see our two little puppies went to new loving and wonderful homes today which should be cause for happiness….and to a large degree it was.

But with one quick glance as I looked out in the field, I knew it was time to head to the barn and fully embrace the nagging emotion and what God had to share through it.

You see, when I looked outside, what I saw was this sweet mama wondering where her babies had gone…..

This was the source of the other emotion.

My heart hurt so much for her…….

…….When Bonnie had her first litter of pups exactly 8 weeks ago today, 7 of them did not make it, but she mothered the surviving 2 in gentle loving ways.

And last night, we had an unexpected birth of twins baby goats. I watched as Bonnie placed herself between the puppies and the goats and laid down. Then I watched as her puppies followed suit. I watched her over the last few weeks, each time the puppies wrestled, gently put her nose on them, lick them, and love on them to teach a gentle way of being…. not fighting but caring.

To be honest, she is the mama I want to be. She’s loving and gentle, all the time. She constantly cares and protects her flock while also nurturing her children (or puppies).

And this sweet mama lost her babies today. So, I had the choice to sit in the house and pretend in comfort that she wasn’t hurting, or I could head out and grieve with her.

So, I found some awesome leftovers in the fridge, pulled up my Muck boots, and headed down to the field…. (hey, I like yummy foods when I’m sad….thought she might like it too).

And, after she scarfed the leftovers, we took a walk in the field together. I thought it was going to be just her and I. But, I turned around to find our two bottle babies goats trailing right behind sweet Bonnie.

My heart just about exploded with the mix of joy and sadness again. I was so struck with emotion and felt thankful that God gave me the opportunity to feel wholeheartedly in this moment.

I sat down in the grass with these precious animals and really reveled in the beauty of how sweet Bonnie, who lost her babies, found comfort in these babies who had a mama that didn’t want them. And, the sweet babies found a new mama in her.

And of course, there were tears….lots of tears…..(really only mine, let’s be honest).

But, as we all sat there (see pics below because they’re actually kind of funny and not at all professional), I took a minute to thank God for the farm, for these precious animals we have the honor to care for, and His wisdom in offering life experiences that allow us to grow.

The Bible tells us that:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10 NIV

And, with this in mind, I learned an invaluable lesson today…. that while feelings can be scary, and maybe even unsafe because we don’t always know what to expect, God wants to give us life to the fullest through them.

When we numb or push away things that might be uncomfortable, it is like the thief stealing our potential for joy and growth. But, trusting the Lord in faith allows us to experience life to the fullest…which includes emotions of both joy and sorrow.

And as we wrap up these reflections and travel this road, please know that we are so thankful you have joined us. And we’re sending you

Blessings from the Farm!