Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Facing the Giant

It was my battle to fight. Alone. Our testy neighbor with a hostile redneck attitude became my giant. Had I known how long and hard the fight would be I would have given up early on but I kept clinging to the only hope I had; the Lord had given us this land. I could fill page after page of the small intricate details that worked out right before my eyes as I clung to the Lord's hand through the last ten years, but it's long and tedious reading so I'll stick to the highlights.

Between the time we purchased our property and the date we actually moved out here, the Giant began to rub me the wrong way on a consistent basis. We're using the same driveway/easement at this point so we saw them quite a bit. Seems he was always making his presence known on his 30 ft. and if that weren't enough, he dotted the landscape with his empty beer cans along the way. I go through seasons of time in my spiritual life where I'm an avid, down on my knees, prayer warrior. THANK GOD I was in that mode. I began praying day and night for that guy. I prayed for us, I prayed for the kids, I prayed for the garden, I prayed for the house we'd "soon" build, I prayed about homeschooling, I even prayed that God would show us which specific trees to cut down! Anything that came to mind, I offered it to the Lord as a prayer. ("Thank you, Lord, for dishwater, laundry....") You know what happened? His house burnt down. - Nooooo, I didn't pray for that. So, I gathered some of Phillip's old clothes and other things I thought they'd need and took it to them. He quickly bought a new house and much to my surprise it wasn't near the original home site, nor was it even on the Back 10 at all. Little did we know, he also owned, (or recently purchased) the 24 acres parallel to ours. The new neighbor with the new house were now .....gone. Or so I thought.

The Old Oak w/ our swings

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Back 10: The Beginning

There is a battle raging in the heavenly realm. Only those who live by the Spirit truly understand this biblical concept. My personal journey with this farm is spiritual but I'm not referring to some cosmic experience separate from the sovereign God of the Bible and the precepts found in scripture. It's difficult to express because there aren't mortal words for what the Spirit does within the human heart while conforming us into His likeness. There's something deep within us that is changed forever.

It was meant to be. We knew it. For about two years, two babies in tow, we'd traveled all over the country with Phillip's work. We were weary and ready to move forward with our original reason for leaving the Metroplex which was to build a house in the country. Phillip found the ad in the Thrifty Nickel and before we knew it we were proud land owners. We lived in town but planted a garden out here and came out to play almost everyday for months. Looking back now it was an overgrown mess, I don't think we even owned a lawn mower, but it was our little piece of Heaven. We had big plans.

We knew there were red flags from day one. A testy neighbor with a hostile redneck attitude met us at the fence one day feeling the need to fill us in on the neighborhood gossip and lay of the land, so to speak. Number one, he'd tried to buy our land but the seller wouldn't sell it to him; second, another neighbor had killed a fella; third, we needed to position our mobile home away from the fence line; and fourth, the easement was his 30 feet. At the time, he and his wife lived on the Back 10, along with his daughter and her family in a separate mobile home and the easement was the main access road to their property. Note to self and all of you reading: Never buy land with an easement. Just don't do it.

To be continued......

The Back 10

Saturday, May 22, 2010


According to various publications and online venues, farm life is quaint and borderline romantic. Depicted as a dreamy place of harmony, the Farm is usually expressed with some type of barn, either stately or humble, strategically tucked into a manicured landscape. Skilled artists express a tranquility in their paintings of rural living and Southern Living Magazine goes as far as suggesting delicious meals made from the very veggies and herbs planted on said magical kingdom. Perhaps we should throw in some freshly squeezed lemonade for good measure; with a sprig of mint, of course.

But then.......there's our farm.

Keepin' it Real

* my life is based on a true story.

Friday, May 21, 2010

You know you're in love with photography when these type photos crank your tractor. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Land

As I was saying, we bought the original 24.5 acres 10 years ago. Topographically, our farm is set within the rolling hills of East Texas, southeast of Dallas. The land is filled with a mixture of hardwoods, pine, and cedar. Most folks say it's on a hill, but actually our driveway begins in a valley so it only appears that way. Once you've made it up the craggy pig-trail we call a driveway, the beauty emerges. It's my refuge.

Last year, we were also able to add the Back 10, which is like adding a square onto the end of a rectangle, bringing the total up to about 35 acres. If that weren't enough for my husband whose favorite quote is: "I don't want ALL the land, just the land that touches mine.", we also lease 16 acres to the east. The Back 10 comes with an incredible history and testimony of God's faithfulness to a couple of people who feel like they mostly stumble through life. Thankfully, that lands us on our knees. I'll be sharing the Back 10 story in a separate post, eventually. I've got to get my brain wrapped around expressing the magnitude of the testimony and, frankly, there aren't any mortal words. But, I'll try.

The land will teach you a thing or two about yourself if you're honest enough to admit it. I remember one time we called the vet out to check our pregnant cow and he asked, "are you here to take back the land?" I'll never forget it because in my mind, the land was, and still is, breaking me, not the other way around. It's a mighty force to be reckoned with and I'm not sure who wins in the end. There are discouraging setbacks, but rewarding triumphs and significant satisfaction, as well. In the beginning, I wanted everything all at once; farmhouse, garden....But it truly is more about the journey than the destination. I wouldn't be the person I am today without the hardships I've endured while taking back the land. I'm forever grateful it's taken me.

God's glory over the land

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Write on.....

I should be writing something in this space but have no idea where to start. Like anybody's life there's a story with a beginning. Thankfully, by God's amazing grace, the end hasn't been written. So, we're somewhere in the middle.

If you've read anything about me, you know I'm a firstborn. That should tell you something, but if it doesn't I'll give you a hint; I want everything to be perfect before I begin. Mom still tells the story to this very day about my first day of 1st grade. I anxiously fretted that I wouldn't be any good at 1st grade because I didn't know anything. :-) And, so it is with blogging. And photography. But, you know what happens? We end up doing nothing. And, when I do nothing I feel like a caged thoroughbred. So, I'm coming back to my first love. Writing. It's basically just good therapy for a gal who is too timid to be THIS vocal face to face, but don't tell anybody.

In case you didn't know, we live on a small farm in East Texas. We bought the land with visions of grandeur, ten years ago this month. We had high hopes of building a house, planting a bountiful garden, owning cattle some day, and homeschooling our children in a safe environment where I could teach them about Jesus without any cultural interference. The story is too big for one blog post so I'll tell you about the journey as the Lord nudges me from day to day. It won't be in chronological order, you fellow firstborns, but let's step out of our comfort zone.

Blessings from the farm ~