farming, marriage, writing

The Budget and The Schedule

If you were to take a wild guess, what do you think the budget & the schedule have in common?

Stress? Maybe…not the answer I was looking for though.

I think the budget & the schedule, if considered together, will clearly reveal our priorities. Where we spend our time and our money shows who or what we value. I’ve been considering this in my own life as I talk about wanting to be a writer, wanting success in business, being a wife, a mother, a friend, a follower of Christ, a horse lover, running a little farm, being a homeschooler, and more.

I looked at my last two weeks of spending – when I had extra cash, when I had extra on the debit card, where was I spending my money? My last two weeks of spending look like farm goodies, farm goodies, farm goodies, and bowling. And a few more farm goodies. Animal feed (so much animal feed). I don’t buy the kids a lot of stuff/toys, and since we’ve moved to the new house, we aren’t eating out very often. School is on the spending list, and I have to watch it, I love books/curriculum and will buy stuff that we will barely (read: never) use.

I looked at my schedule during the same two weeks – what was I filling up the majority of my time with, and what was I using the small chunks of time for? Well, the majority of my time was split between work, farm projects and schooling the two littles. I spend time doing chores and milking Shimmy twice a day. I have been working hard to make sure I am cooking dinners these days instead of grabbing take out all of the time. (Easier to do when take out is so many miles away.) What really got my attention was my small chunks of time – 5 or 10 minutes, here or there. Those windows of time were wasted, gone forever, sucked away by social media – and the worst part is, I’d get my 5 or 10 minute fix, and often find the wind knocked out of my sails. Sometimes, it was because people can be offensive and blasting offense on FB is the norm. Sometimes, it was the ugly voice of comparison that would say “look at what that mom is doing with/for her kids” “look at what that family did together” “look at what that wife and husband did together/for each other” “look at” “look at” “look at” – and my head would spin, and I could go from best day ever status, and crash into “nothing is quite good enough” misery. Often, my 5-10 minute break would turn into 45 minutes – seriously altering how much I could accomplish in a given day.

With the budget, the glaring thing that I realized I was missing was anything that said, “First, I serve God,” in fact, there was no trace of serving God in how my money was spent. None. I about choked on that reality, because it hasn’t always been the case. And I prayed, and I prayed. And I came to the realization, I’d rather die penniless & serve God with everything I have – money, time, talent – and not just lip service, than to live in filthy riches, ignoring Him or His commands for my life. (Not that we live in filthy riches, by the way.)

Together, the budget and the schedule pointed out a few things I can do better for the kids – but I am honestly okay not giving them everything in the world. I want them to work for things, too. I want them to feel accomplished when they’ve worked hard and earned something, and I don’t believe spoiling them does that. I did notice that while my husband and I are together many hours of every day, we don’t do anything intentional for us or our relationship. No date night. No put the kids to bed early and talk night. No devotional together. Things are easy between us right now, but they haven’t always been. I know spending intentional time together helps us stay on the same page. I’d like to see us weather the good, the bad, and the ugly together, with God. My time does reveal at least some service to God – I believe He calls us to home school, and that He called us into the business we are in, to be a light in our community and serve others.

I can’t say my priorities are one thing, and then spend my time and money somewhere else. Or say something is important, only to brush is off to catch the next episode of:______________. I don’t want to offer lip service to my God, who has carried me through more than I can put to words.

I’m going to make small shifts, and I’m going to put my money where my mouth is (well, not literally), and spend my time on what matters. I know it will take focus, and changing small bad habits into good ones. I started with removing social media from my phone to break that time-waster. I’m getting up early to write. I made a shift in the budget. I’m going to talk to Mr. Wonderful about a devotional or bible reading plan on YouVersion. But it’s going to be the long haul that shows the fruit of these changes – not just the first few hours/days.


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farming, horses, People

Look a Little Deeper

Risky reminds me of a lesson I learned years ago, as a young girl with horses. We had a bay mare, named Socks, who came to us in poor condition. Her frogs were rotten, and she had quarter cracks that were bloody. Her coronets were excessively scarred, and those are just the problems we could readily identify.

Several years later, we had a young palomino gelding, Dreamer, who couldn’t catch a left lead – not in the round pen, not under saddle, and not running around in the pasture.

With Socks, we solved the issues we could see and identify, but we were new to horses, and I believe we never helped her as much as she needed. Lord knows we tried, we just didn’t know to look for some underlying issues. My brother worked hard, under Mom’s supervision, to get her frogs to grow back. With the help of some good farriers (and a few setbacks with not-so-good ones) we got her quarter cracks healed. It wasn’t until after we parted ways with her that we learned about chiropractic care for horses.

The chiropractor was exactly what Dreamer needed. With his spine aligned, and a properly fit saddle, he could easily catch a left lead – under saddle, in the round pen, and in the pasture!

Risky started acting a little crazy when we moved her – I think the combination of weather, hormones, and change in environment got the best of her. All of those things combined sometimes make it hard to show self control, for animals and their human counterparts.

Sometimes we see the bad attitude, the disrespect, the shaking fist, flying finger, or hear a nasty word, but we don’t always know the underlying cause. Often times, the people in our own home are carrying a burden we haven’t noticed, or they are feeling a pain that they haven’t mentioned. We see this often in our blended family – the effects of going back and forth from one home to the next, and the changes in rules, trying to be involved in two completely separate schedules, and trying to remember clothes, shoes, jackets, toys, all of these things add up and wear on kids. (And this is just if there is no nastiness or hate being spread/forced from the other family. That adds a whole new dimension of wear and tear.)

I see it in my husband, too. He doesn’t like to complain, so sometimes instead of saying, “My ________ hurts, I smacked it on the wheel lift,” he gets a little short. I do it, especially if I get hungry! It can be the hardest to show grace to the people we love and live with, and my prayer is that God would show me all the grace they give me, and that His grace would flow through me. I’ve been struggling with it a lot lately. I don’t like coming down on the people I love best with a critical attitude, it’s one of the things I do that bothers me the most.

Considering all of this, causes me to consider the driver that cut me off, the cashier that was rushing me and not very nice, the server that didn’t make it back to fill up my sweet tea, and many of the other people I encounter. What are they facing that is making their day harder, and how can I be a blessing as opposed to being another hurdle in their day?

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This is Dreamer, and his daughter, Sunny. They are both enjoying life not too far from where I grew up.

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farming, horses, Things I Enjoy


One of the early things having Risky in our lives reminded me (and came up again today, in the dreary, drippy weather) is how much I learned from having horses. We hadn’t had her home for too many days, when we found ourselves taking care of her in yucky weather.

I grew up with a younger sister, and a variety of pets. Always having someone to look out for and take care of taught me a lot. (And I also look back and shake my head at the times I didn’t take care of things the right way, especially with my sister.)

One lesson that sticks with me, whether I have pets or not, before I became a mother, and since I’ve started the journey of motherhood, before I had stepsons, and even now with two stepsons that I adore, is determination. See, it takes a special something, deep inside someone, to get through the grimy days, the rainy days, the messy days. As I trudged through the mud, and the rain drenched me from the top of my head down, and drops ran off the end of my nose, I found some small joy in it. I thanked God for carrying me through the times I can’t walk, and for being there for the times I can – whether or not I see or notice, or want Him there.

And I’m thankful that I learned, from a young age, to do what it takes to get the job done. It may not be easy, and it may not always be fun, but it is worth it.

I am learning to be more determined and focused on taking care of our home – not just letting the messes pile up from day-to-day, but actually taking care of things as they come up. It’s not always easy, especially with 3 toddlers underfoot, but we are getting it done. One day at time.

Being so aware of how much my responsibilities shaped me as a young girl has made me push my kids harder and focus on handing over responsibilities that they are big enough for. I don’t want them to miss out on the lessons that have proven to be incredibly valuable to me in my adult life. They all learn so much from helping, having a job to do, and accomplishing something. And hopefully, these rainy feeding days will teach them to trudge through the mud, to do what needs to be done, so that when the sun is shining, we can play!


(Risky, all wet, and a view of the big mess she used to make with her hay.)