As the 2018 Fall season of pony lessons has come to a (temporary) end, I have many mixed emotions weighing on my heart for this seasonal business venture at the Farmhouse.
On one hand, I am grateful to have more time this winter that I need to reassess our business plan and prepare for our 2019 expansion of the program. I’m also grateful to give Sugarfoot a much needed mental rest for a few months (as well as pursue more training with her to help her become a more balanced lesson pony).
On the other hand, I have been completely overwhelmed with love for this profession and am incredibly sad to have to wait until next Spring to see all of my students and their parents again! I know a lot of you have reached out to me letting me know how much your children miss their weekly riding lessons. That warms my heart more than you realize.
As some of you may or may not be aware, June 2018 was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey with the Little Legs, Big Start Pony Lessons for children at Farmhouse on Five Mile. It is everything and nothing that I expected it would be all at once. I started this business hoping and praying to build up an average of 10 students per week through the remainder of the year. I am excited to report that I ended the 2018 season with 16 total students per week (most being RETURN clients from summer!) with an even greater number of people on a waiting list. In fact, I now have 82 people and growing added to our Farmhouse Enrollment Email Subscription list.
While we dealt with undesirable hot and cold temperatures, rain reschedules, muddy arena footing, and sometimes a stubborn little palomino pony 😉 … YOUshowed up and have given this farmhouse so much love and support that I never knew existed for this little dream of mine. And for that, I cannot thank you and your Little Leg riders enough!!
We have SO many plans for 2019. We are well into the grind of getting the details all worked out. As of now, our plans are to build a brand new COVERED and footed arena (can I get a hallelujah?!)! We also plan to add a new lesson pony or horse to our herd to accommodate more students and offer paired lessons again. Be sure you are following Farmhouse on Five Mile on Instagram and Facebook to see announcements and updates as they occur!
Our expected start next year will be April 2019 and we expect to extend the season to offer riding lessons through November 2019. That means a lot will be happening around here January through March!
As a sincere THANK YOU to all of my 2018 clients, you will be receiving a special gift from Sugarfoot in the mail in December…just in time for Christmas! Be on the lookout for a cute package in your mailbox very soon!
If you and your Little Leg Rider LOVED taking pony lessons with Sugarfoot at Farmhouse on Five Mile, please visit our Facebook page and leave us a review! Doing this helps others see the Farmhouse page and gives a great testimony for future clients who are interested in lessons. Your support for this small, local business means the WORLD to me!
My previous clients should already be on our Farmhouse Enrollment Email List. If you are reading this and you are not on the list – visit the contact tab on the website or click the link above to add your email. This is how sign ups occur for our riding lessons!
All Email Subscribers: Be sure to check out our Small Business Saturday Christmas Special …details coming to your inbox this week!!
I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!
Let’s talk being intentional and learning when to walk away.
A LOT has been happening around here at Farmhouse on Five Mile. A lot of decisions have been made and a lot more to make still. I thought I’d jump on here to update you all thus far.
First, I want to talk about the doormat project that I was supposed to share about a month ago. I wanted to start using #TuesdayTutorials and share fun, simple, DIY projects on the blog. I even wanted to open up guest bloggers to share their projects here! While I am still open for guests to share their DIY tutorials, I had to reevaluate my own desire to pursue this idea. Do you ever question your motives from time to time? Do you ever pose yourself the question, “Am I pursuing this because it truly brings me joy, or because I think that’s what the world will think I’m supposed to do?” It sounds silly coming out like that but you should try it sometime. In fact, you should really start asking yourself this question in everything you do. Are you living the busy, hustle lifestyle because you truly thrive in that way of living or because that’s the world’s expectation that you have placed upon yourself? Do you really love doing DIY projects?? Or, are you like me, where you like the idea of them (and even love pinning them on your Pinterest board) but the thought of going the physical, mental and financial process is absolutely draining. Well, the latter is definitely where I’m at. I’ve realized that I only wanted to start DIY tutorial blog posts on here because I set an unrealistic and worldly expectation upon myself. I started a “Farmhouse Blog,” so that’s what I’m supposed to do….isn’t it? Follow in Joanna Gaines’ footsteps?? Isn’t that pretty much what everyone wants to read about?
No, I don’t have to do that.
In fact, that’s not what my Farmhouse blog is here for.
This is a Farmhouse, lifestyle, Christ-following, simplistic searching blog. This is where I share our adventures, our animals and our projects. It doesn’t mean that I have to force myself to fall in love with “Doing It Myself” all the time. I do love simple projects and it doesn’t mean I won’t ever do a DIY again in my life, but I certainly don’t having a set expectation of what the end result should look like or the expectation I’ve placed on myself that all of my talent and energy has to go into doing projects in order to create something worthwhile in the blogging community. It’s simply not true. I should only pursue those things under the conditions of 1) I actually have the time for it and 2) the process truly brings me joy. Well, #2 is not necessarily true at the moment.
In this revelation, I’ve discovered what brings me even more joy than completing a DIY project: ordering said projects or items from local, small businesses and friends who are talented enough to create said them for me! There is a wonderful satisfaction that comes with supporting someone’s lively-hood and being able to appreciate their talents by purchasing from them. It gives me far more satisfaction through the fact that I can be intentional in supporting in that way instead of draining myself just to get a glimpse of sweat satisfaction. Being intentional in how you spend your time and money does not equate to draining yourself. So, if something is draining you, whether physically or mentally, take the time to first recognize that it is. Second, evaluate why you’re doing it. Set aside what you think you should be doing and start pursuing tasks, hobbies, a career, and a general lifestyle that brings you joy and brings out the very best in you. That, to me, is being intentional. That’s a mindset worth pursuing.
With that said, we’ve also made the decision to discontinue our vegetable garden for the year. We barely even got it started to begin with. Not much planning and execution came with seed starting, planting or keeping weeds away. I had to take a day or so to apply the same concept of being intentional to our gardening. We have a Farmhouse…a farm even! We’re supposed to have a garden!!!! It’s a must!
No, it is not.
Not if you can’t even keep up with cutting your grass on time.
Not when your mind isn’t fully there to be focused on it.
So, we simply decided that this isn’t our year for a garden. My mind is running a million miles a minute in another direction and staying on top of gardening is only hindering and reminding me that I’m failing at it. I don’t need any added self-detrimental thoughts to weigh me down. Plus, there’s an upside to this decision. It’s farmer’s market season!!! I can enjoy fresh, local produce without having to sweat for it and while supporting neighbors in the process. That sounds pretty intentional to me! Now, all of this does not mean that we won’t ever pursue a garden again. I LOVE gardening and it does bring me true joy. But sometimes you need to take a break from even the things you love when your heart isn’t leaving enough room for it. Giving this up for now only means that gardening in the future will be that much more enjoyable and intentional with planning. I’ll be able to come at it with better ideas and better execution.
One last update for you all if you’ve made it this far: I am leaving my corporate job. I’ve been working in Corporate America for the last seven years and I’m finally laying it to rest. I don’t have much to add to that other than this: it’s bittersweet, I will miss the people (maybe not the job itself but definitely will miss the relationships I’ve formed), and I am only looking ahead now. For now, I will try to focus on giving horse lessons and see where God leads me in my life. This is the most uncertain I’ve ever been when it comes to the direction I’m headed for and I am learning to lean heavily on Him.
Farm update: April showers (and apparently April snowfalls) bring May flowers…
Our strawberry patch is looking great and the berries are starting to come in nicely! Hopefully I can beat the birds to them when they’re ready to be picked. I’m thrilled that we succeeded in relocating this patch last October. They look and thrive much better in this spot, next to the old brick smokehouse!
Also in bloom is our Catalpa tree in the front yard. If you’ve read through all my blog posts (and why wouldn’t you?! 😉 ), you might remember me saying that we planted this tree together after our wedding, which was held from the front porch of our farmhouse. In lieu of a unity candle, we poured soil from our parents’ yards into the pot of this tree which is now located in this spot. It’s one of my favorite things to look at as I roll into the driveway. Inch by inch it is growing taller and it’s simply marvelous to witness.
In other news, I have a lot of unknowns in my life at the moment. Unknowns with the security of my current part-time job, unknowns with what the launch of the Little Legs, Big Start Horse Lessons will look like and how I’ll manage this new schedule, unknowns on when projects will get started or completed….somehow I’ve managed to keep calm despite all the uncertainties. I’m battling self-doubt and momentary failures simply with trust in God’s plan for my path. I keep searching and praying for specific answers but at the end of the day I have to truly give my worries to God and rest my head on my pillow in peace, and I don’t even bat an eye with how cliche that might sound to some people. Doing this really helps my days get started with gratefulness and focus on my definite, known blessings: my husband, his jobs that provide for us, this farm, our health, our loved ones…I never want to waste a moment taking these things for granted because I spent too much time worrying about things that are mostly out of my control anyway. No matter what happens, staying positive and picking up the pieces after they fall- they will evidently fall one way or another- is much better than wallowing in a constant state of fear. I also think often about my services and how I can love others around me better when I remember on how much God has blessed me. We shouldn’t make it a law for ourselves but out of desire and intent we can and should be an encouragement to others- every day, every moment, every matter of conversation. I write often about the subject of driving ourselves out of self-doubt, circumstantial stresses, and remembering our blessings- it helps to keep reminding myself- but also because it’s never enough to for us all to keep reminding ourselves this….known…fact.
You are loved and you have a purpose and you can thrive and rejoice in that. And when you cup overflows, you can pour it into others.
So do that. Thrive, rejoice, and pour.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23: 1-6
So, I’m going to make this a thing. Like a real thing.
I know it’s unheard of for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I have commitment issues.
Every Tuesday? That sounds super professional of me. Maybe I’ll surprise us all and stick to that. Disclosure: no promises are being made on this.
I’ll be forming posts like these that show a step-by-step tutorial of projects for the home. It’ll save you time, hopefully money, and might even provide you some laughter with all my “blonde” moments of figuring stuff out in unconventional and completely illogical ways.
If you read my Instagram and Facebook post from last Tuesday (4/3/18), you’ll remember that I mentioned featuring guest posts for these #tuesdaytutorials on my website and social media accounts. If you have a DIY project of your own that you’d love to share, contact me with your ideas and you can have your projects and stories featured here for others to see! All you need are some words explaining the process (humor encouraged), pictures and/or videos, links to supplies for the readers and any information about yourself that you’d like to include (name, website, story…as little or as much about yourself as you want can be included). I’m SO excited for this and I hope you are too. This is a chance for anyone and everyone to dig into their creative side and share it with others. So, get with me!
And now for the curtains…
I have never had a project feel TOO easy before this one. I can assure you that if I can do this (or any project for that matter), you most certainly can as well. It was inexpensive and fairly easy to put together. And it involved zero skills in sewing. I don’t have anything against sewing, but I don’t have one easily accessible, so I’ll leave sewing projects out of these tutorials for now. I’m sure they’ll pop up in the future somehow.
Pictured below is the “before” setting of a corner in our living room. Last Fall, we repainted the living area from a dark brown (yuck) to this brighter grey color (love!).
I sold the pillows even though I loved them because I knew they wouldn’t match and later regretted this decision after realizing I could have just bought cute, burlap pillow covers to zip over them. *Sigh*….this was my first mistake, but fortunately I had another realization that I had 039482039482 pillows in 15 different colors that we have somehow managed to adopt over the years. At some point I will actually go upstairs and get them so I can put pillow covers on them. No one really sits in this chair anyway so I’ll probably get to it in another 5 years or so.
Do you know how hard it is to take quality photos when you constantly have pets in the way? I even vacuumed for this shot and everything. Sheesh.
OKAY. Here is a list of supplies you need and where to get them:
Canvas Painter’s Drop Cloth: I got mine at Menards Home Improvement store, but it was simply because I was there already getting other things. You can easily find this on –> Amazon
Curtain Clips: Again, Amazon . Hint: Click on these links to view the individual items. I am not being sponsored by Amazon and I feel like I’m supposed to say that. I’ll let you know if that ever becomes a thing. Anyway, there are white curtain clips in Amazon land with which I thought was good to know. Also, it is well worth getting the 42-pack of the curtain clips if you plan on putting up similar curtains throughout your home.
Scissors: You can probably find a pair of these in your kid’s crayon box or in the junk drawer you never open.
Dryer: found near the washer in either a dungeon-like basement or a mystical space called, “The Laundry Room.”
Oh, and one more thing to add: you probably want to have measuring tape too. I wanted to make these curtains longer than the old ones because I love the way curtains look when they touch the floor. I was lazy and couldn’t find our measuring tape so I just thought I could line up the drop cloth next to my old curtains, estimate the amount of length needed to add and simply cut. In doing that I found out that the second half of the drop cloth I cut off wasn’t going to be long enough for my window to add a second panel. So now I have to buy an additional drop cloth piece to add my second panel. However, I was still able to use the remaining drop cloth from this pack for another window, so it ended up working out for me fortunately.
You can see the folded edge at the top on the drop cloth in the photo above. I wanted to have a a top layer of this drop cloth folded down as such to create a cozy look. AKA: It’s a trend I saw on Pinterest and I never would have thought to do that by myself.
After the dilemma of no measuring tape, I realized that my drop cloths were super wrinkly (see unevenness and wrinkles in photo below. Yikes!). So the dryer came into play here (above) as I tossed it in and turned on the wrinkle release setting for a few minutes. This works perfect….except for the fact that I probably should have done this before cutting it into two separate panels as both came out with some slight frays on the ends. Oops….oh well. I’m probably the only one who would ever notice that anyway. I don’t think anyone visiting our home is going to judge me for slightly frayed ends (I hope?).
You can see here in the above photo that my unit of measurement is my hand length for folding the top of the drop cloth. I ended up doubling this and making it two hand-lengths folded over before placing the curtain clips on.
How many curtain clips to add?? I had the same question. Answer is: doesn’t really matter- just estimate an even amount of length in between each clip and add at least five per panel to make it look decent. I actually added a total of nine curtain clips for one panel but I may or may not need to subtract some when I eventually add on my second curtain panel. Whatever looks best to you is going to be what you should go with.
BAM. Curtains are finished!! Not touching the floor like I wanted but there are no wrinkles and you can’t even notice the frays. I do somewhat wish that these were white drop cloths rather than that tan/burlap color….but then again, it’s growing on me. If I ever change this (likely) I will have to do another post on that. My goal for our home is to “simplify” the decor. I loved the old curtains but they were honestly just too “noisy” with all the intricate design. At least, they were too much for me.
Y’ALL, I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS POST AS MUCH AS I LOVED CREATING IT!
I have absolutely no idea why it took me so long to publish because this post took approximately 40ish minutes to type up. I hope it was helpful or that you at least found some humor along the way!
Do you have a fun, DIY project you want to feature on my blog?! Please get with me and let’s collaborate!
Maybe it’s a woman thing. Maybe it’s what happens when you find yourself staring up the mountain of purpose and see your dreams looming down at you, seemingly impossible to reach.
But you know what else is hard?
Killing your heart with self-doubt.
Forgetting God’s promises for you.
Destroying your worth and purpose with fear.
They might be easy to do but they sure are hard on the heart.
I’ve been unexpectedly vacant from my farmhouse social media which is a big, “no-no” when you’re trying to operate social media as a business. Every blog or business development workshop you attend will tell you that consistency is key. People won’t know you exist if you don’t give them something to look at, after all.
But then there’s strategies on specifics: specific times of the day to post, how many times in a day or week to post, posting on your stories, using your business stats, the list goes on and on…..
It overwhelms me.
I want this to be an honest place for myself and for my followers. Here’s the honest truth about the reasons why you haven’t really heard from me lately:
There is life to be lived and I need to enjoy the moment entirely by putting down my phone. I’m just not good at being intentional and telling my followers what is happening.
I start to post something and then delete it because I don’t want to fall victim to vanity by seeing how many “likes” and follows it will give me.
My heart is in this entirely, but sometimes it takes more effort than I feel like I can handle to pursue even the things I am very passionate about.
I want substance. I want quality. I want honesty. I want vulnerability in everything I put out here for you guys.
The problem comes when I fill my mind with fear and doubt and guilt. When this happens, I tend to isolate myself. This makes it hard for even the most enthusiastic person to stay focused and motivated on the tasks I need and want to accomplish.
To top it off, it feels like it has been impossible to find someone to relate to.
I’m not a mom so it feels like I can’t relate to any of my friends at the moment because they keep their timeline busy being a mother. My husband’s career is busy and booming and while that makes my heart so happy for him, he also doesn’t quite understand what this feels like either. So it’s really easy to feel alone with these thoughts.
After a much needed phone conversation with one of my closest friends, she reminded me of a simple truth that I continually forget:
I’m not alone.
Jesus is with me every day, even on the days that I choose to ignore him. I am loved. I am understood. I am blessed. I am here in this waiting season for a reason. Nothing is meaningless. Nothing is circumstantial. It is all to bring me closer to Him.
I have come to realize that I have a choice to make on how I want to set my mindset for the day, the week, the year and for the rest of my life.
That might be the biggest sigh of relief: I get to choose.
So, it’s time. It’s time to choose which hard is worth fighting for today.
I no longer choose doubt and guilt and fear. I am choosing joy, hope and determination. It’s going to be hard every day to remember that I can make that choice, but that is far better than the alternative hard.
The following is a quote I read yesterday in a Desiring God article that really helped me. I invite you to read the article for yourself as well. It’s called, “When God Calls You Out.”
“This is the truth that resounds in the depths to which God calls us. He invites us to step out and follow him. To dream. To plan. To build. He invites us to put our hands to work for his name’s sake, not based upon our expertise or know-how or giftedness. He invites us here based upon who he is himself.” -Jonathan Parnell.
The heating bills are piling up high, but so are the plans rising for the Farmhouse in 2018.
Flash back to January 2017: I decided to type up my very first blog post. It was a decision I had thought about for a while but with no real set destination in mind. I just knew that I liked writing and I was somewhat good at it.
Fast forward to January 2018: I’ve learned SO much about blogging. One of the more essential aspects of growing a blog is networking and creating undeniably great content. Now I have an updated vision for the blog from this newfound research…to make it a career. I’ve come to realize that this writing thing I do doesn’t have to be simply, “something I do.” In fact, this can be an essential and primary part of what I do as I integrate into a self-sufficient/home-making/homesteading lifestyle. The key is this: YOUR support…which has already been so great! Every time you click on the website, subscribe (<— that’s a link, by the way) with your email, share and make comments on all the platforms- YOU are making the difference, thus keeping this dream alive. And for that I’d like to not only thank you from the bottom of my heart, I’d like to actually do more for you in return.
This year I am setting out to create blog posts that are more centered on farmhouse related projects (don’t worry- I’ll still include my deep-thinking/Christ-centered/story-telling posts, for those of you who love that style of writing). This will include home renovations and Farmhouse DIY decor trends. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m willing to bet that the DIY projects you save on your dream boards- but never really set out to do- is because you probably don’t think you can actually, “Do it yourself.” You might think a project looks too pricey or you simply don’t have the time to put the effort in. Who wants to surf through all the pop-up ads to actually read the tutorial, anyway?
To add more fun and action into those dreamy projects we all crave, I’ll be documenting the whole process on social media and creating an ultimate one-stop blog tutorial here. These posts will be a breakdown of what, where and how much you need in time, money and motivation for your unique DIY masterpieces.
In sum, my trial and error madness methods will be for your benefit! My crazy mistakes and amateur attempts will end up saving you time and money…and I promise there won’t be any weight-loss-pill-to-reduce-belly-fat type of ads to interfere.
So, would you like to know what the first Farmhouse on Five Mile DIY project is?
Drum roll please…
DIY FARMHOUSE CURTAINS!
Just about every room in our farmhouse needs curtains- but especially the living room and master bedroom. More on this topic later, but be sure to follow Farmhouse on Five Mile on Instagram and Facebook for the announcement of when the first official blog post will be!
I’d also like to update you on the frequently asked-about: Horseback Riding Lessons at the Farmhouse. I am SO excited that so many of you are eager to get their kiddos and yourselves signed up for this! I am just as eager to get it started- however, I am unwilling to cut corners to get there. We are slowly but surely working out the details for a brand-new, footed, outdoor arena. We actually just had someone out two weeks ago to come look at our location and we are eagerly waiting to hear back about the cost for this addition. Spring 2018 is when I would like to get the program started, but we are at the mercy of the weather as the ground needs to be pretty dry for the arena to be built. Please pray for us as we continue to work on this. It has been somewhat daunting with how long it is taking to get there- but I have an incredible feeling that it is going to be so worth it.
I have some Farmhouse Arena Fundraising ideas in the back of my mind to help jump-start this much anticipated lesson program. Want to know more on that? I’ll be blogging about those thoughts in the near future. Be sure to add your email (<— another link here!) so I can add your name to my list of people who are eager to be in-the-know and up-to-date on all the fun plans unfolding for Farmhouse on Five Mile!
Sometimes you need to be reminded of how beautiful you are.
Your flaws are easy to see and your progress even harder to show, but don’t worry. You are your own worst critic when it comes to your imperfections.
Stand tall, dear Farmhouse. You are growing older by the day but you are as sturdy as strong. They don’t make many houses like you these days. You were built with endurance in mind…handcrafted by an artist that put much thought into how to help you withstand time. Like a fine wine, you only age beautifully.
You are not defined by your lack of shiplap and white cabinets. You are all the best parts of you that make you unique to the world.
You are the walls that have sobbed and laughed with all the faces that walk by you.
You are the floors that have held the weight of many who felt like they couldn’t hold themselves together.
You are the front door that welcomes everyone to feel like they’re right at home.
You are the sunset that kisses your rooftop goodnight.
That pine tree standing even taller than you is a daily reminder that your broken window in the back is a much smaller problem than what most have to face in this world. There are homes in many states and countries crumbling under the damaging weather, fires, and floods. But not you. You have withstood throughout it all.
Don’t be afraid to strive for better…for greatness. It’s okay to aim for your highest potential. One day, your walls will match. Your furniture will compliment your smile. You will proudly wear your curtains as they hug you and you will never doubt yourself or your purpose here.
And as you wonder in these middle days of figuring it all out, I hope you know how loved you are. You are never forgotten or set aside.
Think of how proud your builder would be today that you made it this far.
I imagine they were completely satisfied when they laid down their hammer for the last time and looked up at you through the sweat and blood.
My letter to my Farmhouse.
My letter to me.
“For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses- as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” Hebrews 3: 3-6