The Simple Truth About The Simple Life

As far away as the sun prefers to be, it decided to set a much closer to earth that Sunday evening. Maybe even just for me in that moment. It’s unusually warm for February in Ohio and the golden light compliments just how good it feels. Holly has left her pile of hay in the pasture to come sniff me hello and is now on her way to the paddock where Michael stands leaning against the fence. They share something in silent conversation while the cat intertwines between my legs. I’ll pick him up and hold him like I would a newborn baby until he wants back down again. The dogs are off somewhere, chasing either nothing or each other.

I take a deep breath and once again am reminded of the simple, undeserving life that I have been blessed with.

wp-image-271333527jpg.jpg

I’ve been away from the blog for a few weeks as I’ve been trying to figure out some details in my life…like why I can’t manage to focus on one thing at a time instead of fifty, or why I feel like I don’t have time for anything but yet somehow have time to check my social media news-feeds. So the overwhelming self-detriment has consumed my thoughts enough to make me feel like I have nothing to offer right now…nothing new, exciting, or original to share for anyone. I managed to reflect on this for an extended amount of time, decided that it was derived out of selfishness, and put my thoughts into words.

Am I the only one who yearns to live simply?

When I think of a simplistic lifestyle, the first word that comes to my mind is minimalism. Few possessions, little debt (if any), and a larger emphasis on quality over quantity. I mean…I don’t really need 15 pairs of shoes just waiting to be worn in the closet. What I really need is a smaller, sturdy selection that will walk longer miles with me. And when I yearn for, “the simple life,” I imagine a peaceful summer day watering the garden, brushing down the horses, and settling down in the hammock for my daily hour of reading and journaling. I lie to myself, though, when I think of this as the simple life I’ve been craving. The truth is, lately my heart has yearned for, “the easy life”- the one with minimal heartache, minimal financial stresses and minimal pain. I know better than to think this is achievable, but sometimes I just need reminded of the things I already know as my forward-thinking and past-holding mindset overrules me almost daily. I frequently need reminded of the simple truth about finding simplicity in my life: peace.

It’s easy to find it when your life is sailing along smoothly, but where does peace go when the waves come crashing down? I like to tell myself that I’ll keep it in my pocket and save it for the rainy days. Next thing you know I’m staring at fifteen piles of dirty laundry on the floor trying to remember exactly which pair of jeans I was wearing when I said that. I’ve recognized that there’s a large part of me that instinctively convinces myself it’s that smooth-sailing ship that I need to get back on- or that I just need to keep treading the water for the one that’s ahead of me…I’ll settle for any kind of smooth-sailing ship some days.

I started thinking about the common denominator in all my circumstances.

It’s me. It’s, “self.”

Instead of wishing for the hardships in my life to get easier, to change or to simply disappear- I have to remind myself to instead pray for strength to endure them, for patience to wait for the Lord, and for humility to get me off my high-horse. We are guaranteed sufferings- all of us. Maybe it’s time to instinctively pray for our hearts to feel as much intensity with peace as it does with the burdens. When you really start to accept every “bad” thing in your life as much as you do all the good, you will suddenly start appreciating everything that has ever happened, that is happening, or that ever will. No matter what it is. Instead of wishing they wouldn’t exist you’ll start asking, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” or better yet, “How can I use this to help others?” Not only will you find the peace you are (knowingly or unknowingly) looking for, but you will also find yourself being the person you have always wanted to be: forgiving, accepting, caring, loving, empathetic, proactive, serving, and selfless. Putting my eternal lenses on has helped me realize more each day that these hardships aren’t about me (and truthfully, neither are the rewards). The moment I start to reflect in the, “Why me?” train of thought, I just as soon realize the selfishness that comes with thinking that way.

I can contribute this simple yet profound realization to the like-minded people surrounding me and worshiping with me, the ongoing support of my husband, and that particular Sunday evening on the farm with our animals. Is there truth in believing that God created these companion animals to portray a genuine, tangible picture of selflessness? One that cannot be compared to what we offer as humans? Their genuine nature has formed me into the “animal person,” I am today. How blessed are we to be given this farm and to give them a home with us?! It’s a very simple, overlooked thought but I see it clearly when I slow down enough to take it all in. There’s a wonderful feeling of serenity when I find myself perfectly okay with getting my white shirt dirty after brushing off the horse or playing fetch with muddy dogs and manicured nails. I imagine that is what “home” feels like for a lot of people in their own ways.

So go home today, read your Bible, pray and ask for humility, love your family, hug your dog and take a deep breath. All in that order. The simple blessings in your life should be profound enough to make you inhale a little peace and exhale a lot of your worries.

The simple life is found in your blessings.

Advertisements

ReJoyce for Jam

“Many are the Plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

I have that verse on my personal Instagram profile to remind myself that no matter what plans or dreams or goals I set for myself, it does not compare to what the Lord has planned for my purpose here.

Many who know me would agree (some with rolling eyes) that my thoughts on the big life question, “what I want to do with my life” looks different about every 6 months. I am a dreamer of being the all-around gal. The one who masters life at home, life with friends, life with family, life as an equestrian, life as a money-making wife…it’s never good enough if I can’t have 50 things to cross off of my to-do list. I am great with coming up with new ideas and terrible at following through. I always think of exciting ventures to research and when the overwhelming reality sinks in that it isn’t exactly logical or easy to accomplish, I push that thought away and work towards a newer or seemingly better idea. And while there are many great attributes of myself that I fully embrace…this one kinda sucks. Who wants to live their life constantly wishing their life away? I realize more and more everyday that the Lord does not want that for me.

My grandmother’s name is Joyce, hence the reason of the featured photo being spelled, “ReJoyce” instead of, “Rejoice.” Let me diverge a little on those thoughts above and share some memories I have of her. Trust me, I’m a blogger now. I’ll find a way to bring it all back together by the end of this post.

Summers as a child were best spent at The Farm. My cousins and I never really called it, “Grandma and Grandpa’s house,” it was simply The Farm. The 200-year old white farmhouse sits on 60 acres of woods and hay fields and is complimented with crooked floors and the longest set of stairs leading to the one, single bathroom of that big place. Most of my memories didn’t happen inside that farmhouse though. It happened on the land it stood on. Trail riding the horses was probably everyone’s favorite activity but the fun didn’t stop there. We went swimming in the pool, taught each other how to skip rocks in the creek, chased lightning bugs, made hot dogs over the campfire, and huddled close together in the camper to keep each other warm. I love all my cousins. We still see each other periodically but we can all agree that we were inseparable back then. We all lived for that summer life. Our all-time favorite request from Grandma was to saddle up the horses, grab some buckets, and go pick mulberries from the trails for her. We always happily obliged and we never stopped ourselves from a juicy snack on the ride back to the barn.

20160228_132906

If Grandma wasn’t in her garden, she was talking about it or making something in the kitchen from her pickings. I vividly remember picking green beans with her in the garden, shucking corn in the kitchen, then hauling out buckets of corn shucks to toss over the fence for the horses. I always thought it was either crazily coincidental or completely intentional that she was born on Earth Day. She always seemed her happiest growing plants and feeding the hummingbirds…and making very sugary lemonade.

Every Christmas for some odd years, Grandma has used the mulberries picked earlier in the year to make mulberry jam for everyone in the family. She doesn’t pour it in fancy mason jars with cute burlap tags. It comes in those plastic containers that are probably used to hold butter in its former life. Her scribble handwriting names the flavor of the jam and the date she made it on. I never truly have taken the time to savor the flavors of them. They have always been good and have brought fond childhood memories but I didn’t start to appreciate them until she stopped making them.

This past Christmas (2016) Grandma was not able to make jam for everyone like she has done in previous years. For the sake of her privacy I won’t go into details, but the last year or so has been spent in and out of the hospital and a lot of unanswered questions. Needless to say she hasn’t had the time nor the energy for making jam. She was fortunately able to spend Christmas at The Farm and the family even got together to help decorate the tree and make cookies like we used to do. Bless her heart though-she still wanted to get everyone Christmas gifts. She insisted that my mom take her out shopping to help her pick out gifts even though mom told her she didn’t need to do that, but that’s just how big her heart is.

I knew before Christmas time that the likelihood of getting some of Grandma’s mulberry jam was slim due to the circumstances. What is that typical saying? You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. “Well, if Grandma can’t make jam this year, I guess it’s about time I learn how to make it.” There’s another new and exciting idea to add to my to-do list, #67 probably. Truth be told I had already planned to make some anyway. As I was picking strawberries with my dear friend Krista at Blooms & Berries Farm Market and Garden Center on a crisp and sunny Wednesday morning, I recall telling her another one of my crazy newer ideas to make jam with these berries because it reminded me of my Grandmother. So, guess what? I actually followed through with this one.

blog2

First off, if you didn’t get any strawberry jam from me this past Christmas, I’m sorry. I really am blessed to know that many people to the point of not having enough to make for everyone but I decided on a select group of people to be my taste-testers: members from our church (not all….I said I’m sorry!), co-workers, some close family and friends, and definitely Grandma Joyce. I’m sure I threw my mother off by calling her in the middle of the week during the busy Holiday season to ask  for her help on this but she happily agreed. She told me that Grandma’s eyes lit up when she told her that I wanted to make jam for Christmas. Then we proceeded with my first ever jam making experience.

I won’t go into details with a how-to tutorial as there are plenty of Pinterest pins already to help you with that. What I will tell you is that it was a lot of fun and that my mom is a total natural. I brought all the ingredients and equipment over to her house, used my frozen strawberries that I picked back in June, and ordered adorable labels from Etsy to put on the lids. Another important detail: pound cake with whipped cream, topped with this jam is in fact Heaven on earth.

instabox_2017117123957948

So here’s another crazy, seemingly better, new idea of mine that I want to pursue: grow a strawberry garden of my own. Here’s another one: make strawberry jam to sell. I’ve had a lot of great feedback from my taste-testers encouraging me with how great their jam was. I’ve also done some research on how to get a garden started, caring for it, the different types of berries with pros and cons and all that fun stuff. We have a few perfect spots on our property to get this underway and I am really excited to get started on it this Spring! Which, of course, I will keep everyone updated on. Who knows where this will go or what it will end up being for me, whether it be just a hobby or a small business on the side. I have to let go of my intentions when it comes to that part of it and let it be whatever it’s meant to be.

In the meantime I am planning to make more jam (in larger jars) to practice and perfect the jam making process. Would you be interested in buying some? Leave me a comment to let me know! But besides merely perfecting at art of jam making, this is also a way for me to raise money for our future farm improvements. There are some exciting projects ahead that I want to pursue for Farmhouse on Five Mile and making strawberry jam is just one of them. If you want to buy jam from me now, I can’t give you the uniqueness of making it with berries of my own soil (yet) but I can promise that it’s going to be delicious and that the money will go towards something that I believe the Lord might be leading me to. I can’t WAIT to share more with you on what that project is…when the time is right.

This could all totally not work out for me to be completely honest. That’s always the scary thing about new ideas. The garden could very well be a disaster. The jam might not turn into what I think it could be. I can plan and plan and plan all I want for this and anything else, but I have to remember to keep my mind open and my eyes peeled for whatever the Lord has in store for me.

I know there is purpose in my season of waiting. Always.

Yours Truly,

Kelsey Moeller

 

 

New Year, New Blog

“Have you ever considered being a writer?”

I blankly stared at my college class mate from across the room after she asked me a question no one had ever inquired about before. Our desks were all gathered in a circle to face each other for our group discussion that day for Journaling class. I had thoroughly enjoyed taking it as an elective, mostly for the fact that it was a breeze compared to my other science and math courses.  One of our first journal assignments had a very simple prompt that we had to journal about at home and discuss as a group, “Who am I?”

Such a vague question. I was 19 years old, heartbroken, taking “General Education” courses that I absolutely dreaded, and had a total of about $200 to my name. I had no idea who I was.

And yet, as I read my journal entry aloud for 15 strangers to ponder and judge, they all made me feel like a writer that day.

Fast forward to now: I am 26 years old, married to the love of my life, fur-mama to the cutest animals on the face of this earth (I’m sure of it), and a homeowner. And as of this moment now, I am also a blogger.

2014nov10_6613

I can attribute my desire to start a blog to a number of reasons. Remembering that day in my college Journaling class is one of them. My song-writing husband has definitely fueled my love for words over the years. But my biggest inspiration has been no-other than this old Farmhouse on Five Mile.

Just like my own soul, it has character. Just like my own inward and outward appearance, it is ever-changing and growing. It has memories and flaws and a uniqueness I can somehow relate to. It’s not dreamy, it’s not spotless, it is definitely not perfect. But it is beautiful.

cropped-2014nov10_6205-copy1.jpg

I could write out countless paragraphs to sum up who I am now and where I’m headed (or at least where I think I’m headed…we never really know, do we?), but something tells me you’ll figure all that out in my future blog posts. Something tells me I’m going to love all the people who want to follow along this journey with me.  New projects like finding the perfect coffee bar to feed my coffee addiction, building a new farmhouse dining room table, selecting the perfect paint color for our bathroom, and planting our very first fruit and vegetable garden…these are all projects in the works. I think in time, as you willingly (hopefully?) follow my homeowner/fur-mama/pursuit-of-being-a-business-owner/wife-of-a-musician/Jesus-following journey, you’re going to fall in love with this farmhouse too.

New year, new beginnings, new journey, new me, new blog.

2017 is for the dreamers, wouldn’t you agree?

Yours Truly,

-Kelsey Moeller