“I don’t know what lies around the bend,
but I’m going to believe that the best does.”
~Anne of Green Gables
I have blogged only twice in the past two years, and life has changed a lot during the passing of that time. I’ve discovered that for the most part, for me, growing and changing and grieving is best done offscreen. Yet, at the same time, I have had a nagging sense that I miss writing, a sense that I needed to find my way back.
Several months ago I traded beef in exchange for web-design with a talented gal I know. I desired to shut down my blog and create a website using a domain name (goodgiftsfarm.com) with a slightly more polished presentation, but to what ends, I wasn’t sure, and am still not. It has been completed for 6 months, yet I have felt paralyzed to begin again. It felt like my re-start should be monumental and meaningful, but (spoiler alert), it’s not. I just simply experienced something that felt like a bridge between the hard times and the healing and I thought I’d take the opportunity to plunge back in. So with that: Welcome to my brand new website: goodgiftsfarm.com. If you’d like to receive updates in your inbox, please click the Subscribe button on the right column and enter your email.
Sunday, I stepped out of the shower to get ready for church and Caleb announced, “We have a calf!” I shrieked in delight, threw on my robe and ran out to the pasture. I definitely knew our heifer Cocoa was close to calving, but I did not see the typical signs that she was that close. When I saw a beautiful, healthy bull calf standing next to his mama, I breathed a sigh of relief. He was born and I didn’t have to stand vigil with my finger on speed-dial to the farm vet in an anxious panic, as I’ve done during every previous calving.
(As a side note, every aspiring farm-girl should have a neighbor that she can text close-up pictures of her calf’s private bits to in order to confirm gender. My cow-savy neighbor agreed with my assessment: definitely a bull calf! I’ll spare you that picture.)
This gift of life, and the sweetness of it’s arrival without stress, and even it being a bit of a surprise, contrasted sharply with my experience one year ago. My mom was in her final stages of ovarian cancer and my brother and his family were staying with us, basically as a last chance for my mom to be with her entire family.
During that visit, our cow Nutmeg went into labor around 6 am one morning. Caleb excitedly woke us all and the 11 of us lined the fence expectantly. After an hour of pushing and us being fairly certain that things were not as they should be, we sent the kids, who were pretty bored by this time, off to have breakfast.
After a very long, excruciating process of Nutmeg pushing and Caleb pulling, the calf was born dead. It had simply been too large for her. Nutmeg was an Irish Dexter, which is a small cow breed, and she really only should have been bred with her own kind or another very small breed. We had our doubts about the size of the bull but decided to roll the dice as breeding our cows is such a headache (really, I cannot overstate what a pain this aspect of farm life is) and our neighbors had brought in a bull they were kindly willing to let us use. Sadly, a couple months later we ended up having to put Nutmeg down as a result of complications from that birth. (If you follow me on Instagram you may remember a [tasteful, I hope] post about a prolapsed rectum and uterus. Yep, that’s a thing and I [lightly] assisted the vet putting it back in place. However, it didn’t last and she couldn’t be saved. Shame on us!! We definitely learned our lesson.)
Last summer was a blur of heartache and loss and hard decisions, and the anticipated arrival of new life seemed like a bright spot – something to look forward to and something to point to and say, “See, there will be life.” But there wasn’t life, not then. That calf’s death was hard for me to reconcile with what I expected and hoped for. I cried all day.
But now, from the place where I stand in my pasture a year later, watching Cocoa lick her little white-faced boy and hearing him nurse with greedy slurps and attempt to frolic on unsteady legs, I realize that as Eclessiastes 3 says, there truly is a time for everything:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Last summer was the time to die and weep and mourn. It seems fitting, now, that the calf did not survive. Birth and laughter and dance have slowly returned and it feels that much sweeter because of the experience of life without it. And today that little bull calf reminds me: indeed, there will be life.
Love it! Well said and written! ❤️You!
Wonderfully written Kara.
Kim, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I so appreciate your encouragement. Love you too, Friend.
Such a beautiful post! I love that you’re writing again. It might just be the inspiration I need to dive back in as well. Keep it coming!
Thank you for your encouragement, Chenoa. I would love to see you start writing again. I know you have a lot of valuable things to say that many people need to hear. I appreciate you reading and commenting.
Love this! 💗
Kristin, I know you’ve had your own loss recently. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
Was just today listening to a sermon series on Ecclesiastes and then I read your beautifully written post. Always interesting how the Lord can use our words, sometimes in ways you don’t realize! I’ve so enjoyed your writing in the past and so look forward to reading more!
Beth, I so appreciate hearing from you on here! I feel honored that God would use me to dovetail on something you were already pondering. I hope you and your sweet family are well.
Yay! I’ve missed your blogs! Beautiful start to your new website. Seriously, you are the only person who gets me teary over farm animals! 😉
Kari, you have the gift of encouragement. Thank you!!!
To start back up with a bang would have felt terribly jolting considering the tender condition your heart has been in this past year. This is a beautiful entrance point. The older I get, the more I appreciate just stepping into a new season without announcement or fanfare. Lovely to see you writing again.
Tara, thank you for your sweet, thoughtful comment. I appreciate the encouragement, and will never forget your beautiful flower and how they (and you) ministered during our time of need.
Beautiful share! Love that you’re loving your farm! And love that you’re writing
Thank you, Friend. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment and encourage.
Amen Sister/Daughter Kara! I celebrate new life in all of these forms and am so glad you are writing your inspired and real impressions 🙂 PTL the author and finisher of life and faith!!!
Thank you for your encouragement, Mary Lynn. I so appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.
Thank you, Kara. Writing is healing for you, that is evident.
Polly, thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate the encouragement.
Kara – I went to CCC & ACC (now ACU) with your parents. I have recently discovered your beautifully written blog posts. Thank you for sharing your inner-most thoughts with both close friends and (potentially) total strangers alike. We all can benefit from your insights and apply the lessons you have learned to our own lives. You’re words have touched my heart!
Dianna, I love hearing from people who knew my mom. I miss her so much. I am honored you would take the time to read my blog and then encourage me with such kind words. Thank you.