Thanks To My Dad, I Am Not A Racist

With Father’s Day coming up, I thought about a gift of a t-shirt or coffee mug- you know the usual. But then things erupted around us concerning the issue of racism. I decided that the best gift I could give my dad would be my words.

To be honest, my dad was a train wreck in many ways. He would never have one an award based on being a father. These words will not come as a surprise, he knows this. We have talked about it and he has apologized and most importantly, many of those bad behaviors do not occur any longer.

But the thing he got right, like really nailed it- was race and gender. We will save the gender issue for another day but it deserves a mention here. Never in all my days growing up, and I spent a lot of time with him in the shop tearing down engines and helping him rebuild those engines (yes, me a girl knew an engine inside and out by the time I was 12), did I ever hear my dad judge a person based on skin color, ethnicity, or gender.

My mom tells the story of when they were first married she made a racist comment, probably one she heard growing up, and my dad told here never to say that again. He said that wasn’t allowed in our house. And just like that, my mom stopped.

This is why I say that because of him, I am not a racist. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have grown up just like the generations before me. I heard the word “n” word plenty and it always turned my stomach because of the bitterness behind it. But that word was never used in my home. I was never tempted to use it and I knew early on that it was not okay- even if people who I loved said it. That wasn’t allowed in our house.

Perhaps, what is a child hears in the home carries far more weight than what is said in the culture around them.

Or, what a child doesn’t hear. My dad and I never had a discussion about this. I learned from his actions and words- both said and unsaid.

He came from East Texas. He may have carried thoughts and attitudes of racism but he didn’t give them a voice and they died without light and air and recognition. I do not carry that baggage that he never handed me.

As I watch with repulsion the acts of racism, I feel a bit helpless. There are big problems in the world. How can I impact such a huge thing? Me, as one person, can’t actually do a lot on a national or global scale.

BUT, what I can do is decide what is allowed in our house. I raised four humans who do not judge a person based on their color, gender, or ethnicity. They, in turn will raise the next generation that know a human’s worth is not based on skin color or heritage or gender. If we all would focus on our own home, society would be fixed. If we all focused on our own home, the world would get better. Matters of the heart cannot be fixed with legislature. Matters of the heart must be fixed at home with Jesus.

That is another thing we did in our home- faith was central. No where close to perfect, but it gave me the foundation to build my life on the Rock and not the shifting sands of culture or society,

My dad was key in that, as well.

I am living proof that one person can stop racism from infecting the next generation, and the next one, and the next one, and on and on.

Thanks to my dad, I am not a racist.

Thank you Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

How To Keep Fear Out of Your Joy

As I was talking with my therapist the other day, we were discussing how I, as an individual, and we, Tony & I, are in a really good place.  I agreed and mentioned that we were a little anxious in moments that the “other shoe was going to drop.”  She stated that we can never know what the future will bring.  The only thing we can do is be resilient.

Now, having been through a tornado destroying our home and business, I understand the need to be resilient.  But I hadn’t really thought of it in this tense.  So, that night I was pondering (an old fashioned southern word for deep thought) this as I was going to sleep  it hit me.  The only way to live, like really LIVE to embrace. it. all.

To do this is to accept that:

The shoe will drop.

The rug will be pulled out from under you.

Life will happen and some of it WILL hurt.

But what you WILL NOT accept is the fear of the future or fear’s ugly cousin, dread of what might happen to steal your JOY from this happy moment.

I will not let dread or fear of what is coming or not coming steal my joy in the really good place.  I will let my joy run FREE. I will soak up every nuance of this season.  I will be grateful for every walk on the beach, every stroll down our historic neighborhood, every kiss from my grand-babies, every smile from my husband.  I will gobble it all up like a sumo wrestler at an all you can eat buffet.

Then, when the bumps come- even if the bump in the road is filled with heartache- I will have no regrets.  These moments I am enjoying right now will be what sustain me when the road is hard.

I will be so busy being grateful that there is no room for fear.

I will be so busy being happy that dread cannot steal a bit of joy.

The other shoe will drop...

Faith & Farm

summer squash

As a blogger friend posted about the rain and hay making- which can be very dicey- it occurred to me that anyone who farms has so much to contend with on a day to day basis.  There is the weather, insects that destroy, insects that help, insects that are neither and the job of telling them apart, animal husbandry, fatigue and the list goes on.  Where do we find the strength to keep at it?  Where does one go for help for these things such as weather for which there is no control?

For me my faith in God and my Bible are my mainstays.  Many would scoff at this and that is ok.  I simply cannot deny what my Creator does for me in my life- I have seen to much to be dissuaded.  Some who may share my Christian faith will think what follows is mystical hog wash and that is ok, too.  Again, I have seen the proof in my life and on my farm, in my kids and  I know that this works.

 

 

It is all in our perspectives with which we view our world.  If we deny that we have an enemy- we see the world and what happens to us in one of two ways.

1. I must be blowing it- or

2. God is holding out on me.

Neither are true.  We were born into a world at war, good versus evil.  God versus Satan.  The good news is that God wins.  I have come to the conclusion that the enemy hates gardens and farms- especially organic ones that seek to steward this Earth the way God intended.  Just look at what Monsanto is doing to small farmers and our food sources and you will see evil at work.

So considering that I have this enemy who wants to take me down, I get up every morning and I go to battle.  I pray over my farm, my family, my marriage but I don’t just pray empty words or cliches, I use the Word of God as my sword.  You will find a scripture on any subject that you need  if you look, but for the sake of this discussion on farm life- I will stick to the ones I use over my farm.

Zechariah 8:12

For the seed shall be prosperous,

The vine shall give its fruit

The ground shall give her increase,

And the heavens shall give their dew-

I will cause the remnant of this people 

To posses all theses.

 

Proverbs 27: 25

When the hay is removed and the tender grass shows itself,

And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,

The lambs will provide your clothing,

And the goats the price of a field

You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,

For the food of your household

And the nourishment of you maidservants.

 

Deuteronomy 28: 11-12

And the Lord shall grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body,, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground…

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.

 

Each morning as I pray these words over my farm, I thank God that He has given me these promises.  As I pray I also remind Satan of these truths and tell him to take his curses- such as grasshoppers- back to hell where they came from.  Just as in any war, you win some battles and you lose some battles.  Regardless of the outcome of the battles I know who won the war and what the future holds- Victory.  So, when hardships do come I remember the promises and stand on those.  If I lose the battle of the squash to the squash bug, I thumb my nose at the enemy and replant.  Then, little by little you begin to see the shift.  You produce more, things come a little easier, and you see more of the promises show up in the everyday life.  With faith we can move mountains- or shift the mountain of high pressure off of us in the summer to let a little rain in.  Maybe there is not a huge amount of rain, but if by faith I can shift a 1/2 inch in to our skies that may make the difference between life and death of my gardens.  I will take that as a win.  Today as I write this, it never got over 83′ F  and we have received about 4 inches of rain over the past 4 days- in JULY in TEXAS.  That is nothing short of a miracle.  Oh, how we are rejoicing.

None of this means that life is just easy street, but it means that instead of futility I can see our farm advancing.  I have been praying like this for the past 15 years in regards to my children and my marriage and when the farm came along about 7 years ago I approached it the same way.  It took awhile for the gardens to build up some steam but finally I began to harvest enough tomatoes to make some sauce and put it up by canning.  Now, I am canning some every week.  These are victories.

Trust  me, you will be opposed when you begin to pray like this and to believe the promises of God.  This does not make the promises less true, to the contrary it means they are all the more real.

David Austin Rose

“The Talk”

What a cutie, sweet with a will of iron.
What a cutie, sweet with a will of iron.

It seems that it is time for “The Talk” once again at my house.  For many of you, you probably assume that from the title this talk will be about the birds and the bees.  Not so.  When you live on the farm topics like reproduction and various anatomical differences between male and females come up with everyday life.   As a matter of fact, most non-farm orientated folk would be deeply disturbed by what is discussed at the dinner table amongst the farm family. Then the kids just sort of put things together, if you will, and then the topic of human reproduction comes pretty easily and just moves on by.

No, in our house dominated by strong-willed females “The Talk” is a different sort of beast.  Really, it is more of a speech- talking involves conversation and by the time “The Talk” is needed I am not interested in conversing- I am interested in laying the law down.  With each of the girls- all three being ahead of the boy- as age 14 rolls around they have just about decided that I don’t really know what I am doing.  And possibly, they have confused the fact that I treat them with respect and as intelligent individuals instead of just dumb kids  with the presumption that they are equal to me.  Big Mistake.  My authority does not come from the fact that I am more intelligent than my children- the fact is that they are just as if not more intelligent than I am and they arrived in this world that smart.  My authority comes from that fact that God made me their mother and I am in charge until they are adults and out of the house.  Until that day, I am the Alpha Female.

Well, the youngest daughter just turned 14 and just like her sisters before her, she has gotten a little too big for her britches.

 

To her I will say:

“You have four years left here in this house.  These years can be years of peace and fun or they can be 4 years of fighting and unhappiness for you.  It is your choice.  The rules haven’t changed and they will not.  You will treat me with respect, treat your siblings with kindness and respect or we can fight about all these things and you will lose.  I am still the mother and I am not budging.  The boundaries that have been in place since you were born will not change, test them as you may, test them if you must- but they will not change.  If you are looking for a fight, I am game.  However, I hope you choose peace.  What will it be?”

Because I have laid the ground work for 14 years of their lives- I don’t make idle threats, if I tell you I will take away all your books because you keep reading instead of doing what you are supposed to, I will.  They know I mean what I say and they also know from whom they inherited the strong will and have decided it’s best not to tangle with me.  Now when I speak of boundaries, I am speaking of basic tenants of obeying our guidelines and treating one another with love and respect.  I am not a mother who had ideas of what her children should be and then forces them into the box I have created.  My children are free to be and to become what God has intended.  I simply create an environment in our home in which they can hear God.  The Bible is the final word in our home, therefore, if you do not like what it says don’t blame me take it to God.  Until He changes, I am not.

This all sounds pretty harsh, but really it isn’t.   Also, these are strong willed kids- you have to have a will of granite to stand your ground or they will eat you alive. We all need to know where the boundaries are in our lives.  I want my children to learn that inside the boundaries are freedom and peace.  If they learn that in our home boundaries mean good things for them then when they are own their own they will know that living within the boundaries that God sets are for their good and protection.  So far so good, the 19 and 17 year-old have not given us one moment of grief and I can truly say I love having teenagers.

So, here it goes for the third time.  I am not sure there will be a forth- will Jonathan challenge me or his dad when the time comes?  I don’t know- I hope he challenges his dad…  Why should I get to have all the fun!

What have been the most challenging seasons of raising you children?