Sometimes We’ve Just Got To Hit Refresh

Sometimes We’ve Just Got To Hit Refresh

I want to preface this by saying that this blog isn’t written with anybody in mind or directed toward anybody. I have just been having a lot of conversations lately about priorities and it seems like God is trying to put the question “where are your priorities?” in front of me lately. It keeps popping up in my life, my reading, and my conversations time and time again.  

So much so that I even tweeted about it. 

And boy did I open up a can of worms. I guess my tweet didn’t come across well in 140 characters as it would have in a post. So here I am to expand on it.  Some farmers took offense to what I tweeted, and for that, I sincerely apologize. Those of you who have followed me on Twitter for quite some time know the deep love and respect I have for agriculture and what it is my husband, his family, his friends, and all the rest of you do out there. I wouldn’t spend my time writing about agriculture if I didn’t. 

But at the same time, my social media is just that. It is mine. It is where I post musings, ask questions, and interact with many people across many different boards. I fully get that you won’t agree with some of my tweets or that maybe you aren’t a believer in God. I just ask that you remain respectful. Anyway onto my musings about work, God, and family…

I will admit as wife to a farmer I struggle a lot with finding balance between life and farming and also helping my husband find a balance between life and farming. And I will also acknowledge that I am very open and public about where I struggle in life and finding balance. But when I say life I don’t mean life in the sense that my husband and I need to spend time together or that he needs to be home with me. Not at all. I appreciate the hard work and sacrifices he makes for our future family and me. I mean it in a sense that life is short and things like family, faith, and loved ones are important.  

I want to share an experience with you. My parents own a business. I equate the meat business a lot with farming because it’s much the same. When you are busy in the meat business, you can’t just walk away. You can’t just stop. Because guess what, all those hog carcasses you’ve got in the cooler go bad. Things are perishable so you have to get the work done. My dad is much like my husband in that he is a work-a-holic. He has worked hard and sacrificed so much of his life for us kids and my mom. And as a young girl, I can remember the times when dad wasn’t there. I can remember that. And then one day, something changed. He was there a lot more. He made time for us kids when he could. What changed? My dad’s heart. His priorities. Maybe it was mom’s influence or maybe it was God working on his heart. But there is a clear distinction in my mind the exact time it all changed.
I know as farmers many of you struggle with finding a balance between your family, your life, your work, and your faith. That whole mentality of make hay while the sun shines is taken quite literally. And for good reason, there is a time and a season for everything and when the season for growing and spraying and harvesting is in full swing, it simply has to get done. It feels like the whole world hinges upon that work getting done. And maybe your finances indeed does hinge on it all.  And yes, money in this life has blessed my husband and I in many ways through his hard work. 
But I sat in church on Sunday and listened to the sermon that day… And it spoke to me. I couldn’t help but think about the words as our pastor spoke the words “success, work… it can become an idol in your life”. He talked about how society we have now come to define success is what makes us in life. We define ourselves by the success we experience in life. He even went as far as to say he believes it is one of the reasons divorce is so prevalent in our society. He talked about how this is especially dangerous in a community such as ours, where work ethic is so valuable, as it should be! It is true that we talk a lot in this country about hard work and how the value of hard work is dwindling away. The vast majority of our country doesn’t know what hard work is anymore.  

And if we look back on our elders, we see the true definition of hard work. They got more done before 9 AM than most people do in a day. But the interesting thing about it is that if you also look back at those people, they also valued things like family and they put their faith above all else. You need an example of this…? Take a look at the churches built at that time. The people of that time poured their every precious resource into their churches.

They knew where their priorities laid and they didn’t need reminding of it. God came first then their marriage and then their children and then yes they did work hard. And yes, our world has changed so much since those times. It’s hard to compare then and now. When I tweeted my tweet, I wasn’t suggesting that we don’t work hard or that farmers don’t work hard. I wasn’t suggesting that my husband quit what he does to spend time with me. I was suggesting that sometimes we ALL need a reminder about balance and priorities. Sometimes we need to hit that refresh button. We need to look into ourselves and ask ourselves, “have our priorities gotten out of line?”

Have we let work become an idol in our lives? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. And I fully acknowledge that you don’t have to agree with me. I am just putting it out there… Take a look inside and maybe need to hit refresh every once in a while.

If you are interested in listening into the awesome sermon I referenced earlier, here’s the link (click on May 25: He Will Make Your Paths Straight). And to those farmers who I upset, I want you to know, I am praying for you. Individually. For those long nights, the sacrifices you make, I am praying for rest for you, wisdom for you to make the right choices, and for your families to have understanding during the hard time of planting and again in harvest. 

Plant 14-10

28 Comments

  1. May 29, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    Jenny, I don’t see anything wrong at all with your tweets. You’re saying what all of us what to say.. it’s just some of us are too afraid to admit it. You’re the bigger person for being open and honest with how you really feel. You’re setting an example for all of us newly weds. I was just discussing the topic of communication with a close friend of mine the other day. Some people are brought up, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.” Well, we were discussing that that phrase doesn’t exactly work sometimes in life. We can’t walk around acting like everything is okay when it’s not. That creates a foundation for a structural failure in a family or group of friends, colleagues, etc. down the road. I am so THANKFUL to have such an honest friend who I can look up to and admire.

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:12 am

      Kelly, thank you. You know this means more to me than I could ever convey! I just adore you and I am so thankful social media has brought me a friend like you!

  2. Ashley
    May 29, 2014 / 12:37 pm

    i LOVE this post. It’s what many of (or I guess I should say I) feel alot of the time. My husband, too, is a very hard working family, but he is so busy making a living that I think he forgots about making a life. We are grateful to have money because of his hard work but dang, our kids are going to be grown up just like that and he won’t see but the big stuff (and probably because I took pictures). Being a farmers wife is not an easy task!

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:13 am

      Thanks so much for sharing your heart with me! I feel like it’s so important to say those things that we feel. I will admit, I am not the best at it. Even in my own marriage. But it’s when we bottle it up or leave it unspoken that eventually it all comes falling down. So I bravely put it out there… even if it means I get criticized for it on Twitter. At least they can’t fault me for admitting where I struggle! 😉

  3. May 29, 2014 / 12:57 pm

    You nailed it, girl! This is something all hard-working people (even the men I know who are pastors) deal with: the balance between work and the gifts God has given them in a spouse and children. But we all have vocations: first, children of God; second, spouses and parents; third, workers and good citizens, and on down the line

    That’s a long way of saying: Thanks for what you’ve written. You’re right on, and this post was a great comfort to the rest of us farm wives who miss seeing our husbands too and needed to hear that we’re (a) not alone and (b) not crazy.

    Keep writing!

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:17 am

      Adriane- THANK YOU! Honestly that is such an honor coming from you! I honestly admire your blog and your ability to boldly share your faith! And through you sharing, it has given me confidence in my sharing my own faith on here. I am so blessed, and I am sure it is God’s amazing grace, that my readers have accepted it with open arms! It feels so amazing to know I can open my heart here and have such amazing ladies (and even some men I know who read) who are there to walk with me in my struggles and my faith!

  4. Kayla
    May 29, 2014 / 1:03 pm

    I couldn’t have said this any better! Its a struggle managing priorities when it comes to work and family. I appreciate my farmer, but some days I feel like he works to much and never makes me a priority and he forgets to live! But I guess that’s what comes along with being a farmers wife! I shouldn’t complain and I should be happy for him, because he loves the work he does. How many of us can say they love where they work! I also want to thank you for amazing blog and how much I can relate. It really helps knowing that I’m not alone in the farming world!

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:20 am

      You most certainly are not alone my friend. And these comments are a testament to that… 😉 It’s something that is important we TALK about. Society deems women who cry and women who seem imperfect as “weak”. And especially in agriculture (which is so deemed “a man’s world”, we are told to be tough and suck it up. But you know what, we are women. We aren’t built like men. We are emotional and that’s just how God made us. Little do they know, there is something to be said about the true strength and tenacity of a farm wife!

  5. May 29, 2014 / 1:13 pm

    I love this post. I do not find anything wrong with what you wrote. Often times people take offense too easily or read too far into things. It happens. With that said, if anything people should have used these tweets as an opportunity to encourage you. Fellow farmers that have wives should know what you go through as their wives go through the same thing. Women that are in a similar situation should have reached out to let you know it is not just you! Marriage is hard work & being married to a farmer adds to it. Just know that you are not alone & never apologize for sharing your feelings.

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:24 am

      Thank you for this! It fills my heart with sadness when people to choose to break one another down rather than encourage one another. Whether it be man or woman. And you are right, they should know what I have to go through. I even had a farmer (man) yesterday tell me that sometimes he wishes that he could be home with his kids more. And that it breaks his heart to be away from them, no matter how much he loves farming. I feel like it is a topic we don’t talk enough about. As farmers and ranchers, we pride ourselves on our hard work. And that is absolutely something to be proud of, but at the same time too. It can be dangerous and it can be a downfall for us. It’s not an easy line to walk and it’s not an easy thing to talk about… Obviously. 😉 Anyway, THANK YOU! And I am so glad that through this, we have connected!

  6. May 29, 2014 / 1:21 pm

    I too didn’t find anything wrong with your tweets at all. Social media is OURS to share OUR thoughts and if people don’t like it: unfollow, block, mute—do what you gotta do. But the way some of those men (I assume farmers) talked to you is unnecessary and they truly don’t know you if they couldn’t look beyond 140 characters. Being married is hard and there is a reason why the divorce rate is nearing 60%. Add kids in the mix and it’s harder. Add a farmer’s schedule in there and it ‘s all the more harder. If you keep God front and center in your life and in your marriage—you’re one up in the game and you’ll have hard times, yes…but you’ll always make it through.
    Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] recently posted…Monkey Bars (Banana Chocolate Chip Cake)My Profile

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:25 am

      ” they truly don’t know you if they couldn’t look beyond 140 characters.” THANK YOU for this… Sometimes I just need reminders of that. It sucks that the words of a few have to sting the hardest, but I am surrounded by God, by the love of my family, my friends, and people I have never even met that I consider to be my friends. And THAT is a beautiful thing!

  7. May 29, 2014 / 1:37 pm

    Great post Jenny! I can’t help but think of both farming and military marriages and family lives when I read this. I think the post and tweets are good reminders for everyone to remember what really is important – marriage, family, faith. We always joke around in our family that you have to “take time to bury them and marry them” no matter what time of the year… Earlier this week we celebrated our daughter’s 1st birthday with soybeans left to plant, corn left to spray, ground left to work up, etc. (You get the picture) And I’m happy to report that everyone took at least a few hours out of the field to celebrate and that we didn’t push it back or wait for another day. We helped her have a special day!
    Val – Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids recently posted…Family Summer Bucket ListMy Profile

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:31 am

      Val, awesome sentiments! Life is so short and I think one of the reasons I took this so much to heart is because we’ve experienced so much loss and sickness in our lives lately. It really makes you think about how futile some things can be in the grand scheme of life. It warms my heart to know that you made it a priority to have your daughter’s birthday. Some may think it’s only her first birthday, she will never remember. But establishing those habits now I think will show through once she is older!

  8. Alecia Zenker
    May 29, 2014 / 3:37 pm

    I am right there with you, Jenny! I struggle SO much with this too. There is completely nothing wrong with what you said on Twitter this morning. People just need to understand and have a lighter heart. All farming men should be thankful that they have awesome wives for making sandwiches/warm meals, taking them from field to field, and trying to support them in every way we can. I work 40+ hours as a drafter in Jamestown. I get up 5:30 (and sometimes before) every morning and drive 100 miles every day and then get home at 6:00. Then I have to put away groceries, clean my house, sometimes pick up my husband from the field, make supper, tend to my garden and flowers, ect.. No, I am not complaining, but as a woman in her early 20’s, it’s a lot. My plate is full in every possible way, but I love my life, I love supporting us, and I love my husband. Just last night at 8:30 p.m., after a full day, he asked me to pick him up and take him to a different field. I was completely tired, but I did it without too much complaining. It is a very demanding and stressful job to be a farmer, I am sure, but it is just as demanding and stressful to be the farmer’s wife. Because we are right there through the droughts, the floods, the hail, the cow dying, plus managing our career and the household. God bless all farm wives AND their hardworkin’, farmin’ husbands!

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:34 am

      Amen Alecia… Amen my friend! Sometimes I feel the same way. It IS a lot for a twenty something woman to be doing. And honestly, it is not the place of someone outside of our lives to judge our “business” and it breaks my heart that it happens. Sometimes I feel like in Agriculture we get into such a competition… Well I worked this much, or I don’t stay at home I work alongside my husband, or I cook all the meals… Who cares? WE ALL WORK HARD. Whether we are in the field or at home. Why not encourage one another in love versus trying to dabble over what we call ourselves and who works the hardest? I am so blessed in that I have created a place here where we can do that. Where we can be open, honest, and share our hearts without fear of people judging or being critical. I wish I could say the same for other places on social media because I feel like these discussions are SO important! Anyway, thank you!

  9. May 29, 2014 / 5:02 pm

    First, I see nothing wrong with your tweets. I struggle myself with being brave on my own social media posting. I am the queen of posting and deleting because I fear the shit storm I will stir up with my honesty or how it reflects on my husband.

    Secondly, amen sista. I can’t tell you how often I struggle with this very same thing. I never see my husband. It’s like Christmas morning when I actually get to wake up beside him — and I work from home. I’d really never see him if I had an office job. He is such a hard worker, and it takes that to survive in this industry and what he does is important BUT like you, I gave up everything and moved quite a distance to be with my husband… and it gets really lonely when you’re stuck at home by yourself all the time in a place that is new.

    I’m really thankful for connections with farmwives like you and others to form a support system with. Hang in there!
    Danielle recently posted…What I Learned My First Two Months of MarriageMy Profile

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:39 am

      You are speaking right to my heart my friend! You bring up an amazing point here that I didn’t really think about… The sacrifice I made moving here. Certainly I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. We love our husbands. BUT it doesn’t mean it isn’t a sacrifice leaving your family. I know I still struggle with that all the time. But I CAN say that it DOES get better! This year has been the hardest, but this year I have also been the busiest! And I think that is part of it! I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the tractor with him and that is my fault. But it is also good that I am developing friendships and getting active and involved in our community. Glad to hear from you!! I’ve been lurking all your home renovation! 😉

  10. May 29, 2014 / 6:25 pm

    I don’t think you tweeted anything offensive, either! Plus, it IS your twitter feed. People are always going to take offense to whatever we might say or whenever we take a stand. I love how honest and authentic your voice is! It’s so hard to find balance between work and family/marriage no matter where you work.
    Jeni Flaa recently posted…What Is This “Man-Pleasing Chicken”?My Profile

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:41 am

      Jeni, thank you for this… I just don’t know what else to say besides the fact that your comment totally warmed my heart. I try my best to just be honest and real. Even if that means I get criticized for it. At least, I know who I am and fully admit where I struggle. Which is way more than most people can say! 🙂 And you are so right, no matter the profession, EVERYONE struggles with this. It is just so easy to relate to farming since it is the life I live! But I love that it applies to all!

  11. May 29, 2014 / 8:36 pm

    Thanks for writing this, Jenny!

    Early on, we made the decision that if at all possible, we would not work on Sundays. It was our day to rest, to spend time as a family, and to recharge. We started going on picnics after church when our oldest was an infant. It is one the memories that they cherish the most. I am so thankful that we were stubborn enough to stick to that plan, even though it was difficult some days.

    My hope is that through your words, other families will find their ways to hit the refresh.
    Carolyn recently posted…Thankful Thursday – The Power Pole PeopleMy Profile

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:45 am

      Carolyn, there are VERY few farmers in our community anymore who take Sundays off. I feel like that is such an “old fashioned” tradition… Even in talking with the younger farmers around here. It is interesting to see how the value system of those have shifted and I don’t really know what to attribute that to. I look at Mark’s grandparents and they still at 86 are DEVOUT in their faith. And I know that even when they farmed and lived that hard life, their faith never stumbled. So I always love to hear when people continue that tradition. And when I told that story about my dad… that time when I saw the change, we started going to church again regularly as a family on Sundays. And then going to breakfast. It was just “our thing” and those breakfasts are some of the things I miss the most now that I don’t have them in my life all the time. 🙂 Thank you for the support, I appreciate it so much!

  12. May 30, 2014 / 7:30 am

    I agree with everyone else that’s left a comment so far – there is NOTHING wrong with your tweets. You said what the rest of us feel! I’m not married to a farmer -or married at all- but my fiance and I own a business together and a lot of his time is spent working on jobs. Our business is doing home repairs/renovations and this too is seasonal with most of our work being in summer. He’ll be up early and gone until dark on the days he’s working on our jobs – then the days he’s not he’s a Full-time Lieutenant at the Fire house. So he’s gone 24 hrs at a time. We rarely get time together, so when we do we just have to cherish it that much more. I completely understand your struggles because I deal with them too. Most of the time I feel like a single parent raising a boy – a boy that wants to be spending more time with his dad doing father/son things. Luckily, he understands that his dad is working hard to provide such a great life for us and he too cherishes the times he gets to spend with him doing stuff.
    As always, you did a great job putting these feelings /thoughts into words in this post! Thank you for expressing the feelings a lot of us have but don’t express well ourselves.
    Ashley {The North Carolina Cowgirl} recently posted…A New Fashionable Horse WalletMy Profile

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:48 am

      Ashley, you are such a sweetheart! I appreciate your continued support and comments! I love that even though I may write about farming because it’s what I can relate to, this post can speak to everyone. I just love that. I admire all those women out there who spend part of the year being a single mom. Honestly, they are some of the strongest and tenacious women you will ever meet. Thank you for sharing! <3

  13. May 30, 2014 / 8:37 am

    I’ve got to jump on the bandwagon with all of your supporters! I am a fellow farm wife, and a newbie blogger, and I have posted about my struggles with this same thing! I often feel like I am 2nd best to the farm and I have a hard time reminding myself that I really am important to my husband. So many people think that life on the farm would be so idealistic and beautiful, and while it is those things, it is often lonely. I have tried for years to explain to my husband how I feel. I have tried to CHANGE the way I feel. Our biggest issue is that we don’t have extra money. The hours that he puts in on the farm pay our bills, and if he didn’t put in so many our bills wouldn’t get paid. (And we budget aggressively and track our spending to the penny.) As much as I would love to be home with our kids I have to work as well to make ends meet. I dream of the day that things will be better- and we’re getting there slowly but surely!- but for the time being we are struggling through. I will share this with him, and listen to the sermon as well!

    Know that you’re not alone, and you just have the talent of saying what a lot of us are thinking!
    Leslie recently posted…My Planting Season VowsMy Profile

    • May 30, 2014 / 9:53 am

      Leslie, thank you for sharing your heart and honesty. Nobody could ever prepare you for how hard it is. And to simply cling to the notion that we are just supposed to “suck it up” is terrible, terrible advice. I love that I can be honest here and I can have all these women from all walks of life all be able to relate. It is through posts like this that my eyes are opened to the fact that WE DON’T TALK ABOUT THIS ENOUGH. And when we don’t talk about it, it all crumbles. Communication, whether it be in a marriage or even with our friends or on our blogs is powerful. And sure there is something extremely vulnerable about bearing our heart and yes we may get criticized for it… But there is something so refreshing about admitting where we struggle and knowing who we are. Your words resonate with me 100% and hang in there! You are not alone and I hope that sermon speaks to you and your husband. God is great and he will provide for you in ALL ways! Hugs!

  14. May 31, 2014 / 4:54 pm

    From reading the other post. It looks like there are a lot of women rowing in the same boat. I remember my mom, also a farmer’s wife, telling me “Never marry a farmer; he is never home.” She is right they are rarely home and I did marry a farmer. I would not change it and she would not either last May was their 35 anniversary. It is rough to take care of everything by yourself sometimes but my farmer is there when it counts. It sounds like yours is too.

  15. Michelle Washburn
    June 2, 2014 / 11:40 am

    Hi Jenny! I have been reading your blog for awhile now and LOVE IT! I enjoyed reading this post for a few reasons. The first being that when I was newly married, these would have been my exact thoughts! Why am I not being put first or even second? We have been married for 10 years now and I have learned a lot! Mostly that when I was dating my guy, he worked the same then as he does now. He hasn’t changed since I whole heartily agreed to being his wife. My annoyance with his working is the only thing that changed. It took about five years for me to look at my priorities instead of his. I kept saying why aren’t you home?, but its my birthday?, but its mothers day?, why cant we go to that wedding? And I realized that these were all things I wanted to do. So I changed MY priorities and stopped telling him what his should be. If I wanted to spend time with him, I was in the tractor. If I wanted to go to the wedding, I went with a friend. If I wanted to eat supper with him, I took it to the field. And slowly our marriage got AWESOME! I wasn’t the only one giving of myself.
    We have had a horrible spring. Rain, Rain,Rain. Saturday I decided that me and my kiddies were going to the zoo and then we had a wedding to attend. I was gone from 7am to 10pm. About half way though the day, my husband called my frantically looking for something he needed and proceeded to say, “this farm barely runs without you.” It made me feel appreciated! We have a thankless job. No one else, other than a farmers wife will ever understand our life.
    This comment is not a criticism in anyway. I hope it brings hope to some of you that struggle with our role as a farm wife, single mom, cook, and so on, that some day you will look back on this time and think about how far you and your farmer have grown together.