Holidays (in photo review)

My computer was sick with a virus almost the entire past four months.  Fortunately when you work on a farm, you don’t use a computer, so I felt no rush to have it fixed.  That explains my lack of posting in the blog–well, at least my lack of posting photos.  Some random shots from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve are posted to make up for my absence.  How did it get to be 2012 already?  I’m excited, but a little scared to be realizing that all the adults who used to talk about how much time seems to speed up as you get older were right.

 

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Learning

A lot of times I–and I think I can probably speak for many of us when I say this– find myself asking God, “Why is this happening?”  Sometimes it’s in the difficult moments when I don’t understand the challenges in front of me, when I feel confused and alone; but other times I ask “why?” when I feel blessed beyond measure. So, I guess I could say that almost all the time I do not understand why things are happening in my life.  But, I try to trust the process and believe that everything will end up the way it is supposed to be.  This, as we all know, proves to be a greater challenge when we are facing trials, but in my short 22 and 3/4 years of experience I’ve learned that it does pay off.

The  past year has been incredible for me.  When I think about all the life-changing events that have happened, I am almost overwhelmed.  God has blessed me with amazing gifts, and I find myself wondering, “What did I do?  Do I deserve this?”  Believe it or not, after struggling a considerable amount nine months ago with making decisions about my future (i.e. job, new city, relationships, etc.), my post-graduate life has been relatively worry-free, and for that I am extremely grateful.  It seems as if the big and little pieces that make up my life have fallen into place–maybe even better than I would have imagined them myself.

Trusting that good things will come, but not always on my schedule has been a process for me.  I have learned so much in the past 12 months and am grateful for all the experiences that have taught me to be patient, have faith, and appreciate all that I have.  Here’s to a joyful new year that brings more growth and the further realization that each day is a gift.

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Cuties

I’ll miss these little faces when I start my new job (!) at the beginning of the year.  At the same time, I’m really looking forward to wearing normal clothes and also getting a manicure after my last day at the farm.

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Home

It’s funny how the more life changes and you move around, my definition of “home” changes.  This weekend I went back to Williamsburg for Homecoming.  To be honest, most of my time in college I couldn’t really picture myself ever going back for it  However, as last week progressed, I found myself becoming increasingly excited for our weekend return.

When I was in school and would leave for the weekend, whether it was to visit home (my parents’ house), a friend, or take a random trip, I can’t really remember a time where I was anxious to return to Williamsburg.  Going back there meant back to books, studying, and stressful deadlines.  This feeling of wanting to take a break away from “real life” continues for most of us regardless of what phase we’re in, or even how happy we seem to be in the moment.  As I walked to breakfast on Sunday morning, I thought about how I didn’t want to leave Williamsburg and wake up at 6:30 Monday morning to go milk goats.

One of our challenges is to learn to appreciate each moment and space we’re in.  I’m blessed to have others in my life who are better at this than I am, and who remind me of the importance of being grateful for today and not continuously worrying about the future or what comes next.

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Catch Up

The other day I got to wrangle some baby goats who escaped from their fence.  I tried not to let my bosses see (because they weren’t so amused at the babies’ antics), but I was smiling and laughing the whole time.  It was so fun!  The baby goats are extra cute, so it was hard for me to be mad at them for pulling me away from cleaning the milking parlor to go chase after them.  I haven’t had a chance to go around the farm and take some photos like I’d like too, but I did capture a few the other day as the “girls” (as we call them) were getting ready to be milked.

In other news, McKenzie and I went to the State Fair last night.  It was huge!  I have never seen so many fried food stands in my life; I think 80 percent of the fair was food.  We walked around, saw a concert, rode a ride, ate some fair food, and saw fireworks!  I love fireworks, so I’m so glad they shoot them off every night at the fair.  Also, my favorite part of the fair was seeing the farm animals and all the different vegetables in the competitions.  All those blue ribbons reminded me of Charlotte’s Web.

I’d post some pictures, but my computer still has a virus and I’m amazed that it’s actually letting me use it at all right now.

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A Natural

I just realized that in my most recent update, I totally forgot to mention something!  The other night, I was milking the goats with one of the owners of the farm, Dave.  We were talking, and he asked me to remind him again where I was from.  After I responded, he asked, “But did you do anything agricultural growing up?”  I, of course, answered “Oh, no, nothing.”  Then, Dave, sounding surprised at my answer, said “Well, you really are a natural at milking!”  At the end of the night, he complimented my apparently excellent milking skills again, but calling me a milking “superstar!”

I graciously accepted his compliments, laughing to myself all the while.  I mean, I like the goats, and I don’t mind doing the milking, but I do think it’s a little funny that he considers me a natural!  And, even enough so that he told two other people on the farm about my apparent milking skills!  When I told McKenzie and Dad about what Dave said, they both had the same response:  laughter!  It’s OK though– I never imagined I’d be milking goats for a living either. 🙂

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Jalapenos

I really hope that sometime in the very near future I will get back to a semi-normal writing schedule.  I am still in the process of finding my own place to live here, so my free time has mostly been consumed with searching for and visiting houses and apartments.  However, I did get to visit Aunt Cassie last weekend.  It is so nice that we only live an hour and a half apart now!  We went to the zoo for a short visit and I can’t wait to go back.

Work is going well.  I am slowly but surely learning the names of all the female goats that I milk each day (there are about fifty).  I really enjoy being around the goats, but I usually only see them in the morning or evening during milking.  They are very sweet-natured, for the most part.  The other day I spent some time with the babies, who are so cute!  My favorites so far are named Pickle and Erica.  Hopefully someday soon I’ll have a chance to take some pictures around the farm.

I am also learning a lot about making cheese, which is really interesting.  Oh, and I’ve been busy chopping sixty pounds of jalapenos.  Yes, sixty.  The farms sells plain chevre (the soft kind of goat cheese you’re usually most likely to see at the grocery store) and also some different flavors with other ingredients mixed in with the cheese.  One of those flavors is jalapeno, so we’ve been preparing them while the peppers are in season.  It will be convenient in a couple months, but right now I don’t know if I ever want to eat, smell, or touch another jalapeno.  Those little things burn so bad.

Anyway, today while I was chopping away, a podcast called “Life Flight” played from my co-worker Alice’s iPod.  The speaker, Kimberley Reed, tells her story of returning to her Montana hometown for her father’s funeral after being gone for years, and after having transitioned from being male to female.  In order to inform her family friends of her daughter’s new identity, Reed’s mother puts on a tea party for her closest friends, whom she called her “ambassadors.”  If anyone at her husband’s funeral asked about her former son, she would send them to an ambassador for them to explain.

The tea was a success, and the attendees responded lovingly to their friend’s announcement.  However, to avoid taking attention away from her father’s death, Reed decided not to attend the wake.  Afterward, she received a phone call from her childhood best friend, saying he and the whole football team (of which she had been quarterback) were about to arrive to visit with her.  Reed explains her anxiety upon learning that twenty of her closest buddies when she was a “him” would soon be sitting in her childhood living room, and then her relief that it felt like old times, and that her transition was a non-issue.

As it turns out, rather than judgment or questioning, Reed was confronted with acceptance from her hometown.  The support of her family and friends, many of whom she had expected to never see again, overwhelmed her.  Even as an unattached listener, her story moved me.  For those few minutes as Kimberley Reed shared her story of fear, I was grateful for my millions of jalapenos– for once I’d have an excuse for tearing up.

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